Julian Brown – violin
Julian Brown was born in the UK and started playing the violin at the age of 8. He later studied with the British violinist Anthony Saltmarsh, and while pursuing a career in broadcasting, science writing and software development, has been an active musician playing in a variety of orchestras and chamber ensembles both in London and the San Francisco Bay Area. Julian is currently concertmaster of three local symphony orchestras: the Palo Alto Philharmonic, the California Pops Orchestra and the Cambrian Symphony, as well as having served as past concertmaster of the Silicon Valley Symphony for many years. Solo concert orchestra appearances have included Bach’s Double Violin Concerto and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Silicon Valley Symphony, and in those John Williams-Itzhak Perlman/Isaac Stern gems from the movies the “Schindler’s List” theme, the famous Tango from “Scent of a Woman”, and the virtuosic “Fiddler on the Roof” with the California Pops Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Julian performs regularly in various piano trios and quartets, notably in the Cal Arte Ensemble concert series. In the spring of 2016, Julian performed all ten Beethoven violin sonatas at Santa Clara’s Triton Museum of Art for repeat capacity audiences. Julian also enjoys piano, music arranging and writing concert program notes.
Michelle Mastin – viola + violin
Michelle Mastin holds her Bachelor of Music degree from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and her Masters degree from the Eastman School of Music in New York. She has also received the Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory as a student of Jodi Levitz. While at CCM, Michelle was a student of Masao Kawasaki and Dr. Catherine Carroll, and then a student of George Taylor at Eastman. She spent three summers at the Aspen Music festival in Colorado and one summer in Lucca, Italy at the Opera Theatre and Chamber Music festival. She has also played for the BASOTI Opera Fesitval and Workshop in San Francisco, and has spent two summers as a fellowship student at the PACO chamber music camp.
As an active performer on both violin and viola, Michelle has worked with orchestras such as the Rochester Philharmonic, the Erie Philharmonic, the Santa Cruz Symphony, the California Pops, and Resonance Jazz Ensemble. She also enjoys chamber music and spent two years working with the Eastman Chamber Society, as well as two years as a fellow and coach for the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. Michelle also plays and performs on electric bass guitar and ukulele.
When not chasing her two young children, Michelle currently maintains a small teaching studio at her home in Daly City, in addition to working with Music Team at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
Cynthia Swenson – cello
Cynthia Swenson is a professional performing freelance cellist working in numerous local orchestras, chamber, choral and rock groups, ballet, opera, musical theatre and church service ensembles. She is co-founder, performer and booking agent of The Altair Trio, a string ensemble that hires out for many weddings and special events over the last 8 years. Ms. Swenson is also a staff cello teacher at The New Mozart School of Music, and in addition runs a private cello teaching studio out of her Palo Alto home for both youths and adults (total numbering around 38) of all playing levels. Cynthia’s own primary cello instructors of youth were Irene Sharp, Bonnie Hampton, Irving Klein and Gabor Rejto, and she also studied piano and flute. Ms. Swenson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University while under music scholarship, and has vocational degrees and certificates in clinical laboratory medicine and interior design. Cynthia has served as principal cellist for many years with the California Pops Orchestra, Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra, Silicon Valley Symphony, Mission College Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Symphony and Opera Orchestras, and the California Youth Symphony. She was an ensemble music coach with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra for four years, and has performed in many summer music festivals.