Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State
Three student ambassador leaders laugh together.


Classical Music Student Ambassadors


The Classical Music Project Student Ambassador Leader Program was developed in fall 2014 as a partnership between Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts and School of Music. Ambassadors—selected for their musicianship, leadership, and commitment to music advocacy—are provided with residency training and are charged with creating and implementing student-centered engagement programs. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports the work of the ambassadors.

The program, based on the principle of students engaging students, is used to train student musicians to become strong arts advocates and future community-engaged leaders. The ambassadors’ objective is to bring live classical music into the fabric of student life and the community by coordinating activities such as dorm concerts, performances in non-traditional venues, and informational performances in both general education music classes and non-music classes. They are also tasked with generating enthusiasm for classical music and drawing attention to upcoming Classical Music Project programs offered by the Center for the Performing Arts.


Pyatovolenko, a young woman with long hair, smiles for the camera.

Tetyana Pyatovolenko

Second-year graduate student Tetyana Pyatovolenko, who earned an undergraduate degree at Messiah College in 2014, is pursuing a degree in cello performance at Penn State.

The Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, native made her solo debut with the National Symphony Orchestra in Ukraine in 2010. At 16, she won the International Music Competition in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, and was a soloist of the Dnepropetrovsk Organ Hall. Her creativity and innovation in and beyond the concert hall makes her an avid advocate for the arts.

Pyatovolenko also has worked for a concert series at the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Market Square Concert Series in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She is a member of American Business Association and a fundraiser for non-profit organizations such as Kenyan “Amani Beads.” She has put on multiple performances in nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the Washington, D.C., areas.

As an ambassador, she looks forward to exposing Penn State students to classical music. “I feel a strong responsibility as a musician to continue a rich tradition of classical music through creative work and passion,” she says.


Helinski, a young man with tousled hair and a suit, smiles for the camera.

Joseph Helinski

A native of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Joseph Helinski is a third-year baritone in the vocal performance program at Penn State. He studies with Professor Richard Kennedy. Helinski serves as the Penn State Concert Choir president, is a member of the Penn State Glee Club, and performs with the Penn State Opera Theatre.

Helinski, the first undergraduate student to be named an ambassador, looks forward to the challenge of engaging more of his Penn State peers in classical music. “In living an undergraduate lifestyle right now, I believe I have a better understanding of what our undergraduate students needs are, how to accommodate them, and how they differ from graduate students,” he says.

Helinski has been featured as a soloist with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and has performed with Pittsburgh Opera in productions of Carmen, Dead Man Walking, and The Turn of the Screw. He also performed in the title role of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. He has performed Off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre and at PNC Park as a national anthem soloist. He sang with Penn State Concert Choir when it backed up The Rolling Stones in concert at Heinz Field.

Helinski has received many awards for his work on and off stage, including the Ben Carson Scholar Award, the Sister Jean Ortenzo Award from Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh, the Barbara Cass Award from Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and the Leadership in Music Award from the United States Marines. He also received a citation from the United States House of Representatives for his leadership abilities.

He is thrilled, he says, to begin his work as an ambassador and hopes to introduce as many Penn State students as possible to the wonderful things classical music has to offer.


Phillips, a young man in a flannel shirt and glasses, smiles for the camera.

David Phillips

David Phillips, in his second year as an ambassador, received an undergraduate degree in 2014 at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam and is a second-year graduate student in viola performance at Penn State. During his time as an undergraduate, he served as the conductor of Potsdam’s Viola Ensemble.

His strengths lie in “creative thinking and analytical skills,” says Phillips, whose objective as an ambassador is to develop “more interactive performances with the campus community.” He says he wants to “commission projects with student composers and portray a youthful image of art music on campus.” 

Phillips also wants to help develop innovative musical events that will engage and intrigue students. “I am excited to continue working on my life goal of re-establishing music as an important societal institution for all walks of life,” he says.

1Ambassador Events

Learn More

Sign up for a My Penn State Arts Account and receive emails about special events, exclusive discount offers, presentations, and more. If you have an account, log in to check your options.

The Center for the Performing Arts is part of the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State.
Text Only Version | Site-Index | Privacy and Legal Statements | The Pennsylvania State University © 2011