Sometimes success converges at one point—or city, to be more specific. For SFCM students and alumni, it happens rather frequently, and in this most recent case, takes into account two of Atlanta’s most prominent arts organizations.
Oboist Christina Gavin ’18 and violist Zhenwei Shi ’19 have recently won positions with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony, respectively.
Gavin, a former student of Russ deLuna and Eugene Izotov, was thrilled to be offered a spot in the Atlanta Opera Orchestra’s woodwind section. She notes how her education at SFCM prepared her for life as a professional oboist.
“My time studying with the wonderful oboe professors at SFCM was a major factor in winning my position with the Atlanta Opera,” says Gavin. “Their expertise and guidance has been invaluable to me both during my time in San Francisco and after my graduation. I feel it's a special honor for me, particularly, to be sitting in the same orchestra that my teacher Russ deLuna used to play in! I am incredibly excited to be joining the musicians of the Atlanta Opera, and I look forward to my future with them.”
“I’m so excited to hear of my former student Christina Gavin winning the position of second oboe/English horn with the Atlanta Opera!” comments Russ deLuna. “This is especially exciting for me as it is the orchestra that I was playing Principal Oboe in before winning my position with the San Francisco Symphony! Christina is a wonderfully talented and thoughtful player and I’m so pleased for my colleagues in the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and excited that they will be working with her. Christina really embodies the quality of students that we have here at the San Francisco Conservatory of a Music.”
And at the Atlanta Symphony, Zhenwei Shi didn’t win just any viola position—he won the principal seat.
“Taking the position of principal viola of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is very exciting for me,” remarks Shi. “I am grateful to have been guided and inspired by my great teachers, Jay Liu and Dimitri Murrath. SFCM also helped me create connections with the San Francisco Symphony which were a big aid in my growth as a musician.”
“Since Zhenwei arrived at SFCM almost two years ago, he knew exactly what he wanted, and he worked so hard to achieve his goals,” commented Shi’s teacher, Jay Liu, upon hearing the news. “With all the wonderful resources that SFCM provides our students, he is a great example of an SFCM success story!”
Dimitri Murrath added, “Many people tried to get this position, but the fact Zhenwei got it is a testimony to the hard work he put in and attention he got from the SFCM faculty these past two years.”
With these hires, Atlanta appears to be a burgeoning hub of musical talent. Perhaps there is more to come.