Toru Tagawa, Conductor
Kyosuke Nakata, Personnel Manager
Mindi Acosta, Flute
Christian Hill, Oboe 
Wes Sansom Clarinet
Lisa Renteria, Bassoon 
Greg Helseth, Horn 
Alex Pesqueira, Trumpet
Graeme Shaw Trombone

Toru Tagawa, Conductor


Toru, from Hiroshima, Japan, started playing the violin at age 6, and joined the Kurashiki Junior Philharmonic Orchestra at age 10. He received his Violin Performance degrees from the University of Tulsa (BM) and the Florida State University (MM), and a Music Education degree (MME) from the University of Arizona. His main Violin teachers include Steven Moeckel, Gary Kosloski, Elliot Chapo, Derry Deane, and Mikio Ejima. 

Toru has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Tucson Repertory Orchestra since 2011. His conducting teachers include Thomas Cockrell, Charles Bontrager, Jung-Ho Pak, Maurice Peress and Sandra Dackow. Toru was one of the co-founders/conductors of the Interlochen Repertory Orchestra in 2007 under Jung-Ho Pak’s guidance. He has participated in conducting workshops at the Juilliard School of Music, Queens College, Conducting Symposiums in Boston with Benjamin Zander and in Chicago with Cliff Colonot, and Toru is a member of the Conductors Guild. He was one of the finalists in the American Prize 2014 as a conductor in community orchestra division. As active violinist, he plays with the Tucson Symphony, Tucson Pops, Arizona Opera Orchestras, and has played with National Repertory (CO), Shreveport (LA), Arkansas, Tallahassee (FL), AIMS (Austria), Hiroshima (Japan) ,and Vancouver (Canada) Symphony Orchestras. Toru is the President-Elect for the American String Teachers Association of Arizona, and he is the new Music Director and Conductor of the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra (AZ) starting in the 2016-2017 season.

Mindi Acosta, Flute Coordinator

An Arizona native, Mindi Acosta served as principle flute with the former Tucson Chamber Orchestra and the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. She has performed and given master classes throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Europe, including a performance with the UA Wind Ensemble at the 2001 WASBE festival in Lucerne Switzerland.  Mind has served on the board of the Tucson Flute Club and has served as the librarian for the National Flute Association. She has performed and competed with several chamber groups, and was a two time finalist in the prestigious Fischoff Competition. She gave the world premiere of David Finko’s Concerto for Piccolo in 2007 with the Tucson Chamber Orchestra.  Mindi attended the University of Arizona for her undergraduate studies in flute performance with Jean-Louis Kashy.  Currently, Mindi teaches flute for the Tucson Symphony Woman’s Association, which offers musical education opportunities to underprivileged children. She also performs with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and with Duo Con Brio, a flute and guitar duo.

Christian Hill, Oboe Coordinator
Christian Hill

Christian Hill has been a band and orchestra director with the Amphitheater School district since 1998 and is a graduate from Northern Arizona University with Bachelor degrees in Music Education and Music Performance. As an undergraduate, he played professional oboe with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra for six years.  After winning the 1994 NAU Solo Competition, Mr. Hill played with the Summer Festival Orchestra and for various musical productions with Sun Entertainment.  After performing in the 1998 production of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle,” he played the oboe and English horn with the Arizona Opera Orchestra for over ten years.  While playing for “Sinfonia Da Chiesa” in the year 2000, Mr. Hill was introduced to members of the professional woodwind quintet “Foothills Chamber Ensemble,” and has participated as a substitute player for many professional orchestras.   In 2012 Mr. Hill became the coordinator for the oboe section and woodwind quintet with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra, principal oboe for the Sierra Vista Symphony and second oboe for the Tucson Pops Orchestra.  His college professors were Dr. Rebecca Kemper Scarnati and Neil Tatman, both students of Jerry Sirucek and John Mack.  Other teachers of note are Eugene Chieffo and David Weber, both students of John de Lancie at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Wes Sansom, Clarinet Coordinator


 Wes Sansom studied clarinet performance at San Diego State University in San Diego, California. While living in San Diego, he performed with the San Diego State Symphony Orchestra as co-principal and as principal clarinet for the San Diego Youth Symphony.
After leaving San Diego, Wes moved to Denver, Colorado where he played principal with the Mostly Strauss Orchestra, the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra and the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra. While playing with the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra, Wes was given the opportunity to perform Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at the orchestra’s inaugural concert and on tour with the orchestra in Italy. During his time with the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra, he served on the orchestra’s board as their Treasurer and later as the Personnel Director. Wes was also one of the founding members of the Gossamer Winds Woodwind Quintet that performed in the Denver area.
Wes is now making music in the Tucson metro-area, having been a member of the Foothills Phil, and currently playing with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and the Crowded Quartet.
When not indulging his love of music, Wes is the Director of Accounting for Splendido at Rancho Vistoso.

Lisa Renteria, Bassoon Coordinator
Dr. Lisa Renteria, bassoonist, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the University of Arizona, a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Doctorate in Musical Arts from The University of Arizona. She has won numerous performance competitions including the Tucson Symphony Young Artists Competition and University of Arizona Concerto Competition. In 2003, she was a national finalist in the Music Teachers National Association Competition. In 2011, she was selected to perform at the International Double Reed Society Conference in Tempe Arizona. She currently plays with the Tucson Pops Orchestra, the Maderas Bassoon Quartet and occasionally has the opportunity to perform with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra as well as many other local ensembles. Dr. Renteria performs nationally with her husband, opera tenor and pianis,t Francisco Renteria. She also maintains a private studio of young bassoonists. Dr. Renteria has had the wonderful opportunity to work in the Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) program. She has taught in Tucson Unified School District for the past 11 years as part of an instrumental trio using music as a tool to teach the curriculum. In addition she has lead professional development sessions for teachers on how to integrate music into their classrooms in order to more effectively teach reading, writing, math and science.
Greg Helseth, Horn Coordinator
Greg Horn

Gregory Helseth began playing Horn in his school band in 1972 and has since played in Orchestras, Bands and Chamber Ensembles across the United States, Mexico, France, Scotland, England and Germany.  His first jobs were Fourth Horn with the South Dakota Symphony, Sioux Falls, SD, and Second Horn with the Sioux City (Iowa) Symphony.  He then joined the Tucson Symphony (1985) as Third Horn.  In 1989 he left Arizona to play Principal Horn with the Omaha Symphony, Omaha, NE.  After 13 seasons, he and his wife, Lynn, moved to Allentown, PA, where he played Principal Horn with the legendary Allentown Band, and began his career as a Freelance Hornist.  In 2004 he and his wife returned to Tucson where he is the happy stay-at-home Dad for two girls.

Mr. Helseth remains busy as Principal Horn with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln, NE, Principal Horn of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra and as soloist, clinician, and on-call Hornist in Southern Arizona.

Graeme Shaw, Trombone Coordinator
Graeme Shaw moved to Tucson from the United Kingdom in 2009 and plays regularly with both the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and as Principle Trombone for the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. He started playing the trombone when he was 8 years old as part of his musical training as a chorister at Westminster Abbey. His musical training as a singer was under the direction of organist and choir master Simon Preston, and this has been the foundation for the development of his musical abilities throughout his adult life. Graeme has played in numerous orchestras in the UK, including the Suffolk Youth Orchestra, Trianon Music Group, the Hertfordshire Philharmonic and most recently the de Havilland Philharmonic, where he also fulfilled the role of orchestra chairman.

One Response to “Coordinators”


  1. Toru Tagawa, Conductor 田川徹、指揮者 | Toru Tagawa, Conductor、田川徹、指揮者 - November 11, 2014

    […] from the University of Tulsa (BM) and the Florida State University (MM), and a Music Education degree (MME) from the University of Arizona. His main Violin teachers include Steven Moeckel, Gary […]

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