Teri Lazar

Concertmaster of the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, 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.

Additionally, 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 where she continued her studies with Robert Gerle, receiving a Master of Music and a Doctorate of Music degree in violin performance. Dr. Lazar currently teaches violin at the American University where she is a Musician in Residence. 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

the VCO’s Principal Viola, 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 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. 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.

Nicolette Driehuys Oppelt

VCO’s Principal Flutist, was born in The Netherlands and began studying flute at the age of 11. She attended the 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  “Young People on Their Way to the Concert Stage” with her father, conductor Leo Driehuys.

Ms. Oppelt has been performing in the Washington Metropolitan area since 1990. A tenured member of the National Philharmonic, she serves as Principal Flutist of the National Gallery Orchestra, Washington Concert Opera, and Amadeus Orchestra and will be Acting Principal Flute of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra for the 2020-2021 Season. Chamber music includes the Capitol Woodwind Quintet, Contemporary Music Forum, National Gallery Woodwind Quintet, and Beau Soir Ensemble. As a regular substitute with the National Symphony Orchestra, she has accompanied them on many tours, including performances in Carnegie Hall.

Jennifer Rickard

violinist, 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.

Ms. Rickard has made several notable recordings for the Naxos label with the PostClassical 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.

Ms. Rickard is a sought after teacher and clinician at both the secondary and collegiate levels.

Laura Knutson

is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Northern Illinois University. She joined the U.S. Army Strings in 1990 and served as Concertmaster of The U.S. Army Orchestra. She has also served as Concertmaster of the Arlington Symphony and Assistant Concertmaster with the Fairfax Symphony and Annapolis Symphony. As winner of the Young Artist Competition, Laura has performed solo with the National Symphony Orchestra. Master Sargent Laura Knutson recently retired from The U.S. Army Orchestra.

Marion Baker

is a freelance musician in the Washington, DC area and has performed as principal cellist with the Washington Bach Consort, Washington Concert Opera, National Gallery Orchestra, and the National Philharmonic.  He currently serves as the principal cellist of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.

As soloist, Marion Baker has performed concertos by Vivaldi, Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms with orchestras including the Nashville Symphony, Knoxville Symphony and Fairfax Symphony. Mr. Baker performs chamber music with the Sunrise Quartet and the Listen Local Ensemble.  He teaches cello privately in the Washington, D.C. area and recently joined the faculty of the New England Music Camp.  He studied cello at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Adam Gonzales

cellist and a member of the Trio Giocoso, has performed extensively in Maryland and Virginia and recorded commercially for the History Channel and National Geographic. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, Gonzalez earned a Master of Arts in cello performance from Boston University.

Gonzalez has taught at Georgetown University and Montgomery College and was Director of Instrumental Music at the Waldorf School in Baltimore. He teaches cello and Music Fundamentals at Frederick Community College in Frederick, Maryland.  He also teaches Music History at Carroll Community College.

Mark Stephenson

Mark Stephenson graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1972 as a Double bass student of Roger M. Scott. He was Assistant Principal Bassist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic for five years and has worked with many performing organizations since returning to the United States, including the National Symphony, the Washington National Opera, and the National Philharmonic. In addition to the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, he currently serves as Principal Bassist of the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra.

Holly Mason received her MFA 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.


Robert Oppelt, Guest Artist

is Principal Bass, Musician of the NSO. In 1982 he was chosen by Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich to join the NSO's bass section, becoming the orchestra’s youngest member at age 21. He was promoted to Assistant Principal in 1984 and Principal Bass in 1996 under Music Director Leonard Slatkin.

He has appeared as soloist with the NSO in performances of Mozart’s Per queste bella mano, Paganini's Moses Fantasy, and Koussevitsky's Concerto for Double Bass. Most recently, Mr. Oppelt performed Bottesini’s Grand Duo with Irina Muresanu and the Arlington (VA) Philharmonic. Chamber music collaborations include Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn, Guarneri String Quartet, and Kennedy Center Chamber Players. He attended University of North Carolina School of the Arts and enjoyed summers at Brevard and Tanglewood Music Centers.

In 2007, Mr. Oppelt released a CD entitled The Double Bass -Robert Oppelt and Friends through MSR Classics which features ensemble works with the double bass. The CD was praised by Fanfare Magazine as “superbly executed by a crew of fine musicians.” A follow-up CD (called “Encore!”) was issued in 2019.

Andrew Axelrad, Guest Artist

joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra Immediately after graduating from college. Known as a “ghost band,” performing under the original name of the deceased leader, it presents an average of 300 live shows a year.

After two years of traveling the world performing for thousands, Axelrad joined The Airmen of Note, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. It was formed in 1950 to continue the tradition of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps dance band. Their musical excellence has led to many collaborative performances and recordings with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan and Doc Severinsen. In 1990, they established the Jazz Heritage Series, featuring the “Note” in concert with legendary icons of jazz. The Jazz Heritage Series is broadcast to millions over National Public Radio. One of the group's recent holiday recordings, "Cool Yule," reached #2 on the Jazz Week jazz chart.

SSG Jan Knutson, Guest Artist

guitarist, has been a member of The U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” since August 2018. Prior to joining The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” at the age of 19, he attended the Manhattan School of Music as a student of Rodney Jones. At the age of 15, he recorded his solo CD album, "Out of Nowhere." At the age of 16 he was selected as a Strathmore Artist in Residence and presented several concerts throughout the year and recorded his second album, "Looking Both Ways," featuring guitarist Steve Abshire, bassist Tommy Cecil, and mandolinist Danny Knicely. Knutson has been a featured artist at several jazz festivals including Richmond Folk Festival, True Blue Jazz Festival, Syracuse JazzFest, and Savannah Folk Festival. Knutson is a native of Berwyn Heights, MD, and graduated from the Science and Technology Program at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

Li-Ly Chang, Guest Artist

is a pianist, composer, teacher, and chamber musician. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the National Taiwan University and a Master of Music in Piano & Composition from the University of West Texas. Special graduate studies at The Peabody Conservatory of Music included piano, composition, and chamber music.  Ms. Chang has studied with Sacha Gorodnitzki and Leon Fleisher, among others. Li-Ly Chang has given recitals, lecture-recitals, workshops, and performed concertos in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Currently she teaches piano and Music Appreciation at Montgomery College and she has served as Director of the International Young Artist Piano Competition, Washington DC.