Greenwich Symphony Violinists

Violin Section

Ruotao Mao, violin
Ruotao Mao
Guest Concertmaster  – Walter Charles and Daisy O. Blum Memorial Chair

Violinist Ruotao Mao is an active soloist and chamber musician while holding numerous concertmaster posts in the tri-state area. His playing was described by The Classical New Jersey as a "virtuoso display of world-class magnitude . . . 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 a “distinction in performance” award. He earned his Master's 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 Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and also the highly acclaimed Amabile String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Rutgers University (2000-2002). As a concerto 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 Two Rivers Chamber Orchesta 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, China 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 serves as the concertmaster of the Riverside Symphonia, the Bay-Atlantic Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic  and the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra. Mr. Mao has taught violin and chamber music at The Lawrenceville School, The College of New Jersey and Princeton University.

Susan Hytken Metcalf, Assistant Concertmaster


Susan Hytken Metcalf, Assistant Concertmaster  
– Lillian Butler Davey Foundation Chair

Susan Hytken Metcalf has been with the orchestra since 1993 and enjoys a distinguished and varied career as chamber musician, orchestral violinist, and teacher. She appears regularly as a member of the Chamber Players of the GSO, and as Concertmaster of the Jackson Heights Orchestra in Queens. Susan has taught violin and chamber ensembles at the Spence School in New York City since 1994. She plays on an instrument made by William E. Hill and Sons, London, 1900. She holds degrees from the Mannes College of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and she is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Ellen Lucas, Principal Second Violin


Ellen Lucas, Principal Second Violin  
– Mary Ellen King Memorial Chair
Ellen Lucas is a violinist and music educator based on Long Island. Other performance credits include the Delaware Symphony and the Lake Placid Sinfonietta. As an educator, Ms. Lucas has served on the faculties of the Queens College Preparatory School of Music and Friends Academy in Locust Valley, NY. Currently, she is the orchestra director at H.B. Mattlin School. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Lucas mentors developing K-12 orchestra teachers, coaches students for New York State Music Association competitions, and adjudicates auditions for the Nassau Music Educators Association and the Long Island String Festival.

Christine Doney, Assistant Principal Second Violin


Christine Doney,  Assistant Principal Second Violin  
– The Edith and Herbert Lehman Foundation Chair
Christine Doney joined the Greenwich Philharmonia in 1968 at the invitation of John Nelson, conductor, and was awarded the orchestra scholarship while a senior at Greenwich High School. She attended the Preparatory Division of the Juilliard School of Music, studying with Christine Dethier and Dorothy Delay and later studied with Charles Libove and Lamar Alsop at SUNY Potsdam. During her time at Juilliard, she also learned the viola and has continued playing over the years. Ms. Doney currently plays with the Ridgefield Symphony as well as a number of area chamber ensembles and string quartets. She has played with the Camerata Chamber Players, the Stamford, Norwalk, Waterbury, and Wallingford Symphonies, Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra, and the Bermuda Philharmonic. It was at a Greenwich Symphony rehearsal in 1975 that she met her late husband Christopher, who played second trumpet with the Greenwich Symphony for 43 years until his passing in 2018. Ms. Doney currently lives in Norwalk, CT.

Melanie Baker

Melanie Baker has performed in many venues in New York and beyond, playing chamber music, with symphony orchestras, and in recitals. She has played over the years with the Greenwich Symphony, Queens Symphony, Bronx Arts Ensemble, and American Symphony, to name a few, and in many Broadway shows. She is a graduate of the Hartt School and the Manhattan School of Music.


James Burnham, Violin

James Burnham is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Raphael Bronstein. Burnham has held principal positions in several American symphony orchestras and performed for many years with the Metropolitan Opera. He was a long-time chamber music teacher at Greenwood Music Camp in Massachusetts and also taught as a Visting Professor of Violin at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He and his wife, Lesley Heller, produced an album for The Musical Heritage Society entitled The Heller-Burnham Violin Duo, which is currently available at most online venues.

Beulah Cox, Violin

Beulah Cox is the founding member of The Ambrosia Trio, a piano trio under professional management for over 25 years. Ms. Cox has appeared as soloist with several ensembles in New York as well as the Festival Saint Louis en L’lle in Paris and St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. As an orchestral musician, she has performed with many orchestras, chamber groups, and opera companies in the tri-state area such as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and New Jersey Symphony as well as on Broadway. Recordings include a wide variety such as piano trios, choral works, baroque sonatas and rock music. Her teachers and coaches include Ani Kavafian, Hamao Fujiwara, Joyce Robbins, and Joseph Fuchs. Currently, Ms. Cox teaches in New Jersey Public Schools as well as maintaining a private studio in NYC while still performing actively.

Hector FalconHéctor Falcón has won numerous awards and competitions both in the United States and Puerto Rico, including first prize in the Sam Levenson Violin Competition and the R. J. Reynolds Career Grant award. He began his violin studies with Jose Figueroa, a member of Puerto Rico’s most prestigious family of musicians, and with Jaime Medina, a member of the Orquesta Sinfónica of Puerto Rico. Falcón has been a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra since 2000, and he regularly plays with the New York City Ballet, Opera Orchestra of New York, American Symphony Orchestra and Houston Symphony Orchestra. At Juilliard, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he studied with Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang and Masao Kawasaki.

Alla Sherbakov, Violin

Alla Sherbakov received her Master’s degree in Music from Gnessin Institute (currently Russian Academy of Music) in Moscow. In 1990, she immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Riverdale, NY with her family. Ms. Sherbakov continues her music career as a chamber and orchestral music performer in the Tristate area. She appeared as a guest on a Saturday Night Live Show in 2014. She has participated in music festivals including Prague Spring in Czech Republic, Francesco Masciangelo in Lanciano, Italy and Opus Berkshire in Massachusetts. She has toured in Russia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Japan and has been a Greenwich Symphony Orchestra member since 1992.

Laura Smith, Violin

Laura Smith, a graduate of the Juilliard School and Mannes College of Music, has performed with the GSO for over 30 years. She is a tenured member of Symphoria in Syracuse, NY. Her performance credentials include concerto engagements with the New Philharmonic of New Jersey, The Naumburg Festival Orchestra, and The Rockland and North Jersey Symphonies. She has been Concertmaster for multiple orchestras including The Jupiter Symphony, The Julius Grossman Chamber Orchestra, and Opera Northeast. Laura performs regularly with Voices of Ascension, American Composers Orchestra, and Glimmerglass Opera. Her Broadway performances include  Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, West Side Story, The Boy From Oz, (with Hugh Jackman) and Gypsy, (with Patti LuPone). Her background in music education includes 15 years of coaching with the InterSchool Orchestras of New York and performing/teaching at the Kinhaven Music School and Summertrios. She is currently on the music faculty at the Allen-Stevenson School in NYC, and is launching a sponsor program with The Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts to bring string instrument instruction to under privileged children in the Mohawk Valley. Ms. Smith also has a Master’s degree in Voice, and is a certified Yoga Therapy and Chair Yoga teacher.

Leonardo Suarez Paz, Violin

Leonardo Suarez Paz made his debut singing at the age of 6 and as a violinist at the age of 14. A graduate of the Conservatorio Superior de Música Manuel de Falla and a violin student of Miguel Angel Bertero, Leonardo became the youngest member of the Orquesta Estable of the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires at age 16. He recorded on Grammy-winning albums with Placido Domingo, Carlos Franzetti, Ruben Blades and Luis Miguel, accompanied Alfredo Kraus, Aaron Rosand, Andrea Bocceli, was the soloist for Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentino, New York City Opera and the concertmaster for Savion Glover’s Classical Savion. Leonardo toured as a soloist with Mariano Mores, Horacio Salgan, Atilio Stampone, Osvaldo Berlingieri, Nestor Marconi, Osvaldo Requena, Tangox2, Perfumes de Tango. He starred in Tango Argentino and Forever Tango on Broadway. Mentored by the renowned composer Astor Piazzolla, Leonardo directs, composes, arranges and choreographs for multiple productions and projects including Cuartetango string quartet, Piazzolla 100, violin soloist Augustine Hadelich, Neave Trio and the JALC Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Leonardo is a Latin Grammy Award nominee with releases on EMI Classics (L’Atelier) and Azica (Masters of Bandoneon, Escualo), on PBS at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Spoleto and Umbria Jazz Festivals in Italy.

Carailiene Westbrook, Violin

Caralliene Westbrook has been a member of the orchestra for over 50 years. She grew up in Greenwich and learned to play the violin in the Greenwich Public Schools. She recently retired from working for the Greenwich Public Schools as an elementary school teacher and most recently as a special education clerk. She's also active in the First Congregational Church adult and bell choirs and plays trombone with the Sound Beach Fire Department Band.


Chie YoshinkaChié Yoshinaka has been performing and teaching worldwide. Her recent highlight includes a concerto appearance with ABS-CBN Philharmonic in the Philippines, and masterclasses at Fine Arts and Music in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and New York University where she studied with Peter Winograd and Neil Weintrob. Chié has been performing regularly at the Twilight Recital series at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Riverside. Since 2015, she has been a part of Petite Concerts, sharing music with the youngest of listeners at Greenwich Library.