Sarah Russell-Hunter, violinist for the VCO


Sarah Russell-Hunter is a senior at The College of William & Mary majoring in Allied Health & Music. She has studied violin for 14 years under Meredith Buxton, Hyunji Lee, and Susan Via. Sarah served as President of the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra from 2021-2022, and is also involved with the William & Mary Gallery Players and Appalachian Music Ensemble.

After graduation from the College of William & Mary in May, Sarah will attend the University of Virginia’s Master of Nursing program as a Conway Scholar.

Lydia Doughty, french horn for the VCO


Lydia Doughty is currently a junior at The College of William & Mary. A Horn player for 10 years, she has joined many groups at the local, state and national levels and has scored superior ratings for solos judged at the state level. Lydia won two concerto competitions while in high school and, for one of these, was granted the honor of joining the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as a soloist. She is an active participant of the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra, Brass Ensemble and Wind Ensemble. Lydia currently studies with Devin Gossett, Second Horn of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and has previously studied with Doug Quinzi, Assistant Principal of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band.

In addition to her musical endeavors, Lydia is majoring in mathematical biology, and is conducting research with Drew LaMar. She intends to follow this research through to her senior year.

Jacquelynne Fontaine-Isaac, soprano for the Virginia Chamber Orchestra


Jacquelynne Fontaine-Isaac, soprano, has performed nationally and abroad in both Opera and Musical Theater. Most notably she was the Italian Opera Diva Carlotta in “The Phantom of the Opera” National Tour for over 1,000 performances throughout the US and Canada. Favorite roles include Donna Anna and Pamina (Viterbo, Italy), Violetta and Susanna (Rogue and Tacoma Opera), and most recently, Musetta in Los Angeles. As a concert soprano, she has performed live on KUSC Classical radio, at the Chautauqua Institution, with the South Coast Symphony, Marina Del Rey Orchestra, Orchestra del’ Lazio in Italy, and at the Redlands Bowl, among others.

A conductor, voice teacher, and beginning coder, Jacquelynne received a Masters in Music from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, completing two years of Doctoral study. She is a member of the Actor’s Equity union and SAG/AFTRA. Additional information is at

Kristen Dubenion-Smith, guest singer with the VCO


Recognized for her “velvety legato and embracing warmth of sound” (Washington Classical Review) and “lyric-mezzo of uncommon beauty” (The Washington Post) mezzo-soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith specializes in in oratorio and sacred vocal chamber music of the medieval, renaissance and baroque eras.

Her 2022-2023 season solo highlights are BWV 170 with Chatham Baroque, Cupid in Blow’s Venus and Adonis with the Bach Collegium in San Diego, the Monteverdi Vespers with both Apollo’s Fire and the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Washington Bach Consort, Handel’s Messiah with Ensemble Altera, BWV 3 with Bach in Baltimore, and an international tour of Handel’s Solomon with The Clarion Choir and The English Concert.

Commercial recordings include The Folger Consort, Apollo's Fire, Cathedra, and Via Veritae and she was an ensemble singer on the Grammy winning album, The Prison, by Ethel Smyth, with The Experiential Orchestra.

Kate Jackman, guest singer with the Virginia Chamber Orchestra.


Called “winningly wily and dauntless” by Boston Classical Review, Kate Jackman is a multifaceted musician and actress. She performed the lead role in Oliver Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop! at the Tanglewood Festival. Her other roles include Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, the title role in Carmen, and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible.

Kate made her Kennedy Center recital debut in 2012. She has been featured at Carnegie Hall in Marilyn Horne’s The Song Continues series and has performed solos from Handel’s Messiah at the Kennedy Center, with Helena Symphony, and over internationally televised programming with The National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

This season, Kate is making her debut with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. She will also join the cast of Helena Symphony’s Sweeney Todd.


Lyric tenor Jerry Kavinski has appeared regularly in the Washington, DC area for over twenty years. Solo engagements include: The National Symphony Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, Washington Chorus, New Dominion Chorale, Maryland Choral Society, and Reston Chorale. Since 2009 he has served as the Choir Director/Director of Music at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Great Falls, Virginia. Other professional vocal engagements include performances with Washington Concert Opera, Opera Lafayette, Cathedra, National Gallery of Art Vocal Arts Ensemble, Folger Consort. The Washington Chorus, The National Cathedral Choir of Men, and Cathedral Choral Society. Career highlights include singing for Papal Vespers with Pope Benedict XVI, the State Funerals of George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, and the 2009 and 2013 Inaugural Prayer Services for Barack Obama.

Baritone Christopher Mooney, guest artist with the VCO


Christopher Mooney has appeared nationally with New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Opera Theatre, Opera Northeast, Connecticut Grand Opera, State Repertory Opera of New Jersey and the Caramoor Festival. He has shared the stage with such notables as Sherrill Milnes, Jerry Hadley, Jerome Hines, Renee Flemming and Marcello Giordani. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in Opera Orchestra of New York’s production of Lucrezia Borgia. Locally he regularly sings with the Virginia Opera and the Virginia Symphony, Mr. Mooney serves on faculty with Opera Festival di Roma, Chris joined the voice faculty at The College of William and Mary in 2021

Virginia Chamber Orchestra present Shuai Wang in concert November 5th 2022


Shuai Wang began playing the piano when she was five years old and won her first piano competition at the age of eight. While a student at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China she studied with Professor Dongdun Zhang and also participated in master classes taught by Rosemary Platt, a visiting professor who had retired from Ohio State University.

Before departing for the United States to attend college, Shuai Wang won first prize in Mozart Competitions in both Mainland China and Hong Kong, and first prize in the 69th Steinway International Youth Piano Competition in the Northeast China Region. She was also awarded second prize in the China Region of the 6th Annual Music Competition of Canada.

She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under Professor Robert Shannon and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan as a student of Dr. Logan Skelton.

Shuai Wang recently completed her doctoral studies under Professor Larissa Dedova at the University of Maryland, where she won the University of Maryland (UMD) Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. She performed the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the UMD Symphony and the Beethoven Choral Fantasy with the UMD Summer Chorus and Orchestra.

As the winner of the Sigma Alpha lota Competition in Chautauqua, New York
she performed a Mozart concerto with Chautauqua’s Music School Festival Orchestra. Other significant solo appearances include the Concert Hall in the Hong Kong City Hall, a “Winners Concert” in Carnegie Hall, and “Noon Concert Feat” at the Arts Club of Washington, DC



EMIL ISRAEL CHUDNOVSKY hearkens back to the grand romantic tradition of the golden age of violinists. His lush sound and inimitable ability to connect with audiences have garnered him accolades from listeners, presenters, and critics alike. Recent seasons have included his debut at the Seoul Arts Center in South Korea with the Kammersymphonie Berlin, an inaugural recording with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, and a debut with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco in Mexico, when he replaced an indisposed soloist for a previously unknown concerto on ten days’ notice. In all, Chudnovsky has performed in over 30 countries throughout Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. A veteran of the competition circuit, he holds nine international awards, including top prizes from the Paganini, Szeryng and Enescu international competitions and 1st Prizes from the Curci (Naples), Valsesia-Musica (Milan), and the Young Artists Competition of the N.F.M.C.

Emil Chudnovsky was born in Moscow, Russia to renowned violinist Nina Beilina and the late Maestro Israel Chudnovsky, the eminent opera conductor. After mother and son immigrated to the United States, he began his violin studies at the Mannes College of Music pre-college division. Having studied at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, he holds degrees from Yale University and the Mannes College of Music.


Brian Ganz is widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation. A laureate of the Marguerite Long Jacques Thibaud and the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Piano Competitions, Mr. Ganz has appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and the City of London Sinfonia, and has performed with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Mstislav Rostropovich, Piotr Gajewski, and Yoel Levi.

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 onstage 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."

In January of 2011, Mr. Ganz began a multi-year project in partnership with the National Philharmonic in which he will perform the complete works of Frédéric Chopin at the Music Center at Strathmore. After the inaugural recital, The Washington Post wrote: "Brian Ganz was masterly in his first installment of the complete works [of Chopin]." The next recital in the series will take place on February 26, 2022.

Mr. Ganz is on the piano faculty of St. Mary's College of Maryland, where he is an artist-in-residence and is also a member of the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. He is the artist-editor of the Schirmer Performance Edition of Chopin’s Preludes (2005). Recent performance highlights include Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto with the Waco Symphony Orchestra and Chopin's 2nd Piano Concerto at the Alba Music Festival in Italy and with the National Philharmonic at Strathmore.


Robin Phillips' career has always marched down three paths simultaneously: Performer; Writer; Producer. As a performer, she is a singer, actress, and narrator. As a writer, she is a journalist, playwright, and screenwriter and as a producer, she creates plays, films, and cabaret.

Since 2014 Robin Phillips has been the writer/producer of her own narration for intimate opera performances by Opera Camerata in Washington D.C.’s grand ambassadorial residences and historic private clubs. She is known as their Narrator/Living-Breathing-Subtitle.

Robin is a member of the National Press Club; Founding Member, National Speakers Association, DC Chapter (1983); member, Women in Film and Video; and a member of the Virginia Chamber Orchestra’s Honorary Board. Currently the CEO of Groundbreaker Films, Robin will be presenting the final cut of her 93-minute documentary film, “Shakespeare: Hiding in Plain Site” at the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship annual conference in Oakland, California in October 2021.

An earlier film,” Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE: Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal” was honored with a total of thirty-two awards in the US, UK, and Europe.


Holly Mason received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from George Mason University in 2017. Her work has been published in The Adroit Journal, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, The Northern Virginia Review, Foothill Poetry Journal, University of Arizona Poetry Center Blog, EntropyCALYXThe Rumpus, and elsewhere.

She received a Bethesda Urban Partnership Poetry prize, selected by E. Ethelbert Miller. She has been a panelist for OutWrite in DC (a celebration of LGBTQ+ literature) and participated in DC's Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here events as a Kurdish-American poet. Holly currently lives in Northern Virginia, works in the GMU English Department, and is on the staff of Poetry Daily.