Michael Tilson Thomas first conducted the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 and has been Music Director since 1995. A Los Angeles native, he studied at the University of Southern California, becoming Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at nineteen and working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts. He was pianist and conductor for Piatigorsky and Heifetz master classes and, as a student of Friedelind Wagner, an assistant conductor at Bayreuth. In 1969, Mr. Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony. He went on to become the BSO’s Associate Conductor, then Principal Guest Conductor. He has also served as Director of the Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, as a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and co-Artistic Director of Japan’s Pacific Music Festival. Formerly Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, he now serves as Principal Guest Conductor. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, which he founded in 1988. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France, and in 2010 was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
Catherine Payne, who joined the SFS in 1996, performed and recorded with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as acting second flute for two seasons. She was formerly principal flute of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and associate principal flute and piccolo player with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed in Chicago and Europe with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and she has appeared as soloist with the SFS, Portland Symphony, and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. A native of Hartford, CT, Ms. Payne graduated summa cum laude from both the New England Conservatory and Tufts. She is currently a flute coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.
Jacob Nissly was appointed Principal Percussion of the San Francisco Symphony in 2013. Previously, he was the principal percussion of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. He also served as a member of the New World Symphony. Mr. Nissly has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, Houston Symphony, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and with the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Pacific Music Festival. He is an adjunct professor of percussion at the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Nissly holds a Bachelor of Music and Jazz Studies from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. He began his percussion studies with Woody Smith in Iowa.
Raymond Froehlich joined the San Francisco Symphony as a percussionist in 1991. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he was previously a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and a timpanist with the Berkeley Symphony. Mr. Froehlich has often been featured with the SFS in works by twentieth-century and contemporary composers. He performs with several jazz ensembles in the Bay Area, as well as a rock trio and Ultra World X-tet, which combines Chinese instruments—the guzheng and pipa—with saxophone, electric guitar, and bass.
Tom Hemphill joined the San Francisco Symphony’s percussion section in 1974. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, he was a member of the Toledo Symphony before joining the SFS, and he has also retained a strong interest in jazz. Mr. Hemphill has been featured with the Orchestra in music including Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Steve Reich’s Three Movements, George Antheil’s Ballet mécanique, Russell Peck’s Liftoff!, Michael Tilson Thomas’s Island Music, and several works by Lou Harrison. He was an organizer of the San Francisco Percussion Ensemble and has served as a coach of the SFS Youth Orchestra.
Loren Mach is principal percussion of the Eco Ensemble, Principal Timpani of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and co-founder of Rootstock Percussion. He regularly performs with the San Francisco Symphony and frequently appears with chamber ensembles such as the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Empyrean, Earplay, sfSound, and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.
Artie Storch plays percussion regularly with the San Francisco Symphony. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and the Juilliard School. He is on the faculties of California State University and Chabot College and is percussion director for the California Youth Symphony.
Tim Day is Principal Flute of the SFS occupying the Caroline H. Hume Chair. Mr. Day served as principal flute with the Baltimore Symphony for twelve seasons, has been acting principal flute with the Minnesota Orchestra, and was guest principal flute with the Boston Symphony. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Mr. Day joined the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1987 and during the summers is on the faculty of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
Steven Dibner, Associate Principal Bassoon, studied at Indiana University with Leonard Sharrow. He earned a master’s degree from Juilliard, where he studied with Stephen Maxym, and went on to play with the New Jersey Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, before joining the SFS in 1983. He has performed at music festivals in Aspen, Marlboro, and San Diego.
Stan Muncy is a Bay Area percussionist and jazz vibe player. A member of the Santa Rosa Symphony, he regularly performs with the San Francisco Symphony. He was percussionist/assistant timpanist with the Honolulu Symphony. He also performs regularly with Eighth Blackbird and the new-music ensemble-in-residence at UC Berkeley, the Eco Ensemble.
Sébastien Gingras joined the SFS in 2010, and previously was a member of the New World Symphony and the Saint Louis Symphony. He grew up in Chicoutimi, Québec, where he was educated at the Conservatoire de Musique. He received his master’s degree in music from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Laurence Lesser. Mr. Gingras has joined in chamber music performances with artists including Menahem Pressler, Anthony Marwood, and the Alcan and Borromeo string quartets.
Jieyin Wu has given solo harp recitals and chamber music performances in Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and the Bay Area. She performs regularly with such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, San Jose Symphony, and Oakland East Bay Symphony. In 2003 she won the concerto competition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the following year was appointed principal harpist of the Napa Symphony. She has toured to Beijing and Shanghai with the Stanford New Music Ensemble.
Nadya Tichman, Associate Concertmaster and occupant of the SFS Foundation Chair, joined the Orchestra in 1980 and served as acting concertmaster from 1998 to 2001. Born in New York, Ms. Tichman studied at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute. She was a founding member of the Donatello Quartet. Ms. Tichman plays a 1724 Stradivarius violin purchased by the San Francisco Symphony for her exclusive use.
Michael Hey graduated from the Juilliard School in 2014 with a Bachelor and Master of Music in organ performance under Paul Jacobs. He is the Assistant Director of Music and Organist of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. In September 2015, Mr. Hey performed masses for Pope Francis’s first US visit. He has given recitals at Lincoln Center, Kimmel Center, Kennedy Center, and the Esplanade (Singapore), and he has also performed with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s and the Paul Taylor Dance Company at Lincoln Center. He was featured organ soloist in New York City Ballet’s Acheron, performing Poulenc’s Organ Concerto. A native of Milwaukee, WI, he makes his SFS debut at these performances.
Music consultant and filmmaker
Eva Soltes is a filmmaker, music producer and dancer. She has devoted her career to bringing the work of under-appreciated artists, art forms, and cultures into the public eye. Her production company Performance & Media Arts creates documentaries and live events. Ms. Soltes has produced, directed, and/or written approximately one thousand music, dance, theater and media works for national and international audiences. She was American producer of the BBC TV production of West Coast Story—Frontiers of New Music, a three-part program on the history of California composers; co-producer and editor of Circles and Cycles, Kathak Dance, an award-winning documentary that aired internationally and on PBS stations; tour producer and co-producer of the documentary Saxophone Diplomacy, which featured the Rova Saxophone Quartet’s performances in the former Soviet Union during the Reagan era; producer/director/editor of On Conlon Nancarrow, completed as an artist-in-residence at the Centre Pompidou; producer/director/editor of Building A Dream, a documentary about Lois Davidson Gottlieb (a Frank Lloyd Wright trained architect) through the process of building an ecologically sound home with her son; and videographer/editor of a short film made in Sri Lanka to help raise education money for children affected by the tsunami. As a dancer Ms. Soltes is an accomplished performer and teacher of Bharatanatyam, classical dance of south India, which she studied with dancer T. Balasaraswati. She has performed in collaboration with Lou Harrison and Gary Snyder. In Istanbul, Ms. Soltes was given special permission by the head of the Mevlevi sect to dance to the poetry of the twelfth-century poet Rumi. She has also been an artist in residence at Taliesin West. Eva Soltes currently lives and works in Joshua Tree, CA where she has founded an artist residency/performance program at Lou Harrison House.
Adam Larsen is a filmmaker and projection designer. His work has been seen in Hal Prince’s LoveMusik on Broadway; The Gospel at Colonus at the Athens, Edinburgh, and Spoleto festivals; The Wind Up Bird Chronicle at the Singapore and Edinburgh festivals; Brief Encounters and My Fair Lady at the Shaw Festival; The Women of Brewster Place at Alliance Theatre and Arena Stage; Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and Native Guard at Alliance Theatre; big at Atlanta Ballet; Love Lies Bleeding, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Balletlujah at Alberta Ballet; Janáček’s From the House of the Dead at Canadian Opera; Lily Plants a Garden at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; Saariaho’s Maa with Atlanta Symphony and GloAtl; Adams’s A Flowering Tree and Handel’s Agrippina at Opera Omaha; Handel’s Semele with Pacific Musicworks; Quartet at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet; Seed at Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet; Cage’s Second Hand and Foss’s Phorion with New World Symphony; Black Whole at Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center and Moog Music; and Peter Grimes, Peer Gynt, and Debussy’s Le martyre de Saint Sébastien, as well as several SoundBox performances with the San Francisco Symphony. Mr. Larsen holds a BFA in cinematography from North Carolina School of the Arts. His documentary about autism entitled Neurotypical aired on the PBS series POV.
Luke Kritzeck has worked with artists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds in theater, dance, music, circus, and opera on stages around the world. Prior to joining New World Symphony as the Director of Lighting in January 2014, Mr. Kritzeck spent six years working for Cirque du Soleil on its touring production TOTEM and in Macau, China on its resident show ZAiA. His other projects with Cirque du Soleil include serving as the lighting director for featured performances, including the Venetian Macau Tennis Showdown and the International Indian Film Awards, which was broadcast to more than 350 million viewers. Mr. Kritzeck’s design credits include Chautauqua Opera Company, Cincinnati Ballet, Cedar Fair Entertainment, Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Lafayette Ballet Theatre, and the San Francisco Symphony.
Mayang Sunda is a Santa Cruz-based West Javanese traditional gamelan that is dedicated to performing traditional and contemporary Indonesian music and dance, as well as works composed by western artists. The group performs on instruments from West Java, in a tuning known as salendro (comparable to the slendro scale used in several of Lou Harrison’s compositions). Mayang Sunda is directed by composer and percussionist Ed Garcia, who recently completed the year-long Darmasiswa scholarship program in West Java, and who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at UC Santa Cruz. The group's dancer, Cia Garcia, studied West Javanese dance in her native Indonesia before relocating to California.