Artistic Leaders

20Francisco J. Núñez (Conductor) has led the UGC since 2000, the club’s fifth conductor since it was established in 1894. Francisco, a MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year, is a composer, conductor, visionary, leading figure in music education, and the Artistic Director/Founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, renowned worldwide for its diversity and artistic excellence. Since its founding 30 years ago in 1988, Francisco has heightened an awareness of the ability of children to rise to unforeseen levels of artistry. A graduate of New York University, Francisco is sought after nationwide as a guest conductor by professional orchestras and choirs and as a master teacher. Through his Núñez Initiative for Social Change, Francisco is working to expand the YPC model to children’s choruses beyond New York City and is a frequent keynote speaker as a leading authority on the role of music in achieving equality and diversity among children in today’s society.  Francisco composes countless compositions and arrangements in all musical formats and styles for choirs, orchestras, and solo instruments and as a result has received an ASCAP Victor Herbert Award, the New York Choral Society’s Choral Excellence Award, and the Visionary Award from Bang on a Can. ABC-TV honored Francisco as its “Person of the Week,” and Musical America Worldwide named him among 30 “Influencers” for his contributions to the music industry, NYU presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award, and he holds an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Ithaca College. Francisco lives in New York City, his hometown, with his wife Elizabeth Núñez, the Associate Artistic Director of the YPC, and their two children.

171Jon Holden (Accompanist) has been principal pianist for the UGC since 2009, and has served the Young People’s Chorus of New York City as principal pianist since 1990, accompanying the ensemble in the world premieres of more than 100 new works, as well as on recordings, radio and television appearances, and hundreds of concerts and competitions on four continents. Jon is also the principal pianist for the NYU Jazz Ensemble, has conducted the New York University Orchestra, and has been music director and keyboardist of many Broadway productions in New York City. An authority on the music of Paul Bowles, he has performed the composer’s music extensively and has undertaken revisions of his works. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a performance diploma from L’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, a master’s degree from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from New York University, where he is currently a faculty member.