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.

Thus far, six tal­ent­ed young musi­cians have per­formed along­side Sin­fo­nia Spir­i­tu­osa as mentees:

  • Khadi­ja Aguinal­do, traverso
  • Ben Gard­ner, violin
  • Chiara Gior­dani, violin
  • Francesca Gior­dani, violin
  • Owen Rooney, violin
  • Jorge A. Tor­rez, countertenor

Get to know a few of them:

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.

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

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!