Having launched our inaugural season in the fall of 2011, we are a dynamic group of young professional musicians based in Richmond, Virginia comprised of members of the Richmond Symphony and faculty members at institutions such as Virginia Commonwealth University, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Richmond.
While showcasing the talent of the Richmond area on the national stage through recording and touring, our mission is to build new kinds of connections with the people of our community via innovative programming, formats, venues, and community interaction, as well as through partnerships with local organizations.
With our unique combination of strings, winds, and piano, we continue to program a great variety of musical styles for forces both large and small, with a firm commitment to programming works seldom heard due to their unusual instrumentations.
Violist Kimberly Sparr is currently serving on the faculty of Texas Tech University. She was appointed Assistant Principal of the Richmond Symphony in 2008, and has served on the faculties of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and William and Mary. Prior to joining the RSO, Kim performed with many orchestras including the National Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Washington National Opera.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Kim received her BM from Rice University where she studied with Martha Katz. She received her MM from the New England Conservatory with James Dunham, and her DMA from the University of Maryland under the guidance of Daniel Foster. While at NEC, she received the Gunther Schuller award and was on the roster for the Piatigorsky Foundation.
Kim has participated in summer festivals nationwide performing with the Wolftrap Opera Orchestra in Washington DC, the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Colorado, and Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, California. She was also a fellow at Aspen and Tanglewood.
Her performances have taken her all over the globe including tours of Europe and Asia with the Verbier Orchestra and National Symphony. Most recently, Kim has collaborated with CounterPoint in Washington DC and New Music Raleigh in North Carolina.
Jason McComb has been the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Richmond Symphony since 2002. Having received his early musical training in his native Portland, Oregon, Jason earned a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Krosnick and Zara Nelsova. He then went on to study with Bonnie Hampton at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he received a Master of Music in both cello and chamber music.
Jason has participated in many festivals including Aspen, Musicorda, Kent/Blossom, Banff and Tanglewood, where he was awarded two prizes for outstanding cellist. Among numerous chamber music performances are ones with Joel Krosnick, Donald Weilerstein, Mischa Amory, Ian Swensen, William Preucil and the Miami String Quartet. He has been a member of Orchestra London Canada, and has served on the faculty of Brandon University in Canada.
A very active teacher, Jason has a private studio and is on the faculties of the University of Richmond, University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2009 he performed the Dvorak Cello Concerto with conductor, Keith Lockhardt.
Jason lives in Richmond with his wife, cellist Dana McComb, and his three sons.
Flutist Jennifer Debiec Lawson joined the Richmond Symphony in the fall of
1995. Jennifer is currently the Assistant Principal/Second Flute, and she held the position of Third Flute and Piccolo for seven seasons prior to that. In addition, she plays Piccolo and Assistant Principal Flute with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois, and is the Principal Flutist with the Williamsburg Symphony.
Ms. Lawson is on the faculty at the University of Richmond and maintains a private studio locally. Jennifer is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she completed high school and continued on to receive her Bachelor of Music degree, studying with Philip Dunigan. She received her Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School in New York, where she studied with Julius Baker.
Jennifer was the winner of the Flute Talk Magazine Competition in 1990.
A native of Broken Arrow, Okla., Shawn Welk currently serves as acting principal oboe of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and principal oboe of the Williamsburg Symphony. In the years prior he served as co-principal oboe of the "Presidents Own" U.S. Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In 2016 he was appointed principal oboe of the New Hampshire Music Festival.
Shawn holds performance degrees from the University of Oklahoma and Eastman School of Music and has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, and the New York Symphonic Ensemble. For the 2013-14 season, Shawn was appointed acting principal oboe of the Florida Orchestra. Solo appearances have included performances of John Harbisons Concerto for Oboe, Clarinet and String Orchestra, Frank Martins Trios Danses for Oboe, Harp and Strings, and J.S. Bachs Concerto for Oboe and Violin, all with the Marine Chamber Orchestra; and Mozarts Sinfonia Concertante in Tokyo's Kioi Hall as part of the New York Symphonic Ensembles 2008 tour of Japan. Shawn has also soloed with the Richmond Symphony, performing Sibelius's Swan of Tuonela and Barber's Capricorn Concerto.
An active chamber musician, Shawn spent ten years as a core member of D.C.s highly acclaimed Fessenden Ensemble where he performed regularly throughout the Washington D.C. metro area. He has also given solo recitals on the Richmond Symphony's Summer Recital Series. Shawn has served on the faculties of the Catholic University of America and the Virginia Commonwealth University, and his primary teachers include Richard Killmer, Sarah Faulconer, Lisa Glaser, John de Lancie, and Linda Strommen.
Romanian violinist Adrian Pintea has performed throughout Europe and the United States as a soloist and chamber music player. He began his musical studies with Stefan Gheorghiu, a former David Oistrakh pupil, and was featured as a soloist with the Romanian National Symphony and the Bucharest Philharmonic. Adrian won his first national prize at the age of 12 and was a prize recipient at the Jeunesse Musicales and Remember Enescu international competitions. In 2000 he was selected to appear as a soloist and chamber player at the World Exposition Summit in Hannover, Germany, followed by a tour through France and Italy with the Lyceum Strings chamber symphony, both as a soloist and principal player.
He completed undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School with Masao Kawasaki and Lewis Kaplan. A recipient of the Eugenia and David Ames Concertmaster Fellowship at the Mannes School of Music, he performed as part of the Intermezzo Piano Trio in major halls such as Alice Tully, The Morgan Library and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. Adrian has played at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg and the Texas Music Festival, where he was a prize recipient of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition. After completing his studies, Mr. Pintea joined the New World Symphony where he had the opportunity to serve as concertmaster under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas and Esa Pekka Salonen. Most recently, he became a member of the Breckenridge Music Festival where he performs as an orchestral and chamber player during the festival’s summer series. He is currently serving as the assistant concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony.
Russian-born pianist Maria Yefimova has established herself internationally as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestra soloist, performing in Italy, Spain, England, Slovakia, Croatia, Russia, and the United States. She made her orchestral debut with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, and subsequently has performed with the Tambov Philharmonic Orchestra and the William and Mary Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Yefimova made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2004, with a critically acclaimed solo recital presented by Artists International. She was invited back for three consecutive Carnegie Hall re-engagements from 2007-2009. Maria's festival appearances include Velo Music Festival and Meranofest in Italy, Rachmaninoff Music Festival in Russia, and Water Island Music Festival in the US Virgin Islands. As an avid chamber musician she has collaborated with such artists as Dmitry Berlinsky, Joe Burgstaller, Eric Jacobsen, Cyrus Beroukhim, Julian Gargiulo, Elizabeth Brightbill, and Andrew Gabbert, among many others.
Often heard on TV and Radio broadcasts, Ms. Yefimova has appeared on the Bravo TV network, Slovak National Television, Paradise Radio in US Virgin Islands, and Tele Monte Orlando in Italy, to name a few. She was featured in a film documentary Women of Music, which aired on Bravo. A competition prizewinner, Maria received awards from Artists International, the Five Towns Music & Art International Piano Competition, the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, and the Kuznetsk Young Artists Piano Competition. She was awarded diplomas at the Hummel International Piano Competition and the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. Ms. Yefimova graduated with honors from Moscow State Conservatory, and came to the United States on a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music, where she earned both Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees. Maria's principal teachers include Arkady Aronov, Yury Slesarev, Nina Dunaeva, and Yelena Tatulian. She has participated in masterclasses with such renowned pedagogues as Claude Frank, Boris Berman, Sergio Perticaroli, Lev Natochenny, and Eugene Indjic.
Dr. Yefimova has taught applied piano at the Manhattan School of Music and is currently on the piano faculty of the College of William and Mary.
Thomas Schneider joined the Richmond Symphony as Principal Bassoon in September of 2012. Before joining the RSO, Tom was a fellow for two years at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Tom holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from the University of Maryland, and his primary teachers are Sue Heineman, George Sakakeeny, Yoshi Ishikawa, and Debbie Torpe.
Tom has appeared at many of the country's top festivals including the Tanglewood Music Center, National Orchestral Institute, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Sarasota Music Festival. In the fall of 2014, Tom made his debut solo appearance with the RSO, performing Peter Schickele's Bassoon Concerto. Outside music, Tom loves to read, play soccer and climb the beautiful mountains in his native Colorado
Susanna Klein, violin, is assistant professor of violin and coordinator of strings at her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University. She has 15 years of professional orchestral performing experience and enjoys focusing on chamber music performance at VCU.
Susanna served as principal second violin of the Richmond Symphony for five years. Previous orchestral appointments have been with the Colorado, Memphis, Vermont and Rhode Island Symphony Orchestras.
She has been a member of two string quartets Artist-in-Residence with the Oberon String Quartet at St. Catherines School in Richmond, Va. and violist with the Seneca String Quartet in Boston, Mass. She is violinist with Trio 826, another cutting edge chamber music group that loves to connect to audiences in a different way.
Susanna holds a Bachelor of Music degree from VCU and Master of Music degree from Boston University, where she was a student of Roman Totenberg. Her love of chamber music and orchestral literature has taken her to festivals all over the world: Tanglewood, Mass., Spoleto Festival Italy, Shira Festival Israel, Kneisel Hall, ME and Scotia Festival Canada. She can be heard on the CDs of One Ring Zero, Modern Groove Syndicate and the Klavier label Chamber Music Series, and can be heard regularly on radio and TV spots including the PBS Series The Retirement Revolution. In September 2008, she was the featured soloist for nine performances with the Richmond Ballet in Chaussons Poeme.
photo by Victoria Carl
photo by Keitaro Harada
Born in South Carolina, but considers Colorado her home, violinist Alana Pritchard Carithers graduated in 1999 from Northwestern University with a double Master of Music degree in violin performance and pedagogy. After serving as Assistant Concertmaster and Principal Second of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, she became assistant Principal Second violin in Colorado Springs Symphony.
She currently serves as violinist with the Richmond Symphony and the Oberon Quartet. Her musical endeavors have brought her recent opportunities as guest soloist, concertmaster, clinician and teacher in five recent trips to multiple cities in the People's Republic of China. She lives in Richmond with her husband and three children.
photo by Keitara Harada
photo by Keitaro Harada
Jared Davis happily returns to ACE this season having completed a one-year contract as Acting Second Clarinetist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Prior to that, he served as Acting Principal in the Richmond Symphony, and now resumes the roll of Associate Principal/Second/Eb Clarinetist which he previously held for ten years.
He has performed with the Virginia Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival, the New Hampshire Music Festival, the Wintergreen Music Festival, and the Williamsburg Sinfonia. Other engagements include performances with the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, The Richmond Chamber Players, and the Staunton Music Festival.
He has twice been a guest artist at the International Clarinet Association conference, and in 2000, was a semi-finalist in the International Clarinet Association’s Solo Competition. Other musical ventures have taken him to England, Belgium, and France, and most recently, he had the honor of joining the Detroit Symphony on their tour of Japan and China in July 2017.