Meet Our Artists

Violin

Nicholas Tavani, (concertmaster)

Violinist Nicholas Tavani debuted in Washington, D.C.’s Gaston Hall at the age of eight. The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently praised him as “ an alert and sensitive artist, with beautiful tone and exquisite phrasing,” and the Washington Post hailed his “brilliant musicianship.” As a chamber musician, recitalist, and concerto soloist, Mr. Tavani has performed extensively to critical acclaim in the United States and around the world. As first violinist of the Aeolus Quartet, he was a prizewinner of the Plowman International Chamber Music Competition, the Yellow Springs Chamber Music competition, the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition. He is also a laureate of the Postacchini and Kingsville International Violin Competitions.

Akemi Takayama
(concertmaster)

Akemi Takayama is known worldwide for her musical artistry and passion as well as for the extensive range and versatility of her repertoire. With a unique blend of warmth and excitement, her masterful performances have enthralled audiences throughout Japan, France, England, Turkey, Israel, and the U.S. Currently the concertmaster of both the Roanoke Symphony and the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra, Takayama is also an Associate Professor of Violin, holding the Victor Brown Endowed Chair in Violin, in the Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University, where she works with private students and chamber groups.

Rebecca Anderson
(concertmaster)

Violinist Rebecca Anderson is a versatile soloist and chamber musician who strives to bring intimate and direct musical experiences to a wide variety of audiences. Recent performances range from solo appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, contemporary music premieres with A Far Cry and eighth blackbird, and collaborative projects with Questlove and Ben Folds.

Ms. Anderson is a violinist of the Vera Quartet, recently awarded Grand Prize of the Plowman and Yellow Springs chamber music competitions. Winners of the 2018 Astral Artists National Auditions, the Vera Quartet is currently the String Quartet in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Rachel Shapiro

Founding member and second violinist of the critically acclaimed Aeolus Quartet, her playing has been praised by Mark Satola of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “in a beautifully balanced interlude wherein the second violin dances attendant to a heartfelt melody… Rachel Shapiro [was] outstanding here.” Collaborations include a performance on the Metropolitan Opera stage alongside Renée Fleming, as well as appearances with Michael Tree, Jon Kimura Parker, the Juilliard Quartet, and the Miró Quartet. In demand as an ensemble player, Ms. Shapiro was invited to appear with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra on a subscription concert for the Philadelphia Orchestra's Chamber Collection series at the Kimmel Center. In the 17-18 season, Ms. Shapiro appears with the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble, A Far Cry, and on faculty at TCU’s Intensive Chamber Music Workshop.

Sandy Choi

Praised by the Washington Post for her “assured, sinuous solos,” violinist Sandy Choi has performed with a wide range of professional ensembles in some of the world’s greatest concert halls. In the Washington area alone, she can frequently be seen performing with ensembles including the Wolf Trap Orchestra, Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, Washington Concert Opera Orchestra, Urban Arias, Inscape Chamber Orchestra, and Balance Campaign, and has previously performed with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Emmanuel Music, the Southwest Florida Symphony, and the Santa Barbara Symphony. Comfortable in many genres, she has shared the stage with artists including virtuoso violinist Rachel Barton Pine, indie rock artist Laura Tsaggaris, beloved singer Andrea Bocelli, and jazz legend Diana Krall. Over the years, she has had the privilege to perform in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Symphony Hall (Boston), Birmingham Symphony Hall (UK), and the Teatro Communale di Firenze (Italy).

Violinist Amelia Giles has performed at a wide range of venues, including Carnegie Hall and Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall. Dedicated to performing old and new music, Ms. Giles actively seeks alternative performance opportunities, looking to connect with a broad spectrum of audiences. Recent engagements have included performing Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with the Ashland Symphony Orchestra and participating in the world premiere of Béla Fleck’s Juno Concerto with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Giles’ love of performing has led her to collaborate with famous artists, including Joshua Bell, Pinchas Zukerman, Menahem Pressler and Adré Watts. An active orchestral musician, Ms. Giles has performed under the baton of Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, JoAnn Falletta and Benjamin Zander. Amelia has performed as a tenured member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster of the Ashland Symphony Orchestra. An equally zealous chamber musician, Amelia has attended Kneisel Hall and the Castleman Quartet Program. Ms. Giles has been coached by members of the American String Quartet, Takacs String Quartet, Ying String Quartet, Berlin Chamber Players as well as Glenn Dicterow and Jonathan Biss.

 

Viola

Caitlin Lynch

Violist Caitlin Lynch has gained recognition and critical acclaim as an artist who enjoys a vibrant and diverse musical career. Having performed in fourteen countries on five continents, Ms. Lynch’s performances include memorable collaborations with artists ranging from Itzhak Perlman to Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Bjork. She has performed with members of the Tokyo, Cleveland, Juilliard, Cavani, and Aeolus String Quartets, members of the Weilerstein Trio, and with Alarm Will Sound, A Far Cry, Atlanta Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. Ms. Lynch performs regularly with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Wordless Music, and Metropolis Ensemble. She has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, whose tours have featured her concerti performances across North America and Europe.

Eva Mondragón

Violist Eva Mondragón has cultivated an engaging and diverse career as a music collaborator and educator. As an active freelancing musician, Eva frequently performs with the Akron, Canton, Ashland and Firelands Symphony Orchestras, as well as continuing to perform as the Assistant Principal in the New Orchestra of Washington, based in Washington DC. Eva has attended the ENCORE School for Strings, the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, in addition to performing in the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Verbier, Switzerland, and the Grant Park Festival Orchestra as a member of the Project Inclusion string quartet.

William Neri

Based in Washington, DC, violist Bill Neri has performed on stages across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Recent orchestral engagements have found Bill playing with The National Symphony Orchestra, PostClassical Ensemble, The Harrisburg Symphony, and The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. In addition to performing with orchestras in the Maryland/DC area, Bill maintains a studio where he teaches violin and viola.

Bill also collaborates with The Sphinx Foundation, an organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. He has participated in the Sphinx Orchestral Partners Audition at the annual Sphinx Connect conference in Detroit, as well as their pilot week for The National Alliance for Audition Support in Miami Beach, Florida. In October of 2018 he joined the Sphinx Virtuosi on their national tour.

 

Cello

Alan Richardson

New York based cellist Alan Richardson maintains a packed touring schedule as a member of the award winning Aeolus Quartet. Raised in Richmond, Virginia, Mr. Richardson went on to earn a BM from the Cleveland Institute of Music, an MM from the University of Texas, and an Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School. His primary mentors include Melissa Kraut, Richard Aaron, Joshua Gindele, Evelyn Elsing, Joel Krosnick, Neal Cary, and Jim Wilson.

Mr. Richardson has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia, in halls such as Carnegie, Severance, Wigmore, Seoul Arts Center, and Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. He has performed with many wonderful artists including Renée Fleming, Ángel Romero, Joel Krosnick, Michael Tree, Sam Rhodes, Nina Lee, Jon Kimura Parker, Pedja Muzijevic, and the Miró, Juilliard, and American String Quartets. In addition to his work with the Aeolus Quartet, he has performed as a guest with the NYC based chamber collective Decoda, and with the Mark Morris Dance Group.

 

Bass

Sam Suggs

Applauded by The Strad for his “brilliant and compelling programming,” Sam Suggs is the first solo bassist in 36 years to join the Concert Artists Guild roster, and was recently recognized with an award for Extraordinary Creativity at the 2017 Bradetich Foundation International Double Bass Competition.

A paradigm-shifting performer-composer, Sam was named ‘New Artist of the Month’ (October 2015) by Musical America after winning 1st place at the 2015 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition while performing many original works.

As a collaborative bassist, he has performed at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Yellow Barn, Chamber Music Northwest, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and with the Argus Quartet, PUBLIQuartet, Founders, Frisson Ensemble, and his contemporary/jazz trio Triplepoint.

Jessica Powell Eig

Jessica Powell Eig is a freelance musician based in Washington, DC, specializing in double bass, violone and viola da gamba. In the 2018-2019 season, she will appear with Washington Bach Consort, New Orchestra of Washington, American Bach Soloists, and Seraphic Fire, among others. In 2018 she joined the faculty of NOWsummer Festival & Retreat in Poolesville, MD, and Bennington Chamber Music Conference in Bennington, VT. In 2010, Jessica completed a DMA in double bass performance at SUNY-Stony Brook, studying with Joseph Carver and Kurt Muroki. She received her earlier training at Cincinnati College-Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School.

 

Woodwinds

Conor Nelson, flute

Appeared as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony, and at the Banff Centre; New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall); Grand Prize, WAMSO Young Artist Competition; First Prize, William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition; top prizes at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition and the Haynes International Flute Competition; prizewinner, Fischoff, Coleman, and Yellow Springs national chamber music competitions. Chamber music performances in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Merkin Concert Hall, The Tokyo Opera City Hall, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Hall, and Izumi Hall, and on NHK Television (Japan); radio performances include the McGraw Hill’s Young Artist Showcase (WQXR New York), Minnesota Public Radio, and WGBH Boston Public Radio; festival appearances include the OK Mozart, Skaneateles, Cooperstown, Yellow Barn, Look and Listen (NYC), Norfolk, Aspen, Brevard, Green Mountain, and Chesapeake festivals; performed on the Schneider Concerts (NYC) with pianist Claude Frank and is a regular guest at the Chamber Music Quad Cities series; has worked with the Detroit Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Tulsa Symphony.

Stephen Key, oboe

Stephen Key, Principal Oboe with the New Orchestra of Washington and the Oboe Professor at the Shenandoah Conservatory, is a regular performer and in-demand pedagogue in the DC Metro area. His performing has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, and Russia. He has performed as a soloist at the Kennedy Center, and with the Washington Chamber Orchestra, the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, and the Washington Master Chorale. Key has played with the National Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, and New World Symphony in Miami. Stephen has recorded for the Centaur and Albany Records labels. He was a National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellow, and attended Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Texas at Austin. His Principal teachers include Becky Henderson, James B. Caldwell, Carol Stephenson, Rudolf Vrbsky, and Jim Moseley.

Jeremy Eig, clarinet

Musician 1st Class Jeremy Eig joined the Navy Band in July 2012. An accomplished chamber musician, he has won prizes at the Fischoff, Coleman, and Yellow Springs competitions, and performed with pianist Claude Frank at the New School's Schneider Concert Series. Eig's chamber music concerts have been heard in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage.

As an educator, he has given masterclasses at Davidson College, Furman University, and Grand Valley State University, and served as a teaching assistant at Yale and Stony Brook Universities. An active orchestral musician, Eig has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony and in such halls as Carnegie Hall, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Eig has also participated in music festivals at Norfolk, the Banff Centre, Kent/Blossom, the National Orchestral Institute and Bang on a Can.

Stephen Duncan, bassoon

Brass

Katy Ambrose, horn

Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “spectacular” and “graceful” musician, Katy Ambrose has made a name for herself as an educator and chamber and orchestral musician. She joined the faculty of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia and was appointed Principal Horn of the Charlottesville Symphony in Fall 2015. She also holds the position of fourth horn of the Delaware Symphony. Ambrose earned an Artist Diploma from Yale University, a Masters degree from the Cincinnati-Conservatory and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. She was the recipient of the prestigious William D. Revelli Award at the University of Michigan and the Henry and Lucy Moses Fellowship at Yale. She is currently working on her dissertation to complete the Doctor of Musical Arts at Temple University.

Chris Carrillo, trumpet

Chris Carrillo joined the faculty of James Madison University in 2009 as the studio trumpet professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. He currently performs with the Madison Brass and the New Orchestra of Washington. Solo engagements and chamber collaborations have taken him throughout the United States, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom performing in some of the world's finest concert halls including Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and City Recital Hall in Sydney, Australia.

 

The orchestra's size will vary depending on the repertoire, so you likely see other DC-area musicians on our programs.