CONDUCTORS & DIRECTORS
Chuck West, Youth Symphony Conductor
Charles West is an orchestral, chamber and solo clarinetist and a conductor, performing throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. His recorded repertoire ranges from standard sonatas to avant-garde, on labels which include Klavier, Wilson Audiophile, Centaur, CRI, Crystal and he is heard on a Grammy Award-winning 1993 Telarc CD. Dr. West holds the Doctorate and three other university degrees, has been a Fulbright Scholar, and he has been President of the International Clarinet Association. His career has included nearly thirty years as Principal Clarinetist in six different professional orchestras and opera companies on two continents, and he has held teaching positions in three North American universities, with guest professorships in South America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, The People’s Republic of China and Australia. He has been Conductor of Orchestras and opera conductor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and has served as conductor or adjudicator throughout the U.S. During his seven-year tenure as Conductor of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, the orchestra became recognized regionally for its standard of excellence. Dr. West retired last year from his position as Professor of Music at Virginia Commonwealth University, but he remains an Artist-Clinician for the Buffet Crampon Corporation and for the Hal Leonard company. In 2011, the VCU School of the Arts awarded him its highest faculty honor, the Award of Excellence. Meredith Music Publications has published three of his books, in 2008, 2015 and 2016, all of which deal in some way with woodwind instruments.
Megan Gray, Youth Symphony Upper-Strings Coach
Megan Gray is a violist and pedagogue with diverse interests. In the summer of 2017 she completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Viola Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa where she was the teaching assistant under Christine Rutledge. Her graduate research focused on the teaching of essential skills in arts entrepreneurship through innovative curricula. During her graduate studies, Megan became a founding member of Enid, a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing new music. The ensemble has premiered works across the country including performances at Lawrence Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, the International Double-Reed Society, University of Northern Illinois, and the Knob Creek Contemporary Music Festival in Wichita, Kansas. A resident of Charlottesville, Virginia Megan maintains a portfolio of professional interests throughout the state as a performer, artist-teacher, and organizer. She is currently a member of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, instructor of violin and viola at Woodberry Forest Private School, and maintains a robust private teaching studio.
Andrew Gabbert, Youth Symphony Lower-Strings Coach
Andrew Gabbert performs with the ground-breaking flute and cello duo Terra Voce. Known for creative programs combining the diverse and the unexpected, they have thrilled audiences at venues across the country such as the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Riverside Church. Mr. Gabbert previously held titled positions with the Tulsa Philharmonic and Opera orchestras for eleven years. He has performed as a soloist with the Tulsa Philharmonic and the Nat’l Repertory Orchestras, and been a member of the Baton Rouge Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, Terre Haute Symphony, and Camerata Chamber Orchestra. Festival orchestral appearances include the Britt Festival (OR), Sunriver Festival, Texas Festival-Institute Orchestra, Wintergreen Festival, and the Solisti New York Orchestra at the OK Mozart Festival. As a chamber musician, he also peformed regularly in concerts and educational presentations as a member of the Tulsa Philharmonic String Quartet/Quintet. In addition to performing, Mr. Gabbert is a dedicated pedagogue and has taught as a Visiting Instructor at the University of Oklahoma and as a graduate assistant at Louisiana StateUniversity. He has a private studio in Crozet/Charlottesville and also teaches at Mary Baldwin University.
Don Brubaker, Rita M. Evans Orchestra Conductor (on sabbatical for 2019-2020 season; please scroll down to read bio for his replacement, Alicia Tobin)
A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Mr. Brubaker began musical studies on the violin at the age of six and on the piano and trumpet at the age of twelve. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in music education from the University of Illinois. In addition to his music education studies, Mr. Brubaker holds a Master of Divinity degree from Regent University. While teaching orchestra in the public schools of Northern Virginia at the elementary-, middle-, and high-school levels, Mr. Brubaker conducted the Northern Virginia Junior Youth Symphony for eight seasons. In addition, he has taught band at the elementary level, directed a private music teaching studio, and directed a successful exploratory violin program at both Clark and Jackson-Via Elementary Schools. In 2018, Mr. Brubaker retired as Director of Orchestras at Buford Middle School (a post he held for 18 years) and has served as a guest conductor and adjudicator throughout Virginia. He is a published composer of school orchestral music and was the 2006 recipient of the “Arts Award for Education” from the Piedmont Council of the Arts. In his 20th season as Evans Orchestra conductor, Don Brubaker resides in Albemarle County with his wife Gayle, who teaches piano and voice.
Bob Dunnenberger, Rita M. Evans Orchestra Wind Coach
Mr. Dunnenberger was raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania and began studying piano at age seven and percussion at age ten. He received his undergraduate degree in music education from the Pennsylvania State University and his master’s degree in music education from Florida International University in Miami, where he taught music in the public schools. He has been teaching instrumental music at Walker Upper Elementary School since moving to Charlottesville in 1988. He directs two award winning ensembles: the Walker Sixth Grade Concert Band and the Walker Jazz Band, the latter of which he founded in 2001. Mr. Dunnenberger also maintains a studio of private piano students. He was the recipient of the Piedmont Council of the Arts Outstanding Educator Award in 2002.
Angela Kelly, Flute Ensemble and Choir Director
Angela Kelly is a graduate of Indiana University where she studied with Peter Lloyd and James Pellerite. She won second prize in the Louise D. McMahan International Instrumental Competition and has been invited to perform in several National Flute Association Conventions including a Samuel Baron Bach Area Masterclass at the NFA Convention in New York City. Ms. Kelly served on faculty at UVA and was interim principal flute for the CUSO Orchestra at UVA for two years. Other orchestral credits include performances with the Hartford Symphony, Greenwich Symphony and Greenwich Choral Society, and she has soloed with the Lawton (OK) Philharmonic, Bach Aria Festival Orchestra, and Musica Antiqua. She created and directed four acclaimed youth flute choirs in Connecticut before coming to Charlottesville. She directed the YOCA Senior Flute Choir at the National Flute Convention in Washington, DC in 2002 and San Diego,in 2006. She now directs the YOCVA Flute Ensemble. Ms. Kelly has her first CD recording, "Conversations" with Gary Schocker, available on the Azica label.
Alicia Tobin, Junior Strings Conductor (Evans Orchestra Conductor for 2019-2020; please scroll down to read the bio for her replacement, Emily Thomas Waters)
Alicia Tobin has a bachelor’s degree in music education from Northern Illinois University. She studied cello with Linc Smelser of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and with the late Marc Johnson of the Vermeer Quartet. Ms. Tobin taught elementary and middle school orchestra in the Chicago area public schools for two years before moving to Charlottesville in 2005. She has taught at Johnson Elementary and Walker Upper Elementary, as both music teacher and orchestra director, and she is currently the orchestra director for Buford Middle School. She also worked with Laura Thomas as an assistant director for the Charlottesvillle High School Orchestra for ten years. Ms. Tobin is a member of the American String Teachers Association and the Music Educators National Conference.
James Tobin, Clarinet Ensemble Director
A Charlottesville native, James Tobin has performed with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, the Quad Cities Symphony, Ash Lawn Opera, Opera on the James, The Oratorio Society of Virginia, the Virginia Consort, and the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra. He has performed frequently with the Albemarle Ensemble and Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia. James has been featured as soloist many times in the Concerts at Cove summer chamber series. Mr. Tobin is the founding director of the Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville-Albemarle Clarinet Ensemble, and the Charlottesville Clarinet Workshop. He appears as clinician throughout Central Virginia and was the featured clarinetist at UVA-Wise Clarinet Day. James frequently collaborates with the Charlottesville Symphony Preludes program: performing and teaching in schools throughout central Virginia. Mr. Tobin performed with the Evans and Youth Orchestras from 1990-1994.
Emily Thomas Waters, Junior Strings Conductor for the 2019-2020 Season