Our Music Director

Photo of Libor OndrasDR. LIBOR ONDRAS
Dr. Libor Ondras is a conductor, viola recitalist, and educator. He began his studies as a recipient of the Slovak Ministry of Culture fellowship to study viola at the prestigious Moscow Conservatory with Yuri Bashmet.To further his career and experience, he continued his studies at the Academy of Music Arts in Prague and completed his D.M.A. at the University of Houston. Ondras has performed with major orchestras in Europe and the United States, including Houston Symphony, Utah Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonics. He was a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and Pacific Music Festival; lecturer and guest soloist at the International Viola D’Amore Society Congresses in Germany and Poland; American Viola Society; and Carnegie Hall Project with George Solti. His research and scholarly writings were published in the Journal of American Viola Society. His passion for chamber music inspired him to establish the Hummel Trio and Quartet de Minaret which performed at the Sarasota Music Festival and was an ensemble-in-residence at the Haydn Festspiele in Austria.Dr. Ondras is a frequent chamber music coach of the winning ensembles at the Michigan Chapter of the American String Teachers Association (MASTA), and lecturer at CMU, GVSU, Notre Dame University. He is the Music Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Kent Philharmonic Orchestra; guest conductor for the Slovak State Opera; string faculty and artist-in-residence at the Bay View Music Festival; and Director of Orchestras and professor at the Grand Rapids Community College. His creative programming and concert activities with the GLCO warranted an invitation from the League of American Orchestras to present a concert at the 2021 National Conference, emceed by Wynton Marsalis. His recent projects include a research project at the Belle Violinmaking School in Bilbao, Spain; visiting artist at the Royal Conservatory of Scotland; and a solo performance with the Northwest Sinfonietta in Washington.

January 4, 2023; from Voyage Michigan Magazine: Michigan’s Most Inspiring Stories: Souls that breathe life into our communities- Check Out Libor Ondras’ Story

Eric Lawson

Assistant Concertmaster

Violinist, violist, conductor and professor Dr. Eric Lawson has had a varied career in performance and education. Past performances as a conductor, soloist and lecturer have taken him to Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, Romania and Scandinavia. Before returning to his home state of Michigan, he was based in North Dakota where, in addition to serving as a violin instructor at Bismarck State College, Jamestown College, and the University of Mary, he was also concertmaster of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and established the Bismarck-Mandan Youth Symphony. Other former academic appointments have included Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Central College in Pella, Iowa and the University of North Dakota where he founded the string program and the UND Chamber Orchestra.

Here in Michigan, Dr. Lawson as been very active with the Alpena Symphony Orchestra as its concertmaster, conductor and president of the board. He also performs with many other orchestras in Northern Michigan and participates in the Traverse Symphony as a first violinist, in the Gaylord Symphony as concertmaster and as assistant concertmaster in the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.

And finally, in what has been one of the most important experiences of his life outside of music, he also served almost four years as an Alpena County Commissioner, representing Ossineke and Sanborn Townships. In addition to serving as chair of the Salary and Personnel Committee, he also served on the Airport, Ambulance, District Court, Circuit Court Management and Jail Committees. He also represented Alpena County in Gaylord with the Northern Michigan Regional Entity Substance Use Disorder Board and continues to serve on the Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Board. Dr. Lawson resides in Ossineke with his wife and two children.