Music Director

Julien Benichou

Music Director and Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra 

Conductor Julien Benichou currently serves as Music Director of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Music Director and Co-Founder of the Mobtown Moderne New Music Ensemble.

Previous positions have included Orchestra Director at Towson University and Visiting Conductor at Montclair State University, principal conductor of the Towson New Music Ensemble as well as assistant conductor of the Hopkins Symphony. He also has conducted the Mobtown Modern new music concerts in Baltimore, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Mobtown Modern Synchronicity collaborations, and the New Music Ensemble at Towson University.


Executive Director


Linda Foss

Executive Director and General Manager

Linda Foss joined the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra in March 2007 as Executive Director, after serving as a volunteer Ensemble Manager for the Strings Ensemble and then the Concert Orchestra. Together with Music Director Julien Benichou, Linda administers and executes the CYSO mission to bring the young musicians of the Annapolis-Baltimore-Washington region together to enjoy and refine their musical skills with the study of ensemble repertoire.


Conductors of the CYSO

Vladimir Lande.jpg

Vladimir Lande

Conductor of the Concert Orchestra

A graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and a former student of the renowned professor Gustav Meier, Maestro Lande has enjoyed remarkable career as principal and guest conductor of major orchestras including the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Gallery Orchestra (in Washington D.C. and on a U.S. tour), the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Argentina, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra (Florida) the Baltimore Opera Orchestra, and many more.

Maestro Lande actively tours with various orchestras; his most recent notable tours include Central and South America, United States, South Korea, and Europe. He is also Music Director and Conductor of Washington (DC) Soloists Chamber Orchestra.



Robert Stojakovich

Conductor of the String Orchestra

Robert Stojakovich has been a music teacher in Anne Arundel County for the past 30 years. He has taught at Southern Senior, Southern Middle, South River Senior, Edgewater Elementary, Bates Middle, Chesapeake Senior and Magothy River Middle School where he is currently the instrumental music director.

Under his direction the Bands and Orchestras have continued a pursuit of excellence in competition and festivals at the county, state and national levels. At the age of 20 Mr. Stojakovich received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has done graduate work at the University of Maryland and West Chester University.


Ryan Tani

Conductor of the Preparatory Orchestra and Assistant Conductor

Conductor Ryan Tani is currently a second-year Masters student in Conducting at the Peabody Institute, studying under Marin Alsop and Markand Thakar.  From 2011-2014 he served as Co-Founder and Music Director of the USC Concerto Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of Baroque and Classical-era concertos.

He was declared the winner of the ACDA Undergraduate Student Conducting Competition at the 2015 conference in Salt Lake City.  Most recently Mr. Tani serves as Assistant Conductor of the Peabody Concert Orchestra as well as the Chesapeake Youth Symphony.

Gail Vehslage

Conductor of the Junior and Senior Flute Ensembles

Gail Vehslage is beginning her 18th season with CYSO. In addition to conducting the Junior and Senior flute ensembles, she founded and conducts a large adult flute ensemble that has won national recognition. Her varied musical career has included being an orchestral performer, chamber musician, private flute instructor, music camp director and High School Band and Orchestra conductor. Her students have won numerous scholarships to prestigious conservatories and schools of music.


Sandra Balderson

Conductor of the Wind Ensemble 

Mrs. Balderson retired this past June from Anne Arundel County Public Schools after 40 years of teaching. Mrs. Balderson is musically active as a flautist and performs with the Chesapeake Flute Consort.  Mrs. Balderson is also very active as an adjudicator at the state and international level in both solo and ensemble festivals as well as band and orchestra festivals.

Bands and orchestra under her direction have been recognized as being among the finest in the state of Maryland for many years, consistently receiving superior ratings at local, national and international festivals.  Her marching bands, concerts bands and orchestras have performed in places such as Disney World, MGM studio, Rome, Vienna, Salzburg and Austria as well as London, England.  Mrs. Balderson’s orchestras have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the Lincoln Center in New York City Mrs. Balderson is a regular in the yearly edition of “Who’s Who among American Teachers”.


Steve Fidyk

Conductor of the Jazz Band

Known for his touch, versatility and musical approach, jazz drummer Steve Fidyk has earned national and international acclaim as an artist, author and columnist. With his second album as a bandleader, aptly titled Allied Forces (2016), Fidyk has gathered together a powerful lineup and has succeeded in pushing his hard hitting melodic message to the front lines. The musicians on the date include the amazing frontline contributions of tenor saxophonist Doug Webb and alto saxophonist Joseph Henson, alongside the crack rhythm section of guitarist Shawn Purcell, and organist extraordinaire Brian Charette.          

Fidyk’s father John Fidyk, who played tenor saxophone with groups throughout North Eastern Pennsylvania, began taking him on gigs as a substitute drummer at the age of eight. Encouraged by his parents, Fidyk pursued music throughout high school, and majored in music education at Wilkes University. He played drums in the big band under the direction of Bob Wilbur and eventually Tom Heinze. 



James Peterson

James Peterson is a senior at the Peabody Institute of Music studying conducting with Dr.Harlan Parker and double bass with Ira Gold and Paul Johnson.  James has performed in numerous music festivals across the country, such as the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center Festival.  James also received fellowships to study at both the Texas Music Festival and National Orchestral Institute.