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OUR ARTISTIC STAFF

2017-2018

   Music Director – Ben Simon

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
Roy Malan

Guest Conductor, PACO

Roy Malan serves as solo violinist with the California Symphony and as and Opera Parallèle, and was the long-time concertmaster and solo violinist for the San Francisco Ballet. The founding director of the Telluride Chamber Music Festival, he has an extensive career of performance domestically as well as in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, and Africa to his credit. He is also widely recorded on the Genesis, Orion, and other labels, Roy was formerly a member of Porter Quartet, Stanford String Quartet, Ives Quartet, and the San Francisco Piano Trio, among others. Educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music under Yehudi Menuhin, he also attended Juilliard and the Curtis Institute, where he was a student of Ivan Galamian and Efrem Zimbalist (he authored the latter’s biography). Roy currently serves on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz, plays locally with a string quartet, piano trio, and music festival engagements. He has been a member of San Francisco Contemporary Music Players since 1976.

  • 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 hasalso 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
Debra Fong

Guest Conductor, Preparatory

Debra Fong is a Lecturer in Music at Stanford University, teaching violin and chamber music, and she maintains a private violin studio in Palo Alto.  She is Principal Second Violinist of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Concertmaster of the Peninsula Symphony, and she regularly performs throughout the Bay Area with ensembles such as Opera San Jose, Gold Coast Chamber Players, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Silicon Valley.  She spends her summers as a first violinist with The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. Debra received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Violin Performance with Honors and Distinction from the New England Conservatory of Music, has held the position of Associate Concertmaster of the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Opera in Norfolk, and is a former faculty member at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, The Music Institute of Chicago, and New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory School.  She is an avid chamber musician and active proponent of contemporary music. Debra is married to cellist Christopher Costanza, and they have an ebullient violinist daughter, Isabella.  In her leisure time, Debra enjoys photography, playing word games, practicing yoga, and seeking out excellent coffee.

  • 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.