The UN Singers Leadership
Get to know our Conductor and Executive Committee.
Maestro Vaisman is invited regularly as an accompanist to the young “Tarumi Violinists”, both in the USA and Japan. In 2012 he conducted the UN Singers in performances with the Japanese singer and songwriter Tokiko Kato at Carnegie Hall and in Hiroshima, Japan. He appeared again at Carnegie Hall in 2016, conducting the Children’s Choir Redes USA.
At present, he is also Cantor of the congregation Sion Iglesia Luterana in Manhattan, New York. Apart from his choral activities, Guillermo Vaisman is an active musician on the New York tango scene, regularly performing at the Summer Tango Festival in Central Park and at venues throughout the city.
Said Maalouf has been a UN staff member since 2013. He currently works in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in in the field of public administration, and is very happy to be serving as the new president of the UN Singers’ Executive Committee. Said is from Greece and Lebanon. He moved to the United States six years ago after living in France and Greece. He was a member of many choirs prior to coming to the US and had the privilege to sing in many big choral works of classical composers with symphony orchestras. He was also a member of the Glee Club, an all-male a capella group of over 100 people, at Penn State University, where he studied for his Master’s degree. During his early 20’s he studied classical singing at the Lebanese Higher Conservatory and was part of the Conservatory’s professional choir. Said was very happy to sing many compositions in Aramaic and Syriac, the original languages of Jesus Christ, spoken in the Levant region during Biblical times. His love for classical music started at a very young age when he started learning the cello. His favorite composer is Mozart and he enjoys singing his many masterpieces. Said speaks six languages and sings tenor.
Marie Deblonde-Vallet has been a chorister for more than 15 years. She sang with the Youth Choir of La Monnaie Opera House of Belgium and in various university choirs. She joined the UN Singers in April 2015. She is currently working with the Capacity-Building Unit of the Office of Counter-Terrorism. Before joining the UN, she worked in Vienna, Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg as a translator, editor and journalist. She has a degree in multidisciplinary translation and speaks seven languages.
Leeza Shirokova enjoys singing in groups.
Chuck Appel's interest in choral music started in High School, when he sang in school choruses, Up With People, and participated in town produced musicals. In college he sang in the glee club and joined the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Chuck joined the United Nations Singers almost as soon as he started working at the UN in 1974 and he remains an active member several years into his retirement. Over the last several decades he has also sung with The Collegiate Chorale, The Greenwich Village Chamber Singers, many Gilbert and Sullivan choruses and several church choirs. Though currently serving as Secretary on the Executive Committee, Chuck has previously been President, Vice-President, Personnel Officer, Programme Coordinator and Librarian.
Mi Pengfei, better known as Micky, joined the UN Singers on the second day after starting his job at the UN in 2006. During the last decade, with his coordination efforts, the Singers successfully visited China (2010 and 2015), Japan (2012 and 2017) and South Korea (2017). Micky sings baritone in the choir.
Carlo Zenarosa started music in grade school where he played eight different musical instruments. He played guitar then stand-up bass with the Guitar Ensemble in De La Salle grade school. He was the grade school commencement exercise/graduation mass pianist-accompanist. He received the AMASFI Music Award. In high school he conducted the La Salle Green Hills High School Band when the primary bandmaster was absent. He was the musical director in a play in high school. Later on he formed a cover pop band playing bass guitar. He has completed Music Certification in both the Specialist and Professional level with Berklee Online and is currently finishing a Certificate in Music Theory, Harmony and Ear Training with the same college. He joined the UNSRC Singers in 2015 for the 70th Commemoration of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings in Japan. He has never left since. He currently sings as a baritone for the UNSRC Singers. He is an active club photographer and videographer posting on social media.
Cynthia Lully's choral training began with her high school choir in New York City. She learned liturgical song, Broadway musicals and acapella harmony with Madrigals. In college, Cynthia studied information management and performed gospel, jazz and rhythm & blues for receptions, galas and talent shows. She started her UN career as an intern in 2010 and has been a technical focal point for Department of Public Information since.