Dr. David A. McConnell founded Vox Philia in 2012 as an intergenerational chamber choir made up of professional and gifted amateur singers. The choir’s first three seasons focused almost exclusively on music by living composers, featuring over a dozen local and world premieres. The choir’s performances have garnered considerable acclaim for thematic programming and musical excellence.
In the summer of 2014, Dr. McConnell co-founded Berks Sinfonietta, a chamber orchestra that also utilizes an intergenerational approach, bringing professional Reading players together with gifted students in both high school and college.
Dr, McConnell teaches at both Penn State Berks and Alvernia University, both in Reading. He also serves as Director of Music at Grace Lutheran Church in Lancaster, and as Artistic Director of Voices Chorale NJ, based in Hopewell, NJ.
Dr. McConnell received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in December 2002. His teachers at Cincinnati included Earl Rivers, John Leman, Richard Westenberg, and Vance George. A native of Philadelphia, Dr. McConnell also holds degrees from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and Temple University in Philadelphia. He has attended the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians in Hancock, Maine, the South Carolina Conductor’s Institute in Columbia, South Carolina, and The Conductors Institute at Bard College. He has conducted in Portugal, The Netherlands, and Latvia, as well as throughout the northeastern United States.
Violinist Jennifer Sternick is an active and enthusiastic freelance musician. She performs professionally as a soloist and as a member of symphony orchestras, pit orchestras, chamber ensembles, and new music ensembles. Routinely holding leadership positions, Jennifer has been the Concertmaster of Berks Sinfonietta since its inception in 2014, has held the Concertmaster chair of the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra from 2012 until 2017, and was most recently named Concertmaster of the Washington Symphony Orchestra in 2019.
Jennifer’s passion for new music is evidenced in her role as founder, President, and violinist of Kamraton, a non-profit chamber music organization dedicated to women in new music, the arts, and in business. She greatly enjoys working with living composers, musicians, dancers, and other artists to design and realize concerts that make new music more accessible to the audience. In May 2019, Kamraton premiered the opera, Her Holiness, The Winter Dog, in which all musicians, in addition to their instrument responsibilities, supported acting roles on stage.
Originally from the outskirts of Mohnton, Pennsylvania, Jennifer grew up studying violin with Barbara Lanza. She then earned her bachelors in music and philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, summa cum laude, where she studied with Roger Zahab. Post-University, she studied with Huei-Sheng Kao of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Jennifer is the recipient of the Mildred Miller Posvar Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in Music and the Alfred D’Auberge Award for Excellence in Music Performance. When Jennifer is not making music, she is an avid cyclist, runner, and rock climber.