Shabnam Fasa has been Executive Director and Board Member of the organization since 2011. During that time, she has sustainably grown SMYO from 9 students to over 200 students, transforming a homegrown ensemble into a youth orchestra, a symphonic orchestra, a choir, and a parent ukulele ensemble.
In addition to her work with SMYO, Shabnam has founded and developed partner organizations including the Opus World Music Camp, a full 3 week program that serves over 100 musicians from all over the world teaching them not only western classical music but also workshop in Chinese, Iranian, Mariachi, Hawaiian, Near Eastern, Jazz Improvisation, Art and Movement. The Opus program represents the diverse landscape of Los Angeles. In 2012 Shabnam founded the Instrumental Music Program at PS1 Pluralistic School were students learn in group setting inspired by the El Sistema model. These programs are being funded by California Community Foundation, Colburn Foundation, D'Addario Foundation, Eastman Music, Herb Alpert Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation, Los Angeles Arts Commission, The Paul & Elreen Trust, Pluralistic School One, RHN Company, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Schwab Charitable, Sony Music, Todd R. Wagner Foundation, UCLA Confucius Institute, Weingart Foundation, and our many individual contributors Shabnam received her musical training at the Holbaek Kunst art school in Holbaek, Denmark, and holds a degree in ethnomusicology from UCLA. She has worked as a teaching artist for organizations including The City of Santa Monica, SMMUSD, and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA).
Portrait by Ray Mickshaw.