Skip to main content


N/A - N/A



Hope: The Musical Imperative Project

Clinic Synopsis:

Helen Cha-Pyo - Biographical Information

 HELEN H. CHA-PYO, conductor Ms. Cha-Pyo is in her second season as the Artistic Director of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts and Principal Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students from 13 different counties of New Jersey through a range of classes at Wharton Performing Arts School, 15 performing ensembles at the New Jersey Youth Symphony and the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-Inspired program serving children everyday at 2 separate sites in the city of Paterson, NJ. For 16 years as Music Director and Conductor of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, Ms. Cha-Pyo has inspired hundreds of young musicians to perform at the highest levels, resulting in Empire State Youth Orchestras being recognized as one of the nation’s premier music organizations for youth. Ms. Cha-Pyo’s creative programming has resulted in 3 prestigious ASCAP awards and a $100,000 grant to partially fund a music festival that commissioned nine works, one for each ESYO ensemble. She has conducted the orchestra in outstanding concert halls including Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Zankel Hall, EMPAC, Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, and Carnegie Hall. She has led the orchestra on three international tours: to Europe in 2008, China and South Korea in 2012, and Portugal in 2016. Ms. Cha-Pyo’s vision was instrumental in the founding of ESYO CHIME in 2015, a music education program dedicated to serving underprivileged youth in Schenectady and Troy, NY. ESYO has established the Helen Cha-Pyo Golden Baton Award and Scholarship for students who embody Ms. Cha-Pyo’s passionate commitment to music as a means to uplift and enrich the community. From 1996 to 2002, Ms. Cha-Pyo served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and Associate Director of Music at The Riverside Church in New York City. She has released 3 recordings with the Riverside Choir (JAV Recordings). A committed music educator, she pioneered the Riverside Music Educational Program, which served thousands of New York City public school children in Districts 4, 5 & 6. Born in Seoul, Ms. Cha-Pyo immigrated to the US when she was 12. She studied piano and organ in the Pre-College Program at The Juilliard School. She holds a Bachelor of Music in organ performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music in conducting and organ performance from the Eastman School of Music. She served as assistant conductor to Eastman Philharmonia and the Britt Festival Orchestra (OR). She has also won conducting fellowships at Aspen Festival and Yale School of Music. Her conducting mentors include David Effron, Peter Bay, Murry Sidlin, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Benjamin Zander and Kurt Mazur. She served as visiting Associate Professor of Orchestral Studies and Conductor of Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra at John J. Cali School of Music (NJ) from 2017 – 2019. She is a frequent guest conductor and clinician for All State and Regional Festival Orchestras throughout the country and is a conductor at Kinhaven School (VT).