Maestro Henry Miyamura Retires — June 2017

Maestro Henry Miyamura Retires on a High Note

After 33 Years as Hawaii Youth Symphony’s Music Director

News Release – 4/10/2017

Miyamura Photo smHonolulu, Hawaii – After serving for 33 years as Hawaii Youth Symphony’s music director, Maestro Henry Miyamura will retire in June 2017, announced Richard Ing, president of the HYS board of directors.

Miyamura, who also serves as conductor of Youth Symphony I, Hawaii Youth Symphony’s most advanced orchestra, is scheduled to conduct his final concert — the annual Aloha Concert Luncheon — on May 7, 2017.

“That concert is typically a time we say ‘aloha’ to graduating high school seniors, and this year, the concert will also be our opportunity to say ‘aloha and mahalo’ to Maestro Miyamura,” Ing said. “It will be an emotional concert for many in our community. It will be hard to see him retire, but we all recognize Henry deserves a great retirement.”

“We are indebted to Maestro Miyamura for laying a great foundation for Hawaii Youth Symphony. It is a privilege for all of us — the board, conductors, parents, volunteers, students and other supporters —to build on his legacy,” Ing added.

Randy Wong, executive director of Hawaii Youth Symphony and a bassist, added: “Henry always challenged his students to go ‘beyond beyond.’ He followed his own advice, elevating the Hawaii Youth Symphony to a whole new level, inspiring thousands of local youth to pursue their dreams in music and other fields.”

“Hawaii Youth Symphony has reached an exciting zenith and we are definitely on the map. Just within the past year we have been able to expose our students to world renown musicians such as violinist Midori and showcase our talented local youth on programs such as National Public Radio’s From the Top, which taped a show in Hawaii last December,” Miyamura said.

“Hawaii Youth Symphony is in a very good place and it has been the result of the hard work and tenacity of so many who are dedicated to bringing out the best in Hawaii’s youth. It’s been a real privilege to work with great colleagues and talented, motivated students. As I pass on my baton, I’m confident others will continue this positive energy and momentum,” he said.

Miyamura’s Record of Accomplishments

Miyamura conducting
Miyamura has a track record of service throughout Honolulu. In addition to serving as Hawaii Youth Symphony’s music director and Youth Symphony I conductor, Miyamura was also co-founder and director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony’s popular summer program, Pacific Music Institute. He served 14 years as band director at McKinley High School, his alma mater, and 35 years as a professor of music at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and conductor of the UH Symphony Orchestra.

Miyamura was also principal clarinetist with the Honolulu Symphony, and a member of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Hillel Chamber Concert Orchestra, and the Rochester Philharmonic. Miyamura was named as winner of the prestigious 2001 Alfred Preis Award by the Hawaii Alliance for Arts Education for his lifetime commitment to arts and education in Hawaii, and was a recipient of the 2007 Governor’s Award for Fine Arts.

National Search Now Underway, Joseph Stepec Steps Forward

The Hawaii Youth Symphony has enlisted Boston-based executive search consultant Leslie Wu Foley to conduct a nationwide search for Miyamura’s successor, a process that is expected to take up to year. In the meantime, Hawaii Youth Symphony has named Joseph Stepec interim Youth Symphony I conductor. Stepec will concurrently serve in his role as director of the University of Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, just as Miyamura did until his retirement from the UH in 2013.

Stepec, an accomplished violinist, has an impressive record of musical milestones in conducting, teaching and performing. He has worked with the Rochester Philharmonic and has served as assistant to the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia and the Indiana University Philharmonic. In 2011, he was chosen as music director of the Euclid Symphony Orchestra and oversaw successful collaborations with the Lakeshore Ballet and various soloists throughout his tenure.

He recently been featured as music director for various collaborations with the Indiana University Opera-Ballet program and Cinema. He recently gave the North American premiere of Neil Brand’s score to Hitchcock’s silent film, “Blackmail,” to great acclaim.

Music Director Candidates

Interested candidates for Hawaii Youth Symphony’s music director position may contact A Statement of Position will be posted at a future date.

Aloha Concert Luncheon Reservations

The Aloha Concert Luncheon will be at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom, on Sunday, May 7, from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. This year’s guest artists will be Miyamura’s long-time personal friend, Danny Kaleikini, also known as “Kaniela,” and his grandson, Nicholas Kaleikini. For reservations, visit the Hawaii Youth Symphony website at or call (808) 941-9706.