Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Musicians


Anna Presler

Anna Presler, artistic director, violin

Violinist Anna Presler, a longtime member of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and currently its artistic director, has taught at Sacramento State University since 1994, where she plays in the faculty ensemble-in-residence, the Sun Quartet.  She is also a member of New Century Chamber Orchestra, and has performed as a soloist with the ensemble. Ms. Presler was a fellow at the Banff Art Center, the International Music Seminar at Cornwall, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where her chamber music coaches included Eugene Lehner, Gil Kalish and Julius Levine. She holds degrees from Yale University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and North Carolina School of the Arts.  She studied with Elaine Richey, Sidney Harth, Syoko Aki, Ian Swensen, and the poet John Hollander. With Phyllis Kamrin, Kurt Rohde and Leighton Fong, she founded the Onyx Quartet in 1995; the ensemble merged with LCCE several years later and continues to perform and record.  Ms. Presler lives in Berkeley with her husband, the cellist Leighton Fong, and their daughter Maria.


Phyllis Kamrin violin, viola

Ms. Kamrin received her B.M. from the Curtis Institute and her M.M. from the New England Conservatory. She is a member of the string quartet within the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and of the Alma Duo, an ensemble with guitar. She has played with the Sierra String Quartet, winners of the Duisberg Prize, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and Philharmonia Baroque. Ms. Kamrin can be heard on the Kameleon, VQS, and Harmonia Mundi labels. Ms. Kamrin is Director of Adult Chamber Music at the Crowden School in Berkeley.


Kurt Rohde, composer/violist/artistic advisor

Violist and composer Kurt Rohde is a recipient of the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lydian String Quartet Commission Prize, and has received commission awards from the Barlow, Fromm, Hanson, and Koussevitzky Foundations. He received the 2015 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A Professor at UC Davis, Kurt was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies in 2012–13. He plays viola with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and serves as their Artistic Advisor. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Peabody Institute of Music and SUNY Stony Brook, he enjoys triple IPAs, long distance running, Philip K. Dick, and pretty much any new movie that has just been released.  www.kurtrohde.com


Leighton Fong, cello

Leighton Fong, longtime member of  LCCE, is Principal Cellist of the California Symphony. He plays regularly with Eco Ensemble and Empyrean Ensemble, and was a member of the SF Contemporary Players. Mr. Fong studied at the SF Conservatory, the New England Conservatory, the Bern Conservatory in Switzerland, and the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has taught at UC Berkeley since 1997. 


Tanya Tomkins, cello

Cellist Tanya Tomkins returned to the United States in 1998 after living in Holland for 14 years, where she discovered that certain music sounds wonderful when performed on the instruments for which it was composed. This discovery has informed a diverse career as soloist and chamber musician. The first cellist ever to win the international Bodky Competition for Early Music Soloists, she is equally at home on baroque and modern instruments and has performed on many chamber music series to critical acclaim, including at the Frick Collection, Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, San Francisco Performances, and the Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal.

She has numerous recordings, including the Debussy and Ravel String Quartets with the Euridice Quartet (members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for Vanguard Classics), The Mendelssohn and Schumann Piano Trios on original instruments with the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio (Avie), the Beethoven Cello Sonatas with fortepianist, Eric Zivian (Bridge) and a recording of the complete Bach Suites on Baroque cello for Avie.

Currently one of Philharmonia Baroque and Portland Baroque’s principal cellists, she has performed as soloist with both orchestras. She also performs with the American Bach Soloists, Voices of Music, the Oregon Bach Festival, Music in the Vineyards Festival, Olympic Chamber Music Festival, and the Moab Chamber Music Festival. She is a member of the Tomkins-Zivian Duo and the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio with Monica Huggett and Eric Zivian. She also organizes a series of house concerts in Berkeley and Marin County.

Tanya is fond of teaching and has given master classes at Juilliard, Yale, SFCM, San Jose State University, and is on the faculty of the American Bach Soloists Summer Academy. www.tanyatomkins.com


Michel Taddei, double bass

Michel Taddei is a founding member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and frequently performs with other ensembles including the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and Earplay. He was principal bassist of the Orchestra of the Opéra National de Lyon for seven seasons, and is currently principal bassist for the Berkeley Symphony and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Taddei toured with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and has performed at the Aspen, Moab, and Tanglewood Music Festivals.. He has recorded for Decca, EMI, Erato, Nonesuch, Philips, and Virgin Classics. He is a graduate of Columbia University, where he was a John Jay National Scholar, and also studied at Juilliard and UC Berkeley. Mr. Taddei is Administrative Director of Music at the Crowden School in Berkeley.




Stacey Pelinka, flute

Stacey Pelinka began performing with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble in 1998. She is also a member of the Eco Ensemble, plays principal flute with San Francisco Opera's Merola Program productions and second flute with the Santa Rosa Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Midsummer Mozart Festival.  She freelances throughout the Bay Area, performing frequently with sfSound, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Earplay, and the Oakland and Berkeley Symphonies.  A certified Feldenkrais Method® practitioner, Stacey has presented Feldenkrais workshops at the NFA convention and the California College of the Arts.  She teaches weekly Feldenkrais lessons for musicians and staff at the San Francisco Symphony, and is on the faculty of Summerflute, a semi-annual somatic masterclass for flutists. She attended Cornell University and the San Francisco Conservatory, where she studied with Timothy Day.  Stacey lives in Berkeley with her husband Jan and daughter Annabelle.


Andrea Plesnarski, oboe

Andrea Plesnarski has been a member of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble for 15 years. She is Principal oboist of the Oakland East Bay Symphony and Fremont Symphony.  She performed as a regular substitute member of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and is a freelancer with several Bay Area orchestral and chamber music groups. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute where she studied with John de Lancie and Richard Woodhams.

She has participated in many summer festivals including Tanglewood, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, and Spoleto Music Festival in Italy.  Ms. Plesnarski has won the Florida Orchestra, Savannah Symphony and Carmel Music Society Competitions.

Ms. Plesnarski earned an M.A. in Computer Science in 2001 from Mills College, Oakland. Her thesis focus was the creation of a human interface to allow the user to compose and play music using a piezo sensor gestural interface utilizing software with neural networks and Markov models.  She is Lead Software Engineer at SoftwareAG in Alviso, CA.  SoftwareAG is based in Darmstadt, Germany.

In 2009, she received certificates in Landscape Horticulture and Landscape Design and Construction from Merritt College.  Ms. Plesnarski is an avid gardener and hopes to start doing landscape design professionally in the next year.  Her favorite activity in the Bay Area is going on hikes and learning about native plants.

Ms. Plesnarski has been a musician board member with Oakland East Bay Symphony for the past 8 years.  She has volunteered with Students Run Oakland for several seasons, running the L.A. Marathon with Oakland high school students.  An avid runner, she ran the 2012 Paris Marathon on her birthday.  She now volunteers as a garden mentor with City Slicker Farms in Oakland which enables residents of West Oakland to grow their own local, healthy food.


Thomas Nugent, oboe

Mr. Nugent graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with Marc Lifschey. Mr. Nugent is currently principal oboe with the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, a founding member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and is a member of the Pacific Arts Woodwind Quintet. He has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, San Jose Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Marin Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, California Symphony, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Sacramento Chamber Music Society, Sierra Chamber Society, San Francisco Camerata, Mendocino Music Festival, Bear Valley Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival, and the Colorado Philharmonic. He has performed as a soloist with the Sacramento Philharmonic, Bear Valley Festival Orchestra, Mendocino Festival Orchestra, Diablo Ballet, San Francisco Choral Artists, and for the American Guild of Organists. Mr. Nugent has performed on television commercials, video and PBS soundtracks. Recent recording projects include the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Centering, the Music of Earle Brown, and Carlos Franzetti’s new opera, Corpus Evita, with the San Francisco Camerata. Mr. Nugent is on the faculty of The University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music and at Mills College in Oakland.


Jerome Simas, clarinet

Jerome Simas was appointed to the San Francisco Symphony as bass clarinetist in 2012. He has performed as a guest clarinetist with orchestras across the US, including the San Francisco Opera (principal clarinet) and The Cleveland Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he studied and performed at Marlboro Music in Vermont and also represented the New World Symphony in chamber music concerts in Europe and the US. He won first Prize at the International Clarinet Society’s Young Artist’s Competition and Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He was a fellow with the New World Symphony as principal clarinet under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas (with whom he recorded Rhapsody in Blue and Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto for BMG Classics and RCA) He held principal clarinet positions with the IRIS Orchestra, California Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Monterey Symphony, and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, a group dedicated to promoting a mix of contemporary music alongside traditional masterworks. He has appeared as soloist with the California Symphony, New World Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Iris Chamber Orchestra, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony, where he received his BM and MM as a student of Cleveland Orchestra principal clarinetist, Franklin Cohen. He has taught at UC Davis, Stanford University, San Francisco Conservatory, and was most recently Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance.




Eric Zivian. piano, composer

Eric Zivian grew up in Toronto, Canada, where he graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music. At age fifteen, he left home to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree. He holds graduate degrees from the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. He studied piano with Gary Graffman and Peter Serkin and composition with Ned Rorem, Jacob Druckman, and Martin Bresnick. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center both as a performer and as a composer.

Mr. Zivian has given solo recitals in Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He has played concertos with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.

Since 2000, Mr. Zivian has performed extensively on original instruments, playing fortepiano in the Zivian-Tomkins Duo and the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio. A longtime member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, he has performed with the Empyrean Ensemble and Earplay. He is a frequent guest artist on the San Francisco Conservatory's faculty chamber music series.

Mr. Zivian's compositions have been performed widely in the United States and in Tokyo, Japan. He was awarded an ASCAP Jacob Druckman Memorial Commission to compose an orchestral work, Three Character Pieces, which was premiered by the Seattle Symphony.


Michael Goldberg, guitar

Michael Goldberg has performed with Left Coast since 1996. He has recorded on the Arabesque and Kameleon labels, and has performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra of London, Santa Rosa Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, Empyrean Ensemble, Diablo Valley Ballet, and many other Bay Area groups. He performed for many years as part of the Alma Duo, an ensemble of violin/viola and guitar.  Mr. Goldberg teaches at UC Berkeley and UC Davis. He received his M.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

photo banner: Jordan Murphy