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It's been wonderful to start knowing more and more people who are able to get the Covid vaccine as we all continue to look to brighter days. Even though nothing has changed about how the Santa Rosa Symphony has been performing since October, it feels like we're now hitting our stride this season (or as much as one can in a pandemic!). The safety protocols have become a natural part of the rehearsal process. We arrive more mentally prepared for the grueling two days of rehearsals, and waving to the cameras at the end is a regular part of our performance. Perhaps because I've mentally accepted this temporary normal, I'm actually finding myself missing, more and more, all of you in the hall with us. I often catch myself daydreaming of the moment we'll all be back together. 
One constant this season is the sense of simple gratitude that continues to permeate our work—an understanding of how fortunate we are to be making music together at all. It's in that spirit that we're so excited to present our next streaming concert on February 28th. One of the joys of this season is getting to explore rarely performed works by some of the most performed composers! We all know Dvořák for his American-inspired works like the New World Symphony, but what about the work based on his homeland—the Czech Suite? We all know Wagner for massive, epic operatic masterpieces, but what about the birthday gift for his wife - a short work for a few dozen musicians? You can get up close with both these works on Sunday as well as two American works that have the 19th century Romanticism of Dvořák and Wagner in their DNA. Our ground-breaking collaboration with our Artistic Partner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich continues on Sunday, and I encourage you to join the two of us for the preconcert show at 2 pm, where you can get a conductor and composer's perspective on each of the pieces on the program!
Thanks, as always, for being on this journey with us! In a world where we can't hear your applause, your support and enthusiasm mean the world to us!
Sincerely yours,
Celebrate love and life this Sunday!
SRSYO Virtual Concert on March 9: "At the Movies"
Growth and change at SRS Institute
After-school social action - in person! 
Masterclass with Zuill Bailey
Meet our Musicians: Dieter Wulfhorst, cello


Celebrate love and life this Sunday

The Symphony's next SRS @ Home virtual concert is this Sunday, February 28, on YouTube. Francesco Lecce-Chong conducts a luscious program that celebrates life and love, with a love poem by Wagner, a serenade by William Grant Still and Dvořák’s lively celebration of of his Bohemian roots: Czech Suite. The Symphony’s Artistic Partner, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, adds variety and zest with her Prologue and Variations. Experience it all on YouTube, from the comfort of your home. 

Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, a love poem written as a surprise birthday and Christmas gift for his wife Cozima, bursts with joy, beauty and humor. It showcases various sections of the orchestra with breathtaking interjections of birdsong, sunsets and shared references to delight Cozima. Imagine Cozima waking up to find a small orchestra performing right outside her bedroom door! 

The Serenade by William Grant Still, who was often referred to as the Dean of African-American composers, invites you into a storybook setting, where love, peace and possibilities abide. Dvořák's Czech Suite will set toes to tapping with its traditional Czech dance rhythms.
Learn more about the SRS @ Home Feb 28 concert


SRSYO Virtual Concert on March 9: "At the Movies"

Grab your popcorn and favorite movie-time beverage to enjoy the SRS Youth Orchestra concert, At the Movies, on Tuesday, March 9 at 7 pm. 

The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra will present "At the Movies" on the SRS Education YouTube channel, with a program of arrangements of movie themes. Films represented are: Titanic, The Molly Maguires, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Pirates of the Caribbean, Looney Tunes, The Sting and The Pink Panther.

The rhythmic complexities and stylistic features of the movie music present a fun opportunity for the musicians to stretch their skills. The concert is free, and there will be an opportunity to make donations online during the intermission.

Click on the link below to view SRSYO events. To stay informed about upcoming SRSYO YouTube events, click on "subscribe" on the SRS Education channel and then click on the bell icon for notifications. 
Visit and subscribe to the "SRS Education" YouTube channel

Growth and change at the SRS Institute

Matt Payne, the SRS Institute for Music Education’s wonderful Youth Ensembles Manager, has decided to move to the East Coast, where he and his family will seek new adventures. His last day is this Saturday, February 27. 
Since 2016, Matt has made a tremendous impact on the Institute. He has brought a wealth of knowledge about music and instruments, and has brightened the office with his wit and his Lego constructions. Most of all, his kindness and compassion have guided countless young musicians and their families through auditions, placements, practice-a-thons and performances. 
Lately, the Institute has benefited from his vast tech skills as well. He has been responsible for uploading many of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s videos and for steering the organization through this year of online learning for staff and students alike. Symphony staff members will miss Matt, and we all wish him well.
Fortunately, the Institute has found someone who can seamlessly step into the role of Youth Ensemble Manager. The Institute welcomes Elena Sloman, another person of many talents. An Alumna of the Institute’s youth ensembles, Elena is well acquainted with all our programs, having served at various times as interim conductor of Debut Youth Orchestra, Rehearsal Assistant at Simply Strings and woodwind coach for all our youth ensembles.
Elena is an oboist and arts administrator with several years of experience working with educational music programs and orchestral organizations. She has performed as an orchestral musician and conductor throughout the greater Bay Area.
Elena holds a Master of Music degree in Oboe Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Oboe Performance from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she graduated summa cum laude. Elena also teaches oboe students privately and coaches youth orchestras in Napa and Sonoma Counties. The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles were a big part of her musical life growing up in Sonoma County, so she is delighted to now have the opportunity to give back! 


After-school social action—in person! 

Simply Strings will hold an in-person session, March 29-May 21, for students who were in the program one year ago when shelter-in-place went into effect. With strict health and safety protocols, students will attend after-school classes in instrument coaching and musicianship twice a week, taught by three faculty, Monday through Thursday. Our partner in this endeavor is LandPaths, the organization that runs the community garden at Bayer Farm, across from Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School. Simply Strings staff is excited to see students in person once again!


Free Masterclass with Zuill Bailey 

March 16 at 7 pm on Zoom

Internationally renowned, Grammy-winning cellist Zuill Bailey presents a masterclass on Tuesday, March 16 at 7 pm via Zoom. A masterclass is an open lesson, during which students perform a solo work and are coached by a master teacher. For this class, two cellists from the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra and Young People’s Chamber Orchestra will perform. Audience members listen and learn as observers. It is a fun and informative opportunity to see a top-flight musician and music educator share insights and techniques and to watch students learn and grow before your eyes.

Much of the advice given in any masterclass can be applied to any instrument. Therefore, all musicians, and even non-musicians, are encouraged to observe the masterclasses, regardless of the instrument they play. Please spread the word and share this message with your friends!

A consummate concerto soloist, Zuill has been featured with symphony orchestras worldwide. He is Artistic Director of El Paso Pro Musica, the Sitka Summer Music Festival (Alaska), the Northwest Bach Festival (Washington), the Mesa Arts Center Series (Arizona) and Professor of Cello at the University of Texas at El Paso. As guest soloist with the Symphony for its March 28 SRS @ Home concert, Zuill will perform Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, which he premiered in 2020.

Registered attendees will be sent a link the day before the masterclass.

Register now for this FREE masterclass

Meet our Musicians

Dieter Wulfhorst, cello

Dieter Wulfhorst became enamored with the cello at eight by hearing it played often, by none other than Ernest Strauss, a member of the Strauss Quartet, who happened to be his best friend’s father. With the help of many great teachers, his studies brought him to the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. Then he performed as a substitute cellist for various orchestras while living in Hanover and toured to Australia, Southeast Asia and throughout Europe. He moved to the States in 1985, where he continued his studies at the University of Maryland at College Park with members of the Guarneri Quartet and Evelyn Elsing. There he earned his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees.
He and his violinist wife, Susan Doering, met in Michigan, through their mutual career paths of playing chamber music and teaching, and their mutual hobby of polka dancing. They moved to California after eight years of long-distance marriage with university teaching jobs in different time zones.

Last September, tragically, the Creek Fire took their cherished home in the forest near Shaver Lake. Dieter counts himself fortunate in that they were able to escape with some of their instruments, their cat, some irreplaceable sheet music and some of their photos. They are also extremely grateful that a fellow musician provided them with interim lodgings on his farm. 
During the pandemic, Dieter has recorded virtual concerts and has adopted a cello diary program of cello music that incorporates current events such as BLM, #MeToo, COVID-19, the Creek Fire, the loss of beloved cats and more. He finds the daily practice therapeutic and hopes to start recording the program next month. 
He says there are not many composers that he either dislikes or doesn’t “get,” but his favorites are Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Schubert and Brahms. He plays a cello made by Giovanni Battista Rogeri (Brescia, 1693; “ex- Jürgen Wolf”), which he says Jurgen Wolf wanted to keep "in the family." 
Santa Rosa Symphony    
50 Santa Rosa Ave, Suite 410, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Though the Patron Services office is closed during the pandemic, 
staff, working remotely, respond to 
mail, voicemails and emails M-F 9 am - 5 pm. 

54-MUSIC (707) 546-8742 

Programs, dates and artists subject to change.
Photos of Francesco, orchestra members by Susan and Neil Silverman. 

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

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


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