Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz has served as Assistant Conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Canton Youth Symphony and Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra since 2017. During his tenure, he has conducted over a dozen performances with the orchestra, including works of Stravinsky, Saint-Saëns, Purcell, and Eric Benjamin on Masterworks series concerts. Last season saw his debut with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic and CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra in a collaboration with Grammy award-winning jazz trumpeter and Oscar nominated film composer Terence Blanchard.
Matthew made his Carnegie Hall debut in July 2018, conducting works of Fauré and Zach Gulaboff Davis. He was Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Apotheosis Opera in New York City for four years, with whom he conducted fully-staged productions of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, and Strauss’ Capriccio. On the concert podium, he has conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Litha Symphony Orchestra, and Mannes Orchestra, along with numerous ensembles he has assembled himself.
Matthew holds degrees from Brown University and Mannes College of Music. He studied conducting with David Hayes, and was a Julius Rudel Conducting Fellow with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where he received mentorship from Music Director JoAnn Falletta. He also served as Assistant Conductor of the Mannes Opera, where he worked under Glimmerglass Opera Music Director Joseph Colaneri.
Matthew is a native of Cincinnati, where he attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts before graduating from Walnut Hills High School. He swam competitively for the Cincinnati Aquatic Club, and continues to train and compete through U.S. Masters Swimming as a member of O*H*I*O Masters Swim Club. He is a member of the bass section of the Trinity Cathedral Choir in Cleveland, and is also an avid skier, hiker, and devoted baseball and football fan.
Ralena Mae Bevington has been the Canton Youth Strings instructor since 2017. A native of Canton, Ohio she began playing the violin and taking vocal lessons at the age of seven. Ralena achieved her Bachelor of Music Education Degree (BME) from the University of Mount Union, graduating cum laude. While attending the University of Mount Union, she played the viola in the Alliance Symphony. After graduating from college, she worked for Plain Local Schools for two years as their Orchestra Director. She is currently the Director of Strings for Canton City Schools where she teaches at McKinley HS (Downtown & Main Campus) and the Arts Academy at Summit. Ralena achieved her Master of Arts in Education as an Intervention Specialist, with a reading endorsement, from Malone University.
In 2013, alongside Ms. Betty Smith, Beverly Bevington and S.C. Toe, she became Co-Founder of the 501c3 program En-Rich-Ment. This program gives inner-city children the opportunity to learn any musical instrument at no charge to the family. “In a society where we are connected through technology, music gives us the experience of having human interactions. We are able to have basic human relations and express our feelings through something that we all have in common; it gives us something to relate to. Everyone has a talent – music helps find it. I teach much more than just notes and rhythms on a page. I teach compassion, empathy, basic skills ie: reading/math, and how to work as a team. I teach LIFE through music.”
In Ralena’s short career, she has achieved numerous recognitions including: The Williams Scholarship in Fine Arts, Mu Phi Epsilon Merit Award, The Gerald & Esther Garland Palmer – ‘32 Music Scholarship, Joseph A. & Rhea M. Jeffries Memorial Scholarship, Cecil T. & Marian H. Steward Award, The National Cabinet of Mount Union Women Scholarships, and Top 10 Finalist in the Canton Symphony Music Educator of the Year two years in a row.
Aside from teaching music, Ralena’s is an avid equine enthusiast participating in many events including Ranch Riding and Cutting.