Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey Board of Trustees & Staff

  • Paul Robertson, President
  • Shilpi Mukherjee, Treasurer
  • Tanisha Morgan, Secretary, Volunteer Committee
  • Terri Evans, Bookkeeper
  • Phillip Pugh, Artistic Director
  • Larisa A. Epps, Executive Director
  • Aloka Bagchi, Fundraising & Grant Committee
  • Annette Briffa, Marketing & Publicity Committee
  • Dr. Bing-bing Chang
  • Joon Chung, Fundraising & Grant Committee
  • Ruby Hanna, Volunteer Committee, Alumni Committee
  • Catherine Isnardi, Social & Hospitality Committee
  • Yen Lu, Social & Hospitality Committee
  • Meghna Patel, Marketing & Publicity Committee
  • Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin, Marketing & Publicity Committee
  • Dhanu Thejaswi, Marketing & Publicity Committee
  • Amy Woodward, New Student Auditions

    Advisory Board

  • John Enz
  • Melanie Clarke
  • Dr. Richard Hodges
  • Michael Meduski

    Biographies

    Aloka Bagchi lives in Plainsboro with her husband and two daughters. She holds a Post graduate degree in Business Management and has worked for many years in various business development roles in Law/ Real Estate firms and Recruitment Agencies. Currently she stays at home with her children while serving extensively for the West Windsor-Plainsboro school PTA boards as President and Vice President. She brings in over 5 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations. Aloka loves working  with children and is an avid supporter of music and performing arts. She is excited to be a part of the YOCJ board serving the Fundraising and Grant committee since 2019.

    Annette Briffa is a Business Development Associate with a New York based IT Consulting firm. She has been an active volunteer in the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district for many years as well as a former Homefront Cherry Tree Club volunteer. She has served on the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey Board of Trustees for 3 years, including Vice President from 2016-2017 and the role of President from May 2017 to June 2018. She is an avid supporter of music education as well as charitable outreach, including most recently working to arrange a fundraiser with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey to support the Houston Youth Symphony and surrounding Houston school music programs in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Proceeds donated were used to help replace lost and damaged instruments.

    Dr. Bing Bing Chang has extensively performed as soloist, chamber musician, and piano accompanist in the U.S. Her performance has appeared in Carnegie Hall in New York City, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Nicholas Music Center in New Jersey, and The Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  She has also involved in some international music festivals and given solo performances in Prague, Moscow, Paris, Surabaya (Indonesia), and Witten-Heven (Germany).

    Born in Tienjin, China, Bing Bing grew up in Hong Kong and started her musical training when she was five and a half. She achieved B.A. (Hon) with Scholastic Award at Hong Kong Baptist University. In the undergraduate years, she also received a Fellowship Performer’s Diploma (F.T.C.L.) at Trinity College of Music in London.  Later studied in the U.S., Bing Bing obtained a Master of Musical Arts in piano performance with Pi Kappa Lambda National Honor at the Boston Conservatory of Music. In 2002, she also received a Doctoral of Musical Arts at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

    Dr. Chang has worked as an artist-faculty at Westminster Conservatory in Princeton since 2002 and served at Rutgers Community Music Program.  She is also certified as an N.C.T.M teacher from Music Teacher of National Association.  Bing Bing has frequently invited as judges for competitions, auditions, festivals as well as giving masterclasses and lectures in numerous of national teacher associations and international organizations such as the Alberti Competition, Crescendo Competition, Virginia State Concerto Competition, Steinway Society Competition, and Concerto Competition by New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.  She was selected as an NJ clinician to present at the state conference in 2009.  Since 2002, she joined as a broad member of NJMTA and served as the Chairperson for both MTNA Performance Competition and High School Scholarship Competition.

    Dr. Chang enjoys teaching piano for all ages group.  Many of her students have received competition and festival awards as well as performed in a lot of main concert halls in the tri-state area such as Weill Recital Hall and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Verizon Hall at Kimmel Center as well as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. She has also directed the chamber orchestra and children choir in Princeton Christian Church since 2010 and 2016 respectively. In 2014, she started the Trio Cordialis with her friends and performed regularly in the community. From the season of 2015, Bing Bing has joined the Sinfonietta Nova and Eastern Wind Symphony as the orchestral keyboardist.

    Melanie Clarke, YOCJ Advisory Board, has a long and distinguished career in non-profit and arts management. A conservatory-trained violinist, she worked for the Princeton Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, serving as its Executive Director for nine seasons before retiring in 2015.  In her many roles at the Princeton Symphony, she led its transformation and raised the funds for it to become a diverse and successful orchestra enterprise which won national recognition for artistic excellence, significant community engagement, collaborations with a wide range of civic and cultural partners, commitment to new music, and extensive and innovative music education programs. Melanie recently stepped down as chairman of the board of the Highland Center for the Arts (HCA) a new performing arts center serving rural northeastern Vermont. At HCA she led the startup of operations and oversaw a much-admired inaugural season of theatrical, musical and educational performances.  She is a trustee of the League of American Orchestras and chairs its development committee. She holds degrees from Harvard University and Wellesley College. Melanie and her husband, John Clarke, reside in Princeton, New Jersey, and Greensboro, Vermont.

    John Enz holds a master’s degree in cello performance and music education from Temple University. After completing his undergraduate studies at Goshen College with further studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Mr. Enz spent two years working with the music students of Ecole St. Trinité and the Haitian Orchestra in Port-au- Prince, Haiti. He toured with this group on the East Coast and to Tanglewood Music Camp. Mr. Enz began his long association with the West Windsor-Plainsboro School District in 1977 when he took over and nurtured a fledgling string program at Dutch Neck School, continued at Community Middle School and moved to High School North where he taught orchestra and strings before retiring in June 2018. Mr. Enz was also a cellist with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra for over 30 years and taught at Albemarle Music Camp. Mr. Enz began his association with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey in 1985, when it was known as the String Preparatory Orchestra. He worked closely with founder Portia Sonnenfeld and took over the helm of the growing youth orchestra, upon her passing in 1987. During his 35 years as artistic director and Symphonic Orchestra conductor, he has been the driving force behind the extensive offerings of YOCJ. The program now includes 12 performing ensembles, led by 9 conductors. YOCJ has toured and performed in Boston, Toronto, Vienna, Prague, Austria’s Esterhazy Palace, Leipzig, and Berlin. Mr. Enz has conducted the Symphonic Orchestra, featuring concerto performances by prominent musicians such as the Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim, principal hornist Jennifer Montone, assistant principal cellist Yumi Kendall, assistant principal timpanist Angela Zator Nelson, and the New York Philharmonic former principal clarinetist Stanley Drucker.

    Larisa Epps, Executive Director for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Montclair State University, as a Governor’s Teaching Scholar, with a degree in Music Education. She was a string specialist in the public schools from 1993 to 1999, working in Summit, NJ as well as the Manalapan-Englishtown District. Additionally, Ms. Epps runs a private violin and viola studio in Hamilton Square since 2000, and manages a special event music ensemble, Tutti Dolce, The Violin Trio since 2007. She was the site coordinator for the NJ American String Teacher Association (ASTA) Certificate Advancement Program Exams held at Rider University from 2008 to 2016. Ms. Epps is currently honored to be sharing her life long passion for music and her love of organizing events, with this unique youth orchestra, that has made such a noteworthy impact on generations of young musicians!

    Terri Evans is a Bookkeeper with TCG Solutions LLC. Terri is a results oriented professional with 20+ years of progressive management experience with entrepreneurial companies. Her emphasis is on increasing the value of companies by providing them with the information needed to make informed, proactive business decisions.

    Ruby Hanna lives in Princeton, NJ with her husband and three children. She is a physician practicing in the field of Hematology and Oncology with over 10 years of experience in private practice. She is passionate about music and believes whole heartedly that music can have a positive impact in children’s lives. She appreciates the opportunity to support YOCJ’s mission.

    Richard Hodges, saxophonist and YOCJ Advisory Board member, has appeared as a soloist in Europe, Canada, and throughout the United States including his debut recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  While specializing in the music of contemporary French composers, he has also premiered works by composers from the United States and Japan. A graduate of Wichita State University, Dr. Hodges received his doctorate in education from the College of William & Mary.  Dr. Hodges holds master’s degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Mississippi. He has served on the faculties of Indiana University, Columbia University, and the University of Mississippi. Former teachers include Eugene Rousseau and Lawrence Teal. Dr. Hodges currently teaches saxophone and clarinet at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia where he serves as the Director of Learning Resources. Dr. Hodges served as assistant conductor at the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey from 1996 to 2010.

    Catherine Isnardi is the mother of four musical children. She lives in Plainsboro. She has a deep and fond love of music. Catherine is a pediatric nurse and at this moment  works as a school nurse for the West Windsor- Plainsboro School District. Catherine enjoys being with the children and assisting the students and conductors with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey.


    Yen Lu
    is the mother of three musicians, one of them a cellist, who is currently enrolled in the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey. Music constantly is played in her house and she has grown a great love for it. She enjoys volunteering for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey when she can and attends all the events and concerts.

    Michael Meduski
    is a retired Lt. Colonel, US Army, active and reserve.  He is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross, Suffolk University Law School, The US Army Judge Advocate General’s School at University of Virginia, is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, and has worked in defense contracting for RCA, GE and American Overseas Marine Corporation, a General Dynamics subsidiary. During 20 years in West Windsor Mike has been active in Little League, Babe Ruth Baseball, Pop Warner Wildcats Youth Football and WWP North High School Football.  Mike has gigged locally and in greater Philadelphia with Princeton School of Rock band Random Clarity.  At First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square he is a session Elder, commissioner to Presbytery, and member of praise band and choir. Mike recently sang at Carnegie Hall in the “9th Annual Christmas in New York” with the American Festival Choir. Mike values the opportunity to volunteer in support of YOCJ.

    Tanisha Morgan loves working with children!  She is the mother of two very talented young musicians.  Despite her lack of musical aptitude, she enjoys all genres of music and surrounds herself with it – in the house, the car and earbuds.  For many years before becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent, Tanisha was an Administrator for a Management Consulting firm.  She looks forward to lending her skills to YOCJ as a board member, and meeting more of the YOCJ parents.

    Shilpi Mukherjee is an Investment professional and brings with her over 15 years of financial management experience in institutions like Lord Abbett & Co, Nomura Securities, Princeton Capital Management and Citigroup. She has an Engineering degree from Birla Institute of Technology in India, a masters in finance from XLRI, and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  Both her kids play the double basses and have enjoyed playing with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey for several years. She loves hiking and mountain climbing.

    Meghna Patel is a public relations and marketing professional with more than 20 years of PR experience with global travel and hospitality brands.  She spent the better part of those years at a leading boutique PR agency in New York City and now runs her own consultancy.  Having grown up in Hong Kong, lived in Europe and traveled the world, she has an appreciation for different styles and genres of music.  Now, with two YOCJ musicians in the house (one a cellist, the other a flutist), conversations invariably center around Bach, Beethoven, bass clefs, treble clefs, tone and technique — she learns something new every day! Meghna looks forward to contributing to the Marketing & Publicity Committee to help expand interest and recognition for YOCJ, its talented students, conductors and all the amazing programs it offers young musicians.


    Paul Robertson, President of the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, is a Senior Portfolio Manager at Bernstein Global Wealth Management where he is involved in both money management and providing financial advice to high net worth clients. He has degrees in Economics, Law and Business Administration, has worked as an management consultant for McKinsey & Co, and began his career as an economist for the Australian Government. Paul played the violin as a child, classical guitar as a college student, and now attempts to inspire his two sons to practice their instruments by taking piano lessons and practicing every night.

    Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin serves as part of the jazz faculty Princeton University; is the executive director of the African American Jazz Caucus, Inc. 501(c)3 Organization; is the Creative Arts Director at Turning Point United Methodist Church in Trenton, NJ, where she founded the Christian Education and Arts Division (CEAD);  serves on the national faculty of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.; is a founding and executive board member of the Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award; the founder of Soul Ingredients® Voice Studio; and is an active member of both the Jazz Education Network (JEN) and National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Dr. Robinson-Martin is an internationally recognized voice pedagogue and scholar in the area of contemporary music and the creator of Soul Ingredients®: the methodology. For the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, she serves on the Publicity and Marketing Committee.
     

    Dhanu Thejaswi
    has two children who have played string instruments in YOCJ for the past few years. She would be thrilled to live in a world consisting of mostly chocolates (dark) and books, reading on a comfortable sofa under the warm afternoon sun filtering gently into a sunroom through skylight windows. Seeing how this is a feasible reality only on rare occasions, she does other stuff like balancing being a busy mom and wife and extracting insights from financial data. She currently works at Bloomberg Global Data team where she supports the Bloomberg news and editorial team with content generation, data advocacy, working across industries and asset classes and creating automated content based financial news. She has several years of financial services industry experience having worked at Merrill Lynch and Lazard Freres, previously with experience working with Equity Trading Desk, Order and Execution management systems in the Advisory and Brokerage business. Apart from this, she has volunteered at a non-profit organization as a treasurer. Music, singing, travelling and hiking are some of her many hobbies.

    Amy Woodward
     has a Masters Degree in Special Education, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  She has worked in the field of special education since 1995, and is currently a case manager and behavior analyst at a school for students with special needs.  She is participating on the Fundraising Committee for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, and is looking forward to working with the Board to support this wonderful group of young musicians and talented conductors.