Alexandra Keegan

Alexandra Keegan is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the East County Youth Symphony, an adjunct faculty member at Cuyamaca College, First Violin of the Cuyamaca College String Quartet, and Orchestra Director at La Mesa Arts Academy.

She received her training at Moscow Conservatory (Russia) and Kiev Conservatory (Ukraine), and holds a Master's Degree in Violin Performance, and a DMA in Instrumental/Opera/Ballet Conducting.

During her conducting career Ms. Keegan worked with various youth groups and professional orchestras, including the Opera Training Company at Kiev State Conservatory, and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Ukrainian National Radio Company.

Over the past nine years, under Ms. Keegan's direction ECYS students have performed more than sixty public concerts with programs that include N.Rimski-Korsakov's "Scheherazade", L. van Beethoven's Symphonies No. 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7, P. Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, 6, A.Dvorak's Symphonies No. 8 and 9, C. Frank's Symphony in D, S. Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, J.Brahms's Symhpny No.3, S.Rachmaninov's opera "ALEKO", and many other original orchestra works.

ECYS Alumni inspired and trained by Ms. Keegan have been accepted to Eastman School of Music, Berklee College of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Curtis Institute of Music, University of North Texas, and other top music schools in United States.


Gail Nelson

Gail Nelson has studied music since the age of 8, trying a variety of instruments before falling in love with the violin and viola. She has taught music in an elementary school and played for weddings and events, with community orchestras and quartets, and currently plays viola with Equinox Quartet.

She specializes in working with young children and her private studio is a bustling center where her students have the opportunity to learn and grow in a supportive, positive environment.

Shelley Best

Shelley Best began her musical training on the piano at age six, and shortly thereafter began studies on the violin. She has studied with Raymond Townsend, Nick Stamon, and Mary Girard.

Her thriving violin and piano studio complements her class instruction with ECYS. She is principal second violin with the Imperial Valley Symphony, and enjoys playing with the San Diego Festival Chorus and for various musical theatre groups.


  • Jeanine Gutowski - Teacher
  • Michael Stamets - Business Owner
  • Yevgen Reztsov - IT Professional
  • Alexandra Keegan - Musician
  • Thomas Bishop - Musician

East County Youth Symphony's Board of Directors consists of diverse and responsible members who deeply care about organization's success and making informed decisions to improve, expand and promote our operations.