Faculty

ELM teachers inspire and mentor our students. They are skilled musician/educators who set the bar high and share their profound love of music with joy and enthusiasm. We are committed to giving our students an intensive, individualized and high quality music and ensemble education. 

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Annamarie Arai, Violin

Annamarie Arai received her B.A. in violin performance from UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music and her Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory. A native of Sacramento,  Ms. Arai enjoys creating music with ensembles of diverse backgrounds and sizes. She currently performs with One Found Sound, a conductor-less chamber orchestra in San Francisco, often serving in principal roles. Annamarie has developed a passion for teaching and sharing musical ideas with players of various skill levels. She is currently on faculty with Inspire Music Center and Amabile School of Music in San Francisco as well as ELM.  She believes  that musical instruction should continually birth artistic inspiration.  

 
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Christina Lesicko, Violin and Viola 

Christina Lesicko, native of Ohio, holds degrees in Viola Performance, Education, and Spanish Culture and Literature from Youngstown State University and the University of Guadalajara. She has played with numerous small ensembles and orchestras across the country, and has taught violin and viola students of all ages. Her passion for music and excellence in music education has given her the opportunity to perform and teach privately in San Francisco.  Christina joins the ELM staff as a teacher and the administrative and communications coordinator. 

 

Christina Wong, Violin and Viola

Christina Wong, native of San Francisco, started her musical education at a young age and was a student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division and the Golden Gate Philharmonic. Since then, Ms. Wong has been a member of and held principal positions in orchestras including the South Bay Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Youngstown Symphony, Ohio Valley Symphony. She has held a private teaching studio for over 10 years and has been on faculty at the Golden Gate Philharmonic, Cazadero Performing Arts Camp, Coda Mountain Music Camp in West Virginia, and California Summer Music in Pebble Beach. She received her Masters from The Cleveland Institute of Music, and her Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School. Outside of the classical music world, Ms. Wong enjoys cooking and traveling.

 

Gina Niblack, Violin

Gina Niblack completed a Bachelor's degree in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Passionate about excellence in teaching, she started a volunteer teaching program at the Conservatory to help bridge the gap between performance and teaching, which is now an established part of the Conservatory's outreach project.  She is committed to teaching in private and group settings and performs around the Bay Area.

 

Maaike Harding, Cello 

Maaike Harding, originally from Detroit, Michigan, received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music under the instruction of Richard Aaron and Desmond Hoebig.  After her studies, she began an active freelance career in the Cleveland area performing with CityMusic Cleveland, The Canton Symphony, and The Akron Symphony.  A devoted teacher, Maaike maintained a private studio and was instrumental in developing an after school music program in the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland.  In 2011 Maaike joined the New World Symphony under the directorship of Michael Tilson Thomas.  After her recent move to the Bay Area, Maaike joined the staff of ELM as a cello teacher and artistic coordinator.

 

Maggie Harth, Chorus, Orff, Ukulele

Maggie Harth, composer, pianist and educator, has been teaching music to children for over 30 years. She received her music composition degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and did post-graduate music studies in New York at Eastman School of Music.  From 1985 to 1995 she was the Music Director at The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York.  While in New York she also taught music theory at the Tisch School of the Arts. Since 1995 she has served on the music faculty of Marin Country Day School. For 15 years she was the Music Director at Beyond Borders, a multi-cultural performing arts summer program for economically disadvantaged youth in the Bay Area.  She was the founding director of FORTE!, the after-school music program at Marin Country Day School and served as its director for eight years. Maggie grew up studying classical piano. In college and beyond, she began playing jazz, pop and world music.  Maggie has composed jazz, pop and children’s songs as well as children’s musicals.  She collaborated with Caldecott Award winning author Jon Scieszka, (author of “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales”) on two children’s musicals, “Happily Ever After” and “The Myth of Power.” In addition, Maggie has recorded pop songs and jazz compositions for a variety of orchestras and bands. In 2004, her suite “Family Stories,” a piece for jazz piano and symphony orchestra, was performed by the Capp Street Community Orchestra.  

 
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Martha Stoddard, Resident Conductor

Martha Stoddard is deeply involved in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene as a conductor, composer, educator and flutist. She is Director of Instrumental Music at Lick-Wilmerding High School and Artistic Director of the Oakland Civic Orchestra as well as past Director of the John Adams Young Composer Program at the Crowden School. Her music has been performed by many artistic ensembles including the American Composer’s Forum, Avenue Winds, San Francisco Choral Artists, San Francisco Composers’ Chamber Orchestra, Schwungvoll!, Community Women’s Orchestra and Oakland Civic Orchestra.  Ms. Stoddard is a four-time recipient of ASCAP Plus Awards and holds music degrees from Humboldt State University and San Francisco State University.

 

Nzingah Smith, Flute and Clarinet

Nzingah Smith studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music and Rutgers University. She currently plays with Infinite Kin and B-Free, and is the lead alto-saxophonist in Oakland's Count Basie Tribute Band. She teaches music at the San Francisco School, Head Royce, San Pedro Elementary School, and the Oakland Public Music Conservatory.

 

 

 
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Sarah Bonomo, Clarinet

Sarah Bonomo graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics and a Bachelor’s of Music in Clarinet Performance. She completed her Master’s studies in 2012 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Luis Baez of the San Francisco Symphony. She has performed in the Benvenue House Concert series and received fellowships from the Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute and Bowdoin International Music Festival.  She has also held chairs in the Tallahassee Symphony, the Merced Symphony, BASOTI Summer Festival Orchestra and various regional orchestras in Florida and the Bay Area. Currently Ms. Bonomo is an active freelance clarinetist in the San Francisco Bay Area and the founder of the un-conducted chamber orchestra One Found Sound. She is an avid connoisseur of foreign film and cooking.