Suzanna sitomer - Orchestra/violin
If there's one thing to know about new Orchestra Director Suzanna Sitomer, it's that she is passionate about music and willing to go the extra mile for just about any meaningful experience. If there are two things you should know, it's that she goes by "Sitomer" and has lived around the world spreading musical zeal like it was peanut butter at the dog park. If there are three things to know, it's that she is violin and violist from Washington, D.C., and has come to Daly City by way of the Oberlin Conservatory, Alexandria, VA (Home of the Titans!), and Hong Kong. She is most excited to learn how she fits into the vibrant and exciting community of HPBA, and can't wait to get started. Let’s have some fun this year!
Rebecca Reed-Lunn - Violin/orchestra
Rebecca Reed-Lunn has 16 years of teaching experience and a Bachelor of Music with High Distinction as well as a Performer Diploma from Indiana University School of Music, where she studied pedagogy with Mimi Zweig and Brenda Brenner. Before moving to the Bay Area her previous teaching positions have included viola professor and pre-college violin and viola instructor at Western Kentucky University and Assistant to the Director and violin and viola instructor at Suzuki Maui. She also performed with a professional touring bluegrass group. Rebecca combines Suzuki and Paul Rolland methods and believes strongly in the Suzuki principle that every child can learn to play at a high level. Rebecca also teaches in the Preparatory Music Program at Holy Names University in Oakland.
Misha Khalikulov – Cello
Misha was born in the former U.S.S.R. republic of Uzbekistan and raised in San Francisco. He holds a degree in Classical Cello Performance from UCLA. During his time in Los Angeles, Misha taught cello at two inner city schools, where he gained a passion for music education. In 2009, he joined the world music group Rupa and the April Fishes, which has taken him on tour to 25 countries in the past four years. They have performed on international festival stages and released a new album, Build, in 2012. He is also a member of the groups Blind Willies, StringQuake, and The Congress, with whom he has recorded four albums. Misha teaches private students as well. His patience and dedication have overcome the challenges of teaching classes of rambunctious young cellists.
Thomas Wade – MUSICIANSHIP/KODALY
Thomas Wade is a professional singer and choral director in the Bay Area. A native of Palo Alto, Mr. Wade was graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance. He maintains a busy performance schedule and sings regularly with SF Lyric Chorus, Ragazzi Continuo, and SF Renaissance Voices.
Mr. Wade is the Level I Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Assistant Music Theory Director at the Ragazzi Boys Chorus. He also directs Ragazzi’s alumni ensemble, Ragazzi Continuo. He is the bass section leader at Trinity-St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Mr. Wade teaches private voice lessons and was trained in Level I Kodály pedagogy at Holy Names University.
Gina Niblack – Violin
Gina Niblack completed a Bachelor's degree in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Passionate about excellence in teaching, she is committed to teaching at inner city schools, including Kipp Academy Middle School and Starr King elementary School. She also teaches violin students of all ages at her studio.
Gina has been teaching with us for 5 years, and is a master of classroom management. She teaches a group of up to 15 beginners, and develops a strong, affectionate bond with the children while holding them to the highest standards.
Sarah Lee - Violin
Sarah has a Master's of Music degree from San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied with Jodi Levitz, and a Bachelor’s of Music degree from Indiana University where she received high awards: Premier Young Artist Award, and Recipient of SFCM Phyllis Wattis Scholarship.
Sarah is known for her patience, warmth, and enthusiasm as a teacher. She has certification using Suzuki violin/viola training with students as young as 5 years old. Students are first taught about physical awareness and building a firm foundation from the ground up to establish great technique, which allows musical freedom. Sarah also performs as a free-lance violist in many Bay Area ensembles.
EVAN KAHN - CELLO
Evan is an acclaimed cellist who received a Bachelor’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s Degree in Chamber Music at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He holds prominent positions in four orchestras — principal cello in Symphony Silicon Valley, acting principal cello in Opera San Jose, and assistant principal cello in San Jose Chamber Orchestra and West Bay Opera. His Pittsburgh-based piano trio, Trio Rizi, won the top awards in the Silberman Chamber Music Competition and the Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition. Evan is also a resident cellist for several Bay Area music collectives and ensembles, such as After Everything, Mythica Foundation, and hip-hop band Ensemble Mik Nawooj.
He was a lead cello teacher at the Aspen Music Festival, Fresno Orchestra Summer Academy and taught at Music Mission San Francisco. He currently maintains a small private studio, and teaches at Xian Yun Academy and at Harmony Project Bay Area. Evan brings his electrifying style of performing into his work as a teacher and in the span of a couple months, developed a strong bond with his cello students.
julie michael - violin/cello
A Suzuki-trained teacher and a certified Global Leader of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Julie has taught at the University of Panama as well as at a number of El Sistema-inspired programs in North America, including 2 years at System Montreal. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan (B.M.) and McGill University (M.M., Graduate Diploma), where her principal teachers were Yizhak Schotten and André Roy. She is excellent at the lively art of teaching a classroom of children.
Julie strives to bring the same spirit of sincerity to the performance of music of all eras. She can be heard performing with a variety of Bay Area ensembles ranging from sfSound to the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Her passion for new music has led her to collaborate with many composers. As the newest member of the Amaranth String Quartet, Julie looks forward to juxtaposing world premieres with the classic string quartet repertoire.