About Us

About The Mission Chamber Orchestra of San José

Mission Statement

The mission of the Mission Chamber Orchestra (MCOSJ) is to present professional level performances of classical music in such a way as to encourage the growth of classical music audiences. By attracting and appealing to both traditional and non-traditional concert-goers (especially teens and young adults) MCOSJ plays an important role in expanding our community’s continuing appreciation of classical music.

About the orchestra

Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose (MCOSJ) is a group of 35 – 50 volunteer musicians, performing professional quality classical concerts in San Jose and the South Bay. The orchestra was founded by conductor and musical director Emily Ray in 1996, with the goal of presenting classical performances that are inclusive, accessible and affordable – relevant to first-time concert goers as well as those who already love classical music.

Each annual season is made up of four concerts in San Jose, plus one or two “season extra” concerts at other South Bay venues. The concerts include new and unfamiliar works alongside great classical masterpieces. MCOSJ makes a point of championing living and local composers and has given World Premiere performances of more than 20 works, and West Coast Premieres of many more. Most concerts feature a professional soloist, some are already internationally known, while others are emerging musicians at the outset of their careers. MCOSJ fosters the development of the next generation of musicians by inviting select high school string players to perform side-by-side with the orchestra each season. MCOSJ has released three CD recordings, and frequently collaborates with other local groups to bring exciting larger scale performances to the community.


We welcome musicians interested in performing with the Mission Chamber Orchestra to audition. Please send an email to info@missionchamber.org to advise us of your interest, and you will be contacted by the Music Director.  The orchestra needs string players, in particular.

Concertmaster • Geoffrey Noer

Geoffrey Noer started playing the violin at the age of six and has studied with several notable teachers including Barbara Sonies and Charles Gray. Geoffrey is currently Concertmaster of the Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose, having performed with the group since its founding in 1996. Heard in venues across North America and Europe, he is also an avid chamber musician. Outside of music, Geoffrey holds a computer science degree from Swarthmore College and enjoys a successful high technology career in Silicon Valley.

Principal 2nd Violin • Anne Spector

Anne Spector was raised in the Washington D.C. area and holds bachelor degrees in music therapy and music education in addition to a performance certificate in violin from Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia. Starting her career as a music therapist for emotionally disturbed children, Anne currently teaches instrumental music at a public junior high school in Los Altos. While she enjoys spending her days teaching band, orchestra, and guitar, she also finds great pleasure in playing in Mission Chamber Orchestra and has been part of the orchestra since 1998. Anne also makes time to garden, bake, and play violin or viola in smaller chamber music groups.

Principal Viola • Goetz Leonhardt

Goetz Leonhardt started playing the viola around age 6 in his hometown of Hamelin in northern Germany, where he grew up. He started playing in local orchestras soon after and throughout his time in high school. Towards graduation he was also a member of the state youth symphony orchestra of Lower Saxony, participating in concert tours all over Europe and Israel.

During his college education he was a member of several chamber music groups, and in addition to playing in amateur orchestras he also participated in semi professional groups, playing in churches, at weddings, as well as in all kinds of staged musical events like musicals and operas.

Soon after relocating to the Bay Area in 2001 for a job in engineering he joined the Mission Chamber Orchestra as principal viola. In addition he is involved in chamber music and other amateur orchestras and music groups in the South Bay.

Principal Cello • Garth Cummings

Mr. Cummings began his cello studies in the public school music program in Seattle, Washington, and entered private study soon thereafter. Garth developed an interest in computer programming after being introduced to the subject in high school (in the pre-personal computer era). He used these skills to put himself through college and worked as a software engineer for multiple decades.

Mr. Cummings received his Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He went on to earn Master of Music degrees in Applied Cello and Music Theory from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There he studied cello with Lowell Creitz and chamber music with the Pro Arte Quartet. His master’s thesis topic was Microcomputer Applications in Musical Acoustical Analysis. He was a student of the noted cello pedagogue Irene Sharp for 15 years.

In addition to his teaching activities Mr. Cummings has been principal cellist of Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose since 2000. He is a member of the Peninsula Symphony, a founding member of South Bay Baroque, and is an active chamber musician.

Mr. Cummings is a member of American String Teachers Association and Music Teachers National Association.

Garth is an instrument-rated private pilot and enjoys hiking, cooking, and kayaking. He lives in San Jose with his wife Ann and their retired racing greyhound Turbo.

Principal Bass• Clark Cox

Clark Cox is a bassist, bass guitarist, and software engineer originally from Louisville, KY. These days, he performs regularly with the Mission Chamber Orchestra, and the Nova Vista Symphony. Clark has been playing bass since the age of 7, is a graduate of the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville, KY where he performed in the school’s symphony orchestras, jazz band, and pit orchestra, and was a member of the KMEA All-State orchestra 5 years running. He has performed with many orchestras including the Louisville Youth Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Louisville Mandolin Orchestra.

The bass has been a part of Clark’s life for over 30 years in one form or another, and he is enjoying the return to performance that has been facilitated almost entirely by the Mission Chamber Orchestra.

Principal Flute • Amelia Archer

Amelia Archer has played principal flute with the orchestra since 2001. Her flute studies began with Angela Koregelos, who inspired her to study in France for a year with Alain Marion after graduating from UC Berkeley. Then a Fulbright Scholarship enabled another move, this time to New York City where she studied with master teacher, Keith Underwood. She continued her studies with him after the scholarship year in a masters in performance program at CUNY, Queens College. Amelia returned to the Bay Area to teach flute, conduct flute ensembles, and perform in new music ensembles and for other chamber music concerts. Playing with Mission Chamber Orchestra is one of the most rewarding outlets for her as a musician: rehearsing with friends, challenged by the repertoire, and uplifted with the direction and energy of the concerts themselves.

Principal Clarinet • Sue Biskeborn

Sue has been a member of the Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose since 1999. Originally from New Jersey, Sue studied at Oberlin and Manhattan School of Music, receiving her bachelor’s degree before going on for further studies at the Dalcroze School in New York. An active chamber and orchestral musician, she played in the Philharmonic Symphony of Westchester, Putnam Symphony Orchestra, and was principal clarinet for the Danbury Symphony Orchestra for 10 years before moving to California. Sue’s teachers include Gino Cioffi, Herbert Blayman, Peter Simenauer and Loren Kitt. She also presently plays with Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra, Lyric Theater, and is a member of the Santa Ana Winds woodwind quintet.

Sue lives in Hollister and enjoys teaching music in the one and two room rural schools of San Benito County.

Principal Oboe • Robert Scott

Robert Scott attended Peabody Conservatory and received a bachelors of music from San Francisco Conservatory. He is a freelance oboist in the SF Bay Area having performed with various group including Santa Rosa Symphony, Ensemble Monterey, and Cadenza Chamber Orchestra. He performed as soloist with Mission Chamber Orchestra in 2016 and 2019 playing the Ralph Vaughan Williams Concerto for Oboe and Strings and the Sergio Azevedo Concertino d’Estate respectively. Mr. Scott recently performed the JS Bach Oboe Concerto in A with the newly formed Ensemble South Bay Baroque. Mr. Scott’s principal teachers include Eugene Izotov, Laura Griffiths, Pamela Smith, and Joseph Turner.

Principal Bassoon • Jack Chan

Jack Chan recently relocated to the Bay Area from New York City and is delighted to be joining Mission Chamber Orchestra as principal bassoonist for the first time this 2023-2024 season. He received a bachelors in music from Ball State University in Indiana and was awarded a full Fellowship to earn his masters in bassoon performance from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Before moving to San Jose, he freelanced professionally in his hometown of NYC for many years and was an active chamber player and soloist. His principal teachers include Keith Sweger, Richard Beene, and Daniel Shelly. Amongst his musical passions include opera/choral singing, and electronic music production, being a fan of both secular and classical music. He performed in New York City’s contemporary music scene for years and enjoys everything from pop to classical to the avante garde.
He is also an avid supporter of the arts and has worked and volunteered for many nonprofit arts organizations in the last 25 years in both areas of visual and musical arts. Being a techie artist, he enjoys website design/development, film editing and audio engineering. He enjoys giving back as well through supporting eldercare and animal care. He is currently a dad to four cats at home and cares for ferals in his backyard, where he also loves to get down in the dirt gardening and is now forever obsessed with weeding.

Co-Principal Horn • Brian Holmes

Brian Holmes recently retired as a physics professor at San Jose State, where he taught a course on the physics of music. Among his scientific publications is an article on helium-filed whoopee cushions. He also plays horn with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, the Menlo Brass Quintet, and the Altos Brass. He is active as a composer, writing mostly for chorus, with dozens of commissions, publications, and awards to his credit. His overture Death’s Jest-Book was commissioned by the Mission Chamber orchestra. He is composer-in-residence of Vivace Youth Chorus of San Jose. He has written more Christmas carols (over sixty) than anyone you are likely to meet this week. Ask him very nicely, and he will promise not to play his alphorn for you.

Co-Principal Horn • Gary Crandell

Gary obtained his BA in music in performance on horn from Cal State University Hayward, studying under David Sprung and Dave Krehbiel. He has also studied with Vince DaRosa and Earl Saxton. He has been a freelance horn player in the Bay Area for over 40years. He has played extensively with Diablo Light Opera Company, Theaterworks, Broadway by the Bay, Redwood Symphony, Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Mission Chamber Orchestra, Nova Vista Symphony, Diablo Symphony, Walnut Creek Concert Band, Hayward Municipal Band, and Golden Gate Park Band. He currently plays with Mission Chamber Orchestra and the Diablo Symphony. He also plays Solo Tenor Horn in the Mission Peak Brass Band. He and his wife own a set of Wagner Tubas and freelance on them, as well. And, he currently works for BART fixing trains.

Principal Trumpet • Guy Clark

Guy grew up in Northbrook, Illinois where he began playing trumpet at the age of nine. While living in Illinois, Guy held principal trumpet positions with Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, West Suburban Symphony, Lake Forest Symphony, Highland Park Apple Tree Theatre, and many other groups. He played more than ten years with the six-time National Champion Illinois Brass Band, serving as principal much of the time. He also played principal and E-flat soprano cornet with the 2004 National Champion Chicago Brass Band and performed with the CBB Players, the brass band’s award-winning 10-piece brass ensemble.
After moving to California, Guy has played with several orchestras. Currently he is principal trumpet with the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Palo Alto Philharmonic, and San Jose Lyric Theatre Orchestra, and a member of the San Francisco Wind Ensemble. He is principal cornet with the San Francisco Brass Band. He has been a frequent subtitute trumpet with the Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra and still freelances throughout the Bay Area. He premiered a new trumpet concerto written for him and the Palo Alto Philharmonic by Bay Area composer Lee Actor.
Guy holds Bachelors of Science degrees from the University of Illinois in Chicago, in Biology and Bio-Engineering, but has had a career in electrical engineering. He is currently an electrical engineer at Power Integrations in San Jose.

Principal Percussionist • Stuart Langsam

Stuart Langsam is a multi-faceted percussionist and music educator originally from Southern California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from San Jose State University, a Master of Music Degree from Oklahoma State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Oklahoma.As an avid supporter of new music, he has commissioned and premiered works for a variety of instrumentations including solo marimba, snare drum with electronics, and percussion with voice. He has toured internationally and across the United States as a member of the professional percussion ensemble, Orphic Percussion. In addition to his role as Principal Percussion of the Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose, he plays regularly with a variety of orchestra and chamber groups across the Bay Area.
He has presented a marching percussion exhibition at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and instructional clinics at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association and the Oklahoma Day of Percussion. Dr. Langsam has been an Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa.
He currently holds the office of Vice President of the Northern California Region of the California Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He is endorsed by Innovative Percussion and alongside his percussion colleagues in Orphic, he is an ensemble artist for Marimba One. He works with the percussion program at Saratoga High School, gives private lessons out of the Rhythm Academy of San Jose, and is a full-time instrumental music teacher at E.A. Hall Middle School in Watsonville, CA.
In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, playing strategy games, and spending time with his wife, three children, and their seven and a half pound mini-pincher/chihuahua mix, Shadow

Board of Directors

Jordan Selburn, President
Andy Cottrell, Vice President
Anne Spector, Secretary
Susan Biskeborn, Treasurer
Lynne Burstein
Sofi Jaquez
Casey Morrison
Emily Ray
Forrest Williams