Identical twin brothers Michael and Matthew Polonchak began playing violin they were five years old. By age six, they were playing with the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program, and when they were eight, had reached the high-school level orchestra -- then the youngest in that program’s 30 year history. Shortly after, they began playing weddings and recitals with their father, Richard Polonchak and the Two Rivers Trio was born. This “Father & Son(s) trio” has been delighting audiences ever since -- praised for their innovative instrumentation (two violins and a bassoon) and their uncanny togetherness as an ensemble. Together, they have performed full recitals as visiting artists at Shepherd University, Duquesne University and the Episcopal High School in Washington D.C., have been heard on West Virginia and Maryland Public Radio, and have performed at hundreds of weddings and other special events in the Washington D.C. Metro area.
Michael and Matthew Polonchak are active musicians in the Washington D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia areas. Matthew was a full Linehan Scholar for Music at UMBC where he studied recording arts with Alan Wonneberger and Viola with Maria Lambrose. He received a B.A. in Music and Recording Arts and later received a full scholarship to pursue a Masters Degree in Music Performance at the University of Delaware. In addition to performing with a wide variety of ensembles and artists, he provides classical audio and video recording services for many of the best performers, teaching studios and orchestras in the region.
Michael earned a B.A. in Music Performance from Goucher College, where he is currently a professor of Viola and Chamber Music. He is the former principle Viola of the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, is a member of the Fairfax Symphony and Tysons-McLean Orchestra, and has performed with many of the region’s finest ensembles including the Washington Concert Opera, the Cathedral Choral Society and The American Pops. In addition, he has had the privilege of performing in the orchestras of such notable artists as Josh Groban, Evanescence, Cage The Elephant, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra.
Richard Polonchak is the former Principal Bassoonist of The United States Marine Band, “The President’s Own” and The White House Orchestra in Washington, DC and is currently the Applied Professor of Bassoon at Shepherd University in WV where he performs regularly with Shepherd Three Faculty Wind Trio. He authored “The Primary Handbook for Bassoon”, which is published by Hal Leonard and used in educational institutions throughout the world.
Meet our family of musicians
Tommy Atkinson - Violin
Tommy is an active performer and teacher in the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas. He currently serves as the Assistant Concertmaster of the Loudoun Symphony and is a violinist in the Apollo Orchestra, based in Bethesda, MD. Previously, Tommy has played in orchestras such as the Trinity Chamber Orchestra, Opera Camerata of Washington, DC, and the Bermuda Philharmonic. He earned a Bachelor of Music from Shenandoah University and a Master of Music from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Lauren Weaver - Cello
Lauren earned a M.M. in cello performance from Mannes College of Music, and a B.M. from Manhattan School of Music as a student of David Soyer. She has been a member of the New York Symphonic Ensemble since 2008, and has been on seven tours of Japan with the group. Lauren has performed in North America, Europe, and Asia, and has played in many of New York’s most famous venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Steinway Hall. She made her solo debut at age 17 with the Lancaster Festival Orchestra. Lauren has performed with many notable artists, including Sigur Ros, Michael Buble, Boyz II Men, and for the grammy-nominated “Nine Types of Light” by TV on the Radio. She has been with Two Rivers Chamber Music since its founding in 2013.
For private cello lessons with Lauren, please visit: www.weavercellostudio.com
Rebecca Dreyman - Violin
Rebecca Dreyman is a violinist and educator in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas. She is currently an elementary orchestra teacher for Howard County Public Schools and serves as co-director of Howard County’s Middle School Honors Orchestra. Rebecca is pursuing a Masters in Music Education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and holds a Bachelors in Music Education from University of Maryland College Park, where she studied violin with Dr. James Stern. Rebecca has enjoyed performing with Two Rivers Chamber Music since 2014.
Alexander Kang - Cello
Alexander Kang regularly performs with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Alex has performed with numerous leading institutions around the country, including the Pacific Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Redlands Symphony, New England Conservatory Symphony and the National Orchestra Institute where he served as a principal cellist under the direction of Matthias Pintscher. He has earned awards in competitions such as the Grand Prize for the Orange County School of Arts Concerto Competition and Grand Prize for the ASTA National Solo Competition in the greater Los Angeles area. Mr. Kang earned a Bachelor of Music at the New England Conservatory and his Masters of Cello Performance at the University of Redlands.
Kristin Bakkegard - Violin
Kristin Bakkegard is an active violinist and teacher in the greater Washington D.C. area. She is Associate Principal 2nd Violin of the Annapolis Symphony, and regularly performs with many other groups in the region, including the Richmond Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, National Philharmonic, Maryland Symphony, and Fairfax Symphony. Kristin has performed as soloist with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Montgomery College Orchestra. She has appeared on multiple NPR Tiny Desk concerts: one with the British band alt-J, another with Billy Corgan (the lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins), and most recently with singer Meg Myers. Kristin received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Violin Performance from Ithaca College and the University of Maryland – College Park, respectively.
Paul Bagley - Violin and Viola
Dr. Paul Bagley is a teacher and freelance violinist/violist in the Annapolis and greater D.C. area. He received his doctorate from the University of Maryland, and his Master's from the University of Wisconsin, both in violin performance. Paul plays regularly with a wide variety of groups, including the Annapolis, Alexandria, and Fairfax Symphonies and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and has also performed with the Richmond Symphony, Virginia Opera, and Washington Concert Opera. An avid chamber musician, Paul can often be seen performing in chamber recitals around the area. He has been featured as guest soloist twice with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra in Duluth, MN, and several times with the Montgomery College Orchestra in Rockville, MD. He has also appeared on three of NPR's Tiny Desk concerts, playing violin with British band Alt-J and viola with vocalists Billy Corgan and Meg Myers.
Jie Kim - Violin and Viola
Dr. Jie Kim is an active violinist and teacher in the Washington, DC area. She earned a D.M.A in Violin Performance from the Catholic University of America, and M.A from the Queens College, CUNY as a student of Daniel Phillips, a renowned violinist of the Orion Quartet. She currently serves as the Second Principal of the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra and the Concertmaster of the National String Symphonia. Jie was invited to play with the NOVA Philharmonic, Queensboro Symphony, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and the Charles Washington Symphony as a soloist. She was granted a full fellowship to participate in the AIMS festival in Graz, Austria, Virginia's Blue Ridge Music Festival, and she has been selected to perform in the Castleton Music Festival Orchestra, a significant honor, as the orchestra is hand-selected and directed by Maestro Lorin Maazel.
Sarah Pohl Castrillon - Violin and Viola
Sarah Pohl Castrillon is both a performer and educator in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park and earned a Bachelor's of Music Education degree, studying violin with Dr. James Stern, and a Master's degree in Viola Performance, studying with Daniel Foster. Currently she teaches Orchestra in Howard County and is the Co-Director for the Howard County Elementary GT Orchestra. In addition, she is a freelance musician and performs regularly with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and the Tyson’s McLean Orchestra.
Neil Brown - Trumpet
Neil enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, educator, composer, arranger, and band leader. Currently a member of the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Apollo Orchestra, Opera Camerata, Trio Illumino, and Two Rivers Chamber Ensemble, Neil is frequently heard playing with many Washington D.C. area ensembles including the National Philharmonic, Maryland Symphony, and New Orchestra of Washington. He is also the founder, principal composer, and trumpeter for the classical, jazz and rock influenced group Phonic Wrinkle.
Originally from Guilford, Connecticut, Neil earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Maryland and was a member of the United States Navy Band in Washington D.C. from 2009-2013.