Conductor & Musicians

Peter Jaffe, Music Director and Conductor

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. He is the host of the local radio program Symphony Mix (KWDC FM 93.5), promoting orchestral events and broadcasting entertaining and educational programs about symphonic repertoire.

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 Lake Symphonies and has appeared as guest conductor with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley, and many other orchestras and music festivals across the country. 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 teaches every summer at the Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina, he conducted and taught at the Aspen Music Festival for fourteen years, and served as music director for Stockton Opera for eighteen years.

Many 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, his recent Symph-Hanukkah, 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.

2009/10 Season Stockton Symphony Orchestra


First Violin

  • Christina Mok, Concertmaster
    Carmen M. Silva Chair
  • Iryna Klimashevska, Associate Concertmaster
    David E. Zuckerman Chair
  • Ljubomir Velickovic, Assistant Concertmaster
  • Irina Samarina
  • Dagenais Smiley
  • Shoanie Young
  • Joseph Galamba
  • Shawyon Malek-Salehi

Second Violin

  • Lyly Li, Assistant Principal
  • Caitlin McSherry
  • Cheryl Ongaro
  • Sarena Hsu Giarrusso
  • Mijung Kim
  • David Collum


  • Evan Buttemer, Principal
  • David Thorp, Assistant Principal
    Forrest & Barbara Greenberg Chair
  • Eleanor Tatton-Nelson
  • David Calderon
  • Joanna L. Pinckney


  • Andrew Ford, Principal
    Helen Kessel McCrary Chair
  • Isaac Pastor-Chermak, Associate Principal
  • Stephanie Chiao, Assistant Principal
  • Bridget Pasker
  • Onew Park
  • Alison Sharkey


  • Patrick McCarthy, Principal
    Gene & Arlene Weston Chair
  • Aleksey Klyushnik, Assistant Principal
  • Rick Duncan


  • Bethanne Walker, Principal
    John Linley McCarthy Chair
  • Alexandra Miller
  • Barbara Maters


  • Barbara Maters
  • Alexandra Miller


  • Thomas Nugent, Principal
  • Kyle Bruckmann

English Horn

  • Kyle Bruckmann


  • Sara Marsh, Principal
    Robert & Jeanne Person Chair
  • Elizabeth Sanders
    R. John Charles, Jr., and Margaret Wennhold Charles Chair
  • Michael Hernandez

Bass Clarinet

  • Michael Hernandez


  • Nicolasa Kuster, Principal
    The Hobin Family Chair
  • Daniel Shifren


  • Lawrence Rhodes

French Horn

  • Caitlyn Smith Franklin, Principal
  • Jeffrey Fowler
  • Melia Badalian


  • John Freeman, Principal
    Margaret M. Zuckerman Chair
  • Rick Leder
  • Hal Willenborg


  • Anthony Collins, Principal
  • Esther Armendariz

Bass Trombone

  • C.L. Behrens


  • Scott Choate, Principal


  • Alex Orfaly, Principal


  • Graham Thompson
  • Michael Downing


  • Madeline Jarzembak, Principal
    Beverly Fitch McCarthy Chair


  • Esther Kemalyan-Roche, Principal


  • Susan von Sosten

Personnel Manager

  • Hal Willenborg

*Denotes on leave of absence

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

Last updated: June 11, 2021 at 12:37 pm