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VIRGINIA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
46th Season

David Grandis, Music Director

Featured Guest Artists for 46th season


Aaron Goldman, flute
October 23, 2016


Aaron Goldman, flute

Aaron Goldman, Principal Flute of the National Symphony Orchestra since January 2013, joined the NSO as Assistant Principal Flute in September 2006. Prior to joining the NSO, he was Principal Flute of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed as guest principal with the Baltimore Symphony.

An active soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Goldman has performed concertos with the National Symphony, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Arlington Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Florida, and has performed at several National Flute Association’s annual conventions. He appears as part of the Kennedy Center Chamber Players, and has performed with the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, the National Chamber Players, the 21st Century Consort, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, and participated in many educational programs with the NSO, including performances in the Family and Terrace Theaters.

Mr. Goldman is on the faculty of the University of Maryland and teaches through the NSO’s Youth Fellowship Program. He has appeared as guest artist at universities and flute festivals and in the summers, has taught at NOI, NYO, the Master Players Festival, and SMI. He has given lectures at the Carnegie Institute, and the Smithsonian Institution, such as “The Magical Flute” and “Math and Music: Closer Than You Think” alongside former NSO cellist Yvonne Caruthers.

Mr. Goldman received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.



Isabelle Frouvelle, harp
October 23, 2016


Isabelle Frouvelle, harp

Harpist Isabelle Frouvelle has recently moved to Washington and is now dividing her musical activities between France and America. She has appeared as soloist with the Orchestre Colonne and Orchestre du Capitole, and has presented concerts in Sainte-Chapelle, the Basilica of Sacré Coeur, the Louvre Museum, and the Château de Versailles, among many others. She has been invited to give master classes in the United States and Mexico, and was recently selected to judge an International Harp Competition in Mexico.



Helen Power, painter/potter
October 23, 2016


Helen Power, painter/potter

Helen has been involved in creating art all of her life. As a young child she liked to draw and paint. In her middle and high school years she was fortunate to have attended a school where art was cherished. Helen’s art teacher took her under her wing and supported a creative journey through the teen years and on to art school where she trained to become an art educator herself. Now Helen works as an Art Therapist and Play Therapist and is able to support and follow the journey of other young artists.

Currently Helen enjoys creating intuitive abstract images with acrylic paint and mixed media. Other materials include clay, collage, and watercolor. She works on canvas, paper, and ceramic surfaces. Her work is expressive and vital, full of color yet gentle in nature. Helen’s images are playful, incorporating studied and unplanned images with mixed media and color.



Destiny Ann Mermagen, violin
March 11, 2017


Destiny Ann Mermagen

Violinist Destiny Ann Mermagen, formerly Destiny Ann Hoyle, is enjoying a successful career as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher in the musical arts. A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, Destiny Ann performed regularly with the Black Hills Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. During the summer of 2002, Destiny Ann was selected on full-scholarship to participate in the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute. She was featured as soloist at the 2003 American String Teachers Association Convention in Columbus, Ohio with the Rapid City Central Chamber Orchestra, which was the only chamber orchestra in the nation to be selected for participation. She has been involved in various musical and educational productions throughout the world, including those with the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Peabody Conservatory, University of Maryland School of Music, and The Catholic University of America.

As the winner of international competitions and performance awards, Destiny Ann has had the pleasure of performing in prestigious venues such as Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Opera House, and Millennium Stage; Maryland’s Strathmore Hall; New York City’s Carnegie Hall and many others across the United States, Europe and Russia. Destiny Ann has worked in conjunction with Dream Works and Paramount Pictures for Joe Wright’s movie, The Soloist. She is also featured in the PBS Documentary Partisan Pictures film, Defiant Requiem: Voices of Resistance, both from the 2006 performance in Terezín, Czech Republic, and in the chamber music soundtrack recorded in 2012. In 2011, Destiny Ann was featured as soloist at the 65th Annual International Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL, with the ASTA Grand Champion winners Rapid City Central Chamber Orchestra. She was also a featured guest performer at the 2013 IDRS Conference in Los Angeles, CA, where she performed Paganini’s Duos for Bassoon and Violin.

During her time in Washington, D.C., Destiny Ann received her Master of Music Degree on full-scholarship with distinguished violinists & Professors Jody Gatwood & Luis Haza. Her studies also included working with the esteemed Elisabeth Adkins, Associate Concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra. Other notable teachers include Espen Lilleslåtten, who served as Concertmaster for fifteen years of the Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, as well as summer studies at the Aspen Music Festival with renowned teachers Paul Kantor and Sylvia Rosenberg.

In praise of her cowgirl roots, a recent successful and barn-burner of a performance of Franck’s Sonata for Violin and Piano was quoted in the Washington Post as “endearingly coltish.” She has a fiery passion for chamber music and loves performing with her husband, cellist Michael Mermagen.

Destiny Ann is faculty violin instructor for the string program of the Coastal Youth Symphony of Georgia.



Heather Adelsberger, piano
March 11, 2017


Heather Adelsberger

Heather Adelsberger maintains an active career as a pianist, organist, vocal accompanist and piano instructor in the Washington D.C. area. She holds an undergraduate degree in Piano Performance from the Catholic University of America, and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from the University of Maryland.

A sought-after music educator and member of MTNA, Heather has maintained private studios in Maryland and Virginia for the past seven years. Heather stresses an individualistic approach to each students learning style and goals. Using creative pedagogy and a wide range of repertoire, she tailors each lesson to motivate the student toward achievement and a love of the art form.

In 2009, Heather joined the faculty at Duke Ellington School of the Arts where she coaches and accompanies conservatory-bound high school vocal students. Most recently, she prepared students of Duke Ellingtons Opera Workshop for their spring production which featured scenes from Handel’s Xerxes, Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Troubled Island by African American composer William Grant Still.

A firm believer in continuing education, Heather recently completed a year of study through the Potomac Organ Institute where she received year-long scholarship to study organ. Heather is currently the Director of Music at the St Louis Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA.
Heather maintains an active performing schedule as a solo and collaborative pianist. Her most recent endeavors have included a series of recitals in Washington and New Jersey with cellist Sara Bennett Wolfe, and performances of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise with her husband, bass-baritone Andrew Adelsberger.



Dennis M. Layendecker, Mason Symphony Orchestra Conductor
March 22, 2017


photo of Dennis Layendecker

Dennis M. Layendecker; D.M.A.; Col. USAF (Ret.), is the Director of the George Mason University School of Music. He holds the Heritage Chair in Music and serves as Director of University Orchestras in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), positions he has held since joining the faculty in August 2009. The Heritage Chair in Music was established in the 1980s by former Mason president George Johnson and his wife Joanne as a way of promoting the arts on campus and within the community.

During his 26-year Air Force career Dr. Layendecker served as a band commander, conductor, artistic director, pianist, public spokesperson, educator, and diplomat for the Air Force at home and abroad. In July 2002, then Colonel Layendecker assumed command of The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. As part of his duties he provided direct musical and ceremonial support to the President of the United States and his Cabinet, members of Congress and other high ranking civilian and military leaders nationally and internationally. In addition to his duties at the USAF Band, from December 2007, he also served as the Chief of Music for the Air Force. In this capacity he advised the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs leadership on music policy, officer hiring, development and assignments, force structure, and total force integration of Air Force active duty and Air National Guard musical units. During his military career he led more than 6,000 musical performances worldwide in support of public outreach, community relations, troop morale and welfare, and recruitment and retention programs for the Air Force and Department of Defense. He officially retired from the Air Force in late August 2009.

Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Music Education in 1975. He began his conducting studies in 1977 while on full piano scholarship attending the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium. He subsequently augmented his conducting studies during summer master classes at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and at the Vienna (Austria) Academy of Music. In 1981, he earned a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and in 1988, completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Air Force, Dr. Layendecker served on the music faculties of The American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Illinois and Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. He was inducted as a member of the American Bandmasters Association in 2006. He has remained active as a conductor and clinician throughout his professional career.

During his distinguished career in the Air Force Dr. Layendecker led many of America’s finest musicians throughout the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom, and Europe—from Los Angeles to New York, Vienna to London, and Oslo to Tokyo. Gifted in foreign languages, he is fluent in French and functional in German and Italian. He has performed in such notable venues as Washington D.C.’s National Theatre and D.A.R. Constitution Hall; Kodak Theatre in Hollywood; Semper Opera, Dresden; Neues Gewandhaus, Leipzig; Royal Albert Hall in London; Alte Opera, Frankfurt; and the Beethovenhalle in Bonn. He has led his ensembles before numerous world leaders to include seven American presidents, Queen Elizabeth of England, and Pope John Paul II. His radio and television broadcast credits include appearances on BBC, German Radio and Television, Polish National Radio, Radio Luxembourg, RAI Italy, and public radio and national television across America.

In addition to his civilian academic credentials, Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of the Air War College, a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and a graduate of the Air Force Academic Instructor’s School and Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

A native of Springfield, Illinois, Dr. Layendecker resides with his wife Myriam in Burke, Virginia. They have been blessed to raise six children, and late in 2009 welcomed their first grandchild, Simon Peters.



Alexandria Choral Society
May 7, 2017  


With the encouragement of the Alexandria City Council, Alexandria Choral Society (ACS) was formed in 1970 as a component of the Performing Arts Association of Alexandria. ACS was independently incorporated in 1978. Beginning with the vision of founding director Francisco de Araujo, ACS has delighted audiences year in and year out, and the baton has passed from one illustrious hand to the next and finally arrived with Brian Gendron, who has led ACS since 2009.

For almost 45 years, ACS performances have enriched the community with a broad spectrum of choral works, from the Renaissance to modern American composers, from small chamber pieces to major works for chorus and orchestra, and from a great variety of musical cultures. For major works, ACS has often collaborated with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and other instrumental groups from the Northern Virginia area. Contemporary music performances have included several choral pieces commissioned by ACS, perhaps most notably the “Alexandria Suite” a setting by Virginia composer Russell Woollen of eight poems by Alexandria poet laureate Jean Elliot, celebrating the history and beauty of the city. ACS premiered the “Alexandria Suite” in 1987 and presented it numerous times during the city’s 250th anniversary year in 1999.

On two occasions, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce selected ACS for its ALEX Award, in recognition of excellence in service to the arts in Alexandria. In 1992, ACS and artistic director Kerry Krebill received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ first award to a chorus for “Adventuresome Programming.” However, ACS is especially proud of a comment many years ago by Joseph McLellan, long-time chief music critic of the Washington Post, who wrote about the Alexandria Choral Society: “This chorus is one of the things that makes Alexandria a very special place.”

The roster of distinguished music directors includes Francisco de Araujo, Martin Piecuch, Robert Shafer, Douglas Major, Kerry Krebill, Keith Reas, Philip Cave, Neil Weston, and Janet Davis. Since becoming the group’s artistic leader in 2009, Brian Gendron has brought about a renaissance for ACS by reinvigorating membership and repertoire, and guiding the ensemble to set our sights on the horizon.

Alexandria Choral Society Web site (link will open in a new browser window)


P.O. Box 7484, Alexandria, VA 22307-7484
The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is a Registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization
Last updated: 6 October, 2016......v.4.01