Bobby Vanmali began studying music at 11 years old. His love of music started with the Trombone in middle school and carried on by learning the Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, and Piano. While many of the instruments he played sparked his interest in music, his true love is piano. He performed piano concerts regularly during his undergraduate education at nursing homes in Los Angeles. Bobby is currently a medical student at The George Washington University, Class of 2022. He obtained his Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience from UCLA, and his Masters of Science in Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University before starting medical school. Bobby is set to join the "Back to BACH" Project in the fall of 2018, as its regional director.
Hello, my name is Ezra Shoen and I live in the beautiful state of New Jersey (ah that fresh air). I have had a love for music since I was a child. At the age of 9 I started with guitar lessons, however shortly after transitioned to piano. For several years I played for my synagogue to commemorate the festive occasions. Additionally, in high school, my band won the regional battle of the bands for three years running (okay we only placed first once but did get second and third the other two times). I am excited to be a part of the “Back to Bach” music program and share my love of music with fellow enthusiasts.
Avanti Mehta plays the alto saxophone and is a first-year medical student at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Avanti first started playing the alto sax in the sixth grade, transitioning from more traditional band music at school to more improv-heavy jazz music as she got older. Now, she is happy to play all types of music, but her go-to is anything by Thelonius Monk. Avanti graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County after studying Anthropology and Spanish; she was also a member of the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program, which focused on preparing students for careers in public service. Avanti has always found volunteering to be her main passion, and her time in Baltimore was strongly characterized by her numerous service activities in the area- the most relaxing being volunteering with displaced pit bulls at the animal shelter! In her free time, she enjoys hunting out local cafes to study at, baking (the Great British Bake-Off has been a life-changing show for her), and going to the museums on the mall - especially the National Gallery of Art.
Caylynn Yao is a cellist from Randolph, New Jersey, and a graduate of The George Washington University, where she studied music and psychology with a cognitive neuroscience concentration.
Caylynn began playing the cello at age eight. Through the years, she has performed with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, New Jersey All-State Orchestra, and the George Washington University Orchestra as principal cellist. She has also performed solo repertoire and in various chamber ensembles - a piano trio, cello sextet, quartet, Mendelssohn octet - in venues including Carnegie Hall and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has also enjoyed teaching cello to kids in her community. She is a recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education, and has studied under Marnie Kaller, Lori Barnet, and Shanghai String Quartet’s Nicholas Tzavaras.
She continues playing and sustaining her love for music while a medical student at The George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Jehshua Karunakaran is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music's Pre-College Division, Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University. He started playing the violin at age 6, and his former teachers include Lynn Chang, Lewis Kaplan, and Olga Khroulevitch. He has performed in numerous venues including Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, and various embassies and Ambassador's residences. In 2011, Jehshua also performed on From the Top, a PBS/NPR radio show, and was interviewed by NBC Channel 4 and WETA regarding that performance. He also holds ATCL and LTCL diplomas in piano performance from the Trinity College of London, UK. As a pianist, he has participated in master classes with Gary Graffman and Gregory Sioles.
While at Harvard, Jehshua majored in neurobiology and worked in a deep-sea marine biology research lab studying the biomechanics of the stoplight loosejaw fish. Simultaneously, he worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Pediatric Neurosurgery department researching surgical procedures and testing drug efficacy for traumatic brain injury patients. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Masters in Biotechnology and is currently working at the National Institutes of Health studying transcranial brain stimulation, stroke, and sleep.
Jehshua has frequently volunteered as an educator for many kids in underprivileged communities of inner-city Washington D.C. and currently teaches the violin at a studio in Virginia. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing philosophy, poetry, composing music, painting, taking photography, and attempting to make sense of the randomness that permeates his life.