Meet the Directors

Executive Director Susan Veres

Susan Veres, is Executive Director of the American Youth Symphony (AYS) and is the Deputy Director
of the U.S. in the World Initiative (USITW). Previously co-housed at the Aspen Institute and the
Rockefeller Brothers Fund, in June 2006, USITW became an independent project and moved to the
New America Foundation. As Deputy Director, Sue helps to build consensus on vision and message
among groups with diverse issue interests, and helps experts and advocates communicate about global
issues in an effective and mutually reinforcing way with the mainstream American public. Prior to
USITW’s move to the New America Foundation, Sue was the USITW Training & Learning Officer at the
Global Interdependence Initiative at the Aspen Institute. Additionally, Sue is part of the leadership
team for the Peace and Security Initiative, a collaborative funder/NGO effort to strengthen the peace
and security community and increase its influence on U.S. foreign policy. Prior to joining the Aspen
Institute, Sue was the Executive Director of Student Pugwash USA, a national organization promoting
social responsibility in science and technology through campus-based chapters, seminars and
conferences, and online publications. As Executive Director, Sue designed a web-based outreach
strategy that resulted in a six-fold increase in the number of participating academic institutions. Before
joining Student Pugwash, Sue was Director of the Department of Environmental Education Programs at
the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). At UNCF, she helped develop curricula, conducted technical
assistance, and trained faculty. She has also worked as a policy analyst and a research assistant in the
environmental field. Sue received her undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University and
her Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University; she has also taken
graduate courses at George Mason University.
Artistic Director Gregory Charles Royal

Gregory Charles Royal, a jazz trombonist, enjoyed a long career with many top bands and shows. They
include the Duke Ellington Orchestra (1989-1999), Art Blakey and the Jazz Mesengers, Slide Hampton
and his World of Trombones and as onstage trombonist with the Broadway show Five Guys Named Moe
(nominated for two Tony Awards) and Jelly's Last Jam. Royal also authored and acted in It's a Hardbop
Life, the first play to feature an entire cast of jazz musicians, which debuted at the 2004 New York JVC
Jazz Festival and was released on DVD.

The son of a biochemist mother and microbiologist father, Royal, who is described by Slide Hampton as
"one of the important guys on the horn", grew up in Washington, DC. He received his formal training on
the trombone at age 11 in the DC Youth Orchestra Program while simultaneously playing in the bars and
clubs of Washington with Roscoe Bowie's Message Band and Show. He also received principal trombone
honors in the First American Festival of Youth Orchestras and was the youngest member (age 15) of the
Howard University Jazz Ensemble that also included pianist Geri Allen. By age 15, Royal, a student at the
Duke Ellington School of Arts with future trumpet star Wallace Roney, was already a seasoned

As a 10th grader, Royal caught the attention of legendary drummer Art Blakey during Blakey's
appearance at Blues Alley in Washington, DC. Blakey invited Royal to live with him in the summer of
1978 at his 45th Street Manhattan apartment and join his band The Jazz Messengers. Royal's association
with Blakey was an indoctrination in the New York jazz scene and led to important engagements with the
Collective Black Artist's (CBA) Ensemble.

Royal returned to Washington in 1978 to attend Howard University where he eventually earned a
Master's degree in Jazz Studies. In 1979,at age 17, he recorded his debut album Dream Come True with
pianist Geri Allen. Royal also received honors from the Downbeat Magazine Student Recording Awards
and wrote two compositions for two other Downbeat winners. Royal also received a football and track
scholarship to the University of the District of Columbia. Following graduation, Royal taught high school
music and played semi-pro football. Royal returned to New York in 1989 after being summoned by the
Duke Ellington Orchesra to tour Japan.

Royal has recorded as a sideman on several labels including SONY, Music Masters and Verve and has
performed as a sideman on programs such as the Arsenio Hall Show, the Tony Awards and the motion
picture Life starring Eddie Murphy. He also wrote and produced the Pick Up 6 Game Show and two pop
songs and music videos, Trust the Love You See and Can't Let Love, for the Canadian group Ariel, which
charted in Canada for over 20 weeks on RPM Hot 100 and aired on Much Music and the Video Jukebox

His most definitive work to date, as a trombone soloist, can be heard on It's a Hardbop Life
Soundtrack-GCR Music Co., Gregory Charles Royal Dream Come True-GCR Music Co., Five Guys
Named Moe Broadway Cast Album-SONY, Duke Ellington Orchestra Only God Can Make a Tree-Music
Masters and The Howard University Jazz Ensemble Series- Mark Records.

Most recently, Royal has done important work as Artistic Director of American Youth Symphony in
Washington, DC who is the producer of America's Hot Musician, the American Idol-like television
program for instrumental musicians [1] which originally debuted on Comcast PEG channels in January
2007. The program has since moved to the Oxygen Network where it will debut in July, 2007 with Royal
and National Symphony Orchestra Principal Second Violinist, Marissa Regni as judges.

Gregory Charles Royal has had feature articles in several publications including the Washington Post
(October 6, 1991) and Los Angeles Times (February, 11 1997) and is listed in the Biographical
Encyclopedia of Jazz (Leonard Feather, Oxford University Press 1999