Washington National Opera Orchestra

As the resident opera company of the Kennedy Center, Washington National Opera (WNO) draws on a rich history to offer high-quality grand opera featuring internationally acclaimed artists and productions. Under the directorship of WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin, the Washington National Opera Orchestra is the musical heartbeat of the company, playing for all WNO productions in the Kennedy Center Opera House.

Comprised of 61 musicians from around the nation and the world, the Orchestra has played under the baton of such famed conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, James Levine and Mstislav Rostropovich, as well as WNO Music Director Emeritus Heinz Fricke and former WNO General Director Plácido Domingo. Highlights of the Orchestra's history include performances of the world premiere of Menotti's Goya (1986), accompanying WNO on its tour to Japan (2002); and numerous recordings and broadcasts which have introduced WNO to audiences around the globe.

Orchestra members hail from China, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, New Zealand, South Korea, and Spain, and all regions of North America. Orchestra members and have trained at the leading conservatories in Europe and the United States, including Juilliard, Eastman, and the Curtis Institute, among others, and most hold advanced degrees in their field. Members earn their positions through a highly competitive audition process, and many remain with the company for years and decades, resulting in a cohesive group of artists keenly attuned to the nuances of making music with world-class opera artists.

The Orchestra's roots date back to the company's founding in 1956 as the Opera Society of Washington. As the small but intrepid group of opera lovers grew into an internationally recognized opera company, the musicians grew with it, and the orchestra was officially established as a professional orchestra in 1978. Today, the same musicians also constitute the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Center's resident orchestra which provides the music for most musicals and ballets in the Center's nine theaters and performance spaces, as well as the CBS television broadcast of the Emmy® Award-winning Kennedy Center Honors.

Philippe Auguin, Music Director
Heinz Fricke, Music Director Emeritus

Violin I

    • Oleg Rylatko, Concertmaster
    • Eric Lee, Associate Concertmaster
    • Ko Sugiyama, Assistant Concertmaster
    • Zino Bogachek+
    • Joan Cataldo
    • Jennifer Kim
    • Michelle Kim
    • Karen Lowry-Tucker
    • Susan Midkiff
    • Margaret Thomas

    Violin II

    • Julia Grueninger Cox, Principal
    • Najin Kim, Assistant Principal
    • Richard Chang+
    • Xi Chen
    • Jessica Dan Fan
    • Martha Kaufman
    • Timothy Macek
    • Victoria Noyes


    • Allyson Goodman, Principal
    • Shelley Coss, Assistant Principal
    • Philippe Chao+
    • Leon Neal
    • Elizabeth Pulju-Owen
    • Uri Wassertzug


  • Amy Frost Baumgarten, Principal
  • Elizabeth Davis, Assistant Principal
  • Ignacio Alcover+
  • Timothy H. Butler
  • Kristen Wojcik
  • Igor Zubkovsky


  • Robert D'Imperio, Principal
  • Francis Carnovale, Assistant Principal
  • Nathaniel West


  • Adria Sternstein Foster, Principal
  • Stephani Stang-Ferry, Assistant Principal
  • John Lagerquist


  • John Lagerquist


  • Igor Leschishin, Principal
  • Carole Libelo, Assistant Principal
  • Kathleen Golding

English Horn

  • Carole Libelo


  • David Jones, Principal
  • Lora Ferguson, Assistant Principal
  • Ashley Booher

Bass Clarinet

  • Ashley Booher


  • Joseph Grimmer, Principal
  • Christopher Jewell, Assistant Principal
  • Samuel Blair


  • Samuel Blair


  • Geoffrey Pilkington, Principal
  • John Peiffer, Assistant Principal
  • Robert Odmark
  • Peter de Boor


  • Tim White, Principal
  • Christopher Tranchitella, Assistant Principal
  • Mike Rossi


  • Lee Rogers, Principal
  • Douglas Rosenthal, Assistant Principal
  • Stephen Dunkel

Bass Trombone

  • Stephen Dunkel


  • Michael Bunn, Principal


  • Jonathan Rance, Principal
  • Greg Akagi, Assistant Principal


  • John Spirtas, Principal
  • Greg Akagi


  • Susan Robinson, Principal

Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center mourn the loss of our orchestra's principal bassoonist Donald Shore, who passed away on October 9, 2014 following a brave battle with cancer.

Watch Tribute to Donald Shore

Una furtiva lagrima from L'elisir d'amore (Gaetano Donizetti)
Paul Groves, Tenor
Donald Shore, Bassoon
Washington National Opera Orchestra
Used by permission

+ begins an alphabetical listing of musicians who participate in a system of revolving chairs within the string section.

WNO Blog

Buy Tickets

  • Guarantee your seats in advance with a subscription.

    Browse Packages
    Box Office Information
  • (202) 467-4600
  • Toll-free (800) 444-1324
  • TTY (202) 416-8524
    Box Office Hours
  • Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Sundays and Holidays, noon-9 p.m.
    • Call