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Assistant Conductors and Coaches

Debra Gardner, Assistant Conductor and Director of Winds, received Bachelor’s degrees in Clarinet Performance and Recording Arts from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied under Loren Kitt, Principal Clarinetist of the National Symphony. From there, she went on to Chicago to receive her M.M. in Clarinet Performance from DePaul University, where she studied under Larry Combs, Principal Clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony.

She has performed throughout the U.S., playing with such groups as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Chicago Contemporary Players, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the South Bend Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony, and the Monterey Symphony. She has also participated in many music festivals, including the National Repertory Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, the Texas Music Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival. Throughout her travels, she has had the honor of playing under the batons of many great conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Christoph Eschenbach, and Zubin Mehta.

As an educator, her varied experiences include working with at-risk youth at the MERIT Music Program in Chicago, performing in outreach concerts through both the Chicago Civic Orchestra’s MusiCorps Program and the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program, and teaching chamber music and music theory for the San Francisco Community Music Center’s Comprehensive Musicianship Program. She has maintained a private clarinet studio since beginning her studies, with many of her students winning competitions and being accepted into some of the country’s most prestigious music schools.
Dr. Richard Roper, Senior Brass and Trumpet Coach, received his Bachelor's degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, his M.M. from the Yale School of Music, and his D.M.A. from the University of Maryland. As a Harriet Hale Woolley Scholar, Dr. Roper spent a year studying and performing in Paris. Committed to arts education, he has served on the faculties of the University of Maine and the Washington, D.C. Youth Orchestra, and currently teaches for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory/Extension department, the Community School of Music and Arts, and as trumpet instructor at California State University Stanislaus. Along with teaching, Dr. Roper stays busy performing frequently with many Bay Area ensembles. In addition, he has studied and performed at the Aspen Music festival, the Music Academy of the West, and the Norfolk Chamber Music festival. His major teachers include Chris Gekker, Allan Dean, Mario Guarneri, Antoine Cure, and Raymond Mase.
Thomas Shoebotham, Cello Coach, has a highly varied musical career that includes opera and orchestral conducting, cello and piano performance, and public and private teaching. He is presently Music Director of the Palo Alto Philharmonic. He has conducted performances for many groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Opera San José, Peninsula Symphony, the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, and Berkeley Opera. As a cellist, he has appeared as a soloist with the Oakland Civic Orchestra, Kensington Symphony, and Palo Alto Philharmonic, in recital in Palo Alto, and in chamber music performances with Trio Jubilee in Los Gatos, Burlingame, and Palo Alto.
Vladimir Klibanov, Coach for Violin and Viola, received his Master’s Degree from the Conservatory of Music, Kazan, Russia. He is an educator with more than thirty years experience teaching children and adults. He previously served on the faculty of the Kaliningrad Music College where he was a conductor of the symphony and chamber orchestras as well as the department head. Mr. Klibanov also served as Music Director of the Jewish Music Theater, Lithuania, and Music Director of the Philharmonic Society, Kaliningrad. Mr. Klibanov has performed in orchestras in Russia, Lithuania, Africa and Israel.
Richard Bice, Brass and Trumpet Coach, received his Bachelor's of Music degree from San Francisco State University. He has performed with San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and the San Jose Symphony. He has been an instrumental music instructor at Carlmont High School and Foothill College. He also teaches trumpet locally.
Leslie Hart, French Horn Coach, is an active freelance horn player in the San Francisco Bay area and is the director of instrumental music at Castilleja School. She completed a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Performance and Music Education from the Eastman School of Music in 2011. She has presented clinics in Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the United States including 2009 and 2011 International Horn Symposiums, Mid-South Horn Workshops, Northeast Horn Workshops, and Northwest Horn Symposium. Leslie is also a member of Emerald Brass Quintet and Frequency 49 Woodwind Sextet.
Dr. Kumiko ItoPercussion Coach, is currently serving as Principal Timpanist with the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra. She has performed as a Timpanist and Percussionist with various orchestras such as the Stockton Symphony, Santa Cruz County Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, California Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, Berkeley Symphony and Opera San Jose. In addition, she previously held several positions in Indiana, Kentucky and Oregon, and performed with Symphony Orchestras from Japan, China and Russia. Dr. Ito has degrees and a diploma in Percussion Performance. At Indiana University, she served as an Associate Instructor, earned a D.M., a M.M., and a P.D. She also earned a B.A. from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. As an active educator, she has presented many clinics in the United States and Japan and taught numerous students privately and in small groups since 1996.

Divisa Ensemble:
ECYS Ensemble-In-Residence and Faculty for Chamber Music

Stephanie Ng, viola; Meave Cox, oboe; Sara Styles, cello; Tomiko Tsai, flute; Eugenia Wie, violin

Meave Cox, oboe, is an avid orchestral and chamber musician in the Bay Area. She earned a Bachelor of Music from the Boston University School of Fine Arts, and a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she primarily studied with Robert Sheena, Eugene Izotov, and the late Bill Bennett. She has performed with many of the Bay Area’s regional orchestras, and also frequently appears at Stanford University and other Bay Area venues. She has served as Principal Oboe of the Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra, based in Los Altos, since 2001, where she has frequently been featured as a soloist, having performed such works as Francaix’s The Flower Clock, Copland’s Quiet City, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.

Stephanie Ng, viola, holds degrees in music from the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco State University. An avid chamber player, she has had the opportunity to perform with the Alexander String Quartet and members of the San Francisco Symphony. She performs with many orchestras around the Bay Area including the Marin, Berkeley, and California Symphonies.

Sara Styles is an active cellist and music educator based in Menlo Park. She works for the El Camino Youth Symphony as their cello coach and Chamber Music Coordinator, is a teacher for Music for Families, and maintains a private studio. She can also be found performing with local symphonies or contracting ensembles for private events. Sara received her MM from San Francisco State University, and her BM from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. To learn more visit Sara at

Tomiko Tsai is a flute performer and educator in the Bay Area. Tomiko performs often with local ensembles and as a soloist. Tomiko especially enjoys inspiring younger flutists. She maintains a full private teaching studio, directs several flute ensembles, and is a faculty member of the Northern California Flute Camp. Tomiko holds a MM in Flute Performance from the University of Southern California and BS/BA in chemistry and music from the University of Puget Sound. Visit to learn more.

Eugenia Wieviolin, began her studies with Betty Haag-Kuhnke and made her radio debut on Chicago Public Radio at the age of nine. During her formative years, she also studied with Josef Gingold and was a recipient of a Nicolas Amati violin on generous loan from Mary Galvin and the Stradivarius Society. She has performed in solo and chamber music concerts across North and South America, Asia and Europe and appeared at music festivals including Val-de-Charante, Banff Music Center for the Arts, Kneisel Hall, Schleswig-Holstein, Duo Masterclasses at Lausanne, and the International Music Seminar at Prussia Cove. She completed her undergraduate studies at Rice University, where she studied with Sergiu Luca, and continued onto her graduate studies at The New School’s Mannes College of Music where she studied with Daniel Phillips. She served on violin and chamber music faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago where she also acted as Program Director of Chamber Music. Currently, she privately teaches in the South Bay, holds contracts with Santa Rosa Symphony and Monterey Symphony, enjoys performing regularly with Symphony Silicon Valley, and spends her summers at Music in the Mountains and Mendocino Summer Music Festivals. 

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