Sandra Ragusa, Music Director

Sandra Ragusa is a charismatic personality on the classical conducting scene. Coming from an extensive background both as a conductor and a flutist, she brings the spirit of a true performer to the stage.

Known for her creative programming and strong interpretation,
Ms. Ragusa has been invited to conduct orchestras on three continents including recent guest conducting engagements in Poland, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, China, and Japan. Ms. Ragusa is highly regarded by both musicians and audience members for her thoughtful and energetic presence on the podium. Ms. Ragusa recently founded DC Modern, a Washington, DC- based contemporary music ensemble.

As she uncovered her true love, conducting, Ms. Ragusa has moved from performing as a flutist to leading orchestras through electrifying performances of both the standard literature and new music. Discovered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group prior to a Green Umbrella Series concert, she was brought aboard to play flute for the series when others were not as interested in the genre. This genre has always been dear to Ms. Ragusa’s heart, and now, through DC Modern, she has an opportunity to bring this wonderful literature to the Washington, DC audience. Highlights of her 2015–16 season feature concerts in Poland; Washington, DC; New York; Connecticut; Germany; and Romania.

Before she completed her undergraduate degree, she was asked by her flute professor to join him in the flute section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra as an extra flutist.  This experience led her to playing both in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under such noted conductors as Zubin Mehta, Andre Previn, Daniel Lewis, JoAnn Valletta, Simon Rattle, and John Mauler.  In the Los Angeles studios she has worked with composer-conductors John Williams, Danny Elfman, Michael Kamen, Hans Zimmer, and Henry Mancini.
A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Ragusa studied flute at the University of Southern California and holds a Master of Music Degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She has been mentored as a conductor by Colin Metters and Vladimir Ponkin; her flute teachers were Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, and Roger Stevens. Ms. Ragusa has served on the faculties of California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon University, and Pasadena City College.