Nathan Cole

Nathan Cole is First Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Cole joined the LA Phil in 2011 and has appeared as guest concertmaster with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Houston, Ottawa, Seattle, and Oregon. He was previously a member of the Chicago Symphony and Principal Second Violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, he made his debut with the Louisville Orchestra at the age of ten while studying with Donna Wiehe. After eight years working with Daniel Mason, Cole enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned his bachelor of music degree in 2000. In addition to his studies with Pamela Frank, Felix Galimir, Ida Kavafian, and Jaime Laredo, Cole formed the Grancino String Quartet, debuting in New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Several summers at the Marlboro Music Festival enriched his love of chamber music.

While in Chicago, Nathan taught at Roosevelt University and coached the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He is currently on faculty at Azusa Pacific University and teaches classes at the Colburn Conservatory of Music and Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. He is also an online teaching artist with ArtistWorks. His articles and photographs have appeared in Strings, Symphony, and Chamber Music magazines.

Tiffany Kuo, PhD

A liberal arts-educated musicologist and a conservatory trained pianist, Dr. Tiffany Kuo is Professor of Music at Mount San Antonio College. Dr. Kuo’s current research brings to light the pioneering of performing arts patronage in higher education as instigated by philanthropic foundations in mid-twentieth century America. She has received research grants from the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Paul Sacher Stiftung Scholarship, and Mt. SAC’s professional development. Dr. Kuo is a graduate of Stanford University (BA in music, and BS in biological sciences), The Juilliard School (MM in piano performance) and New York University (PhD in musicology). Dr. Kuo was the chair of the music department at Mount San Antonio College from 2014–2018, and she is the faculty data coach coordinator for Mt. SAC Title V Grant “Creating and Equity-Minded Campus Culture to Improve Student Outcomes.”

David Rejano Cantero

David Rejano is the Principal Trombone of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he began in 2016. Before that, he served as Principal Trombone with the Münchner Philharmoniker from 2010 to 2016, Principal Trombone with the Barcelona Opera House from 2007 to 2010, and Principal Trombone with Orquestra Sinfonica de Navarra from 2002 to 2007.

He has also performed as a guest with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre National de France, Seoul Philharmonic, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks or the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris. He collaborates regularly with Zubin Mehta, Gustavo Dudamel and Valery Gergiev. David Rejano appears frequently as a soloist at international festivals and gives master classes all over the world, including the Guildhall School of London (England), the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music (China), New England Conservatory (USA), and the Paris Conservatoire (France).

Mr. Rejano was born in Badajoz (Spain) and initially studied music at the Conservatory in Madrid. He then moved to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where he graduated with the Special Prize of the Jury. He was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (with Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez).

Ryan Darke

Trumpeter Ryan Darke enjoys a diverse career as a performer and educator. Mr. Darke is principal trumpet of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra; prior to joining the Los Angeles Opera, he played second trumpet with the Baltimore Symphony and principal trumpet with the San Diego Symphony. He also spent one year at the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida.

Mr. Darke has also enjoyed teaching the OrchKids program with the Baltimore Symphony, Youth Orchestras of Los Angeles (YOLA) through the LA Philharmonic, and while touring with the LA Philharmonic taught a master class for Venezuela’s “El Sistema.” Mr. Darke has also played in concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, St Louis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysia Philharmonic, Stavanger Philharmonic, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and with the new music ensemble wildUp. While residing in Germany Mr. Darke played with the Schleswig Holstein Orchestra and was featured as principal on Mahler Symphony No. 5.

Mr. Darke received his Professional Studies Certificate at the Colburn School, his Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from Rice University, and his Bachelor of Music degree from the Bob Cole Conservatory at the California State University, Long Beach. His most influential instructors have been James Wilt, Rob Frear, Rick Giangiulio, Tony Prisk, Michael Sachs, and Joan LaRue.

Esa-Pekka Salonen

Esa-Pekka Salonen’s restless innovation drives him constantly to reposition classical music in the 21st century. He is known as both a composer and conductor and is currently the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor for London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. He is the Music Director Designate of the San Francisco Symphony; the 2020–21 season will be his first as Music Director. He is Artist in Association at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. He recently joined the faculty of LA’s Colburn School, where he developed, leads, and directs the pre-professional Negaunee Conducting Program. He is the Conductor Laureate for both the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director from 1992 until 2009. Salonen co-founded—and from 2003 until 2018 served as the Artistic Director for—the annual Baltic Sea Festival, which invites celebrated artists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea.

Jeffrey Parola, DMA

Jeffrey Parola is a composer whose works have been commissioned and performed throughout the US, by ensembles such as Indiana University’s NOTUS, Oklahoma State University Singers, Thalea String Quartet, Lyris String Quartet, Pacific Serenades, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Choral Chameleon, the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, and the Ateneo Chamber Singers.

Notable honors include the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hoefer Prize, the Peter David Faith Endowed Memorial Award, the Rappaport Prize, the European American Musical Alliance Prize, and the Jim Highsmith Orchestral Composition Prize.

Jeffrey is also an organist, conductor, and vocalist. He recently made his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut in the world premiere performance of David Lang’s sleeper’s prayer. He has also sung professionally with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Schola Cantorum San Francisco, and most recently with The Benedict 16, Tonality, the Golden Bridge, the Choir of St. James, and LASchola.

Erik Altenbernd, PhD

Erik Altenbernd is an environmental and cultural historian with research interests in Los Angeles, California, and greater arid America. Altenbernd’s dissertation, which he recently completed at the University of California, Irvine, examines federal exploration, US territorial expansion, and changes in American perceptions of desert landscapes during the nineteenth century. In addition to this research, he is also at work on a project that examines Los Angeles and its contentious reputation as a desert city. Altenbernd has taught widely on American history and culture, including multiple courses on history and Hollywood and how feature films construct historical narratives, landscapes, and senses of place.

Thomas Kotcheff

Thomas Kotcheff is a Los Angeles-based composer and pianist. In addition to serving on the faculty at the Piano Talent Performance Academy, he additionally teaches theory at the Colburn School and composition at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program.

As a composer, his music has been performed internationally by the Riot Ensemble, wild Up, Sandbox Percussion, Trio Appassionata, the Argus Quartet, the Lyris Quartet, USC Thornton Edge, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, HOCKET, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.

Thomas has received awards and honors from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presser Foundation, the Aspen Summer Music Festival, BMI, ASCAP, the New York Youth Symphony, the National Association of Composers USA, the American Composers Forum, and has been a composition fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s National Composers Intensive, the Aspen Summer Music Festival and School, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence.

As a new music pianist, Thomas has dedicated himself to commissioning and premiering new piano works. He is the pianist and founding member of the Los Angeles based piano duo HOCKET and he holds degrees in composition and piano performance from the Peabody Institute and the University of Southern California.

Visit Thomas Kotcheff’s website

Ben Hong

Cellist Ben Hong joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1993, at age 24, as Assistant Principal Cello. He currently serves as Associate Principal Cello, appointed in 2015 by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel. Hong also performs frequently as soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles. He has collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Janine Jansen, Lang Lang, Sir Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Concerto appearances with the LA Phil have included the U.S. premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s cello concerto Kai, with Rattle conducting at the Ojai Music Festival, and the LA Phil premiere of Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Concerto, conducted by Long Yu at the Hollywood Bowl. In 2009, Hong was hired by DreamWorks Pictures to train several members of the cast of the movie The Soloist, including Jamie Foxx. In addition, he was the featured soloist on the soundtrack, which was released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Hong won his native country’s National Cello Competition three years in a row before leaving home, at age 13, for the Juilliard School. Later he studied with Lynn Harrell at the University of Southern California’s School of Music before joining the LA Phil. In 2012, Hong joined the faculty of USC’s Thornton School of Music as an Adjunct Professor. Additionally, he frequently presents clinics and masterclasses in the US and abroad.

Sarah Gibson, DMA

Sarah Gibson is a Los Angeles-based composer and pianist who has been called “a serious talent to watch” (Atlanta Journal Constitution). Her works have received honors and recognitions including the American Composers Orchestra Underwood New Music Readings, Victor Herbert ASCAP award, and first place in the Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest.

Her Left-hand Piano Concerto was selected as a winner of The University of Southern California’s (USC) New Music for Orchestra competition and was premiered with the composer at the keyboard. She has received commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Aspen Summer Music Festival and School, LA Signal Lab, the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, HOCKET, and soprano Lindsay Kesselman, among others.

As both a composer and new music pianist, Dr. Gibson stays passionately active in the new music scene performing in some of today’s most exciting venues and festivals. She is co-founder of the new music piano duo, HOCKET, which has been lauded as “brilliant” by the LA Times‘ Mark Swed. HOCKET has played at festivals such as the MATA Festival, Carlsbad New Music Festival, Piano Spheres, Bang on a Can Festival @ MASSMoCA, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Noon to Midnight.

Dr. Gibson holds degrees in Piano and Composition from Indiana University and the University of Southern California, where she is currently a Lecturer in Theory and Analysis. Alongside Artistic Director Andrew Norman, she is the Lead Teaching Artist for the esteemed Nancy and Barry Sanders Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program.