The official youth symphony of West Virginia

Our people


Robert Turizziani


In addition to his work with the West Virginia Youth Orchestra, Mr. Turizziani founded and led the Seneca Chamber Orchestra and is currently the Music Director of both the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the River Cities Symphony. He is the principal clarinet of the West Virginia Symphony and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music with a degree in clarinet performance. He has performed with the orchestras of Cincinnati, Columbus, Louisville, as well as the Cincinnati Pops and Opera. Under his direction, the West Virginia Youth Orchestra has made four international tours, Prague and Central Europe (2000), Italy and Austria (2006), and Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria (2012) and Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (2017). Mr. Turizziani teaches at West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia State University.

Ian Jessee


Ian Jessee, an Ohio native, came to West Virginia to participate in the West Virginia Symphony Artist-in Residence program as a string instructor for the Kanawha County Schools. Mr. Jessee earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Ohio State University. He performs with the West Virginia Symphony, Ohio Valley Symphony, and is concertmaster of the River Cities Symphony Orchestra. He spends summers in Austria as a violinist in the Classical Music Festival, playing in the Kismarton Quartet. He has participated in the New Hampshire Music Festival, and the Bach and Beyond Baroque Music Festival (Fredonia, NY). In 2007 and 2008, Mr. Jessee served on the faculty of the International Music Festival Akademi Datça in Turkey.

As an educator, Mr. Jessee’s public school programs have consistently received superior ratings and highest honors in regional and state competitions, and in 2011 placed 1st in the prestigious National Orchestra Festival, part of the American String Teachers Association Conference. He served from 2006-2008 as president of the West Virginia Chapter of ASTA, and currently serves as state chapter president of National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) organizing competitions and festivals . He is also a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the Ohio Music Education Association, the Conductors’ Guild, and the West Virginia Music Teachers’ Association.

Kristi Holstein


Kristi Holstein began playing violin at the age of 7 through the Mountaineer Montessori School strings program – initially studying with David Langer and later Bernard DiGregorio. As a member of Ian Jessee’s orchestra at Horace Mann Middle School, she traveled to Kansas City, MO for the group’s first-ever performance at the National Orchestra Festival competition. From 8th grade through her years at Capital High School Kristi participated in both orchestra and band programs (playing clarinet/bass clarinet), regularly earned principal positions in All-County, All-State, and regional honor band/orchestra ensembles, and studied privately with previous WVSO violinist Margie Cooper. Kristi was a member of the WVYS from 2005-2010 and performed on the group’s European tour in 2007.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance from West Virginia University (’14) and the University of Texas at Arlington (’16). In June 2016, Kristi moved to Santa Barbara, CA where she began coaching school orchestras with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, teaching at the Waldorf School of Santa Barbara, and playing professionally. As a Teaching Artist with the Santa Barbara Symphony, she taught privately and for school strings classes, and worked with the after-school BRAVO! Program. Kristi co-directed the Santa Barbara Education Foundation Summer Strings Camp from 2018-2020, served as music librarian and orchestra assistant for Santa Barbara Strings from 2017-2020, and was Personnel Manager of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony through its 2020-2021 virtual season.

Kristi earned positions with the prestigious pre-professional orchestras of Los Angeles: the American Youth Symphony and YMF Debut Chamber Orchestra, was a founding member of the Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara and performed with numerous orchestras along the Central Coast of California. As a chamber musician, she has performed at summer festivals across the US and Europe. Currently, she is music librarian and musician for the Ohio Valley Symphony and is an active sub with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Huntington Symphony Orchestra, and River Cities Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to being a performer and educator, Kristi is studying the art of repair and maintenance of stringed instruments and bows. Her time as a shop assistant at Linda West Cellos in Santa Barbara sparked the idea to open her own shop after moving back home since, like Linda’s shop, no music store within 100 miles has a trained stringed instrument technician. She is in the process of establishing her shop on the property that she inherited from her grandparents Larry and Mary Schoolcraft and has honored their gift by naming the business Schoolcraft Strings.

Bobby Jenks


Bobby Jenks – Mr. William Robert (“Bobby”) Jenks is a native of McDowell County, West Virginia where he graduated from Iaeger High School. He is a graduate of Concord University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education for grades K-12. While at Concord, Mr. Jenks studied trombone and jazz from Mr. Randy Budd. He received his Master of Arts in Music (trombone performance), from Marshall University, and studied with Dr. Michael Stroeher. He has taught in North Carolina, Virginia, and has spent most of his teaching career in West Virginia.

His Concert Bands and Jazz Ensembles have received numerous Superior Ratings both regionally and nationally. His marching bands, including The Pride of Capital High, won several Grand Championships. Mr. Jenks’ students have been members of the West Virginia All-State Band, as well as All-County, performed for Solo and Ensemble (WVMEA Solo and Ensemble), WV Youth Symphony, National Youth Symphony Orchestra, and many other additional activities.

He is a member of the National Association for Music Education and the International Trombone Association. Mr. Jenks is an active member of the Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters Fraternity (President – Phi Mu Chapter) and coordinates the band director clinic for WV band directors sponsored by (WV Bandmasters Association and Phi Beta Mu). He has been very active with the West Virginia Bandmasters Association, having served as the Secretary/Treasurer, as well as the Region 4 Band Festival Chair. He is currently serving as the graded music list chair, site host for the WV All-State Band auditions, as well as Region 4 Band Representative for the WV Bandmasters Association, and is the Immediate Past President for the WVMEA Conference.

Bobby plays trombone in The Brass 5, Lead Trombone (and personnel director) for The Jewel City Jazz Orchestra, and is a substitute trombonist for the River Cities Orchestra, Huntington Symphony Orchestra, as well as a substitute for the Laundau Murphy, Jr. Band. He leads the Christ Church Brass and is a member of the Chancel Choir and Chancel Ringers at Christ Church United Methodist. He sings tenor with the West Virginia “Opus Chorale”. Mr. Jenks is a wrestling official through the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission in the Kanawha Southern Board, and previously coached wrestling for several years. He and his wife Emily, along with their twins, reside in Hurricane. Mr. Jenks is in his 26th year as a music educator. He currently instrumental music / band director at George Washington High School.


Natalie Wehrle


Natalie performed as a clarinetist with the West Virginia Youth Symphony from 1996-2000. She was the winner of the 1998 concerto competition and performed as a soloist during the orchestra’s first European tour in 2000. Natalie is a graduate of WVU, where she obtained a Bachelor of Music degree for clarinet performance and studied piano technology. Her education in piano technology also includes studies with Steinway and Sons in New York. She currently resides in Charleston and has served as piano technician for the Clay Center, Culture Center, Kanawha County Schools, West Virginia State University, Marshall University, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Light Opera Guild, numerous churches and private clients throughout the tristate region.

board of directors


Juliana Serafin, President
Lisa Fischer-Casto, Vice President
Paula Durst, Secretary
Ruth Still Chase, Treasurer

Tom Beal
Andrew Blackwood
Eva Kay Cardea
Jennifer Carriger
Lisa Fischer-Casto
Ruth Still Chase
Dr. Josh Cusick-Lewis
Mark Davis
Steve Hopta
Jim McJunkin
Dr. Sarah Stephenson
Vathani Suhir
Lorena Surber


Sandra Groce
Ian Jessee
Joe Tackett
Robert Turizziani
Natalie Wehrle


Pamela Emch
Robin Snyder