Ms.Planeta holds a Master's Degree in Violin Performance with Orchestral Emphasis from Arizona State University, and has enjoyed a 20 year career in performance and education. She is the Founder and 1st Violinist of the Atoka String Quartet based in Loudoun/Fauquier Counties, and has a full teaching studio at The Catoctin School of Music in Leesburg. Ms.Planeta began her own youth orchestra experience 30 years ago, when her parents would drive her 1.5 hours each way to another city for the opportunity to participate.
Laura O'Konski "Miss O" is an active teacher and performer in the Northern Virginia region. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from George Mason University, and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Viola Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory. Ms.O has performed with the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, and remains an active freelance performer with other local orchestras and chamber ensembles. She is currently the Director of Orchestra and Chorus at Liberty High School in Bealeton, and has served as a conductor at the Fauquier County Youth Orchestra since 2015. Ms.O currently resides in Boyce with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.
Laura started playing the violin in the 5th Grade, and around the same time also started playing the piano. After winning numerous piano competitions and participating in all-state orchestra, she decided to double major in music education and viola performance at East Carolina University. Due to a need for violists, she was asked to switch to the viola with the ECU orchestra. There she was the recipient of the Senior Award for Instrumental (Strings) Music Education . Laura has attended several music festivals, and has performed in masterclasses for distinguished teachers such as Xiao-Dong Wong, Maria Lambros, Hsin-Yun Huang, and Jessica Thompson. In addition, she has also performed for the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival, “Next Generation Concert” series, under the direction of Ara Gregorian, and studied strings & conducting with Joseph Walker, Melissa Reardon, Hye-Jin Kim, and Jorge Richter.
Laura has a Master's Degree in Orchestral Conducting, and is currently teaching strings in the Fairfax County Public Schools. She has nearly doubled the size of her string programs, and works with about 300 students a week. Laura has hosted The Pyramid Orchestra for her district, and has also been an adjudicator for Solo and Ensemble Festival. She is the principal violist of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, and also teaches privately. Outside of music, she is an animal lover (particularly owls) and a long-distance runner. She currently resides in Arlington with her husband and two tabby cats.