Artists and Faculty
Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin, so familiar to me from the Balanchine ballet of the same title, was given what can only be described as a gorgeous performance by the New Orchestra of Washington. Maestro Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez drew rich, warm sounds from the musicians: the strings are splendid, the solos wind players excellent (notably Stephen Key, oboe, and Lillian Copeland, English Horn), the harpist (Eric Sabatino) sublime.
Akemi Takayama, violin
Akemi Takayama is known worldwide for her musical artistry and passion as well as for the extensive range and versatility of her repertoire. With a unique blend of warmth and excitement, her masterful performances have enthralled audiences throughout Japan, France, England, Turkey, Israel, and the U.S. Currently the concertmaster of both the Roanoke Symphony and the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra, Takayama is also an Associate Professor of Violin, holding the Victor Brown Endowed Chair in Violin, in the Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University, where she works with private students and chamber groups.
Rachel Shapiro, violin
Founding member and second violinist of the critically acclaimed Aeolus Quartet, her playing has been praised by Mark Satola of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “in a beautifully balanced interlude wherein the second violin dances attendant to a heartfelt melody… Rachel Shapiro [was] outstanding here.” Collaborations include a performance on the Metropolitan Opera stage alongside Renée Fleming, as well as appearances with Michael Tree, Jon Kimura Parker, the Juilliard Quartet, and the Miró Quartet.
Caitlin Lynch, viola
Violist Caitlin Lynch has gained recognition and critical acclaim as an artist who enjoys a vibrant and diverse musical career. Having performed in fourteen countries on five continents, Ms. Lynch’s performances include memorable collaborations with artists ranging from Itzhak Perlman to Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Bjork. She has performed with members of the Tokyo, Cleveland, Juilliard, Cavani, and Aeolus String Quartets, members of the Weilerstein Trio, and with Alarm Will Sound, A Far Cry, Atlanta Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. Ms. Lynch performs regularly with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Wordless Music, and Metropolis Ensemble. She has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, whose tours have featured her concerti performances across North America and Europe.
Alan Richardson, cello
New York based cellist Alan Richardson maintains a packed touring schedule as a member of the award winning Aeolus Quartet.
Mr. Richardson has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia, in halls such as Carnegie, Severance, Wigmore, Seoul Arts Center, and Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. He has performed with many wonderful artists including Renée Fleming, Ángel Romero, Joel Krosnick, Michael Tree, Sam Rhodes, Nina Lee, Jon Kimura Parker, Pedja Muzijevic, and the Miró, Juilliard, and American String Quartets. In addition to his work with the Aeolus Quartet, he has performed as a guest with the NYC based chamber collective Decoda, and with the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Jessica Powell Eig, bass
Jessica Powell Eig is a freelance musician based in Washington, DC, specializing in double bass, violone and viola da gamba. In the 2018-2019 season, she will appear with Washington Bach Consort, New Orchestra of Washington, American Bach Soloists, and Seraphic Fire, among others. In 2018 she joined the faculty of NOWsummer Festival & Retreat in Poolesville, MD, and Bennington Chamber Music Conference in Bennington, VT. In 2010, Jessica completed a DMA in double bass performance at SUNY-Stony Brook, studying with Joseph Carver and Kurt Muroki. She received her earlier training at Cincinnati College-Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School.
Conor Nelson, flute
Praised for his “long-breathed phrases and luscious tone” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Canadian flutist Conor Nelson is established as a leading flutist of his generation. Since his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, he has appeared frequently as soloist and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad. Solo engagements include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony, and numerous other orchestras. The only wind player to win the Grand Prize at the WAMSO Young Artist Competition, he also won first prize at the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition. In addition, he has received top prizes at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition and the Haynes International Flute Competition. He recently performed two recitals in London, England and was featured on the McGraw Hill Young Artist Showcase (WQXR New York), Minnesota Public Radio, WGTE Toledo and WGBH Boston Public Radio.
Stephen Key, oboe
Praised by New York critics for his “warm and beautiful solos,” Stephen Key has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony, New World Symphony, Virginia Opera, Fairfax Symphony, and The Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio. Currently the Oboe Professor at Shenandoah Conservatory, he frequently performs concertos in the DC area, such as Cimarosa, Mozart, Hummel, Bach, Strauss, and Higdon.
Jeremy Eig, clarinet
An active orchestral musician, he has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony and in such halls as Carnegie Hall, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He has served in the US Navy Band since July 2012, and holds the rank of Musician 1st Class.
Dr. Eig is a devoted advocate for new music, and particularly the expansion of the clarinet solo literature. In 2009, he founded the Clarinet Commission Collective, which helps individual clarinetists pool their resources to commission major composers to write for the clarinet. In addition to commissioning, Dr. Eig is also an enthusiastic arranger, and publishes his editions of transcriptions for solo clarinet and clarinet ensemble through JTown Publications.
Stephen Duncan, bassoon
Stephen Duncan has served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of bassoon at Millikin University and principal bassoon of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and Danville Symphony in central Illinois. An active teacher and freelancer throughout Illinois and Indiana, Stephen has also performed with the Heartland Festival Orchestra, Music Institute of Chicago, Peoria Symphony, and Sinfonia da Camera, among others. Additionally, Stephen is passionate about chamber music, performing with various woodwind quintets and bassoon quartets over the last seven years, and was a founding member of the popular YouTube group, The Burning Reeds Bassoon Quartet.
Chris Carrillo, trumpet
Chris Carrillo joined the faculty of James Madison University in 2009 as the studio trumpet professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. He currently performs with the Madison Brass and the New Orchestra of Washington. Solo engagements and chamber collaborations have taken him throughout the United States, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom performing in some of the world's finest concert halls including Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and City Recital Hall in Sydney, Australia.
Katy Ambrose, horn
Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “spectacular” and “graceful” musician, Katy Ambrose has made a name for herself as an educator, chamber and orchestral musician. She joined the faculty of the University of Virginia as Lecturer in Horn and Principal Horn of the Charlottesville Symphony in the Fall of 2015, and also holds the position of Fourth Horn of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Previously, Katy was a founding member and horn player in Seraph Brass, Second Horn in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Fourth Horn in the Philly Pops!, Acting Assistant Principal/Utility horn in the Albany Symphony, and Assistant Principal horn in the Lexington Philharmonic (Lexington, KY). She has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Hawai’i Opera Theater/Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Honolulu, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Harrisburg Symphony, Vermont Symphony, New Haven Symphony, and regionally with Opera on the James, Ash Lawn Opera, and the Staunton Music Festival.
Robert Schroyer, percussion
Robert Schroyer is a frequently sought-out international soloist, performer, pedagogue, and chamber musician in the Washington D. C. metropolitan area. He is currently the Principal Percussionist and Director of Operations with the New Orchestra of Washington. He has recorded professionally with the Naxos, Centaur, and Acts labels.
As a Marimba Soloist, Robert has been showcased with the University of Maryland (UMD) Chamber Singers, UMD Symphony Orchestra, and the New Orchestra of Washington. In the same vein, he took prizes in the ENKOR, Symphony Orchestra League of Alexandria, University of Maryland, and PASIC International Solo Marimba Competitions. Recently, Mr. Schroyer was a guest recitalist and clinician of the McCormick Marimba Festival and the 1st International Percussion Festival of Barranquilla, Colombia.
He earned his Master of Music in Percussion from the University of Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree, summa cum laude, from Stetson University, where he was awarded the 2014 Presser Scholarship.
Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, Artistic Director/conductor
Grace Cho, Executive Director/piano
Pianist Grace Cho is a prize Winner of the Chopin International Piano Competition in Corpus Christi, the University of Maryland Concerto Competition, and the Sidney M. Wright Collaborative Pianist Competition, Grace has built a versatile career covering solo piano, chamber music, instrumental, vocal, and choral accompanying, and instrumental and vocal coaching. She has performed in prestigious venues across the USA, Mexico, and South Korea and has collaborated with world-renowned instrumentalists Sarah Chang, Tamaki Kawakubo, Robert McDuffie, and Han-Na Chang. She often appears at the Residence of the South Korean Ambassador as a featured artist. In addition, Grace has played under international conductors Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Helmuth Rilling, David Zinmann, Leonard Slatkin, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Robert Shafer and others.
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