header image



Yuchi Chou, guest conductor

Yuchi ChouYuchi Chou is thrilled to return to San Francisco and work with CWO after serving as the assistant and associate conductor in 2008-2010. Currently a Doctoral Candidate at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ms. Chou is active as an assistant conductor at 2012 and 2013 Peninsula Music Festival, the winner of 2011 Aspen Conducting Fellowship and 2009 Ansbacher Fellowship with Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival, and the winner of 2009 Shenson Fellowship for emerging artists awarded by San Francisco Foundation. The recording of Ms. Chou conducting the world premiere of Rumpelstiltskin by June Bonacich is included in the CWO 25th Anniversary CD. As an devoted orchestral conductor, Ms. Chou also works very closely with singers in several opera productions in the US and in Italy.

Sandra I. Noriega, Strings Attached artistic director & conductor

Sandra I NoriegaSandra I. Noriega began serving as co-conductor of Strings Attached in 2011. Sandra received a full scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, becoming the first woman to graduate with a degree in Percussion Performance from both the Conservatory in 1983 and CSU East Bay, where she earned her master’s degree in 1985.  Sandra held a tenured position as Principal Timpanist with the Women’s Philharmonic from 1981 to 2004, and has been honored on numerous “Who’s Who” lists.  She has recorded four CDs with The Women’s Philharmonic(CWO’s former professional ‘parent’ organization) on the Koch International label.  Sandra served as a professor of music at the college level for 11 years, and at the high-school and elementary levels since 1975.  She has produced and directed public performances including a Community “Sing-It-Yourself Messiah” in Oakland, Ca.  Sandra also conducts the Bay Area Asian Children’s Percussion Ensemble, an outreach program of the Wisdom Culture and Education Organization.  In 2005, she became the founder and director of The Bay Area Women’s Percussion Troupe, a professional group dedicated to highlighting and promoting the presence of women in the field of Percussion Performance.

In 2008, Ms. Noriega completed an intensive Post-Master’s Program earning a Professional Performer’s Certificate in Instrumental Conducting at California State University, Sacramento.  In addition, she has recently become founder and Music Director of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music’s Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the Youth Symphony, and Percussion Ensemble.  In August of 2009, Sandra was unanimously elected by the Board of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music to serve as its Co-Director.  In 2010, Sandra became a charter member of Classical Musicians with Disabilities and conducted for the inaugural concert of the D Major International Music Festival in Kiev, Ukraine.  In 2011, she was appointed as Associate Director of the DMIMF and conducted the Pleven State Philharmonic in Bulgaria.  In 2012, she was accepted as a participant of Diane Wittry’s Beyond the Baton Conducting Seminar in Connecticut.  Sandra was appointed as assistant conductor of CWO for the 26th season, 2010-2011, and as Artistic Director of CWO’s, Stings Attached, in 2011. From 2008 – 2010, Sandra worked for Education Through Music Bay Area, as a Field Supervisor overseeing Music Educators throughout the Bay Area. Sandra also teaches privately in her percussion studio in Castro Valley.

June Bonacich, Strings Attached assistant director & assistant conductor

June Bonacich

June Bonacich first came to CWO in 2009 as a composer and percussionist. She began directing the new ensemble Strings Attached in 2010.

A San Francisco Bay Area composer, educator, pianist and percussionist, Ms. Bonacich began her musical life at the age of five when she began playing piano. In 1989 she returned to music in earnest when she began composing musicals for her son’s school. Since then, she received her BA in Music from Sonoma State, her AA degree at Mendocino College in Ukiah, and in 1999 graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a Master’s degree in Composition, where she (twice) received the Kris Getz Composition Award.

Ms. Bonacich currently teaches Musicianship, Composition, and Early Childhood Music classes in the San Francisco Conservatory’s Preparatory and Adult Extension division. She has also served on the faculty of the Walden School, the San Francisco Boys Chorus, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Her hilarious musical, Group Therapy, was premiered by the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco in 2006 in San Francisco and Chicago. Recently, CWO premiered Ms. Bonacich’s Fanfare For Tradeswomen (March 2011), and the Oakland Youth Orchestra performed her composition: Rumplestiltskin later the same month.

Dr. Kathleen McGuire, conductor laureate

Dr. Kathleen McGuireCWO performed under the baton of Dr. Kathleen McGuire for eight years from 2005 to 2013 before returning to her native Australia. McGuire has directed choirs and orchestras worldwide since the 1980s, including founding and conducting Australia’s first all-women orchestra in 1990, and serving as the first woman artistic director of the 200-voice San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, 2000-2010. McGuire founded in 2010 Singers of the Street (S.O.S.), a choir for people affected by homelessness. She also served as the Minister of Music at the Congregational Church of San Mateo.

McGuire earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Master of Music degree from the University of Surrey, UK, and studied composition, music education, and conducting at the University of MelbourneMonash University, and the Victorian College of the Arts. Her contributions have been recognized widely, including a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellowship, election to Pi Kappa Lambda of the National Music Honors Society, and selection as Community Grand Marshal for the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade and Celebration. April 22, 2010, was declared by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as “Kathleen McGuire Day,” recognizing a decade of service to the San Francisco Bay Area. She was a recipient of The American Prize in Conducting: Excellence In Music Education Citation, was recognized as a KQED Local Hero, received the “Profile of Excellence” award from ABC7-TV, and she is listed in Who’s Who in the World and other publications.

Additional local conducting credits include The Women’s Philharmonic, Goat Hall Productions, the Empyrean Ensemble, Sacramento Ballet, and Opera by the Bay (Sausalito). She has conducted at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Sydney Opera House, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, Millennium Park Jay Pitzker Pavilion, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier in Montreal, and Buell Theater, Denver. She is a published composer, arranger and musicologist, and is sought after as a guest conductor and clinician. For more information, visit: www.kathleen-mcguire.com


CWO’s Board of Directors consists of at least seven women elected for a one-year term by the orchestra membership.

  • Lisa Raber (cello) – president
  • Linda Kay (viola) – vice-president
  • Barb Jones (basson) - treasurer
  • Tania Valdez (viola) – secretary
  • Sandra Regan (viola) – managing director
  • Beth Voge (flute) – librarian
  • Leah Goldberg (cello) – director at large

Switch to our mobile site