Mentorship Program

All the mem­bers of Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa are ded­i­cat­ed teach­ers, and a cen­tral tenet of our vision is cel­e­brat­ing the music of the past while inspir­ing young musi­cians of the future. Through immer­sion in a cre­ative rehearsal and per­for­mance envi­ron­ment, we aim to stim­u­late and sup­port promis­ing high school, under­grad­u­ate, and grad­u­ate lev­el instru­men­tal­ists and singers who are curi­ous, open-mind­ed, and com­mit­ted to explor­ing orig­i­nal instru­ments and study­ing the musi­cal lan­guage of the Baroque period.

Many tal­ent­ed young musi­cians have per­formed along­side Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa as mentees:

Get to know a few of them:

Mem­bers of the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble

The Davis Senior High School Baroque Ensem­ble (DHSBE), direct­ed by Ange­lo Moreno, pro­vides 10 – 12th grade stu­dents the rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to focus on Baroque per­for­mance prac­tice and the mas­tery of tech­ni­cal skills on peri­od instru­ments. These instru­ments allow the ensem­ble to recre­ate the style of this era through his­tor­i­cal­ly informed per­for­mances, mak­ing the over­all expe­ri­ence unique­ly engag­ing for stu­dent musi­cians and audi­ences alike. The first group of its kind at the high school lev­el in the coun­try, the DHSBE is nation­al­ly rec­og­nized as a mod­el for oth­er pub­lic school music pro­grams. In 2014 and 2017, they were joined by guest soloist Rachel Bar­ton Pine, and were thrilled to wel­come her back for a ben­e­fit con­cert in Octo­ber, 2022. The DHSBE made its debut on the main stage of the 2014 Berke­ley Baroque Fes­ti­val, and was hon­ored to be invit­ed back for the 2016, 2018, and 2020 Fes­ti­vals. In 2014 and 2017, the ensem­ble enjoyed con­cert tours in Italy and Aus­tria, and in 2023 returned to Europe for a tour to Eng­land, Bel­gium, and France.

From mem­bers of the DHSBE:

Thank you so much for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to grow musi­cal­ly under all of your excel­lent tute­lage. It was tru­ly a high­light of my musi­cal career. I learned so much from all of you. Thank you for your patience and under­stand­ing as we worked through the Avi­son Con­cer­to Grosso. I enjoyed every moment of our time together!

Thank you for such a valu­able and enrich­ing expe­ri­ence. I am hon­ored to have been able to work along­side such tal­ent­ed, expe­ri­enced, and eager indi­vid­u­als. Everyone’s ener­gy and pas­sion made it unfor­get­table. I hope to work with you all again soon, and I will mark my cal­en­dar for all of your future con­certs. Thank you so much!

Sin­fo­nia Spirituosa,
Thank you so much for work­ing with us! You were all so gra­cious, thought­ful and kind, and we felt so wel­comed join­ing your group. It was over­all an hon­or to play along side such inspir­ing, tal­ent­ed musi­cians. Thank you so much for the expe­ri­ence — I learned a lot and had so much fun! Wish­ing you all the best!

Dear Sin­fo­nia members,
Thank you all for invit­ing the Davis Senior High School Baroque Ensem­ble to play with you! It was an expe­ri­ence I won’t for­get, and it was lots of fun to play togeth­er. I also learned a lot and loved watch­ing you guys rehearse as well! Thank you for this experience!

Thank you so much for this incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty. I had so much fun, and it was awe­some to see how a pro­fes­sion­al group real­ly works…it felt like we were cre­at­ing music togeth­er, rather than just play­ing notes. The com­pas­sion and patience you shared with me and the rest of us was so wel­come and remind­ed me of why I play music. Thank you again!

Sin­fo­nia Spirituosa—
Thank you for the incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty to join your con­certs! I am so grate­ful to have gained such a fun and inspir­ing expe­ri­ence with your amaz­ing group!

Dear­est Mem­bers of Sin­fo­nia Spirituosa,
I appre­ci­ate your preser­va­tion of the impor­tant and inter­est­ing Baroque style, and I feel we learned a lot about the music through this enrich­ing expe­ri­ence. Every mem­ber of your group was kind and fun­ny (!) and I would love to make music with you again. Thanks so much!

Mem­bers of Sin­fo­nia Spirituosa,
Thank you so much for pro­vid­ing us with this amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty. It was such a mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence to play with a group of won­der­ful baroque musi­cians. Thank you for being so patient and encour­ag­ing, and for pro­vid­ing us with so much valu­able knowledge.

Khadija Aguinaldo

Khadi­ja Aguinal­do, traverso

Khadi­ja Aguinal­do grad­u­at­ed from the School of Music at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, Sacra­men­to with a Bach­e­lor of Music degree in Flute Per­for­mance. As a mem­ber of Dr. Lor­na Peters’ baroque cham­ber ensem­ble, Cam­er­a­ta Capis­tra­no, she dis­cov­ered her joy for his­tor­i­cal per­for­mance. Com­ing from an orches­tral back­ground where inter­pre­ta­tion rests large­ly with the conductor’s artis­tic vision, it was a chal­leng­ing yet wel­come change of pace to be in rehearsals that includ­ed open dis­cus­sion, col­lab­o­ra­tion, impro­vi­sa­tion, exper­i­men­ta­tion — all focused on the goal of find­ing the best syn­er­gy and style spe­cif­ic to each part of the group. Cam­er­a­ta Capis­tra­no pro­vid­ed immer­sion in the unique lan­guage and cul­ture of Baroque per­for­mance prac­tice, as well as the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn the impor­tance of score savvi­ness, ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cue­ing skills, eye con­tact, and sen­si­tiv­i­ty to group phras­ing in a cham­ber ensem­ble sans conductor.

In addi­tion to work­ing as an Inclu­sive Edu­ca­tion para­pro­fes­sion­al for stu­dents with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties at an ele­men­tary school, Khadi­ja teach­es pri­vate flute lessons from her home stu­dio and free­lances on flute and pic­co­lo with local orches­tras and ensembles.

From Khadi­ja:

Work­ing with the mem­bers of Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa as a par­tic­i­pant in their Men­tor­ship Pro­gram has been invalu­able train­ing in round­ing out my musi­cal devel­op­ment as a per­former. Being a con­duc­tor-less small baroque cham­ber orches­tra, Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa requires sol­id and clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion, respect­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion, and often impro­vi­sa­tion between the musi­cians — an allur­ing aspect of this peri­od of music and one that was a wel­come change from my pre­vi­ous mod­ern orches­tral per­for­mance experience.

I believe it is a fun­da­men­tal and nec­es­sary part of every musician’s edu­ca­tion to study the roots of West­ern clas­si­cal music, and it is cer­tain­ly fur­ther enhanced by play­ing any period’s music on the instru­ments it was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten for. So in addi­tion to study­ing the reper­toire and learn­ing the nuances, rhetoric and nation­al styles inher­ent in Baroque-era music, I also stud­ied the wood­en, one-keyed tra­ver­so. This was a hum­bling yet stim­u­lat­ing chal­lenge that opened a new world of flute per­for­mance that I could only expe­ri­ence on this peri­od instru­ment. With sup­port­ive guid­ance and valu­able lessons from flutist Dr. Cathie Apple, I learned com­plete­ly new fin­ger­ings, embouchure place­ment, and tun­ings. Depend­ing on the tonal­i­ty of a piece, the inher­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics of the tra­ver­so lend them­selves to nat­ur­al vari­a­tion in col­ors, strength, and dynam­ics — a dis­tinc­tive con­trast to the depend­able con­sis­ten­cy of the mod­ern met­al-keyed flute.

It is tru­ly a priv­i­lege to have Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa local to our North­ern Cal­i­for­nia area. It deeply enrich­es our music com­mu­ni­ty with his­tor­i­cal­ly-informed per­for­mances, and its Men­tor­ship Pro­gram gives instru­men­tal­ists like me unique and rare access to this amaz­ing reper­toire. Join­ing the orches­tra and being so warm­ly wel­comed and men­tored by its mem­bers was an hon­or. The ener­gy of rehears­ing and per­form­ing with the ensem­ble was pal­pa­ble, infec­tious, and inspir­ing. Spe­cial shout outs to Dr. Cathie Apple, Dr. Lor­na Peters, Nao­mi Rogers-Hefley and Tim­o­thy Stan­ley who have been such devot­ed and sup­port­ive men­tors dur­ing my expe­ri­ences in both Cam­er­a­ta Capis­tra­no and Sin­fo­nia Spirituosa.

Ben Gardner

Ben Gard­ner, violin

Ben Gard­ner ini­tial­ly want­ed to play the cel­lo, but instead chose the vio­lin to make the walk to school eas­i­er. He quick­ly fell in love with the instru­ment, and 16 years lat­er he holds two degrees in Vio­lin Per­for­mance: a bachelor’s degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of North­ern Col­orado in Gree­ley, and a Master’s degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon. He has appeared as a soloist and ensem­ble mem­ber across the West­ern Unit­ed States in clas­si­cal ensem­bles and Baroque orches­tras, play­ing on peri­od instruments.

From Ben:

Play­ing with Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa was one of the most incred­i­ble expe­ri­ences of my life. All of the mem­bers are sen­si­tive, com­mu­nica­tive musi­cians who gave me won­der­ful feed­back and tru­ly made me feel like I was a part of the orches­tra. My first rehearsal with the ensem­ble was on my birth­day, and after read­ing some Bach chorales togeth­er, they sur­prised me by play­ing Hap­py Birthday!

I espe­cial­ly want to thank director/harpsichordist Lor­na Peters and con­cert­mas­ter Jubal Fulks for coach­ing me on both the Baroque style and on all the nuances involved in play­ing in a cham­ber orches­tra. Rehears­ing and per­form­ing with Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa pro­vid­ed me with invalu­able skills, and inspired me to begin my own Baroque ensem­ble in Oregon.

Ciara and Francesca Giordani

Chiara and Francesca Gior­dani, violins

Chiara Gior­dani is dou­ble major­ing in Busi­ness Eco­nom­ics and Ital­ian at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les. In addi­tion to her stud­ies, she is involved in the Ital­ian Club and Pre-Law Soci­ety. She also recent­ly audi­tioned for the UCLA Sym­pho­ny and is cur­rent­ly their prin­ci­pal sec­ond vio­lin. Chiara is very grate­ful for the men­tor­ship and teach­ing meth­ods that Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa pro­fes­sion­als offer. By includ­ing her in dis­cus­sions and deci­sions as well as giv­ing her the chance to learn through a vari­ety of per­for­mance sit­u­a­tions, she feels includ­ed and chal­lenged as she grows in her music edu­ca­tion. Even though she espe­cial­ly enjoys the spe­cif­ic reper­toire select­ed for the group, she most of all loves work­ing with the amaz­ing musi­cians who inspire and sup­port her.

Francesca Gior­dani is a chem­istry major at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, Col­lege of Chem­istry. Aside from her sci­ence cours­es, she enjoys study­ing music and per­form­ing baroque vio­lin. She has per­formed with the UC Berke­ley Baroque Ensem­ble (Baroque Bears) since her fresh­man year. Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa has giv­en her the chance to con­tin­ue her baroque stud­ies and per­for­mance oppor­tu­ni­ties. When asked about her most mem­o­rable moment with the ensem­ble, she fond­ly remem­bers the many hours of rehearsals and dis­cus­sions and of course, the amaz­ing musi­cal moments that take audience’s breaths away. For her, there is no greater feel­ing than per­form­ing with oth­er musi­cians who enjoy shar­ing their gift as much as she does.

From Chiara and Francesca:

Chiara wants to par­tic­u­lar­ly thank Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa mem­bers Mr. Moreno, her teacher since the sev­enth grade, Nao­mi Rogers-Hefley, an espe­cial­ly impact­ful role mod­el, Dr. Jubal Fulks, an inspi­ra­tional coach and, most of all, Dr. Lor­na Peters, one of the best direc­tors she has ever had!

Francesca wish­es to thank Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa mem­bers Mr. Moreno, her teacher since the 8th grade, Nao­mi Hefley-Rogers, her men­tor and role mod­el, and Dr. Lor­na Peters for giv­ing her this won­der­ful opportunity.

Jorge Torres

Bre­ana H. McCul­lough, viola

Bre­ana H. McCul­lough is a Karuk Baroque and Mod­ern vio­list from Boze­man, Mon­tana. McCul­lough start­ed her career at a young age and has since per­formed with var­i­ous ensem­bles includ­ing the Boze­man Sym­pho­ny, I‑90 Col­lec­tive, Bat­tle Creek Sym­pho­ny, Carpe Diem String Quar­tet and oth­ers. She began a mas­ters degree in His­tor­i­cal Per­for­mance at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty, Jacobs School of Music but has since start­ed a gra­date degree in Eth­no­mu­si­col­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les as a ful­ly fund­ed Cota-Rob­les Fel­low­ship recip­i­ent. Her research focus­es on Indige­nous rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Ear­ly Art Music as well as Karuk epis­te­mo­log­i­cal and cul­tur­al prac­tices. She cur­rent­ly sits as a co-chair in the IDEA Task­force for Ear­ly Music Amer­i­ca and is the stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the Indige­nous Music sec­tion for the Soci­ety of Eth­no­mu­si­col­o­gy. McCul­lough cur­rent­ly resides in Los Ange­les, California.

From Bre­ana:

It was a priv­i­lege and hon­or to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to per­form and work with the mem­bers of Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa. Work­ing so close­ly with mem­bers of the ensem­ble allowed me to fur­ther devel­op skills in the realm of his­tor­i­cal per­for­mance all while hav­ing a won­der­ful time get­ting to know the artists and Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa audi­ences. I appre­ci­at­ed the feed­back and insights I received from all the mem­bers of the ensem­ble and the bril­liance each indi­vid­ual brings to the stage. 

One of the strongest and most beau­ti­ful obser­va­tions I had regard­ing per­form­ing with Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa was the com­mit­ment, care, and pas­sion they have to cre­at­ing won­der­ful music and the friend­ships they forge in the process. I loved see­ing the way this ensem­ble inter­act­ed in such con­struc­tive and col­lab­o­ra­tive ways. This was beyond inspir­ing and the way they inter­act­ed showed me as a mentee the beau­ty friend­ship can bring to a musi­cal ensem­ble and how that trans­lates onto the stage. 

Over­all, I had such a won­der­ful time get­ting to know the ensem­ble and their audi­ence. It was such a great oppor­tu­ni­ty and I look for­ward to tak­ing the gold­en pieces of knowl­edge bestowed onto me into my future music and aca­d­e­m­ic endeav­ors. Thank you so much to Dr. Lor­na Peters and the mem­bers of Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa for such a great oppor­tu­ni­ty. Yôotva!

Jorge Torres

Jorge A. Tor­rez, countertenor

Jorge A. Tor­rez is a coun­tertenor study­ing vocal per­for­mance at Uni­ver­si­ty of the Pacif­ic Con­ser­va­to­ry of Music in Stock­ton, CA. He is a cur­rent vocal stu­dent of Burr C. Phillips and was most recent­ly seen on stage in Pacif­ic Opera The­atre’s Spring 2019 pro­duc­tion of Brigadoon as Har­ry Beat­on. After Pacif­ic, he plans to con­tin­ue his vocal stud­ies in baroque music and vocal ped­a­gogy to teach voice to the up and com­ing gen­er­a­tion of singers.


From Jorge:

Sol da te mio dolce amore” is the aria from Orlan­do Furioso by Anto­nio Vival­di that I was incred­i­bly lucky to per­form with Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa this past year.

Get­ting the oppor­tu­ni­ty to expe­ri­ence Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa in rehearsals and work­ing along side these amaz­ing musi­cians was an absolute hon­or. I did­n’t have much expe­ri­ence work­ing with a baroque ensem­ble pri­or to singing with Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa, but they took me under their wing and taught me how to be an ensem­ble mem­ber. Lis­ten­ing to how vio­lin­ist Nao­mi Rogers-Hefley and cel­list Tim­o­thy Stan­ley played their instru­ments gave me a more in-depth under­stand­ing for how I, as a vocal­ist, should phrase my lines and match artic­u­la­tions. Baroque flutist Cathie Apple and harp­si­chordist Lor­na Peters instilled in me that eye con­tact was very impor­tant dur­ing rehearsals/performances — and indeed it was! It was very affirm­ing to know that we were all on the same page with each other.

Sol da te mio dolce amore” by Vival­di is essen­tial­ly a vir­tu­osic duet for voice and baroque flute. The musi­cal­i­ty that Cathie Apple brought to the piece inspired me to sing at her lev­el of artistry and in return, we were able to cre­ate some tru­ly mag­i­cal, beau­ti­ful musi­cal moments togeth­er. It is very obvi­ous that these musi­cians care about bring­ing this spe­cial music to life and shar­ing it with aspir­ing stu­dent musi­cians. This was an invalu­able expe­ri­ence and if I could have the chance to work with them again, I most def­i­nite­ly would!