A warm welcome from our conductors and sectional coaches! Our Symphonic Holidays are a unique and transformative experience and we look forward to sharing our passion for making music with you.

The players amongst us are here to motivate and enable you to get as much from the music as possible. We are a team of professional musicians, many of us also teachers and be it during the tutti rehearsals or the sectionals, we are on hand to help resolve musical or technical issues and to give any individual player advice, so that you can get the best out of the orchestral experience.

The conductors amongst us work with both professional and amateur orchestras and we enjoy bringing out the best in highly motivated and committed players. We bring our enthusiasm, expertise and experience to the holiday podium and are all available throughout the courses to talk about our - and your - vision of the pieces you are playing.

Please refer to the description of your chosen Symphonic Holiday to see which of the following members of our team are engaged on your course.​

Jonas Hees

Jonas Hees had already been organizing the traditional Sinfonietta Bardou in Southern France for many years when in 2017 he created Symphonic Holidays with the aim to develop and extend the concept of orchestral holidays and to open this experience up to a wider group of amateur musicians. For twenty years he had been a lawyer for international businesses with a focus on Italy, but in 2020 decided to drop out from his lawyer’s career and continue with Symphonic Holidays only.

Jonas is responsible for the management of Symphonic Holidays, choosing new destinations and coordinating the work with conductors and coaches for the various programmes.

Jonas takes care of operations at each destination and as an amateur cellist also takes part in the orchestra. As a passionate cook he particularly focuses on the best food for our Symphonic Holidays.

Cayenna Ponchione

Alaska-born conductor Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey is emblematic of the 21st century’s newest vanguard of orchestral leadership. She is a leader in social justice and environmental sustainability within music, both on and off the podium, and her bold orchestral initiatives are pioneering in tackling the pressing issues of our time. Since first travelling to Afghanistan in 2018, she has worked particularly closely with Afghan musicians, composers, and conductors of the country to create genre-defying work that has been described as ‘mesmerising, moving and original’. Cayenna has commissioned and premiered eight new orchestral works by Afghan composers in 2022, work that was featured by BBC Radio 3’s ‘Music Matters’, The Guardian, and The Times.

Cayenna is a long-time advocate of new music which addresses environmental and social issues, commissioning and premiering dozens of new compositions. She also has a specialism in the works of underrepresented historical composers.

Cayenna is currently Director of Performance at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and Director of Research for the Oxford Conducting Institute. She holds master’s degrees in orchestral conducting, percussion performance (Ithaca), and a doctorate in the social psychology of orchestral performance (DPhil in Music) from the University of Oxford. Conducting tutors and masterclass mentors have included Neil Thompson, Marios Papadopoulos, Valery Gergiev and Marin Alsop. She is featured in a new documentary by Swedish filmmaker Christina Olofson, Call Me Madame Maestro, alongside JoAnn Falletta and Victoria Bond, on the current climate for women conductors. Her work has been funded by Arts Council England, British Council, Leverhulme Trust, Oxfordshire Community Foundation, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, and many others.

For more information visit: www.cayenna.info

Frédéric Tschumi

Frédéric Tschumi, born in Morges / Switzerland, studied conducting with Nicolás Pasquet and Gunter Kahler and the violin with Ursula Dehler at the College of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar. During his studies, he already conducted several professional orchestras in Germany and Czech Republic.

Frédéric already had a long history of conducting several amateur orchestras in Southern Germany when he was appointed in 2015 conductor of the Orchestra of the University of Leipzig and of the Europera Youth Orchestra. In 2016 he was guest conductor of the Landesjugendorchester of Saxony. For the season 2017 /2018 he was called to conduct Orchester’91, a leading amateur symphony orchestra in Hamburg.

Frédéric joined our team in 2015 and for three seasons was the musical director of the Sinfonietta Bardou in summer.

David Sofer

David Sofer is a conductor from Tel Aviv, with a focus on education and amateur orchestras in Israel. He completed his studies in conducting at the Buchmann-Mehta Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. David also studied piano, double bass, orchestration and composition.

David is the principal conductor of the Ben-Dorit Symphonic Orchestra and the Sharon Symphony Orchestra and he conducts three student orchestras (Technion Symphony, Reut Art School Symphony and the string orchestra of the Yuval Conservatory. He is invited as guest conductor at professional orchestras as the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, the Galilee Chamber Orchestra that unites Jewish and Arab musicians in Nazareth, the Raanana Symphonette and the Israel NK Orchestra.

David has written music for dance in collaboration with choreographer Dana Rutenberg, and music programs for children with Dr. Idit Sulkin. He teaches piano and conducting privately and is a chamber musician and coach.


David Curtis

David Curtis’ career has encompassed chamber music, instrumental teaching and conducting. As viola player in the Coull String Quartet he toured Europe, the Far East, Australia, North and South America and gave over 250 broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and recorded over 25 CDs.

In 1993 he founded Orchestra of the Swan, one of the most successful chamber orchestras in the UK, and was its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for twenty-five years. David toured with the orchestra to Germany, China, Mexico and the USA. He commissioned over 80 new works, conducted on live television for the Royal Shakespeare Company, recorded CDs with Dimitri Ashkenazy, Peter Donohoe and Tamsin Waley-Cohen. He instigated an award-winning programme of operas for children with special needs.

David has been the Principal Guest Conductor of the North Hungarian Symphony and has conducted the Academy of St Martin’s-in-the-Field, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony, Moravská Filharmonie and Festival Chorus, Mikkeli City Orchestra, Hamburg Symphonica and many other professional, student and amateur orchestras. He is conductor of the Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble of committed and experienced amateur, student and professional musicians giving about six concerts each year.

David has extensive experience of coaching, including at Canford, Keele University, Aberystwyth Festival, Oxford Chamber Music, the American International Schools in Beijing, Singapore and Daegon (Korea), and summer orchestral courses in Guernsey and Annecy. He is also a conducting teacher and has taught in Houston, London and Muscat.


Constance Ricard

Constance Ricard grew up in Bordeaux and now lives in Berlin with her husband and their three young children. When she was 15, the discovery of the string quartet convinced her to become a professional cellist and chamber music has remained the core of her artistic activity. She is a founding member if the Franz Trio and of the Ensemble Tamuz, a group devoted to exploring the repertoire of eighteenth and nineteenth century chamber music on period instruments which gives concerts all over Europe. In 2023, the Ensemble Tamuz launched their iwn concert series in Berlin and recorded for the WDR-radio in Cologne. In 2024/25, they will play their debut-concert at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and at the Ravenna Festival in Italy.

Constance studied the cello with Marc Coppey in Paris and later with Peter Bruns in Leipzig. She went on to study baroque cello with Balázs Máté and Jan Freiheit, graduating from the Universität der Künste in Berlin. She is a regular guest with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and other ensembles of historical performance practice. She also works regularly with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Geneva Camerata.

In 2016 she played the premiere of Hermann Keller's hour-long solo piece for a speaking cellist “Ihr sollt die Wahrheit erben,” which she has since performed several times, in particular in 2019 for the German radio in Cologne during the Forum Neuer Musik festival. A dedicated teacher, Constance teaches private students in Berlin and has been coaching amateur musicians during Symphonic Holidays since 2018.


Prof. Jaime González

Jaime González from Chile holds a professorship for oboe and chamber music at the College of Arts in Bern / Switzerland. Since 2000 he has been member of Ensemble Recherche in Freiburg / Germany, a leading chamber music ensemble for contemporary music.

Jaime studied oboe in Freiburg and Karlsruhe / Germany with Hans Elhorst, Thomas Indermühle and Heinz Holliger and won several prizes in competitions in Italy and Germany. He makes chamber music and orchestra performances in Europe, Japan, China and North- and South America with a repertoire from early baroque until contemporary music. Jaime gives master classes around the world.

Jaime will leave the Ensemble Recherche in October 2017, and after 17 years dedicated to contemporary music will now focus on the baroque oboe.

Rodrigo Bauzá

Violinist and composer Rodrigo Bauzá was born in Formosa (Argentina) in 1983 and lives in Berlin. He has had a varied and rich performing experience, ranging from classical music to jazz, Argentinian folk, and tango. He studied violin in Uruguay and Argentina with Jorge Risi and later with Mariana Sirbu in Leipzig, where he graduated with honours in both classical and jazz violin.

He has played chamber music with such distinguished artists as Christian Zacharias, Caroline Widmann and Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. He was a member of the Cuarteto Arriaga for several years, giving concerts at the Wigmore Hall, at the “Folles Journées” in Nantes and Tokyo, at the “Quincena Musical” in San Sebastián and at the prestigious “Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus”.

Rodrigo Bauzá has played with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig for several years, and is a member of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin since 2014.

In 2013, Rodrigo founded the Cuareim Quartet, taking the string quartet beyond its classical boundaries: while the four musicians focus on contemporary jazz and improvised music, they eagerly embrace a wide variety of aesthetics and styles. The Cuareim Quartet has released three CDs, “Cinco” in 2015, “Danzas” in 2020 and "A Jazz Story" in 2024.

Over the last few years, Rodrigo has focused more and more on composition, and has written pieces commissioned by the Orquesta nacional de música argentina Juan de Dios Filiberto in Buenos Aires (2017), the Ensemble Tamuz (2019 and 2023), the Musikschule-Hochsauerlandkreis (2020) and the Zafraan Ensemble (2021). He also composes for several ensembles in which he plays himself, as the Cuareim Quartet and the Duo Bauza/Perrino, and is currently working on a solo program for the viola d’amore, an instrument he has taken a great interest in and plays since 2018.

He has given master-classes in Spain, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina and teaches violin and improvisation privately in Berlin.


Vincenzo Schembri

Vincenzo Schembri, born in Palermo, studied viola at the Conservatory Vincenzo Bellini in Palermo and continued his studies with Bruno Giuranna at the Accademia Musicale 'Walter Stauffer' of Cremona and the Accademia Nazionale di S. Cecilia, and also with Jurij Bashmet at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena.

Vincenzo has played with the orchestras of Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania and of Teatro dell' Opera in Rome. He has been principal viola of the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo since 1996, where he has already performed several concerts as soloist.

He is passionately engaged in chamber music and since 1998 has worked continually with the Orchestra da Camera Italiana directed by Maestro Salvatore Accardo. In 2003 Vincenzo founded Gliarchiensemble; a strings-only chamber ensemble which performs in major concert venues all over the world. In 2006 he studied orchestral conducting with Maestro Ennio Nicotra.

Adriano Ancarani

Adriano Ancarani has first studied cello and baroque cello at the Civica Scuola di Musica of Milan and in 1990 graduated at the Conservatory G.B. Martini of Bologna.

Adriano has specialized in early music on original instruments, also performing with Ensemble Concerto Italiano and Accademia Bizantina di Ravenna on stages worldwide and for disc productions.

Adriano since 2006 is artistic director and coach for string instruments of the John Cabot Chamber Orchestra, an orchestra that unites professional and amateur musicians in Rome. Since 2000 he teaches in Rome at the music school Sylvestro Ganassi where he also conducts and coordinates the string orchestra, and at the Civica Scuola delle Arti. He is artistic director and teacher at the Campus Musicale in Collevecchio and has given master classes for cello, baroque cello and chamber music at the Campus Musicale Musica nel Parco in Lecco and at the Festival Federico Cesi in Trevi.

Hande Küden

At the age of 8, Hande Kueden sang in a children’s choir and saw a young violinist at a concert. From then on, she also wanted to play this instrument – although her mother tried to persuade her to play the piano. But she insisted on the violin, and a year later was studying at the state conservatory at Çukurova University under Dania Kainova. In 2012, she moved to Berlin to Stephan Picard at the Academy of Music “Hanns Eisler” Berlin and in 2015 changed to Tabea Zimmermann, with whom she studied violin and viola.

She gained further musical impetus in masterclasses with Tabea Zimmermann, Dora Schwarzberg, Natalia Prischepenko, Tedi Papavrami, Salvatore Accardo, Haim Taub and Kolja Blacher. She completed her training as an orchestral musician as a Ferenc Fricsay Fellow of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and at the Karajan Academy, where she was taught by Christian Stadelmann and Thomas Timm. Before joining the Berliner Philharmoniker, she was deputy concertmaster of the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin from 2016. Read more...

Louis Merlet

Louis Merlet is professor for viola at the Toulouse Conservatory since 25 years. Louis, who was born in Paris, after his studies in Versailles and Strasbourg started his career at the age of 21 as solo violist of the Toulouse Chamber Orchestra. With this orchestra he experimented the life of a musician: concerts, tours, festivals, recordings.

A few years later he left this position to devote himself to Chamber music with the Eleusis Quartet and Ensemble Pythagore - contemporary music -, and more recently with the QuarteXperience String Quartet. As collaborator of the Goethe Institut and Al-Kamandjâti in Palestine, he contributes to many projects where friends, researchers and creators are reunited. He also supports the Association Classisco for music at school, the Collectif eOle team of composers, and he coaches the viola section of the Toulouse University Orchestra. In 2016, together with the composter Alain Kremski he created "Le Grand Labyrinthe Blanc" for viola and Tibetan gongs. Innovation, crossover styles and transmission are the values that nourish and characterize Louis’ journey from the beginnings to the present.