I am originally from Portland, Maine and was born into a musical family. I thought everyone in the world played either the violin or cello! I was invited to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Prep as a high school student where I studied with Zaven Melikian. I earned my Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music (a student of Donald Weilerstein) and my Masters of Music from the University of Maryland (a student of David Salness).
Besides playing with Synchronicity Strings, I perform with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and have played several Broadway SF productions. When I’m not busy making music, I teach Pure Barre in Berkeley and Oakland, which you have to try! I also love unplugging with some pretty epic backpacking adventures both in the states and abroad.
I love the joy live music brings to every single person and consider my wonderful colleagues to be family.
I was born in the Bay Area, spent a few years in Taiwan, and have been in/around the Bay ever since! I started playing the cello at 9 years old because my mom thought I looked weird holding the violin. I received my Masters Degree studying with Jennifer Culp at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. I am currently serving as music director at a private school in Walnut Creek and love being able to perform cello in the evenings and weekends. I play primarily for Synchronicity Strings and the Magik*Magik Orchestra.
When not teaching or playing music, you can find me lost in the mountains on a backpacking trip with my family. I am honored to be a part of the Synchronicity Family! I have many memorable performances, but these days my favorites are the ones I play when family is in the audience. As my eldest daughter likes to say “Papa’s playing is better than Yo-Yo Ma’s!” Just wait till she figures out the sad truth …
I was born in Split, Croatia & grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. I moved to San Francisco in the fall of 2007 to study with Jodi Levitz at the SF Conservatory of Music, where I completed my Bachelor & Master of Music degrees.
I am currently the Acting Principal Violist of the San José Chamber Orchestra, and also hold positions with Opera San José, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and One Found Sound. I regularly play as a substitute musician with the New Century Chamber Orchestra and San Francisco Opera.
In addition to opera and orchestra, I have toured, recorded, and shared the stage with many artists including Smokey Robinson, The Eagles, Death Cab for Cutie, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, and Father John Misty. I also regularly record music for video games, television, and films at Skywalker Ranch. Since the fall of 2022, I have been performing on Fever's Candlelight Concert Series in San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento.
My viola was made by Hiroshi Iizuka in 1999, and features a unique viola d'amore-inspired shape. When I’m not playing viola all over the Bay Area, I enjoy nurturing my [mostly] monochromatic aesthetic, indulging in fine dining, and embarking on indie music deep dives. I also love sending and receiving copious amounts of cat memes, and polishing the day off with a glass of vino.
Hi! I’m a proud San Francisco native! I studied cello at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School. I have performed in masterclasses with Mstislav Rostropovich and Itzhak Perlman. I am currently Principal Cellist of the Santa Rosa Symphony, Assistant Principal Cellist of the Monterey Symphony and Symphony San Jose, and perform regularly with pretty much every orchestra in Northern California! I am the cello professor at San Jose State University and teach privately in the area.
A few of my performance highlights include
- sharing the stage with Metallica at the opening of the Chase Center in San Francisco
- performing with musical legends: John Williams, The Eagles and The Grateful Dead
- my solo debut recital at Carnegie Hall, NYC
- performing the Japanese premiere of Korngold’s Cello Concerto with the Tokyo Philharmonic
When not performing, I enjoy hiking and the outdoors, traveling, good food, beer and wine, as well as the thrill (and often torture) that comes with being a lifelong SF Giants fan
I was born and raised in Berkeley, CA. I started playing the violin at age 10 and attended The Crowden School, a unique middle school for string players. I received my Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Oberlin Conservatory where I studied with Kyung Sun Lee, Marilyn McDonald and Milan Vitek. There, I also discovered my love for the viola while playing in chamber groups with friends. Post-schooling, I spent 14 years freelancing in Chicago before deciding to move back to the Bay Area. I’ve performed with Opera San Jose, Berkeley Symphony, and Sacramento Philharmonic. I’ve recorded at Skywalker Ranch. I’ve also performed with Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Andrea Bocelli, Iron & Wine, and The Who, to name just a few. One of my favorite shows was playing with a band that opened for Fleetwood Mac, which involved acrobats and amazing original artwork covering every inch of the large space.
When not performing, you might find me swimming somewhere, be it a pool, lake, river or ocean. Otherwise, you might find me cooking, teaching violin/viola, climbing a tree, or playing with a puppy.
Matthew Szemela is a violinist who crosses musical genres with ease. Praised by the New York Times for his “outrageous fiddling,” he has performed as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in several renowned concert halls in NYC (Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully, Merkin Recital Hall), the Kennedy Center (DC), and abroad (Japan, China, Korea, Belgium, Australia, Italy). Matthew served as concertmaster of the Hustla Symphony Orchestra for Jay-Z’s Concert at Radio City Music Hall (NYC), collaborating with and the Illadelphonics, and Beyonce. Matthew has also had the pleasure of collaborating with Sting, Garth Brooks, Susan Sarandon, Johnny Mathis, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Placido Domingo, and Olivia Newton John. He was previously violinist with the multi- Grammy-nominated Quartet San Francisco.