Current Leonard Bernstein Fellows

Ashley Kamal
Mezzo-soprano, Class of 2022

Ashley is a mezzo-soprano Leonard Bernstein Fellow from Waltham Massachusetts. She plans to major in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Music and is very excited to be able to study both math and music at Brandeis. She has been singing (in her living room) since she could talk and has studied privately with Molly Jo Rivelli since age 9. At Brandeis, Ashley participates in the Brandeis Chamber Singers under the direction of Professor Duff, private voice lessons with Kristen Watson, Stein Nights/WBRS open mics, and Kaos Kids (Brandeis' competitive hip hop dance troupe). In addition to her classical repertoire Ashley enjoys singing jazz standards, acoustic pop, and funk/R&B fusion and sings professionally in Portrait in Jazz combo (Band Leader Brad Ellenberg) and wedding band Legit (Band Leader Ron Vanaria) in and around the Boston area. 

Sungwon Cho
Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Class of 2023

Sungwon Cho is a classical clarinetist and jazz saxophonist at Brandeis University. Coming from a small town of Warrensburg, Missouri, he’s excited to be part of a larger community in the Boston area. He began playing the clarinet in middle school and a year later, the alto saxophone. In high school, Sungwon played in the symphonic band and jazz band and made the district band and jazz band every year. Through practice, he eventually found himself placed in the Missouri All-State Band and Jazz Band in his junior and senior year. Sungwon credits his musical successes to his instructors back in Warrensburg. At Brandeis, Sungwon is currently taking part in chamber groups, the jazz ensemble, and lessons with clarinetist Margo McGowan and saxophonist Tom Hall depending on the instrument of focus. Sungwon is planning on double-majoring in biology and music. Outside of music, he takes part in serving as an orientation leader and participating in a competitive hip-hop dance group and several Waltham Group organizations.

Davina Goodman
Soprano, Class of 2023

Davina Goodman is a sophomore and a Leonard Bernstein Fellow originally from New York City. Growing up, Davina played piano, cello, and sang in choir. As a child, she sang in the National Children’s Chorus for five years. From 8th - 12th grade, she sang in HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir. With HaZamir, she performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, and the David Koch Theater. Davina attended Special Music High School and majored in classical voice. While there, she performed the role of the 2nd witch in the opera Dido and Aeneas and the 2nd spirit in an opera scene from The Magic Flute. At Special Music School, Davina studied with Lisa Tamagini. At Brandeis she studies with Matthew Anderson. In addition to singing classical music, Davina also loves to sing musical theater and twice sang in her high school’s Cabaret. Davina is majoring in biology and minoring in music.

Michael Mackoff
Flute, Class of 2023

Michael is a Leonard Bernstein Fellow from Chicago, Illinois. Michael started playing the Flute when he was five years old through the Merit School of Music in Chicago under the instruction of Susan Crandall. Throughout his life, he has played in many ensembles including the Symphonic Band and later the Wind Symphony of the Merit School under the direction of Brian Polacek and later Chip Staley. During his senior year, the Merit School Wind Symphony was chosen to perform at the Illinois Music Educators Conference. Michael also played in the Wind Symphony at Lincoln Park High School, under the direction of Chad Smith and later Kelly Gossler. During his sophomore year, the Wind Symphony at Lincoln Park was selected for the honor of performing at the ILMEC. During his senior year of high school, Michael was named an Illinois All State Musician and played in the All-State Honors Band. Michael was also a part of the award-winning Purple Hippopotami Flute Quartet where he has competed in competitions such as the MPrize International Chamber Music Competition and the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition. At Brandeis, Michael is a member of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and is majoring in music and minoring in history and medieval and renaissance studies.

Emilia Poma
Soprano, Class of 2023

Emilia Poma is a soprano at Brandeis University studying pre-med and music. She currently studies voice with Kristen Watson. She was born in Stockholm, Sweden where she was raised as a classical pianist before moving to New York City. She attended the Juilliard precollege program as a pianist but soon discovered the world of opera and joined the opera department as a student of Lorraine Nubar. Emilia’s most recent summers included studies at the Académie International d’Eté de Nice; the Mozarteum in Austria, under the instruction of Dalton Baldwin; and the IVAI program in New York, with Joan Dornemann. Emilia has also acted in the television series “Modus,” acting alongside Kim Cattrall and Greg Wise. At Brandeis, she is happy to be a part of the Chamber Singers under the direction of Professor Robert Duff, as well as a Leonard Bernstein Fellowship chamber ensemble. Being a part of the Leonard Bernstein group has been a very special experience so far in discovering new ways to collaborate with musicians from different disciplines as well as getting to know the amazing people that are part of the Leonard Bernstein Fellows family. Most recently, Emilia won the Reading Community Singers Competition and is grateful to Brandeis for presenting this opportunity. 

Altana Schweitzer
Violin, Class of 2023

Altana Schweitzer is a violinist from San Diego, California studying music and psychology. Altana started playing violin at the age of five and has held leadership positions in the Pasadena Youth Symphony, the Glendale Youth Orchestra, and the San Diego Youth Symphony. She attended the California Institute of Music's summer music academy in Germany and has competed locally in the San Diego area. As a Leonard Bernstein Fellow at Brandeis, Altana is a member of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra, participates in chamber music and takes private lessons with Andrea Segar. She is thrilled to be continuing her musical education as a Leonard Bernstein Fellow at Brandeis.

Celia Wu-Hacohen
Piano, Class of 2023

Celia Wu-Hacohen is a pianist in the class of 2023 from Brookline, Massachusetts. She plans to major in psychology and minor in music. Now at Brandeis University, Celia takes private piano lessons with Evan Hirsch, participates in chamber groups each semester, and sings in the University Chorus, conducted by Robert Duff. Outside of the Music Department, Celia is a member of Up The Octave, one of the many a cappella groups on campus. Celia is thrilled to have the opportunity to perform with such talented musicians as a Leonard Bernstein Fellow and to further her musical education in a highly-collaborative environment like Brandeis.

Lauren Barkley
Piano, Class of 2024

Lauren Barkley is a pianist and composer from Seattle, Washington. She started taking piano and composition lessons at age five and participated in many National Federation of Music Clubs events as well as many Washington State Music Teachers’ Association composition competitions. Lauren was the winner of the Seattle NFMC’s Helen Crowe Snelling Memorial Piano Competition in 2018 after placing second in this competition in 2017. She received two Seals of Recognition from University of Washington music faculty after participating in the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival in 2015 and 2017. She performed at the Greater Seattle NFMC Honors Recital in 2016 and 2018. Regarding compositional work, Lauren placed second at the WSTMA composition contest and Honorable Mention at the Simon Fiset Composition Contest in 2017 with a two-piano piece. Lauren also performed in her high school’s All-State Orchestra and 12-person Vocal Ensemble. At Brandeis, Lauren participates in University Chorus in addition to the LBF Chamber Ensemble.

Emma Carlson
Soprano, Class of 2024

Emma Carlson is a soprano from Naperville, Illinois. She has been taking voice lessons since freshman year of high school. She performs all types of music, including musical theater, classical, jazz, and modern. In her high school, Emma was involved in theater, madrigals singers, and chamber singers, and she was a member of the Illinois Music Educators All-State Choir. Emma also sings and plays piano for her church. She is currently a member of the Brandeis University Chamber Singers, and she is taking voice lessons with Kristen Watson, as well as jazz piano lessons with Ben Cook. Emma is involved in Leonard Bernstein chamber music, with repertoire including Schumann and Vaughn Williams. She is planning to minor in music along with majors in psychology and neuroscience.

Sofia Cohen
Percussion, Class of 2024

Sofia Cohen is a percussionist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, majoring in biology with a minor in music. Since starting lessons at age ten, she has participated in her middle and high school’s jazz band, concert band, orchestra, and pit orchestra. She was also a member of the Philadelphia All City High School Concert Band and Orchestra, where she had the opportunity to take lessons with Don Liuzzi of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She focused primarily on drum set, timpani, and auxiliary percussion in the past, but is excited to work more with mallet instruments at Brandeis. On campus, Sofia participates in the Brandeis Wellesley Orchestra, chamber music ensembles, and studies privately with Robert Schulz.

Carina Luo
Flute, Class of 2024

Carina Luo is from San Diego, California. Carina plans to major in Chemical Biology with a Music minor. She is entering her ninth year of flute playing and has competed in solo competitions for the San Diego Flute Guild. She was the principal flutist for the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra in Escondido, California, and she played in her high school wind ensemble. Carina has played at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and performed in the pit orchestra for live Nutcracker performances. As an Leonard Bernstein Fellow, Carina performs, virtually, with a woodwind trio. She is also in the Brandeis Wind Ensemble. She looks forward to future music opportunities, including hopes of playing with the Brandeis Wellesley Orchestra.

Chris Martin
Tenor, Class of 2024

Chris Martin is a tenor at Brandeis, double majoring in English and history and minoring in music. Chris was part of a select chorus in high school and has participated in the Massachusetts Choral All-State festival. However, the bulk of his experience is in the realm of musical theater. He has participated in a wide variety of high school productions, alongside several community theater projects, playing leading roles in several. He was nominated for a TAMY award for “Best Supporting Actor” in 2016 for his role as Moonface Martin in “Anything Goes”. In 2018, he participated in the NATSAA (National Association of Teachers of Singing Artists Awards) competition, winning nothing other than a sympathetic smile from his pianist. As part of a cultural immersion program, Chris also spent a month studying gamelan (a style of traditional music native to Southeast Asia) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. At Brandeis, Chris studies under Matthew Anderson and is a member of the Brandeis Chamber Singers. He is excited to continue his musical education and cannot wait to get back onto the stage.

Abbie Murphy
Oboe, Class of 2024

Abbie began playing the oboe in the sixth-grade band and after some time fell in love with the instrument and music. Studying under Andrew Cooper, she participated in the district bands/orchestras every year and was also a part of the Springfield Youth Orchestra for three years. During her last two years in SYO, she was made principal oboist. In her sophomore year of high school, she also picked up the English Horn and developed a deep appreciation for the sister instrument. At Brandeis she will be majoring in a STEM field, most likely neuroscience, with a minor or second major in music. She is extremely excited to perform in the orchestra at Brandeis and to gain more experience with chamber music. Currently she is lucky enough to be studying with Elizabeth England and is grateful for the opportunity to meet and connect with other musicians in the Boston area.

Naamah Romano
Violin, Class of 2024

Naamah is a freshman studying violin performance and neuroscience at Brandeis University. She grew up in rural New York and started playing violin at the age of seven. Over the years she enjoyed being a member of local ensembles, among them the Binghamton Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Little Delaware Youth Ensemble. For her junior and senior years in high school, she was accepted as a violin major at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and moved to Natick, MA. As a member in such program, she studied violin with Amy Galluzzo at the New England Conservatory's Preparatory School, joined the NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and learned and performed exciting chamber music with her peers at Walnut Hill. Naamah spent her most recent summers at Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC learning orchestral repertoire under the baton of Maestro Gerard Schwarz. As a Leonard Bernstein Fellow, Naamah currently participates in the chamber music program and takes private lessons with Andrea Segar. Naamah looks forward to making music with fellow Brandeisians in the semesters to come.

Judy Ye
Clarinet, Class of 2024

Judy Ye is a clarinetist from Brookline, Massachusetts. She is planning to major in Neuroscience and minor in Music and Health: Science, Society, and Policy. Judy started playing the clarinet at the age of eight and played in New England Conservatory Youth Symphony and Chamber Ensembles throughout high school. As a Leonard Bernstein Fellow, Judy takes clarinet lessons with Margo McGowan and participates in the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and LBF Chamber Ensemble. She is excited to be continuing her musical education and collaborating with her peers to make music at Brandeis.

Dakota Lichauco
Jazz Piano, Class of 2025

Dakota is a first-year student at Brandeis University double-majoring in applied mathematics and computer science with a minor in music. All the way from Belmont, Massachusetts, Dakota was a part of the Belmont High School Jazz Band and Jazz Combo. She also had the opportunity to be the pianist for the New England Conservatory Youth Jazz Orchestra, directed by Bob Nieske. Dakota discovered the piano at the age of three and pursued a classical career until middle school. Upon discovering the genre of jazz, Dakota hasn’t looked back since. She enjoys the freedom of improvisation and the non-verbal communication jazz requires. Although jazz is a big part of her musical career, she has kept one foot in the classical world by playing trombone with the Longy Orchestra and with her high school’s wind ensemble. Dakota is excited for the years to come at Brandeis and is eager to make more music with her fellow student musicians.

Lynca Saito
Piano, Class of 2025

Lynca Saito is a freshman studying computer science, business, and music at Brandeis University. Born and raised in New York City, she started her piano career at age 7. She was accepted into Manhattan School of Music Precollege as a pianist and studied with Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, building up her skills and techniques of the piano. Over the years, she has won numerous competitions and awards, including 1st Prize of IMO Competition, 1st Prize of Great Composers Competition, 2nd Prize of ENKOR International Piano Competition, 1st Prize of Concert Festival Competition, and 1st Prize of the Rondo Vanguard Competition. Lynca has also performed at renowned concert halls, such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, and Lincoln Center. In her more recent years, she has participated in Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) Young Artist Piano Program, Curtis Summerfest, and IKIF, receiving master classes by world acclaimed pianists. As a Leonard Bernstein Fellow Scholarship recipient, Lynca now studies under Professor Evan Hirsch and participates in the chamber music program.