Emily Chao, Personnel Manager
Yudai Ueda, Oboe
Lisa Renteria, Bassoon
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. torutagawa.com
Emily Chao, Personnel Manager
Emily Chao, originally from Edison, NJ, made her solo debut at age 13, performing the Kabalevsky violin concerto with the Union Symphony Orchestra in Union, NJ. She graduated in 2013 with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University, where she studied with Lynn Chang and completed a dissertation on Karol Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto, op 35. She also holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from New England Conservatory, where she studied with James Buswell. Emily currently plays violin with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and coaches chamber music for Tucson Adult Chamber Players. She has also played viola for the Sierra Vista Symphony and currently plays principal viola for the Tucson Repertory Orchestra.
Mindi Acosta has performed with the Tucson Chamber Orchestra, Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Pops Orchestra, Sierra Vista Symphony and Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. She currently performs with ChamberLab, Tucson Duo Project, the Crowded Quartet and the Tucson Repertory Orchestra. She has performed and given master classes throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe, including a performance at the 2001 WASBE festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, the 2000 International Music Festival in Alamos, Mexico and the 2016 National Flute Convention in San Diego, California. She was a two-time finalist in the prestigious Fischoff Competition and the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. She performed the world première of David Finko’s Concerto for Piccolo with the Tucson Chamber Orchestra in 2008 and has recently been featured on the following CD’s; Chris Black’s “Lullabies and Nightmares,” and Allan Alexander’s “Music of Spain and South America” and “Christmas Music for Flute & Guitar.” Ms. Acosta attended the University of Arizona School of Music, under the instruction of Jean-Louis Kashy.
Yudai Ueda, Oboe Coordinator
Yudai Ueda is currently the Music Director and Conductor of LendAnEar Chamber Players and the Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Arizona.
Ueda started the group LendAnEar to give performances of masterworks usually not heard in symphony orchestra halls because of their varying instrumentation. The ensemble’s instrumentation is flexible and changes throughout the concert ranging anywhere from the pierrot ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion to the harmonie ensemble which usually consists of pair of wind instruments from the orchestra. An example of performed repertoire include Mozart’s Gran Partita, Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds, and works by Beethoven, Cage, Marquez, Mazzoli, Mendelssohn, and Villa-Lobos.
For the University of Arizona the Fred Fox School of Music, Ueda conducts the Symphonic Band, assists with the athletic bands, and teaches conducting and music education courses. For the Pride of Arizona Marching Band and Pep Band, his responsibilities include music and marching instruction, drill design, student leadership training, community outreach, and directing the pep band. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Ueda frequently visits public schools as a clinician-conductor, judges music festivals, and gives presentations at various conferences and workshops. He also administers the UofA Band Day, a high school marching band festival, and has started the annual UofA Band Conducting Workshop and UofA Regional Etude Workshop.
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.
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.
Dr. Daniel Brown holds a B.A. in Music from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a M.M. in Music Performance from the Pennsylvania State University, and a D.M.A. in Music Performance from the University of Arizona. He is currently the band director at Borman K-8 and Myers-Ganoung K-5 in TUSD. In addition to his teaching duties, he serves as the TUSD Band Mentor. He can be heard playing tuba in a variety of local groups including the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Repertory Orchestra, Old Pueblo Brass Band, Rezonators Brass Band, and Klezmerkaba.