Artistic Leadership

Maestro Leif Bjaland
Music Director & Conductor

Leif Bjaland served as the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Sarasota Orchestra from 1997 to 2012, during which time the orchestra experienced unprecedented artistic growth. As Artistic Advisor to The Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra for the last three seasons, he conducted concerts, led the orchestra on its first statewide tour and administered the search for a new music director.

A popular and active guest conductor, Mr. Bjaland made his debut at the Ravinia Festival conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program entitled "Bernstein on Broadway" also involving soloists, chorus and dancers, and his first CSO Symphony Hall performance sharing the stage with Leonard Bernstein. He has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Fort Worth, Nashville, Detroit, Rochester, Utah, Madison, San Jose, Rhode Island, Virginia, Harrisburg, Colorado, Long Beach, and New World Symphony. As Music Director of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, Bjaland has received enormous enthusiasm and critical praise for his performances and imaginative programming. This included the 2019 premiere of a multi-media program called “The American Sound”, which incorporated rare historic footage of New York City at the turn of the century, and also film and spoken commentary of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Aaron Copland. Bjaland is an enthusiastic proponent of music education, having taught for several summers in Venezuela as part of the country’s El Sistema program.


He received his Master’s degree in conducting from The University of Michigan, where he studied with Gustav Meier, and was a student of Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute.    

Alyce Cognetta Bertz

Alyce Cognetta Bertz is the Concertmaster of the Waterbury Symphony  Orchestra.  She studied violin with Syoko Aki of the Yale School of Music and with Charles Tregor of the Hartt School of Music.
Ms. Bertz has studied chamber music with the Cleveland Quartet,  the  Julliard Quartet and Joseph Gingold. As a high school student she performed in Vienna, Austria at the world premier of Leonard Bernstein’s  “Mass”.   She has performed concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, La Philarmonica de las Americas (Mexico), The Blossom Music Festival (Ohio), and the Waterloo Music Festival  with members of the New York  Philharmonic. 
Ms. Bertz has been violin soloist on WQXR in New York.  She has  appeared as a soloist with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Hartt Symphony Orchestra and has been a featured soloist with the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions.

As a member of the Cognetta Trio, Ms. Bertz has appeared around New England at Cape Cod  Summer Music Festival in  Chatham, the Kosciuszko Foundation in New  York City,  Wolcott Classic Series,  Whaling Church Classical Series in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Woodbury Chamber Music Series,  and in solo recitals at Geneva Opera House in New York. 

Ms. Bertz performs on an Italian violin made by Postiglione in 1869. She resides in Southbury with her husband, Gary, and teaches privately in her own studio.

WSO Staff

Dr. Matthew Krumholtz
Interim Executive Director

203-574-4283, ext 102

Matthew Krumholtz is an innovation strategist, change agent, and social impact advocate. As a consultant, Matthew works with mission-driven organizations to achieve their goals through multi-disciplinary problem solving, strategic planning, and revenue-generating partnerships. Matthew brings experience in developing strategies and coalitions that advance social and organizational change. He has worked with for-profit and nonprofit organizations across a range of sectors. He recently developed and led the Impact division at HuffPost, a capacity-building arm that secured philanthropic funding to develop innovative partnerships and place-based initiatives. He developed new engagement strategies that amplified the reach and impact of HuffPost’s work, including the first adaptation of HuffPost’s journalism into an immersive live theater experience focused on community equity. 

Matthew has also been a leader in re-imaging the public impact of the arts and humanities. As an alumni leader, he participated a grant-funded planning committee at Princeton University to design new models for humanities education. He holds a PhD from Princeton University, where his doctoral work focused on narrative change strategies that fueled social and cultural movements.

Doug Donato, Operations Manager
203-574-4283, ext 104

Amy Jones, Librarian

Andrea Nyquist, Marketing & Engagement

203-574-4283, ext 103

Roberts Tax Group, Bookkeeping/Accounting


​​Bravo Waterbury

Cathy Ciresi, Administrative Director

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Our administrative offices are temporarily closed, but our staff are working hard from their homes.  If you have questions, reach out via phone at 203-574-4283 or email at

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The WSO builds connections across the region with exploratory concerts, events, and educational programs. The WSO maintains a firm commitment to produce programs that are of value to its patrons, participants and community partners. This commitment is rooted in the Symphony’s core belief that music education and shared cultural experiences are essential to creating community.  Founded in 1938, the Symphony has assembled over 100 of the most talented musicians across New England to perform throughout Northwest Connecticut.  The 2019-2020 season celebrates Maestro Leif Bjaland’s 25th Anniversary as Music Director & Conductor with the WSO.

The Symphony has been the Orchestra-in-Residence at Naugatuck Valley Community College since 1992. 

Naugatuck Valley Community College

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Waterbury, CT 06708

The Palace Theater

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