Violinist Ruotao Mao is an active soloist, chamber musician while holding numerous concertmaster posts in the tri-state area. His playing was described by The Classical New Jersey as "virtuoso display of world-class magnitude." and "The level of playing has reached far beyond mere technical competence." A native of Beijing, China, Mr. Mao graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with “distinction in performance” award. He earned his Master Degree in Music from the Mason Gross School of the Arts where he studied under violinist Arnold Sternhardt of the Guarneri String Quartet. He also studied with Dorothy Delay, Paul Kantor and Masuko Ushioda. As a chamber musician, he is one of the founding members of the former Beijing Piano Quartet, winner of “Artists International Chamber Music Series” with appearances in Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center and also the highly acclaimed Amabile String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Rutgers University(2000 and 2001). As a soloist, he appeared with orchestras such as the Jupiter Symphony, NEC Symphony, Corelliard Chamber Orchestra, the Brunswick Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Symphonia, Edison Symphony, the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Bay-Atlantic Symphony, Arcadian Symphony Orchestra and Rutgers University Orchestra among many others. In 2004, Mr. Mao premiered a violin concerto by Ernie Stires in Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. He had performance tours in Korea and Colombia, South America. He performed on WNYC, WETS and WDVR-FM broadcasts and is a recording artist for the CRI and Beijing Broadcast Labels. Mr. Mao also serves as the concertmaster of the Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Riverside Symphonia, the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and most recently, the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra. Mr. Mao has taught violin and chamber music at The College of New Jersey and Princeton University.
Hailed as “a strong violinist” by the New York Times, violinist Jorge Ávila has appeared as a soloist, recitalist, concertmaster and chamber musician in Europe, the United States, and Central and South America, including as a soloist and co-concertmaster with the Bay Atlantic Symphony.
He made his Carnegie Hall concerto debut in 2012 with the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) Orchestra and performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra the previous year.
In the New York City area, he has also appeared as a soloist with the Colonial Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Orchestra, Hofstra Symphony, New Amsterdam Symphony, City Island Chamber Orchestra, and The Bronx Arts Ensemble.
As a concertmaster, he has appeared, in addition to the Bay Atlantic Symphony, with the Stamford Symphony, Greenwich Symphony, Colonial Symphony Orchestra, Westfield Symphony, Oratorio Society, Musica Sacra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, St. Grace Church Orchestra, Gotham Opera, National Chorale, Verismo Opera, José Limón Dance Company, Sonos Chamber Orchestra, Bachanalia, the New Amsterdam Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Mannes College of Music Orchestra . He is also concertmaster of the Ridgefield Symphony in Connecticut, Long Island Masterworks, Distinguished Concerts International New York, and the Patrick’s Cathedral Orchestra, among other groups in New York City. During the visit to New York of Pope Benedict XVI to New York in 2008, Ávila had the honor of appearing as concertmaster for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI at a televised Mass held at Yankee Stadium.
Ávila is a founding member of the Chalfonte Quartet and, as a chamber musician, performs with the Bronx Arts Ensemble, Simon String Quartet, Abaca String Band, Willow Ensemble, Prism Ensemble, Musicians’ Accord, and the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble.
He made his solo Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall in 2009, in a recital featuring music from his CD of Spanish sonatas for violin and piano on the Centaur label.
Ávila has also performed in several Broadway productions, including the onstage violinist in The Music Man, and in the orchestras of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Aida, Annie Get Your Gun, The Producers, and, most recently, South Pacific, West Side Story, and Wicked.
He has recorded for the Naxos, Nonesuch, and Centaur labels, among others, and has performed live on television and radio.
Born in Honduras, Ávila has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors and received his resident status in the United States under the “Extraordinary Talent” category. He was also awarded first prize in the 2001 Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Competition.
Nancy Jan is the Associate Concertmaster of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony since 2000. She is an active chamber and orchestral musician in the South Jersey and Greater Philadelphia Area. With a Bachelor and Masters of Music Degree from the Juilliard School, she has performed in the Reading Symphony, the Harrisburg Symphony, the Delaware Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia First Edition, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Philly Pops, and Riverside Symphony. Nancy is currently a full-time string teacher at Winslow Township Schools 5 & 6. Many of her students have been accepted into the Rowan Youth Orchestra, the All State Youth Orchestra, the All South Jersey Youth Orchestra, the Philadelphia Youth Sinfonia, and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.
Recently, she had the opportunity to tour in China with the Philadelphia Festival Orchestra under the direction of Jed Gaylin during the 2016-2017 New Year Holiday Season.
Thomas Jackson, who was born in Chicago, has lived most of his life in the Philadelphia area.
He began his study of violin at age 10 and, upon graduation from Cheltenham High School, continued his studies at The New School of Music, where he studied violin with Yumi Ninomiya Scott and Herbert Light, of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
When not playing in the Bay Atlantic Symphony, he plays in the Delaware and Kennett symphonies, plus the Ama Deus ensemble, which occasionally employs period instruments.
Since 2003, he has been a member of the Copeland String Quartet, which comprises members of the Delaware Symphony, and concertizes mainly in the Wilmington area.
He is on the faculty of the University of Valley Forge, where he has been teaching since 2002
This year marks his 32nd year with the Bay Atlantic Symphony.
Amanda Hockenberger, violinist, graduated with a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, in violin performance from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. She went on to earn a Master of Music degree in violin performance from Ithaca College. While in college, her principal teachers were Katie Lansdale and Susan Waterbury. Ms. Hockenberger is a registered Suzuki violin teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas having taken long term pedagogy training for books 1-4 with Teri Einfeldt at the Hartt School of Music and additional teacher training at the Ithaca College Summer Suzuki Institute with Linda Case. As a teacher she has taught at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia and Friends School of Mullica Hill. She currently has a home studio of both Suzuki and traditional violin students. As a violinist, Ms. Hockenberger does regular freelance work in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has been performing with the Bay-Atlantic Symphony since 2005.
Marco earned his Artist’s Violin Diploma from Conservatorio Arrigo Boito in Parma, Italy. After coming to the United States, he earned his Master’s Degree in violin performance from the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University. While in Italy, Marco was a member of the Arcangelo Corelli Chamber Orchestra for many years. He is currently a member of the Riverside Symphonia, and the Bay Atlantic Symphony and has also performed with the Capital Philharmonic, Symphony in C, Delaware symphony, and many other local groups. Currently he is the string director in the Lumberton Public Schools, and previously he was the string director at Moorestown Friends School, where he ran a Suzuki in the schools program for 10 years. He is a registered Suzuki teacher and teaches privately in the Cherry Hill Area. Marco has studied with Hirono Oka, Lenuta Ciulei, Enzo Porta, and Grazia Serradimigni.
Mary Greening has performed with the Savannah Symphony, the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Delaware Symphony and Harrisburg Symphony, as well as numerous smaller ensembles. She is currently the orchestra director at Glassboro High School and Glassboro Intermediate School. In addition, she is in charge of the Glassboro Fine and Performing Arts Academy, in which students from throughout South Jersey attend Glassboro schools and take courses at Rowan University. She is the proud mother of three, and grandmother of two.