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Biography

Mark Inouye, Principal Trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony and occupant of the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation Chair, attended UC Davis and graduated from the Juilliard School. He has held principal trumpet positions with the Houston and Charleston symphonies and has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. He has toured the US with the organ and trumpet duo Toccatas and Flourishes, and he was a member of the Empire Brass Quintet. His jazz album, The Trumpet & the Bull, includes his own compositions. For more on Mark Inouye, visit sfsymphony.org/markinouye.

Aaron Schuman joined the SFS as Associate Principal Trumpet in 2018. A native of Buffalo, NY, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music before pursuing graduate studies at Rice University. 

Guy Piddington joined the SFS in the 2012 and currently occupies the Ann L. & Charles B. Johnson Chair. He has held positions with the Metropolitan Opera and the Syracuse Symphony, and he has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and Mariinsky Orchestra. He studied with Charles Geyer at the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He holds a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Philip Smith. 

Jeff Biancalana, a native of Chicago, joined the SFS in 2011. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and has performed with ensembles including the Milwaukee Symphony; the New York, Buffalo, and Rochester philharmonics; the New World Symphony; New York Big Brass; Chicago’s Music of the Baroque; Houston Grand Opera; and the Chicago and San Francisco contemporary players. He has performed in the Grand Teton Music Festival and served on faculty at California State University East Bay. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.

Scott Macomber has served as an acting member of the SFS and is currently Acting Principal Trumpet of the California Symphony, principal trumpet of the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, co-principal trumpet of the Arizona MusicFest Orchestra. He has also served as a member of the Sacramento Philharmonic, Napa Valley Symphony, and the Mendocino Music Festival Orchestra. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and the SF Conservatory of Music. Scott Macomber is on the faculty of the SF Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division and UC Davis.

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. Mr. Ward has made several solo appearances with the SFS in works such as Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings. Also a composer, his own Quartet for Horns has been performed in the SFS Chamber Music Series. He is a founding member of the Bay Brass, and he currently serves on the faculties of UC Berkeley and the SF Conservatory of Music.

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 in 1978 and in 1981 joined the Utah Symphony. Mr. Roberts is a member of the Bay Brass and teaches at the SF Conservatory of Music. He performs regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival and has also performed as a soundtrack recording artist.

Jonathan Ring joined the SFS horn section in 1991 after holding positions in the Columbus Symphony and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He is a founding member of Bay Brass and a frequent performer around the Bay Area and on television and motion picture soundtracks. Mr. Ring 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 Orchestra. 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. 

A native of Chandler, TX, Daniel Hawkins joined the horn section of the San Francisco Symphony in the 2017-18 season. He was the national winner of the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Brass competition in 2014 and won first place in the Mid-South Horn Workshop Concerto Competition in 2010. Mr. Hawkins has performed with the symphonies of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as the New World Symphony. He studied in the master's program at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University with William VerMeulen.

Chris Cooper began his career with the Empire Brass out of Boston, and then joined the Canadian Brass with whom he made several recordings. Following his time with the Canadian Brass, Mr. Cooper became an acting member of the San Francisco Symphony for nine years. During the summer he serves as Principal Horn of the Carmel Bach Festival. Mr. Cooper is very active in studio recording and solo and chamber concerts, and he also runs the horn studio at UCLA. He studied at Boston University and the SF Conservatory.

Timothy Higgins is the San Francisco Symphony’s Principal Trombone, holding the Robert L. Samter Chair. He was previously acting second trombone with the National Symphony. A Houston native, Mr. Higgins graduated from Northwestern University and has performed with the Milwaukee, Virginia, and Chicago symphonies, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and the Baltimore Symphony. In 2005, he won the Robert Marsteller Competition and the ITA Trombone Quartet Competition, both part of the International Trombone Association. For more on Timothy Higgins, visit sfsymphony.org/timothyhiggins.

Nick Platoff joined the San Francisco Symphony as Associate Principal Trombone in the 2016-17 season. A graduate of Northwestern University, he was previously a trombone fellow at the New World Symphony. Mr. Platoff was a winner of the Aspen Music Festival and School Brass and Percussion Concerto Competition, National Brass Symposium Trombone Excerpt Competition, and United States Coast Guard Band Young Artist Competition. During his time with the New World Symphony, he produced and curated MIXTAPE, the first-ever concert of the New Audience Fellow Initiative. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra. For more information, visit sfsymphony.org/nickplatoff.

Paul Welcomer joined the SFS in 1994. Born in West Chester, PA, he received a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory. Before joining the SFS, he served as principal trombone of the Alabama Symphony and the United States Air Force Band. He is a founding member of the Bay Brass and teaches trombone at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For more on Paul Welcomer, visit sfsymphony.org/paulwelcomer. 

John Engelkes joined the SFS in 1981. He has been a member of the Baltimore Symphony and has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Florida Symphony. He studied at the University of Northern Iowa and at Northwestern University. While in Chicago, Mr. Engelkes performed in the Northwestern Wind Ensemble, Northwestern Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Chicago Pops. He serves on the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is a founding member of the Bay Brass. 

Jeffrey Anderson joined the SFS as Principal Tuba in 2002, occupying the James Irvine Chair. Prior to joining the SFS, he held positions with the New Mexico Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he teaches tuba and coaches chamber music. He studied at Indiana University and Arizona State University. For more on Jeffrey Anderson, visit sfsymphony.org/jeffreyanderson. 

Edward Stephan joined the SFS as Principal Timpani in 2016, occupying the Marcia & John Goldman Chair. Prior to joining the Orchestra, he served as principal timpani of the Pittsburgh, Dallas, and the Fort Worth symphonies. Mr. Stephan holds degrees from the University of North Texas and New England Conservatory of Music. Currently timpanist of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, WY, he also serves as chair of the percussion department at Duquesne University. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra. For more on Edward Stephan, visit sfsymphony.org/edwardstephan.

Jacob Nissly was appointed Principal Percussion of the San Francisco Symphony in 2013. Previously, he was principal percussion of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. He also served as a member of the New World Symphony. He is on the percussion faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory and is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra. He has also taught at the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Mr. Nissly holds a Bachelor of Music and Jazz Studies from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. He began his percussion studies with Woody Smith in Iowa. For more on Jacob Nissly, visit sfsymphony.org/jacobnissly. 

James Lee Wyatt III joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2001 after serving as principal percussionist of the Honolulu Symphony. A native of Princeton, KY, he received degrees from the University of Michigan and Temple University. Mr. Wyatt has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, as well as at the Ojai Festival, Britt Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and the US and Italian Spoleto festivals. 

Stan Muncy is a Bay Area percussionist and jazz vibe player. A member of the Santa Rosa Symphony, he regularly performs with the San Francisco Symphony. He was percussionist/assistant timpanist with the Honolulu Symphony. He also performs regularly with eighth blackbird and the new-music ensemble-in-residence at UC Berkeley, the Eco Ensemble

Edward Stephan joined the SFS as Principal Timpani in 2016, occupying the Marcia & John Goldman Chair. Prior to joining the Orchestra, he served as principal timpani of the Pittsburgh, Dallas, and the Fort Worth symphonies. Mr. Stephan holds degrees from the University of North Texas and New England Conservatory of Music. Currently timpanist of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, WY, he also serves as chair of the percussion department at Duquesne University. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra.

Jacob Nissly was appointed Principal Percussion of the San Francisco Symphony in 2013. Previously, he served as principal percussion of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony, and he was also a member of the New World Symphony. He is an adjunct professor of percussion at the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Nissly holds degrees from Northwestern University and the Juilliard School. He began his percussion studies with Woody Smith in Iowa. He is currently a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra. For more on Jacob Nissly, visit sfsymphony.org/jacobnissly.

James Lee Wyatt III joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2001 after serving as principal percussionist of the Honolulu Symphony. A native of Princeton, KY, he received degrees from the University of Michigan and Temple University. Mr. Wyatt has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, as well as at the Ojai Festival, Britt Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and the US and Italian Spoleto Festivals.

Raymond Froehlich joined the San Francisco Symphony as a percussionist in 1991. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he was previously a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and a timpanist with the Berkeley Symphony. He performs with several jazz ensembles in the Bay Area, as well as a rock trio and Ultra World X-tet, which combines Chinese instruments—the guzheng and pipa—with saxophone, electric guitar, and bass.

(November 2017)