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SFCM Alum Joins San Francisco Opera Orchestra

Evan Kahn, (‘18) won the Principal Cello position with San Francisco Opera Orchestra, and will be their first new principal cellist in nearly five decades.

July 24, 2023 by Mark Taylor

The San Francisco Opera is getting some SFCM strings talent. Alumni Evan Kahn just won the Principal Cello position with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. 

“SF Opera is one of the best companies in the world with a whole lot of legacy, coming off its 100th anniversary season," Kahn of getting the prestigious position, "I’m so, so excited to be their first new principal cellist in 49 years, succeeding the great David Kadarauch."

A California native, Kahn credits his former teacher, SFCM faculty Jennifer Culp, with helping prepare him for this achievement. “I was lucky enough to study entirely with tremendously supportive teachers. Jennifer Culp was one of those: always in the room with you, meeting you on your level. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor, and the three years I worked with her were so, so formative,” Kahn said. 

There will be some friendly SFCM faces for Kahn as well: Kay Stern is a professor at SFCM and has been concertmaster of the orchestra since 1994. 

Kahn will officially start with the orchestra for its fall season on August 23rd. He looks forward to playing on stage, literal steps from where he studied as a student. 

For such students he is not a fan of giving catch-all bits of advice, but he does believe one thing to hold true: “There’s no substitute for putting in the right kind of work. Nothing’s going to prepare you more for what you want to do than putting in the time and effort to make it how you want it to be. That, and try to be intentional about everything you do, in and out of music.”

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Learn more about studying Cello at SFCM.