The Kennedy Center

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 Principal Conductor Evan Rogister, 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 former WNO Music Directors Heinz Fricke and Philippe Auguin, 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.

Evan Rogister, the Principal Conductor

Violin I

  • Oleg Rylatko, Concertmaster
  • Eric Lee, Associate Concertmaster
  • Ko Sugiyama, Assistant Concertmaster
  • Zino Bogachek+
  • Joan Cataldo
  • Michelle Kim
  • Karen Lowry-Tucker
  • Susan Midkiff
  • Kayla Moffett
  • Laura Park

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
  • Elizabeth Oka, Assistant Principal
  • Philippe Chao+
  • Leon Neal
  • Elizabeth Pulju-Owen
  • Uri Wassertzug


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


  • Robert D'Imperio, Principal
  • Francis Carnovale, Assistant Principal
  • Christian Gray


  • 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
  • Chair Vacant, Assistant Principal
  • Ashley Booher

E Flat Clarinet

  • Chair Vacant

Bass Clarinet

  • Ashley Booher


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


  • Samuel Blair


  • Geoffrey Pilkington, Principal
  • Nathaniel Silberschlag, Assistant Principal
  • Wei-Ping Chou
  • Peter de Boor
  • Robert Odmark


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


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

Bass Trombone

  • Stephen Dunkel


  • Seth Cook, Principal


  • Jonathan Rance, Principal
  • Greg Akagi, Assistant Principal


  • John Spirtas, Principal
  • Greg Akagi


  • Susan Robinson, Principal

Musical/Operetta Orchestra

  • Fred Irby III, Principal


  • Shelley Friedman, Librarian
  • Susan Kelly, Librarian


  • Amanda Joos, Orchestra Manager
  • Ashley Stonebraker, Orchestra Assistant Manager
  • Sydney Jones, Administrative Assistant

Washington National Opera In Memoriam

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


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