Alice Layman, accompanist
Alice Layman has served as accompanist for the Virginia Consort since its founding in 1990. Mrs. Layman received a B.A. degree in Organ Performance from Hollins College (now Hollins University), Roanoke, VA, and a Masters of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Mrs. Layman has served as organist and choir director at Episcopal churches in Charlottesville since 1977, most recently Christ Episcopal Church since 2012. Since moving to Charlottesville in 1977, Mrs. Layman has accompanied various choral groups (Oratorio, District Choirs, All-State Choir), instrument and voice studio recitals, soloists for competitions, community theater musicals, and UVA music theater productions, and she taught music at the Lower School of St. Anne’s-Belfield School for 19 years.
Ben Griffin, accompanist
Ben Griffin began accompanying the First Step and Prelude Choirs in Fall 2013. He serves as the chorus accompanist at Albemarle High School, where he also teaches class piano, and he is on staff at Church of Our Saviour as an organist and the adult choir accompanist. Ben received his Bachelor and Master of Church Music degrees from Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 2004 and 2008, respectively, with voice being his primary instrument. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, part of Baylor University. Ben is frequently involved in school and community musical theater productions in the Charlottesville area, as both pianist and music director, is an active vocal and instrumental accompanist, and also sings in the Virginia Consort. Prior to moving to Charlottesville in 2012, he served as pianist and organist at various churches in Waco and Central Texas.
Daniel Sender enjoys a diverse musical career and has appeared in concerts throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and China. A frequent guest principal artist with chamber and symphony orchestras throughout the region, Dr. Sender has served as concertmaster of the Charlottesville Symphony, Ash Lawn Opera and co-concertmaster of the Virginia Sinfonietta.
Dr. Sender was a Fulbright Scholar in Budapest and attended the Franz Liszt Academy of Music as a student of Vilmos Szabadi. He was formerly the first violinist of the Adelphi String Quartet, which held a fellowship residency at the University of Maryland, and was for four years the violinist of the Annapolis Chamber Players. Dr. Sender has recorded for the Centaur, Sono Luminus and various independent labels.
Named a Presser Scholar by the Theodore Presser Foundation, Mr. Sender has received numerous grants and awards that funded research and performances throughout Europe. He is on the performance faculty of the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music and also holds a faculty position at Interlochen’s Adult Chamber Music Camp.
As a chamber musician, Dr. Sender has had the pleasure of performing with members of the Audubon Quartet, Axelrod and Left Bank quartets and spent two years working intensively under the mentorship of the Guarneri Quartet. Chamber concerts have taken him to venues around the world including the Kennedy Center, Hungarian Embassy, Bartók Hall of the Erdödy Palace (Budapest), Smithsonian Museum of American History, Universität der Kunste (Berlin) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal).
A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Sender attended Ithaca College, the University of Maryland, the Liszt Academy (Budapest) and the Institute for European Studies (Vienna). His primary teachers include Vilmos Szabadi, Arnold Steinhardt, David Salness, René Staar, and Gerald Fischbach