Santa Rosa Symphony Logo

SMA Faculty

Rachel Aragaki

Brass Workshops

IMG_5614-150x200.jpegRachel instructs brass with a pedagogy centered around mindfulness, physiology, and over ten years of elite performing experience. Her teaching mission is to foster a lifelong love for music in her students while cultivating sustainable practices to support that passion. She is an avid proponent of anatomical wellness schools like Alexander Technique and Body Mapping, but she also looks to physics and psychology for pedagogical inspiration. Rachel is a relatively new transplant to Sonoma County, but she's developed a huge appreciation for the local area's food, outdoors, and community. After earning her master's degree from CSU Long Beach studying with her Hollywood music heroes, she moved to Santa Rosa to spend time with family while developing her teaching career both locally and online. She currently holds the Principal horn position with the Sonoma County Philharmonic, plays in a brass quintet, and teaches horn privately.



Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Theory & Improvisation

IMG_5614-150x200.jpegRobert Bowman has played bass professionally for over ten years. After graduating from California State University Northridge with a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies, Robert moved to Sonoma County to pursue performance as well as begin his career as an educator. Robert Bowman is involved with several working bands all around Sonoma and Napa counties. He is currently on faculty at St. Vincent de Paul High School where he serves as Art Dept. Chair as well as Band Director, Simply Strings and Summer Music Academy. While his degree is in Jazz, Robert is proficient in a variety of musical genres including classical, pop/ rock, bluegrass, musical theatre and many others. Robert has played all over the country and the world, recording and performing with several artists in a wide variety of musical genres.



Joel Cohen

Cello Workshops, Chamber Ensemble (weeks 2 & 3)

Institute-Logo-(150-×-200-px)-(1).pngCellist Joel Cohen has played with many musicians and organizations throughout his multifaceted career. He has played with orchestras in California, Ontario (Canada), Vienna, Boston;  chamber music concerts in Vienna, Boston, southern France, Malta, Martha's Vineyard, San Francisco.  He went to university in Canada, and has also lived in France and Austria, and has toured with various ensembles throughout Europe, Japan and the U.S., as well as to South America, North Africa, Turkey and China.  His first position after school was with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. He became co-principal cellist there in 1979, and continued in that position until he moved to Vienna in 1985. He began playing with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra (under Philippe Entremont) soon after arriving in Austria, and while living there he also played regularly with the Vienna Radio Symphony, the Wiener Kammeroper, the Johann Strauss Festival Orchestra (playing annual tours to Japan) and was a member of Quartett Yggdrasil, a string quartet specializing in "Music from the music of the 20th century".  In 1997 his career brought him back to the US, landing him in Boston. While living there he played with the Boston Symphony, the National Lyric Opera, the Landmarks Orchestra and many other organizations, as well as teaching cello at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester).  In 2001 he became a founding member of Quartet San Francisco, a string quartet playing modern genres, including jazz and tango. This group won Grammy nominations for "Best Classical Crossover CD" for two consecutive productions, "Latigo" (2006) and "Whirled Chamber Music" (2007). He left the quartet in the spring of 2009.  He moved back to California in the end of 2007, and has been living in Mendocino County since then.  Along with continuing his classical explorations as recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with orchestra, he has also been exploring the expanding role of the cello in non-classical settings, including jazz, celtic and improvisation. He has been leading the Cello Big Band at the annual New Directions Cello Festival since 2001, and he taught at Alasdair Fraser's Sierra Fiddle Camp from 2010-2019.  Mr Cohen currently performs regularly with the Santa Rosa Symphony and with Quantum Piano Quintet,


Kyle Craft

Kinder Violin

Institute-Logo-(150-×-200-px)-(1).pngKyle Craft,Violinist, is a 29 year old Professional Performer, Event Producer and Music Educator. Music has always played a major role in Kyle’s life. He has studied in the Pre Colleges of the Marin and San Francisco Conservatory, was part of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles and has had private instruction since age 3. He is also a graduated of the Summer Music Academy. He has performed at Jarvis Conservatory in Napa, Herman Son’s Hall and Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, Green Music Center in Rohnert Park, and San Francisco City Hall. Currently, Kyle performs with Solano Symphony, Ukiah Symphony, Symphony of the Redwoods and Napa Valley Chamber Orchestra. He performs all over Northern California weekly at many diverse events. He also produces his own Sold Out Events and has 190+ Attendees at his popular “Afternoon in Vienna” show. He provides musical entertainment for many events, such as Weddings, Private Parties and Corporate Events. He Teaches "Violin" at Napa Valley Language Academy and "Pre-Orchestra" at Sheppard Elementary through the Santa Rosa Symphony Music Education Department. He Teaches lessons at “Music to my Ears” in Cotati, California and Privately. He studies Privately with Jassen Todorov, Violin Professor from San Francisco State University. He also speaks fluent German which was self taught.


Costas Dafnis

Theater/Film/Video Ensemble & Music Technology


Costas Dafnis is a composer, conductor and a professor of Technology and Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has collaborated with director Christopher Coppola on several projects including the feature film Torch, short film Sammy & Quinn and experimental narrative VR experience Universe At Play. In 2021, his film score for Overwhelm the Sky was released by La La Land Records. His work has been awarded by New Music USA, the American Prize, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition, and the Dallas Winds. His Mariana for soprano and processed underwater audio was featured by NOAA/PMEL in an article called “The Music of Challenger Deep” and his 2019 set of Cajun-language art songs is the subject of soprano Nancy Carey’s series of DMA lecture recitals and dissertation. His remote-produced electro-acoustic chamber suite Talos Dreams was commissioned by the Greek Chamber Music Project and his orchestral work was featured at the 2019 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s In the Works series. Costas plays mandolin, designs experimental instruments, and conducts and curates concerts of contemporary music. 



Choir, Rhythm & Movement


Darina Drapkin is a life-long singer and musician. Having studied classical piano, guitar, flute, percussion, ukulele and, most recently, violin, she feels at home with a wide variety of styles and genres of music, both as a teacher and performer. Darina performs with the Sonoma County women’s Balkan ensemble “Gradina”, who put out an album in March, 2020. Darina has studied classical piano for 17 years and Balkan voice with Lily Storm of Kitka for over a decade. She is well versed in the Kodaly method of music education, having taught music at Sunridge and is a faculty member of Simply Strings. She is currently recording an album of diverse ukulele based songs and is including her flute-playing 10 year old son on it.



Liz Fanora Jones

Guitar Workshops

Institute-Logo-(150-×-200-px)-(2).pngLiz Fanora Jones is a singer/songwriter and music educator in the North Bay. She specializes in guitar, vocals, ukulele, piano & flute and also enjoys accompanying several different groups and genres of music. Some of her favorite styles are R&B, rock, blues, reggae, soul and pop music and she loves to work with theaters accompanying musicals as well. Liz Fanora loves to share her original empowerment music at local venues but she adores to teach music in individual and group settings. She works with students of all ages and levels, and believes in using optimism, creativity and theory knowledge to help encourage her students to grow into their full musical potentials. 

Caleb Forschen

Violin/Viola Workshops

Institute-Logo-(150-×-200-px)-(2).pngCaleb Forschen studied Music Education at Sonoma State University where his principal violin teachers were Joe Edelberg and Jay Zhong. In addition to teaching at Simply Strings, he teaches at Summerfield Waldorf and performs with the Solano Symphony and in pit orchestras around the north bay. 



Intermezzo Ensemble


Ms. Isenberg holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and divides her time between teaching and performance. She has diverse musical talents: she plays violin with the Santa Rosa Symphony, classical chamber ensembles, jazz combos and country swing bands.



Guitar Workshops


Chris Newton is a Multi-Instrumentalist, Singer-Songwriter, Composer, Arranger, Producer, Music Teacher and has been playing music in the Bay Area for over fifteen years. Chris was first self-taught on the guitar at the age of 13 but in college, he began studying music more seriously, learning Jazz with instructors such as Tuck Andress, Randy Vincent, Brian Pardo, Gary Digman and Bennett Friedman. He received his AA in Jazz Studies from Santa Rosa Junior College and his Bachelor's of Music from Sonoma State University. He performs both solo or with his band Mood Jungle blending elements of jazz, rock, funk and neo-soul influences.


JuLio Reyes

Conducting & Musical Wellness


Julio Reyes started his musical training on the classical guitar at the age of 5 and by the time he was 18, learned the cello, electric bass, and was appointed Assistant Conductor to a young Kent Nagano for the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra. He gave his guitar recital debut at the age of 12, placed 4th in an International Agustin Barrios Competition in Mexico City at age 13, and gave a 3-week concert tour of Paraguay the following year. He performed Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” with Calvin Simmons and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra as a senior in High School. Since then, he has conducted youth and adult orchestras in the US, Europe, South America, and Cuba. He conducted Prince Albert of Monaco’s private orchestra in the opera, “Fay Yen Fah” at the Monaco Opera in 2010. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in February of 2022. He has been an educator for many years and has given lectures and masterclasses on the life and music of Agustin Barrios at various conservatories of music, colleges, and guitar societies in the US and South America. He excited to be working for the education department of the Santa Rosa Symphony and teaches guitar privately.



Reading Orchestra & Wind Ensemble, Music Theory

Bobby Rogers 150x200.jpeg

Bobby Rogers is a graduate of Sonoma State University (B.A. in Music Education and Jazz Performance), Sacramento State University (M.A. in Wind Conducting) and Boston University (M.M.ed. in Music Education).  He was the Region 3 finalist for California Teacher of the Year in 2009, Claus Noble Educator of Distinction in 2010 and Program of Excellence for top program in Yolo County 2015.  He taught previously at Herbert Slater and Rincon Valley Middle Schools.  Rogers has also taught for summer music programs at Sonoma State University, Cazadero Music Camp, Summer Music Camp at Stanley and a local program for students in jazz and classical styles in Woodland.  He has served two terms as president for the Northern California Band Directors Association, 2009-2011 and 2013-2015.  Rogers studied conducting with Craig Kirchhoff of the University of Minnesota, John Whitwell of Michigan State University, H. Robert Reynolds of University of Michigan and USC Thornton School of Music, Mallory Thompson of Northwestern University, Jack Stamp of Indiana State and Dr. Robert Halseth of Sacramento State University.  Throughout his career, Rogers has been very active with pit orchestras and community orchestras including American Philharmonic, Camellia Symphony and the Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra.  He has twice had the wonderful opportunity to conduct at Carnegie Hall.  Rogers has also performed and recorded on clarinet, saxophone and flute with various jazz and rock groups, such as Lee Press-On and The Nails, Moonlight Swing Orchestra–a Glenn Miller Tribute Band, Placer Pops Orchestra, Jimmy Luxury, Lucas Arts, Gwen Stefani, Coolio, Third Eye Blind, Smash Mouth, Joe Gilman, Steinway Artist Jim Martinez and Delfayo Marsalis. 



Violin/Viola Workshops


Alex Volonts is a musician and educator in Sonoma County.  He has been a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony since 2007 and is also contracted with the Monterey Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Volonts studied viola performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as the Juilliard School's pre-college division.  He began his musical studies at 5 years old as a violin student at the North Shore Suzuki Institute of Long Island, New York.  Mr. Volonts has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the Bay Area.  He resides in Santa Rosa with his wife and fellow accomplished musician (Tingting), and their 2 young children (Nathan and Tiana).  Mr. Volonts is currently the specialty strings teacher at SunRidge Elementary in Sebastopol.  


Lia wiese


Institute-Logo-(150-×-200-px)-(3).pngLia Wiese is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a BM in Choral Music Education. She brings experience in elementary music education, secondary choral education, and direction of contemporary a cappella ensembles. When not singing, she enjoys math, yarn crafts, taking care of her garden, and playing tabletop RPGs with her friends.


Sara Williams

Woodwind Workshops

Institute-Logo-(150-×-200-px)-(3).pngSara Williams is an oboe/woodwind performer and music teacher at Herbert Slater Middle School and Strawberry Elementary school. She loves teaching woodwinds and working with beginners to develop solid foundational techniques on instruments. She enjoys performing in pit orchestras for musicals and playing oboe, flute, clarinet, and saxophone. As a student she performed with the Santa Rosa Symphony youth ensembles and participated in the Summer Music Academy on flute and oboe. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, playing video games, and watching scary movies.



Chamber Ensemble (week 1)


Violinist and violist, Ivy Zenobi, is embracing a diverse career as a symphonic, chamber musician, rock musician, and private instructor. In recent years, concert appearances include the Santa Rosa Symphony, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Chora Nova, The National Geographic Symphony, and the Philharmonic Kitchen. Outside of the classical scene, Ivy was a member of the rock band Naked Fiction, performed at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, recorded at Skywalker Ranch and The Bachelor (Season 22 Episode 3). Ivy Zenobi received her B.M. from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her Masters from the University of Toronto, Canada. Ivy became Suzuki Certified under the tutelage of Dr. William Starr and was chosen to attend the Starling-Delay Violin Symposium held at The Juilliard School. Ivy has a competitive studio of over thirty students, many which go on to study at programs such as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College and Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer and Pre-College programs. Outside of music, Ivy enjoys spending time with her French bulldog, Lola, hiking, traveling, and cooking (and eating, of course).



Prelude Ensemble & Double Bass Intensive


Ms. Zimmerman holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the Juilliard School. While in New York, Karen played with the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera along with appearing with various chamber ensembles throughout the city. She now plays with the Santa Rosa Symphony along with other local orchestras, has an active teaching schedule and is the Librarian for the Santa Rosa Symphony.

If you have questions about Summer Music Academy, please contact program manager, Ryan Contreras.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous contribution from The Family and Friends of Sonja Coyman-Myklebust, in loving memory


Banner photo by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography

Contact Us

Administrative Office:
50 Santa Rosa Ave
Suite 410
Santa Rosa CA 95404
Phone:  (707) 546-7097

Patron Services | Box Office:
Phone: (707) 546-8742


Request A Season Brochure