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

Serving as the Stockton Symphony’s music director since 1995, Peter Jaffe conducts both classics and pops performances and has fostered sustained artistic growth throughout his tenure. Recipient of top awards from the Association of California Symphony Orchestras and the Stockton Arts Commission, he has been honored by the University of the Pacific and San Joaquin Delta College for innovations in educational programming and by the Brubeck Institute for distinguished service. His preconcert discussions include his own renditions of symphonic examples at the piano, and he has advocated for the Symphony and orchestral music in several radio and television appearances. Mr. Jaffe has spearheaded the commissions of several 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, and a portion of the Stockton Symphony CD of Chris Brubeck’s Mark Twain’s World was broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today.

Mr. Jaffe was appointed music director of the Auburn Symphony last season, 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, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestras, the Sacramento and Virginia Symphonies, and several other orchestras and music festivals. He spent three seasons conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory and two as a visiting professor at Stanford University, highlighted by an Eastern European tour with the Stanford Symphony. He has served as music director for the Stockton Opera since 2001, most recently conducting Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.

Mr. Jaffe teaches every summer at the Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina, and he conducted and taught at the Aspen Music Festival for fourteen years—many of his Aspen performances have been broadcast nationally. Under his direction, Aspen’s Young Artist Orchestra series helped to advance the careers of numerous rising stars. He was also honored to conduct the U.S. premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Ligeia with the Aspen Opera Theater.

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 Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Gunther Schuller, and Gustav Meier, He also studied conducting with Andor Toth, Paul Vermel, Charles Bruck, and Herbert Blomstedt. Peter Jaffe’s instrumental background includes extensive performing on the violin, viola, and keyboard. He served for a season as acting concertmaster of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and for several years as staff pianist and vocal accompanist at the Aspen Music Festival. He often conducts from the harpsichord when performing Baroque or early Classic repertoire.

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Board of Directors

Pamela Lee, President
Patricia Cox, Secretary
Daniel Terry, Jr., M.D, Treasurer
Roger Sitkin, Vice President of Education
Zac Cort, Vice President of Finance
James M. Morris, Vice President of Fund Development
Velma Lim, Vice President of Board Governance
Gene Acevedo, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations

Pheon Davison, Carole Gilbertson, Kathy Hart, Patrick Hobin, Douglas Hunt, Peter Jaffe*, Jeanette Jenkins*, Nicolasa Kuster*, Cheryl Ongaro*, Giulio Ongaro, Benjamin Reddish, Richard Rojo, Angela Rosenquist, Christine Schweininger*, Anne Struck *, Joe Sublett, Margaret Zuckerman
For a list of the Symphony staff with email links, visit our Contact Us page.

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  • Christina Mok, Concertmaster
  • Heather Powell, Associate Concertmaster
  • Ljubomir Velickovic, Assistant Concertmaster
  • Irina Samarina
  • Bakyt Bekdjanov
  • Dagenais Smiley
  • Alise Ewan
  • An Tan
  • Alice Chen
  • Shoanie Young*



  • Tingting Gu, Principal (6/13)
  • Abraham Becker, Assistant Principal
  • Cheryl Ongaro
  • Monika Gruber-Gibbons
  • Christina Knudson
  • Christopher Whitley (5/14)
  • Graham Hsu
  • David Collum



  • Evan Buttemer, Principal (5/14)
  • David Thorp, Assistant Principal
  • Eleanor Tatton-Nelson
  • David Calderon
  • Joanna Pinckney
  • Jeanne Coburn
  • Don Peterson



  • Andrew Ford, Principal
  • Adelle-Akiko Kearns, Associate Principal (5/14)
  • Stephanie Chiao, Assistant Principal
  • Louise Saunders
  • Jia-Mo Chen
  • Alison Sharkey



  • Pat McCarthy, Principal
  • Abe Gumroyan, Assistant Principal (6/13)
  • Rick Duncan
  • Megan McDevitt*



  • Jennifer Olson, Principal
  • Alexandra Miller, 2nd /Piccolo (5/14)
  • Barbara Maters, 3rd/Piccolo



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



  • Patricia Shands, Principal
  • Elizabeth Sanders, 2nd
  • Michael Hernandez, 3rd/Bass Clarinet



  • Nicolasa Kuster, Principal
  • Douglas Brown, 2nd 
  • Lawrence Rhodes, 3rd/Contrabassoon



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



  • Brian Anderson, Principal
  • Rick Leder, 2nd
  • Hal Willenborg, 3rd



  • Anthony Collins, Principal
  • Michael Miles, 2nd (8/12)
  • Christian Behrens, 3rd/Bass Trombone



  • Scott Choate



  • Coleman Sholl, Principal



  • Bob Stover, Principal
  • Graham Thompson
  • Michael Downing



  • Emily Laurance, Principal



  • Esther Kemalyan-Roche, Principal



  • Jeanne Coburn



  • Joanna L. Pinckney



  • Zachary Spurlin


The Stockton Symphony frequently employs additional musicians to meet the demands of the works performed.
*on leave                                                                                                                                                         updated June 9, 2014

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Auditions Information


The Stockton Symphony announces


For the following tenure-track positions:


(Candidates:  please be advised that second-round auditions will be held the same day.)

Please send resume and refundable $35 deposit to:

Stockton Symphony Association
4629 Quail Lakes Drive, Stockton, CA 95207


Audition Repertoire

Application deadline:

48-hour cancellation notification required.
Refunds will be mailed five days following auditions.

Upon receipt of these items, qualified applicants will be sent excerpts; notification of scheduled audition times will be by telephone or email at least 48 hours prior to auditions.

Joanna L. Pinckney ~ Personnel Manager ~  jpinckney@stocktonsymphony.org

 Auditions are anonymous and screened.

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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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