AIM ENSEMBLES

Ensemble presentations are developed to be interdisciplinary and musicians are trained by the San Francisco Symphony to be effective in education settings.

CHARLES RYAN, TRUMPET, grew up in San Francisco and was exposed to many different types of music throughout the city. Now he plays mostly classical trumpet with symphony orchestras. Some of these groups include the SF Chamber Orchestra and American Bach Soloists. He has also had fun playing trumpet for popular musicians including Grammy-winner Thundercat and the rock band Journey. 

MIRIAM SNYDER, TENOR TROMBONE, recently completed a master’s degree in trombone performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Miriam currently teaches private lessons and plays in several Bay Area orchestras including the Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Marin, and Monterey symphonies. As a passionate solo and chamber musician, Miriam has succeeded in several competitions. As an avid educator and performer, Miriam looks forward to performing in schools across San Francisco as a member of the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program!

EDAN SHALOM MOR, SAXOPHONE, was born in San Francisco. He started playing the alto saxophone when he was 10 years old, at which age he was already an avid music fan. He was so inspired that he later attended the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) and then continued on to the Global Jazz Studies department at UCLA. Edan enjoys composing, performing, and bringing the joy of music to as many people as possible!

CHRISTIAN PAARUP, BASS TROMBONE, is a San Francisco-based trombonist and teacher. He has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and Utah Symphony, among many others. Christian is an avid chamber musician who has performed with dozens of brass ensembles, and he founded Fort Worth Brass. As a passionate teacher, Christian works with students of all ages. He served on the trombone faculty at Dallas College and Baylor University before coming to San Francisco. As the founder and director of the Trombone Choir of North Texas, Christian is inspired by the beautiful sounds trombones can produce.

DEREK SMITH, STEEL PAN, is a California native who has been playing percussion ever since his mother bought him a drum set at age five, and he continued to study music passionately throughout his childhood. Derek discovered the steel pan when he saw the 30-piece Humboldt Calypso Band playing at Humboldt State University and decided to study music to join the band. He became a professional musician, studying in Trinidad, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. During his time in Trinidad, Derek performed in the national “Panorama” competition with a 100-member band entirely made up of steel pan! He has appeared on a variety of recordings, and he loves to perform all types of music.

AARON GEMAIN, ELECTRIC BASS, began his musical career in Massachusetts, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 20 years. Playing both upright and electric basses, he plays diverse genres of music and even composes his own music! Aaron has performed with musicians such as Yusef Lateef, Stanley Jordan, Randy Brecker, Paul McCandless, and many others. Aaron has toured all over America and the world, and has even performed at the Great Pyramids of Egypt! He has three albums of original music, Before You Go, Chance, and Bell Projections

ROBERT RANGEL, CONGAS, has been immersed in music since childhood. His father was both his first inspiration and his first teacher! Over the years, Robert has worked diligently to develop music versatility—he loves to transcend barriers between salsa, jazz, R&B, and rock. Robert plays with multiple bands throughout the Bay Area, including Northern California’s top cover band, Pop Fiction, and his father’s 10-piece salsa band, Orquesta America. Robert also teaches percussion and has been featured as a percussionist on many recordings. He also has percussion endorsements with Latin Percussion, Soultone Cymbals, and Vater Percussion. 

MARLON ALDANA, DRUM SET, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is a multi-genre musician and educator based in Oakland. Throughout his career, Marlon has been part of many acts exploring different music styles such as jazz, flamenco, salsa/timba, funk, rock, Brazilian, cumbia, reggae, and more! He has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Grammy Award winner Antonio Rey, legendary Bay Area rumbero John Santos, the Oakland Symphony, and many more. He has toured around Mexico and the United States with a wide variety of bands and labels. Marlon is now building an independent recording studio and writing some music of his own. 

LAVINIA CHEN, VIOLIN, started playing the violin at age five. When she was 15, she immigrated to Los Angeles from China with her family. Lavinia earned her master’s degree in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music after graduating from UCLA with a full scholarship, double minoring in visual and performance arts education and musicology. In recent years, she has performed on stages throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, London, Vienna, and Asia. To Lavinia, playing violin is like telling an exciting story, and she always enjoys teaching because students can express themselves by making music. When she is not playing violin, Lavinia enjoys kayaking, drawing, and taking walks by the water.

OCTAVIO MUJICA, CELLO, is a Venezuelan American artist with an extensive background in performance and teaching. He recently earned his master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Octavio has won several awards including the Latin Grammy Foundation Scholarship, the Blair Scholarship, the Barron String Orchestral Scholarship, and the William E. Duckwitz Talent Scholarship. He has performed as a soloist with the SFCM Baroque Ensemble, Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Táchira, and the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra. In his free time, Octavio enjoys playing sports, singing, and reading a good book.

ARMANDO ATANDA, VIOLA, is in pursuit of his master’s degree in viola performance, studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Yun Jie Liu of the San Francisco Symphony. He has won numerous awards, including the Landon Classical Music Competition, Marker Pioneer International Competition, Kings Peak Competition, and was also a finalist in the Ocala Symphony Concerto Competition. He has performed in many orchestras including the Golden Gate Symphony, Nicaragua Symphony, and Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville. When he’s not engaging in musical activities, he enjoys skateboarding around cities, playing ultimate frisbee, and he is an avid movie reviewer!

JENNIFER REDONDAS, VIOLIN, is originally from Cuba and has performed as a soloist in the United States, Netherlands, Italy, Austria, France, and Cuba. She has participated as a violinist and violist at the Oregon Bach Festival and Berwick Academy under the direction of Jos van Veldhoven. Her passion for Cuban music and jazz led her to perform at SF Jazz with renowned artists like Chris Potter, Anat Cohen, and Chucho Valdés. Jennifer received a master of music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During her free time, Jennifer loves painting, crafting, reading, exploring and taking pictures around the city with friends, and watching good movies.

JORGE LICEAGA, GUITAR, ACCORDION, is a musician, composer, arranger, and educator. Jorge grew up in Mexico City and was mentored on the guitar by the Yucatecan master musician Leonardo “El León” Salas, a local hero. Jorge then became immersed in the art of the flamenco guitar, accompanying dancers from Mexico and Spain in performances throughout Mexico. He developed his skills as a composer and arranger, recording and performing children’s music with his project GrupoKata. Jorge is the musical director and guitarist of Virginia Iglesias’ Flamenco Dance Company. He composes and teaches music to children and adults in the Bay Area.

SAÚL SIERRA, GUITARRÓN, was born and raised in Mexico City, where he started playing professionally in 1990. He then moved to Boston, and graduated from the Berklee College of Music. For the past 17 years, Saúl has been a member of some of the leading bands in the Bay Area, and he is also a founding member of Vission Latina. Saúl keeps himself busy performing, composing, arranging, and teaching in the world-class musical community of the Bay Area.

ARWEN LAWRENCE, VOCALS AND JARANA, has won acclaim as one of the favorite interpreters of Mexican song and bolero because of her special attention to poetry, emotion, and phrasing. Arwen began her performing career as a mariachi singer, guitarist, and folklórico dancer in Los Angeles. She co-founded Cascada de Flores 17 years ago and is dedicated to the exploration, preservation, and dissemination of Latin American music and dance. Arwen is also an educator and earned her master’s degree specializing in the use of traditional music in the elementary Spanish-immersion classroom.

MARCO DIAZ, TRUMPET, was born and raised in San Francisco. He began playing piano and trumpet at the age of 14, and he started playing professionally with various Latin jazz, salsa, reggae, and R&B bands at the age of 17. He is a Grammy Award-winning recording musician, who coleads his own group Vission Latina, and is co-owner of a record producing company. Marco has participated in the AIM program for over a decade and has been a faculty member at Jazz Camp West.

ALICIA TELFORD, FRENCH HORN, was born into a musical family in foggy Northern California. She moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University, where she studied the horn. Alicia is a busy freelance musician and teacher in the Bay Area, and is on the faculty as instructor of horn at UC Berkeley and Cal State University East Bay. Alicia has also played for many video game soundtracks, such as Super Mario Brothers, God of War, and The Legend of Zelda. When she puts her horn in its case, Alicia enjoys working in her garden, reading, traveling, and exploring the Bay Area with her husband and their two dogs.

LESLIE CHIN, FLUTE, is a native of California and was born in San Francisco. She graduated from Oberlin Conservatory and the New England Conservatory of Music, where her major was classical flute performance. She has lived and worked here as a professional freelance flutist for more than 30 years! Leslie also plays many instruments in the flute family including recorder, penny whistle, ditzu (Chinese bamboo flute), panpipes, and bansuri. She even performs on the pennywhistle with a local rock band! When Leslie is not playing the flute, she likes to read, run, do yoga, and spend time with her family.

KEVIN TANG, CLARINET, started playing at the age of nine. As a San Francisco native, Kevin attended Alamo Elementary School, Presidio Middle School, and the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. Kevin was a member of the California Youth Symphony in high school, and he enjoyed being a member of an orchestra so much that he decided to pursue a career in music. Kevin continued studying clarinet at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and then at the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed extensively with orchestras in the Bay Area and New York City. For two summers, Kevin was the clarinet instructor at Cazadero Music Camp. Kevin has performed a number of festivals, and has been a member of the Ohio Light Opera.

ANNA MARIA MENDIETA, HARP, began playing the harp at age seven after seeing the beautiful harp in Disney’s Jack & The Beanstalk. She now plays with symphonies and chamber music groups around the world. Anna Maria is the principal harpist with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, and has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, Russian National Orchestra, and the Russian State Ballet. She has performed for Pope Benedict XVI, President Clinton, President Gorbachev, and the king and queen of Spain, and has appeared in movies, on television, and national radio. She has enjoyed performing on tour with Josh Groban, Frank Sinatra Jr, and Barry Manilow, who calls her his “favorite harpist.” Anna Maria has recorded for movie soundtracks and for many of the video games you play!

SARAH BIAGINI, VIOLIN, started her musical journey on piano when she was five years old and soon picked up the violin a few years later. A native of California, Sarah was born and raised in Los Angeles and has been surrounded by musicians her whole life. With both her parents and her older brother playing the cello, she has been surrounded by music and a community of musicians. She has played music all over the world, from Ohio and Colorado, to Havana, Cuba, and Cambridge, England. Sarah has also played music for commercial jingles, musicals, operas, and even in music videos such as Paris Jackson’s “Let Down” and in TV shows like Glee

MISHA KHALIKULOV, CELLO, was born in Uzbekistan, and his family moved to the Sunset District of San Francisco when he was three years old. He started playing cello at the age of seven. Misha is proud to have attended San Francisco public schools—West Portal Elementary, A.P. Giannini Middle, and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts! After finishing high school, Misha attended UCLA. He then joined the band Rupa and the April Fishes, and performed with them for almost 14 years, playing many tours in Europe and Asia. Misha has recorded on more than 40 albums and soundtracks around the world. He is passionate about bringing people together through music! He shares his love of music by teaching, and has worked as a music educator for more than 15 years. In September 2018, Misha and his cello class from Bay Area Music Project were invited to perform with Yo-Yo Ma at the Dreamforce Convention in San Francisco.

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