Our Directors

Matthew Mainella music director of the Evanston Civic Orchestra and Chorus

Orchestra:   Matthew Mainella

Dr. Matthew Mainella, Music Director of the Evanston Civic Orchestra, is a conductor, educator, and arts advocate currently residing in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Throughout his varied career, Dr. Mainella has led professional, college, community, and youth orchestras, wind bands, choirs, and stage productions.  These include conducting:

  • Gilbert’s Ages Ago and P.D.Q. Bach’s Stoned Guest at Westminster College in Salt Lake City (Winter of 2019)
  • Guest conductor at Brigham Young University (2018)
  • Several world premieres at the University of Utah (2018)
  • Guest conductor at the American Guild of Organists’ Western Region convention (2017)
  • The annual Christmas production of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with Sinfonia Salt Lake and the University of Utah Lyric Opera Ensemble (2017)


Dr. Mainella has served as

  • Principal Conductor of the University of Utah Campus Symphony,
  • Assistant Conductor of the Salt Lake Symphony and
  • Valdosta (GA) Symphony Orchestra, and
  • Musical Director of the Peach State Summer Theatre, where he led performances of The Sound of MusicMary PoppinsLes Misérables, and A Little Night Music, among others.


Dr. Mainella is strongly devoted to music education at all levels and enjoys performing with students on a regular basis.  Recently he was invited to work with students of the Granite Youth Symphony Orchestras, appearing as Guest Clinician and Conductor for their 2019 Winter Concert. 

While at the University of Utah he was instrumental in launching the Conducting Master Class Series, which brought internationally renowned conductors and pedagogues to the U.  He also led the musicians of the Utah Philharmonic and Campus Symphony through the core orchestral repertoire. 

During his time in Georgia, he conducted and coached middle and high school students of the South Georgia String Project.  A passionate and engaging teacher, he designed and taught music courses at Valdosta State University, South Georgia State College, and Georgia Military College. 

Dr. Mainella’s education includes

  • The Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Utah,
  • The Master of Music Performance degree from Valdosta State University,
  • The Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Connecticut.


While working on his doctoral degree in instrumental conducting at the University of Utah, Dr. Mainella chose his related field as choral conducting and studied with Dr. Barlow Bradford, Utah Symphony Chorus Director. 

During his time at UConn, he produced a full-length studio album featuring original compositions.  Recent compositions include a setting of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road for choir and orchestra. 

A Connecticut native and avid outdoorsman, he has musical roots in the piano and trumpet, and enjoys camping, hiking, and storm chasing in addition to writing and arranging music.

Chorus:   Lauren Adja Tian

Lauren Adja Tian, Visiting Music Director of the Evanston Civic Chorus, is a conductor, pianist, and singer currently residing in American Fork, Utah.  Lauren enjoys an eclectic career of performance, teaching and administrative leadership. Lauren is currently a first-year doctoral student in conducting at the University of Utah, where she teaches undergraduate level conducting for music majors.

Previous to her time in Utah, Lauren lived in the New York Metro area for 6 years, where she worked primarily as a conductor, ensemble singer, educator and pianist. Her most recent positions include:

  • Arts Department Chair and Ensembles Director for a diverse performing and visual arts faculty at the Westover School, a single-sex boarding school with a historic mission to empower young women and a well-regarded choral program for upper school age students.
  • Director of Orchestras and Choirs and Senior Class Dean at the Knox School, an independent co-ed boarding school for middle and upper schoolers. There she founded the Knox Jam Session, which provides a creative space for students to form ensembles of their own and nurture singer-songwriting skills.
  • Co-founder and conductor of the contemporary music ensemble ‘Ensemble Id’, which regularly performs music written by living composers alongside seminal 20th century masterpieces. A recent program featured music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Phillipe Durieux and Richard Wagner.

Lauren has been a frequent guest conductor with numerous orchestras and choirs throughout the world. In the current 2018-2020 concert seasons, she served as an assistant conductor for a variety of guest conductors with the London Philharmonic, the Brussels Philharmonic, the New World Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Signal, the Mostly Modern Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

She performs 4/5 concerts a year as part of a touring piano duo with Mexican conductor and pianist Aquiles Morales.

Previous to her most current academic posts, she was a Visiting Director of Community Outreach and Programming and an assistant with Philadelphia’s premiere avocational chorus, Singing City Choir, in 2017. Sporting a reputation as the first integrated choir in United States, Lauren helped perpetuate the mission of Singing City Choir by fostering collaborations with hospitals, libraries, retirement communities, religious centers and public spaces.

From 2015-2017, she served as the Music Director of the Eastman Opera Collective, an opera company devoted to contemporary chamber opera. There she conducted performances of a production of the opera Three Feathers, by composer Lori Laitman, among others.

She has served as the assistant conductor of the University of Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, the University of Michigan Arts Chorale and the R.I.T. Philharmonic from 2014-2017.

An active ensemble mezzo, Lauren has sung under the batons of Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Simon Carrington, Robert McCormick, Ward Stare, Kent Tritle, Craig Arnold, Ann Howard Jones and many others.

Lauren holds graduate degrees in piano performance, conducting and new music performance from the Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, Bowling Green State University and California State University, Fullerton.

Her primary conducting teachers include Bradley Lubman, Jerry Blackstone, Neil Varon, Simon Carrington and Robert Istad. Her primary piano teachers include Eduardo Delgado, Arthur Greene, Logan Skelton and Thomas Rosenkranz.