Young Friends Advisory Council
With the Young Friends program now in its seventh season, we invited some of our most engaged Young Friends to join members of Orchestra staff, Board, and musicians to form the Young Friends Advisory Council. The Advisory Council will contribute in many of ways, including bringing awareness to the Young Friends program, attending Orchestra concerts, fundraising, volunteerism, and as a focus group for program improvements.
Olivia K. Baackes
Born and raised in upstate New York, Olivia Baackes had considerable exposure to the Albany Symphony growing up. Not only did she frequent the Symphony, but also her childhood home was often short-term lodging for visiting musicians. Favorite pieces include Strauss’s Don Juan and the Larghetto from Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2. A 2013 graduate of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, Olivia is currently the senior deputy finance director for Governor Tom Wolf’s reelection campaign and resides in Center City.
Saveri Bhattacharya, DO
Saveri Bhattacharya, DO, is a violinist and alumni of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. She has played the violin since the age of four and has performed in orchestras during her medical school, residency, and fellowship training. Currently, she is a medical oncologist specializing in women's cancers at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. She enjoys attending Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, and her favorite composers include Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.
Dante Cerza, MD
A native Philadelphian, when Dante is not caring for his patients, he spends an awesome amount of time at opera, orchestral, and chamber music performances. He greatly enjoys learning to speak fluent Italian, making friends around the world, and dabbling in psychology and cognitive science. For the coming season, he is looking forward most to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
Mitch Ginsburgh grew up playing viola and is beyond thrilled to help support one of the world’s most respected musical institutions. He especially likes helping Orchestra newcomers get excited about what they’ll be hearing. A few of his favorite orchestral pieces include Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, Barber’s First Essay for Orchestra, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. When not at the Orchestra, Mitch is working in educational assessment or dancing in a hip-hop class.
Carol Jantsch has been principal tuba of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 2006. She also performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician, teaches masterclasses around the world, and is on the faculty at the Yale University School of Music. Carol is passionate about audience engagement and youth outreach, as is exhibited by her pet projects: her cover band Tubular and her nonprofit Tubas for Good, Inc.
Ronald Kolla, Esq.
A Philadelphia area native, Ron is an attorney with Miller Turetsky Rule & McLennan in Collegeville, PA. Music is an integral part of his life beginning with piano lessons at age six, obtaining degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Theory from Temple University, and serving as the organist at St. Peter's-At-The-Light in Barnegat Light, NJ since 2013. Ron's favorite Symphonic Work is "The Moldau" from Smetana's Má Vlast and his favorite opera is Puccini's Turandot.
I grew up in a classical music-loving family and currently work as an application engineer in King of Prussia. I love Philly and this city is surrounded by art, orchestra, ballet, opera, museums. Music is an important part of my life by learning piano from my mother at age of four and was a piano accompanist for a chorus. It’s really hard to pick my favorite composer, but if I had to pick they would be Schubert, Haydn, and Mozart.
Adrienne Simpson is a marketing professional who excels at crafting a good story. The daughter of classical musicians, Adrienne is also a bonafide arts and culture kid who grew up backstage in concert halls and turning pages for her father during recitals. Needless to say, classical music is in her blood and she’s been a regular at Philadelphia Orchestra concerts since age 12. The earliest piece of music Adrienne ever remembers hearing is “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”
Kelly Zhou is a native Philadelphian who graduated from UPenn in 2014 with degrees in finance, management, and Japanese. She works as an investment analyst at Blackstone in Wayne but enjoys spending her evenings and weekends soaking up Philly's incredible arts scene. Her interest in orchestral music was sparked when she began studying trumpet, which she continued to play through college in various orchestras and ensembles. Her favorite pieces include Shostakovich’a Symphony No. 5, Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill” Sonata, and Beethoven's Quintet in E-flat major for piano and winds.
Interested in being a Young Friend Volunteer?
Young Friend members are encouraged to click here to be added to a list that will be contacted for volunteerism opportunities.