Meet Our TEAM

Coaches

HRCP faculty are members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, professional musicians from the Hampton Roads area, and guest artists from Europe, Asia and other regions of the United States. We provide our students with rich learning and performing experiences in a supportive and inspiring atmosphere, transforming lives through excellence in music training.

Ambrosia Quartet

In 2002, four friends decided to join forces to explore their collective passion for chamber music; thus, Hampton Roads’ Ambrosia Quartet was formed. While all members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, their backgrounds are as diverse as the music they play. Violinists Simon Lapointe and Mayu Cipriano hail from Québec and Tokyo, respectively; violist Beverly Kane Baker grew up locally in Hampton; and cellist Rebecca Gilmore came to the area from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their resumes collectively represent many years of study at the very best conservatories, including the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, Indiana and Rice Universities, and the Juilliard School.

The Ambrosia quartet has worked closely with several Hampton Roads composers, having recorded the string quartets of Adolphus Hailstork for Albany Records and premiered several works by John S. Dixon, including serving as artistic editors of Dixon’s transcription for string quartet of Mozart’s famous variations for piano on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  They’ve also forged another bond within the community recently, becoming the Quartet in Residence for The Academy of Music, a community music school headquartered in Norfolk.

In more than a decade of recitals, the Ambrosia Quartet has explored the chamber music with the prestigious Feldman Chamber Series as well as the Virginia Arts Festival and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. And they’re not limited to quartets, frequently performing trios or participating in other ensembles. These friends are bonded together by a mutual love of the very best chamber music of any style, and they strive to reach the most diverse audiences possible, having performed in churches and museums just as readily as in fine concert halls in the U.S. and internationally.

Some might think it no surprise that an excellent orchestra would bring forth an excellent string quartet, but this is not always the case. Chamber music ensembles require rare chemistry to elevate the playing to a special realm. The Ambrosia Quartet has that chemistry and achieves that elevation.

Grace Lewis

Grace Lewis is a Houston-area double bassist and Director of Orchestras at Drew Academy in Aldine Independent School District. She is the founder and director of music education nonprofit Collegia: Houston, serves on the advisory board of the International Society of Bassists, and maintains a private studio in the Houston metro area.

Lewis performs regularly as a freelance artist with ensembles such as the Houston Ballet Orchestra, the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Brazosport Symphony, the Baytown Symphony, and more. She has served as a clinician for middle and high school orchestras in Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

Lewis holds a M.M. in Instrumental Performance from the University of Houston and a B.M. in Instrumental Performance from Oklahoma City University. She is a proud alumna of the Hampton Roads Chamber Players and the Governor’s School for the Arts.

Recognized by the St. Louis Post Dispatch as a “virtuoso from head to toe” and the Miami Herald as a “performer of dazzling virtuosity and rhapsodic expression”, violinist Pavel Ilyashov is acclaimed as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and passionate educator.

A graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pavel enjoys an unusually varied career. Recent solo performance engagements include concertos with the Virginia Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, the National Philharmonic of Honduras, as well as chamber collaborations with Yo Yo Ma, Jaime Laredo, Paquito D’rivera, and members of the Emerson string quartet. Pavel has regularly been featured at the Caramoor festival, Bargemusic, and on
the popular radio program Performance Today. Several solo recordings for the Albany and Naxos labels have been released to critical praise.

An experienced orchestral musician, Pavel played a distinguished 16 year, full time tenure with the Virginia Symphony, during which he also appeared as a substitute violinist with ensembles including the Chicago Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.

A dedicated teacher, Pavel was honored with a special award as outstanding music educator of the year in 2019. His private students have earned top honors at a multitude of solo competitions. In addition, they have gone on to careers in major professional orchestras, and been accepted to study at top music schools including the Peabody Conservatory, Indiana University, and Juilliard. Pavel has given masterclasses throughout the Americas and spends his summers performing and teaching at festivals in New York, Colorado, Virginia, Missouri, and Lima Peru. Pavel is a global ambassador for the Orchestra of the Americas, which has
enabled him to bring educational outreach to places in the world where it is not otherwise readily available.

Pavel Ilyashov

Recognized by the St. Louis Post Dispatch as a “virtuoso from head to toe” and the Miami Herald as a “performer of dazzling virtuosity and rhapsodic expression”, violinist Pavel Ilyashov is acclaimed as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and passionate educator.

A graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pavel enjoys an unusually varied career. Recent solo performance engagements include concertos with the Virginia Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, the National Philharmonic of Honduras, as well as chamber collaborations with Yo Yo Ma, Jaime Laredo, Paquito D’rivera, and members of the Emerson string quartet. Pavel has regularly been featured at the Caramoor festival, Bargemusic, and on
the popular radio program Performance Today. Several solo recordings for the Albany and Naxos labels have been released to critical praise.

An experienced orchestral musician, Pavel played a distinguished 16 year, full time tenure with the Virginia Symphony, during which he also appeared as a substitute violinist with ensembles including the Chicago Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.

A dedicated teacher, Pavel was honored with a special award as outstanding music educator of the year in 2019. His private students have earned top honors at a multitude of solo competitions. In addition, they have gone on to careers in major professional orchestras, and been accepted to study at top music schools including the Peabody Conservatory, Indiana University, and Juilliard. Pavel has given masterclasses throughout the Americas and spends his summers performing and teaching at festivals in New York, Colorado, Virginia, Missouri, and Lima Peru. Pavel is a global ambassador for the Orchestra of the Americas, which has
enabled him to bring educational outreach to places in the world where it is not otherwise readily available.

Megan Van Gomple

A native of Illinois, Megan Van Gomple joined the violin section of the Virginia Symphony in 2013. Ms. Van Gomple has appeared as a soloist here in Hampton Roads and in Indiana and continues to serve her community as concertmaster of Symphonicity, the Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach. She is a dedicated teacher and has been a member of the faculty of the Academy of Music of Virginia since 2008. She maintains a large Suzuki studio and her students perform throughout the area including solo performances with local orchestras. She also is an active coach for Hampton Roads Chamber Players and Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia.

Megan began her violin studies at the age of nine. She went on to pursue her Bachelor of Music Education from Valparaiso University in Indiana and then spent her early career in Milwaukee as a public school strings teacher and regular performer with the Concord Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Van Gomple then went on to receive a Masters Degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Hartt School of Music as a student of violinist Anton Miller and pedagogue Teri Einfeldt. She performed regularly with the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra and taught on the Suzuki faculties at the University of Connecticut and the Suzuki School of Westport.

She lives in Norfolk with her husband Ryan and her son Silas. In her free time she enjoys reading, cheering on the Brewers, and traveling with her family whenever possible.

Michael Daniels is currently the principal cellist of the Virginia Symphony. He began playing cello at age 11 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and continued further studies at the Brevard Music Center, in Brevard, North Carolina. He later received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

While in Cincinnati, Mr. Daniels was a member of the Dayton Philharmonic and performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony Pops. He has been a member of the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival, a faculty member at Eastern Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center, and a participant in the Grand Teton Summer Music Festival.

He is also a founding member of the Adagio Trio (harp, flute, and cello), which has produced five successful CDs: Stillpoint, Sanctuary, Winter Gift, Evensong, and Celtic Heart.

Mr. Daniels has performed as soloist regularly with the Virginia Symphony. His solo appearances include Saint-Saens Concerto in A minor, Haydn Cello Concerto in C, Beethoven Triple Concerto, Brahms Double Concerto, Elgar Concerto, and a duo performance with Bobby McFerrin of the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto.

Michael Daniels

Michael Daniels is currently the principal cellist of the Virginia Symphony. He began playing cello at age 11 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and continued further studies at the Brevard Music Center, in Brevard, North Carolina. He later received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

While in Cincinnati, Mr. Daniels was a member of the Dayton Philharmonic and performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony Pops. He has been a member of the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival, a faculty member at Eastern Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center, and a participant in the Grand Teton Summer Music Festival.

He is also a founding member of the Adagio Trio (harp, flute, and cello), which has produced five successful CDs: Stillpoint, Sanctuary, Winter Gift, Evensong, and Celtic Heart.

Mr. Daniels has performed as soloist regularly with the Virginia Symphony. His solo appearances include Saint-Saens Concerto in A minor, Haydn Cello Concerto in C, Beethoven Triple Concerto, Brahms Double Concerto, Elgar Concerto, and a duo performance with Bobby McFerrin of the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto.

Joanna Binford

Joanna Binford, the coordinator for the Academy of Music Suzuki Strings Program, is a member of the Endless Roads Strings, a chamber ensemble specializing in alternative styles and a substitute violist in the Virginia Symphony.

She attained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music from the University of Kentucky and continued her studies with violist, Paul Neubauer. She spent a summer at the Banff Center studying viola with Martha Strongin-Katz and participating in their jazz festival. Ms Binford is a former member of the Niles String Quartet with the Univ of Kentucky, the Anastasia Quartet, the Lastinger Ensemble, the Lexington Baroque Ensemble, the Latrobe Ensemble and the Eastern Kentucky University String Quartet.

She studied chamber music at Kneisel Hall for two summers and has worked with members of the Juilliard Quartet, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Cleveland Quartet, the Vermeer Quartet and the Muir String Quartet. She was a long-standing member of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and frequently performed with the Louisville Orchestra and the Owensboro Symphony.

Binford previously taught a Transylvania University, The Centenary School of Music and the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. She has been a Suzuki Institute and Workshop teacher for 20 years, a sectional coach with the Bay Youth Orchestras, and served as Director of Strings at Norfolk Collegiate. She has earned awards for outstanding service and private teacher of the year by the Kentucky Chapter of the American String Teachers Association and lauded as the outstanding educator in the KMEA District 11 in 2012.

Ms. Binford has also published or presented on different facets of stringed instruments and musical performance and continues to perform as a viola soloist at various conferences, institutes, and workshops.

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