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46th Season

David Grandis, Music Director

Featured Guest Artists for 44th season

Joseph Cunliffe, Native America flute and flute
October 5, 2014

photo of Jopseph Cunliffe

Joseph Cunliffe is a woodwind specialist, composer, distinguished recording artist, and music educator. From concert stages at the Kennedy Center to an amphitheater at a remote Mayan archeological site, his music transcends all cultural boundaries and blends classical, ethnic, folk and jazz styles.

As co-founder of the world music duo, Flutar, he has performed original music as well as their own arrangements of traditional Latin, Celtic, and classical music to international acclaim. Together with his music partner, Giorgia Cavallaro, Flutar performed in cities around the world. In 1998, they were awarded the prestigious title of “Artistic Ambassador to the United States” by USIS (United States Information Service) for their invaluable music contributions in El Salvador, Central America.

As a recording artist, Joseph Cunliffe is featured on over 80 recordings of jazz, classical, and world music. He has recorded film music for PBS, the National Geographic, the BBC, and the Discovery Channel and has numerous radio, TV, and film documentary appearances. Having an already well-established discography, he adds the CD recording “The Going’s Great,” a 2009 release by Tom Humbert.

With his duo, Flutar, he released a new CD in 2008 entitled “Encantada,” that highlights the duo’s innovative original arrangements of Latin and Brazilian music. Flutar’s discography also includes their debut CD “Dreams of Suchitlán,” followed by “Journey’s Crossing” and “Live at Blue.” Cunliffe premièred his composition “Michael” dedicated to the late saxophonist Michael Brecker in 2008 and in a 2005 premier his composition, “Latin American Suite” for flute, guitar and orchestra, debuted to an enthusiastic audience.

Joseph Cunliffe has performed for numerous US and Foreign Presidents, Oprah Winfrey, Leonard Slatkin, Lorin Maazel at Castleton, world-renowned flutist, Sir James Galway, and Vice President and Mrs. Al Gore, to name but a few distinguished audience members.

Cunliffe performs with the Celtic Consort, a chamber group known for their show “The Celtic Christmas” that is presented each year at the historic Dumbarton Church in Georgetown. In his tenure with the Apollo Orchestra he has served two seasons as interim principal flute and has recently been featured on saxophone solo parts and bass clarinet. He also plays principal flute with the mentoring orchestra, the Symphonette at Landon School, composed of professional musicians and aspiring music students from area schools. He is a faculty member at the Landon School.

Destiny Ann and the Corral Quartet
October 26, 2014

Alexandria Choral Society
December 13, 2014   March 14, 2015   April 12, 2015

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)

Meghan McCall, soprano
April 12, 2015

photo of Meghan McCall

American soprano and actress Meghan McCall has been described by The Washington Post as having “bell-like clarity and fine control” and “a radient full-bodied voice”. She recently performed the role of Catherine in Sandaya: Burmese Lessons at the Atlas Theater and Suzanne Hollander in Land of Bad Choices at the Kennedy Center. Ms. McCall took part in the prestigious Prague Fringe Festival in May of 2014 creating the role of Blonde Soprano in Vanek Unleashed for the Alliance of New Music Theater.

Meghan McCall has performed many standard operatic roles as well as new works to include the roles of Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, with Bel Cantanti Opera, Marie in La Fille du Régiment, with La Masion Francaise, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, with the Austrian Embassy, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, with Cleveland Opera, Mary Magdeline in Oh My Son at Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium and Juliette/La Bergere in Sancho Panza at The Kennedy Center.

Ms. McCall has earned her BA in Music Literature from Northeastern University and her MM from The University of Maryland Opera Studio where she worked with world-renowned bass Francois Loup. Directly after her graduation she was invited to join the Opera Lafayette Young Artist Program which specializes in 17th and 18th century French repertoire. Ms. McCall made her debut recording of Sancho Panza with the ensemble for the classical music label NAXOS, which was released in October 2011.

Grand Contraband Jubilee Singers
April 12, 2015

The Grand Contraband Singers are a trio of spiritual singers led by Larry C. Earl, Jr. The VCO first became acquainted with Mr. Earl’s musicianship and scholarship when he led a group of singers who performed in History Notes: The Music of Washington's World, a program produced by George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate with the Fairfax Network. Mr. Earl also participated in an on-camera discussion of spirituals. The orchestra appeared in that program as well. Following the initial Fairfax Network broadcasts, the VCO has streamed the program on the Web site, with permission and encouragement from Mount Vernon and the Fairfax Network.

The trio specializes in singing spirituals from Slave Songs of the United States. Published in 1867, the work contains 136 “plantation songs” and is considered the first compilation of African American spirituals ever published.

Robert Aubry Davis, narrator
April 12, 2015

photo of Robert Aubry Davis

Robert Aubry Davis, television and radio personality, 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 now in its 36th season, is carried by more than 120 public radio stations nationwide, internationally, and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. He has been host and moderator of WETA TV’s Emmy Award-winning weekly arts discussion program, “Around Town,” since its inception in 1986. Davis can also be heard on SiriusXM’s classical 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 D.C.’s cultural community. He is a regular lecturer at a variety of area seminars and performances and has written liner notes for a wide variety of classical and folk recordings. Robert collaborated with Grammy nominated-lutenist Ronn McFarlane on a program of Elizabethan verse and music on the CD Blame not my Lute released in 2010 on the Dorian label. In 2011 and 2012 he performed as Edna Turnbad in John Waters’ Hairspray with Signature Theatre, which won the Helen Hayes Award for Best Ensemble. Robert has been awarded knighthoods by the Republic of France and the Kingdom of Belgium for service to the arts; and in was recently named a Knight of the Order of the Lion by the Republic of Finland.

William Wasylyk, artist
April 12, 2015

William Wasylyk

I was born in Chester, Pa and have been interested in art ever since I saw my older sister create images on blank canvases. I've held day jobs until a few years ago and since retirement have spent more time painting. About five years ago I found two books at Barnes and Noble which have influenced my art work. The books dealt with art nouveau; I was impressed with the poster illustrations and decided to paint some posters of my own. Not having a commission from large companies I decided to create posters using generic titles such as coffee, tea, cocoa, etc. I also enjoy painting landscapes and will devote more time to this genre. My art education consists of reading “how to” books and taking courses at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Va. I have exhibited at the American Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, The Torpedo Factory, Beanetics, and Stifle & Capra.

P.O. Box 7484, Alexandria, VA 22307-7484
The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is a Registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization
Last updated: 1 May, 2015......v.4.01