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OUR ARTISTIC STAFF

2017-2018

   Music Director – Ben Simon

Guest Conductor (PACO) – Antoine van Dongen

Guest Conductors (Sinfonia) – Michel Taddei & Jory Fankuchen

Guest Conductors (Debut) – Scott Krijnen & Eugene Sor

Guest Conductor (Prep) – Debra Fong

Resident Conductor (SuperStrings) – Natasha Makhijani 

  • Steve Colton
Antoine Van Dongen

Guest Conductor, PACO

 

Antoine van Dongen, Dutch violinist, pianist and conductor, had a distinguished career serving as a first violinist with the world famous Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam from 1989 to 2004.  Between 2005 – 2011 he lived in Boston and was on the faculty of Wellesley College, New England Conservatory, MIT, and the Walnut Hill School of Arts.


Antoine moved with his family to the Bay Area in 2012 and became a member of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. He gave masterclasses at the University of the Pacific and teaches students from Stanford University, the University of the Pacific, UC Berkeley and the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of Arts. He performs regularly with the Empyrean Ensemble at UC Davis and the ECO ensemble at UC Berkeley. He is on the music faculty at the Finn Centre of Music and Arts in Mountain View and the University of California, Berkeley.  This season marks Antoine’s second guest appearance as conductor of PACO. 

  • Steve Colton
Michel Taddei

Guest Conductor, Sinfonia

 

One of the Bay Area’s most sought-after double bass players, Michel is Principal Bassist of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Berkeley Symphony, the Fremont Symphony, the Pacific Chamber Symphony, Symphony Napa Valley, and the Mendocino Music Festival, and is Assistant Principal Bass of the California Symphony. He has performed with the SF Symphony and New Century Chamber Orchestra as well. A passionate chamber musician, Michel is a founding member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and has performed with  the Bella Trio, Empyrean Ensemble, Earplay, Quartet San Francisco, Musica Marin, Ensemble SF, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Saint Lawrence and Telegraph string quartets and with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble on tours in the US and in Central Asia. Director of Artistic Administration at the Crowden Music Center in Berkeley, Michel has consulted for the California Symphony’s El sistema-inspired program Sound Minds, and served as Education Consultant for Music at Kohl Mansion.   An active teacher, Michel has been a longtime faculty member at PACO, the Crowden School, the Golden Gate Philharmonic the Oakland Youth Orchestra and Young People’s Symphony Orchestra, and has coached at UC Berkeley and UC Davis.     


 
  • Steve Colton
Jory Fankuchen

Guest Conductor, Sinfonia

 

Violinist Jory Fankuchen has built a reputation as an engaging performer of many genres, as well as a passionate pedagogue. His ensembles include the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Magik Magik Orchestra, Squid Inc, the Musical Art Quintet, and the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco. He appears as a regular guest with many of the Bay Area’s leading ensembles including the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Oakland Symphony, and Left Coast Ensemble. Jory has appeared as soloist with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, the Berkeley Symphony, at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has had the distinction of performing on Jascha Heifetz’s Guarneri del Gesu violin at the Legion of Honor. Jory is on the faculty of the Crowden Music Center, and the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra and Crowden chamber music workshops. Most recently, he has held the position of visiting lecturer of violin at Cornell University. Jory holds a B.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory, and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory. As a long-time faculty member at PACO, Jory is looking forward to returning as guest conductor of the Sinfonia orchestra.


 

 
  • Steve Colton
Scott Krijnen

Guest Conductor, Debut

 

Scott Krijnen was raised in an environment of music, conducting and education. A recipient of a Master’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he performs frequently throughout the Bay Area. As a sought-after conductor, Scott leads the Cambrian Symphony, San Jose State University’s “Summer in the City” festival and the San Jose Dance Theater.  As an educator, Scott currently teaches over 550 students through 9 orchestras at Castillero and Redwood Middle Schools, winning teacher of the year recognition in 2011.  In 2016, Scott was recognized as the Richard Levin Orchestra Director of the Year for the California Music Educators Association and is the winner of the Comcast Sports Net Bay Area All-Star Teacher Award.  Mr. Krijnen has conducted at Saratoga High School, leads sectionals at SJSU, and has coached and presented with PACO for the last 13 years. Scott is happily married to his wife of 13 years, Aryn, and is the father of two beautiful children who get to grow up in the same wonderful world of music as their father. 

  • Steve Colton
Eugene Sor

Guest Conductor, Debut

 

Whether conducting, coaching chamber music, or teaching cello in his private studio, Eugene Sor has had a distinguished career working with music students of all ages and abilities. He has been a member of Crowden Music Center’s faculty since 1998 and is the resident conductor of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has worked since 2001. He has been director of the Preparatory Division Chamber Orchestra at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and has also held teaching positions at San Francisco State University, California State East Bay University, Notre Dame de Namur University and Black Pine Circle School. Eugene received his early musical training from renowned cello pedagogue Milly Rosner and completed his graduate studies in cello performance with Barry Gold at UCLA in 1996. He is a member of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and an avid chamber musician. He was formerly principal cellist of the Stockton Symphony and a founding member of the Chamberlain String Quartet. His wide range of performance experience has been integral in his background as a music teacher, providing him insights into how to maximize his students’ potential through challenging repertoire choices and strong rehearsal technique. Eugene and his wife, violinist Karen Shinozaki Sor, happily reside in the East Bay with their son Kenji.

  • Steve Colton
James Jaffe

Guest Conductor, Preparatory

 

Cellist James Jaffe plays music to connect with composers, colleagues, and audiences. He has performed as soloist with CityMusic Cleveland, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Stockton Symphony. Recent chamber music appearances have taken him to the Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival, through Switzerland and France on concert tours, to the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, to the Robert Mann String Quartet Seminar in Manhattan, to Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, and frequently to Groupmuses in San Francisco, including a sold-out performance of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden at San Francisco’s first Massivemuse. His chamber music mentors include members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Takács, Tokyo, Vermeer, Emerson, Brentano, Kronos, Cavani, and Concord Quartets. Passionate about sharing music with the next generation, James has served as director of the High School Chamber Ensembles at Baldwin Wallace University, mentored students through the Detroit Symphony’s Civic Youth Ensembles program, and coached chamber music groups at the Crowden School and Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra

  • Steve Colton
Natasha Makhijani

Resident Conductor, SuperStrings

 

San Francisco-based violinist Natasha Makhijani is indemand throughout the Bay Area as a performer and a teacher. She is the Associate Concertmaster of Oakland Symphony, and a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Magik Magik Orchestra, she performs frequently with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera, and has appeared as soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra and the One Found Sound chamber orchestra.  A passionate chamber musician, Natasha is a founding member of the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco.  Equally dedicated to teaching as she is to performing, Natasha has held teaching positions at the Eastman School of Music and the San Domenico School Conservatory, is currently on the faculty of the Crowden Music Center and the San Francisco Conservatory’s Pre-College Division, and is delighted to be both on the faculty of PACO Camp and the 2016-17 conductor-in-residence of the SuperStrings Orchestra.