YC2 Faculty

Our Artistic Staff is comprised of talented and dedicated members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, as well as other local teaching professionals. 

photo by Rob Davidson

photo by Rob Davidson

JEREMY BLACK, Violin, joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's first violin section in 2002, and became Principal Second Violin of the orchestra at the start of the 2017-18 season. Black enjoys performing not only at concert halls around the world but also with his colleagues in Pittsburgh area hospitals and schools. In the summer months, he performs as Concertmaster of the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago, a position he has held since 2005. He began his orchestral career in 2000 as a first violinist in the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago and a frequent substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. An avid fan of chamber music, he has served as Concertmaster of the University of Pittsburgh's Music on the Edge Chamber Orchestra since 2002, and has performed in recital throughout the Pittsburgh region, including Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne Universities, Chatham College, West Liberty State College, and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. 

photo by Rob Davidson

photo by Rob Davidson

IRENE CHENG, Violin,Irene Cheng joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's first violin section at the beginning of the 2009-2010 season. She won her first job with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra while pursuing her undergraduate studies. She has since held the positions of Principal Second violin, then Assistant Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon in Portugal for two years before moving onto the first violin section of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra in Spain. She also spent two years as an Assistant Principal First Violin in the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ms. Cheng has also performed with the Seattle Symphony, New Haven Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestras. Most recently, she spent the last six years as the Associate Concertmaster of the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra and holds the position of Concertmaster of the Camarata di Sant'Antonio in Buffalo, New York.

Ms. Cheng has performed numerous solo recitals and chamber concerts in Western Europe, the East and West coasts of the United States, and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She has performed as soloist with the Camarata di Sant'Antonio, Seattle Philharmonic, Bellevue Philharmonic, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Central Washington University Orchestra, and the Pacific Lutheran University Orchestra. She has been the winner of the Seattle Young Artist Competition, the Washington State Concerto Competition, and the McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase--which featured her on WQXR in New York City.

Originally from the Seattle area, Ms. Cheng received her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington. While at Yale, she studied with Sidney Harth, and chamber music with the okyo String Quartet and Claude Frank. She also spent many years studying with Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi, Ilkka Talvi, and Erich Eichhorn. Ms. Cheng attended several summers at the Aspen and Waterloo Music Festivals.

photo by Rob Davidson

photo by Rob Davidson

MICHAEL DEBRUYN, Cello, joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra during the 2013-2014 season. Prior to joining the Pittsburgh Symphony, DeBruyn was principal cellist of the Louisville Orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. DeBruyn grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and began studying the cello at the age of four. His former teachers include Dr. Felix Wang, Dr. Tanya Carey, Richard Aaron and Desmond Hoebig. His summer engagements have included the Meadowmount School of Music, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. As a chamber musician, DeBruyn has worked closely with members of the Arianna, Pacifica, Cavani and Cleveland Quartets. In 1998, he received an honorable mention in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Blakemore Quartet. DeBruyn and his wife, Francesca Tortorello, have been performing together as a professional duo since 2004.

JACK HOWELL, Bass Clarinet, a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, served as principal clarinetist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, performing with the Santa Fe Opera and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival as well before joining the Pittsburgh Symphony for two one-year stints in 1996-1998.  After spending the following season as associate principal clarinet of the New Zealand Symphony, he returned to Pittsburgh, where he married Principal Piccolo Rhian Kenny and embarked on the raising of a family and the pursuit of a freelance career.  He served as principal clarinet of the Wheeling (WV) Symphony and second clarinet of the Pittsburgh Ballet and Opera Orchestras, and generally traveled far and wide as an orchestral and chamber musician. In 2015, his career came full circle when he won the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's principal bass clarinet position.

He has been a member of the Duquesne University music faculty since 1996, teaching clarinet and chamber music. He is the author of The Lovely Reed, a how-to book on making split bamboo fly fishing rods.



RHIAN KENNY, Piccolojoined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1990 as Principal Piccolo.  She is active in the PSO's education and outreach programs speaking often to groups throughout the Pittsburgh region. Kenny was born in Benghazi, Libya and grew up in Calgary, Canada which is where she began her flute studies at the age of 9.  She continued her studies with Timothy Hutchins at McGill University in Montréal where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Music.  Throughout her studies, she won many competitions, including the Concours de l'Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières (1989), Concours de l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (1988), and the Concours de l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec (1987).
Rhian has no spare time because outside of the PSO, she enjoys running and a little yoga to keep her sanity. After that, she coaches softball, is president of her daughter's school PTG, and chauffeur to her three daughters. She also teaches at Duquesne University, and privately.


ROBERT LAUVER, Horn, has been a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its wonderful horn section since 2000. He has also been a member of the St. Louis, Columbus, Alabama and Austin Symphony Orchestras. Lauver's education started in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he studied with Neill Sanders, second hornist to Dennis Brain and recording artist with the Beatles. His studies continued at the Peabody Conservatory and Northwestern University.

Lauver has been a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony, and several times with the Pittsburgh Symphony, performing Schumann's Konzertstück on three separate subscription concert series. He also performed Mozart's Horn Concerto #3 as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. 

His teaching spans more than 30 years in Texas, St. Louis at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, the University of Missouri at St. Louis (UMSL) and Carnegie Mellon University. Presently, Lauver is adjunct professor of horn at West Virginia University. He has been on the faculty of The Barry Tuckwell Institute for six summers teaching and performing alongside the legendary soloist and many of the country's finest teachers and performers. 

In the summers, Lauver performs with the Grand Teton Music Festival, which attracts musicians from the greatest orchestras in the United States and abroad. He loves returning there with his wife and three daughters to enjoy the amazing scenery and to go hiking and backpacking. 

Lauver considers life in Pittsburgh with the Symphony and his lovely family a dream gig, and he is continually amazed when he pinches himself and realizes again and again he's still awake!o

photo by Rob Davidson

photo by Rob Davidson

MICHAEL LIPMAN, Cello. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra cellist Michael Lipman is recognized and respected for his versatility as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and teacher. He has received critically acclaimed reviews for his performances with the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Project and for his Pittsburgh recital debut as winner of the Y Music Society's Passamaneck Award. As a soloist Lipman has appeared with numerous orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra. As an educator, Lipman has taught and coached at Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne Universities, as well as Chatham University and California University of Pennsylvania.

Lipman is an alumnus of the Alexander Schneider's New York String Orchestra and Cleveland Chamber Music Seminar, and as performed at the festivals of Aspen, Grand Tetons and Blossom. Lipman was a founding member of the Dalihapa Ensemble, whose core members performed many important works of the 20th century. Before joining the PSO, Lipman was the principal cellist of the Aspen Chamber Symphony and associate principal of the New Haven Symphony. Lipman has recorded chamber works of Ezra Laderman with members of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Project which was released on Albany Records.

Lipman is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and his teachers include Ronald Leonard, Paul Katz, Leonard Rose and Paul Olefsky. His cello is the work of Tomasso Balestrieri, Mantua, Italy, 1760. Lipman resides in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh with his wife Shirli Nikolsburg, a piano teacher and child development specialist, and daughter Talia.

Coach Kathy Melucci with members of the 2017-18 Barefoot Quartet.

Coach Kathy Melucci with members of the 2017-18 Barefoot Quartet.

KATHLEEN MELUCCI, Cellois the Principal Cello of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra as well as an active freelancer with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and many other local orchestras. She has a very active teaching studio with students who have achieved much success over the years. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. Originally from Pittsburgh, she also is an alumna of Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras as well as the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony and is thrilled to be working with the next generation of TRYPO and PYSO members.

photo by Rob Davidson

photo by Rob Davidson

CHARLIE POWERS, Cello. Charlie Powers’ playing has been described by The Washington Post as “poised, elegant, supple of phrasing and mellow of tone.” He joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra cello section during the 2013-2014 season. He previously served as assistant principal of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and performed regularly at the White House, the State Department, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the vice president’s residence.

Since making his solo debut at age 17, Powers has appeared with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. Notable performances include Samuel Barber’s Cello Concerto with the U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra and Brahms’ Double Concerto with the Kaohsiung City Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan. A proponent of new music, Powers has recently performed works for cello and orchestra by Aulis Sallinen and Jennifer Higdon. Powers is a founding member of two critically acclaimed chamber ensembles, the Teiber String Trio and The Phillips Camerata. He has collaborated with renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Ricardo Morales and Peter Wiley. He received the Karl Zeise Memorial Cello Award at Tanglewood, where he served as principal cellist of the Tanglewood Music Center orchestra under James Levine. Other festival appearances include Banff, Heifetz, Aria, Icicle Creek and the 2000 World Cello Congress.

A native of Tacoma, Wash., Powers began his cello studies at age three with Jeannette Chapman. He graduated with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he was a Piatigorsky Scholarship recipient and studied with Colin Carr. Other influential teachers include John Michel, Richard Aaron, David Wells and Michael Mermagen. Powers resides in Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood with his wife, soprano Anastasia Robinson, a yellow Lab named Maizey, and two Russian Blue cats, Mischa and Dmitri. Away from his cello, Powers enjoys golf, baseball and exploring Pittsburgh.


STEPHANIE TRETICK, Viola, joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra viola section in 1980. A native of Boulder, Colorado, Ms. Tretick began her instrumental studies with the piano, and later took up the violin at the Interlochen Arts Academy. She attended Vassar College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude, and earned a Master of Music summa cum laude at Indiana University, where she was a fellowship student of Josef Gingold.

Before coming to Pittsburgh, Stephanie Tretick was a member of the Baltimore Symphony for five years, serving there as a violinist and violist. She also has performed on both instruments in Pittsburgh, substituting on short notice as a first violinist during a PSO Far East tour and appearing as violin soloist with the Orchestra in a performance of the Concerto in D by her father, the late Sidney Tretick.

Ms. Tretick has been associated with the Aspen and Casals festivals and the Bach Aria Group, the latter with which she collaborated in a recording of Bach's six Brandenburg Concertos. Solo engagements have included a performance of Brahm's Double Concerto with the Phoenix Symphony and an appearance in Indiana playing the Tretick Concerto.


KATIE WICKESBERG, Violin, has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Wheeling Symphony, as well as the Sarasota Opera Orchestra. She completed undergraduate studies at Butler University, and received a Master's Degree in Music Performance from Rice University. She currently maintains a private studio in the Pittsburgh area.

photo by Rob Davidson

photo by Rob Davidson

KARISSA SHIVONE, Cello,  joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra during the 2016-2017 season. She comes to Pennsylvania most recently from Southern California, where she performed regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as a substitute cellist under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, Semyon Bychkov, Leonard Slatkin and John Williams. Originally from Seattle, her interest in an orchestra career was sparked at age 17 during her time as a substitute cellist with the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera.

Zadinsky made her solo debut at age 15 performing with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony as a winner of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Audition. Subsequently, she appeared as soloist with both the Colburn Orchestra at Zipper Hall and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and with the Philharmonia Northwest at Kane Hall. She has also performed recitals throughout the Pacific Northwest and greater Los Angeles areas. Zadinsky has distinguished herself in numerous solo competitions including the Seattle Young Artist Music Festival Concerto Competition, Coeur d’Alene National Concerto Competition, Mondavi Young Artists National Competition, and the Philadelphia International Concerto Competition. She performed on the live KING 5 television program “New Day Northwest,” as well as interactive performances on KING FM 98.1 Northwest Focus Live.

An avid chamber musician, she won the Silver Medal at the 2015 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as the former cellist of the Calla Quartet. The same year, Calla performed at the Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop and Mimir Chamber Music Festival in Melbourne, Australia and Fort Worth, Texas. She has performed alongside artists including Joseph Silverstein, Alessio Bax, Martin Chalifour, Alexander Kerr, Donald Weilerstein and Barbara Westphal at the Sarasota Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, Perlman Music Program and Heifetz International Music Institute.

Zadinsky holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Colburn Conservatory of Music where she studied with Mr. Ronald Leonard. She began her studies at age seven with Leslie Marckx, and she has worked with many renowned cellists including Steven Isserlis, Efe Baltacigil, Raymond Davis, Meeka Quan-diLorenzo, Johannes Moser, Desmond Hoebig and Richard Aaron. Her chamber music coaches at the Colburn Conservatory have included Arnold Steinhardt, Martin Beaver, Clive Greensmith, Peter Lloyd and Paul Coletti.