Violas

Jonathan Vinocour

Principal
 

Jonathan Vinocour joined the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Violist in 2009, having previously served as principal violist of the Saint Louis Symphony and guest principal violist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. A native of Rochester, NY, Mr. Vinocour graduated from Princeton University in 2001 with a degree in chemistry and was awarded the university’s Sudler Prize in the Arts. He completed his master’s degree in 2003 at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Kim Kashkashian.

As a soloist, Mr. Vinocour has appeared with the Saint Louis Symphony and with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy and Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel. His first solo album, featuring works of Britten and Shostakovich, was recorded with the support of the Holland America Music Society. Mr. Vinocour was also a featured recitalist at the 2012 International Viola Congress, and he performs frequently in recital throughout the Bay Area.

Mr. Vinocour has been a regular participant at the Marlboro Music Festival and has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro. He has also participated in numerous other festivals, including the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Mr. Vinocour has been a guest of the Boston Chamber Music Society and International Sejong Soloists and he has collaborated with artists such as Paula Robison, Yefim Bronfman, Gilbert Kalish, Miriam Fried, Yo-Yo Ma, Jaime Laredo, and members of the Amadeus, Arditti, Cleveland, Guarneri, Juilliard, Jupiter, Mendelssohn, and Orion string quartets. He is a founding member and regular performer with ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), based in New York.

Mr. Vinocour has presented master classes at conservatories around the country and abroad. He is a regular coach at the New World Symphony in Miami and is also on the faculty of the newly formed San Francisco Academy Orchestra’s Artist Diploma program for orchestral training. He plays a 1784 Lorenzo Storioni viola, on loan from the San Francisco Symphony.

(May 2013)

Yun Jie Liu

Associate Principal

Yun Jie Liu
Associate Principal Viola 
Member since 1993
Hometown: Shanghai, China

On becoming a musician:
My first teacher was my father, who was a high school physics teacher and a self-taught violinist, and a very good teacher for kids. He started teaching me when I was five. He also was the first teacher of my colleague, SFS violinist Yun Chu!

On being in the Orchestra:
As a musician, I think the most important thing is to love music and appreciate what we are doing every day. After some years playing in the Orchestra, we might lose some of the excitement; but if we truly love music, it will keep us on stage for a very long time!

Interests:
Teaching is my passion. I have some very good young students in my studio and I enjoy working with them. Since 1999, I’ve been the viola coach for the Asian Youth Orchestra, one of the most successful youth orchestras in the world. And every year I spend a few weeks in China giving master classes on the orchestral repertory to orchestral musicians and conservatory students.

Other musical activities:
I have enjoyed a wonderful period as Principal Violist in the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra, under Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, and really enjoy making and sharing music with musicians from other countries—including  China, Japan, and Korea. I also enjoy playing chamber music with Bridge Chamber Virtuosi. We’re working to expand the awareness of new Asian music along with traditional Western masterpieces.

Yun Jie Liu has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.

Katie Kadarauch

Assistant Principal

Katie Kadarauch
Assistant Principal Viola
Member since 2007
Hometown: Orinda, CA

Other musical activities:
I am the violist in the Janaki String Trio, an incredible ensemble that is very dear to me. We have a balance of personal and musical dynamics, which is why I love chamber music; it's a chance to get closer to people.

On becoming a musician:
I come from a family of musicians, and I give full credit to my parents for my success in music. I started on piano at five, then switched to violin and then to cello, and I finally settled with the instrument that fit the best: viola. I played in the SFS Youth Orchestra, and it was during that time I fell in love with the SFS.

Favorite composers:
For orchestral music, I love Mahler and Prokofiev. Through very different harmonies and textures, they each manage to cast a spell on both the musicians and the audience. Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Bartók wrote my favorite string quartets.  

On being in the Orchestra:
I feel incredibly fortunate and have been welcomed warmly by the orchestra members. We work very hard and are so appreciative of our devoted audience members, donors, and fans.

Katie Kadarauch has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.

John Schoening

Joanne E. Harrington & Lorry I. Lokey Second Century Chair

John Schoening
Joanne E. Harrington & Lorry I. Lokey Second Century Chair
Member since 1974
Hometown: Racine, WI

On being in the Orchestra:
Being inside the sound of the Orchestra is a great thing. I’m able to make sounds with the group that I can’t make myself, because I’m just one part of what’s going on. That is the appeal: The music is really great, and the sound of the Orchestra is spectacular.

Interests:
I’m a photographer—that’s a passion for me. In 1975 the Orchestra went to Japan and I bought a camera there and started taking slides. Then I saw an Ansel Adams book and immediately I bought an old large-format press camera. Ever since then I’ve been totally hooked on taking pictures and working in the dark room. I like landscapes with a sign of man in them: a building, a telephone pole—anything that creates nice light and shapes.

Musical family:
My mother is an excellent pianist and organist. My wife is a schoolteacher and she plays the flute, and my older son Matthew plays solo electric cello under the name Mr. Cello Man. He plays on albums and often performs shows in the Bay Area. My younger son Tristan is a drummer (on anything in the house) and a beatboxer, and is interested in designing lighting for stage sets.

Advice to aspiring musicians:
Play chamber music with the attitude that you want to blend in with other people. The job of an orchestral musician is to be a strong player, and also to blend and phrase with everybody. It may be difficult to relinquish control, but that is really where the enjoyment comes from.

 

 

Nancy Ellis

Gina Feinauer

Gina Feinauer
Viola
Member since 1992
Hometown: Ardsley, NY

Began playing music:
Both my parents are musicians, so I was immersed in music from a young age. I started piano lessons early on with my mother; I could read music before I could read words. And there was always music going on. My mother had this record collection that spanned everything from Duke Ellington to Barbra Streisand, and then to the Juilliard String Quartet playing Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

Current interests:
I have two kids—identical twin boys—so most of my time and energy is spent with them. But I love to do chamber music, and I try to say yes every time I get asked to play for something with SFS colleagues or elsewhere.

Listening to:
My husband’s iPod is in the car. He’s got such great taste and it’s fun to listen to things I wouldn’t otherwise. He’s a big opera buff and has practically every opera on there, so I’ll be driving along and suddenly I’m listening to Rigoletto.

 

David Gaudry

SFS member since:  1982

Hometown:  Vancouver, BC

Music schools you attended:  Indiana University, University of Western Ontario, University of Victoria

Began playing music: At age 8

Musical inspirations: My parents

If I were not a professional musician, I might be a: fireman

My favorite composer is: Debussy

Favorite works featuring my instrument:  Walton, Viola Concerto

I am looking forward to: Workin’ on my jump-shot

When I’m not working, I enjoy: Running on Mt. Tamalpais

Recent reading: In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic, by David Wessel

On my CD player/iPod:  Black Swan, myself, Eminem, Bargaining with the Devil, by Robert Mnookin
           
Favorite things to do in the Bay Area:
Winetasting, surfing, driving my sports car with the top down, watching the Warriors

Plus: I’m converting analog home videos to DVD. I’m also working on raising my 6th and 7th and lowering my 5th!

David Kim

David Kim
Viola
Member since 2009
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee  

Musical beginnings:
I began playing the violin at the age of 5 and continued to play through early college, where I was a math major. I discovered the viola quite late, at the age of 21, and immediately fell in love with its dark, mellow sound. The decision to switch to the viola changed my life and allowed me to find my true musical voice. 

Important musical influences:
Nobuko Imai, Kim Kashkashian, and Carol Rodland were not only my main viola teachers, but also huge influences on my sensibilities as a musician and even as a person. Also, as a I child I remember my father playing the traditional Korean flute as well as singing Korean folk songs. 

Favorite composers:
My favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, and Bartók. But Bach is, for me, the ultimate composer.

On being a member of the SFS and playing in an orchestra:
The San Francisco Symphony is a very warm, welcoming environment. I feel lucky to be a part of this musical family, especially the viola section. I’ve realized that my awareness of sound, of being able to listen to everything in complete harmony, is growing with each concert. It’s really about being able to anticipate and to open your ears.

Advice for aspiring professional musicians:
Spend as much time as you can doing what you love to do. If that means traveling, studying abroad, joining a quartet, do whatever it takes to have the most fulfilling musical experiences you can.

 

Christina King

Christina King
Viola
Member since 1996
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA

On being in the Orchestra:
It is rewarding to be part of such an exceptional group of talented people and to share the experience of great music with the audience and community. Being able to contribute to performances at such a high artistic level is an amazing way to live your life. It’s a challenge but I can’t imagine doing anything else. What a gift!

Favorite composer:
I find it difficult to narrow the choices down. I usually say Mozart, but there are so many... Brahms’s symphonies are always wonderful and the tone poems of Richard Strauss are challenging and rich. One of my all-time favorite pieces is Stravinsky’s Pulcinella—it is a joy to play!

Other musical activities:
I play chamber music in Walnut Creek for the Sierra Chamber Society—usually a few concerts a year. It has been great, if not essential, for my technique and my spirit, and a good way to get to know my colleagues better. For fun, I also play electric violin in a rock band called NTL.

Hobbies:
I have become an avid cyclist since doing my first century ride (100 miles in a day) with Team in Training, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was a great experience, and since then I have done seven more centuries. I have a beautiful Italian racing bike that I love.

 

Wayne Roden

SFS member since: 1974

Hometown: Auburn, AL

Music schools I attended: North Carolina School of the Arts, Northern Illinois University

Began playing music: At age 8     

Musical inspirations:  Melvin Ritter, Concertmaster, Saint Louis Symphony

If I were not a professional musician, I might be a: Winemaker or a writer

Favorite composers: Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms

Favorite works featuring my instrument: Mozart, Sinfonia concertante; Brahms, sonatas for viola and piano; Bruch, Eight Pieces for Viola and Piano

When I’m not working, I enjoy: Hanging out with my wife, author Barbara Quick

Recent reading: Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy; The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene; Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

On my CD player/iPod: I don’t listen to that much on CD except when I’m preparing chamber music.

Favorite things to do in the Bay Area: Hike in the parks in the North Bay, go to good restaurants

Plus: I grow grapes and make wine (Pinot noir and Pinot gris). I recently expanded my planting to 278 vines. Someone once joked that normally grape plantings are usually measured in acres.

Nanci Severance

Nanci Severance
Viola
Member since 1982
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI

Musical influence:
My father plays the piano, and my mother sang, so there was always classical music in the house. They had a recording of the Bach Cello Suites with Lillian Fuchs on viola, and to me it was a novelty—not only that there could be a solo viola recording, but that a woman was the viola soloist. I heard that recording and realized that I could have a career in music.

Interests:
My mother is a wonderful cook and baker and she inspires me to bake. I also love to cook Italian food. When I was twenty-two, I got into the Spoleto Festival and went to Italy for the first time. Whenever we tour to Europe I try to go to Italy afterwards; on past tours I’ve been to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Florence. I love the culture, the food, the art, and the architecture.

On being in the Orchestra:
It’s a real treat to play in this superb orchestra. One of the great things about being in the Orchestra is that along with the amazing support in the community that we have, there are a lot of opportunities to play chamber music with my wonderful colleagues.

Recent reading:
Very much enjoyed Armistead Maupin’s Mary Ann in Autumn and the Stieg Larsson books, and I will read anything by Jonathan Franzen. There are so many books and there is so little time to read them all!

 

Adam Smyla

Adam Smyla
Viola
Member since 2000
Hometown: Bytom, Poland

Career paths:
My musical journey began on the violin at the age of six, but my main interests then were in science and mathematics, and I hoped to become a doctor. After switching to the viola at age 17, I won first prize in the National Viola Competition in Poland, which altered the course of my life. Shortly after, I became the youngest member of the Polish National Symphony. At age 18, I was invited to join the Penderecki String Quartet. My quartet collaboration lasted more than a decade.

Interests:
I love astronomy. I built my own telescope when I was 14 and that passion has stayed with me ever since. I also love jazz. I have followed the Pat Metheny Group since the early ’80s. As a teenager, I was the lead guitarist and composer for my high school rock band. Nowadays, I enjoy playing the classical guitar and composing songs for my children.

On playing in an orchestra:
One of my most vivid recollections was, as an 18-year-old, discovering the amazing power of the orchestra: its ability to grow from the most sublime, quiet, almost non-existent sounds to the most grandiose. It is a living creature and being a part of it is thrilling.

On being a musician:
My passion is playing chamber music. There is this constant evolution of emotions and musical ideas. The orchestra is a little different: It is a much larger body, so you have many channels that you can tune in to. Even though you are one of many, your engagement and contribution can make a big difference.

 

Matthew Young

 

Matthew Young
Viola
Member since 2012
Hometown: Herndon, KY

Schools: University of Kentucky, Yale, Cleveland Institute of Music

Began playing music: At age five (piano); stringed instruments at age eleven

Early musical influences: I grew up playing church music in a small rural Kentucky setting. As a teen, I began arranging J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg concertos and other secular art music by Baroque and Classical composers for our family ensemble, which included violin, viola, guitar, mandolin, piano, and sometimes cello, among other instruments.

Favorite composers: Bartók's string quartets are such incredibly complex yet still tuneful works.

Experiencing the endings of Mahler's Second, Third, and Ninth symphonies from inside the orchestra in the viola section have been some of the most profound and even spiritual experiences that I've had in my life.

Favorite part of being in the San Francisco Symphony: Touring and recording are both such an honor, and also hard work. From the first moments of my rehearsals as a new violist here, the deep, rich sound of this ensemble was really impressive. Personally, I'm thrilled with my new home base and feel very welcomed and at home, both by my colleagues and by the city.

Activities/Interests: I've done a couple half marathons since moving here and I am thinking I may try to do a marathon soon. I also enjoy cooking, hiking, and exploring this amazing town and its many colorful neighborhoods.

Favorite TV: Mad Men and Six Feet Under both are favorite TV shows of mine. Also, I'm a huge Pixar fan!

Matthew Young has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.

Updated October 2013