B O A R D
+ David Gracia
Founder | President
A leader in El Sistema, David was part of the Sistema Fellowship at the New England Conservatory, a leadership training program for just 50 musicians to develop innovative and pioneering El Sistema programs across the country and abroad. Based on this experience, David founded the WHIN Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired orchestral program in August 2012. It started with just 50 students and by year three was serving over 500 students per week through a pipeline of services including early-childhood, in-school and after-school, and weekend advanced orchestral programs. Recently he was appointed adjunct teacher at the Aaron Copland School of Music (ACSM) where he has taught several courses at the undergraduate level. He has worked as a piano and music teacher at both the Performing Arts Conservatory of New York since 2009 and the Piano School of NYC for the 2009-2010 academic year. In addition he has served as choir director and organist for several church congregations in Spain and New York City. During the 2015-2016 season, David served as Manager of Artist Training Programs at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, where he spearheaded and managed the launch of NYO2, Carnegie Hall’s newest summer orchestral training program for young American instrumentalists with a particular focus on attracting talented students that are underrepresented in classical music. While managing and growing WHIN, David also served as Associate Music Director at Playground Sessions, a music software company co-created by music legend Quincy Jones that uses the most advanced technology to help people learn how to play the piano, and as Music Director of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, a position he continues to hold.A native of Zaragoza, Spain, David started his musical studies at the Infantes del Pilar’s Cathedral Boys’ Choir where he received a well-rounded education as a singer and pianist. In 2004, he came to New York to enroll in the Aaron Copland School of Music (ACSM) of Queens College where he earned a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a Master of Arts degree in musicology, both summa cum laude. As a conductor, he was a member of the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra, participated in master classes with Konrad von Abel, Paul Haas and Markand Thakar, and performed at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, and Kupferberg Center Performances.
+ Ivonne Norman
Ivonne Norman, Esq. is an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the United States District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. Ms. Norman graduated magna cum laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2005 and pursued her graduate law studies at New York Law School receiving a Juris Doctor Degree in 2010. Her professional experience includes over a decade of litigation focused on the areas of medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and personal injury and her integrity, compassion and dedication to excellence are reflected in her successful practice of law. Ms. Norman is fluent in Spanish and she is a strong supporter of the social advancement of the immigrant communities in New York City, particularly Hispanics in low-income neighborhoods. Ms. Norman has also volunteered with the City University of New York (CUNY) Citizenship Now! Program as well as participated in a number of pro-bono events sponsored by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) and the Justice Action Center at New York Law School. Ms. Norman isa member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and the New York Plaintiff’s Nursing Home Law Group.
+ Irakli Tatishvili
Irakli has been in a role of Fixed Income credit analyst at Goldman Sachs for the past 10 years and has covered a broad range of industries including Technology, Retail, Energy, Consumer, Metals and Mining, Healthcare, etc. During this time, Irakli performed analysis and reviews of companies’ financial statements, operational efficiencies, managements’ track record, corporate actions and other similar analysis. Throughout his professional career, Irakli has provided recommendations and maintained an extensive interaction with a broad range of clients that includes both institutional and individual investors. Irakli has received an MBA from Cleveland State University in 2004 and a bachelor’s degree in finance from West Virginia University in 2002. In addition to educational degrees, Irakli also holds series 7 & 63 licenses, which are required for investment professionals. He was born in the Republic of Georgia and has moved to the US in 1994. While gaining education in the US, Irakli was also playing tennis for both high school and division 1 college teams.
+ Robert Johnston
Born, raised and educated in New York City, Robert L. Johnston has been Director of String Studies at St. Francis Preparatory School since March of 1997. He is also the school’s Co-Internal Coordinator for its Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation. It was under his leadership that Prep became the first school ever to earn the Association’s Music Credential, which is aimed at recognizing only those schools with the most sophisticated programs and the highest goals in music education. He earned a New York State Senate Certificate of Merit in recognition of exceptional service as a teacher. Mr. Johnston holds Bachelor's and Master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music where he was recipient of the Pablo Casals Award for Musical Accomplishment and Human Endeavor. He also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching Music degree from Lehman College. Primarily a performer for many years, Mr. Johnston was especially involved in the presentation of new music, including over 150 world premiere performances and recordings, many as Associate Principal Bassist of the National Orchestral Association's New Music Project. Mr. Johnston is a founding board member for the Washington Heights & Inwood Music Project. He also serves on the Board of Our Lady Queen of Marytrs Catholic Academy.