Walter Zooi, Executive Director
Walter Zooi is an award-winning arts entrepreneur and organizational leader with over 20 years of experience in program development, strategic and fiscal planning, marketing and communications. He is the founder and prior executive director of South Pasadena Music Center & Conservatory, which he led through 12 years of dynamic growth. Walter is the founder and past artistic director of the South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival, a city-wide, multi-stage event that showcases musical artists from across a wide variety of cultures and genres. As director of communications at the California Institute of the Arts he oversaw the branding and development communications program for both the Institute and the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Walter held a similar position with USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he was part of the development that helped secure Flora L. Thornton’s $25 million naming gift to the school. Walter is a native of Philadelphia, where he attended Temple University. He is currently completing an M.S. in Philanthropic Leadership through the University of Denver.
Kelsey Smith, Program Director
Kelsey Smith is a Los Angeles native, soprano vocalist and music educator who began her collegiate career at Berklee College of Music as a vocal jazz and R&B performance major before returning to California to pursue her interests and degree in the fields of Music Education and Developmental Psychology. She holds a B.A. in music education and a minor in applied developmental psychology from UCLA, and is a Kodaly certified music educator who has worked with musicians from diverse backgrounds and of all ages in choir, guitar, piano, songwriting, music technology, and general music. A lifelong learner, she is constantly researching and developing curriculum, and engaging in professional development opportunities. She is passionate about helping create access and opportunity for students to engage in and experience music. As a part of the Young Musicians Foundation team, she is looking forward to contributing to the incredible program offerings, helping grow the team of Teaching Artists, and expand TAP's reach and impact.
Lauren Wasynczuk, Artistic & Ensembles Director
A native of Los Angeles, Lauren Wasynczuk leads an active career as a conductor, saxophonist and music educator, dedicated to engaging audiences and performers of all ages with the transforming power of music. As a conductor and saxophonist, she has appeared in recitals, concerts and music festivals throughout the United States, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. In addition, she has presented clinics and workshops in K–12 schools as well as master classes at colleges and universities throughout Southern California, the Midwest and East Coast. Lauren holds a Master of Music degree from The Hartt School where she graduated as a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Rachel Beetz, Development Associate
Rachel Beetz is a Los Angeles-based flutist, sound artist, arts administrator and educator. As executive director of the wasteLAnd concert series and frequent performer of new works, she is passionate about contemporary music. Rachel has been invited to play with ensembles who share this mission such as the Callithumpian Consort, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Noise, Palimpsest, red fish blue fish, Southland Ensemble and Third Coast Percussion, and has been featured in festivals across the globe. You can hear her performances on Blue Griffin, IIKKI, Neuma and Populist record labels. As a composer, she makes sound pieces involving acute realizations of graphic materials. Her sound work has been exhibited in the U.S,. Iceland, Australia and India. Rachel is adjunct instructor at Moorpark College and also at the Summer Institute for Performance Practice at New England Conservatory. She holds degrees from the University of California San Diego (DMA and MA) and Indiana University (BM).
Shaniee Parker, Large Ensembles Manager & Librarian
Shaniee Parker is a first-generation college student, who was raised by her great-grandmother. Shaniee attended LEAP in 2011 and returned each year as a Life Coach at UCLA and served as a camp counselor at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Camp for Good Times. She was named Outstanding Graduating Senior Finalist in 2015. While completing her BM in Music Education and Clarinet Performance at CSU Northridge, she studied with Julia Heinen, and competed for the Miss California Icon Organization and won in 2014. As assistant conductor of CSUN's Youth Orchestra, she formed an Honors Youth Orchestra named Parker Kennedy Orchestra. Shaniee studied at The Catholic University of America, University of Maryland, and University of Georgia, in the Clarinet Academy of America. After winning the Miss America local title of Miss Malibu Coast 2016, she competed at Miss California and won the Talent Award and Highest Academic Achievement award. In 2017, Shaniee held a new city title for the National Model Miss Organization as Hollywood’s Model Miss. Since then Shaniee has earned her MM in clarinet performance at UCLA under Gary Gray, and has traveled throughout the US to promote both scholarship and her platform of "Keeping Quality Music Education in California Schools." Her speech at Music Advocacy Day in the State Capitol allowed for a unanimous vote to pass three Senate Bills for new state standards for music education to be rewritten. Shaniee was also selected to give the commencement speech for the Inaugural Herb Alpert School of Music and received the Dean’s Medal in June 2017. She continues to perform, conduct, and teach all across California. She currently is the band director of five elementary schools in the Conejo Valley Unified School District and teaches with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in their Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles program known as YOLA. In addition to youth education, she is making waves in her music initiative as a member of an LA based women clarinet chamber group and YouTube sensation known as FourPlay Clarinet. Shaniee is the new Orchestra Manager and Librarian of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Chamber Orchestra and will begin her work with their Connections Festival incorporating the music of Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, and Flying Lotus.
Karlie Carbone, Program Coordinator
As a passionate advocate for social justice within music education, Karlie Carbone approaches service from a point of understanding and being in solidarity with the communities she serves. She developed this approach while volunteering for Ignatians Service Organization and completing a Child Development Associate Teacher Permit. Karlie graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she received a BA in Music with an emphasis on Vocal Performance. While at LMU, Karlie was cantor at the LMU Music Ministry, music director of The One Night Stanzas, LMU’s resident acapella group, in addition to being a stage technician at the Murphy Recital Hall. As a vocalist she has performed with the San Diego Master Chorale and participated in the Frost School of Music Summer Program in Salzburg. Recently, Karlie was Lead Teacher at St. Mark Preschool in Encinitas. Karlie is looking forward to serving the students and teachers of the Young Musicians Foundation.
Board of Directors
Margot Smith Thomas, Board Chair
Fred Scholder, Secretary
Arnold Seidel, Treasurer
G. Beverly Bergmann
Dr. Alexander Gershman
Bette Y. Cox
Lawrence N. Field
Betty Rose *
Directors In Memoriam
G. Beverly Bergmann
Michael L. Tenzer
Sylvia Kunin, Founder, Young Musicians Foundation
Gregor Piatigorsky, Honorary President
Merv Griffin, Honorary Lifetime Chairman
Ted Bergmann, Music Board of Trustees