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Mr Eduardo Méndez
Executive Director, El Sistema Venezuela

“When a child or youngster with El Sistema begins to play or sing, they immediately become full of hope. They begin to feel valued by their peers and teachers. They begin to understand that there is a different path than what the streets offer them.”

Eduardo Méndez was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1978. He grew up in Mérida and started learning the violin in a núcleo (a local El Sistema centre) at a young age. In 1996 he was accepted into the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, one of the orchestras under El Sistema’s umbrella. He stayed with the orchestra as a violinist and violin teacher until 2002. In 2003 he joined El Sistema as Director of Academy Division. He became National Director of Nuclei in 2004, and Sectional Director for Music and Education from 2005 to 2008. In September 2008, Méndez was appointed by José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema’s founder, to be his successor in the role of as Executive Director.

Since taking up his current post, Méndez has steered the development of the El Sistema project across Venezuela, with an emphasis on increased social inclusion and higher standards of performance. He supervises major capital projects including the building of new educational facilities and performance spaces, which propels El Sistema’s nationwide network of over 400 núcleos to expand both in number and in scope. He also plays an active role in selecting, identifying, developing and promoting musical groups throughout the institution, which range from major symphony orchestras to local choirs.

Méndez was a violin teacher and performer at Pedro Nolasco Colón Conservatory between 1994 and 1999, and also studied law at Andrés Bello Catholic University from 1995 to 2000. Méndez obtained a Masters degree in Public Management from the Institute of Advanced Studies of Administration and Management in Caracas in 2007. Recently, he obtained a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University.

Mr Leong Cheung
Executive Director, Charities and Community, The Hong Kong Jockey Club

Mr. Leong Cheung is the Executive Director of Charities & Community at The Hong Kong Jockey Club since 2014. The Hong Kong Jockey Club donates close to HKD 4 billion to the community annually through the Club’s Charities Trust for the betterment of Hong Kong.

Mr. Cheung has had extensive experience before joining the Club. He was an Operating Partner with Bain Capital. Prior to that, he was Managing Director of Global Sourcing & Supply Chain at Esquel Group, the founder and CEO of an education focused Internet venture, and a senior consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. Mr. Cheung is also co-Founder & Chairman of an innovative social enterprise, RunOurCity.

Besides professional career, Mr. Cheung had been an honorary advisor and director of Social Ventures Hong Kong, a pioneer venture philanthropic fund, since its inception in 2007. He also served as member of the Council and Deputy Chairman of the Court at Lingnan University. He currently serves in the Elderly Commission, Community Care Fund task force under the Commission on Poverty of the HKSAR Government, and is a director of the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited. He is also an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Mr. Cheung has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Mr Arnaldo N. Custodio
Band Manager and Conductor, Philippine Youth Symphonic Band

Arnaldo N. Custodio has been dedicated to fostering the development of young musicians and enhancing community music appreciation in the Philippines for more than 30 years. He has been the Band Manager of the Philippine Youth Symphonic Band since 1982, and a Board Trustee of the Young Musicians Development Organization since 2004. He founded the Paulinian Symphony Orchestra at St. Paul’s College in 2010, and he served as Orchestra Director from 2010 to 2013.

Custodio began studying the bassoon in 1976 at the University of the Philippines College of Music with Celso Gallardo as his mentor. In 1977 he was appointed principal bassoon player of the Philippine Youth Orchestra, and performed as a soloist during the orchestra’s Southeast Asian tour in 1979. He was delegated to three Asian Youth Music Camps held in Makiling (1977) with Australian bassoonist Professor Richard McIntyre, and as a playing tutor in Singapore (1978) and Hong Kong (1979). In 1980 he won a British Council scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London, where he worked with Professor Kerry Camden.

As a professional musician, Custodio has performed with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Metro Manila Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra, and other orchestras and ensembles.

Ms Nicola Killean
Chief Executive Officer,  Sistema Scotland

Nicola Killean was the first employee of Sistema Scotland in 2007 and has worked with the Board to create and grow the organisation. She graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with a degree in music education, and has previously worked in a number of roles: as a nursery teacher, as one of the first cultural coordinators in Scotland focusing on designing arts projects as social development and intervention models, as Scottish Development Officer for Youth Music, as a music leader and as a freelance project manager.  

Nicola is a Saltire Foundation Fellow, and has also previously held voluntary roles within the Children’s Panel in Scotland and on the Board of Horsecross Arts. She believes passionately in the transformative effects the arts can have on individuals and communities, and in the potential of all children and young people.  


Mr Jeffrey Kimpton
President-Emeritus, Interlochen Center for the Arts (USA)

Jeffrey Kimpton has been a leader in arts education in K-12/higher education, corporate, non-profit and philanthropic organisations for more than four decades.

Kimpton has served as President of the internationally renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts (Michigan) for the last 14 years, creating a period of unprecedented growth in the programme, media, engagement, human, capital and financial resources of Interlochen. Under his leadership Interlochen received the National Medal of Art from President George W. Bush in 2006. Mr. Kimpton led K-12 music and arts programmes for 16 years in public schools in New York, Minnesota and Kansas, and then served with distinction as Director of Education for Yamaha Corporation in the USA, Director of the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, and Director of the School of Music and professor of music education at the University of Minnesota–Minneapolis.

Mr. Kimpton holds degrees from the University of Illinois in music education, school and arts administration. He is a frequent author, speaker, presenter and consultant in the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. He lives in Minneapolis, USA.

Mr Kenneth Lee
Senior Outreach Manager, Hong Kong Arts Festival

Kenneth Lee is the Senior Outreach Manager of the Hong Kong Arts Festival where he is in charge of all the Festival’s school education programmes, including the Young Friends scheme, the Artists-in-Residence Programme and all school outreach programmes supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. He is also an Honorary Committee Member (Programme Planning) of Die Konzertisten, a distinguished chamber choir in Hong Kong. Kenneth is one of the founders of the Hong Kong Youth Choir, and between 2008 and 2011 was the Music Administrator of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups where he played a major role in establishing the Hong Kong International a Cappella Festival.

Kenneth is a graduate of the Business Administration School at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He obtained his Masters Degree in International Business Management from Royal Holloway, University of London, and is an alumnus of the Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme, organised by the University of Hong Kong in association with the Clore Leadership Programme.

Ms Nancy Loo
Pianist and Broadcaster and Prison Music Programme Volunteer

Nancy Loo is one of Hong Kong’s most versatile artists, as a pianist, radio programme host, actress and writer. She was a recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in 1978. She teaches piano at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is often invited to host music talks and masterclasses and to serve as a juror at piano competitions.

Loo is the presenter of music programme Cantilena and Hong Kong’s only classical music radio show for children, Children’s Corner, on Radio 4 of Radio Television Hong Kong. As a pianist she has given solo recitals and performed with orchestras in the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Hong Kong. She has participated in several multimedia and drama productions, and performed as a narrator in concerts such as Peter and the Wolf with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Loo has published two books and released several albums, including Ambush and Moonlight on Spring River with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra.

Since 2011, Loo has been actively involved in music ministry in prisons, particularly with young offenders under the age of 21. These initiatives have included the founding of a prison band and a prison radio station run by inmates, as well as music lessons and performances. Loo pays regular visits to inmates to promote rehabilitation through arts activities and education.

Ms Monique Pong
Founder and Artistic Director, Music Children Foundation

Monique Pong graduated from the Department of Keyboard at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She studied the piano with renowned teacher Eva Lue and music pedagogy with Eleanor Wong. After graduation, she worked as a music teacher in a primary school. Subsequently, she advanced her education at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France, where she studied with Germaine Mournier to refine her piano playing skills.

As a passionate and devoted music educator, Pong is experienced in children’s education and teacher training. She is active in promoting instrumental education and community arts, with a view to guiding children in selecting the right musical instruments to learn. She continues to hold concerts and workshops in Hong Kong, and is devoted to introducing children to multi-dimensional arts by integrating multimedia and different artistic formats into the musical arts.

In 2013, Monique launched the Music Children@Sham Shui Po and Music Cradle@Sham Shui Po projects, and established the Music Children Foundation which is currently based in Sham Shui Po and Mongkok. The foundation provides free music education for underprivileged children in the local community, and allows more children to enjoy the beauty of classical music.

Prof Wang Yong
Dean of the School of Music, Shanghai University

A music scholar, music historian, music critic and musician, Prof Wang Yong graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1993. He studied at the Academy for Music and Theatre in Munich, Germany from 2002 to 2004, and he was the first graduate from a China-Germany joint doctoral degree in music programme. After returning to China, he headed many research and development projects that were commissioned by the Ministry of Education or based in Shanghai. They included Biographies of the Earlier Generations of Educators in the People’s Republic of China—He Luting, a key research project of the Philosophy and Sociology Division, Ministry of Education; and the planning of an arts administration programme in the fourth phase of the Education Highland project by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.  

Prof Wang is the author of many books including Music by the Sea – On the Old Songs from Shanghai and 100 Old Songs from Shanghai. He has edited various books such as Case Studies in Arts Administration (Volumes 1 and 2) and The Cultural Map of Shanghai. He is also a popular radio and TV programme host in Shanghai, and he is currently the host of Weekly Radio Concert and Dr Wong’s Music Studio. 

Ms Katie Wyatt
Executive Director, El Sistema USA

Katie Wyatt is an accomplished musician, executive and innovator in social change through music. In July 2010, Wyatt co-founded Kidznotes, North Carolina’s first El Sistema-inspired organisation. Including her work in El Sistema, Wyatt is a national leader in creating programmes for access and opportunity through the transformative power of music. She enjoys teaching “Music and Social Entrepreneurship” as adjunct faculty at Duke University, and as a violist has performed with chamber groups and orchestras around the world.

In July 2016, Wyatt became the first Executive Director of El Sistema USA, the national network supporting the US movement of El Sistema, headquartered at Duke University. She was recently honoured as a Kennedy Center 2017-18 Citizen Artist Fellow, a national award recognising her work in citizen artistry and community development through the arts.

Wyatt speaks Spanish and French and holds advanced degrees in Political Science and Viola Performance.

Ms Yao Jue
Founder and Artistic Director, Hong Kong String Orchestra

Yao Jue’s professional career has been punctuated by acclaimed performances throughout Asia, Europe and the US. She made her New York violin recital debut before a standing room only audience at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 1993.

Yao currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund and a member of the programme committee of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. She is also a council member of Shanghai Political Consultative Committee. Yao was appointed to be a Justice of the Peace in Hong Kong in 2013.

From 2014 to 2015, she was appointed the Artist-in-Residence of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and was conferred the title of University Fellowship in 2015. She was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star (BBS) by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2017.

Ms Carol Yew Wing-see
Clinical Psychologist and Expressive Arts Therapist

Carol Yew Wing-see works with clients of all ages and backgrounds including pre-school and school-aged children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. Her work includes psychological assessment, individual psychotherapy, group treatment, expressive arts therapy, as well as delivering psycho-educational talks, workshops and professional training to different target demographics.

Yew is actively involved in promoting Positive Psychology and mental health in school settings, workplaces and the community. She also conducts expressive arts therapy workshops and programmes at various organisations in Hong Kong. She has been interviewed by various mainstream media TV and radio stations, newspapers and magazines. She is the co-author of two self-help books on stress management and Positive Psychology.

Yew is a registered clinical psychologist of the Hong Kong Psychological Society. She holds a Master of Social Sciences (Clinical Psychology) from the University of Hong Kong, and an Advanced Diploma in Expressive Arts Therapy from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute, Canada.

Ms Tisa Ho
Executive Director, Hong Kong Arts Festival

Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) since 2006, Tisa Ho has increased annual turnover and extended the scope of HKAF programming to include large scale and site specific productions.

Tisa’s previous work includes wide-ranging policy and infrastructure planning projects. These include brief development for Singapore’s Esplanade and oversight of government owned venues; marketing and curatorial responsibilities for the Singapore Arts Festival; management of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Victoria Concert Hall during which she helped to set up the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Region Orchestras and the Singapore International Piano Festival; and the building of the first Open Air performance space on Symphony Lake at the Botanic Gardens.  As Chair of the Hong Kong Arts Administrators’ Association, she initiated the organisation’s annual Cultural Leadership Summit, which remains an annual highlight for professional arts managers in the region.

Tisa is an Advisor for Arts Administration at the Hong Kong Arts Development Council; Member of the Performing Arts Committee of the West Kowloon Cultural District; Board Member of the Association of Asia and Pacific Arts Festivals; Board Member and co-chair of Programmes at the International Society for Performing Arts. Other international appointments have included work with Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.

Prof Sun-man Tseng, JP
Veteran arts administrator

Professor Sun-man Tseng has held a number of senior arts management positions in Hong Kong, including Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, Secretary-General of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Head of Radio 4, Radio Television Hong Kong. He served as Chair and Professor of the Arts Administration Department of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music from 2005 to 2008.

He joined the Education University of Hong Kong as Adjunct Professor in 2012. He played a key role in the design and launch of the Executive Master of Arts in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship programme in 2014. The programme attracted experienced cultural managers from seven Asian cities.

Professor Tseng is currently Chairman of the Committee on Venue Partnership of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Arts Development of the Hong Kong Government, an Arts Advisor (Arts Administration) of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and a board member of the Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) based in the US. From 1991 to 1994, he was Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Administrators Association. His book Principles of Arts Management (written in Chinese) has been used as a textbook in many tertiary institutions in mainland China and has sold more than 9,000 copies.

Prof Matthew Tommasini
Visiting Associate Professor & Composer-in-Residence, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Matthew Tommasini is a Visiting Associate Professor/Composer-in-Residence at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) where he coordinates an innovative and rapidly growing music programme and serves as Associate Artistic Director of the Intimacy of Creativity festival and HKUST Music Alive! concert series.

He has been awarded prizes and grants from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the ASCAP Foundation’s Leonard Bernstein Fund, and the American Music Center’s Composer Assistance Program. His work has been performed by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Stoltzman, the Daedalus Quartet, and has been featured at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, New York Festival of Song, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, and Bowdoin International Music Festival.

His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Boston Music Intelligencer, and South China Morning Post, and featured on Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), TVB Pearl, and WCNY.  He can be heard regularly on RTHK Radio 4, providing live commentary for a variety of concert events in Hong Kong.