SDYS/LJMS Music Institute

Registration is closed for the 2015-16 Institute.
For more information, please contact Dr. Sidney Yin, Associate Director of Conservatory Programs, at


Overview | Artist Roster

La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) and San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) have collaborated closely since 2007 to bring outstanding classical music experiences to children, families, and communities in San Diego. As the region’s leading concert presenter and youth orchestra, they complement each other’s program strengths and specialties. LJMS has featured SDYS’ advanced student musicians in performance at SummerFest Under the Stars, Discovery Series Concert Preludes, and its Community Music Center Recitals. SDYS has welcomed Community Music Center student musicians into its Balboa Park Orchestra Program and provided them with lessons and performance opportunities to grow their talents alongside San Diego County’s most dedicated youth musicians.

La Jolla Music Society and San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory are now taking the next step in their partnership to create new and unique programs designed through the lens of their combined experience and expertise.

 The LJMS/SDYS Music Institute

La Jolla Music Society and San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory are excited to announce the launch of the nation’s only pre-collegiate music institute that combines learning opportunities with international touring artists, solo, chamber music, youth symphony performances, and a curriculum of university level courses.

San Diego’s most musically ambitious and talented teenagers will receive professional level training as they prepare to pursue college music degrees and professions in music. Limited to 15 new students per year and a total of 60 students over a 4 year curriculum, the LJMS/SDYS Music Institute will rival the standards of music education offered to high school students at major centers of musical learning across the nation.

 Core Curriculum

  • Master classes, open rehearsals, seminars, and clinics led by world-renowned artists,
  • Performance training and academic instruction with professional artists and musicians,
  • University-level theory, ear training, and music history courses,
  • Intensive chamber Music and conducting classes,
  • Participation in San Diego Youth Symphony’s Ovation Program (Orchestral Instruments), and
  • Attendance at LJMS Professional Concerts.


  • Chamber music performances,
  • Student recitals,
  • Musical Preludes on LJMS’ Discovery Series,
  • SDYS orchestral concerts (for orchestral instruments), and
  • Accompanying experience (for pianists).

Community Engagement Opportunities

  • Outreach concerts/events,
  • Mentorship and music education training opportunities, and
  • Fulfillment of Community Service hours.

Weekly Class Schedule

Theory/Ear Training






All Institute classes and workshops will take place on Saturday mornings.  For full listing please see season calendar.


Current Ovation Students
All currently enrolled Ovation Students from 2015 June Auditions are eligible.  Please submit completed application form and registration fee by application deadline.  Applicants will be asked to come in for an interview

Piano Applicants
All piano applicants 9th Grade and above up to age 25 are eligible to apply

Piano audition requirements
A short 10 minute audition will be required.  Prepare two contrasting pieces from Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, 20th Century (and 21st century) eras.  A concert etude may substitute as one selection.  Panelists may not hear prepared audition pieces in their entireties to remain within the audition time limit.

Artist Roster

Each year, LJMS engages artists from around the world. The LJMS artists listed below have agreed to participate in educational activities with Music Institute students during 2015-2016.

October 17, 2015
Kathryn Hatmaker, violin San Diego Symphony violinist Kathryn Hatmaker has played with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony. She is a frequent chamber music recitalist and guest clinician. Long committed to bringing classical music to diverse audiences, Ms. Hatmaker cofounded and is Co-Artistic Director and Executive Director for Art of Élan. She studied at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Iowa, and the Sorbonne University.


October 31, 2015
James Chute, U-T San Diego’s Music and Art Critic — Mr. Chute is a journalist who has covered the arts for more than three decades. A Pittsburgh native and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he served as music critic for The Cincinnati Post, The Milwaukee Journal, and The Orange County Register before joining The San Diego Union in 1990. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in criticism (for his coverage of the Milwaukee and Chicago symphonies) and a winner of an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award and Penney Missouri Award, he has contributed articles to the New Grove Dictionary of Music, among other publications.

November 14, 2015
Kristin Lancino, La Jolla Music Society President & Artistic Director
— As the new President & Artistic Director of La Jolla Music Society, Ms. Lancino brings a profound understanding of the performing arts, with experience in management, artistic administration, and operations. Previously she was the Executive Director of IMG Artists, overseeing the Artist Management divisions for North and South America. Prior to working at IMG, Ms. Lancino was Vice-President for G Schirmer Inc., North America’s most vital music publishing company. She also served for 14 years at Carnegie Hall, culminating in a decade as Director of Artistic Planning. At Carnegie, she also served as the Director of Education, where she developed Professional Training Workshops led by renowned international artists.

December 12, 2105
Jinjoo Cho, violin*
— Critically acclaimed violinist Jinjoo Cho has established herself as one of the most vibrant, engaging and charismatic violinists of her generation. Gold Medalist of the 2014 Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of the Indianapolis, Ms. Cho made her first appearance on the international music scene when she garnered the First Grand Prize and Radio Canada’s People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Montreal International Musical Competition at age 17. Ms. Cho has concertized throughout North and South America, Asia, and Europe. Her biggest passion is arts education. She is the founder of a new chamber music program in Cleveland named the Encore Chamber Music Institute and has also just been appointed to the Oberlin Conservatory faculty.
*Ms. Cho will work with the Music Institute in addition to her engagement as soloist in the San Diego Youth Symphony Series.


December 19, 2015
Cami Smith, Music Therapist — Cami Smith is a board certified music therapist (MT-BC) and has advanced level training in Neurologic Music Therapy through the Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado State University. She has been a music therapist and violin teacher in San Diego County since October 2007. Ms. Smith is passionate about providing Neurologic Music Therapy services to those that benefit and has experience working with children with autism, neurological impairments, and developmental disabilities. With the Neurologic Music Therapy training she is trained to facilitate those in habilitation and rehabilitation settings. She is also very passionate about bringing music to others through teaching children violin.


January 23, 2016
Ji, piano — Ji began playing the piano at the age of five. At nine, his family relocated to New York, where he studied at the Music Preparatory Division of the Mannes College with Yuri Kim, and later at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College with Yoheved Kaplinsky. At age ten, he was the youngest pianist to win the New York Philharmonic’s Young Artists Competition. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, studying with Choong-Mo Kang. Ji’s creative vision to make classical music accessible to young people has driven his career in unique, inspiring ways. From 2008-2013, Ji performed as a member of DITTO in Korea and Japan with violinist Stefan Jackiw, violist Richard O’Neill, and cellist Michael Nicolas.

February 6, 2016
The Montrose Trio: Martin Beaver, violin; Clive Greensmith, cello; Jon Kimura Parker, piano Martin Beaver joins Montrose Trio after eleven years as first violinist of the renowned Tokyo String Quartet. He is recognized as a soloist and chamber musician and has played as a concerto artist with orchestras around the world, including the San Francisco Symphony, the National Orchestra of Belgium, Mexico City Orchestra, the Portuguese Radio Orchestra, and all major orchestras of Canada. He is currently on the faculty at The Colburn School. Clive Greensmith, cellist, joined the Tokyo String Quartet in 1999 and has performed with the quartet in the most prestigious venues and concert series across the globe. Mr. Greensmith has held the position of principal cellist of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and as a soloist has appeared with many prestigious orchestras. He is currently Professor of Cello and Co-Director of Chamber Music at The Colburn School. Jon Kimura Parker has performed as guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, toured Europe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and worked with countless world-class conductors. He has lectured at The Juilliard School, The Steans Institute, New York University, and Yale University. Mr. Parker is the Artistic Advisor of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival and Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.


February 20, 2016
Peter Dyson, Co-Owner, Studio West — A native of England, Mr. Dyson came to San Diego from Austin, Texas in 2004. The third owner in Studio West’s forty year history, he spearheaded the studio expansion and remodeling project in 2005, determined to bring to fruition his vision of a world-class, fully integrated San Diego-based recording studio, comparable to the top facilities in Los Angeles. As a drummer and business leader in the music industry, Mr. Dyson believes in the importance of staying active and creative in one’s career. He advocates diversifying skills and building a strong network to musicians of all ages.


April 2, 2016
Sheryl Renk, clarinet — Sheryl Renk is the Principal Clarinetist of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. She was the Principal Clarinetist of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra for ten years and was formerly a member of the San Francisco Symphony. During that time Ms. Renk joined the orchestra on several European, Asian and United States tours, and she performed on numerous San Francisco Symphony recordings. Prior to the above positions, Ms. Renk performed extensively throughout the West Coast with various orchestras, opera orchestras, and chamber music groups. She has appeared as soloist with several orchestras as well as a duo performance with renowned clarinet soloist Richard Stoltzman. She has also performed on many movie and commercial soundtracks, mostly recorded at the famed Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. Ms. Renk completed her music education at San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied with Donald Carroll. She continued her clarinet studies with Rosario Mazzeo, formerly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 


April 16, 2016
István Várdai, cello; Julien Quentin, piano
Mr. Várdai had his concert debut in 1997 in The Hague. Since then, he has performed in New York and throughout Europe and Asia with great success. The Hungarian cellist has been honored with several prestigious international prizes, including the Geneva International Music Competition where earned first prize with three additional special prizes. Between 2010 and 2013, he continued his musical studies at Kronberg Academy, where he has since served on staff. Mr. Quentin made his successful recital debuts in Paris (Salle Cortot), Geneva Conservatoire Hall, and Bargemusic in New York. He is regularly invited to international festivals, and has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. A native of Paris, Mr. Quentin completed his Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Emile Naoumoff at Indiana University. He received his graduate degree from The Juilliard School and now lives in Berlin.


May 7, 2106
Josef Špacek, violin; Miroslav Sekera, pianoMr. Špacek studied with Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School, Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Jaroslav Foltýn at the Prague Conservatory. He was laureate of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and won top prizes at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In addition to his flourishing solo career, Mr. Špacek has served as concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the youngest in its history. Mr. Sekera ranks as one of the preeminent members of the young generation of Czech pianists. He was a child prodigy who won many junior performing competitions as a pianist, violinist, and chamber player. He was also selected to play a young Mozart in the film Amadeus. He was the first prize winner in the Chopin Competition, as well as many others, and received a scholarship from Yamaha in 1999. Mr. Sekera tours and records internationally as both a soloist and as a chamber musician.


Kent Nagano, Montréal Symphony Orchestra Director* — Since its founding in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has distinguished itself as a leader in the orchestral life of Canada and Québec. A cultural ambassador of the highest order, the Orchestra has earned an enviable reputation internationally through the quality of its recordings and tours. The OSM has carried on that rich tradition under the leadership of its current Music Director, California-native Kent Nagano, who joined the OSM in 2006. Over the years, the Orchestra has undertaken some 40 excursions and tours and made over 100 recordings for Decca, EMI, Philips, CBC Records, Analekta, ECM and Sony as well as on its own label, which have earned it a total of 50 national and international awards.
*The orchestra will participate in an open rehearsal and Mr. Nagano will engage in a brief Q&A session.


Cho-Liang Lin, SummerFest Music Director — Mr. Lin has been the Music Director for La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest for the past 15 years. He is a renowned violinist who studied at The Juilliard School and launched his career in 1980 with a debut with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta. Mr. Lin has since performed as a soloist with virtually every major orchestra in the world, and he is also Artistic Director of the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival. He has been on the faculty at The Julliard School and is Professor of Violin at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston. 


Artist Roster as of October 6, 2015, additional artists will be added upon confirmation.  All artist rosters subject to change.