OYO conductors are professional musicians and experienced music educators who understand that making music is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Zeljko Milicevic – Symphony Orchestra
Zeljko Milicevic received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Violin Performance from Wayne State University and his Master of Music in Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 2007, he earned a Certificate in Orchestral Studies from Wayne State University with an emphasis in Conducting and Violin Performance.
A sought-after clinician and adjudicator, Milicevic began his service in public education in 1990 and has taught music to students at all grade levels, most recently with later secondary orchestral ensembles. He is currently employed through the Oxford Community Schools as Director of High School Orchestras and District String Coordinator, grades K-12. In addition to his public school responsibilities, he is Adjunct Professor of String Pedagogy at Oakland University in Rochester, MI.
As a violinist, Milicevic has been a member of the Flint Symphony Orchestra since 1987 and was appointed to the position of Associate Concertmaster in 2011. He has performed in many of Michigan’s regional orchestras including the Michigan Opera Theatre, Saginaw Symphony, and The Midland Symphony Orchestra. He served as Concertmaster and soloist with The Bijou, a select 13-member salon theatre orchestra. Locally he performs with several community groups including the Macomb, Oakland, and Rochester Symphonies.
An avid chamber musician, his career has included engagements with numerous ensembles. Milicevic is currently a member of the Classic Impressions String Quartet comprised of principals of the Flint Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of Ivybrooke Strings where he performs in a violin and piano duo. His recording projects include a musical portrayal based on the book Einstein’s Dreams with the Bijou Theatre Orchestra, and the piano trios of Mendelssohn and Haydn recorded with the Ivybrooke Strings.
Milicevic has served as a guest conductor for the Rochester Symphony, Bijou Theatre Orchestra, and the Detroit Medical Orchestra. In 2003, Milicevic was named Music Director and Conductor of the Lake St. Clair Symphony Orchestra. His newest appointment is that of Music Director and Conductor of Symphony of the Lakes, based in Waterford, MI. This year marks his 19th season as Senior Conductor with the Oakland Youth Orchestras.
Wendy Stuart – Philharmonia Orchestra
Ms. Stuart is excited to be part of the Oakland Youth Orchestras for her second season. She is currently in her fourteenth year of teaching for the Clarkston Community Schools, where she directs the Orchestras, grades seven through twelve. Prior to joining the music faculty in Clarkston, she spent a year beginning a new string program in a district east of Cincinnati, OH.
Ms. Stuart earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Cello Performance from Eastern Michigan University and her teaching certification and Masters of Music in Music Education from the University of Michigan. Her cello teachers include Diane Winder, Anthony Elliott, and Robert deMaine. In addition to her degrees, she studied orchestral conducting while attending the ASTA International Workshops in Norway and France, where she worked with William LaRue Jones, Robert Culver and Marvin Rabin.
Ms. Stuart served three terms as Secretary for the Michigan Chapter of the American String Teacher Association and was the Director of the MASTA String Camp, Session III, for six years. She also was an Adjunct Professor of String Methods for four years at Concordia University in Ann Arbor.
Ms. Stuart maintains an active performance schedule in addition to teaching. She is the principal cellist for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra and performs regularly with string ensembles and orchestras throughout southeast Michigan. Since the beginning of her undergraduate studies, she has maintained a private cello studio and has served as an adjudicator, clinician, and chamber music coach around the state.
John Kennedy – String Orchestra
String Orchestra Director John Kennedy is excited to return for his eleventh year with the Oakland Youth Orchestras. During the days, he is Orchestra Director in the Farmington Public Schools, and has previously taught in Detroit, Chelsea and Iowa City, IA. In 2005, he was nominated for Orchestra Teacher of the Year for the state of Michigan.
In addition to his teaching and conducting, Mr. Kennedy is nationally recognized as a bassist, clinician and teacher of young string bassists. He is currently President of the International Society of Bassists,the largest worldwide organization dedicated to the upright bass. He is also a regular clinician at the Golden Gate Bass Camp, the Richard Davis Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, the Troy Bass Workshop in Michigan, the Colorado Suzuki Institute and the Elgin Suzuki Workshop in Illinois. Mr. Kennedy is Principal Bass of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra, and was formerly Associate Principal Bass of the Honolulu Symphony. He has performed with the Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, Toledo, Kalamazoo, New Mexico, and Cedar Rapids symphonies.
As a composer and arranger, John has written dozens of works, both arrangements and original compositions, for young bass ensembles and for youth orchestras. He holds his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in String Bass Performance from the University of Michigan.
Nick Karpinsky – Studio String Orchestra
Nick Karpinsky graduated from Wayne State University in 2009 receiving a Bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education. He has studied with various violinists over the years including Geoffrey Applegate and Jim Waring. As a violinist, Nick performs with many community orchestras including the Macomb Symphony Orchestra, the Lake St. Clair Symphony, and Symphony of the Lakes. He has also performed with several artists including Il Divo, Mannheim Steamroller, Aretha Franklin, and Eddie Daniels. Nick has performed with artists at the Fox Theater, Orchestra Hall, DTE Energy Music Theater, and Joe Louis Arena.
Nick Karpinsky is in the fourth year of his public school teaching career. Nick is the director or orchestras for Mott High School and Mason Middle School in the Waterford School District. In addition to public school teaching, he also conducts the Presto String Orchestra for the Detroit Civic Youth Ensembles. Nick is looking forward to his fourth season with the Studio String Orchestra.