The Erehwon Ensemble is a dynamic new chamber orchestra
comprised of professional musicians versed
in a variety of musical styles.
Erehwon Ensemble uses a flexible roster including some of the following musicians.
All musicians are listed alphabetically.
Jessica Anthony began her musical journey at the age of 7, when she first started playing violin. An original member of the Junior Strings Ensemble, and eventually becoming concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Jessica found a love for performing. She went on to study Music Performance at SUNY Fredonia, where she was concertmaster of the College Symphony Orchestra for two years while earning her M.M., graduating in 2018.
Currently Jessica is living in Buffalo NY, where she teaches private violin lessons, sits as concertmaster of the Orchard Park Symphony, co-concertmaster of the Cheektowaga Symphony, is a sub with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and performs with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. Throughout her career, Jessica has performed with numerous ensembles, including the Opera Ithaca orchestra, Northern Dutchess Symphony, Woodstock Symphony, and had the honor of sitting concertmaster for the Live United Music concert, featuring Michael Cavanaugh.
Violinist Debrah Devine is an active musician in Upstate New York. She is member of the Binghamton Philharmonic, Principal Second Violin for the Catskill Symphony, Principal Second Violin for the Femimore Chamber Orchestra and Assistant Concertmaster at the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. During July Debrah is an artist-in-residence serving as Principal Second Violin at the MostArts Festival. She performs in several chamber ensembles including the Castalia String Quartet based in Oneonta, New York. A dedicated pedagogue, Debrah teaches violin and viola to people from all walks of life in Cooperstown NY and in Oneonta. She conducts the Preparatory Orchestra of Little Delaware Youth Ensemble based in Oneonta and is the Director of the Binghamton Philharmonic High School Chamber Music Camp in Binghamton NY.
Jimmy Drancsak is a violinist and violist living in the New York City area. Currently in his second year as a Masters student at The Juilliard School, Jimmy also holds a degree in both Violin Performance and Music Education from the SUNY Fredonia School of Music. He has performed internationally with Juilliard415, and performs in North America with In Nomine Ensemble, the Arrow Quartet, La forza delle stelle, Seven Hills Baroque Ensemble, Kollective366, and was recently a participant of the Baroque and Classical Academy of the Carmel Bach Festival in Carmel, California. Over the past year, he has also enjoyed sharing the stage with performers such as Rachel Podger, William Christie, Masaaki Suzuki, Paul Agnew, and Lionel Meunier. A native of Skaneateles, New York, Jimmy grew up in the North American fiddle tradition and has years of experience playing folk music with a particular interest in Celtic, Bluegrass, and East European fiddling, all centered around various forms of musical improvisation.
Chelsea Needham graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelors in Music Education in 2014. She has had the privilege of studying the violin and viola classically under David Rose, Rachel Handman and Emily Schaad. She freelances around the Hudson valley, playing in many of the orchestras and small chamber groups. In addition to freelancing, she is a private instructor and director of two groups within the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers for the organization Stringendo. For as long as Chelsea has been playing music classically, she has studied traditional folk and fiddle music as well. She is currently the fiddler with the Vanaver Caravan Dance Company, recently touring India where they taught dances and played music from all over the world! She has fiddled in Scotland, England, Cape Breton, and down the East Coast of the United States. Some of her many accolades include Grand Champion honors in fiddle competitions such as the Celtic Classic, New England Fiddle Festival, the Lost Ramblers Fiddle Showdown, Lyon’s Fiddle Festival and numerous fairs in multiple states.
NJ O'Hearn is a violinist and violist from the Poughkeepsie area. They are a 2022 graduate of Arlington High School, and they're currently a freshman at Dutchess Community College. They have been making music with the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley all throughout high school, and they now coteach one of the school's orchestras. As a soloist, NJ won the Woodstock Symphony Orchestra's concerto competition, Stringendo's concerto competition, and Arlington High School's concerto competition in 2022, playing Mozart's A Major Violin concerto. Currently, NJ is looking to pursue a career in Physical Therapy, but hopes to keep music a core part of their life.
Isaac Rojas is a violinist from Rome, NY originally from the New England coast in Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from The New York State University at Fredonia having studied violin with Amanda Brin, Maureen Yuen, and Jessica Tong. Performing with the College Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra at SUNY Fredonia he has also performed in various settings including pit orchestra’s in musicals and operas, chamber ensembles, and as a soloist. Isaac is currently director of orchestras at elementary schools in the Rome City School District. He currently holds his own private studio in the CNY region where he has worked with students of various ages and abilities and continues to expand his influence in the area.
Essena Setaro enjoys a varied career as an orchestral musician, chamber musician, and educator. She currently performs as a violinist with Buffalo Philharmonic, Symphoria, Chautauqua, Canton, and Akron Symphonies and has been a member of the Greenville, Asheville, Augusta, and Charleston Symphonies. She often served as Acting Associate Concertmaster and Acting Principal Second of the Hilton Head Symphony, was Senior Associate Concertmaster of the SC Philharmonic for 4 seasons, and has also served as Guest Concertmaster of several ensembles. Recently she recorded Alexander Scriabin’s Symphony No. 2, and Kodály's Symphony No. 1 and Háry János Suite with the Buffalo Philharmonic for the Naxos label. Festival appearances include full fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center and in 2010, Setaro was chosen to serve as Associate Concertmaster of the Castleton Festival Orchestra under the baton of renowned conductor Lorin Maazel. Setaro earned her B.M. from SUNY Fredonia and both her M.M. and D.M.A. in Violin Performance from USC. Major teachers include Dr. William Terwilliger, Dr. David Rudge, Alan Ross, Dr. Cornelius Duffalo, David Russell, and members of the Guarneri Quartet. Setaro is an avid performer of new music, especially works inspired by folk music from around the world including East European fiddle, Roma (Gypsy) music, and Klezmer. After writing her dissertation Solo Violin Works Influenced by Romanian Lăutari Music she designed and performed several multimedia recitals based on her research.
Andrea Velasquez is a violinist who grew up in White Plains, NY, and later moved to Wappingers Falls, NY where her passion for music really took off. She spent 12 years making music with the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley, participating in their orchestra program, fiddle program, and summer camps as a student, and has now been teaching in the organization since 2018. She is currently the director of the Mulberry fiddle group, assistant orchestra director of the Mazurka Orchestra, and teaches private lessons with the Stringendo program.
Andrea received her Bachelor's and Master of Music Education from The State University of New York at Fredonia, where she performed with the Fredonia's College Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Carousel Jazz strings, the Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Tier Symphony Orchestra, and her string quartet, The Sirens. After graduating from Fredonia, she taught in the Arlington Central School District as a leave replacement for orchestra director Elizabeth Handman at Arlington High School. During this time, she also continued to perform with local ensembles including the Woodstock Symphony, Northern Dutchess Symphony, and the Greater Newburgh Symphony. Since 2018, Andrea has been the full-time orchestra teacher at Fox Lane Middle School in Bedford, NY.
Elizabeth Handman is currently one of the Arlington High School’s Award Winning Orchestra Program directors. She is a member of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra (1996-present) and Principal Violist of the Woodstock Symphony Orchestra (2018-present). Elizabeth free-lances with many orchestras in the Tri-State area including the Hudson Festival Orchestra, Concerts in The Village Orchestra in Kinderhook, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra in CT, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Turtle Creek Chorale Orchestra and Collegiate Chorale Orchestra both performing in Carnegie Hall. Elizabeth guest conducted at Ithaca College’s Summer Music Academy, Intermediate Division 2021 and is on faculty of Stringendo’s Summer Strings Camp since 1998 and on faculty of The Elisabeth Morrow Summer Strings Festival in Tenafly, NJ since 1999. She also conducted Stringendo’s Chaconne Orchestra from 2007-18. Elizabeth taught with Roberta Guaspari for 6 years at Opus 118’s East Harlem Violin program in NYC on which the movie “Music of the Heart” was based. She was also on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division for 5 years (1995-2000). Her free-lance experience in NYC 1992-2002 included regularly playing with the American Ballet Theater Orchestra, City Opera Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra and with numerous Broadway shows.
Suzanne Morello, a Queens, New York City native, is a viola player who has a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and a Master of Music in Viola Performance from Arizona State University. She is also an accredited Suzuki violin and viola teacher.
Ms. Morello has taught both locally and internationally. She is currently the Director of Orchestras for grades 6 – 12 in Eastchester, New York. Before that she taught at Branksome Hall Asia, an all girls’ school on Jeju Island in South Korea. She joined the faculty at New Rochelle High School in August 2014 as the Director of Orchestras. From 2011 – 2014, she had been working as the Middle and High School String Orchestra teacher at the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) in Malaysia. Prior to her first move overseas, she taught for six years in the Brewster Central School District as Orchestral Director for grades 4 - 12. Her students have been members of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) All-State Orchestra, Westchester Area All-State and Intermediate All-County Orchestras. While teaching abroad, her students were accepted to major honor orchestras such as the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS), and she travelled both Asia and Europe for other musically enriching endeavors.
Ms. Morello has been actively involved in education and outreach, in particular as the viola instructor in the Music Advancement Program (MAP) at The Juilliard School. Having worked there from 2005 - 2011, the program and its teachers are committed to enriching the lives of inner city school children through private instruction on their performance instrument, supported by music theory and ensemble learning. Ms. Morello was a student in the program herself, and has been a major part of two stories about MAP on the nationally broadcast 60 Minutes news program. She was a participant and involved in the making of a documentary about MAP entitled, "Some Kind of Spark." Ms. Morello maintains an active musical lifestyle and is a member of the New York Session Symphony, performs in the pit orchestras for school productions, and locally in the Westchester community.
Kelly Ralston is an educator and violist from Peekskill, NY. Kelly studied viola with Debra Moree, Cassie Sulbarán, and Juliet White-Smith. She has performed under the batons of Keith Lockhart, Jeffrey Meyer, Carl St. Clair, and JoAnn Falletta. An avid new music enthusiast, Kelly enjoys collaborating with composers and premiering new works, most recently at New Music on the Point and the Brevard Music Center.
Kelly received her Bachelors of Music Education and Performance from Ithaca College and received her Masters in Music Education at New York University. She is the orchestra director at Pine Tree Elementary School in Monroe, NY, and teaches private violin and viola lessons with Stringendo.
Chris Santos began his cello studies at the age of five. Chris earned a Bachelor of Music in cello performance at Indiana University - Jacobs School of Music where he gave multiple recitals and played in numerous chamber groups. Orchestral performances include Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Hudson Festival Orchestra, and orchestras at both Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
As a soloist, Chris most recently won the Woodstock Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor on January 11, 2020. He also won the Hudson Valley Philharmonic’s 2016-17 Virtuoso In Progress Concerto Competition performing the third movement of Saint-Saens Cello Concerto in A Minor with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Major teachers include Peter Stumpf, Julia Lichten, Thomas Mesa, Julian Schwarz and Madeleine Golz.
Poughkeepsie native Cloë Shan teaches orchestra and fiddle club at Draper Middle School in Schenectady, NY. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, and is an alumna of the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley, where she returns to help teach and manage their Summer Strings program.
Cloë has also worked at SUNY Fredonia's Summer Music Festival, was a substitute cellist with the Woodstock Symphony Orchestra, and attended the 2018 Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy.
Emma Bailie has played bass for most of her life. In high school, she participated in Face the Music, a contemporary program where she played in jazz ensembles, chamber music, and in orchestra. Emma also went to Manhattan School of Music Pre-College for jazz and classical double bass. In the Hudson Valley, she has played with the Northern Dutchess Symphony.
Emma recently graduated from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied classical double bass with professor James Vandemark. Since moving back to Poughkeepsie, she has become a songwriter and bass player for a folk-punk rock band called Just Guys Being Dudes.
Buddy Griffith began his early musical studies on the violin and guitar, but then pursued electric and double bass. He went on to earn his B.M. in Music Education and B.M. Music Performance from SUNY Fredonia and his M.M. in Music Education from Boston University. He has studied bass with Harry Jacobson and Phil Helm. As an active bassist, Buddy frequently performs in local orchestras, musical productions, and various combos & chamber ensembles throughout the Hudson Valley. Apart from music and teaching, Buddy enjoys cycling, being outdoors, and spending time with his family. He currently teaches 5th-8th grade orchestra and directs the select string and rock ensembles at George Fischer Middle School in Carmel, NY.
Assistant Conductor Andrew Wolffking is originally from Southern California, where he grew up playing the piano and saxophone, and singing in school choirs. He developed a keen interest in orchestral conducting while earning his bachelor’s degree at the Chapman University Conservatory of Music, and decided to switch career paths upon graduation. He began studying with Chapman’s director of orchestras, Daniel Alfred Wachs, and working as a conductor for several regional youth orchestras. Andrew’s studies have taken him all around the world, allowing him to work with several renowned conductors and teachers, such as George Hurst at the Sherburne Summer School of Music in Dorset, England; Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival in San Jose, California; Benjamin Zander in London, England; Mark Gibson at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music; and Kenneth Kiesler at the Conductors Retreat at Medomak in Maine. He made his North American conducting debut in Maine with the Medomak Orchestra, and his international debut in Kyiv, Ukraine with the Lyatoshynsky Ensemble.
Andrew’s work as an opera conductor began when he was asked to return to Chapman to assist with a production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring. The following year, he began studying at the San Diego State University School of Music and Dance, where he was named the principal conductor of the SDSU Opera Program, and led productions of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Jacopo Peri’s Euridice, and Christoph Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.
Andrew holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Saxophone Performance & Music Education from the Chapman University Conservatory of Music, and an Artist Diploma in Orchestral Conducting from the San Diego State University School of Music and Dance where he studied with Prof. Michael Gerdes. He recently received a Master’s of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music while studying with Dr. David Rudge.