About the Festival

Ludwig Van Beethoven once wrote that, “To play a wrong note is insignificant, but to play without passion is inexcusable.” In a sense, the same can be said of the music Beethoven composed, as well as his fellow prominent contemporaries, Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Collectively, every note these composers penned produced such rich, passionate music that they became known as the “First Viennese School” of music composers – the originators of a new art music that defined what is now known as the Classical Era of Western music.

One of the primary mediums through which these composers expressed their musical creativity was the orchestra. Through the early eighteenth century, the orchestra was mostly used as an ensemble to accompany the most popular form of entertainment at the time, the theater, or opera. As European composers gained more prominence and patronage, they were able to seek greater expression in their work – and since the orchestra afforded great power and a variety of timbres it became the ideal vehicle through which they could express their creativity. Soon, these small theater ensembles expanded thanks to the incredible ingenuity of the many symphonies that Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven composed.

Music Celebrations International is pleased to present the Viennese Masters Orchestra Invitational, an exclusive opportunity for orchestras to perform the works of these and other great Viennese masters of music composition on the world’s premier concert stage – the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. Four auditioned orchestras will be featured in performance at this historic concert venue. All participating ensembles are selected by application process through Music Celebrations.

Helen H. Cha-Pyo

Photograph by Kimberly M. Wang

Helen H. Cha-Pyo, 2025 Festival Clinician

Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts

Helen H. Cha-Pyo, the current Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, leads an organization that serves nearly 2,000 students from 12 New Jersey counties. Her impactful leadership spans across four key programs: the Wharton Performing Arts School, New Jersey Youth Symphony, New Jersey Youth Chorus, and the Paterson Music Project. In her role as the Principal Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), she has led tours to Italy and France, championing the performance of works by women and BIPOC composers, effectively amplifying the voices of underrepresented composers. Under her guidance, NJYS had the distinguished honor of performing at the Juneteenth Celebration concert at Carnegie Hall (2022) and the Motif Award Ceremony at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (2023).

Prior to her role at Wharton Arts, Cha-Pyo served as Music Director and Conductor of the Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) for 16 years. Her tenure was marked by the orchestra’s transformative international tours to Germany, Czech Republic, China, Korea and Portugal. Her dedication to promoting works by American composers earned ESYO the prestigious ASCAP’s Adventurous Programming Awards. Her positive impact extended to the founding of ESYO CHIME in 2015, a program dedicated to serving underprivileged youth in Schenectady and Troy, NY. In 2018, ESYO introduced the Helen Cha-Pyo Golden Baton Award and Scholarships to honor students who shared her passion for using music to uplift and enrich communities.

Cha-Pyo’s contributions have been recognized with prestigious awards, including The Dove Leadership Award from the David & Dovetta Wilson Scholarship Fund in 2019, and the Angelos Artist Award from the Angelos Mission Ensemble in 2022. She was further honored with the Eastman Centennial Award from the Eastman School of Music in the same year.

From 1996 to 2002, Cha-Pyo served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, as well as Associate Director of Music at The Riverside Church in New York City. She released three recordings with the Riverside Choir (JAV Recordings).

Cha-Pyo’s musical journey commenced in Seoul, South Korea, from where she immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. She has a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, as well as a Master of Music in Conducting and Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music. She is a frequent guest conductor and clinician for All-State and Regional Festival Orchestras and has conducted orchestras and choruses in Europe, Africa and Asia. She held positions as a Visiting Associate Professor of Conducting at Montclair State University (NJ) and Rutgers University (NJ). Her commitment to the field extends to her roles as a board member for the Youth Orchestra Division and as a committee member for the Conductors Constituency Leadership with the League of American Orchestras. Additionally, she is an active member of the Korean Women International Network and serves as a mentor at Girls Who Conduct.



  • Afternoon arrival in New York City
  • Meet your MCI Tour Manager for an orientation tour of the city
    Sightseeing and NYC orientation tour may include Midtown, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studio store, Grand Central Terminal, United Nations Building, 42nd Street Deco architecture
  • Check-in to the (Manhattan) hotel
  • Evening dinner at a local restaurant
  • Continue sightseeing including the Lincoln Center, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
  • Evening sightseeing includes a trip to the top of the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock for a night view of the Big Apple
  • Check-in to the (New Jersey) hotel for overnight



  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Morning sightseeing includes a 1-hr narrated NYC Harbor Cruise
  • Continue sightseeing of Central Park, Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Fountain, Lincoln Center, and Time Warner Building
  • Lunch, on own
  • Private festival clinic
  • Tour the Lower Manhattan sights of Battery Park, Wall Street, Trinity Church, the Federal Building (where George Washington was sworn in as the First President), Winter Garden, and 9/11 Memorial (pending availability and advance reservation, Museum is additional cost and requires minimum two hours and has strong content), Chinatown, Little Italy, and Greenwich Village, as time allows
  • Evening dinner at a Times Square area restaurant
  • Optional: Attend a Broadway Play/Musical (additional cost)
  • Return to the hotel for overnight



  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Tour the Upper Westside including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Harlem, Apollo Theatre, Grant’s Tomb, and Columbia University
  • Lunch, on own
  • Morning sound check and rehearsal at Carnegie Hall
  • Dinner at a local restaurant
  • Viennese Masters Invitational Performance in Carnegie Hall
  • Return to the hotel for overnight



  • Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check-out
  • Morning sightseeing may include the High Line elevated park along the Hudson River with public art and gardens, Brooklyn Bridge walk, Greenwich Village, or Macy’s shopping
  • Afternoon departure for home


If you have any questions or would like to learn more about performing in the Viennese Masters Orchestra Invitational, use the form below to contact us directly.