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VIRGINIA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
47th Season

David Grandis, Music Director

Featured Guest Artists for 47th season


Teri Lazar, violin
July 5, 2017  


photo of Teri Lazar

Teri Lazar, violinist, has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Dr. Lazar performs with the Sunrise Quartet and the National Gallery of Art String Quartet. Recently, the Quartet performed to great acclaim at the Musica Sacra festival in Ecuador. The Quartet has performed with noted pianists Menahem Pressler and Miceal O’Rourke, and with guitarist Roland Dyens.

The Quartet has recorded for the Living Music, Arizona University Recordings, Amcam and AmeriMusic labels. A collection of Christmas music, which they edited, has been published under the imprint of G. Schirmer, Inc. West Virginia Public Television and Chinese National Television have also featured the Sunrise Quartet in a one-hour TV show “A Musical Bridge to China” broadcast. Performances by the Quartet have been broadcast for National Public Radio’s Performance Today, What Makes it Great, and Front Row Washington.

In addition to her work with the Quartet she has recorded chamber music for the Albany, Klavier, North/South Recordings, Plucked String, and Centaur labels and has been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today program.

She received a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, from the Catholic University of America. She continued her studies at Catholic University with Robert Gerle and received a Master of Music and a Doctorate of Music degree in violin performance. Dr. Lazar is currently on the faculty of the American University where she teaches violin and is Musician in Residence. She is currently the Concertmaster of the Virginia Chamber Orchestra. She has performed at the Spoleto festival in the USA and in Italy and she toured Europe twice with the New York group, Amor Artis.


Osman Kivrak, viola and composer
July 5, 2017  


photo of Osman Kivrak

Osman Kivrak, violist, was a winner of the National Scholarship Competition in Turkey, the Baltimore Chamber Music Awards, the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards, the Culver (California) Chamber Music Competition and of three Maryland National Parks and Planning Commission Awards. He performs with the Sunrise Quartet and the National Gallery of Art String Quartet. Recently, the Quartet performed to great acclaim at the Musica Sacra festival in Ecuador. The Quartet has performed with noted pianists Menahem Pressler and Miceal O’Rourke, and with guitarist Roland Dyens.

The Quartet has recorded for the Living Music, Arizona University Recordings, Amcam and AmeriMusic labels. A collection of Christmas music, which they edited, has been published under the imprint of G. Schirmer, Inc. West Virginia Public Television and Chinese National Television have also featured the Sunrise Quartet in a one-hour TV show “A Musical Bridge to China” broadcast. Performances by the Quartet have been broadcast for National Public Radio’s Performance Today, What Makes it Great and Front Row Washington.

He received a Master of Music and Doctorate of Music degree from the Catholic University of America. Before coming to the United States, he received his Bachelor of Music from Gazi University in Turkey and studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

He has also performed at the Spoleto Festival in the USA and Italy and he has toured Europe a number of times as a chamber music player with other groups. His works have been performed in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress and throughout the United States and in Turkey as well as on National Public Radio. Formerly a professor at the Izmir State Conservatory in Turkey, Dr. Kivrak currently teaches viola and chamber music at American University where he is Musician in Residence.


Charlie Barnett, pianist and composer
July 5, 2017  and June 30, 2018  


photo of Charlie Barnett

An accomplished and popular American composer, Charlie Barnett is the winner of numerous awards for his film scores, including the Rome International Film Festival’s Jerry Goldsmith Award. Barnett also writes music for television; his credits include Saturday Night Live, Weeds, Royal Pains, and Archer. Barnett’s lively orchestral and chamber works are performed both nationally and internationally. Notable collaborations include a spoken-word piece written and performed with Dr. Maya Angelou. As a producer, Barnett has recorded scores of pop and jazz albums for labels including Def Jam and Elektra. And as a performer, he plays guitar and piano for Chaise Lounge, an eclectic jazz band that frequently appears on the national college-radio charts with his original compositions. Barnett has also been heard as an occasional commentator on NPR. His essay “Hitching a Ride with Junior McGee” was included in the network’s Classic Driveway Moments compilation.

charliebarnett.com (link will open in a new browser window)
chaiseloungenation.com (link will open in a new browser window)


Robert Aubry Davis, Narrarator
October 22, 2017  


photo of Robert Qubry Dqvis

Television and radio personality Robert Aubry Davis is a native Washingtonian and an active member of the area’s cultural community.

Davis is the creator and host of “Millennium of Music,” a program dedicated to music from the thousand years before Bach. The program is carried by more than 100 public radio stations nationwide. He has been host and moderator of WETA TV 26’s Emmy Award-winning weekly arts discussion program, “Around Town,” since its inception in 1986. Davis can also be heard on Vox, XM Satellite Radio’s opera and classical vocal music channel.

His education in literature and art history at both Duke University and American University and his broad knowledge of—and participation in—the arts make him a well-respected and visible member of Washington’s cultural community. He is a regular lecturer at a variety of area seminars and performances, including concerts with the Folger Consort, the Baltimore Consort, the Early Music Series at the University of Maryland, the Dumbarton Oaks Concert Series and the Smithsonian Early Music Series.


Mark Malecki, painter
October 22, 2017  and  April 22, 2018


photo of Mark Malecki

Mark Malecki has studied Asian art at the Art League School in Alexandria Virginia, The Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, the Sakura Salon in Tokyo and the Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou China. He has also studied watercolor and pastel painting at the Art League School in Alexandria, Va.

Artist Statement:

With background in both Western Art and Asian Art, I like to fuse elements of both artistic traditions. This may include Asian subject matter and color schemes, on Western watercolor or pastel methods. Sometimes I combine Western-style light and shadow on the subject, but against a minimalistic background, or with Asian-inspired compositions. Also, I will do the reverse, namely, making Asian sumi-e and Japanese mineral pigment (also known as Nihonga) of uniquely American subject matter.


Brian Ganz, piano
Benefit Recital, January 12, 2018  


photo of Brian Ganz

Brian Ganz is widely recognized as one of the leading pianists ofhis generation. A Laureate of the Marguerite Long JacquesThibaud and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Piano Competitions, Mr. Ganz has appeared with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, National Philharmonic, National Symphony and City of London Sinfonia.

He has performed with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Mstislav Rostropovich and Leon Fleischer, among others. The Washington Post has written: “One comes away from a recital by pianist Brian Ganz not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.”

For many years Mr. Ganz has made it his mission to join vivid music making with warmth and intimacy on stage to produce a new kind of listening experience, in which great works come to life with authentic emotional power. As one of Belgium’s leading newspapers, La Libre Belgique, put it, “We don’t have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy.”


Jennifer Rickard, Violin
Classical Cabaret at 1st Stage, March 16, 2018  


photo of Jennifer Rickard

Jennifer Rickard, Violin, enjoys a varied career as an orchestral and chamber musician, soloist, recording artist and teacher. She is a member of both the National Philharmonic and the Post Classical Ensemble. She also substitutes with the National Symphony, the Washington National Opera, and the Richmond Symphony. She is the Assistant Concertmaster for the Virginia Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Rickard has made several notable recordings for the Naxos label with the Post Classical Ensemble. Of particular interest are both the CD entitled, “Dvorak and America” featuring the first ever recording of the “Hiawatha Melodrama” inspired by the great Longfellow poem and the DVD entitled, “The City” which features the music of Aaron Copland paired with the classic original 1939 film.

Additionally, Ms. Rickard is featured on the QuinTango CD “Triumfal” which has won critical acclaim and remains an editor’s “Best Pick” in the Latin genre on CD Baby. QuinTango’s recordings can be heard on NPR, CNN, and network television in the US and Costa Rica. Ms. Rickard is a sought after teacher and clinician at both the secondary and collegiate level and maintains a private studio in her home. Prior to moving to Washington DC, Ms. Rickard was a member of the New Orleans and Phoenix Symphonies. She received her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College in New York and her master’s from the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Ms. Rickard has been on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival since 1990.


Andrew Axelrad, flute
Classical Cabaret at 1st Stage, March 16, 2018  


photo of Andrew Axelrad

Andrew Axelrad is a multi-woodwind instrumentalist specializing in saxophones, clarinet and flutes. He recently retired after 24 years as a member of the Airmen of Note, the premier jazz Ensemble of the US Air Force. Prior to his tenure with the Air Force Band, he was the lead alto and clarinetist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Originally from Chicago, Andy received his formal music training at The University of North Texas. Mr. Axelrad has toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Japan. Recent notable performances: The Kennedy Center production of Terrence Blanchard’s commissioned score for Bud, Not Buddy, with the The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet production of The Little Mermaid, and Damian Woetlz’s dance production, Demo.


Dennis M. Layendecker, Mason Symphony Orchestra Conductor
March 28, 2018  


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.


Stephanie Marx, soprano
April 22, 2018  


photo of Stephanie Marx

Stephanie Marx has been hailed as having a “world-class” voice (Flagstaff Live!) and has thrilled audiences with her vocal finesse and sensitive interpretations. Some 2018 highlights will include a performance of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Virginia Chamber Orchestra and she returns to Mid-Ohio Opera in the role of Amelia in Verdi’s masterpiece Un Ballo in Maschera.

In the 2017/2018 season, Ms. Marx performed several opera roles, including Mimi in La Bohème with Mid-Ohio Opera, Dido in Tidewater Opera Initiative’s production of Dido and Aeneas, and covered Minnie in Virginia Opera’s production of La Fanciulla del West. In January of 2018, she performed Richard Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) with the Governor’s School for the Arts, under the baton of Jeff Phelps. Ms. Marx joined collaborative pianist, Stephen Coxe, for the Hermitage Museum & Gardens Concert Series, performing Maurice Ravel’s exquisite and seductive Chansons Madécasses, as well as Richard Strauss’s Opus 48.

Other 2017 highlights included a performance of Shostakovich’s song cycle, From Jewish Folk Poetry, with the Norfolk Chamber Consort and covered the title role in Carlisle Floyd’s American opera Susannah with Opera Roanoke.

During her studies at the University of Texas at Austin, she had the opportunity to participate in several master classes; most notably with distinguished artists, Renée Fleming and Grace Bumbry, both in 2006. In 2006, Ms. Marx was also semi-finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition as well as a District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the southwest region. Ms. Marx has also been a finalist in the Palm Springs Opera Competition, NATSAA, and has also received several First Place awards from the NATS organization.


Through the 4th Wall, 19
June 30, 2018  


19 logo

Based in picturesque Old Town Alexandria, Virginia (just minutes from Washington, D.C.) theater, film and media company Through the 4th Wall (TT4W) is currently workshopping, booking and performing staged readings of our new original musical called 19.

19 is the dynamic and little-known story of Alice Paul, the suffragists and their fight to get women the right to vote—the 19th Amendment. The inspirational story of these fearless women is brought to life through jazz, spoken word, dance and audience interaction.

For three nights in the fall of 2017, TT4W produced an early-stage performance of Act I of 19. On buzz alone, it quickly sold out and we doubled the seat capacity to accommodate. Encouraged by overwhelmingly enthusiastic support, TT4W has been working tirelessly to revise, research and write the entire show.

2020 is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Our goal is to get a full production of 19 up & running, and into theaters by the end of 2019.

2018 will be the year of multiple staged readings, where we workshop the show and garner the grassroots support that we hope will enable us to launch a major musical. In an age where women’s rights have finally become an important issue again, the time for 19 is now.

100 years after women got the right to vote, women are still being denied many basic rights, including equality and dignity. However, as we read nearly every day in the press, that is changing. 19 isn’t just a musical, it is part of a movement. This movement is a result of a long history of institutionalized repression and denigration, but the arc of the moral universe is bending back towards justice. And it is doing so with power and speed.

For those interested in women's rights, history, great music, inspirational stories and/or seeing how the “musical sausage is made,“ these work-in-progress performances are a chance to experience parts of the show during its development.

throughthe4thwall.com/19/ (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: 20 May, 2018......v.4.01