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.
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:

Kevin Fox, Artistic Advisor
Kevin Fox is a multi-Grammy-winning conductor who started singing in choirs at the age of eight. Kevin holds degrees in music and economics from Connecticut's Wesleyan University, where he received the Lipsky Prize for outstanding scholarship in choral studies. He also studied music at Oxford University and Westminster Choir College. [email]
John Nardolillo, Artistic Director - Prague Summer Nights
John Nardolillo has appeared with more than thirty of the country's leading orchestras, including the Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and National Symphony orchestras as well as the Boston Pops. John Nardolillo is the Director of Orchestras at the University of Kentucky and has travelled to guest conduct internationally. [email]  
Gail Melick, Consultant
Gail joined Classical Movements/Blue Heart Tours soon after retiring from his position as Chief Operating Officer of a bankgroup. He also served in the Vatican Arts Council and the Nixon Economic commission. Gail serves as an advisor and consultant to the company and also does sales and site visits for the company. Based in and operating out of the Chicago area he holds a Masters in Economics and Banking.  Gail is an expert on fine wines and mushrooms, is a great humanitarian and has travelled to at least 80 countries.
Robert Moir, Consultant
Robert spent twenty-six years with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, retiring as Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning and Audience Engagement in June 2015. In that position he was responsible for all classical music programming, organizing and booking foreign and domestic tours, commissioning new works, the Composer of the Year program, and audience engagement concepts and strategies. During his tenure he collaborated closely with Music Directors Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, and Manfred Honeck, and with Principal Pops Conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Prior to coming to Pittsburgh he spent five years as Manager of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He received his musical training at the New England Conservatory and Yale School of Music.
Luigi Migliore, Operations Manager, based in Italy
Luigi was born of Sicilian parents in Trieste, where he graduated in Political Science which gives him a better understanding of the geography, culture, and politics of the countries he works in. Luigi has extensive experience as a professional Tour Guide in Italy, and is extremely knowledgeable in the culture, traditions, food and wine of Italy. Luigi has worked with Classical Movements since the start of the century planning and leading concert tours in Italy. Working with Classical Movements has given Luigi the opportunity to work with renowned persons in the music world such as Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta and Simon Carrington and touring with some of the most respected colleges, including Yale, Harvard, Julliard and Smith. He has lead tours for Classical Movements to various other countries, including Austria, Slovenia, Israel, Jordan and Greece. Luigi has traveled to the US, Canada, Costa Rica, Russia, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, and Australia. Having achieved the first level Sommelier from the Italian Association of Sommeliers, Luigi is well acquainted with the gourmet foods and wines and delights in introducing the lesser known specialties of Italy and Sicily to our groups.
Dr. Marilyn Brown, International Travel Consultant
Marilyn joined Classical Movements/Blue Heart Tours in our sales department, after retiring from her position as Deputy Superintendent of the entire DC Public School System. A world traveller, Marilyn holds numerous degrees, honours and awards. She serves on the board of many of Washington's most famous institutions.
Bruce Engelmann, Certified Public Accountant
Glenn Christianson, Bookkeeper


In Memoriam: It was with deepest regret that we announced the death of Classical Movements co-founder and then Chairman, Jacques Vallerand-Parisi in December 2008.

Jacques was born in Paris, France on May 14, 1945, moved to the United States of America in the late 60s and served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. He got his Masters in Hotel Administration from L'Ecole de Hoteliere de Lausanne. He then worked with major hotel chains and was General Manager and Vice President of several fine hotels all over the USA. In 1992, Neeta Helms and Jacques co-founded Blue Heart Travel and Classical Movements and it soon grew into a premier music touring company working in 6 continents and counting some of the most prestigious musical institutions as clients. At the time of his death, he was retired from daily work and serving as Chairman at Classical Movements, Inc. Jacques is survived by his two sons, Remy and Maxim.






For information about our holding company, Blue Heart Travel, click here.