Nov 16, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony congratulate First Violin Yukiko Kurakata and Principal Horn Robert Ward, both of whom retire in December following 30 and 43 years with the Orchestra, respectively.
First Violin Yukiko Kurakata retires from the San Francisco Symphony in December, following 30 years of service. Kurakata, occupant of the Catherine A. Mueller Chair, joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1993. She studied with Jascha Heifetz at the University of Southern California, and after graduating, she taught as his assistant at USC. Prior to joining the San Francisco Symphony, she served on the faculties of UCLA and Pepperdine University. Ms. Kurakata has been a member of the Marlboro, Amsterdam, and Okinawa chamber music festivals, as well as the Sitka Summer Music Festival. She has performed as soloist with the Japan Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony, and she has given recitals in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and New York.
Principal Horn Robert Ward retires from the San Francisco Symphony in December after 43 years. He joined the San Francisco Symphony as Associate Principal Horn in 1980 after holding positions in the Atlantic Symphony of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Denver Symphony. He was appointed Principal Horn in 2007. As a composer and arranger, his works have been performed on the San Francisco Symphony chamber music series and by Bay Brass. A graduate of Oberlin College Conservatory and a Tanglewood Music Center fellow, he now serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
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