Michael Mascari - Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

Michael Mascari

Concert Orchestra Conductor

A National Board Certified Educator, Michael Mascari has served as the Director of Orchestras at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in the City of Chicago since 2006. He is honored to have been selected as the 2019 state of Illinois nominee for the National Federation of High Schools Music Educator of the Year.

Mascari’s Whitney M. Young Chamber Orchestra has achieved international acclaim with performances in 2018 at the prestigious Midwest Clinic, International Band and Orchestra Conference (the first invitation for a Chicago Public School orchestra), in 2016 at Carnegie Hall, New York, and, more locally, at the 2012 Illinois Music Educators’ Association All-State Conference.

In addition to his work with Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Mr. Mascari is also in his fourth season as a member of the artistic staff for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras where he serves as the conductor of the Concert Orchestra. Michael Mascari holds a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Eastern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His teachers and mentors include Allen Tinkham, Louis Bergonzi, Frank Lestina, Deborah Confredo, Jack Ranney, Kathleen Horvath, Fred Stolzfus, John Heath, Bill Jastrow and Michael Rogers.

On a Sunday morning, Mascari can be found at Church of Our Saviour in Lincoln Park where he serves, along with his wife, Cate, as the music minister for the church’s contemporary service. He is the proud father of Leith, a violinist in the Symphony Orchestra, and Ariana, a CYSO Alum now attending Manhattan School of Music in Viola Performance.

Who is your favorite musician/piece/song to listen to and why?

I really like listening to musicians whose absolutely phenomenal mind-twisting brilliance makes me feel like I don’t know anything about music. People like Jacob Collier, Chris Thile, Hillary Hahn, Yokko Kano, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Yuja Wang, Regina Carter… but also people like Leonard Bernstein, John Coltrane, Freddie Mercury, and John Lennon… and, of course, Beethoven. …and Mozart. Oh, and Palestrina. And let’s be honest, ABBA made some of the best pop music in history. Don’t forget about Billy Joel… and Dvorak…and Holst and Grieg…and I really like Mendelssohn…and…

What is the first album/CD/cassette you ever bought?

I bought the 45 record of Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer because I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever heard in my life! Interestingly, electronic music and music technology has been an important part of my musical development and career since the beginning. Before deciding upon a Music Education degree, I was enrolled in a Music Engineering Technology degree program!

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