Artistic Management & Staff
General Manager & OCYSE Conductor
Cathy Olinger received her Bachelor of Music degree with Graduate work at California State University, Long Beach. She has taught all levels of instrumental and choral music. As the founding Director of Instrumental Music program at Tesoro High School in the Capistrano Unified School District, she developed a comprehensive Music Department with over 500 students enrolled in the music department. In 2015, Tesoro High School was recognized as a GRAMMY Signature School for its consistent level of excellence in all facets of its music program, making it one of only five high school programs nationwide to receive the award.
Mrs. Olinger has served as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout California. She was honored to conduct the All Southern California Middle School (SCSBOA) Honor Orchestra Conductor in 1999 and 2015 and is currently serving as a Vice President on the board of directors for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association—one of the largest regional music organization in California.
She has been recognized as an Educator of the Year for the California League of High Schools, a recipient of the Irene Schoepfle Award for distinguished contributions in Orange County Music Education, and the Encore Award for outstanding achievement in Music Education. Most recently, she received the SCSBOA Honorary Life Membership.
Currently, Mrs. Olinger works at CSULB in the music education department as a student teacher supervisor and instructor for instrument methods classes.
From working with the finest ensembles on the west coast to one-on-one coaching in the classroom, Mrs. Olinger sets high standards for achievement and musical excellence. She is a passionate advocate of music education who provides opportunity for students to develop an appreciation of music with the skills and discipline necessary for achieving musical success throughout a lifetime of experiences.
Operations & Personnel Manager
Danielle Culhane received her Bachelor of Music and M.A. in Education from Vanguard University. She currently is the director of band and orchestra at Paramount Park Middle School, Paramount and has been the Operations & Personnel Manager for the Orange County Youth Symphony for over ten years. Danielle has traveled throughout Europe with OCYS as a manager, performer, and passionate music educator who instills the knowledge and value of music for every student. She has been recognized as Teacher of the Year 2017-2018 for her school site as well as for the Paramount Unified School District.
Ms. Culhane believes music education provides an opportunity for students to develop an appreciation for music and encourages the skills and discipline necessary for achieving musical success throughout a lifetime of experiences. Students learn the importance of a cooperative team effort while working with fellow members to accomplish the shared goals.
Coordinator of Strings
A native of Bulgaria, Moni Simeonov began playing the violin at age 5, and ten years later, came to the United States on a full scholarship to the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies at USC’s Thornton School of Music where he studies with Midori and serves as Adjunct Instructor of Violin and Chamber Music. An active member of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Simeonov also performs with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Opera, Master Chorale, Ensemble San Francisco, and serves as the acting Concertmaster for the Sacramento Philharmonic. His doctorate studies include minor fields in Viola Performance, Schenkerian Analysis, Japanese Language, as well an emphasis on the interpretation of Balkan folk music. On tour and in Los Angeles, Mr. Simeonov dedicates considerable time and energy to community engagement work and to musical activities and presentations for young people. For the last five seasons, Moni has performed and coached alongside Midori for her Orchestra Residencies Program American and International tours. In 2012, he became the Director of the program.
Moni’s first CD recording was a result of his winning the Idyllwild Arts Academy Concerto Competition. Upon graduation from Idyllwild, he was named “Most Outstanding Musician” of his class. He continued his education at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Zvi Zeitlin on full scholarship, earned first prize at the school’s concerto competition, and was awarded a Performer’s Certificate. While at Eastman, Moni regularly performed on the school’s Antonio Stradivari of 1714. He also served as concertmaster for the Eastman Symphony, Philharmonia, and Opera Orchestras. Having earned his Artist Diploma from Yale University, Mr. Simeonov completed his Masters in Music there with Ani Kavafian and was concertmaster for the Yale Philharmonia Orchestra and New Music Ensemble. Following Yale, Mr. Simeonov earned his Graduate Certificate Degree from USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he studied with Midori and received the Outstanding Student Award in May 2009. To supplement and enhance his collegiate experiences, Mr. Simeonov has attended several summer performance festivals, including Tanglewood, the Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, the Oregon Bach Festival, and Atlantic Music Festival. Also in the summers, Moni serves as a violin and chamber music faculty at University of Maine’s Chamber Music Institute.
Mr. Simeonov has concertized and taught around the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His recordings have been archived by PBS, NPR, KUSC, Bulgarian National Radio and TV, as well as Japanese Broadcasting Company—NHK. Upcoming tour destinations include Brazil, South Africa, Lebanon, and the Czech Republic. Past chamber music collaborations have involved members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Tokyo and Ying String Quartets, as well as Jerome Lowenthal, Giora Schmidt, Joseph Silverstein, Zvi Zeitlin and Midori.
Coordinator of Winds
Born in Montpellier, France, Mathieu Girardet is a clarinetist, composer, arranger, and educator. Mr. Girardet holds Bachelor of Music degrees in education and clarinet performance from California State University, Long Beach and a Master of Music degree in clarinet performance from the University of Michigan. As a graduate fellow at Michigan, he performed in the University Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, and the Instrumental Conducting Seminar. His clarinet quintet was awarded second prize at University of Michigan’s Briggs Chamber Music Competition, performing a series of his arrangements.
Since joining the faculty at Irvine Valley College in 2017, Mr. Girardet has directed the Wind Symphony, taught Music Appreciation, Harmony I, and led the Applied Clarinet studio. At the Orange County School of the Arts, he has served as Coordinator of the Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program. His courses have included music theory, chamber music, clarinet masterclass, woodwind sectionals, and Symphonic Band. Mr. Girardet is also the Coordinator of Woodwinds and Brass with the Philharmonic Society's Orange County Youth Symphony. He is the bass clarinetist of the Syrinx Quintet, which was recently named winner of the 2019-2020 Beverly Hills National Auditions. Mr. Girardet resides in Costa Mesa with his wife and corgi.
Assistant Manager & Librarian
Tristan Chilvers is a composer and pianist whose primary compositional work is Film Score and multimedia soundtracks. He currently studies film music and computer science at Chapman University, and takes pride in performing in the University's Jazz Combo. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, traveling, and applying both fields of study into his personal work.