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THE MUSICIANS

Since 1987, our ensemble of over 80 volunteer musicians and professional guests rise to the challenges of many musical styles, genres and periods as they enrich the cultural landscape of Southern Nevada.

Carmella Cao - Flute (Principal)

Carmella Cao is a flute player with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra.

She holds four degrees from two Nevada universities, UNLV and UNR:  Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, Master of Music in Flute Performance, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Flute Performance. Carmella also attended the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, where she studied flute.

She is a member of the Local 369 Musician’s Union, National Association of Music Education, Music Teachers National Association, the Las Vegas Flute Club, and National Flute Association. She also serves as the personnel manager of the Desert Winds. Aside from HSO, she has also performed with the Reno Chamber Orchestra.

Carmella’s passion for learning an instrument began in sixth grade, when her teacher taught her how to play the Star Wars theme on flute. Now, Carmella wants to pass on to others what she’s learned. Carmella currently serves as the Director of Instrumental Music at Bishop Gorman High School where she teaches band, percussion, orchestra, and guitar. While her focus has shifted to music education, Carmella’s passion for performing has not dwindled and she has made it a point to continue practicing music while teaching. Prior to her current position, Carmella was an adjunct instructor at UNLV and CSN, while performing as much as possible.

When she’s not performing, Carmella enjoys traveling.

Matthew Stofferahn - Trombone (Principal)

Matthew Stofferahn is a trombone player with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra.

His first experience performing alongside HSO was in 1997 as a high school student.

He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition from the University of Southern California, and has played in various orchestras around the country, as well as with local bands such as Las Vegas Brass Band and the Desert Winds.  

Matt’s classical music journey began around the time he was 8 or 9, when he started learning piano, but he didn’t really like it. It was at age 11 he discovered his love for trombone and found he not only enjoyed it but had an aptitude for it that he didn’t have for piano. Furthermore, he preferred playing in an ensemble than as a solo. Matt also plays euphonium in the Las Vegas Brass Band, and he sang bass in a cathedral choir for four years.

Matt says it has been fun to see how the HSO ensemble has evolved over the decades and how many things have changed for the better, even while many of the players are the same as they were back when he first performed with them in 1997.

Donna Martinez - Violin II (Principal)

Donna Martinez is a violin player with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Instrumental Music from California State University, Stanislaus.

Donna has also performed with the Nevada Chamber Orchestra, Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, and The Quartet, a pop-rock string ensemble composed of Henderson Symphony musicians.

While in California, she was a frequent performer for the Merced Symphony. Past orchestral appointments include principal chair in the Townsend Opera Players and assistant concertmaster of the Stanislaus Symphony.  Now in Henderson, Donna holds principal positions with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, Nevada Chamber Orchestra and the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra.  She has also performed with an array of artists such as George Benson, Rick Ross, Ne-Yo, and The Jacksons, as well as The Quartet, a pop-rock string ensemble composed of Henderson Symphony musicians.

She began her classical music career at age 10; in addition to violin also plays the viola and cello.

When she is not wowing audiences with her musical abilities, Donna and her husband own and operate Tutoring Club. They have five locations throughout Las Vegas and Henderson serving the educational needs of over 650 students.

Music Director

PAST MUSIC DIRECTORS

Taras Krysa

2007 – 2016

Brad Pfeil

1997 – 2002

Mark Laycock

1992 – 1997

JoAnn White

1988 – 1990

Peter Aaronson

2002 – 2006

Dr. Glenn Cooper

1997

David Smith

1991 – 1992

Frank Irvin

1987 – 1988

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