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Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Extends Helen H. Cha-Pyo’s Contract

originally published: 08/04/2020

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Extends Helen H. Cha-Pyo’s Contract(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) -- The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) has extended the contract of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo. Before her appointment to the position in July 2018, Cha-Pyo inspired hundreds of young musicians to perform at the highest levels as music director of the Empire State Youth Orchestras, recognized as one of the nation’s premier music organizations for youth.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the contract extension of Artistic Director Helen H. Cha-Pyo,” said Robert Hamburger, President of the Board of Trustees of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “Helen is an inspiring leader who has made great progress for Wharton in her initial years with us, and we are thrilled to have her continue at the artistic helm of our organization. We are looking forward to many more years of educational and musical achievements that will benefit the students and communities we serve.”

During her short time at the artistic helm of the umbrella organization comprised of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, Paterson Music Project, and Performing Arts School, Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts has emerged as one of the Garden State’s most important thought leaders in performing arts education, particularly as it relates to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. With support from The Catalyst Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras, and other funders including New Music USA, Wharton has crafted a culture of support and inclusion that cascades beyond artistic programming. Most recently, Cha-Pyo spear-headed the rapid transition to virtual platforms for both fundraising and season auditions for the award-winning New Jersey Youth Symphony, oversaw online music programs offered to all students in the city of Paterson, NJ, and witnessed an unprecedented increase in Performing Arts School students pursuing music lessons now offered online via Zoom. Read more about Cha-Pyo here.

Said Cha-Pyo, “I am grateful to continue my work at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, where we strive to inspire young people to achieve excellence in their lives through a culturally responsible performing arts education in an inclusive environment. During this challenging time, I am more committed than ever to create access and equity in music education and energized to work with my remarkable colleagues and leadership team at Wharton.”

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts leadership team includes recently appointed Executive Director, Peter H. Gistelinck, who applauds the unanimous decision by the WIPA Board of Trustees.



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“Since my arrival at Wharton, now just over a year ago, I’ve experienced our Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo as an amazing driving force behind our mission and vision and a real support in daily operations,” said Peter H. Gistelinck, Executive Director at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “I am excited about her contract renewal and looking forward to continue our productive partnership for many more years to come.”

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,500 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, Wharton offers private lessons, group classes, and ensembles for all ages and all abilities at the Performing Arts School. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton teaches all instruments and voice and has a robust musical theater program. Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of Wharton’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.


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