Curator and Conductor
German conductor Christian Reif joined the San Francisco Symphony as Resident Conductor and Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in the 2016-17 season. He was previously Conducting Fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami, where he was mentored by Michael Tilson Thomas. Mr. Reif completed his master of music in conducting at the Juilliard School under Alan Gilbert, where he received the Charles Schiff Conducting Award. He also studied with Dennis Russell Davies at the Mozarteum Salzburg. Mr. Reif is currently a member of Germany's Conductor's Forum where he was named one of their “Maestros of Tomorrow.” He was Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2015 and 2016 and has also worked as assistant and cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and for the New York Philharmonic Biennial. Mr. Reif won the German Operetta Prize 2015, awarded by the German Music Council. In the 2017-18 season, Mr. Reif makes his debut with the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, works with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra, and makes return engagements with the Berkeley Symphony, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, and the Lakes Area Music Festival. His enthusiasm in performing contemporary music has led to many world premiere performances, including Michael Gordon’s El Sol Caliente, a city symphony in honor of Miami Beach’s centennial; and concertos for DJ and orchestra, performed at the New World Symphony’s PULSE events. A dedicated and enthusiastic educator, Mr. Reif has also worked as a teaching fellow at the Juilliard School. He hosted and conducted education concerts with the New World Symphony, which were also webcast globally.
As performer, curator, and educator, the artist collective International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble’s thirty-five members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present.
A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as Artists-in-Residence at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. ICE was featured at the Ojai Music Festival from 2015 to 2017, and at recent festivals abroad such as gmem-CNCM-marseille and Vértice at Cultura UNAM, Mexico City. Other performance venues have included the Park Avenue Armory, The Stone, ice floes at Greenland’s Diskotek Sessions, and boats on the Amazon River.
New initiatives include OpenICE, made possible with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which offers free concerts and related programming wherever ICE performs, and enables a working process with composers to unfold in public settings. DigitICE, a free online library of over 350 streaming videos, catalogues the ensemble’s performances. ICE's First Page program is a commissioning consortium that fosters close collaborations between performers, composers, and listeners as new music is developed. EntICE, a side-by-side education program, places ICE musicians within youth orchestras as they premiere new commissioned works together; inaugural EntICE partners include Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and the People's Music School in Chicago. Summer activities include Ensemble Evolution at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in which young professionals perform with ICE and attend workshops on topics from interpretation to concert production. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE. Read more at iceorg.org.
Bassoonist Rebekah Heller is a uniquely dynamic chamber, orchestral, and solo musician. Equally comfortable playing established classical works and the newest of new music, Ms. Heller is committed to collaborating with composers to expand the modern repertory for the bassoon. Her debut solo album of world premiere recordings, 100 Names, was featured in The New York Times ArtsBeat classical playlist. As a core member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), she plays solo and chamber music across the world. She has been a featured soloist with the Seattle Symphony and the Nagoya Philharmonic, and she has performed in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Köln, Salzburg, Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and many more. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, Ms. Heller lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Ryan Muncy is a saxophonist who performs, commissions, and presents new music. His work emphasizes collaborative relationships with composers and artists of his generation and aims to reimagine the way listeners experience the saxophone through contemporary music. He is a recipient of the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists as well as a Fulbright Fellowship and has participated in the creation of more than 100 new works for the instrument. His debut solo album Hot was released by New Focus Recordings in 2013. Before joining the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) as saxophonist and Grants Manager, Mr. Muncy was executive director of the Chicago-based new music collective Ensemble Dal Niente from 2010 to 2014. Under his leadership, Dal Niente was named the first-ever ensemble recipient of the Kranichstein Music Prize, awarded at the 46th International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. He is also a founding member of Anubis Quartet, a multi-faceted chamber group established in 2007 with the aim of reshaping the saxophone quartet genre. The quartet has commissioned more than forty new works. He performs frequently at international festivals and series, including Wien Modern, Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt, Ecstatic Music Festival, MATA's Interval Series, Liquid Music at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Center, Unruly Music, Festival Internacional Chihuahua, the Fromm Concert Series at Harvard, SALT New Music Festival, MusicArte Panamá, World Saxophone Congresses in Bangkok and Montreal, and the Ear Heart Music Series in New York. Mr. Muncy performs regularly with the Talea Ensemble and the Grant Park Symphony, and has held numerous residencies and conducted arts management workshops at universities and cultural institutions across North America and abroad. In 2012, he received his Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music, where he studied with Frederick L. Hemke. A devoted educator and pedagogue, Mr. Muncy previously served on Northern Illinois University's School of Music faculty as an instructor of saxophone and music business.
An improviser, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, violinist Jennifer Curtis is a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and founder of the group Tres Americas Ensemble. She has appeared as a soloist with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Venezuela and the Knights Chamber Orchestra; performed in Romania in honor of George Enescu; given world premieres at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York; collaborated with composer John Adams at the Library of Congress; and appeared at El Festival de las Artes Esénicas in Peru and festivals worldwide. Her compositions have been performed at the Verbier Festival, El Festival de Artes Escénicas de Lima, throughout the US and include commissions by Cornell University and Paperhand Puppet Intervention. Recent and upcoming collaborations include projects with artists ranging from Afro-Peruvian legend Susana Baca, US improviser and visionary Pauline Oliveros, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, recording a solo CD commemorating the music of George Enescu with a world premiere recording for solo violin, and an album with New York-based improviser/composer/drummer Tyshawn Sorey. This summer she gives world premieres at the Mostly Mozart Festival and serves as Composer/Performer-in-Residence with North Carolina's Paperhand Puppet Intervention. An educator with a focus on music as humanitarian aid, Ms. Curtis has collaborated with musical shamen of the Andes, improvised for live radio from the interior of the Amazon jungle, and taught and collaborated with Kurdish refugees in Turkey. She joins the Haw River Ballroom’s Culture Mill in Saxapahaw, NC as Artist-in-Residence this fall, and teaches improvisation at Duke University. She has held her “Musicianship and the Art of Interpretation” workshop for string players at Oberlin Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, and Cornell University. She also incorporated its underlying principles into her classes during her tenure as a visiting professor of music at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. This winter she travels to India to compose and collaborate with Nrityagram Dance Company. Ms. Curtis plays on a 1777 Vincenzo Panormo violin.
New York City-based trombonist Mike Lormand is a devoted performer of eclectic contemporary and classical music in solo, chamber, and orchestral settings. A member of the International Contemporary Ensemble and Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, he also performs with Talea Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Manhattan Brass, and TILT Brass. In 2012, Mr. Lormand created Weather Vest, a mixed-wind quartet that explores commonality between classical chamber music, small group jazz, and folk music.
His continuing commitment to engaging orchestral repertory has led to performances with Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, The Knights, American Symphony Orchestra, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist, he has commissioned and premiered numerous new works in an effort to enrich the trombone repertory. He has performed at the American Trombone Workshop and International Trombone Festival. As a brass instructor at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, Mr. Lormand enjoys connecting students to lasting personal relationships with music, sharing insights taught to him by his teachers, Per Brevig, Dave Taylor, Marta Hofacre, and Bob Schmaltz. He is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and University of Southern Mississippi.
Eugene Izotov joined the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Oboe, holding the Edo de Waart Chair, in the 2015-16 season. He previously served as principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Kansas City Symphony, associate principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony, and as guest principal oboe with the Boston Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Izotov is the first Russian-born musician in history to hold a principal wind position in any major American symphony orchestra. His numerous awards include top prizes at solo competitions in Saint Petersburg (1991), Moscow (1990), New York (1995), and at the Fernand Gillet International Competition (2001).
Mr. Izotov has appeared more than fifty times as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, and has collaborated with Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Nicholas McGegan, Edo de Waart, Ludovic Morlot, Ton Koopman, and Riccardo Muti, performing works by Mozart, Strauss, Marcello, Haydn, Martinů, Vivaldi, Carter, Hummel, Krommer, and Bach. He has recorded for Sony Classical, BMG, Boston Records, Elektra, and CSOResound, and was a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony and John Williams on the Oscar-nominated recording for the film Lincoln. A prolific chamber musician, Mr. Izotov has performed regularly with the MET Chamber Ensemble, and with Yefim Bronfman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jamie Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, André Watts, and the Tokyo String Quartet.
One of today’s most active teachers, Mr. Izotov has served on the faculties of the Juilliard School, San Francisco Conservatory, DePaul University, and Pacific Music Festival. He regularly presents master classes at conservatories across the nation and abroad, such as Aspen, Oberlin, New World Symphony, Boston University, Manhattan School of Music, Vanderbilt, University of Michigan, Tanglewood, Verbier, Domaine Forget, and Interlochen, among others. He served as the oboe mentor for the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra during its residency at the Sydney Opera House, which included a live internet simulcast to more than 30 million viewers worldwide.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Eugene Izotov studied at the Gnesin School of Music with Ivan Pushechnikov and Sergey Velikanov and at Boston University School of Fine Arts with Ralph Gomberg. For more information on Eugene Izotov, visit sfsymphony.org/eugeneizotov.
Carey Bell became SFS Principal Clarinet, occupying the William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair, in September 2007. He has held principal positions with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and the Syracuse Symphony, and he has served as acting principal clarinet of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and as guest principal clarinet with the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Bell has performed Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, the clarinet concertos of Mozart and Nielsen, and Debussy's Première Rapsodie. He joined the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2016. Summer engagements have included the Marlboro Music Festival, Music@Menlo, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Telluride Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Bell received degrees in performance and composition from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he studied with clarinetist Fred Ormand and composers William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty, and Evan Chambers. During his time in Michigan he participated in summer fellowships at Tanglewood and the Music Academy of the West. After graduating, he continued his clarinet training at DePaul University with Larry Combs and was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Robin McKee is Associate Principal Flute of the San Francisco Symphony and occupant of the Catherine & Russell Clark Chair. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, she began her music studies on piano before switching to flute. She later studied with Robert Willoughby at the Oberlin Conservatory. Before joining the SFS in 1984, she played piccolo in the Richmond (Virginia) Symphony and served as assistant principal flutist of the Baltimore Symphony.
Jerome Simas, who joined the SFS in 2012, was a fellow at the New World Symphony and has held principal clarinet positions with such ensembles as the California Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and Akron Symphony. He is a member of San Francisco’s Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. He received degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and studied and performed chamber music at Marlboro. First prize winner of the International Clarinet Society Young Artist Competition and grand prize winner at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, he has taught at UC Davis, Stanford, the San Francisco Conservatory, and the University of Oregon. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.
Percussionist Stefan Weinzierl performs contemporary music blended with multimedia elements. He studied at the Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media in Germany and has performed at the Elbphilharmonie, ENTER 4th International Festival in Prague, Festival Musica Strasbourg, NIME Oslo, CO-ME-DI-A Showcase, and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. In 2011 he received the Algorithm Award of the Guthman Instrument Competition Atlanta, with composer and inventor Jacob Sello.
Adam Larsen is a documentary filmmaker and designer for live performance. Designs for the San Francisco Symphony include Debussy’s Le martyre de Saint Sébastien, Peter Gynt, Peter Grimes, On the Town, Das klagende Lied, and most recently Michael Tilson Thomas’s Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind. Mr. Larsen is also Resident Projection Designer for SoundBox. Other works include Hal Prince’s LoveMusik on Broadway; Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking The Waves at Opera Philadelphia and Prototype; Lee Breuer’s The Gospel at Colonus at the Athens, Edinburgh, and Spoleto festivals; Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle at the Singapore and Edinburgh festivals; Saariaho’s Maa with Atlanta Symphony; Janáček’s From the House of the Dead at Canadian Opera; The Pelleas Project at the Cincinnati Symphony; Dove’s Siren Song, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann at Hawaii Opera Theatre; John Adams’s A Flowering Tree and Handel’s Agrippina at Opera Omaha; Handel’s Semele with Pacific Musicworks; John Cage’s Second Hand and Foss’s Phorion with New World Symphony; Dove’s Flight at Juilliard; Yoon’s Sunken Cathedral at Prototype; and Mascagni’s Iris at Bard Summerscape. Mr. Larsen’s documentary about autism entitled Neurotypical aired on the PBS series POV.
Daniel Brodie was born in Las Vegas, NV and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated with a degree in theater and media design from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Mr. Brodie designed the projections for Christopher Wheeldon’s Winter’s Tale (Royal Ballet) and Cinderella (Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet), and has worked regularly with puppeteer Basil Twist, both on Winter’s Tale and Cinderella, as well as on Twist’s Behind the Lid, Arias with a Twist, and The Rite of Spring. Mr. Brodie’s Broadway credits include Motown the Musical and Disney’s Aladdin. He has also created large-scale video designs for Kanye West, Mariah Carey, and for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. In 2011, Mr. Brodie was awarded the United States Institute of Theatre Technology’s Rising Star Award. He has also worked as a guest lecturer at Yale University and New York University.
Seth Reiser is a New York-based designer who works in theater, opera, dance, and music. Most recently in the Bay Area he designed the set and lighting for the Saint Louis Symphony’s performance of Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux étoiles… at Zellerbach Hall with Cal Performances. Other recent work includes the Berlin Philharmonic’s performance of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion at the Park Avenue Armory/Lincoln Center directed by Peter Sellars; Round-Up at BAM with Sufjan Stevens and yarn/wire; Vietgone at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Between Riverside and Crazy at A.C.T in San Francisco; The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs by Mike Daisey; Reggie Watts and Tommy Smith’s Radio Play; and Taylor Mac’s Obie award-winning production of The Lily’s Revenge. Mr. Reiser lives in Rochester, NY where he teaches lighting at the University of Rochester. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and MFA from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.