Robert Ward

Principal, Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Chair

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.

(February 2019)

Nicole Cash

Associate Principal

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


Bruce Roberts

Assistant Principal

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 was previously a member of the Utah Symphony. Mr. Roberts teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, appears regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival, and has also performed as a soundtrack recording artist.

(November 2019)

Daniel Hawkins

Utility Horn

A native of Chandler, TX, Daniel Hawkins joined the San Francisco Symphony horn section in September 2017. He was the national winner of the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Brass solo recital competition in 2014 and won first place in the Mid-South Horn Workshop Concerto Competition in 2010. Mr. Hawkins has performed with ensembles around the country, including the Houston, Dallas, New World, and San Antonio symphonies, and the Louisiana Philharmonic. Mr. Hawkins studied at Stephen F. Austin State University before transferring to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to obtain his bachelor’s degree in horn performance. He earned a master’s degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. 

Jonathan Ring


Jonathan Ring joined the San Francisco Symphony horn section in 1991 after holding positions in the Columbus Symphony and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. A founding member of Bay Brass, he currently serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he teaches horn and coaches chamber music.

(September 2018)

Jessica Valeri

Fourth Horn

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. 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.