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Recent graduate highlights

Mark Alpizar

Mark Alpizar graduated from ASU's doctoral conducting program in 2018 where he helped create the orchestra's first-ever video game pops program, co-conducted an award-winning production of Poulenc's "Les mamelles de Tirésias," and premiered three cues from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" in advance of the movie's commercial release. Since then, he was the assistant conductor of both the National Repertory Orchestra and Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the resident conductor of the American Youth Symphony, and the director of instrumental ensembles at Lake Erie College. Mark recently finished his seven-season tenure with the Four Seasons Youth Orchestra in Orange County and has recently begun a new post as the music director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association. He regularly guest conducts the Holland Symphony Orchestra in Michigan and is a clinician for honor ensembles throughout the country. www.markalpizar.com

"Arizona State University's conducting program gave me the confidence to conduct professionally as well as the skills to succeed as an educator and arts leader. In addition to ample podium time, a customizable degree path, and frequent sessions with internationally-recognized artists, ASU's talented network of graduate students are the colleagues I still frequently collaborate with today."

Michelle DiRusso

Michelle Di Russo completed her DMA in Orchestral Conducting at ASU in 2020. She is a 2020-21 Conducting Fellow with Chicago Sinfonietta and The Dallas Opera Hart Institute and in the summer of 2020, was a recipient of the American Austrian Foundation/Faber Young Conductors Fellowship. While at ASU she served as Assistant Conductor for the ASU Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia and Music Theatre and Opera. She was also the Assistant Conductor of the Phoenix Youth Symphony and covered for AZ Musicfest and The Phoenix Symphony. Michelle is passionate and dedicated to the music of our time and has participated as a fellow in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, United States Army Band Pershing’s Own Workshop and Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy. www.michelledirusso.com

“My education at ASU has given me the artistic and leadership tools to succeed in the ever-changing job market and has prepared me to be ready to adapt and learn new skills in order to be successful in the future. My three years there were crucial in gathering professional-level experience on the podium while also focusing on areas of research that I was passionate about. Since graduating I am still discovering the impact that this wonderful program has had on my career!”

Kamna Gupta

Kamna Gupta is an American Prize-winning conductor experienced in operatic, orchestral, and choral repertoires, and completed her MM at ASU in 2018. She is especially passionate about new opera; upcoming engagements include several world premieres, including her Canadian debut at Tapestry Opera and The Glimmerglass Festival. Additional recent company credits include the Royal Opera in Versailles, Beth Morrison Projects, Sarasota Opera, Opera Saratoga, and American Lyric Theater.

Active internationally, Ms. Gupta’s orchestral credits include performances in Germany, Russia, and the Czech Republic. A special highlight was leading the Leipziger Barockorchester in an all-Bach program. Additional highlights include her work with the New York Youth Symphony and the Atlantic Music Festival.

Ms. Gupta’s passion for education has also led her to work with education departments at the New York Philharmonic and the Castleton Festival. She is currently based in New York City. www.kamnagupta.com

"My time at ASU [in the MM program] was invaluable and formative. The program gave me the technical foundation to lead an ensemble with confidence and clarity, and gave me essential professional opportunities that started my career."