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Teaching Artists

Margaret Gonzalez

Margaret Gonzalez, a musician and educator from Venezuela, is a product of El Sistema.  She grew up in the capital city of Caracas in Venezuela where she learned the core values of El Sistema, and how it has the power to create social change. Through these life experiences, Margaret developed a deep sense of being valued and how to confidently face the challenges of life's journey.  She knows first-hand what a difference this can make in one's life, and with a profound passion for teaching, is excited to share the same opportunities and experiences with the children of San Francisco.

Margaret earned a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and Minor in Violin and Piano from Shenandoah University (Virginia) where she was a student of violist Doris Lederer from the Audubon Quartet.  Prior to her studies in the United States, she performed with the world-renowned Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela under Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. Additionally, she has worked with several professional chamber ensembles and symphonic orchestras in the United States, and continues to actively teach both children and adults on a variety of string instruments.  At Music Mission San Francisco, Margaret serves as co-founder, artistic director and teaching artist.

The founder of El Sistema, Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu believes in the transformative power of music in making positive and lasting changes in the lives of all children. Continuing the legacy of the founder, Margaret uses music as a vehicle for social change, traveling locally and internationally to share her passion and vision with other Sistema inspired programs.  


Catherine Heusner is a member of the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra and for 10 years, she was Assistant Concertmaster of the Stockton Symphony Orchestra.  She currently works as a substitute teacher in the Davis Unified School District (Davis, CA) and maintains an active private studio.  


Her education includes studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Southern California where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance.  Her private teachers at SFCM and USC included Eudice Shapiro and Isadore Tinkleman. 


Catherine is the proud mother of two sons; both graduates of the University of California-Santa Barbara.  At Music Mission San Francisco, Catherine teaches violin.


Sarah Hooton is a young emerging artist, performer, and educator based in San Francisco. They recently completed their Masters of Music in Viola Performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Dimitri Murrath. Sarah’s work with previous awards include their Associate Diploma of Music with Distinction (AMusA) for violin in 2014, coming 2nd in the Australian Vocal and Concerto Competition 'Young Performers' section in 2015, winning the QCGU Matilda Jane Aplin prize in 2017, and placing as a finalist in the 2019 QCGU Vada Jeffries ‘Bach Prize’.

Growing up in Cairns, Sarah’s first experiences in ensemble playing were with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, participating in student workshops throughout their schooling. After moving to Brisbane, they joined the Queensland Youth Symphony Orchestra for 2016 in addition to participating in the Australian Youth Orchestra’s (AYO) National Music Camps from 2015 to 2018. These orchestral experiences with AYO have given them the privilege to work with many internationally renowned conductors including Elim Chan (Antwerp Symhphony Orchestra) and Moritz Gnann (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).

Sarah particularly loves playing chamber music and was selected to play in the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival in Leavenworth (Washington, USA) in July, 2019. To satisfy their never-ending love for collaborative music-making, they have also worked as a casual violist with Camerata Queensland's Chamber Orchestra, were invited to perform as a guest violist with Brisbane's Endeavour Trio in November of 2018, and collaborated with Expressions Dance Company’s “Converge” in 2018. Now in San Francisco, Sarah is Co-Founder of a new group called The Bridge Music Collective.

Sarah is also passionate about teaching, which has led them to work as a viola and violin tutor at Music Creators (located in Underwood, Brisbane) for 4 years. They now work as a Teaching Artist in the Bridge To Arts and Music program (BAM) at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to help bring music education to children who don’t get the opportunity to learn music at their own schools. After teaching for more than 6 years, Sarah has learned to adapt her teaching style to each individual student, bringing her emotional intelligence and sensitivity to meet her technical and detailed approach.

Apart from music, Sarah is also passionate about Yoga, Spirituality, Feminism, Philosophy, Psychology, Veganism, and Environmentalism.


Cellist Zoe Lee is a versatile performer, chamber musician, and educator who seeks to connect people through music. Her journey in music commenced at the age of four with the study of piano, laying the foundation for her eventual pursuit of the cello. Zoe has garnered her accolades in both cello solo and chamber music competitions in her native Taiwan.

Zoe has appeared in renowned music festivals, including Oberstdorfer Musiksommer, Taipei Music Academy Festival, Formosa Chamber Music Festival, among others. She has had the privilege to work and learn from esteemed artists, such as Lynn Harrell, Wen-Sinn Yang, Yovan Markovitch, Yehuda Hanani, Johannes Moser, Astrid Schween, Antonio Lysy, Telegraph Quartet, and Formosa Quartet, among others.

As a dedicated educator, Zoe maintains a private studio and is serving as faculty of the Community Music Center. She focuses on nurturing each student's unique strengths, developing a solid technical foundation and cultivating a healthy mindset for each student’s musical journey. 

As an active performer, Zoe has shared the stage with award-winning artists, such as Ragnar Bohlin and John Adams, and recorded Nick Platoff's album with members of the SF Symphony and SF Ballet. She is also the cellist of Araya, a Bay Area based band specializing in Latin American music.

 Zoe, the Vincent Constantino Scholarship recipient, holds a Bachelor's degree in Cello Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with French cellist Jean-Michel Fonteneau. 


Federico Strand Ramirez is a San Francisco-based cellist and native San Franciscan. He began learning cello at the age of 11 in his public middle school, and obtained degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Mannes School of Music in New York City. His major teachers include Bonnie Hampton, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Fred Sherry, and Louella Hasbun. 

Federico currently works as a cellist for the Berkeley Ballet Theater and is a founding member of the Sixth Station Piano Trio, which performs regularly at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.

Federico has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, The DiMenna Center, SF Jazz’s Miner Auditorium, Davies Symphony Hall, the Asian Art Museum, Center for New Music, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. 

A passionate teacher, Federico maintains a private studio and serves as faculty for the Golden Gate Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Federico’s music festival appearances include Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Festival Napa Valley’s Blackburn Academy.


Polish violinist Magdalena Zaczek found her love for teaching when she moved to the United States and worked with many individual students as well as teaching  group classes.

She has participated in numerous workshops, including the International Violin Workshop in Kolobrzeg, Zenon Brzewski International Music Courses in Łańcut as well as Pacific Crest Chamber Music Festival.

Magda has collaborated with many artists including The Eagles, Andrea Bocelli and Krystian Zimmerman. She developed her love for chamber and orchestral music by collaborating with the Monterey Symphony and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. She was also a lead violinist for the “Bridgerton show experience” in San Francisco (2022).

Magda wishes to incorporate both violin and jazz vocals into her career. She enjoys singing jazz and has attended Jazz festivals in Perugia and workshops such as the Umbria Jazz Clinics where she worked with faculty from the Berklee College of Music (Boston). 

Magda is fascinated by 20th-century Polish music, including works by Gorecki, Szymanowski and Lutosławski and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree under Simon James at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Her previous teachers include Ian Swensen, Krzysztof Smietana, and Szymon Krzeszowiec. 

Through a unique partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, select Conservatory students are now working as Bridge to Arts and Music (BAM) teaching artists at Music Mission San Francisco.   

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