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Meet Our Conductors

Robert Gilson

Mr. Robert Gilson serves as the Music Director of the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra (CYO) and as Conductor of the CYO Symphony Orchestra.  He was Professor of Music at Palomar College until his retirement in 2007.  He now holds the title "Professor Emeritus." Mr. Gilson conducted music ensembles at Palomar College since he joined the staff in 1973 and was Chairperson of the Palomar College Music Department from 1974-1977,  and the Chairperson of the Performing Arts Department from 1997-2002.  He also served on the Academic Senate of the College.

He received his Masters’ Degree with Distinction from the Indiana University School of Music and has done postgraduate work at San Jose State University and the University of Southern California.  He was Music Director and Conductor of the Palomar Community Orchestra from 1974 until his retirement.  In 1986, he co- founded the North County Civic Youth Orchestra program.   Mr. Gilson has been conductor for three San Diego City Honor Orchestra performances and for the Oceanside Unified School District High School Honor Orchestra.  He also has adjudicated for the Poway Unified School District and Temecula Valley String competition.  He has a long-standing commitment to music education for young people, as evidenced by his almost 30-year leadership with CYO.

Mr. Gilson spent a one-year sabbatical during 1982-83 studying in England, Germany and Austria.  In 1985, he attended a Masters’ Conducting Seminar at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.  In the Spring of 1991, Mr. Gilson spent his second sabbatical leave researching and studying youth orchestra programs in St. Louis and Chicago.  Mr. Gilson’s mentor/teachers include Daniel Lewis (USC), Tibor Kozma and Wolfgang Vacano (Indiana University School of Music), Sergiu Celibadache (Munich Philharmonic), and Claudio Abbado (Chicago Symphony and London Symphony). Mr. Gilson took the Civic Youth Orchestra Symphony on its first international tour in 1993 to Salzburg, Innsbruck and Vienna.  From 1996 through 2008, the orchestra toured internationally every other year to countries in Europe, including Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the South Pacific.  The Orchestra's last international travel was in 2008, a two-week “Down-Under Tour” which took them to cities in Australia and New Zealand. 

The CYO Symphony has participated in numerous West Coast Youth Orchestra Invitational Festivals at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the most recent in June 2019.  The Orchestra also was invited to participate in the Viennese Masters Invitational Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City in June, 2020.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event unfortunately was cancelled.

With a select orchestra from the CYO Symphony, Mr. Gilson has conducted over 100 performances of The Nutcracker Ballet with City Ballet (San Diego), West Coast Ballet (Escondido), and North County Academy of Dance (Fallbrook).

Mr. Gilson has a long-standing commitment to music education and has inspired performance opportunities for young musicians.  Most recently, in the fall of 2018, Mr. Gilson was instrumental in forging a collaboration between Civic Youth Orchestra and the Escondido Union School District.  The after school “Allegro” strings program offers instruction to elementary school students, grades 3-5 free of charge, through a generous grant and private sponsorship.  Over 130 students currently are enrolled in this after-school program, now in its second year.  

Alyze Dreiling

Alyze Dreiling was born in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Symphony and the Music Study Club of Metropolitan Detroit sponsored her education and she began her studies with Mischa Mischakoff, one of the best-known concertmasters in American orchestras. Ms. Dreiling graduated from Indiana University where she studied with Josef Gingold, considered one of the most influential violin masters in the United States. She holds a BM in Violin Performance from Indiana University and MA from United States International University with an emphasis on Orchestral Performance. 

Ms. Dreiling was a semi- finalist in the European Union International Conducting Competition in 2018 held in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has attended masterclasses with famed conductors Zoltan Rozsnyai, Gunther Neuhold, Neil Thomson, Dr. Scott Weiss and Philip Greenberg, and she has conducted orchestras in Sofia, Bulgaria and Florence, Italy. She was interviewed recently by the San Diego Tribune, and 92127 Magazine, which can be viewed on her full website.  She was interviewed recently by the San Diego Tribune and 92127 Magazine, which can be viewed on her website, as well as an online interview with Ms. Dreiling by the Museum of Music-Making.

Ms. Dreiling was the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of Classics for Kids and currently is Artistic Director and Conductor of YPO Festival Orchestra, Soloists Ensemble and Soloists Sinfonietta and was recently awarded first prize in the Conductor of Youth Orchestras division of The American Prize Competition. She also conducts the Symphonic Orchestra for Civic Youth Orchestra (CYO) and is Music Director of the North Coast Strings (NCS) and a String Ensemble at Grossmont College. She serves as principal violist of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Grossmont Symphony String Quintet. She performs regularly as solo recitalist and as a member of chamber music groups and is conducting clinician for youth orchestras in the San Diego area as well as for various traveling groups.

Jonathan Ingber

Jonathan Ingber has been our Wind Ensemble conductor since 2004 and also directs sectionals for the Symphonic Orchestra's woodwind, brass and percussion students. Other conducting appointments include the Palomar College Brass Ensemble (since 2004), he has taught courses in music history, theory and solo performance. He also worked as an Adjunct Professor at MiraCosta College (2000-2010). Mr. Ingber majored in trumpet performance, receiving his Masters Degree from the New England Conservatory of Music (1988) and his Bachelors Degree, Cum Laude, from the University of Southern California (1986). He studied with Charles Schlueter, Principal Trumpet (Ret.) – Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Boyde Hood, Trumpet (Ret.) – Los Angeles Philharmonic.Former Principal Trumpet with Lyric Opera San Diego (2003-2011), Mr. Ingber also hasperformed extensively as a freelance musician: San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera,San Diego Chamber Orchestra, concerts with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, productions with the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre, musicals with Starlight Theatre, brass quintet concerts in Southern California and in Mexico, and work with string ensembles and ceremonial bands. In 2011, Mr. Ingber premiered Robert Weller’s Trumpet Concerto with the Palomar Symphony Orchestra. He also has soloed with the North Coast Symphony and the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra, has played under the baton of Composer/Conductor John Williams and Marvin Hamlisch, and has backed-up noted performers including Michael Crawford, Doc Severinsen, Michael Feinstein and Frank Sinatra Jr.

A founding member of the quintet, Premier Brass, Mr. Ingber continues to perform as a freelance trumpeter and also works as a public school music coach. He maintains a private studio, teaching trumpet lessons to players of all levels and ages. Former students have continued their music studies at USC, UCLA, CSU Long Beach and the Eastman School of Music. A CYO alumnus himself, he and his wife are very proud that their daughter, a violinist, has played in the program since 2011 and is currently a member of the CYO Symphony. For more information please visit his website.

Quyen Nguyen

Quyen Nguyen is our Prelude/Intermezzo Conductor and has enjoyed a versatile and varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and educator. She has performed in Europe and the United States, won numerous awards in local, state, and national competitions, and has had the honor of representing the U.S. in international competitions.

In 1999, she made her solo viola debut with both the Young Artists Symphony and the Mount Carmel Symphony Orchestra. In 2006, she was handpicked by composer Douglas Pipes to be the viola soloist for Columbia Pictures’ soundtrack of the movie “Monster House.”

An acclaimed chamber musician, she was a founding member of the Velvet String Quartet, the Acht Stucke Trio, and the Goldberg Quartet.

Ms. Quyen has held positions as principal violist with the Poway Symphony Orchestra, National Honors Orchestra, Northridge Symphony, UCSD Symphony Orchestra, California “All-State” Orchestra, Young Artists Symphony, and Civic Youth Orchestra. She has also performed with the La Jolla Symphony, American Youth Symphony, and Debut Orchestra.

A devoted music educator, Ms. Quyen has served as Director of Strings at the Seoul School of Music, Director of Piano & Strings at Vibe Performing Arts Studios in Los Angeles, Associate Dean at the San Diego Institute of Music, and Music Producer at 500 Fingers Productions. She has also conducted clinics and masterclasses for the Kadima Conservatory Philharmonic and the Northridge Youth Philharmonic. Currently, she is the President-Elect of the American String Teachers’ Association - California Chapter and the Past President & Treasurer of CalASTA - San Diego.

She takes great pride in teaching music and looks forward to bringing the joy of music into the lives of her students each day.



Ted Foster

Ted Foster has conducted our Prelude/Intermezzo Strings ensemble since 2016 and recently has taken the baton as Intermediate/Chamber Strings Conductor. 

He is the Instrumental Music Director at Challenger Middle School in San Diego, where he teaches multiple levels of Orchestra, Band and Jazz. 

Mr. Foster earned his Master's in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in 2015, and his Bachelor of Music from George Mason University in 2009. In 2014, he was honored with the opportunity to conduct the Elementary Honor Orchestra of the San Diego Unified School District. 

Mr. Foster was awarded the 2013 David Paul Schuchman Award for Outstanding Middle school Instrumental Music Teacher, as voted by his secondary instrumental music educator peers in the San Diego Unified School District. In the same year, he also received the Band Educator of the Year Award from the California Music Education Association, Southern Border Section.

Mr. Foster's primary instrument is the String Bass, and his students have been invited to perform with numerous honor ensembles throughout the years. Mr. Foster has studied and performed on all instruments of the string family, and he shares his knowledge and passion with students of our Intermediate and Chamber Strings Ensembles.

Main Conductors
Mr. Foster
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