Varina is the Executive Director of the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts, and prior to that served as the Executive Director of the American Youth Symphony from 2014-2018, and the Executive Director of Inside Out Community Arts from 2010-2014. Previously, she was the Development Executive at The Help Group in support of all of their many schools servicing students with disabilities. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Varina worked in the entertainment industry where she served as a development executive, producer and writer. Varina received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas and a M.Ed. (Arts in Education) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she worked closely with the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. Varina is a graduate of the Annenberg Foundation's Alchemy (2012) and Alchemy+ (2013); Southern California Leadership Network’s: Leadership LA (2014), Executive Service Corp’s: Executive Directors Leadership Institute (2011) and Developing Development (2014), Courage to Lead (2012), and most recently the Stanford Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders (2017), which earned her the distinction of being a Ralph M. Parsons Foundation "Leadership Fellow."
Buzz Gravelle—composer, multi-instrumentalist, business owner, and music educator—has been involved with new music for plucked strings for over twenty years. As a recitalist he is known for creative programming and has extended the repertoire of the classical guitar and classical mandolin through his own compositions, transcriptions, and the premiering of new works written for him. Buzz was a founding member of the Modern Arts Guitar Quartet (1991-1995), an ensemble of guitarists/composers that explored the leading edges of new music for classical guitar—prepared guitar, serialism, minimalism, aleatoric, and electro-acoustic music.
Kevin McKeown is Director of Bands at Santa Monica High School, as well as Wind Ensemble Conductor at Santa Monica College and the Clare Trevor School of Music/UC Irvine. He is an active guest conductor and clinician, having most recently served as Guest Conductor of the Australia's School Honor Ensemble Program (SHEP). His ensembles have consistently received high ratings at adjudicated festivals and field competitions, and have been recognized at the state and national level. Under his direction, the Samohi ensembles have performed at Chicago Symphony Center,Green Music Center (Sonoma State University), Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and in 2016 in San Jose as the only high school wind ensemble in the state to perform at the California All-State Music Education Conference (CASMEC). He is also a proud parent of Connor McKeown, a member of the Academy Philharmonic.
Joni Swenson is in her thirteenth year as the Director of Orchestras at Santa Monica High School and is proud to be a part of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. A graduate of UCLA, she taught in the Sacramento City Unified School District and in the San Jose Unified School District prior to her position at Samohi. Joni has served as guest conductor for many honor orchestras throughout California and has presented sessions at both the CMEA State and Bay Section Conferences, as well as at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra (SCSBOA) Fall Conference.
Tim Tortora is currently CEO of Andrews, Sumitt & Allen Management, a financial management company specializing in Outsource CFO services for the entertainment industry. Prior to founding ASA, Tim was CFO of Benji Returns Distribution a film production and distribution company that independently produced and distributed Benji Off the Leash in 900 theatres domestically generating more than $4.2MM in box office revenue. Prior to that, Tim was in charge of worldwide production for ASA Management's production services partner Milk & Honey Pictures, headquartered in Los Angeles and Prague with offices and affiliates in Mexico, Italy, Canada, South Africa, England, Spain, Russia and Italy. Recently Tim was Executive In Charge Of Production for Oprah Winfrey's film production arm - Harpo Films.
Angela Woo is Director of Instrumental Music and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, California where nearly 350 students are enrolled in one of three concert bands or three string orchestras. The John Adams ensembles have consistently earned the highest possible ratings at performance festivals, and in 2011, the John Adams Middle School Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at the California All-State Music Education Convention as the only middle school concert band in the state to be so honored.
As Creative Director, Victor Zaud is the founder of the strategic design and technology firm, Zaudhaus, where he helped conceive, shape, design, and build some of the most notable technology products and brands for such companies including Arena Solutions, Dell, J2 Communications, Microsoft and PureStorage as well as Sugarfish, Follow Your Heart, The Republic of Tea, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. He started his career in Apple's Creative Services department on projects including the introduction and definition of Desktop Publishing and Hypercard.