Legacy of the WSO

Friday, September 27, 2024

Capitol Theatre
7:30 pm

It’s the WSO’s 95th birthday!

As we begin our 95th anniversary season, we will start the year-long process of celebrating our beloved community, symphony, and the relationship between the two. We will open our 95th season with a kaleidoscopic concert that honors our past, highlights our present, and looks forward to our incredibly bright future. Eight WSO players will take center stage as soloists for this performance, and the evening’s selections pay tribute to the WSO’s past and to significant historical figures in the Ohio Valley’s musical community.

The program for our kickoff concert covers everything from John Williams to Vivaldi, Clarice Assad to Mahler. And to celebrate the start of our 95th season, the evening will begin with the Overture to The Barber of Seville—a selection that was performed by the WSO during our inaugural season in 1929.

Returning subscriber renewals for the 2024-2025 season, Your Community In Concert, end June 24th. New subscriptions on sale June 28th. Single tickets on sale August 2nd. Contact the WSO box office at or
304-232-6191 to learn more.


Rachel Stegeman, violin

Rachel Robinson Stegeman, a native of Washington D.C., began her violin studies at age 8. As a student of then National Symphony Concertmaster, William Steck, she quickly developed her performance skills, winning the opportunity to solo with the National Symphony Orchestra with the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. While establishing herself in the D.C. area in 1984–1989, she performed with the National Symphony and Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra (as well as many other orchestras in the area), performed in a string quartet at the White House, traveled to Rome to perform for the Pope, and later won orchestral auditions that led her to California, both with the Pacific and Sacramento Symphonies. After relocating in 1989 and accepting a principal position in the Pacific Symphony in Southern California, Stegeman gradually became one of the most sought after violinists in the recording industry, performing on sessions in the motion picture industry, as well as the television and record industries. She was also hired as a substitute in the Los Angeles Philharmonic for concerts and tours. Shortly thereafter, she won the position as Assistant Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the position of Assistant Concertmaster of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. While in Los Angeles, Stegeman performed in many live broadcasts and taped television work, for shows such as Jay Leno, Craig Kilborn, various local news programs, Days of Our Lives, the American Music Awards, VH-1 Awards, E.T. 50th Anniversary Live with Steven Spielberg and John Williams, and several years of The Academy Awards as an orchestral member. In 2002, Stegeman moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and began serving as Adjunct Professor at Duquesne University in Applied Violin, Orchestral Literature and Repertoire, and Chamber Music. Currently, she holds the positions of Concertmaster of both the Youngstown Symphony and Wheeling Symphony and Associate Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra. She is also very involved with the Pittsburgh Symphony, performing with them on many of their season concerts and international tours since 2009. She continues to be involved in several summer music festivals, both national and international, such as Sunflower Music Festival, Buzzards Bay Musicfest, and previously the St. Barts Music Festival in the French West Indies. She continues her chamber music collaborations here in Pittsburgh and at music festivals with well-known artists who live around the world. Stegeman has sent many of her students right into jobs, both in performing and teaching positions. Some orchestras where her students are employed part time or full time are: San Antonio Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony (2 students hired as substitute musicians), Westmoreland Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Johnstown Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra. Many of her music education students are employed locally in the North Allegheny School District, Moon School District, Upper Saint Clair, and other states such as New York and West Virginia. Along with her husband, Charles Stegeman, she created the Violin and Viola Boot Camp, which is dedicated to the excellence of practice and performance techniques of young violinists. Also in 2020, their corporation, Fiddlers Too Inc. is launching a brand new program entitled: "Pump Up Your Practice", a Summer Strings Institute, through Duquesne University. She maintains a large home studio of violinists and violists, hoping to instill a system of efficient practice techniques for young players. Her instrument is a H. Fagnola violin (Italian) of the year 1923. Her teachers include Ramona Coppage, Leslye Gartrell, Luis Haza, William Steck, Robert Lipsett, and Sidney Harth. She studied music at Catholic University (in Washington, D.C.) and graduated from Duquesne University with both undergraduate and graduate violin performance degrees. In her free time she enjoys family life with husband Charles Stegeman, and children: Gabbi, Adam, stepsons Luke, Mike, and West Highland Terrier Duncan.

Juan Jaramillo, violin

Since his arrival in the US from his native country of Venezuela, Juan Jaramillo has established himself as a prominent violinist in a variety of music scenes around the country. He is a product of the internationally famous "El Sistema" orchestra program that started in Venezuela. Mr. Jaramillo has played with many ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and many more. Juan has also performed as Acting Associate Concertmaster and Assistant Principal Second of the Britt Music Festival. Currently he is the Principal Second of the Wheeling Symphony and first violinist for the Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Orchestras, as well as the Sarasota Opera and Sarasota Orchestra. Mr. Jaramillo has performed at summer festivals such as San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival (Mexico), Latinoamerican Quartet Seminar (Venezuela), Deep Creek Summer Festival, Sunflower Music Festival and Des Moines Metro Opera. Juan has also shared the stage with international artist such as Andrea Bocelli, Vince Gill, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kansas, Ray Charles, Bernadette Peters and more. Mr Jaramillo received his Bachelor's Degree and Artist Diploma from Duqesne University and also earned a Master's Degree from Penn State University. When he is not performing, rehearsing, or teaching, Juan enjoys running, cooking, and the movies. Beyond music, Juan is also actively working as a financial services professional for the New York Like Insurance Company.

Anne Moskal, violin

Professional violinist, orchestral musician, and teacher, Anne Jackovic discovered her unique talent at the age of two. She exudes passion and dedication through exquisite performances. Her first training was received at the Carnegie Mellon Preparatory School while studying violin privately. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Violin Performance under the instruction of Cyrus Forough, she returned to obtain her Masters degree. Throughout her career, she has placed in many competitions throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Keynotes Scholarship Competition, Pittsburgh Concert Society, WQED-FM, and Duquesne City Music Center recognized her talent and dedication through awards and Scholarships. Carnegie Mellon University chose Jackovic as the 2005 "Most Outstanding Senior", presenting her with the Harry G. Archer Award. Additionally, she was featured as a soloist in a royal concert for Prince Philippe and Princess Christine of Chimay, Belgium. Winning her first professional audition, Jackovic became a member of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra in September of 2005. Since that time, she has also won section positions with the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, Assistant Concertmaster with the Erie Philharmonic. Jackovic teaches violin throughout the Pittsburgh community. While completing her Masters degree at Carnegie Mellon, she substituted as a Solfege instructor for several university level classes. In the summer of 2006, she was appointed to be the Solfege instructor for the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College students. She has recently been appointed Artist Lecturer in Solfege for the School of Music and is currently on the violin faculty for the String Preparatory School.

Sean Elliott, violin

Sean Elliott is a DMA candidate at the West Virginia University School of Music in Morgantown, WV. His instructors include William van der Sloot, Sunmi Chang, Mikylah Myers, Ellen-Maria Willis, and Mary Wilson. <br /> <br /> A native of Morgantown, he began private lessons at the age of five through the WVU Community Music Program and has earned a B.A. in Music from WVU and a Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Sean is the recipient of several awards, including the Valerie Canady Charitable Trust Foundation Scholarship Award and was a winner and performer of the WVU School of Music Young Artist Competition as an undergraduate in 2016 (with Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5) and again as a doctoral student in 2021 (with Vivaldi’s “Spring” and “Summer” from the Four Seasons). <br /> <br /> Sean has also led the Round Top Summer Festival Orchestra in Texas as Concertmaster during the 2017 season and participated in violin/ viola chamber music workshops with faculty members Sharan Leventhal and Lila Brown from the Boston Conservatory from 2018-2019. His most recent positions were Concertmaster of the WVU Symphony Orchestra and a violinist of the WVU Graduate String Quartet. This summer, Sean will be returning to Graz, Austria to work as a section violinist of the American Institute of Musical Studies orchestra

Andy Sledge, bassoon

Hailed by WQXR as a “remarkable bassoonist,” Andy Sledge (they/them) has performed in concert halls, teahouses, opera pits, parking lots, and video game soundtracks. They have commissioned and premiered works by composers of their generation, along with works for unaccompanied electric bassoon. In 2022, Andy co-founded the Bridge Bassoon Duo with bassoonist Dana Brink. Dedicated to promoting trans voices, the duo has commissioned music from composers including Meadow Bridgham and Maddy Wildman. As an orchestral musician, Andy has performed with ensembles including Symphony in C and the West Virginia Symphony, and they were recently appointed as principal bassoon of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. Andy currently serves as Assistant Professor at West Virginia University, where they teach bassoon, chamber music, and music theory. Beyond the university, they have shared educational and community engagement programs in public schools, arts centers, and retirement communities in Philadelphia and New Haven. Andy is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Yale School of Music, where they also earned their master’s degree. Andy is a winner of the 2022 Astral Artists National Competition.

Eliseo Rael, vibraphone

Eliseo Rael is an Emmy-winning percussionist who has forged a dynamic career of creative collaboration as a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. He is a member of the Pana Percussion Quartet whose performance of the piece "Spiral" earned two Emmys at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Award Ceremony in 2023. As the percussionist of the new music ensemble, IonSound Project, Eliseo performed in such music series as “The Phoenix Concerts” in New York, “Music in a Great Space”, and “Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch” in Pittsburgh. He has had the opportunity to work closely with composers such as Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, David Stock, Michael Gandolfi, and many others. In addition to his work as a chamber musician, Eliseo has also performed with many orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, and the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland; performing under conductors James Levine, Kurt Massur, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Manfred Honeck. He has performed as a soloist with the Wheeling Symphony's WSO on the Go series. Eliseo is currently the area coordinator of the Percussion Department and Percussion Ensemble Director at Duquesne University. He is on faculty for the Pana Percussion Institute summer music program and has been invited as a clinician at the French Woods music camp. Students he has taught play in orchestras all over the country and have won numerous competitions including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Modern Snare Drum Competition, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania All-state, and have been accepted to some of the country’s top music schools such as New England Conservatory, The Juilliard School, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, among others.

Curtis Johnson, alto saxophone

Curtis Johnson, retired Associate Professor of Music at West Virginia University (WVU), served on the WVU faculty for more than twenty years. He received his Master of Music in Saxophone Performance from West Virginia University and his Bachelor of Music from West Liberty University. Johnson has served as an adjunct faculty member at West Virginia University, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Slippery Rock University and Carnegie Mellon University. He has been named a semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award multiple times. Classically, Johnson has performed on numerous North American Saxophone Alliance conference programs, World Saxophone Congress programs and International Saxophone Symposium programs. He also has performed as soloist with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Johnson is also a renowned R&B and jazz performer. He has backed such performers as Christian McBride, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Benny Golson, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Little Anthony, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Chubby Checker, Chuck Berry, Isaac Hayes, Lou Rawls, The Spinners, Dionne Warwick, Martha Reeves, Cheryl Lynn and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Johnson performs as a freelance performer and has completed many successful tours of Europe in a span of over thirty years. Since 2008, he has performed at several international jazz festivals in Russia. In addition, Johnson performs with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra under the direction of world-renowned trumpeter Sean Jones. As active as he has been in his performance career, Johnson has never left the classroom. Jazz education continues to be his forte. He began his career as Director of Jazz Studies at West Virginia University, taking several large ensembles and small groups to regional conferences and providing them with national performance opportunities. He has conducted numerous all-star high school and college bands, including the 1996 Maryland All-State Jazz Ensemble, and he has served as Artistic Director for the Krakow (Poland) School for Jazz and Contemporary Music's International Summer Jazz Academy. Johnson is featured in the book Legendary Locals of Wheeling as an artist and is an expert on the career of Leon "Chu" Berry. The PBS special They Died Before 40 features Johnson speaking about "Chu" Berry. Creative Music Solutions, an organization run by Johnson since 2001, has sponsored numerous tours to Europe with various performing groups. The organization began sponsoring high school, college and professional music group tours to Europe in summer 2005. Johnson is an Artist/Clinician for Yamaha Corporation of America.

Jeff Mangone, bass

Jeff Mangone is a full-time professional player and teacher of string bass, bass guitar, and tuba. Jeff has played virtually every style of music in local, national, and international venues in a professional career that began in 1972. He is currently the principal bassist of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet, the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh, Music on the Edge, Latshaw Pops, Pittsburgh Baroque Orchestra, and the PBS “My Music” Series. He is also a substitute bassist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He has performed and/or lectured at every Pittsburgh Double Bass Symposium and is the only freelance bassist to be so honored. His active jazz career includes concerts, touring, and recording with artists that include Ken Karsh, Joe Negri, Opie Bellas, Bo Wagner, Donna Groom, Latshaw Productions, Julia Eglar, Richard Stoltzman, Vic Damone, Rosemary Clooney, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Pops, and countless others. Since 1979, he has served on the faculty of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh Department of Music. He has also served on the faculties of the Slippery Rock University Department of Music-1997 to 2009, the Indiana University of PA Department of Music-1990-1997, and the West Virginia University Department of Music-1978 to 1987. Many of his former students have gone on to careers in orchestras, jazz groups, touring Broadway musicals, and recording studios throughout the United States and the world. Jeff serves as personnel manager of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and acts as the musical contractor for several arts organizations. He is married to violist/violinist, Jennifer Gerhard who serves as principal violist of all of the same musical ensembles!

Dr. Linda Cowan, soprano

Linda Cowan holds the Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Indiana State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, where she studied with Judith Nicosia and Faith Esham. She has had many opportunities to perform in the genres of opera, musical theater, theater, oratorio, and the concert hall. Some of her major roles have included the Countess/Marriage of Figaro, Micaela/Carmen, Ariel in Shakespeare’s Tempest), Bellamy in The Fantasticks, M’lynn in Steel Magnolias, Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, and Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In 2010 she performed the role of the Witch in Brooke Hills Playhouse’s Into the Woods. Most recently, she appeared on the West Liberty stage in September as Elsa von Grossenkneuten in the Hilltop Players’ Alumni cast of The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, and as Jeanette in Brooke Hills Playhouse’s The Full Monty in 2018. Cowan created Hilltop Opera at WLU and directed performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight!, and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Other directing experience includes the musicals A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for Brooke Hills Playhouse, Mame and The ThreePenny Opera. She served as vocal director for West Liberty productions of Scrooge, Godspell and A Little Night Music. She held the dual roles of performer/music director (Bellamy in The Fantasticks) for three summers at the ISU SummerStage Cabaret, an Actors Equity company. Dr. Cowan made her New York City debut singing the Brahms Requiem at the church of St. Luke’s in the Fields in Greenwich Village. Other oratorio performances include Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Creation, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, the Durufle and Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ. Most recently she sang the soprano solo in Gounod’s motet Gallia and the Poulenc Gloria. She has concertized extensively in NJ, IN, PA and WV. At West Liberty, Dr. Cowan teaches private and class voice, diction, and vocal literature and pedagogy classes. Dr. Cowan has taught at the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts, and is a frequent guest artist-teacher. She served the National Association of Teachers of Singing as the Governor for West Virginia past president of the NATS Tri-States chapter. She currently performs with OvreArts and Voces Solis.

John Devlin, conductor

Conductor John Gennaro Devlin, is an ardent champion of American music, an innovator of concert design, and a thought leader in the field of classical music. In his fifth season as Music Director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Devlin is only the ninth conductor in its 90-year history to hold that title. He was recently named a recipient of the 2023 Georg Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award. Devlin’s artistry and versatility make him a frequent guest conductor with major orchestras across the nation. His engagements include performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and the American Repertory Ballet. Of his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra and violin soloist Joshua Bell, Anne Midgette of The Washington Post wrote that Devlin “led the evening with flair … and was visibly in his element.” A strong advocate for American music, Devlin has made it a programmatic focus and has premiered over 40 new American works. Committed to serving the wider arts community beyond the podium, Devlin is part of the six-member Conductor Constituency Leadership Team of the League of American Orchestras, advocating for conductors nationally. Previously, he served on the Conductors Guild’s Board of Directors and was a featured speaker at the organization’s annual conference, discussing the future of orchestras with the Executive Directors of the National and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. He also delivered the keynote TED talk on “Innovation in Crowded Marketplaces” at a TEDx symposium. Devlin completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of James Ross at the University of Maryland. His undergraduate degree is from Emory University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Clarinet Performance and Latin.