“Julien Benichou is without doubt, one of the most exciting young conductors on the scene today. He deftly combines his elegant graceful gestures, a wonderful sense of both youthful verve and old world wisdom, with profound sincere musicianship.”
Jonathan Carney, Concertmaster Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Hailed as “one of the most interesting and accomplished conductors of his generation,” Julien Benichou is noted for his blend of flexibility and control, inspiring musicality and incredibly infectious energy. Benichou currently serves as Music Director for the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO), and was recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Washington Opera Society. He is also the Music Director of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) and the Southern Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra (SMYOC). This past December, he
made his debut with the New York City Ballet, in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, and returned to Carnegie Hall, in a concert that featured Robert Redford and Vice-President Al Gore.
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
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.
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.
Conductor of the Preparatory Orchestra and Assistant Conductor
A driven and versatile conductor, Ryan Tani has been praised for his compelling musicianship in a wide range of symphonic and choral repertoire. He has recently been appointed Music Director of the Occasional Symphony in Baltimore. He also serves as Assistant Conductor of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the COSMIC Orchestra, and Conducting Fellow for the Montgomery Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2015, he was declared the winner of the ACDA Undergraduate Student Conducting Competition at their national conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
During his tenure as Co-Founder and Music Director of the Concerto Chamber Orchestra from 2012-2015, Ryan helped positively shape the orchestral scene in the Los Angeles area by providing a medium for high-level performance opportunities to student musicians of all majors. The infrastructure that he and his Board put together thrives to this day.
Gail Vehslage is beginning her 19th 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.
Conductor of the Wind Ensemble
Mrs. Balderson is a retired teacher from Anne Arundel County Public Schools after 40 years of teaching. She is musically active as a ﬂautist maintaining a private studio and performs with the Chesapeake Flute Consort. Mrs. Balderson is also very active as an adjudicator and guest conductor.
Mrs. Balderson grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and is a graduate of East Carolina University. She completed her graduate work at Towson University and the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland.
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, composer and columnist. For more than 21 years, he was the drummer and featured soloist with The Army Blues Big Band, a premier 17-piece jazz ensemble stationed in Washington D.C. During his tenure, Fidyk performed for seven U.S. Presidents, numerous dignitaries, and traveled throughout the Middle East supporting the troops during a USO tour in 2008. With his second album as 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. It was at this time that he began to immerse himself in jazz, listening to the great big bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, and Buddy Rich. Rich was the first jazz drummer Fidyk saw perform live when he was eight years old, and that experience left a lasting impression.