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.
Byron Hogan is an acclaimed and multifaceted cellist hailing from Lakeland, Florida. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, as well as on stages in Germany, Amsterdam, and Montreal. Hogan holds degrees from Florida Southern College, the University of South Florida, the Boston Conservatory, and as a founding member of the Julius Quartet he has held residencies at Montclair State University and Southern Methodist University. With the Julius Quartet, he also won first-place awards at both the Yellow Springs and Massachusetts American String Teachers Association Chamber Music competitions and participated in The Saint Lawrence Chamber Music Seminar, Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival, Banff Chamber Music Seminar, and Music from Salem. Now based in Hayward, California, Byron is currently writing and performing.
Christina Lesicko holds degrees in Viola Performance and Education from Youngstown State University (OH) and the University of Guadalajara (Mexico). She has played with numerous small ensembles and orchestras across the country and has taught violin and viola students of all ages.
Her passion and love for music and excellence in music education has given her the opportunity to perform and teach in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Christina is passionate about the El Sistema model that recognizes that music is not only enrichment, but can positively impact students’ lives forever.
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 University students are now working as Bridge to Arts and Music (BAM) teaching artists at Music Mission San Francisco.