Alumni News

Looking for ways to network and learn about opportunities in the arts? Join the conversation on LinkedIn!! You can find us congregating in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Alumni group. **If you sign up with your notes mail address you are automatically approved.** If you need a notes mail address, contact Cynthia Mei at


There is a Facebook Page for Alumni to share information with each other.Join in the conversation at!!


Would you like to share some exciting news with the Conservatory community in the below blog? We'd like to hear all about it! Performances, commissions, weddings, family additions, new gigs/jobs, if it's new, we want to know. 

Start sharing now!

Alumni Recital Series: Request for Proposals

San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Alumni Recital Series
Request for proposals

San Francisco Conservatory of Music welcomes our alumni to submit proposals for its Alumni Recital Series. We are seeking programs that will engage and benefit our alumni, students, and audiences at large. Send us a one-page description with the following information to : Your name, contact information, the year you graduated, description of your proposed program, website, and short biography. Please mention collaborators and your alumni status. Dates of performances are scheduled for October 2015 and in March 2016.

Deadline for proposals is May 5.

If you have questions, please contact Cynthia Mei at Tel. 415-503-6307

Alumnus wins choral competion

Composer and SFCM Director of Professional Developement Ryan Brown '05 was named a winner of the 2014 Volti's Choral Arts Labratory contest. Ryan receives consultation with Artistic Director Robert Geary, initial presentation of piece and reading sessions (to be recorded) with Volti, mentoring sessions the Artistic Director and Resident Composer, workshop sessions with Volti during the week prior to the premiere, premiere performances in San Francisco and Berkeley during the 2014-2015 main season and professionally recorded (composer will receive CD of the entire concert) performance.

Alumna featured in Classical Singer

Lise Lindstrom '96 is the cover story for the November issue of Classical Singer. The "Princess of Persistence" earned her title the hard way after recently standing in for Deborah Voigt with 4 and 1/2 hours notice to perform the title role in Dallas Opera's production of Salome. Read all about the preparation and performance here.

Alumnus joins The Kinsey Sicks

Nathaniel Marken '08 recently joined well known recording, touring and performing musical group The Kinsey Sicks. Billed as America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, Nathan joins the group as they enter their 20th year and will be assuming the role of Winnie, the quartet's lovable and deliciously awkward bass. Nathan was able to fine tune his drag abilities by performing as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch throughout 2013 at the Boxcar Theatre. Nathan studied with Ruby Pleasure.

Alumnus joins principal cast at SF Opera

Baritone Efraín Solís '13 has been tapped to sing the principal role of Dandini, valet to the prince Don Ramiro, in San Francisco Opera's production of La Cenerentola, opening on November 9. Efrain, a first-year Adler Fellow, had been covering the role and was asked to sing performances for Italian baritone Fabio Capitanucci who withdrew from the production for health reasons. 

Pre-College Alumna balances music and science

Pre-College alumna Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle was recently featured in the Boston Business Journal as part of their Top 40 under 40 issue. Erika started the nonprofit Science from Scientists in 2002 to promote STEM subjects while still an undergraduate.  In addition to starting a non-profit while earning her bachelor degree, Erika was also crowned Miss Massachusetts in 2004. She is currently a co-founder and CEO of a New England based biotechnology company.

Alumnus appointed conductor for SFSU Wind Ensemble

Troy Davis '97 was recently appointed conductor of San Francisco State University's Wind Ensemble for Fall 2014. Davis also serves as Principal Oboe for Livermore Valley Opera Orchestra, conducts at a Bay Area high school and is an oboe instructor at College of San Mateo. Davis studied with John De Lancie and Pamela Langford.

Alumna wins Principal Oboe position

Laura Reynolds '91 recently won the Principal Oboe position with the Santa Rosa Symphony. Laura originally joined the Santa Rosa Symphony in 1991, taking the 2nd oboe/English Horn position. In addition to her Principal Oboe duties, Laura teaches oboe/english horn in for Sonoma State University and works as an arts administrator with SFCM as the Project Manager for Pre-College and Adult Extension divisions. Laura studied with WIlliam Bennett.


Alumnus wins flutist young artist competition

Brandon LePage '13 is the 2014 First Prize Winner of the Southeast Michigan Flute Association's (SEMFA) Earvin Monroe Young Artist Competition. In addition to winning a $1,000 prize, Brandon will perform in a maserclass with the featured guest artist during the SEMFA festival.


Wedding Bells

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Reis '95 and Paul Daniel Lerner on their recent nuptials at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Dr. Reis (left) is the founder of an online program for learning how to play the cello that bears his name, and is a cello instructor at Cornerstone Music Conservatory in Los Angeles.

Alumnus featured at SF Symphony and in SFCV

San Francisco Symphony Principal Keyboardist Robin Sutherland '75 performs Keyboard Concerto No.3 by J. S. Bach on Saturday, October 25th at 8 pm as part of a special night led by Symphony concertmaster and SFCM faculty member Alexander Barantschik. Robin was also recently featured in an article in San Francisco Classical Voice.

Alumni take top 3 places in Guitar competition


Two SFCM alumni swept the 1st Seconda Prattica International Arranging Competition. John Britton '12 was selected for the top two prizes and  Matthew Lyons '14  placed third.  Winnings include a cash prize and a publishing contract as well as a commission by the publishing house. Both Britton and Lyons studied with David Tanenbaum '78.

Alumna forms trio and begins concert series

The inaugural season of The Furuya Sisters Concert Series begins in October 2014. The Furuya Sisters Trio comprised of cellist Mimi Furuya '98 and her sisters, pianist Sakiko Furuya and violinist Harumi Furuya, is performing this Season at various locations in the New York – New Jersey – Connecticut Tri-State Area, including a performance at Steinway Hall in New York City on November 1st. For complete concert schedule and ticket info visit

Opera San Jose opens with alumni leading the way.

Opera San Jose's Rigoletto opens September 6, conducted by Joseph Marcheso '07 with Andrew Whitfield '11 as assistant director and chorus master, and an appearance by mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz '13

Alumnus attacked in Russia over new composition

Ilya Demutsky '09 was recently attacked in St. Petersburg over the subject matter of his new opera "New Jerusalem". In an interview wit hthe St. Petersburg Times, Demutsky disclosed that he was invited via email for an interview allegedly with the Moscow-based liberal television channel Dozhd, but when he arrived to meet a television crew outside the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, he was attacked by a man with a scarf wrapped around his face. Demutsky studied with David Conte.


Alumna tours Europe with chamber music trio

The summer of 2014 saw Alexa Beattie '09 touring chamber music with world renowned violinist Lisa Batiashvili and oboist Francois Leleux. The tour included appearances at Schloss Elmau, the Mozarteum in Salzburg and live television broadcast from Amsterdam's Prinzengracht. Beattie also debuted in recital at the Edinburgh Festival this year. Beattie studied with Jodi Levitz and Paul Hersh.

Virginia Tech welcomes alumnus with tenure track faculty position







Brian Thorsett '04 was recently named tenure track assistant Professor at Virginia Tech, where he is preparing world premiere of Lori Laitman's Three Feathers. Thorsett is also scheudled to return to Bay area for world premiere of Stacy Garrop's Terra Nostra and to record his solo album "Give Me One Hour" at Skywalker studios, featuring salon music of 1890's-1930's in addition to a set of solo appearances with Catacoustic, Philharmonia Baroque twice and in recital, premiering song cycles of Scott Gendel, Ian Venables and Brian Holmes. Thorsett studied with Wendy Hillhouse.


Alumnus reaches finals of International Composition Competition!

Phil Young '86 was recently named a finalist in the Città di Udine international composition competition. for Lament, a chamber music piece for violin and piano. Young studied with Elinor Armer

Alumnus accepts faculty position

  Dr. Theodore Buchholz '04 recently accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Cello at the University of Arizona. Buchholz is also an active musician playing with the Tucscon Symphony Orchestra in addition to administrative duties, currently serving as President of the American String Teachers Association of Arizona and the Director of the Tucson Cello Congress Buchholz is a former student of Bonnie Hampton

Alumna accepted to Russian Opera Workshop

   Soprano Sarah Young '13 has been accepted to the Russian Opera Workshop, a summer residency program with the  Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Young is fresh off of a busy 2014 with performances with Waffle Opera, Opera San Jose and directing productions with the Livermore Valley Opera. Young is a student of Catherine Cook.

Alumna excels at guitar, writing, and fishing!

Erin Block '05 graduated from Denver University with a Master's Degree in Library Science and is currently is employed by the University of Colorado Boulder as well as by Trout Unlimited. Outside of her day job, Erin is a freelance writer and fly angler, and her work is published regularly in national journals and magazines such as TROUT, American Angler, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and Guernica. Her first book, "The View from Coal Creek" was published in 2013. Block was a student of Marc Teicholz.

Alumna serves dual role of occupational therapist and concertmaster

Valerie Tung '05 (née Coon) graduated from the University of Washington's School of Medicine, Rehab Medicine department with a Master's in Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree in December 2013 and currently working for Swedish Medical Center as an occupational therapist (OTR/L). Tung co-presented her group Master's Project at the state and national OT conventions this year and also serves as concertmaster of the community symphony 'Seattle Festival Orchestra' with her amateur cellist husband and continues to do freelance work in the Seattle area. Tung was a student of Camilla Wicks and Axel Strauss.

Alumnus releases new cd of compositions

Composer and faculty member Dan Becker '89 recently released a new cd "Fade" with Innova Recording. You can stream on Spotify or purchase on iTunes, Amazon, or directly through Innova.

Alumna wins at Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions

Soprano Julie Adams '13  was named one of five winners for the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions following her performance at the Grand Finals Concert on Sunday, March 30. As a winner, Adams receives a $15,000 cash prize and joins the ranks of top Met stars who began their careers as National Council winners. Adams returns to the Bay Area to participate in the San Francisco Opera Center’s Merola Opera Program this summer. Adams was a student of and continues to study with César Ulloa.

SFCM quartet featured in SF Bay Guardian On The Rise issue

Friction Quartet is featured as one of eleven Bay Area bands in the Bay Guardian's "One The Rise" issue. Friction Quartet members are Otis Harriel '13, Doug Machiz '12, Kevin Rogers '11, and Taija Warbelow '14.


Alumna is semi-finalist for voice competition at Center Stage Opera

Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai '04  a semi-finalist for the David Scott Memorial Vocal Competition at Center Stage Opera. Shehabi-Yaghmai is also a licensed life coach whose company, Creating with Confidence, helps professional creatives create their opportunities, maximize their successes, and feel inspired, confident and empowered while doing so. Shehabi-Yaghmai was a student of Jane Randolph.

Alumna awarded prize from American Bach Soloists

Gretchen Claassen '12 has been named at the winner of the Second Annual Jeffrey Thomas Award by American Bach Soloists. The Jeffrey Thomas Award is given annually at the discretion of ABS Artistic and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas to a young professional showing exceptional promise in the field of early music performance. 

Alumnus appointed Stone Fellow Composer for Great Lakes Chamber Music Festiva

Sahba Aminikia '13 has been appointed to serve as the Stone Fellow Composer for the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. Aminikia has received a commission to write a new work which will receive a world premiere in June 2014 by alumni ensemble The Delphi Trio

Fremont Symphony celebrates 50th season with alumni premiere

Fremont Symphony Orchestra opens their 50th season with a world premiere of "Moth" by Jack Curtis Dubowsky '01at the Logan High School Performing Arts Center. The classical piece is part of a recital which will include works by Beethoven, Ravel, Khachaturian and Gershwin. All works on this  gala evening will be played by pianist Keisuke Nakagoshi '06.

Magik*Magik* celebrates 5th anniversary with Gala

Magik*Magik Orchestra celebrates its' 5th anniversary season with a large Gala celebrations featuring collaborations with indie bands and a local boyschoir on Friday, January 31st .

Alumni Ensembles featured in Voice of Americe

Nonsemble 6, Mobius Trio, and Friction Quartet were all featured in a December 2013 Voice of America article about music entrepreneurship in classical music.

SFCM Alumnus nominated for World Music Grammy

Barry Phillips '90 is up for a second Grammy® this year for Ravi Shankar's final album "The Living Room Sessions Part 2". Phillips' first Grammy® came last year for "The Living Room Sessions Part 1"  and served as producer, recording engineer & tampurist for both albums.

Alumni honor former Conservatory President Ernest Bloch

Krista Bennion Feeney '81 and Roy Bogas '56 performed a concert in January 2014 at the Valley Center for Performing Arts located on the Holy Names University campus in Oakland, CA that featured Ernest Bloch's "Three pictures of Chassidic Life".

Opera News' review includes SFCM alumni recognition

Warren Jones  ’77, Julie Adams ’13 and Sara Couden ’13 received recognition in Opera News’ review of Music Academy of the West’s summer production of the Magic Flute.

BIll Polits '95 performed in West Coast Premiere

BIll Polits '95 performed in the West Coast premiere of  NYC based composer Rhys Chatman's "A Secret Rose" featuring 100 electric guitars on Sunday, November 17, 2013. Polits was a student of beloved former faculty member Conrad Susa. To read a review of the performance click here.


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