Stephen Schmidt has been a full-time violist with the Richmond Symphony since 1996, and is principal violist of the Williamsburg Sinfonia. He grew up outside of Philadelphia in Havertown, Pennsylvania and at the age of 14 started commuting to New York City on weekends to attend The Juilliard School’s Pre-College program. He went on to earn Pre-College, Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School and a Doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. His teachers have included Roberto Diaz, Paul Neubauer, Eugene Becker, Joseph DePasquale, and Paul Doktor, He has participated in many music festivals, including Tanglewood, Spoleto (Italy), Bowdoin Chamber Music Festival, Kinhaven, and the National Repertory Orchestra. Dr. Schmidt currently teaches viola at Virginia Commonwealth University and is the Director and Chairman of the Board of the Mary Anne Rennolds Chamber Concerts series. That series features both concerts and masterclasses by internationally renowned chamber groups and classical instrumentalists. He spent 15 summers teaching and performing at the Performing Arts Institute in Pennsylvania, where he was the coordinator of strings and was featured as a soloist with their orchestra many times. For the last few summers he has taught at the VCU/RSO Orchestra Project summer music program and has performed as a regular member of the Richmond Chamber Players in their August series of chamber music concerts. In 2012 he appeared in two scenes in Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln,” in one scene as concertmaster and in one scene as conductor. His wife Holly Rose is also a violist and violinist and has extensive long-term apprenticeship training in the Suzuki Method. Together they enjoy teaching all ages and ranges of young string players.
Molly Sharp, Principal Violist of the Richmond Symphony, teaches viola at Virginia Commonwealth University and is the violist of the Oberon String Quartet. Molly is the coordinator and coach for the Chamber Music Program of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program, and teaches at the Richmond Symphony/VCU summer music camp. Molly received a Bachelor’s Degree from Vanderbilt University/Blair School of Music, studying with Kathryn Plummer. She received her Master’s Degree in 1992 from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Heidi Castleman and apprenticed with the Cavanni Quartet. In addition to playing witht the Richmond Symphony, Molly has also been a member of the Nashville Symphony and the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra. Molly has played chamber music with many different groups and festivals, including the Chamber Music Festival of Central Virginia, Richmond Chamber Players, and the Fulbright Summer Chamber Music Series. Most recently Molly performed on a recital at the International Double Reed Convention, and was a soloist in 2012 with the Richmond Philharmonic, performing Berlioz’s Harold in Italy. The 2013 season includes a performance of Vaughn-Williams Flos Campi with the Richmond Symphony. In addition to playing the viola, Molly plays fiddle and sings with the Trevillian Ramblers.