Members of the SF Symphony brass section

Mark Inouye, Principal Trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony and occupant of the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation Chair, attended UC Davis and graduated from the Juilliard School. He has held principal trumpet positions with the Houston and Charleston symphonies and has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. He has toured the US with the organ and trumpet duo Toccatas and Flourishes, and he was a member of the Empire Brass Quintet. His jazz album, The Trumpet & the Bull, includes his own compositions. For more on Mark Inouye, visit

Raymond Riccomini currently serves as Acting Associate Principal Trumpet with the SFS, occupying the Peter Pastreich Chair. Prior to this, he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic as guest principal trumpet and has also held positions with the New Jersey Symphony and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Mr. Riccomini was a founding member of the Manhattan Brass Quintet and a winner in the 1993 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. He received degrees from the Mannes College of Music (where he is on the faculty) and the Manhattan School of Music. He released his debut solo album, The Inner Voice, in 2010.

Guy Piddington joined the SFS in the 2012 and currently occupies the Ann L. & Charles B. Johnson Chair. He has held positions with the Metropolitan Opera and the Syracuse Symphony, and he has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and Mariinsky Orchestra. He studied with Charles Geyer at the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He holds a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Philip Smith.

Jeff Biancalana, a native of Chicago, joined the SFS in 2011. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and has performed with ensembles including the Milwaukee Symphony; the New York, Buffalo, and Rochester philharmonic orchestras; the New World Symphony; New York Big Brass; Chicago’s Music of the Baroque; Houston Grand Opera; and the Chicago and SF Contemporary Players. He has performed in the Grand Teton Music Festival, and has served on faculty at California State University East Bay. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.

Joseph Brown holds the position of second trumpet in the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. He performs frequently with the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. Additionally, he has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, San Diego, Sarasota, and Tucson symphonies. Before moving to the Bay Area, Mr. Brown was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami for three years. Originally from Houston, he holds degrees from the Colburn School, University of Michigan, and Ithaca College.

Robert Ward, SFS Principal Horn, joined the SFS in 1980. A graduate of Oberlin College Conservatory, he also studied at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. Mr. Ward has made several solo appearances with the SFS in works such as Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings. Also a composer, his own Quartet for Horns has been performed in the SFS Chamber Music Series. He is a founding member of the Bay Brass, and he currently serves on the faculties of UC Berkeley and the SF Conservatory of Music.

Bruce Roberts joined the SFS in 1988 and currently serves as Assistant Principal Horn. He studied with George Cable of the San Diego Symphony, with Fred Fox and Lawrence Christianson at California State University, Northridge, and with Ralph Pyle at the California Institute of the Arts. He was a founding member of La Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México in 1978 and in 1981 joined the Utah Symphony. Mr. Roberts is a member of the Bay Brass and teaches at the SF Conservatory of Music. He performs regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival and has also performed as a soundtrack recording artist.

Jonathan Ring joined the SFS horn section in 1991 after holding positions in the Columbus Symphony and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He is a founding member of Bay Brass and a frequent performer around the Bay Area and on television and motion picture soundtracks. Mr. Ring currently serves on the faculty of the SF Conservatory of Music, where he teaches horn and coaches chamber music.

Jessica Valeri joined the SFS in 2008. She holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University. Ms. Valeri has been a member of the Saint Louis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. She also performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and International Contemporary Ensemble, among others. She is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.

A native of Chandler, TX, Daniel Hawkins joined the horn section of the San Francisco Symphony in the 2017-18 season. He was the national winner of the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Brass competition in 2014 and won first place in the Mid-South Horn Workshop Concerto Competition in 2010. Mr. Hawkins has performed with the symphonies of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as the New World Symphony. He studied in the master's program at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University with William VerMeulen.

Chris Cooper began his career with the Empire Brass out of Boston, and then joined the Canadian Brass with whom he made several recordings. Following his time with the Canadian Brass, Mr. Cooper became an acting member of the San Francisco Symphony for nine years. During the summer he serves as Principal Horn of the Carmel Bach Festival. Mr. Cooper is very active in studio recording and solo and chamber concerts, and he also runs the horn studio at UCLA. He studied at Boston University and the SF Conservatory.

Timothy Higgins is the San Francisco Symphony’s Principal Trombone, holding the Robert L. Samter Chair. He was previously acting second trombone with the National Symphony. A Houston native, Mr. Higgins graduated from Northwestern University and has performed with the Milwaukee, Virginia, and Chicago symphonies, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and the Baltimore Symphony. In 2005, he won the Robert Marsteller Competition and the ITA Trombone Quartet Competition, both part of the International Trombone Association. For more on Timothy Higgins, visit

Nicholas Platoff joined the San Francisco Symphony as Associate Principal Trombone in the 2016-17 season. A graduate of Northwestern University, he was previously a trombone fellow at the New World Symphony. Mr. Platoff was a winner of the Aspen Music Festival and School Brass and Percussion Concerto Competition, National Brass Symposium Trombone Excerpt Competition, and United States Coast Guard Band Young Artist Competition. During his time with the New World Symphony, he produced and curated MIXTAPE, the first-ever concert of the New Audience Fellow Initiative. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.

Paul Welcomer joined the SFS in 1994. Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, he received a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory. Before joining the SFS, he served as principal trombone of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the United States Air Force Band. He is a founding member of the Bay Brass and teaches trombone at the SF Conservatory of Music. For more on Paul Welcomer, visit

John Engelkes joined the SFS in 1981. He has been a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Florida Symphony. He studied at the University of Northern Iowa and at Northwestern University. While in Chicago, Mr. Engelkes performed in the Northwestern Wind Ensemble, Northwestern Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Chicago Pops. He serves on the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is a founding member of the Bay Brass.

Jeffrey Anderson joined the SFS as Principal Tuba in 2002 and occupies the James Irvine Chair. Prior to joining the SFS, he held positions with the New Mexico Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently on the faculty of the SF Conservatory of Music, where he teaches tuba and coaches chamber music. He studied at Indiana University and Arizona State University. For more on Jeffrey Anderson, visit

(November 2017)