Rubbing Elbows

10,000 Hours: Career Crescendo 


Illustra­tion by
Peter Hoey

Monica Jeffries Hazangeles

Monica Jeffries Hazangeles’ 24-year career at Strathmore crescendoed in August when the longtime president added “CEO” to her title, succeeding founder Eliot Pfanstiehl. An accomplished flutist, Jeffries Hazangeles, CAS/MA ’96, will conduct a symphony of activity at the beloved North Bethesda, Maryland, arts space. Strathmore hosts more than 250 performances each year—from the Gipsy Kings to Diana Ross to Bill Murray—along with myriad art exhibits, educational programs, and community events. “As a musician and educator, I am inspired by how the arts elevate, enrich, and transform us,” Jeffries Hazangeles says. “Here at Strathmore, those transformative moments are created and celebrated every day.” 

1967: Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. 

1973: Moved to Lakeland, Florida. “My earliest memories include listening to records with my parents and putting on shows with my sister, Mary.”

1979: Signed up to play the clarinet at Southwest Junior High School. “But I couldn’t make a sound, so they handed me the flute and said, try this.”  

Played the flute in the concert and marching bands and the tenor saxophone in the jazz band. “I was hooked. I loved being surrounded by and making music with other musicians.” 

1980: Began taking weekly private lessons with Marsha Whitney in Bartow, Florida, a 25-minute drive from home.

1985: Enrolled at Florida State University. Joined the orchestra and concert band and learned to play the Baroque flute and recorder. 

1989: Graduated with a bachelor’s in flute performance.

Enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance to study under Mary Posses—who went on sabbatical a year later. “That proved to be a pivotal opportunity for me. I was asked to take over the undergrad flute studio—that opened up a whole new world of the arts.”

1990–1992: Worked as an administrative assistant at the Friends of Chamber Music in Kansas City, where she developed a knack for organizational development. “I always had a singular role as an instrumentalist. That job gave me a larger view of how the arts are pulled together, created, and produced.”  

1991: Graduated with a master’s in flute performance.  

1992: Moved to Bethesda and enrolled in the arts management master’s program at AU.

1993–1994: Joined the Smithsonian Institution as a program coordinator after interning there. Presented concerts in auditoria at museums on the National Mall.  

1994: Hired as an events coordinator—the first of several positions—at Strathmore. “One of my first assignments was overseeing the Family Festival, which was happening three weeks after I arrived. I fell in love with the community.”

1996: Graduated from AU.

1996–1997: Worked on her first capital campaign to renovate the Mansion at Strathmore, a Colonial Revival-style structure built in 1899, and to build the sculpture garden.

1998: Kicked off a $110 million fundraising campaign for the Music Center at Strathmore—a 1,976-seat concert hall and education center. Construction began three years later.

2005: The Music Center at Strathmore opened. “It’s an intimate, warm space. Joy for me comes from watching the joy on others’ faces as they take in a performance.” 

2010: Helped bring the Latin Dance Competition for Montgomery County high schoolers to Strathmore. “I’m very proud that these dances and cultures are celebrated here. It’s a huge, indoor pep rally for 
the arts.”  

2011: Named president of Strathmore. 

Appeared for the first of four times on Washingtonian magazine’s list of the “100 most powerful women in Washington.”  

2014: Received the Alumni Achievement Award from AU, where she also serves on the Arts Management Advisory Council.

2018: Named president and CEO of Strathmore, succeeding Eliot Pfanstiehl, who founded the institution in 1981. “For the past 24 years, I have been profoundly motivated by [Strathmore’s] mission, people, and community. I cannot imagine a greater honor than to serve as its next leader.”