Meet the Directors

CCYO Director, Dr. Osman Kivrak

Osman Kivrak received his Bachelor of Music degree from Gazi University in Turkey and studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London, before coming to the United States to continue his studies. He received a Master of Music and Doctorate of Music degree from the Catholic University of America.  He was a winner of the National Scholarship Competition in Turkey, the Baltimore Chamber Music Awards, the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards, the Culver (California) Chamber Music Competition and of three Maryland National Parks and Planning Commission Awards.

Dr. Kivrak has performed at the Spoleto Festival in the USA and Italy and has toured Europe a number of times as a chamber music player. His compositions have been performed in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress and throughout the United States and in Turkey. He orchestrated and conducted the theme music for National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation program. He is currently Principal Viola of the Virginia Chamber Orchestra. 

Formerly a professor at the Izmir State Conservatory in Turkey, Dr. Kivrak currently teaches viola and chamber music at American University where he is Musician in Residence and where he was a recipient of two teaching awards in 2019. 

Dr. Kivrak performs with the Sunrise Quartet and the National Gallery of Art String Quartet. Recently, the Quartet performed to great acclaim  at the Musica Sacra festival in Ecuador. The Quartet has performed with noted pianists Menahem Pressler and Miceal O’Rourke, and with guitarist Roland Dyens and has recorded for the Living Music, Arizona University Recordings, Amcam and AmeriMusic labels.  A collection of Christmas music, which they edited, has been published under the imprint of G. Schirmer, Inc.  West Virginia Public Television and Chinese National Television have also featured the Sunrise Quartet in a one-hour TV show “A Musical Bridge to China”.  Performances by the Quartet have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”, “What Makes it Great” and “Front Row Washington”. 

Encore Strings Director, Dr. Krisztina Der

Hailed by the Washington Post as a musician with “...a clean, full-bodied tone and fleet fingers,” Dr. Krisztina Dér has performed and studied internationally, earning her doctoral degree in flute performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. The first-prize winner of the 2017 RAFA Artist and 2009 FSW flute competitions, she has been a member of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, the Greensboro Opera Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Academy Alumni Orchestra, and others—including the Charles County Youth Orchestra, where, in middle school, she was the first wind player invited to play with the CCYO under the direction of Dr. Roy Jenkins. Her “bold and compelling” flute/light project (Classical Voice of North Carolina) feature concerts that integrate music and light, with invitations including Light City Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Liberty University. As a pedagogue and ensemble director, Dr. Dér believes strongly in nurturing her students’ curiosity to excite them about learning. Formerly a Lecturer of Music at Guilford College and UNCSA Community Music School, she currently teaches general music in Anne Arundel County public schools.

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Encore Band Director, Takako Mato

Takako Mato received her Bachelor of Music from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and her Master's in Music from Temple University, both in Clarinet Performance. In addition, she earned a Master's in Teaching from St. Mary's College of Maryland. She maintains a private studio in addition to her teaching duties in Charles County Public Schools and the College of Southern Maryland.

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Prelude Strings Director, Laura Ellison

Laura earned both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she studied with Robert Gerle. She also studied abroad with Denes Zsigmondy at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. She has performed in orchestras throughout the Washington D.C. metropolitan area including Annapolis Symphony, Alexandria Symphony, Maryland Symphony, National Chamber (Philharmonic) Orchestra, National Gallery of Art Orchestra, Salisbury Symphony Orchestra (as concertmaster), and the Mid-Atlantic Symphony (as assistant concertmaster). She performed in Carnegie Hall with the Annapolis Chamber Symphony. She has been a member of the International Orchestra in San Diego, CA and the Tijuana Orchestra in Mexico. As a member of the Catholic University Symphony, she twice met Pope John Paul II during performances at the Vatican in Rome. Laura is also an educator and has taught on the University level as well as in public and private schools. She has held positions with Salisbury University as an instructor of violin/viola, chamber music, and string pedagogy. She taught for the Alexandria City Schools as the orchestra director for TC Williams High School, Minnie Howard School, George Washington Middle School, and Alexandria All-City and Sinfonia orchestras. Her orchestras consistently received superior ratings at the county and state festivals. She has also taught for the Prince Georges County Schools and held positions with Kenmore Middle School, Benjamin Tasker Middle School, Robert Goddard Middle School, and Greenbelt Middle School. Currently she is the private violin and viola instructor for Suitland High School Visual and Performing Arts program.

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Charles County Youth Orchestra's bylaws can be read here

Charles County Youth Orchestra


“This program, Charles County Youth Orchestra, is sponsored in part by a grant from the Charles County Arts Alliance and

Maryland State Arts Council.”

© 2023 by Anna Bonney

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