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. Also a composer, his own Quartet for Horns was performed in the SFS Chamber Music Series in 1999. He is a founding member of the symphonic brass group the Bay Brass and he currently serves on the faculties of UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
SFS member since: 2009
Hometown: Annandale, VA
Music schools you attended: Northwestern University, Rice University
Began playing music: At age 4
I was inspired to become a professional musician by: The fact that I can’t (or at least don’t want to) do anything else.
If I were not a professional musician, I might be an: interior designer or archaeologist
Favorite composers: Brahms and Prokofiev
Favorite works featuring my instrument: Brahms, A German Requiem; Prokofiev, Symphony No. 5
When I’m not working, I enjoy: Baking, entertaining, skiing, traveling
Recent reading: The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver; Song of the Lark, by Willa Cather; Marie Claire magazine
On my CD player/iPod: Radiohead (tons of it!); Janelle Monae, A Tribe Called Quest, Bluchunks
Favorite things to do in the Bay Area: Hiking with my dog, skiing in Tahoe, eating great food, trips up to Napa/Sonoma
Assistant Principal Horn
Member since 1988
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Early musical memory:
My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a band director in public high schools. Early on, my sisters and I would give impromptu performances after dinner, and my mother would accompany us on piano. It was a social thing to do, and we did it pretty regularly, to the point where we got comfortable playing.
Outside the Orchestra:
Over the last few years, I have been working towards building my own French horn making and repair shop. I see it as something to look forward to in my retirement from performance. It’s also another way to have a lasting legacy in the music world.
I love to read The Economist, and my favorite radio show is This American Life. I listen to that religiously. I also enjoyed reading a book called A Devil to Play by Jasper Rees, which is about a British amateur horn player who decides to try and master a difficult Mozart horn concerto (and perform it in front of an audience!) It’s a story that all horn players can relate to.
Bruce Roberts has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.
SFS member since: 1991
Hometown: Springfield, MA
Music schools you attended: Oberlin, Northwestern University
Began playing music: At age 7
Musical inspirations: My mother, and hearing great music when I was young.
If I were not a professional musician, I might be a: A recording engineer or jazz/rock keyboard player
Favorite composers: Mahler, Strauss, Ravel, Bruce Broughton, Shostakivich, Respighi
Favorite works featuring my instrument: Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5, Respighi; Roman Festivals; Richard Strauss, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks and An Alpine Symphony; any Mahler symphony!
When I’m not working, I enjoy: Hiking with my family, playing keyboards and composing
On my CD player/iPod: A lot of progressive rock, funk and jazz, music from the Jewish diaspora, lots of obscure composers and artists
Favorite things to do in the Bay Area: Hiking and eating (because of all the great opportunities we have here)
Plus: Also performs with Bay Brass, and is featured on the ensemble’s Grammy® award-nominated CD of American music, Sound the Bells!
Jonathan Ring has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.
SFS member since: 2008
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
Music schools you attended: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University
Began playing music: At age 9
If I were not a professional musician, I might be a: Travel writer
Favorite composers: Brahms, Stravinsky, Bach
Favorite works featuring my instrument: Britten, Serenade; Brahms, Horn Trio; Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring; Bach Cello Suites (played by horn!)
When I’m not working, I enjoy: Cycling, hiking, yoga, napping
Recent reading: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë; Song of the Lark, by Willa Cather; A Short History of Women, by Kate Walbert
On my CD player/iPod: Björk; Prince; Cloud Cult; Beirut
Favorite things to do in the Bay Area: Cycling in Marin, taking my dog to the beach, walking through the Presidio, visiting all the great museums, daytrips to Point Reyes
Jessica Valeri is currently a member of the Coaching Team for the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102
Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 2 hours prior to concerts
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