Samvel Chilingarian

Samvel Chilingarian is a performing violinist, educator and conductor. After his studies at the California State University Northridge and the University of Missouri Kansas City, Mr. Chilingarian moved to Vienna to continue his studies in authentic performance and conducting. In 1994 Mr. Chilingarian was invited to conduct the Linz Summer Festival Youth Orchestra. Since his return to L.A., Mr. Chilingarian’s focus has been to bring spirited and passionate music to young musicians. Mr. Chilingarian is the Artistic Director and conductor of the Verdugo Youth Orchestra (VYO) and the VYMA Music Project at Longfellow, an El Sistema inspired program in Pasadena. The project was launched after his visit to Venezuela in December 2008 for a 15-day study of the famed El Sistema. In 2007, the VYO was invited by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the International Youth Orchestra Festival. Mr. Chilingarian has actively participated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic YOLA initiative since 2007 as a stakeholder and recently was featured as a guest speaker. Mr. Chilingarian currently serves on the faculty of East LA College and continues to perform with the award winning Elixir Piano Trio.

Ilona Geller

Originally from Ukraine, Ilona currently resides and works as a freelance performance and recording artist in Los Angeles. She plays for the television shows American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, X-Factor, America’s Got Talent, and The Voice. She has also appeared on the Tonight Show and the Conan O’Brien Show. Ilona’s credits include live shows with leading contemporary recording artists including P.Diddy, Michael McDonald, Adam Levine (Maroon5), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Fergie, John Legend, Jason Mraz, Maynard James Keenan (Tool), Robin Thicke, and Cee-Lo Green. Ilona has appeared in music videos for Tricia Yearwood, Andrae Crouch, and Carrie Underwood. Ilona has performed with renowned country music stars Vince Gill, Randy Travis, and Blake Shelton and legendary jazz greats Stevie Wonder, Diane Reeves, Frank Sinatra Jr., Christian McBride, Michael Buble, Quincy Jones, Dave Koz, and Natalie Cole.

Ilona toured and recorded with Yanni for over 8 years and participated in a number of Yanni’s video projects including “Ethinicity”, “Yanni Live!”, and “Yanni Voices”. Her other touring experience has spanned various music genres: from rock – “Flashback: Mystic Orchestra” – to opera’s Andrea Bocelli.

Ms. Geller serves as the principal violist for Burbank Philharmonic, Downey, and Los Angeles Symphony orchestras and is assistant principal for St.Matthews Chamber Orchestra. Her accomplishments have earned her an invitation for a permanent position with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse in France. In addition to her extensive and successful orchestral, chamber, and solo performance career, Ilona records for film and television and appears in TV commercials. She also performs for the industry’s top award shows and events (Grammy’s, The Superbowl, baseball’s World Classic, Billboard Awards, and People’s Choice Awards among others).

Ms.Geller is looking forward to another successful year with VYMA, helping guide young talents of our future generation.



Pasadena Community Foundation