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From the Elbe to the Moldau: The Reeds of the San Diego Symphony

  • Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre, Cuyamaca College 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway El Cajon, CA, 92019 United States (map)


Trio Sonata No. 4 for Two Oboes, Bassoon and Continuo

Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)

Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon

Jean Francaix (1912-1997)

Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Contrabass

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)



Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Trio for Oboe, English Horn & Bassoon

Juraj Filas (b. 1955)

Sarah Skuster


Sarah Skuster joined the San Diego Symphony as principal oboist in 2009 and has subsequently appeared as a featured soloist with the orchestra on several occasions. She previously served as interim second oboe with the Dallas Symphony, second oboe with the Akron Symphony and has appeared as a substitute with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Skuster enjoys performing with the San Diego Symphony Chamber Series, Art of Élan, Camarada, Palimpsest, Renga and San Diego New Music and has performed at the Ojai Music Festival, and Festival Mozaic. Ms. Skuster earned a Bachelor of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with John Mack and attended Mannes College as a student of Elaine Douvas with additional studies at the Aspen Music Festival and as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. She is also a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, where she studied with Dan Stolper. Ms. Skuster is a Lecturer of music in oboe at San Diego State University and maintains a private teaching studio of all ages and abilities.

Andrea Overturf


Andrea Overturf serves as English horn of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra (holding the Dr. William and Evelyn Lamden English Horn Chair), a position she previously held with The Florida Orchestra. Equally adept at the oboe, she received second prize in the 2007 International Double Reed Society Gillet-Fox Solo Oboe Competition. Ms. Overturf has appeared as guest English horn with numerous orchestras across the country including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National and Seattle Symphonies. She has presented solo recitals throughout the United States and Asia and has appeared as guest soloist with the San Diego Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony and Aspen Music Festival, among others. Ms. Overturf has performed with numerous summer festivals including La Jolla SummerFest, the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival where she held the English horn fellowship for three years. As a chamber musician she has collaborated with artists such as James Conlon, Lorin Maazel, John Harbison and James Levine, including the American stage premiere of Elliott Carter’s opera What Next?

Andrea Overturf is the first oboist in the history of The Juilliard School to graduate from the prestigious solo-intensive Artist Diploma Program where she also received her Master’s Degree. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Eastman School of Music, graduating with the Performer’s Certificate, the highest performance distinction awarded to undergraduates. Her principal teachers include Elaine Douvas, Pedro Diaz, Nathan Hughes, Richard Killmer, Richard Woodhams and Rebecca Henderson. Originally from Seattle, Ms. Overturf is an avid visual artist and creates mixed media sculpture in her free time. For more information, please visit

Ryan Simmons


Ryan Simmons began playing in the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in 1998 after graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In the 2001-02 season he played in the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Associate Principal Bassoon, then spent two seasons as Principal Bassoonist of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. In 2004 he won the national audition for the job of Second Bassoon in the SDSO. He also performed as Principal Bassoon of Orchestra Nova San Diego. He has studied with a few of the legendary bassoon teachers including Bernard Garfield, Steven Maxym and Norman Herzberg. He has played and participated in many festivals including Marlboro, Tanglewood, National Repertory Orchestra, Mainly Mozart and La Jolla SummerFest. He has also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Philarmonica de Tenerife and the Moscow Radio Orchestra.

In addition to performing, Ryan Simmons is the owner of RS Woodwinds, a woodwind repair shop. He has worked on several of the instruments played by the members of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra as well as their students' instruments. He is certified to install Straubinger pads in flutes and clarinets, and has very successfully repaired most of the top makes of woodwind instruments including: Brannen, Powell and Haynes flutes, Heckel and Pucner bassoons, Loree oboes, Buffet clarinets and bass clarinets, vintage Selmer saxophones and various modern Irish flutes and chanters.

Sheryl Renk

Sheryl Renk is the Principal Clarinetist of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. She was the Principal Clarinetist of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra for ten years and was formerly a member of the San Francisco Symphony. During that time Sheryl joined the orchestra on several European, Asian and United States tours, and she performed on numerous San Francisco Symphony recordings.

Prior to the above positions, Ms. Renk performed extensively throughout the West Coast with various orchestras, opera orchestras and chamber music groups. She has appeared as soloist with several orchestras as well as a duo performance with renowned clarinet soloist Richard Stoltzman. She has also performed on many movie and commercial soundtracks, mostly recorded at the famed Skywalker Ranch in Marin County.

Ms. Renk completed her music education at San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied with Donald Carroll. She continued her clarinet studies with Rosario Mazzeo, formerly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Festivals attended include the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, the La Jolla SummerFest Chamber Music Festival, the Durango Music Festival in Colorado, the Cascade Music Festival in Oregon, the Carmel Bach Festival and the Bear Valley Music Festival. Ms. Renk is the Clarinet Professor at San Diego State University.

Takae Ohnishi

Harpsichordist Takae Ohnishi has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician and continuo player. The Gramophone remarks that "Ohnishi's brilliant artistry immerses the listener in the creative and emotional narratives Bach unfolds with incomparable mastery." Classics Today described her performance as "masterful," and praises its "vitality and impressively differentiated articulation."

Ms. Ohnishi has been the principal harpsichordist at Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, as well as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble, Gardner Chamber Orchestra, and continuo player with Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and Bach Collegium San Diego. She has performed at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico, Boston Early Music Festival, the American Academy in Rome, and took part in the complete Brandenburg Concertos at the Gardner Museum directed by Paula Robison. As a performer of contemporary music, Ms. Ohnishi appeared as a guest artist at Yellow Barn, and the Summer Institute for Contemporary Piano Performance held at the New England Conservatory of Music. She also performed with the Harvard Group for New Music and the Callithumpian Consort.

Ms. Ohnishi is a prizewinner at the International Early Music Harpsichord Competition in Japan. Her debut CD A Harpsichord Recital was selected as an International Special Prized CD by the Japanese leading music magazine Record Gei-jyu-tsu. Her recording of contemporary music is released on Mode and New World Records. Her latest solo disc Goldberg Variations is released on Bridge Records to critical acclaim.

As a lecturer, Ms. Ohnishi has been invited to lecture and give master classes in Yantai, China, Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, as well as the Early Music Festival in Fukuoka, Japan. She participated in a lecture series entitled "Historical Performance Practice," recorded and published by Tokyo's Muramatsu Gakki company. Her recital tour in Japan was broadcast nationally on NHK TV program "Classic Ku-ra-bu."

Ms. Ohnishi graduated from Toho Gakuen School of Music, and holds a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University. Her teachers include Arthur Haas, Peter Sykes, John Gibbons and Chiyoko Arita. Since 2007, Ms. Ohnishi has been Lecturer of Harpsichord and Baroque Chamber Music at the University of California, San Diego; she also taught at the University of San Diego. As Music Director of the "Music at Green" concert series, she brings live performance to the patients at the Scripps Hospital. In 2011-12, Ms. Ohnishi served as Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.

Julia Pautz


Recently called "a genuine virtuoso" by the Dallas Morning NewsJulia Pautz has been a member of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra since 2010. A native Texan, Ms. Pautz earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Master of Music degree with honors from the University of Southern California and a professional studies certificate from The Colburn School. Following her studies Ms. Pautz joined the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. In Texas she also served on faculty of the preparatory department at Texas Christian University. 

While in Los Angeles Ms. Pautz studied with renowned violin pedagogue Robert Lipsett. She has also held a Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and attended the New York String Orchestra Seminar. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Ms. Pautz has appeared at the Aspen Music Festival, the Brevard Music Center, ENCORE School for Strings, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Basically Beethoven series, the Abiquiu Chamber Music series and the Blanco Performing Arts series. While a member of the Texas-based Hall Ensemble chamber group, Ms. Pautz toured throughout the southwestern United States to critical acclaim. 

Julia Pautz now happily splits her time between making beautiful music with her colleagues and mothering her busy toddler Jackson.

Jeremy Kurtz-Harris

Jeremy Kurtz-Harris.jpg

Bassist Jeremy Kurtz-Harris has a diverse musical background that includes solo, chamber, and orchestral performance. He is a prizewinner of numerous competitions, including First Place in the 1997 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He has been the Principal Bassist of the San Diego Symphony since 2004, which has included performing for all productions of the San Diego Opera. During the 2015-16 season, Mr. Kurtz-Harris took a sabbatical from San Diego Symphony to play Acting Associate Principal with the San Francisco Symphony, where he performed as Principal Bass for the majority of the season. He has also played Guest Principal Bass with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Guest Principal with the Australian Chamber Orchestra on Australia tours in 2017 and 2018.

While many classical bassists focus entirely on orchestral performance, Mr. Kurtz-Harris has always been an avid proponent of the double bass as a solo instrument. His recital experience is extensive, including solo appearances in Houston, Memphis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, as well as appearances at several International Society of Bassists conventions and Bass 2008 in Paris. He helped to organize a fifteen-orchestra consortium for a new double bass concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison, and performed the work with the San Diego Symphony in March 2007. In addition, he has premiered and helped to commission numerous new works for the double bass.

Mr. Kurtz-Harris has performed chamber music at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, La Jolla SummerFest, San Diego’s Art of Elan Series, and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. A graduate of the Curtis Institute and Rice University, his main teachers have been Harold Robinson and Timothy Pitts. His wide musical interests have also led him to study with such artists as jazz bassist John Clayton and classical/bluegrass bassist-extraordinaire Edgar Meyer. In addition to his performing pursuits, Mr. Kurtz-Harris has been a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists, and is on the music faculty at San Diego State University. His CD with pianist Ines Irawati, “Sonatas and Meditations,” was released in 2008 in partnership with Houston Classical Radio, KUHF.

Ethan Pernela


A native of Oregon, Ethan Pernela joined the viola section of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in spring of 2015. Ethan completed his Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Graduate Diploma with honors at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied with James Dunham and Martha Strongin Katz.

After receiving a fellowship to the New World Symphony in 2007, Mr. Pernela won a viola position in the Honolulu Symphony under the baton of Andreas Delfs. Prior to his move to Honolulu, he performed with the Saint Louis Symphony, Portland Symphony, World Symphony Orchestra of Korea, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Verbier Chamber Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, where he served as principal violist. Ethan also performed in festivals including Yellow Barn, Taos School of Music, Kneisel Hall, Musicorda and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Orchestral concert tours have taken Mr. Pernela to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore as well as much of Europe and the United States, working with conductors including Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Robertson, David Zinman, Manfred Honeck and Michael Tilson Thomas.

An active chamber musician, Mr. Pernela has been a member of Chamber Music Hawaii’s Galliard String Quartet as well as the Ebb and Flow Arts modern ensemble. He has collaborated with artists including Donald Weilerstein, Jon Kimura Parker, Chee-Yun, Joyce Yang, Natasha Brofsky and the Borromeo String Quartet. His passion for chamber music comes from his work with Eric Rosenblith and Raphael Hillyer at New England Conservatory, where his quartet was accepted into the Honors Ensemble Program.

When not playing viola, Ethan Pernela enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, cellist Joanna Morrison, and their three dogs, Mochi, Olu and Riley.