Associate Conductor, AYP
Director, Brass Fellowship for Orchestral Arts
Sylvia Alimena, recently retired 29-year veteran of the National Symphony Orchestra, has also had an active conducting career throughout the Washington area. In 1992, Sylvia and 22 of her NSO colleagues formed the critically acclaimed non profit organization Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. The primary goals of Eclipse were to give the community greater exposure and accessibility to the members of the NSO and to bring orchestral music to people where they live at a price they could afford. Eclipse also extended to its members the opportunity of exploring works not found in the NSO repertoire and to be featured as concerto soloists. Ms. Alimena also functioned as board president and chief financial officer of that organization for 15 of the 20 seasons in which she lead Eclipse, and growing the budget year over year. Over the course of her 20-year tenure with Eclipse, the orchestra commissioned almost a dozen works and premiered nearly 20. The Eclipse/Alimena discography includes Overtures of Florian Gassmann on the Naxos label, Late Victorians/Music of Mark Adamo on the Naxos label, Toch Cello Concerto with Steve Honigberg on Albany records Ms. Alimena has also served as Music Director of the McLean Orchestra (2003-2010) and the Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra now know as Avanti Orchestra (1995-2004). From 2003-2006, Ms. Alimena formed a bond with Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart to produce the first orchestral performances with vocalists for the Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart Emerging Artist’s Program which focused on the music of Wagner.
Currently, Ms. Alimena is in her 28th season as music director of Brass of Peace, a scholarship brass ensemble dedicated to creating an environment of higher musical learning for serious high school brass players. Alumni of Brass of Peace hold principal chairs in orchestras throughout the world. In 1994 in partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra Education Department, Carole Wysocki, Director, Brass of Peace initiated bi annual in-school performances for children of Title 1 schools in the District of Columbia. Each year, over 1000 children are exposed to classical music in their schools as a result of this initiative.
In her retirement, Ms. Alimena continues to serve as the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute Assistant Conductor, NSO Youth Fellowship Program coach, NSO Youth Fellowship Program private horn instructor, and she maintains a private horn studio. She is also a brass coach and rehearsal conductor for the American Youth Philharmonic system.
A native of Long Island, New York, Ms. Alimena considers herself the product of an excellent public school system. She began playing the french horn in the Hicksville Public Schools at age nine. Her first private lessons were at age fifteen when she was awarded a full scholarship to study privately with Arthur E. Goldstein. She continued her musical studies at Boston University and was a pupil of Harry Shapiro.
In 1980, Ms. Alimena began her professional career in Boston as a member of the Boston Ballet Orchestra, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Beacon Brass Quintet, and as Principal Horn of both the Boston Lyric Opera and the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra. She was critically acclaimed for her solo and offstage playing in the Boston Lyric Opera's 1983 New York and Boston productions of Wagner's Das Ring Des Nibelungen. In November of that year, the Beacon Brass Quintet made its Carnegie Hall debut as the only brass quintet ever to win the coveted Concert Artists Guild Award.
Ms. Alimena is the recipient of a Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award (2004) and was voted into Washingtonian Magazine’s Musical Hall of Fame (2003). Her hobbies include gardening, hiking and a upon her retirement from the horn, she has found a new source of frustration - golf!
Conducting education includes the Aspen Music Festival Fellowship with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin (1999), Cabrillo Music Festival Fellowship with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier (2000), Sandpoint Festival Fellowship with Gunther Schuller (1997), and Aspen Seminar with Murry Sidlin (1996).