Stephen Czarkowski - Music Director, Philharmonic
Stephen Czarkowski is in demand as a conductor, cellist and educator in the Washington, D.C. area and nationally. He is in his eighth season as Music Director and Conductor of the Apollo Orchestra, and has collaborated with artists from the Metropolitan Opera and the Washington National Opera. He has led the Apollo Orchestra in performances at the Kennedy Center for the past three years. He is currently in his fourth year as Assistant Conductor of the York Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Czarkowski is also Director of Strings at the Norwood School, conductor of The Symphonette at Landon School, and Music Director and Conductor of the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra.
He led The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. as a debut conductor, in conjunction with being selected for the 2003 National Conducting Institute directed by Music Director Leonard Slatkin. Other guest conducting appearances include the Honolulu Symphony, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Prince George’s Philharmonic, and the Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra. In October 2014, he conducted the Richmond Symphony as part of the Conductors Guild Workshop. In the summer of 2016, Mr. Czarkowski was the guest conductor for the Luzerne Music Center Orchestra in a special Gala Concert.
Mr. Czarkowski has been honored to work with internationally esteemed soloists, including soprano Harolyn Blackwell, harpist Nancy Allen, violinist Cho-Liang Lin, guitarist Ana Vidovic, and cellist Jerry Grossman.
An avid educator, Mr. Czarkowski recently joined the Norwood School in Bethesda, Maryland as Director of Strings. Currently on the conducting and cello faculty of Landon School, his students have won numerous local and statewide competitions, and hold principal chairs in area orchestras. He is also the Music Director of the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra. During the summer he teaches at Landon and Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra camps.
Mr. Czarkowski is also an active cellist. In the fall of 2013, he was the soloist with the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major, and in January 2014 performed the Bach Cello Suites at St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town, West Virginia. He has also performed as a Special Guest Artist with the Library of Congress Chorale, and serves as Principal Cellist of the Summer Dinner Theater Orchestra at Montgomery College. In 2015-2016, he performed for Pope Francis and President Obama.
Mr. Czarkowski graduated from The Catholic University of America with a Graduate Artist Diploma in Orchestral Conducting, after receiving a full scholarship and teaching assistantship. He graduated from Mannes College with a Master of Music in cello (under Barbara Stein Mallow) and conducting (under David Hayes and Samuel Wong). Mr. Czarkowski also received his Bachelor of Music degree from Mannes College under the tutelage of Carter Brey, principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic. He is a member of the Conductor’s Guild and is currently serving on the New School Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Jordan Smith - Symphonia
Award-winning conductor Jordan Randall Smith is also the Music Director of Baltimore-based chamber orchestra Symphony Number One and Music Director at Govans Presbyterian Church where he conducts the choir in music from the renaissance through the present day. Smith was formerly Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Dallas Festival of Modern Music and Assistant Conductor of the Peabody Opera Theater. Smith was lauded for being “an attentive partner” by the Baltimore Sun. Jordan’s leadership of Mahler’s fourth symphony was praised by Tim Smith: “The third movement, in particular, was quite sensitively molded.” According to the Ft. Worth Music Examiner, Jordan “drove an intensity in the air,” leading the festival’s ensemble in residence, Ars Nova Dallas, in a series of performances of Schoenberg’s landmark Pierrot Lunaire. New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert called Jordan’s conducting of Boulez’ Le Marteau sans Maître, “impressive.”
In 2016, Jordan was named a Baltimore Social Innovation Fellow and received a prestigious Bruno Walter Fellowship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2010 where he studied with Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier, and Jennifer Higdon and conducted the festival orchestra in concert. Jordan’s professional chamber orchestra, Symphony Number One, was named “Best of Baltimore 2016” by Baltimore Magazine. Jordan formerly served as Apprentice Conductor of the Dallas Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus under James Richman. He has mentored thousands of young musicians in ensembles across the country including the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Cross Timbers Youth Orchestra and in clinics at public schools. A Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory, Smith is a student of Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, and Marin Alsop
Marc Musser - FRYO Jazz
Originally from Montgomery County, Maryland, Marc has made his home in Frederick for the past 20 years. He is in his 13th year as band and orchestra director at Walkersville Middle School.
Marc began studying guitar at age 8 and played his first professional engagement at age 12 at a New Year’s Eve bash at Tyson’s Corner Mall. He has played continuously since then and assures us that a considerable number of years are encompassed in that span of time. He has played every type of gig imaginable—from night clubs to musical theatre—and counts among his favorite performing memories a 2 month engagement at the Kennedy Center with the Washington Opera under the musical directorship of Placido Domingo.
He began playing cello at age 14, performed in his junior and senior high school orchestras, the Maryland All-State orchestra, and the Montgomery County Symphony Orchestra. He was a cello major at Towson University before switching his major to classical guitar performance. He returned to Towson in 1998 to complete his Music Education degree. He is currently writing his Master’s Thesis in the Hood College Humanities program.
Marc has taught both cello and guitar privately for many years, taught musicianship to inner-city youths for the Baltimore Job Corps program, acted as rehearsal conductor for the Frederick All-county band and orchestras for 12 years, and recently directed the pit orchestra for the Walkersville High School production of Footloose. He considers sharing his love of music with young people one of the great joys of life, and very much looks forward to his journey with the musicians of the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra.
Sharon Zearfoss - Wind Ensemble
Ms. Sharon Zearfoss has been the conductor for the FRYO Wind Ensemble since January 2011. Sharon is an instrumental music and theatre teacher for Frederick County Public Schools at Ballenger Creek Middle School. Locally, she teaches percussion at Governor Thomas Johnson High School and previously taught for the Advanced Music Studies program in the Advanced Communications Academy for Frederick County. She received her BS in Music Education at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania with a concentration in voice and percussion. She is a proud alumna of Sigma Alpha Iota, Delta Alpha chapter and served as music director and Vice President of Ritual. She has a diverse performance background including touring with the Lebanon Valley College Concert Choir, 8 years of touring with the Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps and the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps, 2 seasons with the Penn State Indoor Drumline as well as playing with multiple ensembles on saxophone, bassoon, cello and euphonium.
Charles Doherty - Concert Strings
Charles Doherty is the director of Instrumental Music at Damascus High School, leading two bands, a jazz band, and two string orchestras. He carries a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Music in Trombone Performance from Duquesne University. Mr. Doherty serves as the conductor of the Concert Strings with the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra, as well as the Chamber Orchestra with the Academy of Saint Cecilia Youth Orchestra. In addition, he has conducted several senior and junior high honor bands in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As a performer, Mr. Doherty has played with numerous groups in the DC area, including the Mike Kamuf Little Big Band, Blue Moon Big Band, Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra, Yesterday Swing Orchestra, the Montgomery Philharmonic, and the Trinity Chamber Orchestra
Neil Brown – Brass
Shawn Buck – Winds
Kim Johnson – Cello/Bass
Igor Kozlov – Percussion
Jason Labrador – Violin
Michael Rittling – Cello/Bass
Heather Austin-Stone – Violin
YaShauna Swan – Viola