Celeste Chau

Chair - Kew Gardens, NY North American Outreach Council
𝆗 “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” ― Victor Hugo 𝆗

A native New Yorker, Celeste began her musical studies as a child studying piano with Esther Lin and was greatly influenced by the devoted music lovers of her Chinese Peruvian family. She took a break from music during her high school years to study college at Pratt Institute's School of Architecture. During her time there, she caught her community service bug while studying low income housing and at their Community Education and Development Program. She also started volunteering for the NYC branch of Habitat for Humanity during that time. After college she began to taking voice lessons with Nicole Neiman who developed a unique pedagogy shaped by Neiman’s background as a social worker using music as a therapy tool.

Celeste later formed an informal chamber group "Belle Melange" with fellow adult amateur musicians playing everything from Brubeck to Bach. The group participated in the music therapy program at Mt Sinai's Stroke Rehabilitation Clinic where she got her first taste of the rewards of musical outreach. An active member of the Chamber Music Network and enjoys playing with fellow ACMP members all over the world in her travels. A young violist with the Queens Borough Wide Youth Orchestra, she returned to the viola as an adult and studied with Paula Cho at Turtle Bay Music School and later joined the New York Late Starter's String Orchestra. She dipped her foot into musical theater when she joined the cast of “The King and I” for the Way-Off Broadway Theater after college. She formed a collaborative partnership with singer Randall Trombley with whom she subsequently joined the Turtle Bay Community Chorus. She performed as one their soloist and was a member of the repertoire committee, section leader and helped produced their first “pocket musical” of “Les Miserables”. The chorus had regularly performed at area nursing homes, senior centers, community events and Turtle Bay's “Hear it Now” concert series.

In 2009, she immersed herself into the New York amateur classical scene by joining Amateur Classical Musician's Association (ACMA now Association of Classical Musicians and Artists). She served as their Executive Board member and helped to coordinate and produce ACMA's first concert at Carnegie Hall in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2010, she became The September Concert Foundation's inaugural Community Music Coordinator, and is producing concerts at multiple area senior centers/hospitals/nursing homes during the 3 day annual music festival until 2014. She helped organize the September Concert Chorus for the annual concerts along with the September Concert Orchestra, performing at Leiderkranz and St Anthony's of Padua. Celeste joined The Art Song Preservation Society of NY (ASPS) in 2010 as their inaugural Community Outreach Director where she has been organizing a series of mini-recitals and concerts throughout New York's senior centers, retirement communities, and hospices (as music therapy) and through the pandemic, on-line salons. In 2014 and 2015 she performed with her amateur group "The Silk Worms" at the annual spring concert in collaboration with OMNY Taiko Group. Since 2015 Celeste has joined Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery as executive board member and Community Music Director, organizing and producing free concerts to the Central Queens community.

A longtime ACMP member for years, Celeste joined the NAOC council member in 2017 and served as board member for several years. Celeste proudly has been serving as NAOC Chair since 2020.