JOnah Kim

Principal Cello

Sponsored by Dennis St. Peter & Alice Kollman

Grammy winning artist Jonah Kim made his solo debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003. The same year, he also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra where the Washington Post critic Joseph McLellan called him simply, "the next Yo-Yo Ma”, thrusting him on the most prestigious stages on the concert circuit. Also highly sought after internationally as a chamber musician, Mr. Kim has collaborated with world class artists Jon Nakamatsu, Martin Beaver, Steven Copes, Ian Swensen, Scott Yoo, Chee-Yun Kim and Romie de Guise-Langlois as well as many of his mentors and colleagues from Juilliard and Curtis. A founding member of the "hip & unstuffy" Ensemble San Francisco, Mr. Kim maintains a strong connection with community through outreach and is deeply dedicated to his teaching; this season, he joins the faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts. His masterclasses are described as "captivating, hilarious... relevant to not only musicians, resonating with all walks of life." Mr. Kim plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume cello made in 1845, as well as a 2016 Haide Lin. His bow was made in 1904 by Jules Fetique à Paris.

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Saul Richmond-Rakerd

Assistant Principal

Sponsored by Ron & Cindy Sekkel

Saul Richmond-Rakerd is a San Francisco-Based cellist.  He began his cello studies at the age of 9, back in his hometown of Okemos, Michigan, and continued to study it alongside piano until he concluded high school.  He went on to college at Brown University, where he completed a dual major, with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Physics and Anthropology.  Cello remained a passion for him throughout his university years, however, and he continued to play as principal of the Brown University Orchestra, as a soloist, and with several chamber music groups during his time there.  After graduating from Brown, Saul decided to immerse himself in music full-time, and so, after attending the Castleton Music festival in 2013, he moved to Florence, Italy to pursue a Biennio di Violoncello, and to play professionally as principal cellist of the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana.  He moved to San Francisco in January 2015 in order to begin a Master of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory under the tutelage of Jennifer Culp – a degree that he completed in December 2016. 

Throughout his career, Saul has enjoyed playing in a wide range of settings.  He has played as a soloist with the Okemos Symphony Orchestra and the Brown University Orchestra, as well as in numerous recitals, both in the US and abroad.  He was also a finalist of the San Francisco Conservatory Concerto Competition in 2016.  Other musical awards he has received include First Prize at the Barbara Fritz Chamber Music Award (2016), First Prize at the Luigi Boccherini Chamber Music Competition in Lucca, Italy (2016), Second Prize at the Dorothy Van Waynen Competition for Strings (2016), Primo Arco Premio (2014), Weston Prize for the Arts (2013), and the Buxtehude Premium Prize in Music (2012).  He has been a member of many chamber groups, both traditional and non, and was a founding member of Quattro alla Volta, a cello quartet with whom he performed during his time in Italy.  He greatly enjoys playing in symphonic settings as well, and has played with many different orchestras throughout his career in music.  He currently serves as assistant principal cellist in the Santa Cruz Symphony and as a section cellist with the Monterey Symphony. 


Shain CarRasco

Sponsored by Donald & Diana Henrichsen

Shain Carrasco began playing the cello at age six. By the time he reached High School, he had dedicated his life to learning and performing cello. North Carolina School of the Arts provided a high school diploma, and a Bachelors Degree, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Masters Degree in cello performance. In graduate school, Shain began playing with several Bay Area symphonies, teaching cello, and pursuing chamber music outlets.

Today, Shain is a member of the Santa Cruz Symphony, and frequently plays in the California, Berkeley, Monterey, Modesto,  Fresno, Napa Valley, and Reno Symphonies and Philharmonics as well as in the San Francisco Sinfonietta, the Russian Chamber Orchestra of Marin andMohammad Reza Shajarian's Persian Orchestra. He has also joined the stage with various renowned artists like Dave Brubeck, Peter Gabriel and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. 

Shain is an active member of the international movement, Classical Revolution - bringing Chamber music to people in accessible often-informal venues. Here, Shain’s students have the opportunity to engage in a diverse community of dedicated musicians and fans while gaining the inspiration to further develop their practice (classicalrevolution.org).

Out of Classical Revolution, the Musical Art Quintet (MAQ) was formed with Shain as the founding cellist. MAQ, a string quintet, performs Latin inspired original Chamber music influenced by the dances of Tango, Salsa, and Milonga.  Shain’s love for diverse Chamber music also led him to join Presidio String Quartet – a group dedicated to performing contemporary classical music (presidiostringquartet.com).

Shain frequently works as a recording artist and has played on the records of various acclaimed ensembles like indie bands Vetiver, Birds & Batteries, and The Goldenhearts, to world-renowned festival gurus Beats Antique, Musical Art Quintet's Nuevo Chamber, Mohammad Reza Shajarian's Persian Orchestra and several classical collaborations.

In Shain’s work, an integral part of his musical life is teaching Cello. Inspiring students to develop, explore, and refine their own cello playing continues to be a very fulfilling role. Shain teaches privately in the East Bay, San Francisco and the South Bay, and is faculty at the Community School of Music and Art in Mountain View (since 2005). Instilling the love of music making in his students, and the critical learning skills a discipline in cello supports, is a real pleasure for Shain. Please visit shaincarrasco.com to learn more.


Nancy Kim

Sponsored by Richard Klevins & Gay Nichols

Nancy Kim earned her Master’s Degree in the Orchestral Program of the Manhattan School of Music, and both her Bachelor’s degrees in Cello Performance and English from Oberlin College. Her teachers include Alan Stepansky, Peter Rejto, Csaba Onczay, Irene Sharp, and Sieun Lin. She studied cello pedagogy with Marion Feldman in New York, and advanced teaching techniques with Dr. Carol Aicher. Her chamber music coaches include members of the Emerson, Borromeo, Vermeer, Muir, American, and St. Petersburg quartets.

Nancy currently teaches in Los Altos, and her students have been members of Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, El Camino Youth Symphony, Peninsula Youth Orchestra, and California Youth Symphony. In addition to her private studio, Nancy has taught at the Waldorf School of Los Altos, Cazadero Performing Arts Camp, and New York University’s Summer Trio Program. Nancy has been invited to coach cellists in youth orchestras throughout the Bay Area.

Nancy performs regularly throughout the Bay Area. She is currently a tenured member of the Monterey Symphony and Santa Cruz County Symphony, and she has performed with Mendocino Music Festival and Opera San Jose. Nancy has been invited to tour the Sultanate of Oman with Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival Orchestra in performances of La Boheme at the Royal Opera House of Muscat. She is a former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra has received coachings from John Sharp and Kenneth Olsen.

A dedicated chamber musician, Nancy has played with distinguished performers such as violinist Glenn Dicterow, violist Karen Dreyfus, conductor Alan Gilbert, and the composer Richard Danielpour. She is a former member of the flute-cello-guitar trio Black Cedar – a winner of grants from the Zellerbach Family Foundation and San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and an affiliate ensemble with San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. They were featured on KALW 91.7 FM and KKUP 91.5 FM, and their debut album, “A Path Less Trod” has received critical praise – making the list of recordings in 2016 by SF Classical Voice.

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Isaac Pastor-Chermak

Sponsored by Bart & Deborah Berardo

Isaac Pastor-Chermak is a cellist, conductor, and teacher. Educated at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of California, Berkeley, he performs and conducts a repertoire spanning 500 years on instruments ranging from baroque cello, violoncello piccolo and viola da gamba to the most experimental electronic instruments. 

Pastor-Chermak is currently Principal Cellist of Portland Opera and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Associate Principal Cellist of Stockton Symphony, and a member of Santa Barbara Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Monterey Symphony, and Santa Cruz Symphony. In the summers, he is an orchestra member at the Eisenstadt Classical Music Festival in Austria. 

As a chamber musician, Pastor-Chermak is the cellist of Black Cedar Trio, the only professional flute-cello-guitar ensemble in the country; he frequently partners with pianists Miles Graber and Alison Lee in sonata programs. 

In addition to his duties as an orchestral cellist, Pastor-Chermak maintains a vigorous schedule of solo, chamber music, recording, conducting and teaching engagements throughout the United States and abroad. He is known for his marathon performances of Bach's Six Suites for Solo Cello. His recent creative projects have included the complete Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano (with Ms. Lee), and multiple performances of Elliott Carter's sonata for cello and piano (with Mr. Graber). In the 2017-18 season, Pastor-Chermak will perform concertos by C.P.E. Bach and Eugene d'Albert, sonatas by Gershwin, Beethoven, Prokofiev and Chopin, and the complete Bach Suites, all part of another 100-concert season.

Pastor-Chermak is Beelard Foundation Artist-in-Residence at the Young Artists Conservatory of Music in Vacaville, CA, where he teaches cello lessons and directs Solano Junior Strings, a highly selective youth chamber orchestra he founded in 2015. He is a faculty member at Dominican Sisters School of Music in Fremont, CA. 


Robin snyder

Sponsored by Helen Jones

Robin Snyder is a freelance musician who performs regularly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently performs with the Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, amongst others, as well as the New West Symphony in Los Angeles.

Most recently, she performed Haydn C Major Cello Concerto with Mission College Chamber Orchestra, served as principal cellist with West Bay Opera and solo cellist for San Jose Repertory Theater in several productions.

In 2009, she auditioned and was added to the sub list with the LA Philharmonic and was a finalist for the principal cello position with New Century Chamber Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, (section).

Ms. Snyder has performed with such renowned conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kurt Masur, Zdenek Macal, Boris Brott and Alasdair Neale as well as noted film composer John Williams to name a few. She has performed chamber music concerts in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and Carnegie Hall with the New England Chamber Ensemble. She has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, and Live Earth 2007 worldwide event with renowned pop artist Kelly Clarkson. Additionally, she has toured and performed with other such noted pop and jazz artists as Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, and Donna Summer.

Ms. Snyder has premiered and recorded symphonic works of composers Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, and Bright Sheng. She performed and conducted master classes in Caracas for members of the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel in 2000. Ms. Snyder has participated in several festivals including the California Music Festival, The New York Jazz Festival, Henry Mancini Summer Music Program, Musicorda Festival as well as the Festivales Musicales Internacionales in Spain for two consecutive years. She was a recipient of the Rural Residency Grant for Chamber Music America with her String Quartet and an award winner of the Lillan Fuchs Memorial Chamber Series in New York. In addition, she held top honors four consecutive years in the Kiwanis Competition in Los Angeles.

Ms. Snyder began her musical education at the early age of two at the piano under the guidance of her grandmother a former concert pianist, Juillard graduate and student of renowned pianists Harold Bauer and Janet Schenck. She appeared on the show “Turning Points” on PBS in which she performed her first piano recital at the age of eight. She continuedwith her music studies and went on to study cello with her father, Peter Snyder, a cellist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Ronald Leonard, former principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms. Snyder went on to graduate from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with David Geber, ( American String Quartet), Julia Lichten, (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra), and Nathan Stutch, (NY Philharmonic).


Eileen Sordyl



Erin wang

Sponsored by Deborah Bronstein

Erin Wang, cello, received a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in French from Oberlin College and Conservatory, a Master of Music from DePaul University, and an Artist Certificate in Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music while studying with Jennifer Culp. She has performed chamber music with Yo-Yo Ma, Menahem Pressler, Peter Frankl, and Anthony Marwood, and has collaborated with the Irish music ensemble Anuna, hip-hop artist Kanye West, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Ms. Wang has appeared with Quartet San Francisco, Santa Cruz Chamber Players, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the Aspen Chamber orchestra while completing a three-year fellowship in the studio of Darrett Adkins at the Aspen Music Festival. She has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra playing Bloch’s Schelomo. Ms. Wang currently teaches and performs in the San Francisco Bay Area.