Eric Boruff - music director
Mr. Boruff is the music director and President of the Board of Directors for the Cornelius Youth Orchestras. Born in North Carolina but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Eric returned to the Tar Heel state in May of 2016. Primarily a violinist, he founded his own violin lesson studio in 2017. Since that time, Boruff Violin Studio has grown to include a team of teachers and has become one of the largest violin-exclusive lesson studios in the greater Charlotte region. Mr. Boruff’s private students are regularly accepted into collegiate music schools across the country. In December of 2017, Eric began working with the Cornelius Youth Orchestras as a violin section coach and guest conductor, and one year later, he accepted his current position. Originally just one ensemble, under his leadership the CYO has seen explosive growth and now features a total of eight programs - Orchestra, Philharmonic, Prelude Strings, Brass Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble, Junior Brass Ensemble, Brass Challenge, and the new Woodwind Challenge coming in Fall 2023!
Andrew Fierova - director, Brass Ensemble & instructor, Brass Challenge
Lauded for his “verve and stylistic excellence” (The Post and Courier–Free Times), Mexican-American horn player Andrew Fierova has performed throughout the United States, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, and Austria. Andrew currently fills the Second Horn chair in the Charlotte Symphony and has also performed with the Atlanta Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and Charleston Symphony. Andrew maintains a private studio of students from middle school through adult and is on faculty at Davidson College. He conducts two brass choirs as part of the Cornelius Youth Orchestra, and also founded the Brass Challenge program, an instrument-specific intensive training program that introduces beginners to all aspects of their instrument, concluding with ensemble playing. His former students have been accepted into The Juilliard School, Peabody Institute, Indiana University, Davidson College, University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina Greensboro, University of Alabama, Duke University, Appalachian State University, University of Pennsylvania, Radford University, The University of New Mexico, and Interlochen Arts Academy. Andrew has had the pleasure of being a Featured Artist for the NC horn Day, and has presented master classes at The University of Texas at Austin, University of South Carolina, and Brevard Music Center. He has enjoyed several summers on faculty with Cannon Music Camp and Wintergreen Music Festival. Andrew holds degrees from The Juilliard School and University of South Carolina.
Tom Burge - instructor, Brass Challenge
Tom Burge is a trombonist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. He also is the Low Brass Instructor at Wingate University and Pfeiffer College, and the Trombone Instructor at UNC Pembroke, Queens University of Charlotte, and Central Piedmont Community College. Burge was previously the host of the radio show “Sunday Evening” on classical public radio station 89.9 WDAV for 8 years and has been a guest morning, midday, and evening presenter on Boston-based 99.5 WGBH. A native of Australia, Burge has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, The Queensland Orchestra, and Canberra Symphony Orchestra. He earned his Masters Degree in 1996 as a full scholarship student at the Juilliard School, having received a Queen Elizabeth II Award. Now living in the United States, Burge has performed with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Cincinnati, Atlanta, Baltimore, Charleston, Augusta, Winston Salem, Fayetteville, and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestras.
Alex Wilborn - instructor, Brass Challenge
Alex Wilborn joined the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trumpet in 2018. Growing up in Cookeville, Tennessee, Alex began playing trumpet when he was 9 years old. As a fifth grader, Alex already wanted to play with the high school band and dedicated himself to studying recordings of their concerts until he had memorized the music by ear. He began trumpet lessons with Dr. Charles Decker in the eighth grade, and continued working with him through his undergraduate degree at Tennessee Technological University. During his time in Cookeville, he also studied with Chris McCormick and Dr. Raquel Rodriquez Samayoa. Alex continued his studies at The Juilliard School with Raymond Mase, Mark Gould, and John Thiessen. In addition to his work with the Charlotte Symphony, Alex has also performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, NOVUS NY, Winston-Salem Symphony, and others. Alex currently serves as adjunct faculty at Davidson College, and maintains his own private studio.
Jen Bassett - director, Philharmonic
We are excited to welcome Mrs. Bassett to our artistic faculty. More information will be provided soon.
Sam Sparrow - director, Woodwind Ensemble & instructor, Woodwind Challenge
A North Carolina native, Samuel Sparrow began his position as Section and E-flat Clarinet with the Charlotte Symphony in 2017, and also served as Acting Principal Clarinet in the 2018-19 season. In addition to his post with Charlotte Symphony, Mr. Sparrow has performed with the New York Philharmonic; Charleston, North Carolina, and New World Symphonies; and Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. Other performance highlights include a featured appearance with Sting at the Main Assembly Hall of the United Nations and the West Coast premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s chamber opera, Second Nature. In addition to performing, Mr. Sparrow is an avid proponent of music education. He joined Queens University of Charlotte as Adjunct Professor in 2019, and has also offered presentations at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Appalachian State and Winthrop Universities, and Hebrew Union College.
Nick Ritter - instructor, Woodwind Challenge
Virginia native Nick Ritter joined the Charlotte Symphony as a section bassoonist and contrabassoonist during the 2022-2023 season. He is also the contrabassoonist in the Richmond Symphony, and was formerly the contrabassoonist in Orchestra Iowa. Prior to his appointment in Charlotte, Nick travelled across the country as a freelancer, performing with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Lyric Opera, and Grand Rapids Symphony. A passionate music educator, Nick has also held teaching positions at Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, and The People’s School of Music in Chicago. Outside of rehearsals he is most often making bassoon reeds for his business, Ritter Reeds, or off hiking on all the great trails around Charlotte. Nick attended Northwestern University and DePaul University, earning degrees in Bassoon Performance and Music Theory. He studied primarily with Chris Millard, Lewis Kirk, David McGill, Bill Buchman, and Miles Maner, in addition to Nancy Goeres and Per Hannevold at the Aspen Music Festival.
Julia Fierova - instructor, Prelude Strings
Virginia native, Julia Fierova, currently manages a private violin studio while raising her two feisty children. She began her studies at age 7 in Virginia, where she also undertook most of her Suzuki training and certification. Julia continued her studies in violin and string pedagogy at Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music under Dr. Brenda Brenner and Mimi Zwieg. She received her Masters in Violin Performance from USC and has received further pedagogy training from Rebecca Henry, James Przygocki, Elizabeth Zempel, and Emilio Colon. While in Indiana, Julia taught with the IU String Academy and Summer String Academy. She served as a founding member of Suzuki Strings at USC, where she was on faculty for 7 years. She enjoys working with beginners and groups, coaching chamber music, and playing with various ensembles throughout the Carolinas.
Russell Files – Trumpet