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Music Director & Conductors

Music Director and Conductor of the Senior Symphony Orchestra

Dr. Jindong Cai, Conductor of the Senior Symphony Orchestra, received his early musical training in China, where he learned to play the violin and piano. He came to the United States in 1985 and did his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. In 1989, he was selected to study with famed conductor Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center, and won the Conducting Fellowship Award at the Aspen Music Festival in 1990 and 1992. 

Jindong Cai joined the Stanford faculty in 2004 as the first holder of the Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies Chair. He has held positions as assistant conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, working closely with conductors Jésus López-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, and Keith Lockhart. He led the Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra on a successful concert tour to Portugal, the only American orchestra invited to participate in the Cultural Festival of World Expo 1998 in Lisbon. He has also served on the faculties at Louisiana State University, the University of Arizona, the University of California at Berkeley, and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.

"Young people are full of curiosity and if they enjoy the learning process, they will be happy, work harder, and perform better. It is also important to challenge young people and to raise the bar of their own expectations – always making sure that we help them to meet these. Their experience working in the ECYS should help them to grow as individuals, become disciplined and responsible, gain confidence, and build a life-long relationship with classical music." Dr. Jindong Cai

Conductor of the Sinfonietta Orchestra

John Eells Conductor of the Sinfonietta Orchestra, received his undergraduate degree from York University in England and completed his graduate work in conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He also achieved a Graduate Diploma in French Horn. Mr. Eells was the founding Music Director of the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra (FVSO), which he directed from 1981 until 2013, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra, which he led from 2006 - 2013. In 2006 the FVSO celebrated its 25th anniversary with a performance at Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Eells began his 32-year tenure in 1981 as Music Director at Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut where he directed its three choruses, two instrumental ensembles and an annual musical and taught classes in music theory, music appreciation, and music history. He was a frequent high school and middle school festival conductor for the Connecticut Music Educator Association and in 2003 and 2011 was selected to conduct the New England High School Festival Orchestra, where he will conduct again in 2017. 

He has guest conducted many concerts with the Hartford (CT) Symphony Orchestra, as well as the New Britain and Meriden symphony orchestras (CT), the Jacksonville (FL) and Spokane (WA) symphony orchestras, the Leeds Symphony Orchestra (UK) and the Hermitage State Orchestra in St. Petersburg (Russia).

“I believe in presenting programs that challenge and enlighten both the musicians on stage as well as those in the audience.”
 – John Eells

 Conductor of the El Camino Wind Orchestra

Dr. Richard Roper, Director of the ECYS Wind Orchestra, holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Yale School of Music, and the University of Maryland. As a Harriet Hale Woolley Scholar, he spent a year studying and performing music in Paris. Committed to arts education, Dr. Roper serves on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College/Adult Extension department, UC Santa Cruz, College of San Mateo, and Santa Clara University. He has also held positions at CSU Stanislaus and the University of Maine.

As a trumpeter, Dr. Roper has performed with many Northern California ensembles including Symphony Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz Symphony, Lamplighters, San Jose Opera and Ballet, Masterworks Chorale, Monterey Symphony, and others. He is also a member of the Monteverdi Brass Quintet, a new ensemble dedicated to performing early music on modern instruments. Dr. Roper studied and performed at the Aspen Music festival, the Music Academy of the West, the Norfolk Chamber Music festival, and the Mendocino Music Festival. When he is not teaching and performing, he enjoys reading, traveling, and listening to great music.

Conductor of the Galbraith Honor Strings

Mariya Borozina graduated from The Gnessins School of Music in Moscow, Russia. She went on to complete a violin performance degree in Moscow Conservatory where she studied with Marina Yashvili. After moving to the US, she earned a postgraduate degree at Manhattan School of Music studying with Glenn Dicterow, Lisa Kim, Yoko Takebe, and Albert Markov. Ms. Borozina plays first violin at the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet orchestras. She took part in several international festivals, including Verbier Festival, Lucerne Festival, Key West, Spoleto USA. She toured with Verbier Festival Orchestra, where she performed as a concertmaster, and Verbier Chamber Festival Chamber Orchestra. She worked with such conductors as James Levine, etc. 

An avid chamber music player, she has appeared as part of several local groups. She is a regular performer at the San Francisco Noontime Concert series and is a concertmaster and soloist for the Russian Chamber Orchestra. As an educator, she often coaches chamber groups and orchestras, performs at outreach programs, and teaches privately. She is frequently invited to judge local music competitions. She has previously collaborated with Dr. Camilla Kolchinsky and ECYS in various capacities.

Conductor of the Chamber Players and Camerata Orchestras

Dr. Ondine Young studied violin/viola/choral/orchestral conducting/performance practice at the University of California Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara; and earned a doctoral degree at the University of Southern California in choral conducting and early music performance.

Ondine co-founded “Tea, Talks, and Treasures” with Director Christine Baker at Pacific Boychoir Academy; she is also on the board of Dandelion Dance Theater. Credits include: Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra (assistant conductor); music director, chamber-music coach, and musicianship instructor at Marin School for the Arts; Sound Minds/California Symphony, Bentley, and Oakland School for the Arts. In addition, she was a conductor for the San Francisco Boys' and Girls Chorus'.

Ondine is a busy performer/musical director of many Bay Area organizations including: Piedmont East Bay Children's choirs (training); the Crowden School of Music (strings); Stern Grove (Kidstage), First United Methodist Church San Leandro (choir director); Philharmonia Baroque, Albany Consort, Sacramento Baroque, Jubilate, San Francisco Early Music Society, Cantare, WAVE, Junior Bach, Arlington Arts music studio (Violin/viola/voice/keyboards) and other local institutions.

Conductor Emeritus

Dr. Michail Gelfandbein, former conductor of the Chamber Players and Camerata orchestras, a native of Russia, received his Ph.D. at the Leningrad Conservatory of Music in cello performance as a student of Mstislav Rostropovich, with postgraduate study in conducting with I. Musin. He served as Principal Cellist of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra for 25 years, during which time he was also a faculty member of the Leningrad Conservatory and the Leningrad State Music School for Conductors. Dr. Gelfandbein was founder and Conductor of the Rishon-Le-Zion Chamber Group and Co-Principal Cellist of the Israel Opera Orchestra in Tel Aviv. He has performed as a soloist throughout Europe, the USA, and Asia. Locally Dr. Gelfandbein performed in San Francisco with the Russian Chamber Orchestra and at the prestigious Noontime Concert series at St. Patrick's Church.


"Conducting allows me to express so much more musically. You can think of an orchestra as a very big instrument, with a very big ability to express itself... Conducting is like playing this very big instrument. There is the opportunity for rich expression. This is what I try to communicate to my students and to my audiences.”– Dr. Michail Gelfandbein 

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