Benjamin Simon: Music Director
Ben has performed for audiences around the world as violist of the Naumburg Award-winning New World String Quartet, the Stanford String Quartet, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic Orchestras.
A native of San Francisco, Ben began his conducting studies in the Bay Area with Denis DeCouteau, continuing at Yale College and the Juilliard School with Otto Werner Mueller and at the Aspen Music Festival with Dennis Russell Davies. Ben has led orchestras and contemporary ensembles in the United States and Europe, and conducted performances for the theater as well as soundtracks for major motion pictures. He has taught at Harvard and Stanford Universities and has been a member of the music faculty at UC Berkeley since 1998.
Ben served as director of the Crowden School in Berkeley from 1999 to 2002, where he founded the popular chamber music series Sundays at Four. In 2002, he succeeded founding music director Edgar Braun at the SFCO, and in the same year he was appointed music director of the award-winning youth ensemble, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. Although conducting takes the lion’s share of Ben’s time and energy, he can still be heard violing on the SFCO’s Classical at the Freight chamber music series in Berkeley and around the Bay Area with various friends and colleagues.
Renay Conlin: Executive Director
Renay Conlin, SFCO’s newly-appointed Executive Director, studied at The Juilliard School in New York, the Conservatoire de Fontainebleau in Paris and the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She performed with opera companies and symphony orchestras world-wide as soprano soloist before embarking on a career in arts administration. Positions she has held include President and CEO of Napa Valley Museum, General and Artistic Director of Toledo Opera, Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Charleston, and Commissioner of Culture and History for the State of West Virginia, and most recently as Director of Development at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Born and raised in New York City, she and her family now reside in Napa Valley.
Bill Beckerman: Bookkeeper
Julie Kanter: Institutional Gifts Manager
Greg Van Der Veen: Stage Manager
Dom Moreci / Plumbline Creative: Graphic Design