About Us


The Stockton Symphony

The Stockton Symphony is the third oldest, continuously performing, orchestra in California, surpassed in longevity only by the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Our Mission
To inspire joy and build community through music.

Our Vision
The Stockton Symphony electrifies audiences of all ages with sold-out performances of symphonic concerts throughout the San Joaquin Valley. We build a passionate curiosity about contemporary music while preserving the symphonic heritage of the past. We make the concert-going experience an essential and vital part of community life.

Our Core Values
In furthering our Mission and achieving our Vision, we adhere to these Core Values:
We are committed to the highest artistic and professional standards and serve as good stewards of our institution.
We engage our community through meaningful, affordable musical experiences for everyone.
We are driven by a deep connection to music that inspires our lives.
We are a resource for students of all ages, working through music to enrich their lives.
We have a sense of possibility, approaching challenges from a positive perspective, and taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
We are transparent about our finances and our governing processes.
We collaborate and partner with other arts organizations and nonprofits in our community to maximize our reach, effectiveness, and relevance.
We promote Stockton and our region and work to be a source of pride for our community.

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Peter Jaffe, Music Director and Conductor

For Patron mail

Peter Jaffe has served as the Stockton Symphony’s dynamic music director since 1995, combining a passion for outreach and education with top-notch musicianship, and fostering sustained artistic growth throughout his tenure. Organizations ranging from the Association of California Symphony Orchestras to the Brubeck Institute and Goodwill Industries have honored Mr. Jaffe with prestigious awards for his innovations in educational programming and for his distinguished cultural contributions throughout the county. His engaging and informative preconcert discussions include his own renditions of symphonic examples at the piano, and he frequently advocates for the Symphony and orchestral music in radio broadcasts, television appearances, and web videos.

With a zeal for introducing new vital repertoire along with established masterworks, Mr. Jaffe has spearheaded the commissions of many world premieres. Avner Dorman’s Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu earned the Stockton Symphony national recognition for community engagement activities dealing with crucial social issues. A portion of the Stockton Symphony CD of Chris Brubeck’s Mark Twain’s World was broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today, and Ansel Adams: America, co-composed by Dave and Chris Brubeck, has since been performed nationally and abroad.

Mr. Jaffe also conducts the Auburn and Folsom Symphonies, and he returns for appearances this season with Symphony Silicon Valley. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, and many other orchestras and music festivals across the country. He teaches every summer at the Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina, he conducted and taught at the Aspen Music Festival for fourteen years, and he spent three seasons conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory and two as a visiting professor at Stanford University.

Several of Mr. Jaffe’s own arrangements have been commissioned by and performed with orchestras in Aspen, Chicago, Long Beach, and Stockton, including his Symphonic Birthday and his transcription of Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos for Jan DeGaetani, which was also performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A CD of his lullaby arrangements was released on the Chandos label, featuring mezzo-soprano Nadia Pelle with Yuli Turovsky directing I Musici de Montréal.

Mr. Jaffe appeared on NBC’s First Camera in a show devoted to Tanglewood, where he was coached by Seiji Ozawa, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier, and Leonard Bernstein—a brief segment was later included in the American Masters special honoring Bernstein. Mr. Jaffe also studied conducting with Andor Toth, Paul Vermel, Charles Bruck, and Herbert Blomstedt. His instrumental background includes extensive performing on the violin, viola, and keyboard, and he often conducts from the harpsichord when performing Baroque or early Classic repertoire.

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Board of Directors

James Morris, Co President
Daniel Terry, M.D., Co President
Pat Cox, Secretary
Evia Briggs Moore, Ed. D., Co-Vice President of Eduction
Cecilia Moran, Co-Vice President of Education
Patrick Hobin, Vice President of Finance
Janice Marengo, Vice President of Fund Development
Velma Lim, Vice President of Board Governance
Pamela Lee, Past President


Conni Bock, Jeanine Davis, Pheon Davison, Kathy Hart, Cheryl Hunt*, Douglas Hunt, Robert Mau, Evia Briggs Moore,  Jose Rameriz*, Benjamin Reddish, Jr., Roger Sitkin, Joe Sublett, Margaret H. Zuckerman

Orchestra Representatives

Christian Behrens, Nicolasa Kuster


For a list of the Symphony staff with email links, visit our Contact Us page.

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  • Christina Mok, Concertmaster
  • Ljubomir Velickovic, Assistant Concertmaster
  • Irina Samarina
  • Bakyt Bekdjanov
  • Dagenais Smiley
  • Alise Ewan
  • An Tan
  • Shoanie Young*
  • Joseph Galamba


  • Tingting Gu, Principal
  • Tess Varley, Assistant Principal
  • Cheryl Ongaro
  • Caitlin McSherry
  • Sarena Hsu Giarrusso
  • David Collum


  • Evan Buttemer, Principal
  • David Thorp, Assistant Principal
  • Eleanor Tatton-Nelson
  • David Calderon
  • Joanna L. Pinckney
  • Jeanne Coburn
  • Donald L. Peterson


  • Andrew Ford, Principal
  • Stephanie Chiao, Assistant Principal
  • Sheng Zhang (6/15)
  • Jia-Mo Chen
  • Alison Sharkey


  • Patrick McCarthy, Principal
  • Aleksey Klyushnik, Assistant Principal
  • Rick Duncan
  • Mark Wallace


  • Bethanne Walker, Principal
  • Alexandra Miller, 2nd /Piccolo
  • Barbara Maters, 3rd/Piccolo


  • Thomas Nugent, Principal
  • Kyle Bruckmann, 2nd/English Horn
  • Gabrielle Castriotta, 3rd/Utility


  • Sara Canning, Principal
  • Elizabeth Sanders, 2nd
  • Michael Hernandez, 3rd/Bass Clarinet


  • Nicolasa Kuster, Principal
  • Daniel Shifren, 2nd
  • Lawrence Rhodes, 3rd/Contrabassoon


  • Caitlyn Smith, Principal
  • Jeffrey Fowler, 2nd
  • Alex Rosenfeld, 3rd
  • James Kesey, 4th


  • John Freeman, Principal
  • Rick Leder, 2nd
  • Hal Willenborg, 3rd


  • Anthony Collins, Principal
  • Esther Armendariz, 2nd
  • Christian Behrens, 3rd/Bass Trombone


  • Scott Choate, Principal


  • Alex Orfaly, Principal


  • Bob Stover, Principal
  • Graham Thompson
  • Michael Downing


  • Emily Laurance, Principal


  • Esther Kemalyan-Roche, Principal

*Denotes on leave of absence


  • Jeanne Coburn



  • Joanna L. Pinckney



  • Zachary Spurlin


The Stockton Symphony frequently employs additional musicians to meet the demands of the works performed.

 updated November 28, 2016

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Symphony Alliance

The Stockton Symphony Alliance is an affiliate of the Stockton Symphony Association. Its mission is to support the Symphony through fundraising, increasing awareness of the Symphony, and promoting goodwill within the community.


There are three levels of membership:

  • Sponsor Membership – $100
    Full membership for an individual or family. Sponsorships provide additional funds to support the symphony. Sponsors are recognized in the Annual Membership Directory.
  • Non-Active Membership- $50   Membership without additional responsibilities.
  • Active Membership – $35   Membership with volunteer opportunities.

Membership with volunteer opportunities.

Benefits of Membership
As a member of the Stockton Symphony Alliance – and of the Symphony Community – you will:

  • Help foster the arts throughout the community.
  • Help bring the joys of great music to our children and adults.
  • Help strengthen the Stockton Symphony, the third oldest orchestra in California.
  • Enjoy the company of individuals with interest in great music.
  • Meet new friends.

The Alliance is actively seeking new members as part of its ongoing membership drive.  Interested individuals may call 209.951.0196 or Click ALLIANCE_APPLICATION_14-15 to download an application.

Volunteer Opportunities

You are cordially invited to become a member of this exciting organization and to assist in activities and projects!

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In May 1926, the first concert was performed by the newly created Stockton Symphony – a group of twenty local musicians formed by pharmacist-by-day and orchestra-conductor-by-night Manlio Silva. An Italian immigrant, Silva was an accomplished musician, having graduated from the Conservatory of Chiavari. The musicians gave the Stockton Symphony’s inaugural performance during “Music Week” for the Stockton Musical Club. Five months later, the first complete season opened in October 1926 at the California Theater on Main Street. At that time, tickets sold for 50 cents for adults and 10 cents for children, which helped defray costs.

Through the years

Stockton Symphony has continued to thrive. Under the twenty-seven year reign of conductor Kyung-Soo Won beginning in 1967, the Symphony morphed from a community orchestra to a professional ensemble, gaining “metropolitan” status, as ranked by the American Symphony Orchestra League. During that time, guest artists of great national and international renown came to Stockton to perform with the Symphony. Long time residents may remember eminent pianist Van Cliburn’s performances. In 1975 track and field star Jesse Owens traveled to Stockton to narrate Copland’s Lincoln Portrait for a sold-out performance. For the 1976-1977 season, a generous grant from Tillie and Meyer Lewis enabled the Symphony to host Metropolitan Opera star Beverly Sills and pianist Andre Watts, who also played to standing-room-only crowds. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, local music lovers were treated to an outstanding line-up of famous guest artists, such as Itzhak Perlman, Robert Merrill, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Peter Serkin, Ruggiero Ricci, Pearl Baily, Kyung-Wha Chung, Ravi Shankar, Christoph Eschenbach, Ransom Wilson, Leonard Rose, Thomas Paul, and Roberta Peters. With every performance, local patrons realized how fortunate they were to have a symphony orchestra of such high caliber in their community.

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