Project STEP is very proud of the achievements of its graduates. They are a source of inspiration for the Project STEP students and families, and involvement by our alumni with the organization has been especially remarkable this year.

[colored_box bgColor=”#AADFFF” textColor=”#000000″]LETTER FROM AN ALUM

Johnny Theodore STEP News Article[span style=”text-size:10px;”]Johnny Theodore knows the true meaning of the Project STEP family. He was an inaugural student of Project STEP. His niece and nephew, Grace and Nathan, are now STEP students themselves.[span]

[fancy_link link = ‘’]Read his letter.[/fancy_link] [/colored_box]

Alyssa Daly (2019), cello

Keilina Monteiro Do Canto (2019), cello

Kerby Louis Roberson (2019)

Tamara Cambronero (2018), cello

Jehan Diaz (2018), viola

Alex Hernandez (2018), viola

Noah Umberto Kelly (2018), violin, now studying at New England Conservatory

Njioma Grevious (2017), violin, studied with James Buswell while at Project STEP and is now continuing her musical studies at The Juilliard School.

Lauryn Phinney (2017), violin, studied with James Buswell while at Project STEP and is now studying at Yale University.

Tristan Flores (2016), violin, studied with Donald Weilerstein while at Project STEP and is now studying at Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Itsva Hernandez (2016), violin, studied with Kyoto Horowitz while at Project STEP and is now continuing her musical studies at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Taylor Payne (2015), violin, studied with Irina Muresanu while at Project STEP and is now attending Ithaca College.

Valandrhah Abraham (2014), viola, studied with Dubravka Sajfar Moshfegh while at Project STEP and is now attending Syracuse University.

Colin Benn (1998), viola, BM from Juilliard, was a member of the Orquestra Simfonica Brasileira in Rio de Janeiro, and the Orquestra Sao Paolo in Sao Paulo, Brazil for three seasons.  Colin is now living in New Haven, CT, where he is a founding member of the Haven String Quartet and Music Haven, a program that brings all aspects of music and instruction to underserved communities in New Haven. Music Haven is being recognized this year as one of the 50 best after-school programs in the country by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Lauren Brown (2013), viola, studied with Michael Zaretsky while at Project STEP and is now attending Hofstra University.

David Burke (1988), cello, BS, MM and Ph.D. from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently teaches and plays in orchestras in the Central and Western part of Massachusetts.

Jordan Calixto (2012), double bass, studied with Donald Palma while at Project STEP. He graduated from The Juilliard School in 2016 and then received a Master of Music degree in double bass from Yale University in 2018, studying with Donald Palma.  He is currently free-lancing in the greater NYC area and taking auditions.

Jennifer Caudle (1995), violin, BA from Hamilton College, MA from Princeton (anthropology; thesis on African Art), member of the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey; Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from U. of Medicine of New Jersey. She is a practicing doctor, attending concerts regularly.

Abina Cohen (2010), violin, studied with Sophie Vilker at the New England Conservatory while a student at Project STEP and is now attending Lake Forest College.

James Coleman (1990), viola, received a BM and MM from the Eastman School of Music studying with James Dunham. He played viola in orchestras and chamber ensembles before diagnosis and during treatment for bone cancer, from which he died in 2005.

Project STEP Alumni

Alumnae Abina Cohen and Serena Creary celebrate Project STEP’s 30th Anniversary.

Clinton Dewing (1993), violin, BM from Juilliard, a member of Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, active soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician in the New York City area.

Isabel Espinosa (2014), violin, studied with David Rubinstein while at Project STEP and is now attending Harvard University.

Robin Gilbert (2005), viola, BM from the New England Conservatory. Robin is currently a Fellow at Community Music Works in Providence, RI.

Mariana Green-Hill (1997), violin, BM, MM from Juilliard, currently active soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician; Artistic Advisor and Faculty member, Project STEP; faculty at New England Conservatory Prep Division and the Lexington Music School.

Njeri Grevious (2013), violin, studied with Victor Romanul while at Project STEP and is now an applied math major at Yale University where she performs as principal violinist of the Yale Collegium Musicum, an early music ensemble; sings in the Yale Russian Chorus; and tutors music theory in the community. Njeri also plays viola, subbing in the Yale Sinfonietta Project and in a few opera productions. She also serves on the board of Winsor Music, a Boston-area chamber music and outreach program.

Michael Ireland (1989), viola, BA and MA from Boston University, currently a music teacher in the Philadelphia public schools, and plays professionally in a jazz ensemble.

Christopher Johnson (2002), double bass, BM in Performance from New England Conservatory. Currently member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra with which he has toured and recorded. Chris has performed in Japan, Italy, Spain, and Mexico.

Kirk Johnson (1999), viola, BM in Performance from Indiana University in Bloomington. Developed a music program in Indiana called Owen County S.O.U.N.D.S. (Students Opening Up New Doors with Strings) modeled after Project STEP. The program provides musical opportunities for lower income families in Bloomington. Recently Kirk moved to Houston to take a position on the music faculty of the public school system. He is directing a strings program in a Performing Arts KIPP School.

Danielle Lennox-Heichman (2009), violin, senior at NYU, majoring in violin performance.

Lamarr Lovett (2001), bass, New England Conservatory undergraduate student;  finalist in the Met Opera orchestra auditions in 2008.

Lev Mamuya (2014), cello, studied with Michael Reynolds while at Project STEP and is now attending the Harvard University/New England Conservatory dual degree program.

Akil Marshall (1999), double bass, studied with Ed Barker at New England Conservatory for three-and-a-half years.

Margaret Martinez (2003), viola, graduated from the New England Conservatory. Freelancing in New York City.

Project STEP Alumnus

Alum Tony Rhymer plays a cello recital.

Ndidi Menkiti (2003), cello, graduated from a combined Juilliard – Harvard program in June, 2006; teaching cello and freelancing in New York City.

Eyan Mitchell (1990), bass, BA from Yale, where he was music director of “Baker’s Dozen,” a self-conducted music performance group for undergraduates.

Luis F. Ortiz (2005), BM from the Eastman School of Music in Piano, BA from University of Rochester in English Literature. Currently studying for his MM in Collaborative Piano at the Julliard School.

Young Park (1986), viola, BM from Oberlin, MM from University of Michigan, member of the Akron Symphony.

Naimish Patel (1991), violin, BA, PhD from MIT in Electrical Engineering. Member of an amateur string quartet; founded a fiber optics company, CTO – Sycamore Networks Inc.

Vali Phillips (1990), violin, BM from the Eastman School of Music, currently Principal Second Violin of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Nehemiah Richardson (1986), cello, BA from MIT, where he played in the MIT orchestras. Majored in math and became a financial analyst. Currently VP of Merrill Lynch, Australia; plays music and attends concerts on the side.

Stephen Richardson (1987), violin, BS from Harvard, Harvard Medical School, University of Pennsylvania; Physician/Dermatologist.

Marta Rymer (2006), violin, AB from the Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts in New York City. Performing in theater troupes, including King Richard’s Faire.

Tony Rymer (2007), cello, BM from New England Conservatory, studied with Paul Katz. First Place winner of Sphinx National Competition, Senior Division, at age 19. Continuing at New England Conservatory for a Masters of Music.

Adrya Sanchez (2009), cello, Sophomore Year at Babson College studying Business.

Howard Shen (1987), violin, BA from Princeton, MA in Architecture from Yale.

Monique Smith (2010), viola, Sophomore Year at University of Massachusetts, Amherst majoring in Music Education.

Ann Shiau Tenney (1988), violin, BM from Juilliard, MM from Yale, 13th season in first violin section of Pacific Symphony Orchestra; also in the first violin section in Opera Symphony; teaches violin privately and freelances in Southern CA.

Johnny Theodore, violin. Special education teacher in Hampton, Virginia.

Project STEP Alumni Performance

Luna Shyr (1987), cello, BA from Princeton, MA in Journalism from NYU; a journalist for the AP, editor at Wall Street Journal; now a senior editor for the arts magazine Art + Auction; plays for an amateur orchestra, Musica.

Aurélie Théramène (2011), violin, studied with Lucy Chapman at the New England Conservatory while in Project STEP and is now attending Princeton University.

Barbara Vanté (2006), viola, attended Oberlin Conservatory, studying with Karen Ritscher where she was assistant principal viola of Oberlin Orchestra. Currently teaches at the Haitian Music School in Mattapan, MA, and is getting her LPN degree.

Audrey White (1985), violin, BM in Viola Performance from New England Conservatory, MM in Conducting from the University of Massachusetts; a web designer; conducts the GBYSO prep chamber orchestra.

Sonya White (1984), violin, BM, MM from Boston University, member of the Portland Symphony, currently Music Director at the Boston Latin School.


Leave a Reply