Yaira Matyakubova, Senior Resident Musician, violin, Haven String Quartet
Yaira Matyakubova has performed in Carnegie Hall with the Silk Road Project in collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and Pinchas Zuckerman, and she is a tenured member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. She received her Bachelor’s degree from The Harid Conservatory and her Master’s degree from Rice University in Houston, where she was honored with a President’s Award. Ms. Matyakubova further pursued her musical studies at Yale University from 2003-2005. Her teachers have included Syoko Aki, Kathleen Winkler, Julia Bushkova, and Isaak Reider.
Philip Boulanger, Resident Musician, cello, Haven String Quartet
Philip Boulanger maintains an active and varied career as a cellist. Prior to joining Music Haven as its Resident Cellist in 2013, Philip served as a Teaching Artist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, designing new and innovative curriculum for a variety of music education and outreach programs across Chicago Public Schools. Philip worked closely with Yo-Yo Ma on the Symphony’s Citizen Musician Initiative, including a performance together of Schubert’s Cello Quintet, and joined the CSO cello section for their MusicNOW series. Philip received his Masters in Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University and was the teaching assistant to Hans Jensen at the Meadowmount School of Music. While at Northwestern, Philip also held the position of Assistant Principal Cellist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Philip received his Bachelors of Music from Boston University, and an Artist Certificate from the Krakow Academy of Music in Poland.
Gregory Tompkins, Resident Musician, violin, Haven String Quartet
Gregory Tompkins is a native of Greenville, S.C. He holds a B.M. in violin performance and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of Charles Castleman. Recently, he received his Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory as a student of Lucy Chapman and Jennifer Frautschi. Gregory has participated in a variety of summer festivals across the United States, including Music Academy of the West, Spoleto Festival USA, the Castleman Quartet Program, and the National Repertory Orchestra. He concertizes regularly in solo and chamber recitals all over the eastern United States and has performed as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Annalisa Boerner, Resident Musician, viola, Haven String Quartet
Annalisa Boerner is interested in the connections between classical music and broader society, whether the arena be performance, pedagogy, or service. This interest led her to the Community MusicWorks fellowship in Providence, R.I., where she performed as a member of the Community MusicWorks Players and taught a full studio. During her time at CMW, Annalisa was part of world premiere performances of music by Gonzalo Grau and Kareem Roustom. She has collaborated with such artists as the Kronos Quartet, the Cavani String Quartet, the Claremont Trio, and members of the Cleveland Orchestra in concert. Annalisa earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has performed with various orchestras throughout New England and Ohio.
Colin Benn, Senior Resident Musician, Music101 Program, viola and bass
Colin Benn received his Bachelor’s in Music from the Juilliard School and his Master’s Degree at Longy School of Music of Bard College. Colin has performed in orchestras throughout New York, Italy and South America. He was the resident violist of Music Haven and a member of the Haven String Quartet from 2009 to 2015, and now serves as Senior Resident Musician, designing and teaching the Music 101 program.
Mandi has more than a decade of experience working in the New Haven community on issues of social and economic justice, and extensive experience working with children and young writers and musicians as a classroom teacher, a creative writing instructor, and a teacher in a summer arts program. In 2013, she helped establish New Haven Works, a nonprofit organization connecting local residents to good jobs in the region. Her career has taken her into classrooms and lecture halls as a professor in Wesleyan University’s African-American Studies program, and into boardrooms, workplaces, and community meetings as an organizer and campaign strategist in the labor movement with UNITE-HERE. She is also a lifelong learner and lover of music. While completing her undergraduate work in American Studies at Northwestern University, Mandi also studied jazz and improvisation in the School of Music, and enjoys singing and playing the saxophone. Mandi received her Ph.D. from Yale University, and is the author of a national award-winning book, Model City Blues, which looks at community spaces and protest movements in the 1960s in the same neighborhoods served by Music Haven today.
Director of Operations and Outreach
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Milda McClain was raised in the greater New Haven area. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven. Milda spent 22 years working with the Federal Government assisting indigent clients. After her time there, she created and implemented a kids’ fitness and nutrition program in East Haven. She’s a Life Wellness Coach and a licensed fitness instructor. Her love for children’s success has brought her to the Music Haven.
Administrative and Student Support Coordinator
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Born in Providence, R.I., Karina Irizarry is a recent graduate of the University of New Haven, with a major in Criminal Justice, a concentration in Investigative Services, and a minor in both Music and Psychology. Karina has a passion for music and lets it inspire her every day. She first heard of Music Haven through her school’s Community Work Study program during her freshman year. Eager to get to work right away, she became part of the Music Haven family as our Work Study student during all four years at school, and is now excited to help such a wonderful program promoting the arts as a full-time staff member.
Events and Donor Relations Manager
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Rebecca (Becky) Paugh is a Montana native who was transplanted to the city of New Haven over 30 years ago. She is passionate about the arts, education, and social justice, and has been a fan of Music Haven and its mission since attending her first concert - long before becoming part of the team. She is a mom of three kids, identifies as a dog person, and throws a good party. She was lucky enough to have had a music teacher who was critical in shaping and supporting her during her formative years.