Jonathan Vinocour


Jonathan Vinocour joined the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Viola in 2009, having previously served as principal viola of the Saint Louis Symphony and guest principal viola of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. A native of Rochester, NY, Mr. Vinocour graduated from Princeton University with a degree in chemistry. He completed his master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Kim Kashkashian.

With the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Vinocour has appeared as soloist in Britten’s Double Concerto and Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante (both with Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik), Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, and Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel. He has also performed as a soloist with the Saint Louis Symphony. His first solo album, featuring works of Britten and Shostakovich, was recorded with the support of the Holland America Music Society. Mr. Vinocour was also a featured recitalist at the 2012 International Viola Congress, and he performs frequently in recital throughout the Bay Area.

Mr. Vinocour has been a regular participant at the Marlboro Music Festival and has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro. He enjoys a busy chamber music schedule during summer seasons, participating in many festivals such as Seattle Chamber Music, Aspen Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts, Music in the Vineyards, and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, among others.  Mr. Vinocour has been a guest of the Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, the Boston Chamber Music Society, International Sejong Soloists, and is a frequent guest artist with the Saint Lawrence String Quartet. He is a founding member of ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), based in New York.

A dedicated and increasingly active pedagogue, Mr. Vinocour has presented master classes at conservatories around the country and abroad.  He is a regular coach at the New World Symphony in Miami, has been on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He plays a 1784 Lorenzo Storioni viola, on loan from the San Francisco Symphony.

(March 2016)

Yun Jie Liu

Associate Principal

Yun Jie Liu
Associate Principal Viola 
Member since 1993
Hometown: Shanghai, China

On becoming a musician:
My first teacher was my father, who was a high school physics teacher and a self-taught violinist, and a very good teacher for kids. He started teaching me when I was five. He also was the first teacher of my colleague, SFS violinist Yun Chu!

On being in the Orchestra:
As a musician, I think the most important thing is to love music and appreciate what we are doing every day. After some years playing in the Orchestra, we might lose some of the excitement; but if we truly love music, it will keep us on stage for a very long time!

Teaching is my passion. I have some very good young students in my studio and I enjoy working with them. Since 1999, I’ve been the viola coach for the Asian Youth Orchestra, one of the most successful youth orchestras in the world. And every year I spend a few weeks in China giving master classes on the orchestral repertory to orchestral musicians and conservatory students.

Other musical activities:
I have enjoyed a wonderful period as Principal Violist in the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra, under Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, and really enjoy making and sharing music with musicians from other countries—including  China, Japan, and Korea. I also enjoy playing chamber music with Bridge Chamber Virtuosi. We’re working to expand the awareness of new Asian music along with traditional Western masterpieces.

Yun Jie Liu has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.

Katie Kadarauch

Assistant Principal

Katie Kadarauch
Assistant Principal Viola
Member since 2007
Hometown: Orinda, CA

Other musical activities:
I am the violist in the Janaki String Trio, an incredible ensemble that is very dear to me. We have a balance of personal and musical dynamics, which is why I love chamber music; it's a chance to get closer to people.

On becoming a musician:
I come from a family of musicians, and I give full credit to my parents for my success in music. I started on piano at five, then switched to violin and then to cello, and I finally settled with the instrument that fit the best: viola. I played in the SFS Youth Orchestra, and it was during that time I fell in love with the SFS.

Favorite composers:
For orchestral music, I love Mahler and Prokofiev. Through very different harmonies and textures, they each manage to cast a spell on both the musicians and the audience. Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Bartók wrote my favorite string quartets.  

On being in the Orchestra:
I feel incredibly fortunate and have been welcomed warmly by the orchestra members. We work very hard and are so appreciative of our devoted audience members, donors, and fans.

Katie Kadarauch has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.

John Schoening

Joanne E. Harrington & Lorry I. Lokey Second Century Chair

John Schoening
Joanne E. Harrington & Lorry I. Lokey Second Century Chair
Member since 1974
Hometown: Racine, WI

On being in the Orchestra:
Being inside the sound of the Orchestra is a great thing. I’m able to make sounds with the group that I can’t make myself, because I’m just one part of what’s going on. That is the appeal: The music is really great, and the sound of the Orchestra is spectacular.

I’m a photographer—that’s a passion for me. In 1975 the Orchestra went to Japan and I bought a camera there and started taking slides. Then I saw an Ansel Adams book and immediately I bought an old large-format press camera. Ever since then I’ve been totally hooked on taking pictures and working in the dark room. I like landscapes with a sign of man in them: a building, a telephone pole—anything that creates nice light and shapes.

Musical family:
My mother is an excellent pianist and organist. My wife is a schoolteacher and she plays the flute, and my older son Matthew plays solo electric cello under the name Mr. Cello Man. He plays on albums and often performs shows in the Bay Area. My younger son Tristan is a drummer (on anything in the house) and a beatboxer, and is interested in designing lighting for stage sets.

Advice to aspiring musicians:
Play chamber music with the attitude that you want to blend in with other people. The job of an orchestral musician is to be a strong player, and also to blend and phrase with everybody. It may be difficult to relinquish control, but that is really where the enjoyment comes from.



Nancy Ellis

Gina Feinauer

Gina Feinauer
Member since 1992
Hometown: Ardsley, NY

Began playing music:
Both my parents are musicians, so I was immersed in music from a young age. I started piano lessons early on with my mother; I could read music before I could read words. And there was always music going on. My mother had this record collection that spanned everything from Duke Ellington to Barbra Streisand, and then to the Juilliard String Quartet playing Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

Current interests:
I have two kids—identical twin boys—so most of my time and energy is spent with them. But I love to do chamber music, and I try to say yes every time I get asked to play for something with SFS colleagues or elsewhere.

Listening to:
My husband’s iPod is in the car. He’s got such great taste and it’s fun to listen to things I wouldn’t otherwise. He’s a big opera buff and has practically every opera on there, so I’ll be driving along and suddenly I’m listening to Rigoletto.


David Gaudry

David Gaudry, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, joined the San Francisco Symphony’s viola section in 1982. A graduate of Indiana University, he also studied at the Vancouver Academy of Music and at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Prior to joining the SFS he was a member of the Vancouver Symphony. 

(October 2017)

David Kim

David Kim
Member since 2009
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee  

Musical beginnings:
I began playing the violin at the age of 5 and continued to play through early college, where I was a math major. I discovered the viola quite late, at the age of 21, and immediately fell in love with its dark, mellow sound. The decision to switch to the viola changed my life and allowed me to find my true musical voice. 

Important musical influences:
Nobuko Imai, Kim Kashkashian, and Carol Rodland were not only my main viola teachers, but also huge influences on my sensibilities as a musician and even as a person. Also, as a I child I remember my father playing the traditional Korean flute as well as singing Korean folk songs. 

Favorite composers:
My favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, and Bartók. But Bach is, for me, the ultimate composer.

On being a member of the SFS and playing in an orchestra:
The San Francisco Symphony is a very warm, welcoming environment. I feel lucky to be a part of this musical family, especially the viola section. I’ve realized that my awareness of sound, of being able to listen to everything in complete harmony, is growing with each concert. It’s really about being able to anticipate and to open your ears.

Advice for aspiring professional musicians:
Spend as much time as you can doing what you love to do. If that means traveling, studying abroad, joining a quartet, do whatever it takes to have the most fulfilling musical experiences you can.


Christina King

Christina King
Member since 1996
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA

On being in the Orchestra:
It is rewarding to be part of such an exceptional group of talented people and to share the experience of great music with the audience and community. Being able to contribute to performances at such a high artistic level is an amazing way to live your life. It’s a challenge but I can’t imagine doing anything else. What a gift!

Favorite composer:
I find it difficult to narrow the choices down. I usually say Mozart, but there are so many... Brahms’s symphonies are always wonderful and the tone poems of Richard Strauss are challenging and rich. One of my all-time favorite pieces is Stravinsky’s Pulcinella—it is a joy to play!

Other musical activities:
I play chamber music in Walnut Creek for the Sierra Chamber Society—usually a few concerts a year. It has been great, if not essential, for my technique and my spirit, and a good way to get to know my colleagues better. For fun, I also play electric violin in a rock band called NTL.

I have become an avid cyclist since doing my first century ride (100 miles in a day) with Team in Training, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was a great experience, and since then I have done seven more centuries. I have a beautiful Italian racing bike that I love.


Wayne Roden

SFS member since: 1974

Hometown: Auburn, AL

Music schools I attended: North Carolina School of the Arts, Northern Illinois University

Began playing music: At age 8     

Musical inspirations:  Melvin Ritter, Concertmaster, Saint Louis Symphony

If I were not a professional musician, I might be a: Winemaker or a writer

Favorite composers: Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms

Favorite works featuring my instrument: Mozart, Sinfonia concertante; Brahms, sonatas for viola and piano; Bruch, Eight Pieces for Viola and Piano

When I’m not working, I enjoy: Hanging out with my wife, author Barbara Quick

Recent reading: Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy; The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene; Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

On my CD player/iPod: I don’t listen to that much on CD except when I’m preparing chamber music.

Favorite things to do in the Bay Area: Hike in the parks in the North Bay, go to good restaurants

Plus: I grow grapes and make wine (Pinot noir and Pinot gris). I recently expanded my planting to 278 vines. Someone once joked that normally grape plantings are usually measured in acres.

Nanci Severance

Nanci Severance has been a member of the SFS since 1982. Before joining the Orchestra she attended Oberlin College, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and Northern Illinois University. Ms. Severance has appeared with and been a member of many Bay Area ensembles, including the Donatello Quartet, San Francisco Contemporary Music Ensemble, PARLANTE chamber orchestra, and the Stanford String Quartet, and she has participated in the Grand Teton Music Festival, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Telluride Chamber Music Festival, and the Eastern Music Festival. 

(January 2018)

Adam Smyla

Adam Smyla
Member since 2000
Hometown: Bytom, Poland

Career paths:
My musical journey began on the violin at the age of six, but my main interests then were in science and mathematics, and I hoped to become a doctor. After switching to the viola at age 17, I won first prize in the National Viola Competition in Poland, which altered the course of my life. Shortly after, I became the youngest member of the Polish National Symphony. At age 18, I was invited to join the Penderecki String Quartet. My quartet collaboration lasted more than a decade.

I love astronomy. I built my own telescope when I was 14 and that passion has stayed with me ever since. I also love jazz. I have followed the Pat Metheny Group since the early ’80s. As a teenager, I was the lead guitarist and composer for my high school rock band. Nowadays, I enjoy playing the classical guitar and composing songs for my children.

On playing in an orchestra:
One of my most vivid recollections was, as an 18-year-old, discovering the amazing power of the orchestra: its ability to grow from the most sublime, quiet, almost non-existent sounds to the most grandiose. It is a living creature and being a part of it is thrilling.

On being a musician:
My passion is playing chamber music. There is this constant evolution of emotions and musical ideas. The orchestra is a little different: It is a much larger body, so you have many channels that you can tune in to. Even though you are one of many, your engagement and contribution can make a big difference.

Adam Smyla is currently a member of the Coaching Team for the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Matthew Young

Matthew Young Matthew Young joined the SFS viola section in 2012. He was a founding member of the Verklärte Quartet, which won grand prize in the 2003 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He currently performs as a member of Ensemble San Francisco. Winner of a 2007 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians and the Robert Vernon Prize for Viola Performance, he attended the University of Kentucky, Yale School of Music, and Cleveland Institute of Music.

(January 2018)