Santa Cruz Symphony Welcomes Twelve New Musicians

The Santa Cruz Symphony is proud to announce the hiring of twelve new musicians for the 2017-18 season. The positions filled include Jonah Kim, Principal Cello, Matthew Ebisuzaki, Principal Trumpet, and Esther Armendariz, Principal Trombone, Rochelle Nguyen, Assistant Principal Second Violin, plus eight string section players.

“I’m very pleased to welcome such a prestigious group of talented musicians to our symphonic family, and very much look forward to showcasing and incorporating their artistry as part of the indelible artistic experiences we present to our community,” said Music Director Daniel Stewart. “It is especially thrilling to announce internationally renowned cello soloist Jonah Kim as our new Principal Cellist. The addition of this world class talent is yet another indication of the international caliber and reputation of the Santa Cruz Symphony.”

Jonah Kim made his solo debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2002 as the top prizewinner of Philadelphia Orchestra’s Albert M. Greenfield Competition. He also appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra as a “Star of Tomorrow” in 2003. Jonah graduated from the prestigious Curtis Institute in spring of 2006 at 17 years old, and is now a celebrated soloist, Grammy award winner, teacher, orchestra and chamber musician.

Dedicated to sharing music in ways that positively impact and heal people in need, Mr. Kim is very active in community outreach. He volunteers at schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, religious institutions and even juvenile detention centers, connecting not only through performance, but also in a more personable capacity in musical therapy sessions and spiritual gatherings.

In 2003, Joseph McLellan of the Washington Post called Jonah “the next Yo Yo Ma.”  Anne Midgette, also of the Washington Post wrote, “think Yuja Wang. [Kim] is cut from the same cloth… [he] can do pretty much what he wants on a cello.”

“I don’t think most audience members know how impressive our musicians are,” says Executive Director Dorothy Wise. “Thanks to Danny, the artistic bar keeps getting pushed higher. For a small town to have an orchestra of this quality is indeed rare. This season promises to be the best yet!”

The Santa Cruz Symphony’s other new musicians are Junghee Lee, Elizabeth MacCorquodale, first violin; Luke Santanastaso, second violin ; Elyse Ader, Sarah Lee, and Danny Sheu, viola; Erin Wang and Saul Richmond-Rakerd, cello.

The Santa Cruz Symphony 60th Anniversary season opens on October 7 & 8 with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons featuring concertmaster Nigel Armstrong and Holst’s masterpiece The Planets.  For tickets, visit

Jonah Kim will be featured in a recital on March 4, 2018 with Santa Cruz Symphony’s concertmaster Nigel Armstrong, Maestro Daniel Stewart on viola and pianist Elizabeth Dorman performing Brahms and Schumann. Tickets are available at

Founded in 1958, the Santa Cruz Symphony's mission is to inspire, educate and engage through artistic excellence, distinctive musical performances, and varied activities that celebrate and enhance cultural vibrancy. With Maestro Daniel Stewart as Music Director since 2013, the Symphony partners regularly with regional and international guest artists in both traditional and modern concerts.  A cornerstone of the performing arts in the Greater San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas, Santa Cruz Symphony receives frequent critical acclaim. Visit for more information.