The Mira Costa Orchestra Program hails from a public high school in the Los Angeles suburb of Manhattan Beach. Celebrating its 20th year of existence, the Mira Costa Orchestras are known for preparing diverse and quality programming throughout multiple performances each year. The Chamber Orchestra is one of four orchestral ensembles at Mira Costa High School, and is comprised of select string musicians at the very advanced levels. The comprehensive repertory of the Mira Costa Chamber Orchestra is eclectic and thorough, including classics such as the string serenades by Dvořák, Elgar, Suk, Tchaikovsky, and Wolf-Ferrari, suites and divertimentos by Bartók, Bridge, Grieg, Holst, and Mozart, sinfonias and concerto grossi by Bloch, Britten, Ginastera, Mendelssohn, and Shostakovich, as well as adaptations of pop, rock, jazz, and other contemporary genres.
Under the direction of Mr. Peter Park, the Mira Costa Chamber Orchestra has presented numerous times at California state music conferences, and has performed at world-renowned venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. The Mira Costa Chamber Orchestra has earned the highest ratings possible at every festival and contest it has taken part in, and serves as a model for many other music programs in California. Several alumni from this ensemble have gone on to pursue music degrees at prestigious institutions such as the Boston Conservatory, Cleveland Institute, Colburn Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, and others.
Mira Costa Orchestra
Director / Conductor
Peter Park is a graduate of UCLA, earning a BA degree with a dual emphasis on percussion performance and music education. Afterwards, he earned his M.Ed. from UCLA’s prestigious School of Education & Information Studies while re-pursuing studies on his first instrument, the violin. During this time, Mr. Park earned top prizes in the Grancell Foundation Solo Competition and the Atwater Kent Solo Competition. As both a violinist and a percussionist, he has had the pleasure of performing with several outstanding orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Santa Barbara Symphony, principal positions in the American Youth Symphony and Debut Orchestra, and a summer fellowship with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra in Western Massachusetts. Outside of teaching, Mr. Park has served as clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor for several organizations and all-state orchestras throughout the Western United States, the Midwest and the South. He has been recognized twice by the Parent Teacher Association for outstanding teacher service, and was honored as Educator of the Year in the city of Santa Monica, as well as Music Teacher of the Year by the California chapter of the American String Teachers Association, Advisor of the Year by the Manhattan Beach X Foundation, and the Gold Award by the Southern California Schools Band & Orchestra Association.
‘Iolani Orchestra has twice won the National Championship in the American String Teachers Association National Orchestra Competition (2010, 2013) – the only orchestra from the State of Hawai’i to win this national competition.
Additionally, ‘Iolani Orchestra was chosen to perform at the 2011 Midwest Clinic International Conference; their performance included the American premiere of Balzene Suite by contemporary Hungarian composer György Orbán and a performance of Pictures at an Exhibition arranged by Brazilian composer Clarice Assad. They were chosen to perform again at Midwest in 2017.
Other accolades include being awarded the Live from Lincoln Center Award (2012), an unusual and prestigious recognition. In 2013 the Orchestra was invited to perform at the London Invitational Concert Series, and was invited to play at the Vatican in December 2016.
Katharine Hafner is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. Before moving to Hawai’i in 1980 to join the Honolulu Symphony, she taught in the Eastman Preparatory Department and Music Center of the North Shore (Chicago), and built an award-winning high school orchestra program in Williamsville, New York. Ms. Hafner is currently in her eighteenth year as Orchestra Director at ‘Iolani School, where she has worked to build a vital, internationally recognized string program which includes eight orchestras, a Suzuki Strings program and an active chamber music program, and which has welcomed collaboration with world-class artists such as Jin Joo Cho, Augustin Hadelich, and Robert McDuffie. The ‘Iolani Orchestras have represented the state of Hawai’i with performances at the ASTA National Conferences, the Midwest Clinic International Conference, and the London Invitational Concert series and have won multiple national championships.
Ms. Hafner was awarded Second Place in The American Prize in Conducting, 2017-18. The American Prize is a series of national competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists and ensembles in the United States based on submitted recordings. An active professional violinist with the Hawai’i Symphony, Ms. Hafner maintains a full studio of private students. She has been the Director of the Hawai’i Suzuki Institute since 1986, President of the Hawai’i Chapter of the American String Association, and a Board Member of the Hawai’i Music Teachers Association. Her former students include members of the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony and the Columbus Symphony.
Mexican-American violist, Alexander Peña, recently moved to O’ahu to join the team of Orchestra Directors at the ‘Iolani School, a position he assumed after working as Director of the ROCmusic ‘El Sistema’ Collaborative and as Senior Leadership Viola/Conducting faculty-member at the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester, New York. A regular performer with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Hawaii Chamber Music Festival, Peña also enjoys working as a conductor, clinician, and chamber musician with programs on the island including the University of Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Music Institute, and Hawaii Youth Symphony.
Mr. Peña is a founding-member and Section Violist with the Lakes Area Music Festival Orchestra where he also directs the Explore Music! program, a day camp for youth that is now celebrating its 11th year in Northern Minnesota. Alexander earned an Arts Leadership Program Certificate, the Robert Oppelt Viola Prize, Bachelor and Master of Music from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. In 2019, he also received an Executive Graduate Certificate from the Global Leaders Music Program, where he was awarded the Global Humanitarian Entrepreneur Prize from the Hildegard Behrens Foundation.