Robin Bonnell (cello) has earned a reputation among Northern California audiences and critics alike for his emotionally charged performances. Currently, he is the principal cellist of the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Monterey Symphony, and the Napa Valley Symphony; co-principal cellist of the New Century Chamber Orchestra; assistant principal cellist of the Santa Rosa Symphony; and a member of the Marin Symphony. In addition to over 70 orchestral performances each year, Robin also performs chamber music under the auspices of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Sacramento Philharmonic, and the Santa Rosa Symphony. Occasionally, Robin appears as soloist. In 2003 he was honored to collaborate with composer Gang Situ and the Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company in the premiere of "Si-Ji" (The Seasons) for Chinese dancers with solo cello. Three years later, Robin played the premiere performances of Gang's Concerto for Cello and Strings with the New Century chamber Orchestra. Robin is a former member of the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento, the Sacramento Symphony and was the principal cellist of the ill-fated Sacramento Chamber Orchestra. He was a member of contemporary music ensembles Earplay and Music Now, and also of Illuminati, a New York based big band. On two occasions Robin has had the honor to play electric cello in a band with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh in performance in San Francisco. Robin can also be heard on a wide range of recordings. In addition to classical music, he is often engaged to record Jazz, Rock, New-Age, as well as commercial music. Robin is a lifelong resident of Berkeley, California.
Meredith Brown (French horn) Meredith Brown, a native of East Lansing, MI, attended Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD and the San Francisco Conservatory, where she received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Music, respectively. Meredith currently resides in Vallejo, CA with her husband, Bruce Chrisp. What time not spent practicing or in servile duty to their four cats is spent driving around the Bay Area to play with groups such as Symphony Silicon Valley, the Marin Symphony, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Napa Valley Symphony and others, as well as to play extra parts with the San Francisco Symphony and Opera. A need for a more tactile creative outlet has led Meredith to design and create fused glass jewelry and glass mosaics (GlassByMeredith.com), but needless to say, projects for her own use may sit for many months in unfinished states. Meredith enjoys teaching at California State University East Bay and San Jose State University, and squeezes in chamber music and solo appearances whenever possible. In July of 2007, she was awarded the Herbert C. Spencer Honorable Mention Award at the International Horn Competition of America, and can't wait to compete again in 2009. Meredith is most excited this year to have the opportunities to play Strauss' Til Eulenspiegel in Symphony Silicon Valley, and the obligato horn part to Mahler's 5th Symphony in the Vallejo Symphony.
Bruce Chrisp (trombone) is the principal trombonist with the Santa Rosa Symphony, Marin Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Napa Valley Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Vallejo Symphony Orchestra and the Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony, the Oregon Symphony and regularly performs with Opera San Jose. He is a founding member of the San Francisco Brass Company, a Bay Area brass quintet, and also enjoys performing renaissance music on a replica of a 450 year old trombone. He received his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Michigan and his Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Mr. Chrisp is currently the Instructor of Trombone at UC Davis and resides in Vallejo, CA with his wife, Meredith Brown.
Kale Cumings (trumpet), a native of Michigan, received a B.M. degree from Wheaton College and a M.M. degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Vincent Cichowicz. Kale is an active freelance player and has performed with many local orchestras, including frequent appearances with the San Francisco Symphony. He has also played several Broadway shows in San Francisco, including Phantom of the Opera and Baz Luhrmann’s production of La Boheme. Recently, Kale appeared as a soloist in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Kale is a founding member of the San Francisco Brass Company, a bay area brass quintet. When he is not playing, Kale enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, and dog.
Karla Ekholm (bassoon) has been freelancing in the Bay Area since 1979 with the
exception of one miserable year when she held a full time orchestra
Karen Shinozaki Sor (violin) is familiar to Bay Area audiences as a soloist, guest concertmaster, and member of several orchestras in the region. In recent seasons she has been featured with the Symphony of the Redwoods, the Santa Rosa Symphony, and the Berkeley Symphony. Karen is a member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Rosa and Marin Symphonies, the Sun Valley Symphony, and performs as a regular extra in the San Francisco Opera and Ballet Orchestras. She is also a frequent chamber music collaborator, appearing with diverse groups including the Santa Rosa Chamber Players, the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, the Sor Ensemble, the Worn Ensemble, and the Adorno Ensemble. A longtime student of Serban Rusu of Tiburon and a graduate of UC Berkeley, she continued her studies at the Konservatorium fhr Musik Bern, Switzerland as a recipient of a Hertz Traveling Fellowship. In her free time, Karen likes to relax with her cellist husband, Eugene Sor, her cats Ellie and Bass, and indulge in her addiction to the Times crossword puzzles.
Eugene Sor (cello) a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, enjoys a variety of musical endeavors. His chamber music career began as a co-founder of the Chamberlain String Quartet, with whom he shared teaching assistantships at San Francisco State and Cal-State Hayward Universities. Later, as cellist for the Volta String Quartet, he appeared as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and in several concerts in the U.S. and Canada. In 2003, eager to explore an even greater body of chamber music masterpieces, he helped to establish the Sor Ensemble, a group devoted to performing chamber works for combinations other than the string quartet.
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