2018 Orchestra Musicians
Alasdair Neale is Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and Music Director of the Marin Symphony. In his twenty-four years as Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Mr. Neale has propelled this festival to national status: it is now the largest privately funded free admission symphony in America. Among the many celebrated guest artists that Mr. Neale has brought to this festival are: Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald, Midori, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
As Music Director of the Marin Symphony since 2001, Mr. Neale has been hailed for invigorating the orchestra and establishing it as one of the finest in the Bay Area. Under Mr. Neale’s direction, the Marin Symphony was chosen as one of several distinguished orchestras to participate in Magnum Opus, a groundbreaking, decade-long commissioning project bringing new music to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Osvaldo Golijov, Kevin Puts, Kenji Bunch, David Carlson, and Avner Dorman were among the composers represented in the project.
Mr. Neale’s appointment with the Marin Symphony followed 12 years as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. During that time he conducted both orchestras in hundreds of critically acclaimed concerts both here and abroad. In 1999, he substituted for an ailing Michael Tilson Thomas, conducting the San Francisco Symphony in widely praised performances of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in Germany. Under Mr. Neale’s direction, the Youth Orchestra became one of the finest young ensembles in the world, receiving consistent rave reviews for performances in San Francisco, as well as on tour in Amsterdam, Leipzig, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Dublin, Copenhagen, and Vienna.
Highlights of Mr. Neale’s 2017-2018 season include return engagements with the New Haven Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, and his operatic debut with Opera Idaho where he will conduct André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.
From 2001 to 2011, Mr. Neale served as Principal Guest Conductor of the New World Symphony. From 2001 to 2014, he served on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has guest conducted numerous orchestras around the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Houston Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Nashville Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Florida Orchestra, New Haven Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Sydney Symphony, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, l’Orchestre Métropolitan du Grand-Montréal, Radio Sinfonie Orchester Stuttgart, Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestra of St. Gallen (Switzerland), MDR Leipzig, NDR Hannover, Trondheim Symphony, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, and at the Aspen Music Festival. In March 2002, he collaborated with director Peter Sellars and composer John Adams to open the Adelaide Festival with a production of the oratorio El Niño.
In April 1994, Mr. Neale conducted the San Francisco Symphony in the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Colored Field, featuring English horn player Julie Ann Giacobassi. Following those performances, Alasdair Neale, Ms. Giacobassi, and the San Francisco Symphony recorded Colored Field for Argo/Decca; the recording was released in February 1996 and was honored with the Diapason d’or award, conferred by the French music publication Diapason harmonie. In addition to his San Francisco Symphony recording, he can also be heard on New World Records conducting the ensemble Solisti New York in a recording of new flute concertos. During his years with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra he made a number of recordings, including Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony and Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. Alasdair Neale appears on the Bay Brass recording “Sound the Bells”, released in March 2011 on the Harmonia Mundi label and nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Small Ensemble Performance.
Alasdair Neale holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a Master’s from Yale University, where his principal teacher was Otto-Werner Mueller. He lives in San Francisco.
Internationally recognized for his versatile musicianship and passionate communication, Sameer Patel is one of America’s most exciting young conductors. A recipient of 2016 and 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, Patel is currently in his third season as the Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony. He is also the Associate Conductor of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, whose distinguished musicians come from many of North America’s finest orchestras.
Patel’s work as a conductor has taken him across North America, South America, and Europe. In the 2017-2018 season, Patel makes his highly anticipated subscription debut conducting two programs with the San Diego Symphony. He also leads operatic works with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, conducts modern masterpieces of the 20th and 21st centuries with the La Jolla Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, shares the podium with legendary film composer John Williams, and closes Symphony New Hampshire’s season with Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9. Devoted to the music of living composers, in the current season Patel also conducts works by Ellen Reid, Hannah Lash, Gabriela Lena Frank, Derrick Spiva Jr., Adam Schoenberg, George Walker, and Mason Bates. Additional recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Reading Symphony Orchestra, Leipziger Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Sinfonietta.
In the summer of 2016, Patel was selected out of a field of more than 120 conductors to study at the renowned Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy with Daniele Gatti, Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Immediately following his participation in the masterclass, Patel was selected by Maestro Gatti for further concerts in Europe, and he immediately returned to Italy to lead two acclaimed programs with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo. He was also a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholar, an honor given to him by former New York Philharmonic Music Director Kurt Masur. As part of this award, Patel traveled to Europe to study with and assist Maestro Masur with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, Patel was one of only six conductors selected by the League of American Orchestras for the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, an event that showcases emerging conductors to industry professionals and which led to subsequent, multiple engagements with that orchestra. Prior to joining the San Diego Symphony, Patel held conducting positions with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Boston Philharmonic.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Patel furthered his training with some of the greatest conductors of our time, including Gianandrea Noseda, Daniele Gatti, the late Kurt Masur, Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, and Neeme and Paavo Järvi. Patel is an enthusiastic advocate for music education and enjoys teaching and learning from the many students he works with at summer music festivals, school music programs, and youth orchestras across the country.
Born and raised in Michigan, Patel makes his home in Southern California with his wife, Shannon, and their infant son, Devan.
Jeremy Constant, Concertmaster
Assistant Concertmaster, San Francisco Symphony
Concertmaster of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 2000, Jeremy also holds the positions of Concertmaster of the Marin Symphony and Assistant Concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony. He can be heard on the San Francisco Symphony’s Grammy-winning Mahler cycle recordings as well as on their much-acclaimed Keeping Score educational series. He is an active soloist and chamber musician and a founding member of the Navarro Trio and the Navarro Quartet. After winning the Grand Prize in the 1979 Du Maurier competition in Canada, Jeremy studied in New York with Ivan Galamian and then with the great violinist Itzhak Perlman before making the San Francisco Bay Area his home.
He became a member of the San Francisco Symphony in 1984, with whom he continues to perform as Assistant Concertmaster. He has been Concertmaster of the Marin Symphony since 1994 and in 2000 became Concertmaster of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He is a frequent soloist with the orchestra and participant in the Edgar M. Bronfman String Quartet.
Jeremy plays the ex-Heberlein Stradivarius, from the year 1700. This Stradivarius was donated to the San Francisco Symphony for his exclusive use. Residing in Oakland with his wife Sharon, Jeremy is a pilot who took over 7 years to build a plane, which he currently enjoys flying.
Juliana Athayde, Assistant Concertmaster
Concertmaster, Rochester Philharmonic
Appointed concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra 2005 at age twenty-four, Juliana Athayde became the youngest person to hold the position since the orchestra’s inception in 1922. She also has appeared as guest concertmaster for the Houston and Kansas City Symphonies as well as Pinchas Zuckerman’s National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to joining the RPO, Ms. Athayde was concertmaster of the Canton and Plymouth Symphonies. In 2002, she served as concertmaster of the New York String Seminar under the direction of Jaime Laredo for concerts at Carnegie Hall. For five years, she was a member of the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis and she has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra in the United States and Europe. From 2000-2005 Ms. Athayde was a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival where she studied with Paul Kantor and received the prestigious Dorothy DeLay fellowship in 2004, performing the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.2 under the baton of famed violinist and conductor Joseph Silverstein.
Ms. Athayde’s numerous solo appearances with the RPO have covered a wide range of composers from Mozart and Brahms to Barber and Prokofiev as well as the 2010 premiere of Allen Shawn’s Violin Concerto, commissioned by the RPO and specifically written for Ms. Athayde. She has also performed as a soloist with the Asheville, Canton, Diablo, Fayetteville, Flint, Mid-Texas, Palo Alto, Plymouth, and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Athayde made her solo debut at the age of 16 performing with the San Francisco Symphony. Under the baton of Alasdair Neale, she led the world-renowned San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra as concertmaster in performances at Paris’ Cite de la Musique, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. In demand as a chamber musician, Ms. Athayde has collaborated with great artists, including Michael Tilson Thomas, Joseph Silverstein, William Preucil, Anton Nel, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. She has been praised by critics for her “power and precision,” “melting lyricism,” and “larger than life” performances.
A passionate educator, Ms. Athayde is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music, a Visiting Teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music and was previously a Visiting Professor at Cornell University. Attaining her B.M. from the University of Michigan, where she received the distinguished Albert A. Stanley Award, presented “to the graduating senior recognized by the faculty as achieving the highest possible success in scholarship and public performance”, she continued her studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Paul Kantor and Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil (M.M. and A.D.), becoming the first graduate of CIM’s prestigious Concertmaster Academy.
She spends her summers performing alongside her husband, RPO and SVSS principal oboist Erik Behr, at San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival and with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. Ms. Athayde performs on a 1948 Celeste Farotte violin and a J.B. Vuilliaume bow.
Associate Principal Second Violin, St. Louis Symphony
Kristin Ahlstrom joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) in 1996 and was appointed Associate Principal Second Violin in 2001. She was previously with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra for one year, after completing her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at Indiana University-Bloomington. As a member of the Kono Quartet, she was a finalist in the Osaka International Music Competition. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Ahlstrom has appeared many times as a guest artist at the Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs, Virginia, and has performed as a soloist with the SLSO many times. She performs regularly in the SLSO community outreach program and is a member of the ILEX Trio, along with her husband, pianist Peter Henderson, and SLSO cellist Anne Fagerburg. Her first season with the SVSS was in 2001.
Substitute Musician, San Francisco
Daniel Banner has been a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony since 1997. Before moving to San Francisco he was an acting member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, as well as concertmaster of many Boston area groups. He studied at Harvard University and MIT. Dan and his wife, flutist Cathy Payne, have been members of the SVSS since 1997, and return for their fourth season with their 3 year old son Sam.
Concertmaster, Royal Philharmonic of Galicia, Spain
James Dahlgren, Concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic of Galicia and Honorary Concertmaster of the National Orchestra of Porto, studied with Zaven Melikian at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. After five years as a member of the San Francisco Opera, James accepted the Concertmaster position of the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra and later the position of Associate Concertmaster of the Granada City Orchestra. After arriving in Europe, James has also worked as guest leader with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra among others. Professor of Violin and professor of the Orchestra Audition Preparation class at the School of Superior Musical Studies in Santiago de Compostela, James maintains an active schedule as soloist and chamber musician.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Born in Poland, violinist Filip Fenrych is a member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland. Prior to joining the DSO he served as Assistant Concertmaster in the San Antonio Symphony. Filip made his concerto debut at age 14 in Germany, and since then he has performed all around the world. He received his degrees at the Oberlin Conservatory, the University of North Texas and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Filip has appeared in many prestigious music festivals, including Taos, Music Academy of the West and the Verbier Festival. His most recent concerto appearance was with the Gorzow Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland.
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Ferenc Illényi has performed as first violinist with the Houston Symphony since 1991. A native of Hungary, Mr. Illényi made his debut in Budapest performing the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky concerti, and was a finalist in the Gyor-Carl Flesch Competition and the Tibor Varga Competition. He has performed many recitals in Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and the United States, and has recorded works by Paganini, Saint-Saëns, and Schubert for the Hungarian radio and television. His first teacher was his father, a violinist with the Hungarian State Opera. He attended Bartok High School of Music in Budapest, studied with Tibor Varga at Hochschulein Detmold, Germany, completed a summer master class in Lenk, Switzerland and earned a master’s degree in music from Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, where he studied with Dénes Kovacs. Mr. Illényi has studied additionally at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada with Zoltan Székely, the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana with Carolyn Plummer, Rice University with Camilla Wicks, and the University of Houston with Fredell Lack.
The Florida Orchestra
Vivek Jayaraman served as Concertmaster of the Canton Symphony Orchestra from 2015 – 2017. He currently resides in St. Petersburg, FL where he is a violinist with The Florida Orchestra. Additionally, Vivek is a recurring member of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. In 2017, Vivek will be guest Concertmaster with symphonies in Shreveport, Knoxville and Vancouver as well as a faculty member for Los Angeles Philharmonic’s National Take A Stand Youth Orchestra Festival.
Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Vivek received a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music studying with Charles Castleman and a Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance from Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Glenn Dicterow, former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. Following a four-year fellowship with the New World Symphony, he earned an Artist Diploma in Concertmaster Studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster, William Preucil. Vivek plays a modern violin built in 2005 by Roger Graham Hargrave on generous loan from a dear friend. Vivek is thrilled to be back for a third season with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Winner of the 2016 Ontario Arts Council Orford String Quartet Award, Toronto-born violinist Shane Kim has been a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since the 2012-2013 season. Prior positions include Principal violinist of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra and concertmaster appearances with the Tucson Symphony and at the festivals of Aspen and Spoleto-Charleston. Recent highlights include his debut as concertmaster at the Lakes Area Music Festival and a return as Resident Artist at the Toronto Summer Music Festival.
Shane is a founding member of the XIA String Quartet. Since its inception in 2014, the XIA Quartet has performed concerts in Toronto, Cobourg, Port Hope and Edmonton, and has given masterclasses at the Alberta Conservatory, the University of Alberta and a workshop for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s YONA-Sistema program. Shane has also performed chamber music at Ravinia, the Taos Chamber Music Festival, the Encuentro de Musica in Santander, Spain; and has performed with musicians of the New Orford String Quartet, Amici, the Bakken Trio and the TSO Chamber Soloists.
Shane received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied with noted pedagogue David Zafer, and chamber music with Lorand Fenyves. Shane continued his studies at the Yale School of Music with Peter Oundjian and the Tokyo String Quartet.
The 2018 summer marks Shane’s debut with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music
Rudolph Kremer began playing violin at age four with the Suzuki Method at the University of North Carolina. He continued violin studies with Richard Luby, Giorgio Ciompi, and received a Bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studying with David Moskovitz. He then completed a Master’s degree from Western Illinois University, where he studied with Roland and Almita Vamos and served as graduate teaching assistant to Almita Vamos.
In 1992 Mr. Kremer began teaching and performing in Lisbon, Portugal where he served as professor of violin at the National Superior Academy of Music. While in Portugal he held positions of assistant concertmaster and principal second violin in the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra of Lisbon. In addition to his teaching and orchestral duties, Mr. Kremer was the first violinist in the Lisbon Fidelio String Quartet, and performed a series of widely acclaimed solo recitals throughout Portugal.
Mr. Kremer began playing with the San Francisco Symphony in 1995 and frequently plays with the Chicago Symphony. Currently he is in the first violin section of the Minnesota Orchestra. Other orchestral experience includes the San Francisco Opera, Florida orchestra, International Orchestra of Italy, and Malaysian Philharmonic. He is currently in his 20th season with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
Concertmaster, Louisville Orchestra
Gabriel Lefkowitz is the concertmaster of the Louisville Orchestra, with whom he has just completed his second season. A versatile musician of the 21st century, he is also a conductor and a composer for films and video games.
During the 2016-2017 season (concurrent with his position in Louisville), Gabriel completed a 6 year tenure as concertmaster of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his orchestral positions, Gabriel is an active soloist, recently performing the concerti of Tchaikovsky (Louisville, KY), Brahms (Knoxville, TN), Philip Glass (Ocala, FL), and Mozart (Oak Ridge, TN). Gabriel is a frequent recitalist, having founded the series Gabriel Lefkowitz & Friends in Knoxville, in which he performed 16 distinct recital programs during his KSO tenure.
An active conductor, Gabriel made his conducting debut with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra during the 2015-2016 season in the form of several light classical & pops “runout” performances at venues throughout Knoxville and East Tennessee. He served as Music Director of the Oak Ridge Community Orchestra during the 2014-2015 season, and has worked extensively with youth ensembles including the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra, and the Boston Youth Symphony.
Gabriel holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and earned a master’s degree at the Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Smirnoff and Masao Kawasaki.
Des Moines Symphony
Misha Rosenker enjoys a diverse career as a solo performer, chamber musician, orchestral player, and teacher. Hailed by the Des Moines Register for his “virtuosic surety and musical integrity,” the Boston Musical Intelligencer praised his “warm, nuanced sound” while the Baltimore Sun noted a performance of “terrific music-making – technically refined, emotionally charged.” Mr. Rosenker has appeared as soloist with the Des Moines Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Mankato Symphony, and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, performed at music festivals including Brevard, Cape Cod, Carmel Bach, and Sun Valley, and collaborated with members of the Borodin, Brentano, and Tokyo String Quartets. His passion for teaching has led to prior faculty appointments including the University of Georgia, Drake University, and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he replaced Martin Beaver. Mr. Rosenker is currently principal second violin of the Des Moines Symphony. He studied with Josef Gingold and Sidney Harth and earned degrees from Yale and Indiana University.
St. Louis Symphony
Erin Schreiber has studied the violin since age four. She has appeared in recitals throughout the U.S., as well as in London, Sweden, and most recently Neuenkirchen, Germany. She has also appeared as soloist with the Richardson, Gateway, and Alton Symphony orchestras, and has performed for such dignitaries as Colin Powell and former President Jimmy Carter. Schreiber has won the Lennox Young Artist’s Competition, the St. Louis Italian American Federation Young Artists Competition, the pre-college strings division of the Corpus Christi International Young Artists Competition, and the Junior division of the Kingsville International Competition. She has twice been the recipient of the prestigious Buder Foundation Music Grant, as well as three-time recipient of the Anita Crane Music Scholarship. Past teachers have included Roland and Almita Vamos, Elisa Barston, and Robert Lipsett. Erin Schreiber studied with Joseph Silverstein and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She assumed the duties of St. Louis Symphony Assistant Concertmaster in September 2008.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
A native of Toronto, Peter Seminovs is currently in his sixth year as violinist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the TSO, Peter performed with the Utah Symphony, where he had the opportunity to travel on a month-long tour throughout Germany, Austria, and Slovenia in 2005.
Peter began playing the violin at the age of five. His studies led him to a Violin Performance Degree at the University of Toronto (where he also minored in Fine Art History) and from there to a Master’s diploma at the Mannes College of Music in New York City. His principal teachers include Yaakov Geringas, Atis Bankas and Sally Thomas. From an early age, Peter won competitions and scholarships throughout North America including prizes at the Kiwanis International Music Festival, The Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto, the Mannes College of Music, and First Prize at the National Canadian Music Competition.
Houston Grand Opera/Ballet Orchestras
Sylvia VerMeulen has been a member of the first violin sections of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet orchestras for more than 20 years. She is a leading freelance player in Houston and has and recorded with the Houston and Columbus symphonies. As a chamber musician she has collaborated in many prestigious chamber music festivals such as Strings in the Mountains in Steamboat Springs, CO. and Orcas island Chamber music festival in beautiful Washington State to name a few. She has also been a first violinist with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony for the past 22 years.
Sylvia made her concerto debut at the age of seventeen with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra after winning First Prize in the Dallas Symphony Young Artist Competition, and received her advanced training at Indiana University with Paul Biss, Joseph Gingold and Henryk Kowalski.
She is married to William VerMeulen, principal hornist of the Houston Symphony, and Professor of Horn at the Shepherd School of music at Rice University, with whom she also frequently performs chamber music. They have two lovely children, Michael 14, and Nicole 12
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Since joining the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1991, Perrin Yang has served as acting principal second violin and associate concertmaster. Originally from San Francisco, Yang is a high honors graduate of Oberlin College and received his Master’s of Music from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, where he has appeared as soloist and concertmaster on several occasions. He also performs chamber music, mostly with his string quartet, and has appeared as guest artist at the Fortissimo!, Aspen, Peter Britt, Roycroft, Skaneateles, and Boulder Bach festivals.
Over the past few years, he has expanded his musical palette by venturing outside of the “traditional” classical music genre. He has performed original and cover music of all kinds including folk/blue grass, blues, rock, and pop. Audiences at a variety of Rochester’s festivals and musical venues – from the Rochester International Jazz Fest to the Dinosaur BBQ, have enjoyed the variety of sounds produced by his purple electric violin and collection of effects pedals. He has recorded full CDs with several local Rochester groups such as “Birds On A Wire,” “Right Turn Racer,” and “Significant Other.” Outside of his musical activities, you can usually find him participating in some sport, most likely tennis or pickleball, or spending time with his two energetic cats-Winky and Bandit.
Polina Sedukh, Principal
San Francisco Symphony
Born to a family of musicians in St. Petersburg, Russia, Polina Sedukh began studying violin at the age of four, her first teachers being her father Grigory Sedukh and Savely Shalman.
She is a graduate of the Special Music School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory, where she studied under the guidance of Lev Ivaschenko and Vladimir Ovtcharek. She also holds an Artist Diploma from the Longy School of Music at Bard College in Cambridge, MA, where she studied with Laura Bossert and Malcolm Lowe.
Prizewinner of the International Spohr Competition in Weimar, Germany, Polina made her solo orchestral debut at the age of seven with the Chamber Orchestra of Liepaya, Latvia, and has since appeared as soloist with St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Boston Virtuosi Orchestra, St. Petersburg Capella Symphony Orchestra, Newton Symphony Orchestra and Weimer State Capella Orchestra.
With cellist Terry King, Polina presented the world premiere of Vladimir Uspensky’s Double Concerto at the International St. Petersburg Spring Music Festival in 2001.
In 2014 her engagements included collaboration with pianist Kirill Gerstein and members of the San Francisco Symphony in a performance of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet in Davies Symphony Hall.
Following her passion for symphonic music, Polina pursued a career with major American orchestras, and is presently a member of the San Francisco Symphony, having previously served as a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.
She resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amy Glidden, Assistant Principal
Associate Concertmaster, Buffalo Philharmonic
Amy Glidden is currently the associate concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic, a position she has held since 2000. A native of Wichita, Kansas, Amy attended the University of Kansas, where she received a B.A. in Biology as well as a B.M. in Violin Performance. Subsequently, she received a Master of Violin Performance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Amy has performed with the Phoenix Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, and the Canadian National Ballet Orchestra. While a resident of san Francisco, Amy served as assistant concertmaster of the Marin Symphony and concertmaster of the Mendocino Music Festival. She travels west each summer with participate in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Grand Teton Music Festival, where she has been a festival participant for 4 years.
Amy has often performed as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, including performances of the Chausson Poeme, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, and Vaughaun-Williams The Lark Ascending. Other local solo engagements include performances with the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra and the Amherst Symphony.
Amy is a founding member of the Clara String Quartet, comprised of BPO musicians, which has performed on many chamber music venues across Western New York. In addition, Amy periodically returns to her hometown of Wichita, Kansas to collaborate in the “Chamber Music in the Barn” series. Locally, she performs with the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival and Buffalo Chamber Players. Besides maintaining a private violin studio, Amy is a Suzuki violin instructor and teaches at Orchard Park Suzuki Strings.
Jennifer Best Takeda
ASSISTANT CONCERTMASTER, SARASOTA ORCHESTRA
A native of North Carolina, violinist Jennifer Best Takeda currently serves as the Assistant Concertmaster of the Sarasota Orchestra, as well as violinist of the resident Sarasota Piano Quartet. Prior to joining the Sarasota Orchestra in 2005, Jennifer served as a Concertmaster of the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
She received a High School Diploma and Bachelor of Music degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts and a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
An active chamber musician, Jennifer has performed chamber music in the New York Historical Society and the “Meet the Composers” series at Columbia University, and was a member of Manhattan School of Music’s new music group, Claremont Ensemble, among others. Most recently, Jennifer has performed with the Chroma Quartet, a string quartet she co-founded in 2008 that has enjoyed great success and performed throughout Florida to critical acclaim.
Her vast orchestral experience includes performances with The Florida Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, New World Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, New York Chamber Opera, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute Orchestra, Spoleto USA Festival Orchestra. In recent summers, she has performed with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, served as Associate Concertmaster and faculty of Eastern Music Festival and served as Concertmaster of the Crested Butte Music Festival.
Her principal teachers have included Elaine Richey, Nicholas Mann, Robert Mann, Mitchell Stern and Sylvia Rosenberg. Jennifer performs on a 1697 Giovanni Battista Rogeri violin, generously donated to the Sarasota Orchestra. When not practicing or performing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband and greatest achievement to date, young son Carter.
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Sarah Clendenning joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1997. Prior to that, she was a member of the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera. She has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Vermont Symphony, and the Chautauqua Symphony.
Originally from Hanover, New Hampshire, Sarah earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Oberlin and a Master of Music Degree from the Juilliard School. She has studied with Joel Smirnoff, Gregory Fulkerson, Marylou Speaker-Churchill, and Andrew Jennings.
An avid figure skater, Sarah recently took on the challenge of learning to speed skate with her son, who is already competing. She is training to compete in her first short track meet in the fall.
She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.
Concertmaster, Bethlehem Bach
Elizabeth Field is concertmaster of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and the Founder and Director of The Vivaldi Project and the Institute for Early Music on Modern Instruments (EMMI). She has served as concertmaster for leading period instrument ensembles such as the Washington Bach Consort, Opera Lafayette and The Spire Chamber Ensemble. Prior to her work with period instruments, Ms Field performed and recorded extensively for Deutsche Grammophon with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She is currently a member of the ArcoVoce Chamber Ensemble which performs on both modern and period instruments and is a frequent guest artist and soloist with the Mallarme Chamber Ensemble.
Ms Field serves as a performance-practice coach for orchestras, conservatories and universities including, The National Philharmonic and The Curtis Institute of Music. The Vivaldi Project’s current recording of seven unknown18th-century string trios titled: Discovering the Classical String Trio is currently available on MSR Classics records. Field has also recorded for Analekta, Centaur, Naxos, Hungaraton, and Plectra Records. Her collaborative DVD with fortepianist Malcolm Bilson titled Performing the Score, was lauded by Emanuel Ax as “truly inspiring”. For more information about Elizabeth, please visit www.thevivaldiproject.org
Principal Second Violin, Utah Symphony
Originally from Paris, France, violinist Claude Halter moved to the United States in 2001 and has since been heard nationwide as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. Claude completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music at Lawrence University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music respectively. In January 2012, Claude joined the Utah Symphony and Opera as Principal Second Violin. He was previously Assistant Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony in British Columbia. When not in rehearsal, Claude enjoys hiking, skiing, mountain biking and fly-fishing in the beautiful Wasatch mountain range.
ASSISTANT CONCERTMASTER, ALABAMA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Mayumi Masri is currently the Assistant Concertmaster of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Mayumi, who was born and raised in Connecticut, started playing the violin at the age of four. She studied the violin with Syoki Aki, Professor of Violin at the Yale School of Music, Sharon Yamada, member of the New York Philharmonic, and Albert Markov. Mayumi received her Bachelors of Music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University where she studied under the tutelage of Viktor Danchenko. After Peabody, Mayumi attended the New World Symphony under the musical direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Mayumi also plays in the Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Violinist Stacy Matthews has been a member of the Richmond Symphony since 2002. She attended the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received both her Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees with teacher William Preucil, concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra. In 2000, she began a fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. During her time there she served as concertmaster under conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and soloist in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She has also performed in the Colorado Music Festival, the Mainly Mozart Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Santo Domingo Music Festival, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. This year marks her 17th magnificent summer in the mountains of Idaho. Stacy grew up in Ithaca, NY, where she developed a great affinity for waterfalls, farmers markets, coffee, and schnauzers.
Assistant Concertmaster, Louisville Orchestra
A native of Worcester, MA, violinist Julia Noone is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Louisville Orchestra and has recently performed with the Boston Symphony and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Before moving to Louisville, Julia was a fellow at the New World Symphony, where she was regularly Concertmaster and performed as soloist in Syzmanowski’s Second Concerto after winning the 2014/15 season concerto competition. Other recent solo engagements include a performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto with La Academia Filarmonica de Medellín, Colombia.
Julia spent multiple summers performing with the Moritzburg Academy, the Schleswig-
Holstein Musik Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was awarded
the Jules C. Reiner violin prize and spent three summers performing as Concertmaster
under such conductors as Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Andris Nelsons. Other
summer festival engagements have included a performance as Concertmaster for the
St. Matthew Passion with the Spoleto Festival, USA and a season as Assistant
Concertmaster of Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, VA.
An avid chamber musician, Julia’s recent engagements have included collaborations
with the Palladium Chamber Players in St. Petersburg, FL and a performance of the
Korngold Suite with pianist Orion Weiss. While at Tanglewood, Julia studied chamber
music with Emanuel Ax, John Harbison, and Yo-Yo Ma. Julia attended the New England Conservatory, where she studied violin with Masuko Ushioda and chamber music with the Weilerstein Trio and Lucy Chapman.
Portland (ME) Symphony Orchestra
Violinist Mark Paxson enjoys a varied career as an orchestral and chamber musician, concertmaster and teacher. A longtime member of the Portland (ME) Symphony Orchestra, he has also performed with the Boston Symphony, Pops, Ballet, Lyric Opera and Philharmonic orchestras, Opera Boston, Emmanuel Music and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Highlights have also included a month long tour of Japan with the American Symphony, performances with the Malaysia Philharmonic and period instrument concerts with the Handel & Haydn Society and Boston Baroque. Mr. Paxson was guest first violinist of the Ives String Quartet in 2003 and has also performed chamber music at the Woodstock Mozart, Warebrook Contemporary and White Mountain festivals, at the Taos School of Music and at Ernen Musikdorf. He has been concertmaster of the Monadnock Music Festival Orchestra, New Hampshire Symphony, Maine Oratorio Orchestra, Boston Academy of Music and the New England Philharmonic. A highly respected teacher, Mr. Paxson’s students have won positions in the MA All-State orchestra and also in regional and state competitions. He has taught at the New England Conservatory’s Extension Division, Northeastern University, Longy School of Music, Sun Valley Music Conservatory and the Rocky Ridge (CO) Music Center.
Mr. Paxson holds degrees with honors from both the New England Conservatory of Music and Indiana University. He also studied with Joyce Robbins in New York City.
Freelance Musician, San Francisco
Adrienne Sengpiehl has been the principal second violinist of Midsummer Mozart since 1996. Since playing with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, she continues her career actively freelancing with Bay Area orchestras: The San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Santa Rosa Symphony, Berkeley Symphony and Marin Symphony. As a chamber musician, Adrienne has been heard throughout the bay area from Noontime Concerts and Old First Church in SF to the Napa Valley Opera House. An avid music educator, Adrienne is both former faculty and affiliate teacher for the Virtuoso Program at the San Domenico School, and performer for the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music Program.
Professor, Depauw University
Violinist Tarn Travers has performed throughout the Unites States, Europe, and Japan both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. In 2001, he was a prizewinner at the Heifetz Guarneri auditions, which led to a performance on the historic “ex-David” Guarneri, the favored violin of Jascha Heifetz. Mr. Travers has made solo appearances with the New World Symphony, the Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra, and the Icicle Creek Chamber Orchestra, among others. He gave the world premier of Maria Newman’s Triple Concerto in 2003, and has subsequently collaborated with the composer numerous times. Mr. Travers spent three years as a violinist in the New World Symphony, where he often led the orchestra as concertmaster under a numerous conductors, including Michael Tilson Thomas, baroque expert Ton Koopman, and new music specialist Susanna Mälkki.
St. Louis Symphony
A native of Chicago, Shawn Weil was appointed to the St. Louis Symphony in April 2005. Prior to his appointment, he played as a contracted member of the orchestra for two seasons. For four seasons, Mr. Weil was co-concertmaster of the New World Symphony. During his tenure at the New World Symphony, he was invited to represent the institution in chamber music performances domestically in Manhattan and the Hamptons, and internationally in Prague, Rome, and Monte Carlo. He has collaborated with Michael Tilson Thomas, David Robertson, Alasdair Neale, and the Miami String Quartet. An active educator and mentor, Mr. Weil is on the violin faculty of Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina. He is frequently involved with the Education and Community Partnership Program of the SLSO. From 2002-03, he served on the faculty of the acclaimed Opus 118: Harlem Center for Strings in Manhattan. Shawn Weil received his Bachelor of Music degree and the Performance Diploma from Indiana University.
Freelance Musician, San Francisco
A former member of the Oregon Symphony, concert violinist Alicia Yang regularly performs with such renowned ensembles as the San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. Her training from the Oberlin and New England Conservatories spans genres from Renaissance to contemporary-minimalist, and she has recorded an album of contemporary compositions on the Opus One label. Ms. Yang also specializes in historically-informed performance, and has appeared with period instrument ensembles across the US including the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Carmel Bach Festival, and American Bach Soloists. Her performances have taken her through Europe and the US, including such lauded orchestras as the Kennedy Center Opera, the Seattle Symphony, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon (Spain). Ms. Yang enjoys performing with the baroque string band Archetti, playing chamber music with her husband Amos Yang, Assistant Principal Cellist of the San Francisco Symphony, and spending time with their children, Isabel and Noah.
Adam Smyla, Principal
San Francisco Symphony
Adam Smyla first received recognition when, at the age of seventeen, he won the first prize at the National Viola Competition, in his native Poland. Within six months, he became the youngest member of the Polish National Radio and Television Orchestra and was invited to join the Penderecki String Quartet. As a member of the Penderecki Quartet, Adam toured throughout the world for nearly a decade, averaging from fifty to eighty concerts a year, with major performances in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and New York, among other cities.
Participation in the Oregon Bach Festival, the San Antonio Festival in Texas, the Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin, the Rome Festival in Italy and the Midem-Classique Festival in France gained him international recognition. He has also made numerous recordings for radio and television broadcasts throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.
In the spring of 1997, Adam toured throughout China with performances in Beijing and Shanghai. Two years later, he completed a tour in Portugal as a soloist with the Orchestra Metropolitana de Lisboa. From 1995 to 2000, Adam resided in Chicago, where he held the position of Assistant Principal Violist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He was also the Principal Violist of the Concertanti di Chicago and the Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin.
Since 2000, Adam Smyla has been a member of the San Francisco Symphony and held the position of Associate Principal Violist from 2006-2009. He is the viola coach of the San Francisco Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as a faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Adam appears frequently in chamber music concerts throughout the Bay Area, often in collaboration with his wife, pianist Edna Koren.
Joen Vasquez, Assistant Principal
Assistant Principal Viola, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Joen Vasquez, the only violist ever to win the “Artists International” competition in New York, recently became the only musician to twice win Pittsburgh’s coveted Passamaneck Award. He has performed in recital on the Y series at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Vasquez comes from a family of six sibling musicians and holds a Master of Arts degree from The Juilliard School where he studied with Margaret Pardee. He has received Diplomas Di Merito and D’Honore from Academia Chigianna where he studied with Bruno Giuranna.
Mr. Vasquez has performed as soloist with many orchestras in the Americas, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Windsor, Ontario Orchestra, the Venezuela Symphony, the Bogota Philharmonic in Colombia, the Sodre Orchestra in Uruguay, the Carcas Filarmonica in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, Solistas De Venezuela in the 1985 Casals Festival in Prades, France, and the Maracaibo Symphony in the Kennedy Center and Victoria, Canada. Additionally, he has premiered many Concertos written for him including the Penderecki Viola Concerto in 1983.
Assistant Principal Viola, Rochester Symphony Orchestra
Marc Anderson enjoys a versatile career as an orchestral violist, chamber musician and teacher. Assistant Principal since 2015, Mr. Anderson has been with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005 and was also principal violist of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Anderson frequently collaborates with his RPO colleagues and Eastman School of Music faculty in many of the area’s classical concert series. Mr. Anderson holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with George Taylor (B.M.) and John Graham (M.M.). While at Eastman Mr. Anderson received the coveted Performer’s Certificate and Orchestral Studies Diploma.
Freelance Musician, Tampa Bay Area
American violist, Laurel Borden enjoys an active freelance career performing with several orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States. Currently, residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, Laurel performs regularly with the Sarasota Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, and Opera Tampa. Additionally, Laurel was a member of both the Florida Grand Opera and Palm Beach Symphony for five seasons from 2011-2016. Other orchestras Laurel has performed with include the Pittsburgh Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Southwest Florida Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, and Canton Symphony.
During the summers, Laurel is the Principal Violist of the Ash Lawn Opera Orchestra in Charlottesville, VA and is a regular member of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra in Fayetteville, Arkansas and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho.
Outside of the United States, Laurel has had the opportunity to perform in the Dominican Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Turkey. She has performed with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. Originally hailing from a family of orchestral musicians in Nashville, TN, Laurel went on to study at the University of Michigan and Manhattan School of Music. Her most influential teachers include Yizhak Schotten, Karen Dreyfus, Caroline Coade, Dan Reinker, and Kathryn Plummer.
Principal Viola, San Antonio Symphony
Allyson Dawkins, Principal Violist of the San Antonio Symphony, has won consistent admiration for her playing as both orchestral soloist and recitalist. Critics have praised the “great sensitivity and intelligence” of her playing, as well as her “full-bodied, velvety tone.”
Ms. Dawkins is on the faculty of the University of Texas at San Antonio, and is highly sought after and widely respected as a private teacher. During the summer she serves as Dean of Students, teaches viola and coaches string quartets at the Quartet Program at State University of New York in Fredonia.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Dawkins received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the
State University of New York at Purchase, and a Master of Music degree and the prestigious
Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music.
San Francisco Symphony
SFS member since: 1982
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Music schools you attended: Indiana University, University of Western Ontario, University of Victoria
Began playing music: At age 8
Musical inspirations: My parents
If I were not a professional musician, I might be a: fireman
My favorite composer is: Debussy
Favorite works featuring my instrument: Walton, Viola Concerto
I am looking forward to: Workin’ on my jump-shot
When I’m not working, I enjoy: Running on Mt. Tamalpais
Recent reading: In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic, by David Wessel
On my CD player/iPod: Black Swan, myself, Eminem, Bargaining with the Devil, by Robert Mnookin
Favorite things to do in the Bay Area: Winetasting, surfing, driving my sports car with the top down, watching the Warriors
Plus: I’m converting analog home videos to DVD. I’m also working on raising my 6th and 7th and lowering my 5th!
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
A native of Québec City, Canada, Marylène Gingras-Roy joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra viola section in the 1997 season, and in 2004 was promoted to fourth chair. She studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec with Douglas McNabney and François Paradis and graduated in 1993 with unanimous First Prizes in both in viola and chamber music. She was the recipient of Canada and Québec Arts Councils’ Scholarship Grants, enabling her to attend the Harid Conservatory, where she studied with Victoria Chiang, and then the renowned Curtis Institute of Music. At Curtis, her teachers included Karen Tuttle and Joseph DePasquale. She earned an Artist Diploma in 1997.
Marylene is adjunct professor of viola at Duquesne University, where she has developed a world-class studio and performance/orchestral studies program. She is also a highly sought after orchestra coach, including The Three River Young Peoples orchestra and on occasion the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. She has participated in many festivals, including the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, the Solti Project at Carnegie Hall, the Jerusalem Music Festival, the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra (where she served as Principal violist), and since 2000 the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. Marylène has also taught at summer music festivals such as: Domaine Forget, Québec, Interharmony Festival in Germany and Italy and Advanced Chamber Music Seminar in Pittsburgh. A highly sought-after teacher and pedagogue, Marylene has over twenty years of experience with students at various levels of experience and distinction.
Marylene’s numerous recordings of chamber music include Leo Zeitlin’s Yedish songs and the Caprichos Nos. 2-4 by Leonardo Balada (world premiere recording) for the Naxos label. She has also recorded the Serenade no 6 for trombone, viola and cello by Vincent Persichetti.
Marylene’s viola is by Italian maker Umberto Muschietti (1929).
New York Philharmonic
Rémi Pelletier joined the New York Philharmonic’s viola section in July 2013, having served in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra beginning in 2007. Previously, he was a regular substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra and performed with The Haddonfield Symphony and Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal. He served as guest principal viola of the International Orchestra of Italy in the summers of 2011 and 2012, principal viola of Japan’s Pacific Music Festival, and assistant principal of the New York String Orchestra Seminar.
An active chamber musician, Pelletier was a regular guest at the Société de musique de chambre de Québec and performed with Rendez-vous musical de Laterrière and Musica Camerata, as well as with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s chamber music series. His honors include the CBC/McGill Music Award (2003) as well as first prize at the Concours du Québec and Canada’s National Music Festival Competition.
A native of Québec, Pelletier was a scholarship recipient at Encore School for Strings and the Orford Arts Centre. He performed a recital on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Debut Series. In addition to attending master classes with Kim Kashkashian, Roberto Diaz, and others, Rémi Pelletier studied with Michael Tree and Joseph De Pasquale at The Curtis Institute of Music, and with André Roy at McGill University, from which he graduated with the distinction of Outstanding Achievement in Viola Performance and where he was principal viola of the McGill Symphony Orchestra.
New Century Chamber Orchestra
A noted violist, Elizabeth Prior is a season substitute with the San Francisco Ballet. She performs regularly with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra (where she has served as Associate Principal) as well as the San Francisco Symphony, and is Associate Principal Violist with the Marin Symphony. Other orchestral credits include the Baden Baden Radio, Stuttgart Radio, Basel Symphony and Mannheim Opera Orchestras, as well as the Freiburg Philharmonic and Cape Town Symphony.
Cassandra Lynne Richburg
New Century Chamber Orchestra
Cassandra Lynne Richburg is a member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra based in San Francisco and an active studio musician in Los Angeles.
Lynne has performed on more than 300 motion picture sound tracks, and has been a member of the Academy Awards Orchestra, the Emmy Awards Orchestra and the Grammy Strings, on many occasions.
Ms. Richburg started playing the viola at the age of 10, and was chosen a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She has won many competitions across the nation including 1st prize in the William Primrose International Viola Competition, and awarded a special prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition.
Lynne was featured in the video-taped “Master Viola Series” by Donald McInnes while a student at the University of Michigan, and she received Bachelor and Master’s Degrees from the University of Southern California under the guidance of Donald McInnes and Alan DeVeritch.
She has been a featured soloist with several orchestras including the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Savannah Symphony, Sacramento Symphony and the New Century Chamber Orchestra.
Lynne has also held positions of Assistant Principal and Principal Violist with the Sacramento Symphony, Principal Violist with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, was a member of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and has performed and toured with the New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphonies.
This is Lynne’s 20th summer with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Festival.
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Violist Ann Roggen has been awarded grants from Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts, and as a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, has recorded extensively for the Telarc, Sony and Deutsche Gramaphone recording labels.
She maintains an active studio at William Paterson University where she is Professor of Viola, Chamber Music and Orchestral Studies, as well as in New York City where she teaches viola and chamber music. As a member of the Bennington College faculty, she has had great success in developing interdisciplinary cultural events designed to combine music with literature, history, dance and language in performance. Ann is a tireless advocate for unique and unusual repertoire for the viola in combination with other instruments and voice. In her role as Vice President of the New York Viola Society, she has been successful in creating numerous performance opportunities in New York City for dedicated violists to explore this repertoire, both old and new. In the fall of 2008, she was elected to the national board of the American Viola Society.
Some of Ann’s recent creations include “The Forbidden Music” of composers banned by the Nazis, an evening of music for multiple violas, with violists of the London Symphony Orchestra, concerts of viola music by film composers, as well as an event presented by the Pen and Brush organization devoted to the life and works of composer Rebecca Clarke.
Highlights of recent seasons include concerto performances with the Zagreb Chamber
Orchestra (Croatia), as well as recitals and master classes under the auspices of the American Cultural Centres in Zagreb and Vilnius, Lithuania.
Ann received her musical training at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, and the Juilliard School. Her principal teachers and mentors have included Karen Tuttle, Lillian Fuchs, Joseph Fuchs and the Juilliard String Quartet.
KENNEDY CENTER/WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA ORCHESTRA
Violist Uri Wassertzug has performed professionally in many places around the world including Alaska, California, and Utah in the U.S. as well as the UK, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. Since 1998 he has been a member of the Kennedy Center Opera House/ Washington National Opera Orchestra as well as Idaho’s Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He occasionally serves as Guest Principal Viola with the National Philharmonic. He has also performed with the San Francisco Opera and Symphony, the National Symphony, the Sacramento Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival, and the California Symphony among many others.
Wassertzug is a member of the National Chamber Ensemble and appears frequently on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Concerts series. Other chamber music appearances and affiliations have included the New Zealand Festival of Chamber Music, Mozart in Monterey, the Foulger International Music Festival, the Empyrean Ensemble, the Sun Quartet, and the Beau Soir Ensemble.
Wassertzug is on the faculty of George Washington University. His own studies were at the University of Maryland, the Aspen Music Festival (on a fellowship), and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (awarded the Germaine Prevost Scholarship). Some of his teachers included the members of the Guarneri Quartet, Isadore Tinkleman, and Robert Becker. An aficionado of coffee, Wassertzug has been roasting his own coffee beans for several years. He lives in Virginia with his wife, violinist Elizabeth Field, and their son.
Amos Yang, Principal
Assistant Principal Cello, San Francisco Symphony
Amos Yang joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2007 as Assistant Principal Cello. He was previously a member of the Seattle Symphony. Born and raised in San Francisco, he was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and San Francisco Boys Choir and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, including regular appearances with the Seattle Chamber Music Society and at the Olympic Music Festival, and from 1996 to 2002 he was the cellist in the Maia String Quartet. He has served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, the University of Iowa, Grinnell College and the Interlochen Advanced String Quartet Institute. He has also served as a mentor for the San Francisco Symphony Community of Music Makers program.
David T. Premo, Assistant Principal
Associate Principal Cello, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Cellist David Premo joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1992, was promoted to Fourth Chair, a non-rotating position in 1994, and subsequent to a national audition in 1999, was offered the position of Assistant Principal. Following another round of national auditions, Mr. Premo was awarded the position of Associate Principal in 2001. Additionally, Mr. Premo has been Artist-Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University since 1994, providing private cello instruction, coaching chamber music groups and teaching an orchestra repertoire class.
Mr. Premo came to Pittsburgh from Washington D.C., where he served as Associate Principal of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra from 1980 until 1991. During his tenure in Washington, Mr. Premo performed chamber music at the Phillips Collection, the Corcorcan Gallery and the Library of Congress, and served on numerous occasions as principal cellist with the American Chamber Orchestra, the National Gallery Orchestra and the Wolf Trap Festival Orchestra, among others. Mr. Premo performed as a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, both at the Kennedy Center and on several United States and European tours.
Since coming to Pittsburgh, Mr. Premo has become a frequently requested chamber musician and soloist, appearing on Shadyside and Rodef Shalom chamber music series and, in 1993, performing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Edgewood Symphony. In 1995 Mr. Premo and Christopher Wu (violinist with the PSO and winner of the 1994 Passamaneck Award) won the Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition. In 1996 Mr. Premo won the prestigious Passamaneck Award entitling him to a solo recital which he gave in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Hall in April 1997.
David Premo studied ‘cello in his native Chicago with Margaret Evans of the Chicago Symphony, later with Robert Newkirk at Catholic University, and most recently with Janos Starker at Indiana University. His ‘cello was made in approximately 1860 by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume.
Lena Bonhorst Andaya
Principal Cello, Sacramento Opera Orchestra
Lena Bonhorst Andaya is a native of Portland. After undergraduate studies at Portland State University with Hamilton Cheifetz, she received degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in cello performance, studying with Irene Sharp. She has attended many music festivals, including Aspen, Colorado Music Festival, Banff, L.A. Institute, and Bowdoin. She was a member of the Sacramento Symphony for many years and has played with Honolulu, Modest, and Vallejo (as principal), and has soloed with Sacramento, Vallejo, and Camellia Symphonies. An active chamber music performer, she has participated in Chamber Music Northwest, Old First Church Concerts (SF), Chamber Music West, and the Sun Valley chamber music series. Currently Ms. Andaya is principal cellist of the Sacramento Opera and Choral Society as well as the Napa Valley Symphony and plays in the Sacramento Philharmonic. She has a studio of forty students, cello and piano.
Substitute/Extra Cello, San Francisco Symphony
Richard Andaya, is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory and Yale University. He has served as Principal cello with the Sacramento Symphony, the Colorado Philharmonic, California Symphony,the National Repertory Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony and has held positions with the Oakland, San Jose and New Haven Symphonies. Richard performs regularly with the San Francisco Symphony and has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, the Colorado Philharmonic, the Camellia Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, the California Youth Symphony, the Vallejo Symphony and several times with the Sacramento Symphony. He is a huge fan of the 3 time World Champion San Francisco Giants.
Assistant Principal Cello, Kansas City Symphony
Alexander East serves as the Assistant Principal Cello of the Kansas City Symphony. In addition to duties with the Symphony, which often include leading the section as principal for opera, ballet and chamber orchestra performances, East is also heard frequently in recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the Kansas City region and beyond. He has also performed with the Sun Valley (Idaho) Summer Symphony every summer since 1992.
In the Kansas City area, he has performed regularly in groups including Summerfest Chamber Music Concerts (also serving as an Artistic Advisor), the Boulevard String Quartet and newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Before settling in Kansas City, East spent two seasons as a member of the New World Symphony under the direction of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and he was also re-invited to coach the NWS cello section as a guest alumnus.
East has been featured as soloist with the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Sedalia Symphony, the Erie (PA) Chamber Orchestra and the Fredonia Chamber Players.
East received his training at Indiana University where he received a bachelor’s degree and performer diploma, and he earned his master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music. His teachers have included Tsuyushi Tsutsumi, Janos Starker, Laurence Lesser and Colin Carr. He performs on an English cello made ca.1800-10 by John Betts of London.
Freelance Musician, San Francisco Bay Area
Cellist Eric Gaenslen is a part-time artist-in-residence at the School of Music. He has been a member of the Rossetti Quartet since 1999. Also a recitalist, he has performed worldwide at such venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Lincoln Center, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. As orchestral soloist he has performed Bloch’s Schelomo at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, the Beethoven Triple Concerto in Mexico and given the premiere performance of Laura Carnibucci’s ‘Siddartha’ for cello and string orchestra. Chamber music performances at major music festivals include the Olympic, Aspen, Evian, Tanglewood, Bowdoin, Banff and Vermont Mozart Festival. Among the artists with whom Mr. Gaenslen has collaborated are Eugene Istomin, Anton Kuerti and Gautier Capucon. He has been a guest artist with the Ying Quartet.
Born in San Francisco, Mr. Gaenslen began his musical studies at the age of seven with master pedagogue Irene Sharp. He went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University while studying with Aldo Parisot, and his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School with Joel Krosnick, cellist of the Juilliard Quartet. Other major influences on Mr. Gaenslen include Robert Mann, William Pleeth and Gyorgy Kurtag.
Gaenslen is a committed teacher himself and has taught at the Mannes College pre- college in New York and at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Cellist Anne Lee is from Calgary, Alberta and started music lessons at the age of 5. She has since enjoyed appearances in several music festivals, including Casalmagiore in Italy, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, the Banff Arts Festival, the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. Anne made her solo debut with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003.
She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Music at McGill University with professors Antonio Lysy and Elizabeth Dolin. She then received her Master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music with Natasha Brofsky. In 2007, Anne was the recipient of the Alberta Foundation of the Arts grant and spent a year in Barcelona, Spain studying with Lluis Claret.
Anne has been a member of the Utah Symphony since 2011. Prior to this she was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida.
Aside from her love of performing the orchestral repertoire, Anne enjoys playing chamber music, teaching, and exploring the great outdoors with her husband, violinist Claude Halter.
St. Louis Symphony
Cellist Bjorn Ranheim was appointed to the Saint Louis Symphony in 2005 and is a member of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. He served as principal cellist with the Colorado Music Festival from 2006 – 2015 and has performed and toured with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit.
Bjorn Ranheim has appeared as soloist on multiple occasions with the Saint Louis Symphony and Colorado Music Festival, as well engagements with the New World Symphony, Columbia Civic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra and the Washington University Symphony Orchestra.
Actively performing in chamber music, Bjorn Ranheim has toured extensively in the United States, Europe and Central America, with performances at Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Gardner Museum, Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. He has participated in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Seminar, Costa Rica International Chamber Music Festival and Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival.
Mr. Ranheim is highly visible throughout the St. Louis region, presenting recitals, educational programs and chamber music performances. He is a core member of the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis and was the cellist with Washington University’s Eliot Piano Trio with St. Louis Symphony concertmaster, David Halen, and the late pianist, Seth Carlin. Mr. Ranheim’s recording of J.S. Bach Suite No. 3 for Unaccompanied Cello was released on AAM Recordings in 2013.
Seeking out new directions and partners in music making, Bjorn Ranheim has collaborated with internationally known jazz musicians, sharing the stage and recording studio with Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Peter Martin, Jeremy Davenport & Brian Owens. In the spring of 2011, Mr. Ranheim appeared on the nationally renowned radio program, A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, performing alongside jazz vocalist, Erin Bode, and her trio. Mr. Ranheim is a founding member of The 442s, an acoustic string ensemble that pursues innovative, genre-defying music making and collaborations.
A committed advocate of contemporary solo and chamber music, Bjorn Ranheim has given world-premier performances of works by the late Stephen Paulus, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Heitzig, Peter Martin, Stefan Freund and William Beckstrand.
As a mentor and coach, Bjorn Ranheim has been invited to work with the New World Symphony, Indiana University Summer Music Festival and the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. Mr. Ranheim has been a featured contributor to MUSAIC – the online video lesson library curated by the New World Symphony as well as the Online Music Academy produced by the Sheldon Concert Hall.
Bjorn Ranheim studied at The Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Stephen Geber, former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Mr. Ranheim lives in the heart of St. Louis, MO with his wife Dorie, their two beautiful daughters, Inga & Freya and Hungarian Vizsla, Ruby.
Born in Montreal, Canada, cellist Louis-Philippe Robillard first came to the United States in 2003 with a performance scholarship to study with Timothy Eddy at the Mannes College of Music in New York City . Graduated with the highest honors and awarded the Prix de conservatoire from Montreal Conservatory, Mr. Robillard has previously studied with Carole Sirois and Dorothy Bégin, and has worked with Mstislav Rostropovich, Lynn Harrell, David Soyer, Desmond Hoebig, Hans Jorgen Jensen, and Philippe Muller in masterclasses and private lessons. Mr. Robillard has won competitions such as the Canadian Music Competition, the Montreal Conservatory Concerto Competition, and the New World Symphony Concerto Competition. He has been performing as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, giving recitals in New York and Montreal, and participating in international festivals such as the Domaine Forget International Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Canadian National Art Center’s Young Artists Programme. Louis-Philippe Robillard has been a member of the New World Symphony and the Fort Worth Symphony before joining the Utah Symphony in 2016.
More commonly known as Louis in the United States, Louis-Philippe enjoys spending his free time hiking, swimming, cooking and drinking too much coffee.
Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music
Ellen Sanders is a cellist, teacher and conductor who lives and plays in Oakland, CA and the Bay Area. She is Principal Cello of Santa Cruz Symphony, Assistant Principal Cello of Opera San Jose and a regular member of the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and an extra musician for the San Francisco Opera. Ms. Sanders is a teaching artist for the San Francisco Symphony’s Education Department where she weekly visits middle and high school music classes to coach cello sections and chamber music groups. In 2015/2016 she joined H.O.U.S.E. (Home of United String Ensembles) – a program that brings professional musicians to public schools to coach string music students in Oakland. For 2014/15 she was Assistant Conductor of The Community Women’s Orchestra (Oakland, CA) where she premiered the first movement of the “Concerto for 4 Bassoons” by June Bonacich. Ms. Sanders has been a member of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony cello section since 1992. Ellen has coached for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s Summer Music Workshops from the start and will conduct its Philharmonia Orchestra for an 11th summer in 2016. Ms. Sanders is a graduate of Oberlin College and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has been seen hiking her doggie girl, Toni, in the regional parks of Oakland and surfing the waters of Santa Cruz.
Telegraph Quartet, San Francisco
As a cellist Jeremiah Shaw has performed throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Eight months after founding the Telegraph Quartet, the ensemble won the Gold Medal and Grand Prize at the 2014 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Competition in 2016, which awards the quartet a commission of Robert Sirota’s 3rd String Quartet to be premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2018. As of Fall 2017, Telegraph Quartet was appointed as the string quartet in residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, joining the chamber music faculty as well as the precollege division.
In 2016, Telegraph Quartet was the only American string quartet selected to participate in the biennial Journée d’audition de quatuors à cordes at the Philharmonie De Paris, which purpose was to expose 15 young international quartets to important concert presenters and directors of venues across Europe. In 2018 the Telegraph Quartet will release its debut album with Grammy Award winning engineer and producer Jesse Lewis, which features works by Leon Kirchner, Anton Webern, and Benjamin Britten. In addition to releasing an album and touring the Telegraph Quartet also commissioned John Harbison’s 6th String Quartet with a consortium and presented the west coast premiere in 2017 in San Francisco.
Jeremiah holds performance degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, as well as a bachelor degree in Music Production and Recording Technology from Shenandoah University, and had the unique opportunity of interning for the Grammy Award Winning classical music label Sono Luminus, while attaining an audio engineering and music production undergraduate degree. His principal cello teachers were Richard Aaron and Joel Krosnick. Jeremiah has been a member of the cello section of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 2005.
San Francisco Symphony
Born in Virginia and raised in South Carolina, cellist Margaret Tait joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1974. Her studies were at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Southern California, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and she holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music. Although she has been engaged throughout her career as an orchestral musician, she has a deep lovefor chamber music. In 1979 she helped to found the Aurora String Quartet which was a vital force on the chamber music scene for 22 years. With the Quartet, she performed in London, New York, Tokyo, and maintained a series of compelling concerts in the Bay Area. The Aurora Quartet received two commissioning grants from Chamber Music America, and did West Coast premieres of works by George Tsontakis, George Perle, Benjamin Lees, David MacBride and others. They also performed as concerto soloists with the San Francisco Symphony. On the Naxos label, the Quartet recorded the completeQuartets by Mendelssohn and the two Quartets by Prokofieff.
As a recitalist, she has performed Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano with William Corbett Jones. They have also presented programs containing a wide range of repertoire. Margaret is a frequent performer on the Davies Hall Chamber series sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony.
Stephen Tramontozzi, Principal
Assistant Principal Bass, San Francisco Symphony
Stephen Tramontozzi, Assistant Principal Double Bass of the San Francisco Symphony, studied with Robert Olson of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Oscar Zimmerman at the Eastman School of Music. He was Principal Bass of the Symphony Orchestra of Sao Paolo, Brazil and has also performed with the Chamber Music West Festival, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival and the Cabrillo Music Festival.
Formerly on the faculties of Stanford University and the Universities of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Stephen currently serves on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Mills College. He is in high demand as clinician for universities and youth orchestras, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Engagements as a recitalist have taken him to Japan, Washington State and throughout California. Stephen received a B.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Lawrence Wolfe, and a M.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Jeremy Kurtz-Harris, Assistant Principal
Principal Bass, San Diego Symphony
Bassist Jeremy Kurtz-Harris has a diverse musical background that includes solo, chamber, and orchestral performance. He is a prizewinner of numerous competitions, including First Place in the 1997 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He has been the Principal Bassist of the San Diego Symphonysince 2004, which has included performing for all productions of the San Diego Opera. During the 2015-16 season, Kurtz-Harris took a sabbatical from San Diego Symphony to play Acting Associate Principal with the San Francisco Symphony, where he ended up performing as Principal Bass for the majority of the season. He has also played Guest Principal Bass with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Guest Principal with the Australian Chamber Orchestraon their September 2017 Australia Tour.
While many classical bassists focus entirely on orchestral performance, Kurtz-Harris has always been an avid proponent of the double bass as a solo instrument. His recital experience is extensive, including solo appearances in Houston, Memphis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, as well as appearances at several International Society of Bassists conventions and Bass 2008 in Paris. He helped to organize a fifteen-orchestra consortium for a new double bass concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison, and performed the work with the San Diego Symphony in March 2007. In addition, he has premiered and helped to commission numerous new works for the double bass.
Kurtz-Harris has performed chamber music at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, La Jolla SummerFest, San Diego’s Art of Elan Series, and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. A graduate of the Curtis Institute and Rice University, his main teachers have been Harold Robinson and Timothy Pitts. His wide musical interests have also led him to study with such artists as jazz bassist John Clayton and classical/bluegrass bassist-extraordinaire Edgar Meyer. In addition to his performing pursuits, Kurtz-Harris has been a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists, and is on the music faculty at San Diego State University. His CD with pianist Ines Irawati, “Sonatas and Meditations,” was released in 2008 in partnership with Houston Classical Radio, KUHF.
Principal Bass, Opera San Jose
Andy Butler received his Bachelor’s Double Degree in Performance and Education from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and his Master’s Degree in Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory. He is the Principal Bass of Opera San Jose, the Fresno Philharmonic and the California Symphony. Andy also holds the titled chair of Assistant Principal Bass with the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a regular member of both the Marin Symphony and Oakland East Bay Symphony. Andy also substitutes for many orchestras in and around the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Symphony. During the summer, Mr. Butler is a participant in the Music in the Mountains Festival and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He is actively involved in teaching as well as performing. In addition to being on the faculty of the Sun Valley Summer Music Workshops, Andy works with the Home Of United String Ensembles (H.O.U.S.E) program and Oakland Symphony’s M.U.S.E program, both of which serve students in the Oakland Public School System.
Principal Bass, Symphony Silicon Valley
William Everett serves as principal bass of Symphony Silicon Valley, after holding the same position for San Jose Symphony since 1998. He also spent three years as an acting member of the San Francisco Symphony, performing on numerous recordings and in halls throughout the United States and Europe. He has appeared as a free-lance musician with ensembles throughout the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Opera and the New Century Chamber Orchestra.
As a soloist, Everett has been featured at the Music in the Mountains Festival in Nevada City and Desert MusicFest in Carefree, Arizona, as well as appearing in recital in the Bay Area with his wife, pianist Aileen Chanco. He has specialized in the music of Giovanni Bottesini, as well a pursuing a deep interest in 20th century music. He has also transcribed numerous pieces from the Romantic cello repertoire for the double bass. As a composer, he has had his music peformed by the Worn Chamber in San Francisco.
Everett received his BM degree under Homer Mensch at the Juilliard School, and also studied with Edwin Barker at Boston University. As a student, he performed as principal bass with the New York String Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, as well as at festivals in Canada, Germany, Japan and Israel. He appeared as a concerto soloist as a teenager with the Mannes Precollege Orchestra in New York. A resident of Castro Valley, Everett is an avid traveler, a fine chef, and a skilled photographer, specializing in black and white landscapes.
Jon Keigwin is a native Bay Area bass player, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Jon studied bass with Charles Chandler of The San Francisco Symphony and continued his studies at The Curtis Institute of Music Philadelphia with Harold Robinson, principal bass of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Jon is a former prize winner of the Irvin Klein String Competition 1999. He currently performs with many Bay Area orchestras as well as performing in numerous groups as a singer and song writer, notably the Jonny Keigwin Band as well as Mary Jones’ Lights. Jon and his wife Lexie reside in San Rafael.
A highly skilled bassist in the classical and jazz fields, Pat is in demand as a performer, producer, clinician and teacher. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Performance at San Francisco State University, his Masters of Music degree in Performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and currently holds the post of Lecturer of Classical and Jazz Double Bass at California State University East Bay.
Mr. Klobas performs with the Marin Symphony, and as section bassist in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He is a substitute for the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, California Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, The Skywalker Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Merola Opera, the Turtle Island String Quartet and Quartet San Francisco. Pat was principal bass with San Francisco Opera’s touring company Western Opera Theater for 14 years, performing in over 40 states before its final curtain.
In the field of jazz and popular music Mr. Klobas is known in the San Francisco Bay Area as a first call session man. Pat has shared the stage with jazz artists Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Warren Vashe, , Quartet San Francisco, San Francisco Chamber Jazz Quartet , American Jazz Philharmonic and Indian Master Tabla percussionist Zakir Hussain. Mr. Klobas can often be found performing in the San Francisco Symphony Pops Orchestra rhythm section as well as the California Symphony Pops and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Pops.
Performing with Broadway stars and musical theater productions are part of Pat’s numerous musical experiences. Some of Pat’s favorites shows were with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Michael Feinstein, Tony Danza, Elaine Stritch, Kristin Chenoweth, Bob Hope, the Shorenstein Nederlander world premiere productions of White Christmas, The Producers with Martin Short and Jason Alexander, Les Misérables, 42nd Street, West Side Story, Ragtime, and many others.
As a recording artist Pat Klobas’ recent list of credits include Star Wars Trilogy with John Williams conducting (Grammy® nominated), Linda Ronstadt Winter Light, No Gravity Klobas/Kesecker Ensemble, recordings for Turtle Island String Quartet, Randy Newman, Kitaro, and the San Francisco Chamber Jazz Quartet. Skywalker Symphony movie soundtracks include Spy Kids, Predator ll, Ricochet, Soap Dish, Why Charlie Brown, Why?, and many others.
Mr. Klobas has studied with Stephen Tramontozzi, Charles Siani, Shinji Eshima, Joe Lescher, Herman Jobelman and Charles Chandler. Pat’s jazz teachers/influences include Rufus Reid, Richard Davis, John Clayton, John Patitucci and Ray Brown.
Freelance Musician, San Francisco
Associate Principal Bass, San Diego Symphony
Since 2004, Susan Wulff has been the Associate Principal Bassist with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double Bachelor of Music degree in bass and vocal performance at CSU, Sacramento with Thomas Derthick, completing her Master of Music and Advanced Studies degrees at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Dennis Trembly, followed by private studies with David Moore.
In addition to the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera Orchestra, Susan has been a member of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra and New West Symphony, and has worked extensively with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra. Susan’s musicianship and versatility have garnered her work in diverse genres: from San Diego’s chamber ensembles Art of Elan and Luscious Noise to recording on many Hollywood soundtracks and playing on The Tonight Show with various
artists as well as recording with Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. Susan’s “jazzy” side can also be heard on several of Hallmark’s loveable “Hoops
& Yoyo” e-cards.
Susan has participated in several prominent music festivals including Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, Mainly Mozart, Peter Britt, and Pacific Music Festival in Japan. She has been a guest artist, featured soloist and clinician with the San Francisco Bass Bash and the National Repertory Orchestra. Her other passions include being a mom, Contemporary, Tap and Hip Hop Dance; gourmet food and building things.
Linda Lukas, Principal
San Francisco Symphony
Linda Lukas joined the San Francisco Symphony as Second Flutist in 1990 and was Acting Associate Principal Flute for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. This will be her twentieth season as Principal Flute of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony where she has also been a frequent soloist and performer of chamber music. Previously, she was a member of the San Diego Symphony and has also performed with the California Ballet Orchestra, San Diego Opera Orchestra, and as Principal Flute of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared as a chamber musician at the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and the La Jolla Summerfest, and as a soloist at National Flute Conventions in San Diego, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.
A native of Delaware, Ohio, Linda began her training at Ohio University and received her master’s degree from the University of Iowa. In 1980, she was awarded a United States Foundation Grant and spent a two-year residency studying and performing in Paris, France. Upon returning from France, she began work towards a Doctoral Degree at Northwestern University and performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Ms. Lukas has been Instructor of Flute at San Francisco State University since 1991 and for ten years was a member of the Arioso Wind Quintet, which has recorded two CD’s on the Koch International label. The most recent CD of music by Samuel Barber includes the Summer Music and the Capricorn Concerto, which features Ms. Lukas as soloist.
San Francisco Symphony
Catherine Payne, who joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1996, performed and recorded with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as acting second flutist for two seasons, including the 1994-95 Tanglewood seasons. As a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, she appeared on many Evening at Pops telecasts, including the annual live July 4th broadcasts. Ms. Payne was formerly principal flutist of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, and associate principal flute and piccolo player with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, the Portland Symphony, and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, where she was a featured soloist in concertos of Mozart and J.S. Bach. Ms. Payne was also invited to perform for several weeks with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim, playing concerts in Chicago and Europe.
A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Ms. Payne studied with Thomas Nyfenger of the Yale School of Music while she was in high school. She continued her studies in Boston at the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Lois Schaefer and Leone Buyse of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While pursuing her music education, Ms. Payne attended Tufts University, where she majored in English, graduating magna cum laude.
Catherine Payne has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.
Associate Principal Flute, St. Louis Symphony
Andrea Kaplan joined the St. Louis Symphony as Associate Principal Flute in 2007. Prior to joining the STL Symphony, she was Principal Flute with the Florida Orchestra in the Tampa Bay area. She also served as Assistant Principal Flute of the Mexico State Symphony Orchestra in March 2004.
Kaplan made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 12. She went on to attend the Curtis Institute of Music as a National Merit Scholar, graduating in 2003. She later attended the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Her main teachers have been Jeffrey Khaner, Julius Baker, and Leone Buyse.
During the summer, Kaplan has played with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Central City Opera Orchestra, Kent/Blossom Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. Andrea Kaplan is also a member of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
St. Louis Symphony
Ann Choomack performed with the Richmond Symphony as third flute/piccolo from 2004-13, and spends her summers as a faculty member at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. A graduate of Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, she completed her master’s degree at New England Conservatory in Boston. Teachers include Bonita Boyd, Paula Robison and Damian Bursill-Hall. Ann Choomack has performed in numerous music festivals including Festival Lyrique en Mer, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Music Academy of the West, Kent-Blossom Chamber Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Melanie Keller is Principal Flutist & Personnel Manager of the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Napa Valley and has also performed with many other orchestras in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Keller has enjoyed performing with the Boise Philharmonic.
Keller has spent recent summers performing at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Festival del Sole, Mendocino Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Texas Music Festival and the Las Vegas Music Festival.
She has been a featured soloist with the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra and is a founding member of The Avenue Winds, a Bay-Area based woodwind quintet that maintains a special interest in performing works by living Bay Area composers.
Keller received her M.M. degree in the studio of Timothy Day at the San Francisco Conservatory and her B.M. degree in the studio of Mark Sparks at the Peabody Institute. A frequent prizewinner at national flute competitions, she won First Place in the 2005 Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair Young Artist Competition.
A passionate educator, Keller serves as Adjunct Flute Faculty at the College of Idaho and is the flute instructor at the Dunkley School of Music. Keller has also enjoyed working with young musicians as a coach for the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Peninsula Youth Orchestra (CA).
Keller resides in beautiful Boise, ID and loves spending time with her husband Blaise and their sons, Owen & Jacob.
Erik Behr, Principal
Principal Oboe, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Oboe of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 2007, Erik Behr was previously Principal Oboe of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet. Mr. Behr has performed as guest principal with the San Francisco Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and as a guest with the Seattle and Houston symphonies. During the summer, he performs alongside his wife, RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde, with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra. Other festival appearances include the Casals and Spoleto festivals.
In addition to numerous concerto appearances with the RPO and Houston Ballet, Behr has recorded Honegger’s Concerto da Camera with the RTV Slovenia Orchestra. In 2018 he will perform the world premiere of Allen Shawn’s Oboe Concerto, commissioned specifically for Behr and the RPO. Together with his wife, he is Artistic Director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester and in 2017 he gave the world premiere of Guggenheim Fellow Adam Roberts’s Oboe Quartet, commissioned for Behr and SCMR. He has given chamber recitals nationally and internationally at the Edinburgh International Festival, Kilkenny Festival, and Maribor Festival. His playing has been praised by critics as “bold and graceful” (Washington Post), “immaculate” (Sunday Tribune), for its “tremendous musicianship and sense of style” (Irish Examiner) and for his “ease and eloquence” (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle).
Currently Adjunct Professor at Roberts Wesleyan College, Mr. Behr has served on the oboe faculty at the University of Houston and was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University. He received his B.M. (cum laude) at Arizona State University, his M.M. from Temple University, and D.M.A. from Rice University. His principal teachers have been Robert Atherholt, Richard Woodhams, and Martin Schuring.
Freelance Musician, East Coast
A native of Lubbock, TX, Jason Sudduth has served as Assistant Principal Oboe in the Omaha Symphony for the past four seasons. He moved to Nebraska with his wife Erica after a 5-year tenure in Hawaii as Solo English horn and third oboe with the Honolulu Symphony. Prior to his tenure in Hawaii, Jason was second oboist with the San Jose Symphony, and performed frequently with the San Francisco Symphony, Opera San Jose, and the San Francisco Opera. He has served as Principal Oboe of the Lubbock and Midland/Odessa Symphonies, in addition to appearing with the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, and San Antonio Symphony. Jason received his Bachelor of Music degree with honors from Texas Tech University, and earned a Masters degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with Houston Symphony principal oboist Robert Atherholt. He has participated in the Texas, Breckenridge, Carmel-Bach, Midsummer Mozart, Music in the Mountains, and Sun Valley (ID) festivals, as well as serving as Principal Oboe of the North Carolina School of the Arts’ Festival Orchestra on two of it’s summer European tours. Jason is a passionate teacher and has taught oboe at San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, UC Santa Cruz, University of Hawaii, and the prestigious Punahou School in Honolulu. Jason currently has a successful studio of young oboists in Omaha, and loves spending time w/ his wife Erica and baby daughter Avery.
Freelance Musician, Pittsburgh, PA
James Gorton retired as Co-Principal Oboist of the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2012 after playing in the orchestra for 41 years. He was formerly a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, Principal Oboe of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Colorado Philharmonic, New Hampshire Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and Strings Music Festival (Steamboat Springs, CO). He is a faculty member at both Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon University.
David Neuman, Principal
San Francisco Symphony, Clarinet
David Neuman, who has been a clarinetist with the San Francisco Symphony since 1986 and currently serves as second clarinet. He received a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and an artist diploma from the Curtis Institute. He has served as principal clarinet of the Korean Broadcast Symphony and as assistant principal and E-flat clarinet with the Cincinnati Symphony. He has served for 14 consecutive seasons as principal clarinet of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. David has appeared in many San Francisco Symphony Chamber Music Series concerts, most recently performing in Bruce Broughton’s Hudson River Valley in 2005. David has for six years been owner of VuPorts, a buyer and seller of video communications equipment.
Bass Clarinet, San Francisco Symphony
Jerome Simas holds the positions of bass and utility clarinet with the San Francisco Symphony and principal clarinet with the California Symphony. He has performed with other American orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and Naples Philharmonic of Florida. He was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL and has held principal clarinet positions with the Oakland Symphony, the IRIS orchestra, and the Akron Symphony. As a chamber musician, he studied and performed at Marlboro Music in Vermont and is currently solo clarinetist with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, a San Francisco-based group performing newly commissioned works alongside traditional masterworks. He won Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and First Prize at the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition.
As a music educator, he has taught master classes in the US, Canada, and China and is a member of the collegiate faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is currently a coach with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and a mentor and coach with various Bay Area community ensembles. He previously taught clarinet at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, Stanford University, UC Davis, and the University of Akron. He received his BM and MM degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Cleveland Orchestra principal clarinetist, Franklin Cohen.
Assistant Principal Clarinet, Lyric Opera Of Chicago
Described as “star quality” by the Boston Globe, clarinetist Susan Warner is a member of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra. She has also performed with other world-class ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her position at the operahouse, Susan is a member of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Prairie Winds, a nationally touring wind quintet.
Susan has performed at the acclaimed music festivals of Schleswig-Holstein, Heidelberg Castle, Grand Teton, and Aspen. Invited to participate in the Tanglewood Music Center for two years, Susan was twice awarded with special honors–the Gino B. Cioffi prize, given to the outstanding clarinetist, and the C.D. Jackson Award for outstanding performance.
Susan lives in Oak Park with her husband Chicago Symphony hornist David Griffin and their children Henry and Pearl. Together Susan and David homeschool their children, allowing the family to extensively travel the world. Recent voyages have been to New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Panama, Turkey, and Europe.
Principal Clarinet, Denver Symphony
Jason Shafer joined the Colorado Symphony as Principal Clarinet at the start of the 2013-2014 season. Previously, he played for four years as a fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL. He received his Bachelor of Music with Highest Distinction from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied with Kenneth Grant. His other major musical influences include Mark Nuccio and Burt Hara.
Shafer has appeared in guest principal roles with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, where he has been a regular member since 2012. Always looking for opportunities to travel, he has performed abroad in Austria, Estonia, and Russia. Shafer has collaborated in chamber music performances with Yefim Bronfman, Jeremy Denk, and Laura Aikin; as a concerto soloist, he has performed with the Colorado Symphony, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Eastman Philharmonia, among others. He is passionate about teaching and is on the faculty of the University of Northern Colorado and the International Festival-Institute at Round Top; he also taught at the Metropolitan State University of Denver from 2015-2016. In addition, Shafer studied piano during his time at Eastman, and loves to accompany other musicians.
Principal Clarinet, Berkeley
Roman Fukshansky appears regularly with the San Francisco Symphony and Opera orchestras, serves as principal clarinet with the Berkeley Symphony and Symphony Napa Valley, and performs with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. Additionally, Fukshansky can be heard throughout the greater Bay Area performing with virtually all of the region’s professional orchestras.
An avid chamber musician Fukshansky is co-founder of Ensemble San Francisco, and has appeared with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, the French Music Festival, Espressivo Ensemble and others.
As an educator Fukshansky is on the faculty of San Francisco Conservatory’s Pre-College Division and UC Santa Cruz.
Fukshansky is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of Southern California, and the Manhattan School of Music. His principal teachers include Yehuda Gilad, Mark Nuccio, David Neuman, and Luis Baez.
Andrew Cuneo, Principal
Principal Bassoon, St. Louis Symphony
Andrew Cuneo is the Principal Bassoon with the St. Louis Symphony, a position he has held since 2011. Prior to his appointment in St. Louis, he was Principal Bassoon of the Louisville Orchestra and the Sarasota Opera. In addition, he has performed as guest principal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. During the summer, he is Principal Bassoon in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and in 2017, the Bellingham Festival of Music. Andrew Cuneo is a former student of Bernard Garfield and Daniel Matsukawa at the Curtis Institute of Music, George Sakakeeny at the Oberlin College Conservatory and Benjamin Kamins at Rice University.
Principal Bassoon, Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Tariq Masri is currently principal bassoonist of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as principal bassoonist of the Hofer Symphoniker in Germany. Tariq has a bachelor of music from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with David McGill for five years.
He also completed one year of graduate work at the University of Southern California, studying with Stephen Maxym before leaving to take the position in Germany. Tariq has attended numerous summer festivals including two years at the Spoleto Festival.
As an orchestral musician, Tariq has performed with the San Francisco Symphony as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under various conductors including Pierre Boulez, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniel Barenboim, and Jeffrey Kahane.
Principal Bassoon, Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra
Ellen Connors enjoys a varied career as orchestral player, chamber musician and teacher. She has been principal bassoonist with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra since 2011. Connors spent the 2012-13 season playing 2nd bassoon with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, making several appearances as guest principal. Previously, she served as principal bassoon of the Knoxville Symphony. Connors has appeared with both ProMusica and the Knoxville Symphony as soloist, performing Vivaldi, Mozart and Schickele. She has been a member of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 2011, and is a former member of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She has also performed with the St. Louis Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Charleston Symphony and Chattanooga Symphony.
Connors completed her undergraduate studies at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, studying with Benjamin Kamins. While at Rice she won a prestigious Watson Fellowship and spent the following year studying folk music in China, Mongolia, Laos, Bulgaria and Norway. Connors received her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music where she was a student of Frank Morelli. She has concertized in Italy, Switzerland, China, South Korea, the Dominican Republic and throughout the U.S. A Michigan native, Connors resides in St. Louis.
Rochester Symphony Orchestra
A Long Island native, bassoonist Karl Vilcins graduated from The Ohio State University in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance, studying with Christopher Weait. In 2004 he received his Master’s Degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, with Frank Morelli.
In the fall of 2017 Vilcins joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as their new Second/Contra Bassoonist. Prior to his most recent appointment, he served as Guest Principal Bassoon with the orchestra for their 2011/12 season. From 2005 through 2011 Vilcins held the position of Principal Bassoon of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. In 2012 Vilcins returned to New York City. Shortly thereafter he began a career as a New York City freelance musician, working with many groups including the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Ballet Theater and the American Composers Orchestra. In 2014 Vilcins was asked to join Orpheus on a two week tour of Japan, playing in 12 of the nations most prestigious concert halls including Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.
Over the years, Vilcins’s summers have been spent participating in numerous music programs including the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Attergau Festival in Salzburg. He also spent 3 summers performing in Steamboat Springs as part of the Strings Music Festival. This is Vilcins’s first summer with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
William VerMeulen, Principal
Principal Horn, Houston Symphony Orchestra
Hailed as “one of today’s superstars of the international brass scene,” Sun Valley Summer Symphony Principal Horn William VerMeulen has risen to become America’s leading horn soloist and preeminent teacher. He has been Principal Horn of the Houston Symphony since 1990 and has performed as a guest Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Prior to Houston he was employed with the orchestras of Columbus, Honolulu, and Kansas City.
Mr. VerMeulen has been an Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and participates as a performer and on faculty with the finest music festivals and chamber music presenters among which include: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Aspen, Music@Menlo, Banff, DaCamera, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Joshua Bell and Friends, Tanglewood, Sarasota, Steamboat Springs, Santa Fe, Orcas Island, New World Symphony, Domaine Forget, Chamber Music Northwest, Tippet Rise and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
He has performed to critical acclaim on four continents as a soloist and chamber musician and is a popular artist at International Horn Society Symposiums where he is a member of the Advisory Council. He also serves as a board member and judge of the International Horn Competition of America. Along with the dozens of orchestral recordings in his discography are numerous solo and chamber recordings, including the complete Mozart Horn Concerti with Christoph Eschenbach and the Houston Symphony, Texas Horns featuring the Dallas and Houston horn sections and The Christmas Horn which features Mr. VerMeulen combined with his students from Rice University and conducted by Dale Clevenger. He has recorded live the Brahms Trio op. 40, Mozart Quintet K. 407, Beethoven Septet, Ravel Tombeau de Couperin for wind quintet, Schubert Octet, Spohr Nonet, Ligeti Bagatelles and the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. A champion of new music, Mr. VerMeulen has had numerous pieces written for him including concerti by esteemed American composers Samuel Adler, Pierre Jalbert and Tony DiLorenzo and the horn cantata “Canticum Sacrum” by Robert Bradshaw. He recorded the Canto XI by Samuel Adler for a CD called First Chairs. In 2016, he performed the North American premiere of Collage by film composer James Horner for four horns and orchestra. Among his awards and honors, Mr. VerMeulen received first prize at the 1980 International Horn Society Soloist Competition and the Shapiro Award for Most Outstanding Brass Player at the Tanglewood Festival.
Regarded as one of the most influential horn teachers of all time, Mr. VerMeulen is Professor of Horn at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Brass Artist-in-Residence at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School and Visiting Professor of Horn at the Eastman School of Music and regular faculty at the New World Symphony in Miami with students performing in numerous major orchestras throughout the world including the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Canadian Brass, Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Montreal, St. Louis, Atlanta, Toronto, Detroit, Dallas and Houston Symphonies. Close to 300 positions and offers of employment have been awarded to his students. In 1985, he was invited to the White House to receive a “Distinguished Teacher of America Certificate of Excellence” from President Reagan and the White House commission on Presidential Scholars.
He received his training from Dale Clevenger at Northwestern University and at the Interlochen Arts Academy and is Founder and President of VerMeulen Music, L.L.C., which offers music, products and consulting for musicians of all types.
Mr. VerMeulen is married to Houston Opera and Ballet violinist Sylvia VerMeulen and they have two lovely children named Michael and Nicole. In his rare free time, he enjoys having good friends over to share in his passion for fine cooking and wine.
St. Louis Symphony
Christopher Dwyer is the second horn player for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He also currently serves in the same capacity for both the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra. Chris has frequently performed as a guest with other major symphony orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he has participated in Deutsche Grammophon studio recording projects with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Boulez and with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Chris received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a student of Eli Epstein and also studied with the eminent Dale Clevenger while serving as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has participated in many music festivals including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Santa Fe Opera, Music from Angel Fire, and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado. Chris performs on a custom made horn made by Daniel Rauch. He is an avid baseball fan, hiker, and craft beer enthusiast. Chris is married to flutist Laura Dwyer and they share their home with two precocious Persian cats.
St. Louis Symphony
Tod Bowermaster joined the St. Louis Symphony as Third Horn in 1995, and appears regularly with them as a soloist. Prior posts have been with the Honolulu Symphony and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Noted for his “gorgeous solo playing” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and his “golden-honey tone” (Kansas City Star), he released The Horn in Song, a collection of lyrical music for horn and piano, in 2012. Also in 2012, Tod was honored to be a member of the World Orchestra for Peace, performing at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Chicago’s Symphony Center under the direction of Maestro Valery Gergiev. Winner of the 1999 American Horn Competition and the 1982 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition, he continues to enjoy performing in both solo and chamber music settings. Tod serves as lecturer of horn at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. When not playing the horn, he enjoys playing tennis, singing, and, most of all, family time with his children, Kathryn and Ryan.
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Second Horn of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 1999, Brian Thomas is a native of Minneapolis and was influenced by his musical family and the rich artistic environment of his hometown. Both parents were cellists and his father played with the Minnesota Orchestra for 50 seasons before his recent retirement.
Brian took up the horn at an early age and was guided by mentor and teacher Dave Kamminga to Northwestern University, where he studied with Chicago Symphony hornists Norman Schweikert and Dale Clevenger. He proceeded on to positions in the orchestras of Louisville, Columbus, and Syracuse before assuming his current post as the Second Horn of the Houston Symphony in 1995.
Brian has performed with the orchestras of Minnesota, Cincinnati and San Diego and played for many years in both the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder and the Skaneateles Festival in upstate New York. He is a frequent guest artist at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and most recently was an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Brian has performed frequently with the Scottish band The Rogues, and has recorded 2 CDs and a live concert DVD with the group.
He is an avid road cyclist, enjoys the artistic and technical aspects of high-end audiophile equipment, nourishes his soul with Celtic music and appreciates fine meals with good friends. Brian shares his house in the suburbs of Houston with his lovely wife, Victoria, and five grateful rescue cats.
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Jesse comes from a musical family in Chicago. He received a Bachelor’s in Horn Performance from Indiana University, studying with Jeff Nelsen. He has played as a substitute horn with the Chicago Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic. In his spare time he likes to travel, play with dogs, and study renaissance art and music.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Nicholas Hartman joined the Toronto Symphony as fourth horn in January 2017, after previously serving in the same role with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He has performed with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the United States and Canada, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, Houston Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera, the Breckenridge Music Festival, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. In 2012, Nicholas was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC as part of their ongoing Conservatory Project. He was a 2011 and 2012 Tanglewood Music Center fellow, a 2010 National Repertory Orchestra fellow, and in 2009 was invited to Quebec to record the complete Beethoven symphonies with l’Orchestra de la Francophonie Canadienne. He is a 2012 graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, where he studied with Houston Symphony principal horn William VerMeulen.
Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
Dale Clevenger is professor of practice (horn) at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He was previously professor of horn at Roosevelt University.
Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 2013, Clevenger is a versatile musician in many areas, including chamber music, jazz, commercial recordings, and solos. His mentors were Arnold Jacobs and Adolph Herseth.
Before joining the Chicago Symphony, Clevenger was a member of Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air directed by Alfred Wallenstein; he also was principal horn of the Kansas City Philharmonic. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras worldwide, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim.
He has participated in many music festivals, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; the Florida Music Festival in Sarasota; the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Wash.; and the Affinis Music Festival in Japan. He also participated in the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. In addition, he has worked with the European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado and participated in several International Horn Society workshops. Recently, he was in Karlskrona, Sweden, at the Blekinge International Brass Academy Brass Week. Every July he is a part of the Italian Brass Week in Florence. He has given recitals and master classes throughout the world, including in Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Japan, China, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and Israel.
Clevenger is the featured soloist on several Chicago Symphony recordings, including works by Martin, Schumann, Britten, and Mozart. He also played on the Grammy Award-winning recording The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli with the brass ensembles of the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cleveland orchestras. He has recorded the horn concertos by Joseph and Michael Haydn with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Budapest, as well as all of Mozart’s horn concertos. The Mozart recording was named Record of the Year in Hungary, and both recordings were nominated for Grammy Awards.
Clevenger also performed with Barenboim and colleagues from the Chicago Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic in Chicago and Berlin on the Grammy-winning CD of quintets for piano and winds by Mozart and Beethoven. With Barenboim and Itzhak Perlman, he recorded Brahms’ Horn Trio for HD TV, laser disc, and Sony Classical CD. He performed on the Tribute to Ellington CD with Barenboim and other members of the Chicago Symphony, and he has recorded Strauss’s First Horn Concerto with Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony. John Williams wrote a horn concerto for him, which he premiered in 2004.
For 17 years, Clevenger played almost regularly with the group EARS, Jazz of All Eras. In 1985, he earned an honorary doctorate from Elmhurst College.
As a conductor, Clevenger served as music director of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra for 14 years. His conducting career has included guest appearances with numerous other orchestras, including the New Japan Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Roosevelt University Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Conservatory Orchestra, the Northwestern University Summer Symphony, the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, the Osaka Philharmonic, the National Philharmonic of Slovakia in Bratislava, the Sinfonia Crakovia and the Opole Philharmonic in Poland, and the Bartlesville (Oklahoma) Symphony Orchestra. Recently, he conducted the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the Valledolid (Spain) Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim as soloist.
Clevenger and his wife, Giovanna, divide their time between Bloomington, Indiana, and their home in Italy, where they have, at present, six dogs and three cats.
Andrew McCandless, Principal
Principal Trumpet, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Andrew McCandless was appointed Principal Trumpet with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1999 and has established himself as a prominent brass player in the orchestral world. Since his first professional position at the age of 20 with the Savannah Symphony, Andrew has also held the position of Principal Trumpet with many notable orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Sun Valley Summer Symphony where he still performs today.
As Principal Trumpet with the TSO, Andrew is regularly featured as a soloist. In 2010, Andrew performed the world première of Songs of the Paradise Saloon, a trumpet concerto written specifically for him by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Music Director Bramwell Tovey, and commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He appears as a guest artist and chamber musician throughout North America, having performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Regina Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Andrew began playing the trumpet at the age of nine while studying at the Youth Performing Arts School in his native Louisville, Kentucky. He continued his studies at Boston University and the Eastman School of Music. As a junior in college, Andrew began playing with the Savannah Symphony as Co-Principal Trumpet. In addition to his performing career, he is very involved with classical music education. He is on faculty at The Royal Conservatory of Music, teaches privately, and has given master classes throughout North America, including at the Eastman School of Music, University of Calgary, University of Toronto, and Northwestern University. Andrew is a Yamaha performing artist.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Michael Tiscione, originally of Monroe, NY, joined the trumpet section of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra during the 2002-2003 season. He left the ASO to join the San Francisco Symphony as second trumpet for the 2010-2011 season and has since returned to the ASO, where he is currently Second and Acting Associate Principal Trumpet.
Mr. Tiscione has traveled across the US to perform with many notable ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Utah Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and IRIS Chamber Orchestra. During the summer months he serves as second trumpet with both the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Bellingham Music Festival Orchestra. In 2015, he began performing as principal trumpet with Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, CA and in the section at the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO.
Recent solo engagements have included appearances with the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Georgia Philharmonic, and with the Georgia Brass Band at the 2012 International Trumpet Guild Conference. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Tiscione has been a member of the Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet since 2005. He performs and records with the Burning River Brass, has recently toured China with the Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet, and performs regularly with the Atlanta Chamber Players as well as at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at Kennesaw State University following temporary appointments at the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Mr. Tiscione is married to the principal oboe of the ASO, Elizabeth Koch Tiscione.
Mr. Tiscione holds degrees from Indiana University (BM) and Northwestern University (MM). His teachers have included John Rommel, Charles Geyer, Barbara Butler, and John Charles Thomas.
Associate Principal Trumpet, New York Philharmonic
Matthew Muckey joined the New York Philharmonic in June 2006. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in music, studying with Charles Geyer and Barbara Butler. A native of Sacramento, California, he has appeared as soloist with the Omaha Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, California Wind Orchestra, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, and on NPR’s program, From the Top. He has also played with the Boston Pops Orchestra, New World Symphony, and Chicago Civic Orchestra.
Mr. Muckey was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center during the summers of 2003 to 2005, and was the recipient of the Roger Voisin Award in 2004 and 2005.
San Francisco Symphony
Trumpeter Jeff Biancalana grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and studied with members of the Chicago Symphony. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Jeff is currently a member of the San Francisco Symphony.
Gordon Wolfe, Principal
Principal Trombone, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Gordon Wolfe has been a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2001, taking over the role of Principal Trombone in 2006. He was previously a member of the Winnipeg and Victoria Symphony Orchestras, and has also had the privilege of performing recently with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Gordon studied with Canadian trombone icons Ian McDougall, Thomas Eadie, and Peter Sullivan at the University of Victoria and McGill University while working through his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in music.
An accomplished chamber musician, Gordon was a founding member of the Central Park Brass, a privately funded brass quintet that is dedicated to performing free concerts for young people in the playgrounds of Central Park, and working regularly with under privileged children in the Union Settlements of the Bronx. In Toronto, he performs frequent recitals with BATSO (Brass Artists of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) as part of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Great Artist Series, and has performed for thousands of young students across Ontario as an ambassador of the Toronto Symphony’s Preludes programme.
In demand as a soloist, Gordon has recently been featured with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, the Hannaford Street Silver Band and the Idaho State Wind Ensemble. As a highly respected educator, Gordon draws top students from across Canada to his trombone studio at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School.
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Timothy Smith currently holds the chair of 2nd Trombone with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he has occupied since 2009. Tim has also performed with the Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Boston Pops, San Diego Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and Opera, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque.
In the chamber music realm, Timothy was a founding member of the Second City Brass Quintet, as well as the CT3 Trombone Quartet, winners of the 2005 ITA International Trombone Quartet Competition. Additionally, he is a member of the Buffalo Chamber Players and Great Lakes Trombone Ensemble. Tim is also an avid proponent of new works for trombone, playing a significant role in several new commissions for trombone in mixed environments.
As a pedagogue, Mr. Smith teaches a private studio in Buffalo, NY and is a frequent recitalist and clinician at universities around the country. Timothy holds a Bachelors Degree from Ithaca College, and a Masters Degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Smith is an S.E. Shires Artist. www.timsmithtrombone.com
Principal Bass Trombone, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Jeff Dee joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as principal bass trombone in fall 2016. Prior to this appointment, he held similar positions with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony, and Shanghai Broadcasting Symphony Orchestras. Dee has had the privilege to guest with the major orchestras in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Naples, New York, Rochester, and San Francisco, and has participated in festivals in Barbados, Durango, and Sun Valley. While
in Buffalo, he made 32 recordings with the orchestra, including Eric Ewazen’s Triple Concerto for Three Trombones and Orchestra. Ewazen wrote the Triple Concerto for Dee and his colleagues, Jonathan Lombardo and Timothy Smith, and together they gave the world premiere in 2012 under Maestro JoAnn Falletta.
Dee currently serves on faculty for both Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne
Universities. Additionally, he has served on faculty for the University of North Florida and SUNY Fredonia, and led master classes throughout the U.S. For several summers, Dee was guest artist and faculty for the Third Coast Trombone Retreat, an enriching program for trombonists of all ages.
A native of Plano, Texas, Dee attributes his love of music to his public school music education and his inspiring teachers. He received a bachelor’s degree in performance from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in performance from The Juilliard School. His principal teachers include Joseph Alessi, Bob Burnham, Donald Harwood, and John Kitzman.
Assistant Principal Trombone, Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra
Douglas Rosenthal was appointed Assistant Principal Trombonist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra in 2012. Since moving to Washington, DC, he has performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Swiss-American Musical Society, Post-Classical Ensemble, and Washington Symphonic Brass. Rosenthal is also frequently a guest musician with other orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Florida Grand Opera, Harrisburg, Huntsville, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque (Chicago), Northwest Indiana, Phoenix, and Utah.
Rosenthal was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. He attended public schools in Northbrook and was a member of Midwest Young Artists. Rosenthal pursued Trombone Performance at Northwestern University, receiving a Bachelor of Music (cum laude) in 2008. He sought further training in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. As a student, Rosenthal participated in several summer music festivals, including Aspen, Roundtop, the National Orchestral Institute, Music Academy of the West, Tanglewood. His primary musical influences include Michael Mulcahy, Peter Ellefson, Charles Vernon, Randall Hawes, Jay Friedman, Joseph Alessi, and Ian Bousfield.
In addition to his pursuits as a performer, Rosenthal is an activist in his community. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the DC Federation of Musicians (Local 161-710) and is a delegate to the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO. He also teaches private music lessons and is a faculty member at Levine Music, a music program for all ages and skill-levels in the DC/Metro Area. Rosenthal authors the blog “Who’s Your Audience?”, which investigates the Art and Industry of Classical Music. Read more at http://www.insidethearts.com/audience.
Rosenthal makes his home in Capitol Hill with his pug named Jake, who serves as a constant reminder to relax, eat well, and sleep plentifully.
Principal Trombone, Hawaii Symphony
Michael Maier is currently Acting Associate Principal Trombone with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, and has been playing with the HSO since 2012.
Maier has performed in a wide variety of groups, including the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Utah Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera, Chicago Symphony, and the Tonhalle Orchestra. Since 2014, he has played Principal Trombone for the McCall Summer MusicFest.
Maier is widely in demand both as a performer, and as a music educator. In 2017 he joined the faculty of the music camp Young Musicians and Artists in Salem, OR. In the Fall of 2015 he guest taught the trombone and euphonium studio at Boise State University and played in the Mirari Brass Quintet, giving recitals and masterclasses around the country.
In 2007-2008 he was a fellow in the Zurich Opera’s Academy program. As a member of this program, he performed extensively with the Zurich Opera Orchestra. He earned his Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University in 2007 and his Master of Music from The Juilliard School in 2011.
Maier is a native of Cleveland, OH and now lives in Boise where his wife, Lindsay, is a violist with the Boise Philharmonic. He also played the 2017-18 season as acting Second Trombone with the Boise Philharmonic.
Peter Wahrhaftig, Principal
Principal Tuba, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
Peter Wahrhaftig is the principal tubaist of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra as well as with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He is a founding member of the Bay Brass, which commissions, performs and records large-scale brass masterpieces. He has performed with the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, and throughout the Bay Area. Additionally, he is an active recording musician, having appeared in numerous movie and video game soundtracks. He is active as a teacher, a chamber musician, and has been seen using a cimbasso (don’t ask!). Last summer Peter performed the first movement of David Carlson’s Tuba Concerto during the In Focus Series at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony festival.
Peter and his wife Rena have enjoyed coming to Sun Valley since before their two daughters were born. The four of them thoroughly enjoy the natural offerings of the area, and are constantly looking for the next, perfect hiking trail.
Alex Orfaly, Principal
Freelance Musician, San Francisco Bay Area
Alex Orfaly is a musician and composer living in the Bay Area. From 2013-2015 he served as acting principal timpani of the San Francisco Symphony and has been the timpanist for the Sun Valley Summer symphony since 2007. Past positions as principal timpanist have included the Palau de Les Arts in Spain, the New World Symphony and the Tucson Symphony.
Since graduating from the Cleveland Institute of music he has performed with orchestras worldwide, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony, the Radio France Philharmonic and the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra. He is also a composer of a growing body of percussion pieces, including his Concerto for Brass and Percussion and the Divertissement No. 2 for timpani soloist and orchestra, both premiered by the New World Symphony. In addition, he composed Mean Man’s March which was premiered by the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. In 2012 the Sun Valley Summer Symphony commissioned and premiered Alex’s work for narrator and orchestra, Cowboy Bill. Orfaly’s newest work, Copper Wired for solo timpani and pre-recorded electronics, won first place in the Percussive Arts Society 2015 composition contest.
Marc Damoulakis, Principal
Principal Percussion, The Cleveland Orchestra
Marc Damoulakis Principal Percussionist, Margaret Allen Ireland Chair, has been a member of The Cleveland Orchestra since August 2006. He is currently a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In his pursuit of developing the dynamic whole musician, he performs as a soloist of chamber music and is a committed educator and clinician at institutions and festivals worldwide.
Throughout his career, he has performed and recorded as a guest artist with the orchestras of the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Kirov Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He is an active chamber musician having played with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Gilmore Festival, the New Music Consort and the Pulse Percussion Ensemble. In addition Mr. Damoulakis is a founding member of the Time Table Percussion Quartet. In 2015, he performed and recorded with the National Brass Ensemble at Skywalker Ranch and
Orchestra Hall in Chicago and is a regular performer with Chamberfest Cleveland.
In addition to teaching at CIM, Mr. Damoulakis was on the faculty at DePaul University for 7 years. He has led masterclasses and clinics throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Most recently traveling to Budapest for a multiple day clinic at the Franz Liszt Academy, a biannual week long teaching residency at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is a regular participant in the North Western Percussion Symposium. Additionally, Marc is a judge of the annual Modern Snare Drum Competition. He has students holding positions in major symphony orchestras throughout the world.
Prior to coming to Cleveland, Mr. Damoulakis resided in New York for 3 years where he performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel (2003-2006), served as principal timpanist of the Long Island Philharmonic (1998-2006) and held the position of Assistant Principal Percussionist of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra (2003-2006). He performed as an active freelancer in New York playing on Broadway in Phantom Of The Opera.
As a collaborative three year project, he developed the K symphonic line of cymbals with the Zildjian Cymbal Company, instruments that are an important part of his sound collection with The Cleveland orchestra.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Mr. Damoulakis was exposed to music at a young age by his parents who were both educators and musicians, in piano and tuba respectively. He spent four summers at Tanglewood, in addition attending the festivals of Spoleto, and the
Pacific Music Festival. Marc Damoulakis holds an undergraduate BA degree in percussion performance from the Manhattan School of Music, studying under Chris Lamb (The New York Philharmonic), Duncan Patton (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and the late James Preiss (The Steve Reich ensemble.) He continued his studies in the New World
Symphony, under MTT, for four years(1999-2003.) Marc and his wife Samantha currently reside in Cleveland Heights with their son, George, daughter Helen, and their dog, Rocky.
Freelance Musician, New York
Percussionist Joseph Tompkins has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, among many others. He has played in twenty one productions on Broadway, and has recorded soundtracks for a number of major films. For seven years he was a member of the percussion trio Timetable, a group committed to commissioning and performing new works for percussion. Tompkins has composed a number of internationally recognized works for snare drum, and has been commissioned as a composer by the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Atlanta Symphony percussion sections. He is Area Coordinator of the percussion department at Rutgers University.
Freelance Musician, Chicago
Chicago-based percussionist Ian Ding is a versatile performer specializing in contemporary music and orchestral percussion. He is a founding member and co-director of New Music Detroit, a member of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project (Chicago) and the Virgil Moorefield Pocket Orchestra (Zurich), and serves on the
percussion faculty at the DePaul University School of Music.
Ian is a frequent guest with major orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cleveland Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and
has also performed extensively with chamber ensembles Bang on a Can All-Stars and
Alarm Will Sound. Ian is the artistic director and producer of Strange Beautiful Music,
New Music Detroit’s annual marathon concert of contemporary and experimental music
and is also a former board member of the American Composers Forum.
Ian served as Assistant Principal Percussionist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from
2003-2011 and Lecturer of Percussion at the University of Michigan from 2005-2014
and was a fellow of the New World Symphony in Miami from 2001-2003. He is a
graduate of the University of Illinois and the Juilliard School where his teachers
included Tom Stubbs, Thomas Siwe, Jim Ross, William Moersch, and Gregory Zuber.
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
A native of Edmond, Oklahoma, Chris joined the Milwaukee Symphony in 2017. After performing with the New World Symphony from 2012-2015, Chris began freelancing with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, and Hawaii Symphony. Summer engagements have brought Chris to the Britt Festival, AIMS Festival, and Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
As an educator, Chris has held positions at Northwestern University and Sam Houston State University as Drumline Instructor and Adjunct Percussion Professor, respectively. In addition to teaching applied lessons and percussion ensemble, he has taught on topics including percussion methods, percussion composition and arranging, music therapy, and percussion’s role in the orchestra.
Chris holds a Masters degree in Percussion Performance and Literature from Northwestern University and has degrees in Percussion Performance and Philosophy from the University of Oklahoma. His principal teachers were Lance Drege, Michael Burritt, She-e Wu, and James Ross.
Outside of performing, Chris enjoys meditation and likes to get to the mountains any chance he gets.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
James (Jay) Ritchie joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2016 as Assistant Principal Timpanist and Section Percussionist. Prior to this appointment, he was a regular extra with the Cleveland Orchestra, Principal Timpanist of the Blossom Festival Orchestra and performed frequently with other groups in the Cleveland area. Ritchie has also appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.
Ritchie has participated in a variety of summer festivals, including a Principal Timpanist appointment with the National Repertory Orchestra, as well as the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific Music Festival, and the Britten-Pears Orchestra.
A native of Blacksburg, Virginia, Ritchie began studying piano at age 8 and percussion at age 11. He received his Bachelor of Music from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Duncan Patton, Chris Lamb, and She-e Wu, and completed his Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Paul Yancich and Marc Damoulakis. Ritchie is an endorser and clinician for Remo drumheads.
Kevin Watkins has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra percussion section since 1999. Prior to joining Minnesota, Watkins was member of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for two seasons. Recently, Watkins has been serving as Acting Associate Principal Timpanist in Minnesota and guest instructing at the Peabody Conservatory. A native of Kansas City, he studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Michael Rosen, and then at Cleveland State University with Tom Freer.
Throughout his career he has also performed and recorded with many other orchestras including The Philharmonia, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. For several summers now, he has been performing as timpanist at the Lakes Area Music Festival.
Watkins’s hobbies include golfing, running, fishing, and preparing Kansas City style barbecue on his CS-680 wood pellet smoker. He and his wife, Kathryn Bennett, recently welcomed the addition of their first child, Dylan, to their family.
Assistant Principal Timpani/Percussion, Seattle Symphony
Matthew Decker began his position as Assistant Principal Timpanist/Section Percussionist in the Seattle Symphony in the 2016–2017 season. Before joining the Seattle Symphony Decker spent two seasons as the Assistant Principal Percussionist of the North Carolina Symphony. He was also a fellow of the New World Symphony during the 2013–2014 season. His resume includes concert appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and the Battle Creek Symphony in Michigan. With Battle Creek, he made his solo debut in 2009, performing Russell Peck’s triple percussion concerto The Glory and the Grandeur. Decker was a 2011 fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and also spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West and Round Top Festival. He was also a student at the Eastern Music Festival under Gerard Schwarz where he joined the faculty in the summer of 2016.
Decker studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Christopher Lamb, Duncan Patton and She-e Wu. He also attended Roosevelt University, where he studied with Vadim Karpinos. A native of Seymour, Indiana, he began his musical training with Paul Berns of the Indianapolis Symphony.
Decker was the winner of the 2010 Kerope Zildjian Scholarship and a finalist in the 2009 Atlanta Snare Drum Competition. He also serves as an artist for Zildjian Cymbals and Freer Percussion.
Freelance Musician, San Francisco Bay Area
Victor Avdienko is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he earned his Graduate Degree in Percussion, studying with members of the New York Philharmonic. Prior to that, he earned his Undergraduate Degree with top honors in Music Performance from San Jose State University.
A regular guest member of the San Francisco Symphony, Avdienko has performed, recorded, and toured with the Symphony for 20 years. Awards include several Grammys and an Emmy.
Raised in the Russian Orthodox Church in San Francisco, when live bell ringing in the United States was still a rarity, Avdienko currently enjoys performing Russian Bell Ringing from the perspective of a Symphonic Percussionist. His performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture͟ with the San Francisco Symphony in Summer 2014 was the first-time real Russian Bells were ever used for that piece in the United States.
Gretchen Van Hoesen, Principal
Principal Harp, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Gretchen Van Hoesen has been Principal Harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 1977 and has appeared as soloist with the orchestra on subscription concerts and on tour under conductors André Previn, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Zdnek Macal, Sergiu Comissiona, Pinchas Zukerman and Manfred Honeck. She has been active in the performance of new music, giving the New York and Pittsburgh premieres of Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, the Pittsburgh premiere of Witold Lutoslawski’s Double Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Chamber Orchestra with her husband, former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Co-Principal Oboist James Gorton, the United States premiere of Suite Concertante for Solo Harp and Orchestra by Manuel Moreno-Buendia in San Antonio, Texas, the North American premiere of Concert Piece, Op. 65 for Oboe/English Horn, Two Harps and Orchestra by Eugene Goossens, and the world premiere of Sir André Previn’s Concerto for Harp.
Van Hoesen has concertized all over the world and was selected to perform in the Super World Orchestra 2000 in Japan, an ensemble made up of key musicians from around the globe. Van Hoesen has worked with such maestros as Valery Gergiev, Sir Andrew Davis, Marek Janowski, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, William Steinberg, Gianandrea Noseda and James Levine. She has been a featured soloist at American Harp Society National Conferences in Boston, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Denton, Washington, D.C. and Fredonia, and served as a judge for National Competitions of the American Harp Society and as President of the organization’s Pittsburgh Chapter. She has served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival, is a coach for the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony and Three Rivers Young Peoples’ Orchestra, and is Harp Forum Editor and clinician for the American String Teachers Association.
Van Hoesen graduated from the Juilliard School, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in harp as a scholarship student of Marcel Grandjany and Susann McDonald. She is also a graduate of the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department with highest honors in piano and harp, where she was a student of Eileen Malone. She studied further with Gloria Agostini. Her recordings include Lullabies and Night Songs on the Caedmon label, Pavanes, Pastorales, and Serenades for Oboe and Harp, and Concertos for Harp and Orchestra, both on Boston Records, Breath of Heaven, A Christmas Collection with soprano Sarah Botkin, Trio Pittsburgh with violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley and ‘cellist Anne Martindale Williams, and Genetic Harps with Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton. Van Hoesen is a faculty member of Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne universities and also maintains a private teaching studio at her home in Pittsburgh.
Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton
Principal Harp, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton has been described as one of the most outstanding solo, chamber and orchestral musicians of her generation. Active as a performer and teacher, she currently holds the position of Principal Harp with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She has been participating in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 2001, and is ecstatic to be returning for another season of music-making.
Peter Henderson, Principal
Artist in Residence, Maryville University
A versatile pianist, Peter Henderson is active as a performer in solo, chamber and orchestral settings. Henderson is currently Associate Professor of Music and Artist in Residence at Maryville University, where he has served on the faculty since 2005. He performs frequently as an ensemble keyboardist with the St. Louis Symphony, and made his debut as a subscription concert soloist with the Symphony in January 2008. During January and February 2016, Henderson was the piano soloist in the St. Louis Symphony’s subscription concert and California tour performances of Oliver Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux étoiles…. Critics described him as a “powerhouse soloist” (San Francisco Chronicle) and an “excellent pianist” (Los Angeles Times), and praised his Messiaen playing for its “intense focus and thrilling vibrancy” (San Jose Mercury News). In addition to his keyboard playing with the St. Louis Symphony, he occasionally gives pre-concert lectures from the Symphony’s Powell Hall stage, introducing subscription concert programs.
Henderson is an advocate of new music, having given several premieres of solo piano and chamber works. In recent years, he has programmed solo recitals exploring focused repertoire: during the 2011-12 season, he performed the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven; in November and December 2012, he presented the complete piano works of Debussy; and in November 2013, he played Chopin’s 27 Études in a single concert. Henderson’s discography includes collaborations with violinist David Halen, flutist Mark Sparks, violist Jonathan Vinocour, bass trombonist Gerry Pagano, and soprano Marlissa Hudson. He appears on CDs published by AAM Recordings, AMP Records, and other labels, and is the piano soloist on a disc released during 2015 that features Fred Onovwerosuoke’s 24 Studies in African Rhythms.
Henderson holds the degree Doctor of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington, where his piano instructor was Dr. Karen Shaw. Prior to attending Indiana University, he studied piano with Dr. Jay Mauchley at the University of Idaho, Moscow. He and his wife Kristin Ahlstrom, a Sun Valley Summer Symphony violinist, live in St. Louis with their lively, sweet beagle/terrier-mix Zinni.
David Henderson, Principal
Freelance Musician, San Francisco Bay Area
David Henderson grew up in Hartford City, Indiana, and has degrees from the University of Michigan and the Juilliard School. In 1980, he gave his Carnegie Recital Hall solo debut as a winner of the East and West Artists competition, with the New York Times stating “an exceptionally accomplished instrumentalist with something to say, his work is poised, cultivated, and expressive.” In 1981, he received a first prize in saxophone from the Conservatoire de Bordeaux as a recipient of a Fulbright-ITT grant to study in France. Since moving to San Francisco in 1988, he has played regularly with the San Francisco Symphony, including several tours and three recordings under maestro Michael Tilson Thomas. He has also toured with the BBC Symphony under Andrew Davis and performed with the New World Symphony, the San Francisco Opera and Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra, and the St. Petersburg (Russia) Philharmonic. He has appeared as soloist with the Oakland/East Bay Symphony. In 1989, he joined the San Francisco Saxophone Quartet as tenor saxophonist and keyboard player. Starting out as street musicians in downtown San Francisco, the group was discovered on the street by the president of Angel/EMI records in 1990, and has since recorded four CDs and toured most of the 50 states as well as Japan. In 2005, he joined the Premiere Saxophone Quartet, artists-in-residence at San José State University. He has worked as a musician at Disney World and Great America theme parks, and played both on and off-Broadway during ten years in New York, including the original productions of Nunsense and March of the Falsettos. Mr. Henderson currently teaches saxophone in the Bay Area, both privately and at Los Medanos College, Dominican University and Stanford.
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony is comprised of over 100 musicians from major orchestra throughout the United States and Canada. Most of the orchestra musicians return year after year to assemble what Music Director Alasdair Neale calls an “all-star orchestra.” Musicians hail from the San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and many others. They come to Sun Valley not only to perform with outstanding colleagues in a world-class venue, but also to play. When not on stage, you may see Sun Valley Summer Symphony musicians hiking, cycling and fly-fishing. They bring their families and friends and become a part of the Sun Valley community every summer. Get to know the Sun Valley Summer Symphony musicians — and if you see a familiar face at the grocery store or on a hike, be sure to say hello!