Vanja Gjumar Nikolovski graduated with majors in conducting and composition from the Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje Faculty of Music, Macedonia. He gained a specialization in orchestral and symphonic conducting at the Rimski-Korsakov State Conservatory in 1995/96. Currently graduated in Doctor of Arts program, major in conducting at Arizona State University. Maestro Nikolovski was principal conductor of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, guest conductor with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Macedonian Radio Choir, and also conducted in cities as diverse as St. Petersburg, Belgrade, Zadar, Split (Croatia) as well as Portugal to USA - Washington DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and his hometown of Phoenix, AZ. His compositions have won Macedonian national awards, with his symphonic Kartchner Caverns Magic winning first prize in the national contest in the Republic of Macedonia in 2014, also chamber The Dance of the Gallstones, winning third prize, 2015 first prize for piece for choir and orchestra Kliment and his Zigurati which won the Panche Peshev prize in 2000. His works have been performed in several European countries including Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Great Britain, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine and the United States of America. They have been featured annually on "Days of Macedonian Music", "Skopje Summer Music Festival", "Ohrid Summer Music Festival" and "Annual Meetings of the Yugoslavian Music Academies”.
Vanja and his family currently live in Chandler where he works as a Yamaha Certified Instructor in East Valley Yamaha Music.
Music Director / Conductor
During the 2018-2019 season, the Chandler Symphony will be auditioning for a new Music Director. Bios for each of the five candidates are shown below.
October 7, 2018
Nicholas G. M. Ross musical career as a conductor, violinist, and music educator has spanned over 25 years. In addition to gaining extensive conducting and violin performance experience in the professional realm, Ross has worked continuously with students ranging from the public school through university levels.
With a clear passion and focus in the area of opera and musical theater, Ross served as an Associate Conductor with the New York City Opera Company for the ‘07-‘08 season, and served as an Assistant Conductor with the Glimmerglass Opera Company for three seasons from 2005-2007. In 2010, Ross conducted a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with John Jay and Ohio Wesleyan Colleges in New York City. This collaboration dates back to 2007, when Ross served as Music Director and Conductor for a 50th anniversary production of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story at John Jay College. Additional guest conducting appearances include performances with Shreveport Opera and the Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theater.
Past symphonic conducting positions that Ross held include Conducting Assistant with the Phoenix Symphony, Cover Conductor for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestras at Northern Arizona University, Music Director and Conductor of the Hunter Symphony, Music Director of the Onondaga Civic Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra. Symphonic guest conducting appearances include performances with the Valdosta Symphony in Georgia, the Harbin Symphony Orchestra in Harbin, China, the Finger Lakes Symphony Orchestra in Canandaigua, NY, the Society of Composers Festival in Tempe, Arizona, and the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra.
Currently, Ross is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator for solo and ensemble festivals throughout the state of Arizona and the Southwest. He also serves as an orchestral clinician for Eastman Strings, giving clinics and master classes around the country. In addition to his conducting career, Ross maintains an active performance schedule as a violinist and is presently a member of the Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra in Cooperstown, NY. Ross performed as Concertmaster with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra for select masterworks series concerts throughout 2010 and 2011. Further professional violin experience includes posts with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera and the Utica Symphony Orchestra. Some of the notable artists that Ross has performed with include Wynton Marsalis, Sarah Vaughan, Natalie Cole, Olivia Newton-John, Manheim Steamroller, Anne Murray, and Broadway touring productions of The Producers, Annie Get Your Gun and Peter Pan.
Ross earned the Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Ithaca College, the Master of Music in Violin Performance as a String Fellow at Syracuse University, and was the first recipient of the Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from Arizona State University.
November 4, 2018
John Massaro is the Principal Conductor for Phoenix Opera where he has led productions of La BohemeTosca, Aida, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Magic Flute and La Traviata as well as opera Galas with world renowned opera superstars Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Jonas Kaufmann. Mr. Massaro served as an assistant to Leonard Bernstein during the creation of A Quiet Place and to Zubin Mehta for the Israel Philharmonic's production of Madama Butterfly in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. He worked extensively with the great German soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, with whom he coached both opera and art song repertoire. Mr. Massaro made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Mozart Requiem which led to a distinguished European tour to Budapest, Krakow, Prague, Salzburg and Vienna, where he conducted several additional Mozart masterpieces in a 250th anniversary celebration of the composer's birth. He debuted with the Phoenix Symphony in 2002, conducting a 9/11 memorial concert which included his own arrangement of the National Anthem. He has also served as Musical Director for the Phoenix Theater and the Black Theatre Troupe (BTT), where he received an AriZoni Award for BTT's production of Blues in the Night. As the first Music Director for the Arizona Broadway Theatre, Mr. Massaro conducted numerous stage productions including Anything Goes, Man of La Mancha, Damn Yankees, HMS Pinafore, The World Goes Round, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and South Pacific, winning awards for his work there. Mr. Massaro began his career in Los Angeles as a vocal coach and conductor, later moving to New York City to coach and accompany several artists from the Metropolitan Opera. In addition, he is an award-winning composer and arranger.
January 27, 2019
Chuck Stewart is known for communicating his love for music in every performance he gives. The musicians he conducts have routinely praised him for the clarity of his gestures and his collaborative nature on the podium. Mr. Stewart has previously served as Assistant Conductor of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra in Muncie, Indiana. Additionally, he served as Music Director and Conductor of the East Central Indiana Chamber Orchestra, a community orchestra based out of Muncie. While at the helm of the East Central Indiana Chamber Orchestra, Stewart expanded the season, reinstated the youth concerto competition, and began a side-by-side concert partnership with a local youth orchestra.  
In addition to his work with professional and community orchestras, Mr. Stewart is an advocate of music education. He was recently appointed the new Director of Orchestras at BASIS Phoenix. Prior to his appointment at BASIS, he served as the Head of Instrumental Music and Director of Orchestras at Encore High School for the Arts in Hesperia, California. While residing in Indiana, Stewart served as Music Director and Conductor of the Youth Orchestras of East Central Indiana. He also worked at Ball State University as Graduate Assistant Conductor of the Ball State Symphony Orchestra, Conductor of the Ball State Campus Orchestra, and Music Director of the Ball State Pocket Opera. 
Mr. Stewart studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School as well as other prominent conducting seminars. He earned a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from Ball State University where he studied with Douglas Droste. He has pursued further studies with renowned conductors and pedagogues such as Gerard Schwartz, Larry Livingston, Donald Schleicher, Victor Yampolsky, Gary Lewis, Markand Thakar, and Michael Jinbo. Mr. Stewart holds Bachelors’ degrees in both Music Performance and Music Education from Oklahoma State University. 
Originally from Oklahoma, Chuck and his wife Karen currently live in Chandler with their dog, CJ. 
March 24, 2019
May 5, 2019
Cindy H. Petty is a conductor and teacher recognized for her “outstanding precision, musical vision, warm motivation, engaging stage presence and a unique ability to connect with musicians and audiences of all ages.” As a professional conductor, violinist, and music educator in the public and private school systems for over 20 years, Ms. Petty studied with Kurt Masur, Riccardo Chailly and Maren Alsop after completing degrees in both conducting and education from the University of Utah. As a conductor, Cindy currently serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Oregon Arts Orchestra (OR), Artistic Director and Symphony Conductor of the East Valley Youth Symphony (AZ), Principal Guest Conductor for the Sapporo Philharmonic Orchestra (Japan), and Conductor Emeritus of the Jewish Community Orchestra (OR). As a violinist, Cindy performs with the Newport Symphony (OR), Musica Nova (AZ) and Chandler Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Ms. Petty produces concerts and festivals worldwide for Music Celebrations International (AZ), including festivals in Rome, Salzburg, Paris, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Washington, D.C. 
Ms. Petty is a sought after as a clinician and adjudicator for state and national music festivals, all-state orchestras and youth honor orchestras nationwide. In 2007, she was knighted by the Royal Rosarians, under the banner of the rose “Artistry” for her extensive contributions to the community through music. 
She firmly believes that music is essential to and complements every other area of our lives. It is cognitive, physical, expressive, goal oriented, aesthetic, exciting, and rewarding. Music must be accessible to everyone to truly touch lives. Music is an aural sport, a lifelong skill which ensures the human element of life! It is work and recreation at the same time. It requires a high level of commitment and dedication to excellence. As stated by Ms. Petty, “Music is not just my is my passion!”
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