Our Teaching Philosophy

The SCVYO family of ensembles strives to provide the highest quality music education in the greater Los Angeles area.  We do this by providing the finest staff, with a combined teaching experience of more than 100 years and six graduate level degrees. 

This set of ensembles takes the beginning players through advanced musicians, laying a solid foundation of correct instrumental technique, rehearsal etiquette, and practice skills.  Students graduate from the program knowing how to prepare music to the highest level. 

We do this by firmly but reasonably demanding a commitment to a very high level of performance.  This means that the ensembles become a part of your life.  You will meet like-minded, musical and intellectual friends that you will have for life.

The SCVYO attracts the best and brightest students from the area, and virtually all of them graduate to prestigious 4-year universities.  These include Juilliard, New England Conservatory, Harvard, Northwestern, Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, USC, and UCLA, among others.  Being an orchestral musician teaches commitment, higher brain function, critical thinking, interpersonal skills and provides a love of the arts for life.  This is not an easy path, but it will be one of the most rewarding commitments a young musician will ever make. 

Derrick Spiva, Jr.
Artistic Director / Novae Sinfonia Conductor

Derrick Spiva Jr. is a composer and musician based in the Los Angeles area who often integrates music practices from different cultural traditions around the world into his work with classical music communities. The Los Angeles Times has described his music as “something to savor” and “enormous fun to listen to.” During his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and the California Institute of the Arts, music across many cultures became an integral part of his musical vocabulary. Spiva studied classical music with Ian Krouse, Alex Shapiro, Paul Chihara, and David Rosenboom while also studying West African music and dance with Kobla Ladzekpo; Persian music theory with Pirayeh Pourafar and Houman Pourmehdi; Balkan music theory with Tzvetanka Varimezova; and tala (rhythmic cycles) in Hindustani classical music with Swapan Chaudhuri and Aashish Khan.

Spiva’s works have been premiered by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, UCLA Philhamonia, Los Angeles Electric 8, Chapman University Wind Ensemble, the Salastina Music Society, Super Devoiche (Bulgarian Women’s Choir), and Lian Ensemble (Persian Ensemble). Spiva has given pre-concert talks and workshops about the use of non-Western music in his compositions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Skirball Cultural Center. He received the New Music USA Award in 2010 and 2011 and was awarded a composer residency with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) through New Music USA’s “Music Alive” program with LACO for the 2015-2016 season. He was asked to speak at the 2016 League of Orchestras Conference on the topic of how classical music orchestras can forge stronger relationships with their diverse communities. His recent composition, From Here a Path, had its world premiere by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on May 19, 2018.  Spiva also serves as Artistic Director of the new music collective and arts organization Bridge to Everywhere.  

Spiva passionately believes in music as a doorway into understanding other cultures and different ways of living. Through learning the music of other cultures, the opportunity for dialogue rather than conflict between strangers is opened, and our society can become one with less conflict due to cultural misunderstanding. He is deeply invested in fostering creative and effective collaboration between artists of different disciplines and traditions.

Derrick brings this passion, talent and vision to his work with the musicians of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra, as we launch Novae Sinfonia, the SCVYO'S newest ensemble, which embodies the crossover between New World and non-Western styles with the traditional classical musical genre.  This is the cutting edge and future of classical music.  We are honored to have Derrick spearheading this new musical frontier with our students.

Associate Artistic Director / Prelude Strings Conductor / Strings Coach

Violinist and violist, Julissa Bozman, maintains a busy teaching schedule in her private studio and as a string coach for different organizations.  She is the Strings Chair of the Music Teachers’ Association of California, Santa Clarita Branch, and the director of the Prelude Strings at College of the Canyons. Mrs. Bozman also freelances in the greater Los Angeles area, where she collaborates in original projects, performs with symphony orchestras and other ensembles, and exposes young children to music via school assemblies.  She also enjoys performing traditional genres such such as Latin American, Irish and Jewish music.  She travelled the United States as part of John Tesh’ Discovery Tour. Mrs. Bozman started her musical training in her native country, El Salvador, where she joined the National Symphony Orchestra at age 15.  She continued her studies in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar.  She holds degrees in performance from the California Institute of the Arts and from the University of California at Irvine.

Managing Director / Chamber Ensemble Conductor / Orchestra Conductor /
Strings Coach

Rachel Iba, a versatile violinist, composer, and educator, performs and teaches within a diverse range of contexts. Specializing in both modern and baroque violin, she has performed in venues across the U.S. and abroad, including the Kennedy Center, Juilliard School, and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Rachel holds a Bachelors Degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where she was awarded the top violin prize in 2014. She earned her Masters Degree in Violin Performance from California Institute of the Arts in 2017.  As an educator, Rachel directs the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra’s Chamber Music program, is on the faculty of Kinhaven Music School, and maintains a private studio.

SCV Brass Ensemble Director

Luke Storm is a tuba player, conductor, and educator. He has served as acting principal tuba with the San Diego Symphony and has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, International Contemporary Ensemble, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and numerous other ensembles in Southern California. He can be heard on the Mode and Innova record labels and several film and television scores.including Batman vs. Superman, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Concert appearances include performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Ojai Music Festival, REDCAT, wasteLAnd music, wild Up, Monday Evening Concerts, Angel City Jazz Festival, San Diego New Music, and Jacaranda. Storm was the winner of the 2015 Atwater Kent Concerto Competition as well as being featured as soloist in a performance of David Lang's Are You Experienced? at UCLA.

Storm has premiered works by composers Peter Ablinger, Mark Applebaum, Richard Barrett, Jürg Frey, Nicholas Deyoe, Nick Didkovsky, Ulrich Krieger, Ian Krouse, Anne LeBaron, Larry Polansky, Marc Sabat, Wolfgang von Schweinitz, James Tenney, Christian Wolff, and many more. He is a founding member of Trio Kobayashi, specializing in the emerging field of just intonation music for brass.

His primary teachers include Aubrey Foard, Richard Frazier, Michael Grose, and Doug Tornquist.  Luke earned a Bachelor of Music in Tuba Performance with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Oregon and a Master of Fine Arts in Multi-Focus Performance at CalArts.

Storm completed his DMA in tuba performance at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in December of 2016, where he conducted the UCLA brass ensemble and tuba ensemble.  Storm earned a BM at the University of Oregon and an MFA at CalArts.  He has given guest lectures at the California Institute of the Arts, UCLA, and UC San Diego and was the guest artist and masterclass clinician at the University of Oregon's OcTUBAfest in 2015.  He is currently a member of the instrumental faculty at CalArts, specializing in Tuba Performance.

Guitar Orchestra Director


Jim Jeffrey is a Performer, Composer, Singer/Songwriter, Educator and Music Producer working in the Los Angeles area. Jim holds a Master of Fine Arts in Performer-Composer from California Institute of the Arts where he taught guitar for the guitar department, Bachelors of Music from Youngstown state University in guitar performance where he studied classical and jazz guitar and studied music production at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. 

Jim has studied composition with Vinny Golia and Ulrich Krieger, guitar with Stuart Fox, Miroslav Tadic, Larry Koonse,  Sid Jacobs, Teddy Pantelas, Paul Petric and studied Indian classical music and tala systems via the sitar with Aashish Khan, Swapan Chaudhuri, Randy Gloss and Rajib Karmakar.

Jim regularly performs and composes in many styles of music ranging from classical and jazz to rock and experimental music.

In addition to Jim's work on the guitar, Jim also plays a GuitarViol which is a bowed guitar that he constructed under the guidance of Jonathan Wilson.

Having worked on many records for major and indi labels Jim understands both sides of the recording studio and regularly works on recording projects for various artists. Labels that Jim has credit on include Virgin, Columbia and Metal God Records, to name a few. Jim is available for studio and live projects as well as clinics and private lessons.

Prelude Winds & Brass Director


Susan Carpenter is a pianist, multi-instrumentalist, conductor and educator. Susan has been leading the SCVYO Prelude Winds & Brass since its inception in January 2017. She has served as the Community Outreach Director for the Music Teachers’ Association of California’s Santa Clarita Valley Branch since joining in 2013 and she began serving as MTAC SCV Branch’s President in 2018. In 2019 she started their first annual Romantic Music Festival for piano and string students. Susan holds five University degrees including two Master of Arts degrees in Higher Education and Educational Psychology, and three Bachelor degrees in Arts (English), Honors Music Education and Education. Ms. Carpenter has had a prolific educational career spanning college advising, teaching Grade 7 and 8 band, elementary school music classes, group keyboard classes and private lessons. 


Summer 2019 Guest Artist / Cellist / Childhood Music Educator

Jennie Brent copy.jpg

Jennie Brent is a cellist and educator from New Haven, CT. She studied with Ole Akahoshi at Manhattan School of Music Pre-college, Peter Wiley at Bard College Conservatory, and Julia Lichten at Manhattan School of Music. Jennie is a passionate chamber musician and was a member of the Annellie String Trio for over a decade. She has performed in venues such as Steinway Hall, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall and Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. She has attended a number of music festivals including Aspen Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, Sejong International Music Festival, and the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar. Jennie is a dedicated, Suzuki-certified cello teacher and has been teaching privately for many years, as well as at the Harmony Program in New York City, Festival de Música in San Juán de Colón, Venezuela, the Josiah Quincy Youth Orchestra Program, and Bridge Boston Charter School. She is certified in a method of early-childhood music education, Music Learning Theory, which she has taught at Horizons for Homeless Children and Head Start. From 2017-2018, she served as Co-Artistic Director, Co-Education Coordinator, and cellist of Palaver Strings, a non-profit string ensemble based in Boston, MA. In addition to music, Jennie is a certified yoga instructor and loves to explore the ways that music and body awareness can overlap and serve one another. 

The SCVYO is thrilled to welcome Jennie to our Artistic Staff for the Summer 2019 Session. Students will participate in an exciting program that integrates music, body awareness and mindfulness. They will be encouraged to approach their musicianship in new ways, finding connections between physical and emotional states, individual expression, and collaborative skills.