Neeta Helms, Founder and President [email]|
Born in India to a musical family, Neeta studied piano since she was 4, sang in public since 5 and in various choirs. Neeta holds a BA in Economics and an MBA. Since 1992 she built up Classical Movements into one of the premier music touring companies of the world, certainly the most diverse, offering services to world class orchestras, choruses, numerous celebrated institutions, world renowned conductors, composers and soloists. Neeta has travelled to over 80 countries and has forged relationships with leaders worldwide. Neeta speaks English and Hindi fluently, and basic German and French. Never afraid to take calculated risks she deliberately leads the company into new and exciting ventures. Classical Movements has distinguished itself by opening doors and new destinations to become the company people turn to for some of the most complicated, challenging and pioneering projects in the music world. Classical Movements and its predecessor, Blue Heart Travel, led trailblazing tours to Russia, including the 1993 tour of a 200 voice chorus accompanying the National Symphony Orchestra to Russia. Also South Africa '94, Vietnam '95 and Cuba '96. At request of the State Department and Kennedy Center they brought the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra to Washington in 2003. It was also behind the organization of the first ever YouTube Symphony Orchestras, in both New York and Sydney. In Spring of 2015, the company was instrumental in the negotiations and organization of the Minnesota Orchestra's historic tour to Cuba. Her greatest passion, outside of work is time with her boys Remy and Maxim. Apart from travel, family and friends, she loves reading, music, politics and her garden.
|Johan van Zyl, Director of International Projects [email]|
Previously operating as partner to Classical Movements in South Africa, Johan joined Classical Movements at the beginning of 2010. Johan has vast experience planning and implementing various types of tours and wildlife safaris in Southern Africa. Johan is a member of the senior management and a specialist tour director, experienced in managing concert tours for orchestras and choirs, he has arranged collaborations and outreach with diverse groups and facilitated cultural exchanges of various kinds in several countries. Johan has special training and extensive experience in safety and security of events, groups and individuals. He also owns a safari and destination management company in South Africa. Johan has travelled extensively to five continents, and speaks fluent English in addition to his native Afrikaans and also some Dutch, German and Sotho. Johan loves nature, wildlife, golf, music and long distance running.
|Page La Fountain, Operations Director [email]|
Page joined the company in 2004 and is part of the senior management of the company. Page has planned, implimented and excecuted a multitude of Professional and Youth Orchestra as well as some of the most complex Choral tours during her time with Classical Movements. She graduated from New York University with a Masters in International Education, and her undergraduate degree was in Marketing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Page has traveled widely to Europe, Asia and Africa and has lived and worked in a variety of foreign countries including Australia, Japan, France and England. Ms. La Fountain speaks French and is learning Spanish. Her professional experience includes many years of working as an educational tour director in Europe, an operations manager planning corporate events in Washington, DC and as meetings coordinator for a California conference center. Page's goal is to promote international goodwill and understanding through music.
|Alessandra D'Ovidio, Operations Director [email]|
Alessandra who joined the company in 2006 and is part of the senior management of the company, she has experience in planning and excecuting some of the most complex Orchestral and Choral tours in some of the most challenging destinations, producing concerts and collaborations in various destinations. Alessandra is a qualified costume designer, marketing consultant and speaks fluent Spanish, Italian and English. Venezuelan born, she has lived in Italy and the United States and has worked as production manager and resident costume designer at GALA Hispanic Theatre. She has served as a curator for ArteAmerica with the Washington Performing Arts Society, as a producer for "Encuentros" in the Smithsonian Institution at the Museum of American History, and has served as a Marketing and Public Relations specialist for the Kennedy Center AmericArtes festival. Alessandra has been designing costumes in the Washington Metropolitan area and was a 2002 and 2000 Helen Hayes nominee for her costume design. She holds a bachelor's degree in Fashion and Costume Design from the Accademia di Costume e Moda, in Rome, Italy. Alessandra is known for her ability to bring people together for the benefit of the arts community. She is an expert on Latin American arts and culture.
|Sara Casar, Business Director [email]|
Sara joined the company in 2006 and serves as the Business Director of the company. She handles most of the tour proposals and finances and legal aspects of the company. As member of senior management Sara is key to the planning and development of new business for the company. Sara works closely with groups preparing itineraries, budgets and contracts to meet their needs. Sara has extensive experience with creating custom itineraries, budget preparation, and all other aspects of tour planning. Her interest in travel and music was sparked early on while studying music education at the Hartt School, which provided a natural transition to a career in the concert tour management industry. Sara has traveled throughout the United States, Mexico, and South America and Europe. Sara plays the Alto Saxophone and many other woodwind instruments. In her free time, Sara enjoys time with her family and friends as well as collecting postcards from all over the world.
|Jayci Thomas, Senior Operations Manager [email]|
Jayci joined the company in 2007 and has a Bachelor's Degree in Performing Arts, specializing in dance and vocal performance. She has performed in many locations around the United States as well as internationally, travelling to over 20 countries. Jayci has many years' experience planning and managing operations for group trips in the US and abroad. While working at a non-profit organization, Jayci set up trips for groups travelling to over 15 countries. In addition to this experience, Jayci has managed on-site logistics and was a tour guide for groups as large as 120 people, on historical trips to Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, and several other locations around the US. She has traveled through Europe and Australia and South Africa on behalf of Classical Movements. Jayci enjoys travel, photography, spending time with family and friends, and being crafty with yarn and fabric.
|Norma Rosso, Operations Manager [email]|
Norma is an experienced Arts Project Manager with an extensive portfolio of projects in international settings. Born in Puerto Rico, she has lived in the UK and the United States and has travelled extensively throughout Europe, South and Central America. Prior to joining Classical Movements, Norma developed and managed arts education and outreach projects for a wide range of museums and contemporary art organizations in the UK, including Tate Britain, Barbara Hepworth Gallery Arts Council of England, and University of Sussex. Her work in arts educational sector has ranged from coordinating workshops for young people to managing conferences and events at University level. She has also worked as exhibition coordinator for organizations in the United States and Puerto. Norma speaks fluent English and Spanish. Norma enjoys bringing people together through the arts and expanding the cultural horizon of artists and others through these experiences.
|Carter Sligh, Assistant to the President [email]|
A lifelong musician and classically trained pianist who recently earned a Masters in Ensemble Singing from the University of York in York, United Kingdom. He is a professional singer as well - a member of the choir of Washington National Cathedral. Carter is a proud alum of Oberlin College, where he received a Bachelor's degree in Theater. He is an avid Anglophile, having lived in the UK on several occasions and studied its music, culture, and history extensively. He is also a lifelong traveler, and has been to forty of the fifty United States, as well as much of Europe. Carter speaks conversational French, and is learning Italian and German through his vocal studies. He is passionate about and skilled at music and performing arts administration. He is particularly interested in the development and promotion of the performing arts in low-income communities. Hobbies include salsa dancing, Southern cooking, and James Bond movies.
|Hinano Ishii, Operations Manager [email]|
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Hinano graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance. As a performer, she made her concerto debut at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, at the age of 18 and has appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall and the United Nations. Hinano has experience in concert production, community engagement, marketing and development having worked with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center, Bravo! Vail Music Festival, UW-Madison School of Music, Overture Center for the Arts and PROJECT Trio. Prior to her family moving to London, Hinano spent her childhood growing up in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York and she often returns to Japan to visit the rest of her family. A proud Wisconsin Badger, Hinano enjoys performing in the community and attending musicals, comedy shows, classical and jazz concerts.
|Erica Jacobsohn, Operations Manager [email]|
Erica comes with over 20 years' experience working in the music industry, including in the development office of San Francisco Performances, the Bay Area's premier concert presenter; as an artist manager at Schmidt Artists, a boutique management agency in New York City, and as the founding director of Curtis On Tour and artistic administrator at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, where she also provided career guidance to the school's top performers. She has also been a business owner booking, managing, and presenting musical artists. Ms. Jacobsohn has a background in clarinet performance. She is a dual American-German citizen and divides her time between Berlin and New York City.
|Sophie Maupoil, Operations Manager [email]|
Born in Paris, France, Sophie is an arts manager professional with extensive experience in the management of artists as well as education program management. After working for a leading artist management company and performing arts marketing company in New York City, she joined the artistic department of the National Symphony Orchestra attending to visiting artists and assisting with the preparation of the orchestra's domestic and international tours. Prior to joining Classical Movements, Sophie was program director of the Children's Chorus of Washington where she managed all aspects of the music educational program. Sophie speaks fluent English and French. She received her Masters' in Arts Management from American University after a degree in Business Administration from Audencia Management School in France.
|Chris Shiley, Operations Manager [email]|
Born in Silver Spring Maryland, Chris Shiley began his studies in music at an early age, transforming them into a passion for performing and arts administration. Prior to his work with Classical Movements, Chris served as the Director of Operations for the Yellow Barn Music Festival and as the Operations Coordinator for the nationally acclaimed Baltimore Symphony Orchestra OrchKids program.
A classically trained trumpeter and currently serving as the Principal Trumpet of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Chris 'performing career has spanned more than ten years and he has enjoyed performances in such halls as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Esplanade in Singapore and Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. He holds a Masters of Music from Temple University and Bachelors of Music from the Peabody Institute.
|Logan K. Young, Marketing and Public Relations Manager [email]|
Logan has played in, written for and ably led marching bands, opera pits and even the dais at Medieval Times. Native son of Georgetown, South Carolina, while at the Governor's School for and the University of that fine state, he focused on trumpet, composition and conducting—summering at festivals such as Brevard, Tanglewood and Bang on a Can. Later studies include European coursework under the late composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and with Thurston Moore at Naropa's Kerouac School. As a writer, his work has been published everywhere from NPR to ESPN; as an ad man, Logan's worked for everyone from Lincoln Center to Boost Mobile. He's won an Annenberg/Getty Fellowship to that other USC, been nominated for a Pushcart and was shortlisted for the Best Album Notes Grammy. Logan's books on composers Mauricio Kagel and La Monte Young can still be found in the most discerning discount bins.
|Amita Vempati, Special Projects Manager [email]|
Born and raised in the great state of Texas, Amita has been a lifelong lover of music and cultures from all over the world. She has studied Indian Classical music since the age of six and has spent many years learning and participating in the music and dance traditions of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Mongolia and Africa. Through music, she learned the importance of cultural diplomacy and has over the years conducted outreach projects that range from giving guest lectures at American high schools and universities to running summer camps in rural Tajikistan. Amita holds a Bachelors in Russian Studies and Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University. Prior to joining Classical Movements, she was the Outreach Coordinator at the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center. She is proficient in Russian, French, Uzbek, Persian and Hindi/Urdu and enjoys singing classical and folk songs in all of them.
Consultants, Advisors, co-workers and collaborators working from outside of Head Office:|
Home | Orchestra Tours | Choir Tours
Ihlombe! South African Choral Festival | Serenade! Washington D.C. Choral Festival | Prague Summer Nights
Destinations | Clients | Cultural Diplomacy | Testimonials | New Music | News | Press | Historical Timeline | Staff | Contact Us