GDYO Announces New Executive Director

After a national search process, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) has named Cathy Hernandez as the organization’s new executive director. The selection follows the announcement of the retirement of Charles Moore who has served GDYO in the executive director role for 20 years.

“Cathy is passionate about music and about providing great opportunities for young people,” notes Richard Giangiulio, Music Director and Conductor. “She is a perfect fit for GDYO. Her excellence as a leader will ensure a bright future for GDYO.”

Hernandez has twenty years of experience with most of her career in either Executive Director or Director of Development positions for various arts organizations, mostly recently with the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and also with the Arts Council Northeast, Artes de la Rosas, and Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico. Her professional accomplishments have been recognized by the White House, the National Endowment for the Arts, the US State Department, and the Kennedy Center. She recently served as Ballet Memphis’s Director of Development to help raise their $3.3 million annual budget while also raising over $9 million for their New City New Dance Campaign in just a year-and-a-half.

Hernandez is a graduate of the University of North Texas as well as Drexel University with degrees in Music and Arts Administration. Hernandez has served on the boards of South Arts, VSA Arts Texas, Texas Nonprofit Theaters, and International Performing Arts for Youth. 

“As a Dallas native and proud GDYO Alum (1985 - 1990), I fostered my love of the arts as a young cellist playing under the batons of Michael Coren and later Richard Giangiulio,” said Hernandez. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve today’s young musicians and their families while growing this incredible organization that has meant so much to me and my family. It’s a huge honor to now return in this new capacity to hopefully make a lifelong impact on other children and their families for generations to come."

Ms. Hernandez will begin her duties with GDYO in late May. Board Chair Nita Clark says this about Ms. Hernandez, “Cathy brings an ideal set of talents, passions and experiences to this position. I am absolutely confident that she and our exceptional staff will take GDYO to new heights and into exciting new territory, while preserving the great core of the 44-year-old organization.”


GDYO Awards and Scholarships

Each year the GDYO recognizes orchestra members who have excelled in performance or made exceptional contributions to the life of the orchestra. Maestro Giangiulio announced the recipients of these awards at the concert on Sunday, May 15, 2016. Congratulations and Thank You to all!

The Jerry Wertheimer Award

In memory of Jerry Wertheimer, a charter member of the GDYO (horn) who died in a tragic accident following his first year at SMU. The award has been given annually since 1975.

Presented to graduating Seniors for their outstanding leadership and musicianship.

Harry Dearman, Bass

The Joan Mintz Award

In memory of Joan Mintz who served the GDYO as Board Member, Executive Secretary, and Manager from 1976-1987.

Presented to graduating Seniors for their dedication and enthusiasm.

Karen Yang, Viola

Outstanding Instrumentalist Award

Presented to graduating Senior for outstanding musical skill

Charlie Lin, Violin

Outstanding Service Awards

Presented to graduating Seniors with longest tenure in GDYO program.

Theo Lee Gannon, Cello 8 years

Exemplary Attendance

  • Charlie Lin
  • April Chung
  • Meghan Le
  • Logan Hong


Recognizing outstanding Juniors who will receive a full tuition scholarship

The Walter Abbey Scholarship

In memory of the former Chairman of the GDYO Board of Directors. Mr. Abbey, a violist in his student days, was a patron of the arts in Dallas and a strong supporter of his alma mater, the University of North Texas.

Samantha Choo, Violin

The Jeannette Early Scholarship

In memory of long-time GDYO Board Member, donor and patron of performing arts programs for young people.

Emily Chung, Cello

The Jennie T. and D. Richard Giangiulio Scholarship

In memory of the parents of GDYO Music Director Richard Giangiulio.

Cordeila DeDecker, Trumpet

The Jerry Wertheimer Scholarship

In memory of a charter member of the GDYO.

Michelle Moeller, Oboe