T E A M
+ Andrea Profili
Executive Director | Music Director
Andrea began playing both violin and guitar at age six at the Escuela Juveníl de Música de Panamá. She studied violin with Horacio Bustamante, and moved at age 18 to the US to study with Sarah Johnson at Converse College, where she received a Bachelor of Music in Performance and a Masters in Music Education. As a member of Delta Omicron she was awarded the Rob Fund Memorial Grant, which enabled her to study orchestral conducting with Sarah Ioannides and Siegwart Reichwald. In 2011, Andrea completed the El Sistema Fellowship at the New England Conservatory, a highly selective program designed to serve postgraduate musicians and music educators passionate about creating careers for themselves that connect music, youth development, and social justice. After completing the fellowship she relocated to NYC to work with Fellow David Gracia and help found the Washington Heights Inwood (WHIN) Music Project. At WHIN Andrea teaches violin, viola and cello classes, conducts the orchestra, develops curriculum for new and existing programs, and trains young conductors and teachers. Andrea has worked as conductor and teaching artist at Austin Soundwaves, Upbeat NYC, Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's, Opportunity Music Project, MindBuilders, and Multicultural Music Group and Carnegie Hall Music Educators Workshop. In 2015 she was awarded an Outstanding Alumnae from Converse College in recognition of her achievements and service to her community.
+ Jose Iglesias
Maestro Iglesias served as Conductor and First Violinist of the Union Quartet, making several recordings for National Radio and National Television (official state radio station and television channel in Cuba). It performed in various music festivals throughout the Republic of Cuba and abroad, gaining special acclaim in 1994 at the Chamber Music Festival at Colonia Tovar in Venezuela. Iglesias has conducted more than two hundred concerts between the years 1999 and 2006, leading the San Pedro Sula Chamber Orchestra and the San Pedro Sula Youth Symphony Orchestra not only in Honduras but also in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Mexico. On three occasions he has been a special Guest Conductor at the Contemporary Music Festival in El Salvador. His repertory ranges from works of Ancient Music to those with the most recent tendencies of Contemporary Music.
+ Kathryn Tomlin
Kathryn Tomlin earned a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Converse College and a Master of Music in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy from the Hartt School at University of Hartford. Kathryn began playing violin since the age of 10 and at 16 started down the path of alternative education when she began teaching private lessons from her parents’ living room. Kathryn is a founding member of the WHIN Music Project faculty and is Program Director of Orchestrating Dreams, where she teaches violin, viola, Music Play and Violin Choir; and performs with the faculty and Mentors Ensemble. In 2013 Ms. Tomlin began working with Renaissance Village Montessori as the school’s music teacher and was so captivated by the philosophy that she applied for the position as assistant. In 2015, Kathryn was appointed as the primary classroom teacher and is currently the Assistant Director. Kathryn is currently earning the Association Montessori Internationale Early Childhood Credential through Montessori Training Center Northeast. In addition to her work with children, Kathryn is passionate about working with parents and caregivers. She presents workshops and facilitates discussion groups on parenting on a monthly basis at both WHIN and Renaissance.
+ Michele Wolfson
Early Childhood Program Director
B.A. Colgate University, M.Ed. Harvard University, PGHert Roehampton University (London, UK). Michele lived in London for 18 years where she led education projects for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and was a founding member of two El Sistema music education programs: In Harmony Lambeth and the Nucleo Project. Here in NYC Michele works as an early childhood music specialist at Third Street Music School and with the Little Orchestra Society. In addition to teaching, Michele enjoys singing with the Oratorio Society of New York.
+ Ashley Byler
Early Childhood Teaching Artist
Ashley Byler is a dance maker, performer and performing arts teacher. She has an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in Music and Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where she majored in vocal performance, cello secondary. She hails from Alabama where she performed professionally in regional musical theatre and ballet companies as a teenager. From there she studied vocal performance at Indiana University Bloomington, then performed and studied in New York City. After her undergraduate work and early adventures in New York she moved to Ketchikan, Alaska where she has since taught two generations of young dancers and musicians in Ketchikan. Traveling back and forth between New York and Alaska, she has taught musical theatre, dance and early childhood music in both communities for nearly two decades. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and for public schools in New York City, Huntsville and Ketchikan as a guest artist. She has made and continues to make performance work - both her own and with Sara Rudner, Jackson Polys, LoVid, and The New Red Order. She’s performed at The Whitney Museum, Dancespace Project, La Mama, MASS MoCA, and the Judson Church. Her work as a performer and mother strongly influences her teaching practice as she explores and develops techniques for experiencing and expressing musical ideas with the whole self.
+ Simon Brown
Assistant Director, AYO
Composer, educator, and musician Simon Brown lives in Brooklyn and has been involved in the USA El Sistema movement since helping start Kids 4 Harmony, Western Massachusetts’ program, in 2011. For Simon, writing and teaching music are similar in that he can’t imagine life without either one. Composition encompasses concert music, electronic music, sound installations, and a new musical style, Realism. He studied composition with Tania León, Morton Subotnick, Douglas Geers, Andy Bonacci and Steve Murray. He plays cello and guitar, and holds degrees from Berkshire Community College (AA), Westfield State University (BA), and Brooklyn College (MM).
+ Jason Espinal
At age 10, Jason learned to play the trumpet and continued learning guitar at age 12. After auditioning at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music, Jason learned to play the violin and later found his true passion: playing the viola. In 2014 Jason joined WHIN Music Project where he performed with the Camerata ensemble as principal violist playing with distinguished guests such as Lara St. John, Daniel Binelli, Aristides Rivas, Alexander Markov, 1B1 Orchestra, and Dream Unfinished. As a member of WHIN Music Project Jason was among the first student volunteers to become a part of the Orchestrating Mentors Program. Jason developed an interest in music therapy during his senior year of high school and he is now combining his love of music and caring for children through his work with the Orchestrating Mentors Program. “My love for music began when I was in Kindergarten. I had trouble learning in class so I was placed in special education from kindergarten to 2nd grade. My teacher at the time had the class sing, and told my mother how much I loved to participate in class when there was music involved. At WHIN I have the opportunity to learn more about music pedagogy and how children learn. I found purpose in helping others. What I want to do in 5 years is use the power of music to heal children and sick patients to bring them joy and comfort.”
+ Cole Wagner
Teaching Assistant, AYO
Cole Wagner was born in Tokyo Japan in 1994 and moved with his family at age 3 to Seattle, where he began classical music studies and took up cello at a Suzuki program there. After another relocation to the New York area, he continued his learning at the Hoff Barthelson Music School and studied with a number of prominent teachers there including members of the Julliard Preparatory Division, the Mannes School of Music, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, and the Steve Reich Ensemble. Additionally, Cole attended two full summer sessions at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, and a session of the Amati Music Festival in upstate New York. After finishing high school Cole continued his musical studies, taking classes and participating in chamber ensembles at the Julliard Evening Division, Mannes NEXT, and the Orchestra of St. Lukes AMP and Alaria Chamber Music Projects. Cole was selected in the spring of 2015 to accompany Upbeat NYC on a historic trip to Caracas, Venezuela to learn and play with several El Sistema nucleus there under the baton of Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. Cole is currently studying cello privately with Andre Emelianoff, and is an active participant in chamber music and coatings projects around NYC.