Meet Our Conductors & Staff
Artistic Director & Lead Conductor of the Scherzo Ensemble
Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Director of Education
Member of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
Alex Encinas is a true citizen of the world. He was born in Peru, but his passion for music has taken him to Russia, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, Japan, France and finally to the United States. At the beginning of his international career, he studied violin in Moscow and worked as a violinist with orchestras all around the world. But it was the viola that truly captured his heart and he earned a Master’s degree in Performance at the University of Southern Mississippi on the Viola. His goal as Director of Education of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is to work closely with Jackson Public Schools and attract new audiences.
To date, Mr. Encinas’ career as a professional musician includes his participation in important festivals and institutions, including the International Tour, I Musici Estensi from Italy (viola), the International Tour, Arpeggionoi Chamber Orchestra from Austria (Viola), and the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. He was the Assistant to the Concertmaster at the Symphony Orchestra at the Cité Université in Paris, France, and at the Orquesta Filarmónicain Lima, Peru. He was also the Artistic Director of the Association Cultural Despertando Talentosin of Lima, Peru, as well as the Personnel and Recruiting Coordinator at the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. In Russia, he was the manager of the Chamber Orchestra Astraxan, and the president of the Russian-Hispanic Community Association. Currently, Mr. Encinas is a violist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and performs with various ensembles across the country.
Conductor, Scherzo Orchestra
Member of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
Born in Ibagué, Tolima, Colombia, music has been in Maria Camila's life since the age of 4 years old. She graduated with a Masters Degree from the School of Science & Arts at the University of Southern Mississippi, with an emphasis in Orchestral Conducting. She also holds a Bachelors Degree from the School of Arts & Letters at the University of Southern Mississippi, with an emphasis in Music Performance in Viola.
Ms. Patino has had the opportunity to collaborate with well-known artists such as The Beach Boys, Transiberian Orchestra, Deborah Voight, Rene Fleming, Oh Jeremiah, and Ilmar Gavilan, among others. In addition, she was principal viola during her time as a member of the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.
Currently, she plays with the Mississippi Symphony, the Gulfcoast Symphony, and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Patino also is co-founder of the Ruah String Trio; and the founder of the Global Aqua Music program at Global Adaptive Aquatics in Atlanta, GA, designed to assist children with disabilities.
Ms. Patino enjoys passing her love of music on to the next generation with her over 14 years of teaching experience. After founding the strings program at Hinds County School District in 2016, she became operations manager and strings teacher of the outreach program of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra in the Jackson Public School system. Additionally, she runs her own private violin studio, works as a conductor of the Mississippi Youth Symphony Orchestra, and as the Festival and Operations Coordinator of the Heifetz International Summer Music Institute in Staunton, VA.
Mississippi Youth Symphony Orchestra
Alina Shook is originally from Memphis, TN but moved to the Jackson Area in 2018 with her husband, Paul and their three children. She became involved with MYSO as a parent of two orchestra students. She was elected as parent president in 2021 and then was most recently hired by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra to manage the day to day tasks of the youth orchestra.
Alina has a background in Clinical Social Work where she worked with children and youth for 15+ years. She however chose to leave that career and homeschool her three children in 2012. While two of her children are now in college she continues to homeschool her youngest.
Alina grew up playing music and that passion has never left her. Working with the youth orchestra allows her to combine her passion for young people and music together. Her goal is to grow awareness for the youth orchestra in Mississippi and promote positive growth opportunities for young people today.