National Philharmonic Orchestra Musicians

Musicians Roster

Orchestra Musicians

*denotes National Philharmonic Tenured Musicians


Violin 1

Colin Sorgi*,

Jody Gatwood,
Concertmaster emeritus

Benjamin Scott*

Olga Yanovich*

Leslie Silverfine*

Lysiane Gravel-Lacombe*

Brenda Anna

Eva Cappelletti-Chao

Maureen Conlon-Dorosh

Laura Tait Chang

Claudia Chudacoff

Lisa Cridge

Jennifer Kim

Regino Madrid

Kim Miller

Jennifer Rickard

Chaerim Smith

Violin 2

Henry Flory*,

Arminé Graham*

Katherine Budner*

Jennifer Shannon*

Cathy Stewart*

Doug Dubé

Justin Gopal

June Huang

Karin Kelleher

Alexandra Mikhlin

Laura Miller

Joanna Owen

Jean Provine

Rachel Schenker

Ning Ma Shi

Rachael Stockton


Julius Wirth*,

Judy Silverman*,
Associate Principal emeritus

Leonora Karasina*

Mark Pfannschmidt*

Phyllis Freeman

Stephanie Knutsen

Margaret Lang

Jennifer Rende

Chris Shieh

Derek Smith

Tam Tran


Lori Barnet*,

Todd Thiel*

Kerry Van Laanen*

Barbara Brown

April Chisholm

Danielle Cho

Ken Ding

Catherine Francis

Andrew Hesse

Beth Peterson

Kristen Wojcik


Robert Kurz*,

Shawn Alger

Kelly Ali

Barbara Fitzgerald

William Hones

Michael Rittling

Mark Stephenson


David Whiteside*,

Nicolette Oppelt*

David LaVorgna


David LaVorgna


Mark Hill*,

Kathy Ceasar-Spall

Fatma Daglar

English Horn

Ron Erler


Cheryl Hill*,

Carolyn Alvarez-Agria*

Suzanne Gekker

Bass Clarinet

Carolyn Alvarez-Agria


Erich Hecksher*,

Rebecca Watson*

Katherine Jones

Sandra Sisk


Nicholas Cohen

French Horns

Michael Hall*,

Mark Wakefield*

Justin Drew

David Smith

Margaret Tung


Chris Gekker*,

Robert Birch*

John Abbracciamento

Brent Madsen


David Sciannella*,

James Armstrong

Jeffrey Cortazzo


Willie Clark

Timpani & Percussion

Tom Maloy*,

Aubrey Adams

Curt Duer

Robert Jenkins

Bill Richards


Rebecca Smith

Elizabeth Blakeslee


William Neil

Jeffery Watson

Theodore Guerrant

Musicians Bios

Lori Barnet, Cello

Lori Barnet is a graduate of Bennington College. Her primary teachers include Robert Newkirk, George Finkel and Barbara Stein Mallow on cello, Phoebe Carrai on baroque cello, and Josef Gingold, Artur Balsam, Joseph Fuchs and Jacob Glick on chamber music. She is principal cellist of the National Philharmonic, Wolf Trap Opera Orchestra and Philadelphia’s Orchestra 2001, where she holds the Dell Venarde Principal Cello Chair. She has appeared as soloist with the Augusta Symphony (GA), Alexandria and Mclean Symphonies, Orchestra 2001, National Philharmonic, Washington Chamber Symphony and several university ensembles. She was principal cellist of both Penn Contemporary Players and the Contemporary Music Forum, each for 20 years, and served for five seasons as the continuo cellist on period instruments for the Washington Bach Consort’s cantata series. Miss Barnet has taught at the National Philharmonic Summer String Institutes since they began and at The George Washington University since 1991, where she also coaches chamber ensembles and appears regularly with the University’s faculty performance ensemble, the Columbian Consort.

Katherine Ceasar-Spall, Oboe

Katherine Ceasar-Spall moved to Maryland in 1991, where she performs with many of the ensembles in the Baltimore-Washington area. She is currently a core member of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and has been the principal oboist with the Alexandria Symphony since 1992. She has also performed frequently with the Concert Artists of Baltimore, the National Symphony, The Mid Atlantic Symphony, the Wolftrap Opera Company, and Opera Baltimore. From 1986 to 1992, she played oboe and English horn for the Richmond (Virginia) Symphony Orchestra.

A native of Detroit, Ms. Ceasar-Spall received a Masters Degree in Oboe Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where Henry Schuman was her principal teacher. In the early 1980’s she lived in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, playing in orchestras and chamber ensembles, giving solo recitals, teaching and also playing jazz concerts and conducting jazz workshops (she is also an accomplished jazz flutist).

In 1978, Ms. Ceasar-Spall toured Italy as a member of The Pastiche Wind Quintet, representing the city of Detroit in a cultural exchange between that city and Florence. She has performed at many summer festivals, including The Bach Aria Festival (New York), The Aspen Music Festival, The Grand Tetons summer festival, and the American Institute for Musical Studies
(Graz, Austria).

Ms. Ceasar-Spall is the author of Let’s Play Jazz (1983), a Spanish-English improvisation manual, published by Hansen House. She is also co-author with her husband, James Spall, of the paper “Regression Analysis as an Aid in Making Oboe Reeds,” which was presented at the American Statistical Association Annual Meeting, August 1994, Toronto, Canada, and featured as a cover story in the December 1994 issue of the Amstat News (monthly magazine of the American Statistical Association). The paper appears in the July 1997 issue of the Journal of Testing and Evaluation, as well as in the Fall, 1997 issue of The Double Reed. Because of interest in this paper, Ms. Ceasar-Spall was interviewed for an article that appeared in The New York Times in October of 1997.

Arminé Graham, Violin

A native of Armenia, Arminé Graham is a prizewinner of the Izabel Violin, Tuesday Musical, and the Maia Chamber Music competitions. She earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Violin from the Catholic University of America, a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, and bachelor’s from Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, Armenia. Throughout her career, Arminé has worked with world-renowned artists such as Gidon Kremer, Christoph Eschenbach, Nigel Kennedy, Lorin Maazel and Kurt Masur. Her musical career has taken her around the world to countries such as Spain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Canada. She has participated in Castleton Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and Kent Blossom Music Festival where she received the Josef Gingold Award for her distinguished accomplishments in chamber music. In 2012, Arminé won a position with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and now serves as an assistant principal second violin. She also frequently plays with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera Orchestra.

Lysiane Gravel-Lacombe, Violin

Lysiane Gravel-Lacombe, violinist, was born in Montreal, Canada. An active freelance musician in the Baltimore/DC area since 1999, she is a member of the Annapolis and Maryland Symphony Orchestras and The National Philharmonic. Lysiane also performs regularly with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Concert Artists of Baltimore. She has shared the stage with Arlo Guthrie, Mary J. Blige, Phish, Sarah McLachlan, Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder.

Lysiane received a degree from the Vincent d’Indy School of Music in Montreal, where she studied with Luis Grinhauz and was awarded the Gold Medal from the Governor General of Canada for Outstanding Academic Performances. She then completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees in violin performance at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University as a scholarship student of Herbert Greenberg. Lysiane also owns and operates Zoom Zoom Groom, LLC, a mobile pet grooming company servicing the Frederick, MD area. In her spare time, Lysiane loves to garden, cook, and spend quality time hiking with her dogs.

Rebecca Hagen Watson, Bassoon

Rebecca Hagen Watson is currently a Visiting Instructor of Music at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and also serves as Second Bassoon of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Bassoon of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.

Mrs. Watson has performed with the National Symphony, the Houston Ballet, the German Radio Orchestra of Saarbrücken/Kaiserslautern, the Baltimore Concert Artists, the San Antonio Symphony, the Austin Symphony, the Victoria Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony and Ballet and the Mid-Texas Symphony, among many other groups. She is a former Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at Washington Adventist University and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

After meeting in San Antonio, Mrs. Watson and her husband moved to Arizona in 2012. She enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts degree program at the University of Arizona under the guidance of Dr. William Dietz. Now ABD, Mrs. Watson anticipates finishing her doctoral degree in the Spring of 2016.

Rebecca Hagen Watson completed her Master’s Degree with the highest honors at the Folkwang Musikhochschule Essen, and the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule, Düsseldorf, in Germany. She studied with Gustavo Núñez, Principal Bassoon of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam. She held the position of Bassoonist and Contrabassoonist of the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern in Germany for eight years, and had the opportunity to perform often with great orchestras such as the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Südwest Rundfunk Kaiserslautern, the Saarländische Rundfunk Orchester, the Mainzer Stadttheater, and others. During this time, she also studied intensively with Marc Engelhardt, Professor of Bassoon at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule.

Mrs. Watson received her Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance from the University of Minnesota, studying with John Miller and Norbert Nielubowski. She attended the Sarasota Music Festival and was a finalist for the New World Symphony. She was invited to attend the European Mozart Academy in Poland, and worked with renowned international soloists in Europe such as Klaus Thunemann, Sergio Azzolini, Aurele Nicolet, and Ingo Goritzki. She and her husband spend their free time trying to keep up with their two rescue dogs.

Erich Heckscher, Bassoon

Erich Heckscher is currently Principal Bassoon with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and an active performer in the greater Washington, DC area. For the 2011-2012 season, he served as Acting Second Bassoon with the National Symphony Orchestra, including a South American tour. He previously held the positions of Principal Bassoon with the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Second Bassoon with the Houston Ballet and Alabama Symphony Orchestras, and served as guest Principal Bassoon with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in January, 2000.

Mr. Heckscher has also performed with the Dallas, Virginia, Richmond and Charleston Symphony orchestras and the Washington National Opera, Atlanta Opera and Tulsa Opera orchestras. He has been Principal Bassoon of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, OR since 2000, and has participated in festivals in Breckenridge, Des Moines, Chautauqua, Durango and Sarasota. He received a BM from the Eastman School of Music and an MM from Southern Methodist University, where his instructors were K. David Van Hoesen, John Hunt and Wilfred Roberts.

Mr. Heckscher is Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at the University of Maryland and has been a woodwind sectional coach for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras. From 1998-2000, he was Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at Texas A&M University Commerce.

Cheryl Hill, Clarinet

Cheryl Hill, clarinetist, has been Principal clarinet with the National Philharmonic since 2004 and previously second clarinet with the National Chamber Orchestra from 1990 to 2004. She was also a member of the Baltimore Opera Company from 1991 until it closed in 2009. Before moving to the DC area, Ms. Hill played with Orchestra New England (New Haven).

Ms. Hill particularly enjoys playing chamber music, having attended the Marlboro Music Festival during the 1984 and 1985 season, Yale Summer School in 1983, as well as the Waterloo and Sarasota Music Festivals. She has recently formed two chamber music groups with NP orchestra musicians, the National Philharmonic Wind Quintet and the National Philharmonic Chamber Players, with performances in the DC area. She performs regularly in the DC area with
Bamboo, a wind quartet and has performed with 1807 and Friends with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philomusica with performances at Merkin Hall, NYC. In 1984, her group Montage won first prize in the International Chamber Music Competition, NYC which culminated in a debut performance at Carnegie Recital Hall.

Ms. Hill received her BMA at New England Conservatory of Music, and her MMA at SUNY Stony Brook. She studied with Felix Viscuglia, Peter Hadcock, David Glazer and worked closely as well with Julius Levine, Marcel Moyse and Harold Wright. Currently, she teaches at the Washington Conservatory of Music.

Recordings with EMI and Marlboro Music.

Ms. Hill plays Chadash clarinets.

Mark Hill, Oboe, English Horn

Mark Hill has earned a wide reputation as an oboe and English horn soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, recording artist and teacher. In the symphonic world he has been invited to perform with the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Orchestra of the Academy of St.-Martins-in-the-Fields, Orpheus, the Mostly Mozart Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He was for many years a member of the New York Chamber Symphony and is currently principal oboe of the National Philharmonic, with whom he has recently featured as soloist on Mozart’s Oboe Concerto, Bach’s Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin, and Bach Brandenburg Concertos.

His extensive chamber music experience includes collaborations and appearances with such artists as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Guarneri String Quartet, the New York Woodwind Quintet, the Bach Aria Group, the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Claude Frank, Paula Robison, and the Aspen Wind Quintet. He has appeared with Chamber Music Northwest and is currently a member of the Left Bank Concert Society in Washington, D.C. as well as the performing faculty of the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival in Vermont. He was a member of the New York based Sylvan Winds from 1982 until 2005. More recently he performed chamber music and a concerto performance at Turkey’s Klasik Keyifler festival during the summer of 2011.

He has recorded on at least nine major labels and was English horn soloist on the Grammy-nominated Angel recording of Copland’s Quiet City and Music for the Theater with Gerard Schwarz and the New York Chamber Symphony. A solo recording of American music entitled Alchemy was released in 2006 by Albany Records to critical acclaim, and a second solo recording, Sad Steps, has just been released on the same label.

Mr. Hill earned his B.M. degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts and his M.M. from SUNY Stony Brook as a student of Ronald Roseman. Other mentors have included Richard Killmer, Joseph Robinson, and Heinz Holliger.

Mr. Hill is currently Professor of Oboe at the University of Maryland School of Music; he has also taught at Ithaca College, the Mannes College of Music, Columbia University, and the State University of New York at Purchase.

Leonora Karasina, Viola

Leonora Karasina is a violist with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. A native of Lithuania, she holds an MA from Lithuanian State Conservatory of Music with qualifications of soloist, symphony and chamber orchestra player and teacher. After receiving her MA she also studied viola with Professor Fyodor Druzhinin at Moscow Conservatory.

Ms. Karasina joined Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal viola and later won the audition for the position of principal viola. With the Lithuanian State Symphony as principal viola, she performed under conductors Juozas Domarkas, Neeme Jarvi, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev and others.

With the orchestra, Ms. Karasina participated in the Prague Spring Festival and other international music festivals in many countries presenting works of contemporary Lithuanian composers. She played in Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Hungary, and many countries of the Soviet Union as part of the Symphony Orchestra concert tours. She also performed with the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra and Lithuanian Opera.

After emigrating to US, Ms. Karasina played with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington Opera, Concert Opera and many chamber groups. She performed with conductors Placido Domingo, Heinz Fricke, Piotr Gajewski, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, among others.

Ms. Karasina teaches violin and viola in her private studio in Rockville. Many of her students have been accepted into local student orchestras such as MCYO and PVYO, with many in key leadership positions.

Her hobbies are reading and travelling.

Robert Kurz, Double Bass

Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, Robert Kurz began his musical studies at age five on the guitar. By age ten, he had joined a touring musical youth group called the Continental Tamburitians. In the fifth grade, Robert began studying the double bass with John Murcko from the Youngstown Symphony. Continuing to play the double bass throughout high school, he set his sights on college music schools, studying with Tony Bianco of the Pittsburgh Symphony. College took Mr. Kurz to Ohio, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Double Bass Performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, studying with Barry Green. In the summers during college, Robert furthered his progress at the Chautauqua Institution studying with Curtis Burris of the National Symphony. Inspired by Mr. Burris’ teaching, Robert followed him to the University of Maryland in College Park for graduate studies. After completing his studies, Robert focused his efforts on establishing his career as a professional bassist in the Washington D.C. area. Currently, he is the Principal Bassist with the National Philharmonic, and he enjoys a varied teaching and performing career in the DC area. Robert lives in Bowie, MD with his wife, Dr. Anna Helm Kurz, and their three boys, Sixten, Gustav, and Ludvig.

Kerry Van Laanen, Cello

Kerry Van Laanen has been a performer and teacher in the Washington, D.C. area since1985. She has performed extensively with such groups as the Washington National Opera, National Gallery Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Post Classical Ensemble, and Wolf Trap Orchestra. A highly respected chamber musician, Ms. Van Laanen has performed in at the Spoleto (Italy) Festival and locally at the Lyceum, Kennedy Center, and Strathmore Hall. She maintains an active cello studio in Rockville, Md.

Tom Maloy, Timpani, Percussion

Tom Maloy has been playing timpani and percussion with the National Philharmonic since 2002. He grew up in the Syracuse area and studied at the Eastman School of Music. He has been a member of the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band since 1999 and is an active musician in the Baltimore Washington region.

Nicolette Oppelt, Flute

Flutist Nicolette Driehuys Oppelt was born in Amstelveen, The Netherlands, and began studying flute at the age of 11. After immigrating with her family to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1977, she attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for both high school and college, studying with Philip Dunigan. While there, she was a two-time winner of the school’s concerto competition. She also appeared as a soloist on the Dutch national television show Jonge Mensen op weg naar het Concertpodium (Young People on Their Way to the Concert Stage) with her father, conductor Leo Driehuys, on the podium. Ms. Oppelt has been actively performing in the Washington Metropolitan area since 1990. In addition to being a tenured member of the National Philharmonic, she serves as Principal Flutist of the National Gallery Orchestra, Washington Concert Opera, The Virginia Chamber Orchestra and the Amadeus Orchestra. She has performed chamber music with the Capitol Woodwind Quintet, the Contemporary Music Forum at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Gallery Woodwind Quintet, the Beau Soir Ensemble and at the Netherlands Embassy. Ms. Oppelt is also a regular substitute with the National Symphony Orchestra and has accompanied that orchestra on many tours, including performances in Carnegie Hall.

Benjamin Scott, Violin

Violinist Benjamin Scott is a regular substitute with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also performed with the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and throughout Asia on tours in 2013 and 2014, as well as Europe in 2015. He joined the National Philharmonic as Associate Concertmaster in 2012, and also performs with the Harrisburg Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and Philly POPS. Previously, Benjamin spent three seasons as a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, during which time he performed with Michael Tilson-Thomas and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall. He has attended the prestigious Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland and performed concerts in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Benjamin was concertmaster of the 2010 Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan, where he presented chamber concerts with Clive Greensmith of the Tokyo String Quartet. He has also attended the AIMS festival in Graz, Austria for three summers. As a soloist, Benjamin has performed at Jordan Hall on the NPR Radio Show “From the Top,” the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and The Lyceum in Alexandria, VA where he performs annual recitals. In May 2007, Benjamin completed his Master’s degree at the New England Conservatory, with Boston Symphony violinist Valeria Kuchment. He has studied privately with Donald Weilerstein, Alexander Kerr, Ronda Cole, Cho-Liang Lin, Yumi Scott, and at the Aspen Music Festival, Benjamin received chamber coaching with renowned violinist Gil Shaham.

Jennifer Shannon, Violin

Violinist Jennifer Stephens Shannon has been a member of the National Philharmonic Orchestra for over 26 years and maintains a teaching studio in her home in University Park, MD. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Maryland and continued her graduate studies there as a founding member of the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet Program, studying intensively with members of the Guarneri String Quartet. Ms. Shannon has served on the faculty of the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program, and continues to serve on the faculty of the National Philharmonic Summer Institute for Middle School Students. Ms. Shannon has free-lanced extensively in the Washington Metropolitan area, and has performed throughout Europe, the Far East, and the former Soviet Union as a member of the Handel Festival Orchestra and faculty member of the DC Youth Orchestra Program. In 1995, she was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association. In February of 2006, she helped found the College Park Youth Orchestra and continues to serve as a member of the board and sectional coach, helping the orchestra grow over the last decade into a program comprising three string ensembles of varying levels of advancement. Besides playing the violin, one of Ms. Shannon’s greatest joys and passions is teaching, and she aspires to inspire children to love playing and listening to music as much as she does.

Leslie Silverfine, Violin, Viola

Leslie Silverfine (Violin, Viola) received her M.M. from Boston University and her B.F.A. from SUNY at Purchase. She studied with Charles and Heidi Castleman, Joseph Silverstein, Rafael Druian. Ms. Silverfine was a Fellowship recipient to Berkshire Music Center and the Colorado Philharmonic. She has performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Colorado Music Festival, National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, National Gallery Orchestra and National Philharmonic. Ms. Silverfine appears regularly with many period instrument groups such as Washington Bach Consort, Opera Lafayette, Wolf Trap Opera, Bach Sinfonia and National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra. She is on the faculty of the National Philharmonic Summer Music Institute, Levine String Camp and Levine School of Music, and maintains a private teaching studio in Silver Spring for violin and viola.


Judy Silverman, Viola

Judy Silverman, Associate Principal Emeritus Viola. Mrs. Silverman has been with the National Philharmonic Orchestra since its inception in 1985 as the Montgomery Chamber Orchestra. From 1998-2000 she was the co-founder, Administrative Director, and Coordinator of Chamber Music for the its Summer String Institutes for High School Students. She was awarded Teacher of the Year in 1992 by the American String Teachers’ Association (Maryland-DC Chapter) and in 1999 received the same organization’s Service to Strings Award with Piotr Gajewski for their work developing the Institutes. In 1992, Mrs. Silverman was awarded the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra‘s (now the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra) award for Service to Students. She continues to teach at the String Institutes of the National Philharmonic. As a chamber musician she has performed in local venues including Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville Arts Place, The Mansion at Strathmore, Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, University of Maryland, Catholic University, Montgomery College and Howard University. With other members of the National Philharmonic she has written and performed children’s concerts at libraries, schools and benefits for the National Philharmonic. Mrs. Silverman has maintained a teaching studio in Rockville for over 40 years. She has chaired numerous string competitions and festivals and served as an adjudicator for Maryland State Music Teachers Association, DC Music Teachers Association, Friday Morning Music Club, and the Levine School. She is a member of the Friday Morning Music Club where she is Chairman of the Johansen International Competition for Young String Students (ages 13-17), an internationally renowned triennial competition, sponsored by the Friday Morning Music Club Foundation. Mrs. Silverman has been married 55 years to Paul Silverman, has two sons and 4 grandchildren.

Colin Sorgi, Violin

Violinist Colin Sorgi is the Concertmaster of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra (Lucerne, Switzerland). Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Colin holds degrees from both the Peabody Conservatory and Indiana University studying with renowned musicians Herbert Greenberg and Jaime Laredo.

He made his solo debut at the Aspen Music Festival in 2012 and has since been heard as soloist and in recital on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Chicago Cultural Center, Canada’s National Arts Centre, and at the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, among others. In August 2015, Colin made his debut at the prestigious Lucerne Festival in Switzerland giving the European premiere of the concerto for electric violin and orchestra, “Forever and Ever”, by Tod Machover (Musical America’s 2015 Composer of the Year).

Colin’s first commercial recording was released in October 2012 on the IUmusic label for the Latin American Music Center and featured premiere recordings of works by living Latin American composers. He has recently had the privilege of collaborating with some of the world’s most influential musicians including Leon Fleisher, Pinchas Zuckerman, Jorja Fleezanis, John Adams, Matthias Pinscher, Wolfgang Rihm and members of the Parisian Ensemble Intercontemporain.

An advocate of community engagement and arts education, Colin spends much of his time working with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program – a music outreach program in West Baltimore and the country’s largest El Sistema-inspired program. He is also a faculty member for the National Philharmonic’s yearly Summer String Institute.

Colin is deeply devoted to the performance of contemporary music and is the Founder, Artistic Director and violinist of Baltimore’s SONAR new music ensemble ( which was formed in 2007 and has presented some of the most important music of our time as well as over 40 premieres of composers throughout the world. In 2014, SONAR was named “Baltimore’s Best Classical Group”by the Baltimore City Paper.

Colin currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Jaclyn. their cat Giuseppe and their dog Vincenzo.

Catherine Stewart, Violin

Catherine Stewart, violinist, is a core member with National Philharmonic and has performed with them since 1999. She has also been a member of The Nashville Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic, and the Virginia Beach Pops.

Ms. Stewart has been adjunct faculty at University of Maryland College Park a faculty member of Columbia Union College, St. Mary’s College and the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program as well as adjunct faculty at Olney Adventist Preparatory School. She has also presented Pedagogy Classes at Florida State University and Towson University and for Montgomery Public School string teachers. She is director of Stewart’s Stellar Strings, Scale and Sight-Reading Camp, which she founded in 2006.

Ms. Stewart was Education Director of the National Philharmonic (formerly National Chamber Orchestra) Middle School Institute in 2001 and Education Director of the National Philharmonic High School Institute in 2002. She was Administrative Director of the Modern Early Music Institute 2009-2010.

Ms. Stewart was the 2012 recipient of “Service to Strings” award from American String Teachers Association MD/DC Chapter. The Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra presented the 2011 Chester J. Petranek Award to The American String Teachers Association and Catherine Stewart for Outstanding Community Service in Enriching the Musical Life of the Washington Metropolitan Area. In 1998, the American String Teachers Association MD/DC Chapter awarded Ms. Stewart “Outstanding Teacher of the Year”.

Ms. Stewart is active in numerous professional organizations. She served in the leadership positions for The American String Teachers Association MD/DC Chapter, as President Elect, 2008-2010, President, 2010-2012 and Past President, 2012-2014. She chaired the MSMTA Strings Plus Festival for many years, as well as the Gretchen Hood competition. She has adjudicated many competitions and exams in the Washington area.

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