Musician Spotlight

Yhasmin Valenzuela, Clarinet


Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard’s musicality is communicated through her warm and heartfelt sound both in her orchestral and chamber music performances. She is a vibrant performer and educator throughout all of New England. In addition to the Apollo Ensemble, she also collaborates frequently with Symphony New Hampshire, New England Philharmonic, and Cape Ann Symphony among others.

An advocate for contemporary music, Yhasmin has performed in the premieres of many new works as a core member of The Boston New Music Initiative. Yhasmin holds a Bachelor’s degree in performance and education from Conservatorio de Lima “Josafat Roel Pineda”, a Master’s Degree in clarinet performance from Texas Christian University and a Graduate Performance Diploma in clarinet performance from the Longy School of Music.

Cindy Lin, Violin


Violinist Cindy Lin is an avid soloist, chamber and orchestral musician across United States, Europe, and Asia. In recent seasons, she has served as the concertmaster of the Prague Summer Night Festival Orchestra, principal violinist of the Juilliard Orchestra and Ureuk Symphony Orchestra, and guest musician of the Apollo Ensemble of Boston. Last summer, she participated in the Juilliard and Royal Academy of Music Orchestra performance at the BBC Proms in London under the baton of Edward Gardner. In 2018, she performed as the lead violinist for the world premiere of Greg Sandow’s String Quartet “The Remembered Song” at the Suk Hall in Prague. As a soloist, Cindy has given recitals in Taiwan and the United States.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Cindy began her musical journey at age 5 and moved to Boston in 2011 to study with Magdalena Richter. She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School under the guidance of Naoko Tanaka.

Joel Bard, Oboe


Joel Bard received his Bachelor of Music in oboe at the Cleveland Institute and went on to get his Master of Music degree, studying oboe and orchestral conducting at The Julliard School. Joel has worked as a freelance oboist and conductor in the Philadelphia and Boston areas and served on the faculty of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge. He was the director of the Repertory Orchestra at the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras from 1989 until 2011. After getting his Ph.D in biochemistry, working on muscarinic signalling at Harvard, he did his postdoctoral fellowship in x-ray crystallography at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute.  He currently leads a bioinformatics group supporting biotherapeutic drug discovery at Pfizer.

Thomas Collum, Violin


Thomas Collum is a freelance violinist in the Boston area, performing as both an orchestral and chamber musician. After graduating from Cornell University in 2014, Thomas briefly explored a career in hospitality investment consulting until 2018, when he decided to instead pursue a career as a performing violinist, teacher, and collector of antique violins. 

Thomas’ past performance experiences include concertmaster positions in the Bruckner Festival Orchestra, International Mayfest Orchestra, Cornell Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, and Symphony in the Valley (Aspen, NY), as well as concerto performances with the Grassroots Festival Orchestra (Lansing, NY) and the IHS Orchestra. He has received instruction from Markus Placci, Marc Rovetti, Ariana Kim, Joseph Lin, and Roberta Crawford, and is currently studying with Dan Stepner, a modern and baroque violinist formerly of Brandeis University and the Lydian String Quartet.

William Prince, French Horn


William Prince started to play the french horn at the age of 11. He became principal horn and soloist with the London Schools Symphony Orchestra and continued to study the horn at Cambridge University while studying medicine. During this time he became principal horn in the University Symphony and Chamber Orchestra as well as giving multiple performances as a soloist. He studied with Alan Civil, Ifor James and Tony Halstead. He started playing professionally in 1977 as the principal horn in the Academy of Ancient Music playing the natural horn and as co-principal horn in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (a regional full time professional orchestra in the UK). He continued to freelance in parallel to his work as a medical doctor playing with orchestras in London such as the English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, the Hanover Band, London Classical Players and English Baroque soloists. He moved to the US in 2000 and started playing in Boston in 2015 where he has played with number of symphony orchestras and chamber groups while continuing at his job in Novartis. He is married to an amazing artist and has a son at Harvard.

Ken Allen, Viola


An avid reader, Ken Allen completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in English at UNC-Chapel Hill and at Harvard before earning a Master of Music degree in Viola Performance at the Boston Conservatory. He enjoys early music as much as new music and has performed with a variety of ensembles in the Boston area and beyond, including the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, Boston New Music Initiative, Cape Symphony, Commonwealth Lyric Theater, Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Lexington Symphony, MassOpera, New England Philharmonic, Newton Baroque, Oriana Consort, and Plymouth Philharmonic, among others. Ken has attended the Baroque Academy at the Amherst Early Music Festival, as well as the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College, and the International Baroque Institute at Longy. He currently studies with Dana Maiben and Sarah Darling at the Longy School of Music. His other primaryteachers include David Rubinstein, Jane Starkman, Lenny Matczynksi, Lila Brown, Gillian Rogell, and Anne Hooper Webb.

Yizhen Wang, Double Bass


Double bassist Yizhen Wang began her studies with Jian Cao at the age of 16 in Shanghai, China. An active performer, Ms. Wang plays regularly with ensembles throughout the Greater Boston Area. Ms.Wang has also served as a faculty member of New England Conservatory Preparatory School, introducing double bass to students of all ages. Since last year, Ms. Wang has held a vacation camp with friends in Lexington, MA, aiming to combine music with visual art in a holistic way and to help children develop their own artistic senses.

Ms. Wang pursued studies at the New England Conservatory and Boston University. She was also a fellow at the Round Top Festival in 2015. Yizhen’s many wonderful teachers include Todd Seeber, Lawrence Wolfe, and Derek Weller.

Lynn Giam, Violin


Raised and born in Singapore, Lynn Giam is a recent Double-Degree graduate of Oberlin College, majoring in Economics (High Honors) and Violin Performance. There, she was under the tutelage of Gregory Fulkerson and Milan Vitek for her violin studies. 

As an active performer, Lynn frequently plays for the Apollo Ensemble and June in Buffalo Festivals. Her other summer engagements include the International Academy of Pilsen (2011), Cambridge International Strings Academy (2012), Aspen Music Festival (2015) and Meadowmount School of Music (2016), where she studied with Stephen Shipps, Rodney Friend, David Halen, and Sally Thomas, respectively. She has also studied with Min Lee and Qian Zhou in Singapore. Currently, she works as a research associate in the finance field.