Music Staff

Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra’s team of talented music instructors is led by Dr. Teresa Metzger Howe, BYSO Music Director, who also conducts the Youth Symphony. The BYSO music staff includes eight ensemble conductors as well as numerous professional local musicians who provide intensive, instrument-specific coaching for BYSO students during weekly rehearsal times.

Teresa Metzger Howe

Music Director

Teresa Metzger Howe is Music Director of the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra and conductor of BYSO’s top tier ensemble, the Youth Symphony. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Washington, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Butler University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Theory from Manchester College. She received a Morrison Conducting Fellowship at the University of Washington and the Murl Barnhart Award at Manchester College.

Dr. Metzger Howe is also the conductor of Rain City Symphony, a community orchestra in Seattle, Washington. She has been a frequent guest conductor of operas and musicals at Shoreline Community College and has also conducted the Pontiac Bay Symphony Orchestra, the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra, the University of Washington Summer Orchestra, Lakeside Orchestra, and the Rose City Chamber Orchestra, among others.

Dr. Metzger Howe’s opera conducting credits include Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Bizet’s Carmen, Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, Lehar’s Merry Widow, and Mozart’s Magic Flute. She has music-directed over 50 productions of stage musicals and cabarets in professional theaters throughout the United States and has studied or worked closely with several of today’s leading conductors, including Peter Eros, David Hoose, Ken Kiesler, Ken Woods, and Christopher Zimmerman. Dr. Metzger Howe also maintains a private piano studio in her home.

Dr. Metzger Howe joined BYSO in 2001 as the conductor of Premiere Orchestra and became Music Director and Youth Symphony conductor in 2005. Contact Dr. Metzger Howe at

Joseph Kempisty

Philharmonia Conductor

Joseph Kempisty holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University and a Master of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies degree from the University of Washington. Around the Northwest, Mr. Kempisty has performed as principal violist or principal double bassist for several area ensembles, including the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lake Union Civic Orchestra, the Emerald City Ballet Orchestra, and the Northwest Mahler Festival Orchestra.

As a clinician and guest conductor, Mr. Kempisty has worked with middle and high school musicians in regional large group festivals, small ensemble festivals, and honor orchestras. He has taught elementary, middle, and high school orchestras in the Midwest as well as in the Bellevue School District, where he was also a school administrator for fourteen years.  

Mr. Kempisty joined BYSO in 1999 as the conductor of Sinfonia and became conductor of Philharmonia in 2012. Contact Mr. Kempisty at

Barney Blough

Sinfonia Conductor

Barney Blough holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from Central Washington University, a Teaching Certificate from Seattle Pacific University, and a Professional Certificate from Pacific Lutheran University. He has served as Music Director of the Seattle Chamber Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Rainier Symphony, and Assistant Conductor of the Lake Union Civic Orchestra. He has been a guest conductor of the Spokane Symphony, Orchestra Seattle, and Emerald City Philharmonic, and has conducted musicals at several area high school and musical theaters.

Also a talented horn player, Mr. Blough has performed with numerous orchestras and ensembles throughout the Northwest, including Federal Way Symphony, Orchestra Seattle, and Bellevue Opera. Currently he is the Music Director of the Evergreen City Ballet and the orchestra director at Newport Middle School in the Bellevue School District.

Mr. Blough joined BYSO in 2008 as the conductor of Premiere Orchestra and became Sinfonia conductor in 2012. Contact Mr. Blough at

David Drassal

Premiere Orchestra Conductor

David Drassal holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Washington University, where he is currently working on his Master’s degree. Since moving to the Seattle area in 2007, Mr. Drassal has performed as a freelance violinist with several area orchestras and chamber groups, including the Federal Way Symphony and Sammamish Symphony, and is an active member of a local string quartet. Mr. Drassal also works as a clinician and adjudicator for orchestra and solo festivals across the state. 

Mr. Drassal currently teaches orchestra at Tyee Middle School in the Bellevue School District. Having also played trumpet, he is a good fit for BYSO’s Premiere Orchestra, where young wind players get their first orchestral experience. 

Mr. Drassal joined BYSO in 2007 as a violin coach, became Cadet String Orchestra conductor in 2010, and became Premiere Orchestra conductor in 2013. Contact Mr. Drassal at

Mollie Ewing

Debut String Orchestra Conductor

Mollie Ewing holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Educational Leadership degree from the University of Portland. She taught orchestra in the Issaquah School District from 2001 to 2010 and is currently teaching orchestra at Risdon Middle School in the Renton School District.

Mrs. Ewing is a freelance adjudicator and clinician for school districts around the region and has been a guest conductor for both the Elementary and Junior High Honor Orchestras in the Lake Washington School District and for the Olympic Music Educators Association. Previously, she performed and toured the United States with many Northwest indie bands as an electric violinist. She continues to perform on both violin and viola with various local string quartets. 

Mrs. Ewing joined BYSO as a coach in 2001 and became Debut String Orchestra conductor in 2012. Contact Mrs. Ewing at

Andrew Kam

Cadet String Orchestra Conductor

Andrew Kam received his BM in Music Education from the University of Miami and an MM in Violin Performance from the University of Oregon. Mr. Kam currently serves as the Orchestra Director at Bellevue High School and conductor for the Cadet String Orchestra with Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Kam regularly adjudicates for both small and large ensemble festivals and has served as guest conductor for honors orchestras in the Puget Sound region.

As a professional violinist, Mr. Kam is a member of both the Yakima Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Tacoma. He is one of the recording violinists heard on Kesha’s 2018 Grammy nominated single “Praying,” and has performed on other movie and popular music productions. Each year, Mr. Kam and his wife Angie (violin) tour with Trans Siberian Orchestra during the band’s stops in Seattle and Portland.

Mr. Kam is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. He enjoys rock climbing, skiing, cooking, and traveling. Mr. Kam also loves hiking with his dog Burt.

Mr. Kam joined BYSO as a violin coach in 2012 and became Cadet String Orchestra conductor in 2015. Contact Mr. Kam at

Sandra Saathoff

Flute Orchestra Director

Sandra Saathoff holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Washington, focusing on flute performance and instrumental conducting, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Pacific Lutheran University. She has served on the Board of Trustees for the Seattle Philharmonic, receiving their Esther Tye Smith Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication, and coordinated the NW Flute and Piccolo Forum and served on its faculty. She has served on the executive boards of the National Flute Association, Seattle Flute Society and Flutewise, and is a contributor to The Pedagogy Project and Flute Talk magazine.

Mrs. Saathoff is a professor of flute and conducts the flute ensemble at Seattle Pacific University. She also maintains a private flute studio and performs regularly with local orchestral, chamber, and folk ensembles. An Eastside native, she is an alumna of BYSO’s ancestor organization, the Olympic Youth Symphony, in which she performed during high school.

Mrs. Saathoff joined BYSO in 2004 as Flute Ensemble Director and the conductor of Flute Orchestra. Contact Mrs. Saathoff at

Merrie Siegel Parmley

Flute Choir Conductor

Dr. Merrie Siegel Parmley holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Rice University. She won the New York Flute Club’s Young Artist Competition at age 19 and since then has performed with the Houston Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Spokane Symphony, and Mozart Society of Philadelphia, among others. She has been Principal Flute with the Boise Philharmonic and with Mexico’s Sinfónica de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Filarmónica del Bajío, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Aguascalientes. Her playing has been hailed as “magnificent, jovial and radiant, with purity of tone and great technical command of the instrument.” 

Dr. Parmley enjoys teaching and collaborating with flutists of all ages and abilities in her private studio and performing throughout the Puget Sound area with her adult flute ensemble, Tutti Flutti. As Principal Flute of the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, she recently premiered the concerto House of Doors, written for her by award-winning Seattle flutist and composer Sarah Bassingthwaighte.

Dr. Parmley joined BYSO in 2010 as the conductor of Flute Choir. Contact Dr. Parmley at

Storm Benjamin

Percussion Ensemble Conductor

Storm Benjamin received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Central Washington University. Two years later, he earned his Master’s degree in Music Performance at Central Michigan University. Mr. Benjamin has wide-ranging performance experience, from playing solo sets to chamber, orchestral, and marching ensembles. Most notably, Mr. Benjamin has played with Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, Yakima Symphony Orchestra and has received percussion awards at the North American Brass Band Association.

Mr. Benjamin has a passion for teaching percussion to all ages. Mr. Benjamin first started coaching at BYSO’s summer camps and in 2018 joined as conductor for BYSO’s Percussion Ensemble. Contact Mr. Benjamin at

Our Coaches

Bass: Abigail Blackwell, Ramon Salumbides; Bassoon: Steven Morgan, Shannon M. Nelson; Cello: Erin Brown, Erika Fiebig, Shiang-Yin Lee, Tim Pizzichemi; Clarinet: Mary Kantor, Jenny Ziefel; Flute: Na Young Ham; Harp: Juliet Stratton; Horn: Paulette Altman; Oboe: Yuh-Pey Lin; Percussion: Denali Williams; Trombone: Elizabeth McDaniel, Keith Winkle; Trumpet: Matthew Frost; Viola: Camber M. Charlot, Seth May-Patterson, Carolyn Wyman; Violin: Annie Center, Lin Chen, Caroline Faflak, Elizabeth Gue, Rafael Howell-Flores, Pamela Liu, Anna Silarski


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