The Debut Fellows Program

The Debut Fellows Program was created with the guidance of Vijay Gupta, former Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist, 2018 MacArthur Fellow, speaker and nationally acclaimed advocate for artistic voices in social issues. As YMF’s Senior Program and Artistic Advisor, he will be involved all aspects of the Debut Fellows Program.

The pilot Debut Fellows Program will be a 2-year fellowship open to orchestral musicians, composers, conductors, and teaching artists involved in community engagement. The primary focus of the program is to help create leading artist citizens who will bring the knowledge and experiences gained in this program with them throughout their professional lives, creating and contributing to community engagement programs and other areas of service along the way.

Finalists will be chosen by a panel that is representative of the communities and populations we serve.

In the first year of the pilot program, Fellows will receive specialized and expert professional development in areas such as community engagement, music education and experience as social justice, artist citizenry as well as communication and organization building skills. Fellows will travel to and interact with the schools, sites, communities and populations we currently serve.

In the second year of the program fellows will present proposals for projects that will serve one or several of the communities or populations with which we work. We will encourage that one these projects be centered on providing an engaging, interactive concert experience with an orchestral ensemble as the primary vehicle.

How to Apply
The Debut Fellows Program will be open to all orchestral musicians, conductors, composers, artists and those working in the areas of citizen artistry and community engagement. Applicants must possess and undergraduate degree. Please check back for specific application details such as deadline, application procedures, etc.

The Transition
The Debut Orchestra will no longer be an ongoing, independent program with a defined concert season.

If and when an ensemble is constituted for a large-scale project created by a Debut Fellow, it be called the Debut Orchestra as a tribute the rich history of the program.


Thank you to our 2017/18 Musician Sponsors!

For further information and additional sponsorship opportunities, please contact: 
Walter Zooi, Executive Director at (323) 987-0065 or

Concertmaster - Anne Akiko Meyers
Section Cello - Peter and Samantha Knight
Principal Clarinet - Betty Lou Gross
Principal Trumpet - Clint Camua, CFP, EP Wealth Advisors
Principal Piano/Keyboard - Riko Method School of Piano

Recent Alumni Appointments

Eric Abramovitz ('16-'17) - Nashville Symphony,  Associate Principal//E-flat/2nd Clarinet
Laura Arganbright ('15-'17) - Bakersfield Symphony, Principal Oboe
Sam Almaguer ('12-'13) - North Carolina Symphony, Principal Clarinet
Carrie Rexroat ('14-'15) - Symphony Tacoma, 2nd Horn
Emerson Millar ('15-'17) - New World Symphony, Fellow
Chelsea Sharpe ('15-'17) - New World Symphony, Fellow
Brice Burton ('12-'17) - Charlotte Symphony, Principal Percussion
Eric Abramovitz ('16-'17) - Santa Barbara Symphony, 2nd/E-flat Clarinet
Grace Nakano ('13-'16) - Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Concertmaster
Johanna Gruskin ('15-'16) - Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Principal Flute
Jon Bhatia ('14-'16) - Lamar University, Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music, Adjunct Professor of Music
Steven Logan ('11-'13) - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Principal Timpani
Tyler Stell ('10-'13) - Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Principal Timpani
Carrie Rexroat ('14-'15) - South Dakota Symphony, 2nd Horn
Matthew Howard ('10-'12) - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Principal Percussion
Katherine Velasquez ('15-'16) - Midland Odessa Symphony and Chorale, Principal Flute
Elizabeth Lu ('14-'16) - New World Symphony, Fellow
John Shawger ('12-'15) - Virginia Symphony Orchestra, 4th Horn
Christopher Hernacki ('13-'15) - Symphony Silicon Valley, Section Trombone
Benjamin Adler ('13-'15) - Milwaukee Symphony, Assistant Principal Clarinet
Gabriel Campos Zamora ('10-'12) - Minnesota Orchestra, Principal Clarinet
Joe Morris ('10-'11) - Pacific Symphony, Principal Clarinet
Andrew Brady ('11-'13) - Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Principal Bassoon
Jack Peña ('12-'14) - Louisiana Philharmonic, Principal Bassoon
Andrew Stenvall ('13-'15) - Illinois Symphony, Principal Percussion