David Lockington, Music Director


Over the past thirty years, David Lockington has developed an impressive conducting career in the United States. A native of Great Britain, he served as the Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony from January 1999 to May 2015, and is currently the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate. He has held the position of Music Director with the Modesto Symphony since May 2007 and in March 2013, Mr. Lockington was appointed Music Director of the Pasadena Symphony. He has a close relationship with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, where he was the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor from 2012 through 2016, and in the 15/16 season was named one of three Artistic Partners with the Northwest Sinfonietta in Tacoma, Washington.

In addition to his current posts, since his arrival to the United States in 1978 Mr. Lockington has held positions with several other American orchestras, including serving as Assistant Conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra and Opera Colorado, and Assistant and Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In May 1993 he accepted the position of Music Director of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, assumed the title of Music Director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra in September 1995 and was Music Director of the Long Island Philharmonic for the 96/97 through 99/2000 seasons.

Mr. Lockington's guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Saint Louis, Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Oregon and Phoenix symphonies; the Rochester and Louisiana Philharmonics; and the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall. Internationally, he has conducted the Northern Sinfonia in Great Britain, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra in Beijing and Taiwan,and led the English Chamber Orchestra on a tour in Asia.

Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include appearances with the New Jersey, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Utah, Pacific, Colorado, Nashville, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Edmonton, Alabama, Tucson and Kansas City symphonies, the Florida and Louisville Orchestras, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the Buffalo, Calgary and Oklahoma Philharmonics. Mr. Lockington's summer festival activities include appearances at the Grand Teton, Colorado Music, Interlochen, Chautauqua and Eastern Music festivals.

David Lockington began his career as a cellist and was the Principal with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for two years. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar, Mr. Lockington came to the United States on a scholarship to Yale University where he received his Master's degree in cello performance and studied conducting with Otto Werner Mueller. He was a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and served as assistant principal cellist with the Denver Symphony Orchestra for three years before turning to conducting.


Ryan Murray, MSO Associate Conductor & MSYO Music Director


Ryan Murray's dynamic conducting, natural musicality and deeply held passion for the arts have allowed him to steadily build a robust career since his professional debut at the age of just 22. Ryan is currently the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra; with whom he made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Since his appointment in 2013, Ryan has consistently worked to improve the quality, skill and prominence of the youth orchestra, and now leads an ensemble that features over 60 students from the greater Modesto area. He is also Artistic Director of Townsend Opera and Resident Conductor & Choral Director of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival in Nevada County, California.  As part of a joint-collaboration, Ryan served as Music Director for Fresno Grand Opera's mainstage productions of contemporary opera for two seasons, and previously served as a staff conductor for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI) and The Opera Academy of California in San Francisco.  Effortlessly moving between genres, Ryan currently enjoys a wide range of performance genres & platforms, including traditional orchestral and operatic repertoire, pops performances, and a notable emphasis on contemporary American operatic works.

Ryan has recently garnered national recognition for his dynamic, compelling performances of contemporary opera and is the current winner of the 2016/17 American Prize in Opera Conducting for his highly lauded production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He was a 2016 semi-finalist for the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music and received honorary mention for the American Prize in Youth Orchestra Conducting. Ryan is also a past winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors, and spent the summer in residence alongside the Vienna Philharmonic at the 2014 Salzburg Festival.

Driven by a lifelong passion for learning, Ryan has attended masterclasses and seminars around the world. Ryan recently attended the 2017 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music's Conductors Workshop, and was one of just eight conductors worldwide to attend the Time of Music Summer Festival Masterclass in Finland led by Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angles Philharmonic, Susanna Mälkki; he also recently attended a contemporary music symposium led by Alan Gilbert featuring the New York Philharmonic. Past events include the Aurora Chamber Festival in Sweden, where he studied under Maestro Kurt Masur, the Lucerne Festival Academy’s Conducting Masterclass in Switzerland, and the Eastman School of Music’s Summer Conducting Institute featuring the Rochester Philharmonic. Ryan holds degrees, summa cum laude, in Bassoon Performance and Voice Performance from California State University, Sacramento. Widely praised for his tireless work ethic, natural poise, and impassioned, inspired performances, Ryan continues to connect deeply with orchestras and audiences alike, and has proven to be a formidable presence on the podium. 

Don Grishaw, Concert Orchestra Conductor


Donald Grishaw began piano and violin lessons at an early age. His interest in music flourished throughout his high school years. He attended San Jose State University, graduating in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance in violin and piano and a minor in Spanish. While attending SJSU, he studied the violin with the late Dr. Lauren Jakey and also with Daniel Kobialka of the San Francisco Symphony. Upon graduation, Mr. Grishaw pursued Single Subject and Multiple Subject teaching credentials and has been teaching in the Turlock Unified School District for over 30 years. His current assignment is at Pitman High School where he teaches Concert Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra as well as Spanish 2 and AP Spanish Literature. With the opening of Pitman High School in 2002, Mr. Grishaw founded the Pitman High School Orchestra which now includes over 100 students, and has received accolades both locally and in Southern California where they perform each year while on tour. Mr. Grishaw performs regularly throughout the surrounding communities on the violin, the viola, and the piano. He is a longstanding member of the violin section of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and also freelances with other local orchestras and string quartets. Mr. Grishaw and his wife, Angelica, play regularly for Sunday Masses, quinceañeras, and weddings at Sacred Heart Church in Turlock. Mr. Grishaw is an active member of S.C.M.E.A. (Stanislaus County Music Educators Association), C.M.E.A. (California Music Educators Association), A.S.T.A. (American String Teachers Association), C.O.D.A. (California Orchestra Directors Association), and A.F.M. (American Federation of Musicians).

Ella Webb, Woodwind & Brass Ensemble Coach

Ms. Webb graduated from the University of the Pacific where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with a minor in French horn performance.

She recently retired from the Hughson Unified School District where she worked for forty years. Her duties there included instrumental (concert and jazz bands) at Fox Road Elementary, Emilie Ross Middle School, and Hughson High School. She was named Hughson’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2003-2004 and received the School Bell Award in 2010. In 2015 Mrs. Webb was named one of 23 California Music Educator’s Association State Music Mentors.

In 1994 she began Summer Music at Stanislaus, the music camp at CSU Stanislaus for band, choral, orchestra, and piano students in the 6th through 12th grades. She was camp director until 2002.

She has worked for YES (Youth Entertainment Stage) Company as the orchestra conductor for the past fourteen years.

Ms. Webb has also conducted many honor bands including Tuolumne County, San Rafael, Merced, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, and California Music Educator’s Association Bay Section. She has served on the boards of California Band Director’s Association, California Music Educator’s Association, and the Stanislaus County Music Educator’s Association.

In 2016 she received the Stanislaus County Music Educator’s Association Distinguished Service Award and the California Music Educator’s Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her professional organizations include California Teacher’s Association, California Music Educator’s Association, National Association for Music Education, Stanislaus County Music Educator’s Association, and California Alliance for Jazz.

Dr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr., Chorus Director


Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. has served as conductor of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus since its foundation in 2001 and has prepared several choral works with the ensemble. He is also Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. Afonso received a B.M.E. degree from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI -Rio), a M.M. degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a D.M.A. degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.

Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), and Doane College, Nebraska. In 1988, he won the first prize and the best performance of Villa-Lobos work award at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has commissioned and premiered many new choral works in the last few years, including several of his own works as well as works by young composition students.  He had his New York debut in 2012, conducting Mozart’s Requiem with members of the MSO Chorus and students from CSU Stanislaus at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

He is also a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has choral works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce, and Alliance Music Publications. He served as composer-in-residence with the San Francisco Choral Artists during their 2014-2015 season and has also written works for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and other ensembles in the US and abroad. He has written innumerous arrangements for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, including a new version of The Star-Spangled Banner for chorus and orchestra, recently premiered at the opening concert for the 2015-16 concert season. Dr. Afonso is widely recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to frequently present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire.

Jennifer Grover, Youth Chorus Director


After extensive training in music and dance during her childhood and adolescence, Jennifer Grover studied vocal performance and piano pedagogy at BYU-Idaho.  After graduating with an Associate’s degree, she owned and operated her own private piano and vocal studio for over fifteen years.  During these years, she raised her family and continued to serve in a variety of music positions for church and community organizations. In 2006, Jennifer went back to school and graduated in 2010 from CSU Stanislaus with Bachelors of Music degrees in both vocal performance and choral education studying under Connie Weichert, Dr. Joseph Wiggett, and Dr. Daniel Afonso. 

Jennifer has been a featured soloist for a number of occasions and has competed and earned awards in NATS competitions.  Mrs. Grover has sung operatic roles in The Tales of Hoffman, The Magic Flute, and The Merry Widow.   She continues to be active in the vocal community both as a soloist and as a vocal coach. 

As a director, Jennifer organized and directed the Tracy Community Choirs which included a children’s, youth and an adult ensemble.  Within five years, it had grown to nearly 200 members.  Jennifer has worked for a number of community and school musical productions. She was the vocal director for such productions as “1940’s Radio Music Hour”, “Into the Woods,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “The Sound of Music.”  For two years, she served as Chorus Master of the Townsend Opera Company (now Opera Modesto) producing such great operas as “Carmen”, “Madame Butterfly”, “The Mikado,” and “Romeo and Juliet”.  She was the Choral Director at East Union High School for one year and has been teaching at Tracy High School for the last six.  Her choirs have earned awards and high reviews in festivals throughout the valley and will be performing in Disneyland this spring.  Jennifer is an active member of professional organizations as, ACDA, NATS, Chorus America and NAfME. 

Mrs. Grover and her husband have raised four amazing children and live in Manteca. 

Gabriel Martins, Cello

Gabriel Martins, Cello

American cellist Gabriel Martins (b. 1998) is a prize-winner of the David Popper International Cello Competition, Orford Music Award, Prague Spring International Music Competition, Sphinx Competition, and International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. His performances have brought him around the globe to venues such as Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Teatro Gran Rex in Buenos Aires, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In the words of esteemed cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, Martins has "revealed heart, passion, intellect, and a finely-nuanced palette of colors in a compelling manner worthy of a seasoned artist."

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Timur, tenor


TIMUR, “the extravagantly transgressive tenor, dangerously seductive” (LA Times), has made solo appearances with LA Philharmonic, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Sarasota Opera, PROTOTYPE Festival, Utah Opera, Santa Cecilia Academy, Nouvel Opéra Fribourg, Budapest Palace of the Arts, Hawaii Opera Theater and the Industry LA, among others. He has collaborated with many composers, including Thomas Adès, Evan Ziporyn, David Lang, Silvano Bussotti, David T. Little, Gerald Barry, Mohammed Fairouz, Louis Andriessen, Anne LeBaron, the late Gian-Carlo Menotti, Peter Eötvös, Veronika Krausas, Michael Gordon, Erling Wold, Tobias Picker, Kate Moore and Nick Urata. His band Timur and the Dime Museum, described by NPR’s Here & Now as “post-punk screaming opera”, has appeared on America’s Got Talent, opened for Tiger Lilies and DeVotchKa. In 2014, the band premiered and toured an environmental rock-opera COLLAPSE, produced by its long-time collaborator Beth Morrison Projects, at Redcat Theater, Miami Light Project, Operadagen Rotterdam and BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival. TIMUR is a co-creator of “Silent Steppe Cantata” by Anne LeBaron, a large-scale composition about Kazakhstan. His upcoming solo projects include “Klaus From Space,” with Klaus Nomi’s songwriter Kristian Hoffman; “One Body” by John Kennedy; “Permanent Revolution of Frida & Trotsky” by Ori Barel; and two projects produced by Beth Morrison Projects, set to premiere in 2019-20 season - “Nueva Cancion: Protest and Resistance in songs of Mercedes Sosa” and “Artaud in the Black Lodge” by David T. Little. His voice is featured on the Hollywood soundtrack of “Ruby Sparks” and he appears on many recordings, released by Naxos USA, Milan Records, Nonesuch, Deutsche Grammophon and ANTI-. In addition to his work as a performing artist, he serves as a Vice President of Creative Affairs of ACE Pictures Entertainment, a Malaysian investment company, overseeing film an executive producer, including CLEMENCY, a Sundance 2019 winning drama, starring Oscar-nominated Alfre Woodard; a revenge thriller LEAVE NOT ONE ALIVE, starring Oscar-winner Melissa Leo; horror thriller COLOR OUT OF SPACE, starring Nicolas Cage; supernatural thriller DANIEL ISN’T REAL, starring Patrick Schwarzenegger and Miles Robbins, produced alongside Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision; and COME AWAY, a drama fantasy, starring Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie and directed by Oscar-winner Brenda Chapman.


Upcoming Performances


Lee Poulis, baritone


Lee Poulis is “virile and heroic in both appearance and vocalism” and has been praised for his “commanding presence” and his “dark baritone, rich in color,” calling it a voice “of power and beauty.” Twice named Best Young Singer by Die Welt, Lee has performed at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Teatro Real Madrid, Opera Bilbao, Teatro Municipal Santiago, and with Beethoven Orchestra Bonn. He performed the title role in the national premieres of Doctor Atomic in Germany and at the Finnish National Opera, a production which was nominated for one of Europe’s top theater prizes, Der Faust.

Lee makes his debut with the Modesto Symphony this season with Carmina Burana and recently debuted with Pasadena Symphony as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and returned to Opera Santa Barbara in the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.  He sang Handel's Messiah with the Florida Orchestra and in a debut with Long Beach Camerata, Carmina Burana in a debut with Valley Symphony Orchestra in Texas and again with Long Beach Camerata, and Bach's Mass in B Minor with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall. He also appeared in recital with the New West Symphony and sang Bach's Cantata #82, "Ich habe genug" in his Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra debut.

In previous seasons, Lee was on the roster of San Francisco Opera for its production of Lucia di Lammermoor and Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Die Fledermaus.  His frequently performed roles include the title role in Don Giovanni, Valentin in Faust, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Escamillo in Carmen, Belcore in Elisir d’Amore, and Ford in Falstaff with such theaters as Teatro de la Maestranza Seville, Teatre Principal Palma de Mallorca, Staatstheater Braunschweig, Theater Chemnitz, Fort Worth Opera, Sarasota Opera, Finnish National Opera, Saarländisches Staatstheater, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Washington National Opera, Theater Bonn, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and Los Angeles Opera.  

Lee is first prize winner of the Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition, Francisco Viñas International Voice Competition, Chester Ludgin International Verdi Baritone Competition, and prize winner of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition and George London Foundation Vocal Competition.  He is an alumnus of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Music Academy of the West, and Harvard University.


Upcoming Performances


Jennifer K. Bromagen, soprano


Hailed by the Tacoma News Tribune for her “shining coloratura and brilliant high notes”, soprano Jennifer Bromagen enjoys performing on opera and concert stages throughout the Pacific Northwest. She has performed as La Contessa di Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Bellevue City Opera, with Puget Sound Concert Opera as the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, and as the Soprano Soloist in Golijov’s She Was Here with the Northwest Sinfonietta. Most recently, Ms. Bromagen performed as the title role in Puget Sound Concert Opera’s production of Martha, as well as The Queen of the Night in Vashon Opera’s The Magic Flute, and with the Pacific Northwest Opera as Antonia in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

Ms. Bromagen was an Associate Artist in Residence with Cleveland Opera and performed on their main stage as the First Handmaiden in Turandot, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance. She has also been seen in such roles as Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia, Amina in La Sonnambula, and Countess Adele in Le Comte Ory. She has been a featured soloist in concert halls, temples, and cathedrals throughout the U.S., performing classic solo concert works from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Verdi’s Requiem, as well as such contemporary works as Jenkins’ Cantata Memoria and Arnesen’s Wound in the Water.  In the 2018-19 season, engagements include a return to the Northwest Sinfonietta as the Soprano Soloist for Faure’s Requiem, as well as a role debut with Pacific Northwest Opera as Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme, and a return to the Puget Sound Concert Opera as the title role in Massenet’s Manon.


Upcoming Performances