Guest Conductors, 2019–20 – Maui Chamber Orchestra

Stephen Spinelli — Dec 2019

Stephen Spinelli is the assistant director of choral programs at Cornell University, where he conducts the Chorale and the Chamber Singers, and serves as the assistant director for the Glee Club and the Chorus. He also directs the choir at the First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca. Under his direction the Cornell Chorale) has tripled in size, and has performed the Vivaldi Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in the last year alone, collaborating with the Cornell Percussion Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra along the way. The Cornell Chamber Singers continue to present ambitious programs that challenge programmatic norms. Recent performances have featured the American premieres of Agazzari’s Eumelio and Roman Palester’s The Vistula. The Chamber Singers are frequently invited to perform as guest artists on local concert performance series, including Ensemble X, MayFest, and Music at Grace (Elmira, NY). In August of 2018, the Chamber Singers travelled to Maui, Hawaii, for a cultural exchange as guests of the Maui Chamber Orchestra. In August of 2019, the Chamber Singers completed a residency on the island of Nantucket, where they highlighted the influence of the African-American spiritual at Nantucket's historic African Meeting House.

As a performer, Stephen has sung with some of the country’s leading contemporary music vocal ensembles. As a tenor with The Crossing, he premiered works by eminent composers, including Eriks Ešenvalds, Lewis Spratlan, Gabriel Jackson, Ted Hearne, and Gavin Bryars. He performed on five albums with The Crossing, including the 2018 GRAMMY Award-winning recording of Bryars’ The Fifth Century. He has also performed with the genre-bending vocal octet Roomful of Teeth, for whom he  assisted in the production of their GRAMMY Award-winning debut album, which yielded the Pulitzer Prize-winning recording of Caroline Shaw’s Partita for Eight Voices, as well as their GRAMMY-nominated sophomore album, Render

Stephen holds degrees from Williams College (BA, music), where he also recorded sixteen All-American finishes as an NCAA swimmer, and Temple University (MM, conducting), and Northwestern University (DMA, choral conducting), where he wrote his dissertation on the lost concerto-arias of the seventeenth-century Thomaskantor, Johann Schelle.

Ignace ("Iggy") Jang — May 2020

Ignace ("Iggy") Jang is very grateful to the Maui Chamber Orchestra for the opportunity to guest-conduct wonderful works that do not need conducting. First and foremost he is happy to share the stage with Maui musicians, dedicated to carry on the legacy of beautiful music all around the island.

Jang has conducted statewide extensively, from Vivaldi’s and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons to Sibelius’s Finlandia, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and other favorites. This spring he will come full circle: years ago, violinist extraordinaire Chee-Yun performed the two violin works featured on MCO’s program with Iggy at the helm. This May he will assume both roles, soloing and conducting, with a beat pattern intended to be less about counting, but more about holding the musical line. It remains to be seen whether he will be using a baton, a violin bow or bare hands to do so.

Recognized for his ability to forge personal connections with audiences, Jang is the concertmaster of the Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra and the Britt Festivals Orchestra, and a faculty member of the Music Department at the University of Hawaii Mānoa and the Punahou School. He has performed throughout the United States, South America, Europe. Recent collaborators include pianists Jon Nakamatsu, Jon Kimura Parker, Ralph Votapek, violinist Hilary Hahn, cellist Franz Helmerson and ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro.

A dedicated educator, Jang spends much of his time ensuring the success of future generations through his various endeavors. “It is the time you have lost for your flower that makes her so important”, says St. Exupéry’s Little Prince. Jang tries to follow this motto in his teachings year-round, to students of all ages, and all places. The former director of the String Program at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Jang is currently overseeing the Solo & String Program of the Pacific Music Institute, a summer camp founded by the Hawaii Youth Symphony.

Jang was a grand prize winner at the Rodolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition, held in Italy, where he was also the recipient of the Jury's Special Prize for outstanding musical personality. Jang also won prizes at the Lion's Club of France Violin Competition and the Eastern Music Festival. He received the early part of his training from Professor Flora Elphege, before entering the Premier Prix as the youngest laureate of that year. Various grants from the Franco-American Commission and the French Ministry of the Culture allowed him to further his studies under the tutelage of Franco Gulli at Indiana University. After receiving the Artist Diploma degree, he was invited the following year as a visiting scholar.