Up and Down the Scale: May through August 2021

We are excited to share the latest developments and changes in the professional lives of our members. This edition covers announcements made May through August 2021. If you want to share the administrative, board, or staff member happenings at your organization, send announcements to [email protected]


Michelle Baldonado has concluded her time as Board President with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra.

Jessica Bejarano has been named as an Assistant Conductor and Artistic Committee Member of Opera Parallèle.

The Las Vegas Philharmonic has named Anne Berquist as their new Executive Director. Berquist previously served as Executive Director of Opera Grand Rapids in Michigan and acted as President & CEO of Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts in Michigan and Atlantic Classical Orchestra in Florida.

Ragnar Bohlin will step down as the San Francisco Symphony's Chorus Director at the end of August 2021. Bohlin began his tenure as Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony in March 2007. Under his leadership, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus received a Grammy for Best Choral Performance for the recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Mark C. Hanson will also step down as SF Symphony CEO at this time.

After twelve years of dedicated, tireless, and exemplary service, Julia Copeland has stepped down from her position as Executive Director of the Youth Orchestras of Fresno to devote time to her family. Julia also recently received the Executive Leadership Award from the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO), and was recognized at the Annual Conference for her efforts.

Camille Delaney-McNeil has been appointed as Director of the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood. Delaney-McNeil comes to the Los Angeles Philharmonic from OrchKids, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program, where she was Director of Programs. The Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood will welcome its first class of students this fall.

San Diego Youth Symphony Music Director Jeff Edmons has announced his retirement. Edmons has been a part of the organization since 1996.

Long-time Santa Rosa Symphony supporter and renowned entrepreneur Don Green passed away at the age of 90. Credited as the North Bay's "Father of Telecom Valley" and the lead donor (along with his beloved wife, Maureen) for the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, he enjoyed a storied life and career. Green was an integral part of fundraising efforts to build Weill Hall and supported an annual choral series by the Santa Rosa Symphony with the Sonoma Bach Choir.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announced contract extensions for Herbie Hancock as the Creative Chair for Jazz and Thomas Wilkins as Principal Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus announced the appointment of Dr. Arian Khaefi, Director of Choral Studies at San Diego State University, to serve as Interim Chorus Conductor during the 2021-22 season. Dr. Khaefi will succeed Dr. Ruben Valenzuela, who has stepped down to assume full time leadership of the Bach Collegium.

Guido Lamell, Music Director of the Santa Monica Symphony and long-time violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, passed away. Guido adored music and thrived by sharing it with others. He has left a wonderful legacy in the Los Angeles music community and beyond, and his joie de vivre spirit will be greatly missed.

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has named Paul Meecham as its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 17, 2021. Meecham is a nationally-known symphony executive who has served as the CEO of the Utah Symphony & Opera (2016–2019), CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2006–2016) and Executive Director of the Seattle Symphony (2004–2006).

Michael Morgan, Music Director and Conductor of Oakland Symphony since 1991, passed away on August 20. He was 63. In addition to his duties with the Oakland Symphony, Maestro Morgan served as Artistic Director of Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, Music Director at Bear Valley Music Festival, and Music Director of Gateways Music Festival. He was Music Director Emeritus of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera and was on the boards of Oaktown Jazz Workshops and the Purple Silk Music Education Foundation. Maestro Morgan had recently begun an association with the San Francisco Symphony as the first curator of their Currents online series, and led the Orchestra in July at Davies Symphony Hall. 

Santa Rosa Symphony President and CEO Alan Silow received the Excellence in Leadership Award at the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership's June 24, 2021 virtual Heart of Sonoma County Award Ceremony. Silow earned the award for his achievements during his nearly 20-year tenure with the Symphony.

Benjamin Simon, long-time Music Director of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, will retire after the 2021-22 season. He will step down in January 2023 after 21 seasons with the ensemble.

The Santa Cruz Symphony announced a ten-year contract extension for Maestro and Artistic Director Daniel Stewart.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association has named Renae Williams Niles as Chief Content and Engagement Officer. In this newly created position, she will provide strategic guidance and articulation of the LA Phil's organizational goals and policy, overseeing all programming (classical, non-classical and humanities) across Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, The Ford and the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center, and for LA Phil residencies and tours.


The American Youth Symphony will perform the score to “The Wizard of Oz'' live-to-picture for the Academy Museum’s opening on Thursday, September 30th. AYS board member and renowned conductor, David Newman, will conduct the orchestra.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was awarded a $19,500 Catalyst Fund grant from the League of American Orchestras to strengthen its understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and to help transform its organizational culture. Given to just 25 orchestras nationwide, the one-year grants comprise the final round of The Catalyst Fund, the League's three-year $2.1 million grant-making program, made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.

The Hollywood Bowl, one of the leading outdoor music venues in the world and the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was honored as the winner of Amphitheater of the Decade at the 32nd Annual Pollstar Awards. The award celebrates the amphitheater that has showcased superior talent booking, effective promotion, quality production values and staff, an exemplary experience for fans and artists, and consistent box office success over the last decade.

The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale has named Davóne Tines as their first-ever Creative Partner. Tines begins a unique residency with PBO as a full creative partner involved in the strategic planning, governance, and programming of the whole organization.

In typical seasons, the Santa Barbara Symphony's Music Van delights local elementary students by providing "petting-zoo" experiences. Due to COVID-19, the Music Education team developed a virtual experience instead. Guided by docents and volunteers, a video spotlighting the Music Van was recorded at the Lobero Theatre and can be broadcast free of charge on the Symphony's website.

The San Diego Symphony opened their new bayside venue, the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, at the beginning of August. The performance was the first of a 40-concert season for their new outdoor home.

The San Francisco Symphony, in partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) and the SFCM President's Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, announced that Trevor Weston will receive the first commission of the annual Emerging Black Composers Project. The San Francisco Symphony, led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, will give the world premiere of his new commissioned work in the fall of 2022.

The Santa Rosa Symphony, in its 94th season, announced seven new appointments to its board of directors. The following Symphony supporters, listed in alphabetical order, began their term on July 1, 2021: Sharon Beckman, Judy Chen, Shari DeMaris, Fernando Dizon, Ann Marie McGee, Nancy Novak and Alexander Volonts.

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