Elizabeth founded Chesapeake Strings upon her graduation from the University of Maryland in 2010, wanting to create a friendly, talented, and organized wedding ensemble. She is a tenured member of the Richmond Symphony and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. Mrs. Gopal also regularly performs with the Baltimore Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony, and the Delaware Symphony. She completed her Bachelor of Music at Rice University in 2008 (studying with Karen Ritscher and James Dunham) and her Master of Music at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2010 (with Daniel Foster). In past summers, Elizabeth has participated in the National Orchestral Institute, Spoleto USA, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.
Elizabeth's favorite song on our repertoire list is "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It is just so upbeat, cheery, and sweet! Her other favorite is "Appalachia Waltz."
Justin has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist throughout North America, Europe and Asia. A native of Canada, he is currently a tenured member of the Richmond Symphony and formerly played with the Annapolis and Lancaster Symphonies. He has also substituted with the National Philharmonic, the Harrisburg Symphony, the Binghamton Philharmonic (NY), and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur. Justin graduated from the University of Maryland in 2009 with a Master's degree under the tutelage of Elisabeth Adkins, Associate Concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra. Previously he studied with Kathleen Winkler at Rice University under a Shepherd School of Music merit scholarship. Justin has participated in various music festivals and competitions which have led to appearances in the national finals of the Canadian Music Competition, as well as his solo debut performance with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has worked with members of the Guarneri, Kronos, and Audubon Quartets, and has also performed under the batons of Larry Rachleff, Michael Stern, JoAnn Falletta and Itzhak Perlman.
Justin's favorite song on our repertoire list is "Appalachia Waltz" by Mark O'Connor. Chesapeake Strings members played this for his and Elizabeth's own wedding processional!
Originally from West Texas, Devree Lewis now performs throughout the D.C. Metro area. Devree regularly appears as soloist with the Pan American Symphony Orchestra at D.C. venues including the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Terrace Theater, and Lisner Auditorium. In recent years PASO has featured Devree at other venues including the Embassy of Argentina, Presidential Palace in Lima, Peru, and at the Al Bustan Music Festival in Beirut, Lebanon. As a freelance cellist, Devree performs regularly with New Orchestra of Washington, Annapolis Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, Apollo Orchestra, All Points West, and Gourmet Symphony. Devree performed in Vienna’s Haus der Musik as cellist for the Stern Quartet, and across North Carolina and southern Virginia in the Transverse Trio. A scholarship winner to Kent/Blossom and other summer music festivals, she also performed in the premiere season of Hollywood in Vienna Festival with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Vienna, Austria. Ms. Lewis completed her Masters degree in cello performance in 2011 with Evelyn Elsing at University of Maryland.
In addition to her endeavors in the classical music world, Devree performs with cello metal band Primitivity and as guest artist with other local bands, including regular appearances with Trifilio Tango Trio. A founding member and cellist in pop/rock band Rome Juliana, she also provides studio cello sessions and composes original string arrangements. She has appeared with local bands at Millennium Stage, Baltimore’s 8X10 Club, Rock and Roll Hotel, and Atlas Theater.
Violinist Destiny Ann Mermagen, winner of international competitions and awards, regularly performs in prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, and Carnegie Hall, as well as many others across the US, Europe and Russia. Destiny has also worked with Dream Works and Paramount Pictures for Joe Wright’s movie, The Soloist. She is featured in the Partisan Pictures film, Defiant Requiem, and on the chamber music soundtrack recorded in 2012. In 2011, Destiny was featured as soloist at the 65th International Midwest Clinic in Chicago. She was a featured performer at the 2013 IDRS Conference in LA. She has been involved in various musical and educational productions with both National and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. estiny holds a Master of Music Degree from the Catholic University of America, where she studied with Luis Haza and Jody Gatwood. Originally from South Dakota and in praise of her cowgirl roots, a recent barn-burner of her performance of the Franck Sonata was quoted in the Washington Post as “endearingly coltish.”
Destiny's favorite songs to play with us are "Appalachia Waltz" by Mark O'Connor and the "Super Mario Bros Medley." She says, "I love "Appalachia Waltz" because I first fell in love with music when I lived with my grandparents on their ranch and listened to them play country folk music similar to the Waltz...It's who I am! I then honed both my competitive and fine motor skills by being a Super Mario Bros champ and winning every game ever made. Really."
Cellist Diana Curtis maintains an active career as a freelance musician and strings teacher. Since moving to the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area in 2003, Dr. Curtis has performed with the Annapolis Symphony, the Maryland Symphony, the Harrisburg Symphony, and the York Symphony, and is frequently a guest performer in recitals and concerts around the DC and Baltimore area. She is also a member of the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra and the Shippensburg Summer Festival Orchestra, and is the cellist with the Severn River Piano Trio.
In addition to performing, Dr. Curtis has maintained an active private teaching studio since 1998. She is currently serving as Lecturer in Music for Applied Cello lessons at Messiah College, and has taught string pedagogy courses at both The Catholic University of America and Messiah College. Additionally, Dr. Curtis was employed as an elementary school strings teacher for Anne Arundel County Schools in Maryland, for four years. Dr. Curtis earned her B.M. in cello performance and music education from West Virginia University, and M.M. and D.M.A. in cello performance from The Catholic University of America. Her principal teachers were William Skidmore, Robert Newkirk, and Michael Mermagen.
Diana's favorite music to play is anything by Johannes Brahms because of the emotional depth and rich tones that his music entails.