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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.  


Renee Fong received her Bachelor of Music in Performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in Long Beach, California, under the coaching and mentorship of Dr. David Garrett, member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has performed many solo, orchestral, and chamber music concerts during her time in Southern California. 

A native of San Francisco, Renee Fong began playing the piano at age 6 and the guzheng (Chinese zither) at age 9. As the first in her family to study music, she did not discover the joy of playing the cello until the age of 11, there after joining the SFUSD’s orchestras during her secondary education years. A true multi-instrumentalist at heart, Renee only started private cello lessons at age 17 with the encouragement and mentorship of Matthew Linaman, faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College Program, after deciding to seriously pursue cello for higher education. 

Since then, Renee has enjoyed diving into the world of classical music, and gained immense experience not only in cello but also dual education in music composition and production. She extended her studies to Hong Kong Baptist University where she studied with Laurent Perrin, member of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. 

Renee has been actively reconnecting with her home city and is continuing her musical pursuits by giving back to the music-making community here in San Francisco!


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.

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Angelina Yuan-Fen Ho is a flutist with a passion for performing and teaching. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and originally from Taiwan, Angelina graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a Master of Music in Flute Performance and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from UC Berkeley. She is deeply grateful to her teachers, Mark Sparks, Timothy Day, Emily Skala, Isabelle Chapuis, and other mentors.

As a performer, Angelina has performed with the Berkeley Symphony, Berkeley Community Choir and Orchestra, Peninsula Cantare, and the Merced Symphony. Her dedication extends beyond the concert hall, as she brings music to residents in some assisted living facilities through solo recitals. Witnessing the transformative power of music in these settings brings her immense personal fulfillment.

Angelina's passion extends to nurturing the next generation of flutists. She takes great pride in teaching students of all ages, from young beginners to seasoned players, tailoring her lessons and group classes to their individual needs and goals. Her infectious enthusiasm and innovative approach, such as incorporating music games for younger students, create a fun and engaging learning environment that fosters a lifelong love for music.

Beyond music, Angelina cherishes the company of her beloved cats, immerses herself in captivating movies, finds tranquility in the graceful rituals of Japanese tea ceremonies, and seeks rejuvenation by the calming embrace of the beach.


Violist Adrian Jackson, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, is pursuing a professional studies certificate in orchestral studies at the San Francisco Conservatory.

He began studying music, initially on the violin, at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy in Austin, TX and discovered the viola when he was fifteen years old. 

Adrian has performed as principal violist of the Southern Tier Symphony, section violist in the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and the winner of the Dennis De Couteau Ballet Orchestra Fellowship. He has attended esteemed festivals like the Interlochen Arts Camp, Heifetz Institute, Castleman Quartet Program, and Red Rock Chamber Music festival. Adrian is a recipient of the La Crosse Symphony (WI) fellowship where he is currently working with local high schools,  performing for the Gundersen Music Healing program, and working with the Boys and Girls Club Free Violin Lessons program.

Adrian has served on the faculties of the Leander Music School, Rochester Music Collaborative, Bach to Rock Music School, and the Music and Arts Center teaching violin, viola, and piano.


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.

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Trombonist Miriam Snyder lives in San Francisco, California, where she recently
completed a master’s degree in trombone performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of
Music. Before moving to San Francisco, Miriam lived in Rochester, New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Her primary teachers have included Dr. David Hamilton, Larry Zalkind, and Paul Welcomer.

Miriam currently teaches private lessons and freelances in several Bay Area orchestras
including symphonies in Stockton, Santa Rosa, Marin, and Monterey. As a passionate solo and
chamber musician, Miriam has succeeded in several competitions, with the most recent
including being a finalist in the 2023 SFCM Winds, Brass Percussion, and Harp Concerto
Competition, runner-up in the 2022 SFCM Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition, placing first
in the 2021 American Trombone Workshop’s Quartet Competition, and placing third in the
national level of the 2017 MTNA Senior Brass Competition.


As an educator, Miriam holds positions as instructor of brass and piano at Vibo Music School, brass instructor at Music Mission San Francisco, and general and instrumental music teacher at Sunset Elementary School. Throughout spring 2024, Miriam will be performing in elementary schools across San Francisco as a member of Gusto Winds for the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures In Music program.

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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