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Faculty & Staff

Symphony Program

Director of Orchestral Activities & PMI Artistic Director

Joseph Stepec came to Hawaii from Cleveland, OH in 2016. He is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestras at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Music Department. Under his direction, the University of Hawaii Symphony Orchestra has premiered […]

Conductor, Concert Orchestra

Wayne Fanning is a graduate of Hilo High School and participated in HYS Concert Orchestra and the Pacific Music Institute as a student.  He received his Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  […]

Conductor, Youth Symphony II

Elton Masaki holds a Bachelor of Education Degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in music from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Master of Music in Education Degree from Boston University. Mr. Masaki is the current high […]

Conductor, Youth Symphony II

Susan Ochi-Onishi has proudly served as a middle and high school music educator in the Hawaii State Department of Education since 1988. Prior to teaching at Kaimuki Middle School, she has held music teaching positions at Waianae Intermediate School and […]

Conductor, Concert Orchestra

Hannah Watanabe works for the Hawaii Youth Symphony as Programs Manager and conductor for the Symphony Program’s Concert Orchestra. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she earned a Bachelor of Education degree in K-12 […]

Academy String Program

Academy String Program Director; Conductor, ISE & CSO

Conductor, BSE & SOE

Michael Lim is a dedicated music teacher and professional violinist. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, he began his musical career at the age of four with the piano, and started his violin studies at the age of seven. A […]

Office Receptionist & Academy String Program Coordinator

Brent Ramos is a graduate from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance. He is an HYS alumni who started in the Academy Program, and in his senior year of high school was […]

Instructor, Summer Strings

Born and raised in Hawaii, Mr. Jeff Hamano has been teaching the Strings Orchestra program at Moanalua Elementary since 2009. He graduated from Kalani High School and received his Bachelors Degree in Music from the University of Hawaii Manoa where he […]

Instructor, Super Strings

Music in the Clubhouse & Community Programs

Music4Kids Teacher (Spalding Clubhouse)

Parker Nakamura is a 2017 graduate of Arizona State University and majored in trumpet performance with a concentration in orchestral studies under Regents’ Professor David Hickman. Parker currently attends the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where he is pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate in music education. He is a part-time member […]

Violin Teacher (Nānākuli Clubhouse)

Pālolo Percussion Ensemble

Christopher Cabrera is Associate Principal Timpanist and Section Percussionist with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Born and raised in San Francisco, Christopher began his percussion studies in public school during the 3rd grade; a product of the San Francisco Symphony’s AIM […]

Artistic Expansion Programs

Solo & String Quartet Program

A dedicated educator, Jang is on the faculty of the University of Hawaii and Punahou School. He spent much of his time ensuring the success of the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival String Program before joining the Hawaii Youth Symphony. “It […]

Director, HYS Jazz

A highly regarded studio and freelance musician, Dean Taba began his musical studies on the piano at the age of 6 and played french horn in the Hawaii Youth Symphony. It was a desire to play in the high school […]

HYS Jazz - Instructor

Ryan Howe graduated from Maui High School and completed both his Bachelor’s in Music Education and Master’s in Bassoon Performance at the University of Hawaii. He currently teaches middle school band at Moanalua Middle School. Mr. Howe says: “I have […]

HYS Jazz - Instructor

Born and raised in Honolulu, Noel Okimoto has been playing professionally since the age of ten. Noel’s primary instrument is the drum set, but is also an accomplished orchestral percussionist, vibraphonist, composer and clinician. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in […]

Administration

President

Director of Orchestral Activities & PMI Artistic Director

Joseph Stepec came to Hawaii from Cleveland, OH in 2016. He is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestras at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Music Department. Under his direction, the University of Hawaii Symphony Orchestra has premiered […]

PMI General Manager, ext. 700

Jeremy Lawi earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance at the University of British Columbia and Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Music Education from the University of Hawaii. He currently serves as the music program head at Mid-Pacific Institute […]

Programs Manager, ext. 201

Hannah Watanabe works for the Hawaii Youth Symphony as Programs Manager and conductor for the Symphony Program’s Concert Orchestra. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she earned a Bachelor of Education degree in K-12 […]

Assistant Operations Manager II, ext. 200

As a Concert Parent for over four years, Nate Chang witnessed firsthand the positive impact of Hawaii Youth Symphony’s programs on its student musicians. Helping to further the mission and uphold the core values of the organization has been a dream come true […]

Finance Manager

Since the age of three, Joseph DeMatteo hit drums. Even currently as an accountant, husband, father of two children and three terriers, Joseph still hits drums. His deep respect for teaching and music fuels his current aspirations to help HYS […]

Office Receptionist & Academy String Program Coordinator

Brent Ramos is a graduate from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance. He is an HYS alumni who started in the Academy Program, and in his senior year of high school was […]

Development Coordinator, ext. 300

We’re thrilled to welcome Cyrinthia Richards to our office staff! Originally from Southern California, Tia just moved to Honolulu from New Mexico, where she earned her B.A in Music and minor in Arts Administration. She is passionate about uplifting the […]