Robert Ward, SFS Principal Horn, joined the Orchestra in 1980. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, he also studied at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. He has appeared as soloist with the SFS on several occasions, including in Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings. He can be heard as solo horn on the SFS recordings on SFS Media of the complete Mahler symphonies, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. He is a founding member of the Bay Brass and teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In his spare time, he writes fiction, expands his genealogical family tree, and composes.
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 joined the SFS in 1988 and currently serves as Assistant Principal Horn. He studied with George Cable of the San Diego Symphony, 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 San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He performs regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival and has also performed as a soundtrack recording artist.
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 Symphony, Dallas Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, and New World Symphony. He has also participated in masterclasses with William VerMeulen, Barry Tuckwell, David Cooper, Gail Williams, and Andrew Bain. Recent festival appearances include the Texas Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Round Top Music Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra, Tippet Rise Art Center, and the Lakes Area Music Festival. Mr. Hawkins began his college career at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX studying with Dr. Charles Gavin. He then transferred to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to obtain his bachelor’s degree in horn performance, studying with Gregory Hustis and Haley Hoops. During his time at SMU, he won the annual concerto competition twice in his last two years and was a featured soloist both times with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra. In August 2015, he moved to Houston to study with William VerMeulen, earning a master’s degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, being outdoors, and skiing down the slopes during the winter.
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.
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.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102
Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm
Sat: Noon - 6pm
Sun: 2 hours prior to concerts
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