Artistic Leaders

20Francisco J. Núñez (Conductor) has led the UGC since 2000, the club’s fifth conductor since it was established in 1894. Francisco, a graduate of New York University, is sought after nationwide as a guest conductor by professional orchestras and choirs, and as a master teacher and advisor for choral workshops, demonstrations, and festivals. In 2011, Francisco was presented with a MacArthur Fellowship, a highly prestigious honor bestowed to individuals for their “exceptional originality in and dedication to their creative pursuits.” He is the artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC), which he founded in 1988 to provide children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds with a safe haven for personal and artistic growth. YPC is widely recognized for its exceptional caliber and was recently presented by First Lady Michelle Obama with a 2011 National Arts & Humanities Youth Award, the nation’s highest honor for youth programs.

Francisco is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2009 ASCAP Concert Music Award, the 2009 New York Choral Society’s Choral Excellence Award, and the 2005 Liberty Award from the New York Post. Hispanic Business magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics of 2005; GMC’s national campaign hailed him as an unsung Hispanic hero; and La Sociedad Coral Latinoamericana honored him as its 2009 Man of the Year. He lives in New York City, his hometown, with his wife Elizabeth Núñez, an associate conductor of the YPC, and their two children.

171Jon Holden (Accompanist) has been principal pianist for the UGC since 2009, and has served the Young People’s Chorus of New York City as principal pianist and conductor of its Satellite Schools program since 1990. Jon has also conducted the New York University Orchestra and has been music director and keyboardist of many theater works in New York City, most recently as principal pianist for Disney’s Mary Poppins on Broadway. He has accompanied hundreds of singers and choruses in concert and he is the pianist for the NYU Vocal Jazz Ensemble. An authority on the music of Paul Bowles, he has performed the composer’s music extensively and has undertaken revisions of his works. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a performance diploma from L’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, a master’s degree from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from New York University, where he is currently a faculty member.