Gilbert Lopez, Jr.

Executive Director

With more than 20 years in nonprofit and private sectors, Lopez comes to Esperanza Azteca LA from the American Cancer Society, where he served as Senior Market Manager. He was the Director of Development at the Millan Foundation, and held strategy and outreach positions at YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, Partners in Care Foundation, and UCLA.

Michael Ryan Armstrong

Artistic Director

Michael joined Esperanza Azteca LA in January, 2016. In the Los Angeles area, he’s previously working with: Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras, Southeast Symphony, Los Angeles Symphonic Winds, and Westlake Village Symphony. He has collaborated with: John Williams, Danny Elfman, and Alan Silvestri. Armstrong has conducted performances throughout the US, France, Luxembourg, and China.

James E. Cálix

Orchestra Manager

James earned his Bachelor of Music at USC’s Thornton School of Music. In 2014, James became Esperanza Azteca LA’s first teacher, and began the process of building the first Esperanza Azteca Orchestra in the US. Today, he is the orchestra’s coordinator. He works with parents, teachers and students supporting the learning process and facilitating the enormous logistical challenges of a performing youth orchestra.

Yejee Choi

Choral Director

Yejee is a doctoral student at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she was instructor of Choral Conducting & USC Oriana Women’s Choir. From South Korea, she studied English Literature at Yonsei University and composition at the Korean National University of Art. Choi received her Master of Music in choral conducting from University of Minnesota.

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