New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra - Class of 2022

The New Jersey Symphony congratulates the Youth Orchestra Class of 2022 and wishes them the best in their future endeavors. Listed below are the 21 seniors who are graduating, where they will be heading, and their reflection on their time in the Youth Orchestra.

Arjun Athalye

Arjun Athalye (percussion) graduated from High Tech High School and will attend University of California at Irvine to major in engineering and film. Arjun is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for six years.

“It was a truly amazing experience having the opportunity to perform alongside such talent and gravitas that is the Academy Orchestra and its mentors. Special thanks to Mr. Musto and Mr. LaRosa.”

Ryan Badi

Ryan Badi (trombone) graduated from Secaucus High School and will attend Rutgers Univeristy's Honors College to major in computer science and mathematics. Ryan is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for four years.

The NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra opened my ears to orchestral playing and opened my eyes to a group of talented musicians who actively sought to better their playing. Everybody, be it student or staff, has been simply amazing. Special thanks to Mr. Post.

Milind Bangalore

Milind Bangalore (violin) graduated from Morristown High School and will attend Princeton University. Milind is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for five years.

Joseph Bejjani

Joseph Bejjani (violin) graduated from West Essex High School and will attend Harvard University to major in computer science. Joey is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for five years.

I always left rehearsals feeling inspired and even more excited about music. My time in the NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra has showed me how to listen. It taught me that connecting with others in the ensemble gives music its magic. Special thanks to my private teacher and mentor, Dimitri Hadjipetkov, Maestro Domínguez, my Mom, my brother Alex, and sister Valerie.

Radon Belarmino

Radon Belarmino (cello) graduated from Whippany Park High School and will attend Princeton University to major in sociology, with possible minors in gender and sexuality studies and/or statistics and machine learning. Radon is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for three years.

The NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra has allowed me access to so many musical opportunities that I would not have had if I did not join the program. I’ve performed at NJPAC multiple times and met and performed with so many talented musicians throughout my time here! Thank you to my family for always being there supporting me, and thank you to Jen and Philo for helping with my cello career!

Wiktoria Brauntsch

Wiktoria Brauntsch (violin) graduated from Garfield High School and will attend Bergen Community College to major in music production. Wiktoria is a member of the Chamber Orchestra and has been in the program for six years.

I will never forget my friends and coaches at the NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra. I enjoyed and now miss our Saturday classes and concerts. "No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it." I would like to thank everyone at New Jersey Symphony.

Kendra Buffaloe

Kendra Marie Buffaloe (viola) graduated from West Orange High School and will attend Rutgers University to major in biomedical engineering. Kendra is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for six years.

Through the Youth Orchestra I was able to learn essential skills such as time management, leadership, and collaboration. However, as I am at the end of my journey with NJ Symphony, the most important part of this Orchestra is unity. The staff and students all come together in a way that creates this strong bond which not only pushes you further but also motivates you in times of doubt.

Nicholas Chen

Nicholas Chen (violin) graduated from Livingston High School and will attend Rutgers University to major in electrical engineering and/or computer engineering. Nicholas is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for ten years.

I'm very thankful to have grown up with NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra since I was ten years old; I enjoyed every moment of rehearsals with friends and conductors. Special thanks to Mr. Henry Kao.

Kelvin Guillén

Kelvin Guillén (cello) graduated from Elizabeth High School Frank J. Cicarell Academy and will attend Montclair State University to major in music education. Kelvin is a member of the Chamber Orchestra and has been in the program for six years.

I owe my musical journey to my public school learning, but also the NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra and the awesome staff of teachers. As lessons came and went, my former teacher, Ms. Fran Rowell would always critique me honestly and applaud my small steps. When she would witness my small little irks of impatience… she would give me the best advice to slow down, to take it easy, breathe, and to isolate and focus on parts of my music in order to advance. With her help I was able to overcome my moments of feeling stuck and hopeless playing difficult music. I learned how to play faster than the pace I could, and most importantly she returned the joy of practicing to me… she believed in me. Thanks to her I learned many valuable lessons. A lot of growth and opportunity opened up for me. All these things for which I will always be a million times grateful, and I hope to pay back by becoming the player I’d like to be.

Eric Lee

Eric Lee (violin) graduated from Mountain Lakes High School and will attend the University of Pennsylvania to major in biochemistry. Eric is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for nine years.

From fourth grade all the way to my senior year, I have been a member of four ensembles as both a student and a mentor and have gotten to know incredible friends and coaches along the way. I chronicle the moments of my childhood with the pieces of music I played in Youth Orchestra and the happy memories I made at rehearsals and concerts. In the next few years, I'll still be playing in an orchestra; for the rest of my life, I'll fondly remember growing up in the loving NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra community. Thank you to Maestro Domínguez for not only being my wonderful conductor during my senior year, but also for being passionate about his job and talking about music in such an inspiring way that my view of classical music is forever changed.

Sarosh Mistry

Sarosh Mistry (violin) graduated from West Essex High School and will attend New York University to major in sports management. Sarosh is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program the six years.

This orchestra became an integral part of my life which I enjoyed to the fullest extent. Coming to rehearsals on Saturday mornings made an excellent start to weekends and will be missed a lot. The passion and dedication that the conductors, coaches, and students share is unbelievable and I am privileged to have been a part of this fantastic organization. Special Thanks to Mr. Kao, Mr. Domínguez, and all the excellent coaches for all they’ve done for me over the past six years.

Miguel Paniagua

Miguel Paniagua (violin) graduated from Passaic County Technical Institute and will attend Montclair State University to major in music education. Miguel is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for one year.

I never thought I would actually be playing in such an amazing group. Every student holds amazing potential and every instructor helps bring it out. Thank you for having me. Special thanks to Eddie (who is part of Chamber Orchestra and helped me get into the program); Mr. Mendez, who was my music teacher and helped guide me through this journey, and Mr. Dalton, who was also my music teacher.

Katherine Porcello

Katherine Porcello (violin) graduated from James Caldwell High School and will attend Cornell University to major in industrial and labor relations. Kate is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for four years.

My time with the NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra has made me a better musician as well as a better person. I have learned so much from all of the mentors as well as being one myself. I am sad to be leaving, but I will never forget my time here and all of the amazing people I have had the privilege of meeting. I want to thank my parents, Maestro Domínguez, Ms. Youngstein and my teacher Nancie Lederer for all of their help and support.

Liam Reilly

Liam Reilly (cello) graduated from Clifton High School and will attend The College of New Jersey to major in music education with a minor in music technology. Liam is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for five years.

The NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra allowed me to grow in ways I never thought I was able to before, not only through music but also as a person. It gave me opportunities and experiences which allowed me to flourish in addition to inspiring me to take music with me for the rest of my life. This program has given me an incredible foundation which I hope to build on as I move towards even more experiences in the future. I want to give a special thanks to our cello coach, Philo Lee, who dedicated so much time and effort into making sure each and every person in our section achieved what they wanted to as well as making sure we all knew our music. I also enjoyed the special recording projects we put together during our virtual year along with helping us compose our piece for the composition project. I would also want to give a very special thanks to our Academy Orchestra conductor Maestro Domínguez who worked with each and every one of us to make the repertoire we play possible. Without him, we would never even have an orchestra.

Benjamin Rosales

Benjamin Rosales (percussion) graduated from High Tech High School and will attend New York University to major in screen scoring. Ben is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for seven years.

Being a part of the Academy Orchestra for the last seven years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Every mentor I’ve had and every conductor I’ve played under have helped me grow into a better musician, artist and person. Special thanks to James Musto, Greg LaRosa and José Luis Domínguez for helping me grow into the musician and person I am today.

Patrick Sun

Patrick Sun (clarinet) graduated from Millburn High School and will attend New York University's College of Arts & Science. Patrick is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for three years.

I was able to learn and perform difficult but rewarding repertoire by legendary composers. However, my favorite part of orchestra was spending time with the friends I made in the clarinet section. Overall, being a part of the NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra was an unforgettable experience. I'd like to thank everyone at NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra for making Academy Orchestra such an enjoyable experience. I also want to thank my teacher, Andy Lamy, for being such a great mentor and friend to me these past few years.

Lauren Trinity

Lauren Trinity (viola) graduated from the Academy of Saint Elizabeth and will attend Montclair State University to major in health sciences. Lauren is a member of the Training Ensemble and has been in the program for seven years.

I really enjoyed my experience in the NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra! I met a lot of kind and supportive people.

Kevin Valencia

Kevin Valencia (cello) graduated from Wayne Hills High School and will attend Texas A&M University to major in computer and electrical engineering, with a potential minor in mechanical engineering. Kevin is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for six years.

Spending the past six years at the Youth Orchestra program has been a wonderful experience. Every mentor, seatmate, member and conductor has been nothing but amazing to be with. While some of our time was cut short due to COVID, I anticipated every Saturday practice, and will miss them dearly. In addition to my parents, I’d like to thank Henry Kao- thank you for keeping my love of music.

Jared Vega

Jared Vega (cello) graduated from John P. Stevens High School and will attend the University of South Florida to major in accounting. Jared is a member of the String Ensemble and has been in the program for eight years.

The NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra has allowed me to play music outside of school. I got to meet a lot of amazing people and learn from several talented coaches throughout my time performing with the Youth Orchestra. Overall, I improved significantly and made many connections while in the NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra program. Special thanks to Ms. Youngstein.

Cameron Xu

Cameron Xu (clarinet) graduated from Union County Magnet High School and will attend Cornell University to major in biometry and statistics. Cameron is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for six years.

I really enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere of NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra! Unlike other musical ensembles, the NJ Symphony focused more about working together as an orchestra to make the best music! I’d like to thank my coach and teacher Andy Lamy, Maestro Domínguez, and most of all my parents for making NJ Symphony Youth Orchestra such a great environment!

Jacqueline Zhou

Jacqueline Zhou (violin) graduated from Millburn High School and will attend Princeton University to major in philosophy. Jackie is a member of the Academy Orchestra and has been in the program for three years.

I've really enjoyed playing the large variety of repertoire in the Youth Orchestra and expanding my knowledge of orchestral music. All the coaches are very supportive, and the friends I've made in this program have inspired me to constantly work harder. I am very grateful to have been a part of this program. Special thanks to Ms. Youngstein, and my parents.


For more information about the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra, click here.