Founded in the spring of 2013, the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco was born out of a collective desire to perform the great chamber music repertoire. Dedicated to bringing these masterworks to diverse audiences, CMSSF is passionate about concertizing in intimate settings, creating close connections between performers and listeners, and cultivating a relationship between music and audiences that extends far beyond the perimeter of the concert hall.
CMSSF brings together Bay Area musicians of diverse musical experience. They can be heard performing with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Oakland Symphony, Magik*Magik Orchestra, as well as many other chamber ensembles, including early music, jazz, tango, and pop.
Founding members Natasha Makhijani, Jory Fankuchen, Clio Tilton and Samsun van Loon came together through their mutual love of the late Beethoven String Quartets. Forming a core to collaborate with beloved Bay Area musicians as guest artists.
Violinist and violist Jory Fankuchen has built a reputation as an engaging performer of many genres, as well as a passionate pedagogue. In response to this versatility, the San Francisco Examiner recently raved, Mr. Fankuchen’s “flamboyant” performance “created the illusion that Eugene Ysaye had been born in Argentina, possibly in a bed next to Jean Sibelius.” His ensembles include the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Magik Magik Orchestra, Squid Ink, the Musical Art Quintet, the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco, and he appears as a regular guest with the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Jory has appeared as soloist with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, the Berkeley Symphony, at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has the distinction of performing on Jascha Heifetz’s Guarneri del Gesu violin at the Legion of Honor.
Chamber music has always been the driving force behind Jory’s passion for music. He has performed in concert with artists such as Robert Mann, Joseph Silverstein, Joel Krosnick, Bonnie Hampton, Mark Sokol, and Ian Swensen. As first violinist of the Kailas String Quartet, he performed throughout North America, winning first prize in the Chamber Music International Competition, and silver at the National Fischoff Competition. Jory serves on the faculty of the Crowden Music Center, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, and most recently as a visiting lecturer at Cornell University. He holds a B.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory, and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Ian Swensen and Lucy Chapman, respectively.
Learn more about Jory at www.joryfankuchen.com
Violinist Natasha Makhijani holds a Bachelor of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music. Her principle teachers include Bettina Mussumeli, Zvi Zeitlin, and Charles Castleman. Natasha has appeared as concertmaster and assistant concertmaster of numerous orchestras, including those of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and the Eastern and Las Vegas Music Festivals. She appeared as assistant concertmaster and soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra and while at Eastman she was invited to be a member of the Graduate Chamber Music Society.
Currently residing in San Francisco, Natasha is in demand throughout the Bay Area as a performer and a teacher. She is the Associate Concertmaster of the Oakland Symphony, a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Magik Magik Orchestra, and has performed with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera.
Equally dedicated to teaching as she is to performing, Natasha has held teaching positions at the Eastman School of Music and the San Domenico School Conservatory, and is on currently on the faculty of The Crowden Music Center and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College Division. She has also recently picked up the baton, as a member of the conducting staff of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra.
Violist Clio Tilton delights in the diversity and excitement in her career. Seeking to share her gifts both through teaching and performing, she can be heard around the Bay Area in a wide range of groups: early music ensembles, symphony orchestras, chamber groups, and rock bands.
Clio performs regularly as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Contemporary Players, Oakland Symphony, American Bach Soloists, and as well as other regional orchestras. Sought after as a chamber musician, Clio has performed with the Friction Quartet, Classical Revolution, and is a founding member of the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco. She has recorded for Time Warner with the Camerata de Lausanne, and has also been heard in recordings with Shajarian, Geographer, and Meklit.
Clio completed Oberlin's double degree program in viola performance and comparative literature. After earning her master's at Juilliard, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study orchestral and baroque performance in Switzerland. During her two years studying in Lausanne and Geneva, Clio performed with Swiss ensembles such as l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sinfonietta de Lausanne, and the Camerata de Lausanne.
Chamber music has always been, and continues to be, a central part of Clio's musical pursuits. She spent three formative summers at the prestigious Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Blue Hill, Maine during college, and has coached chamber music with the Juilliard String Quartet, Misha Amory of the Brentano Quartet, and Sylvia Rosenberg. During her time at Juilliard she was a member of the award-winning Calla Quartet. In Europe she performed at the THY festival, and most recently has become passionate about finding ways to share chamber music with audiences on a deeply personal level through her work with the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco. Learn more about Clio at www.cliotilton.com.
Cellist Samsun van Loon has been critically praised as a "promising talent" with "the rhetorical polish of a skilled storyteller." He studied as a quartet cellist at seminars with the Alexander, Miro and Takacs quartets, and his passion for chamber music has led him to recently participate in the Academie Musical at Morges, Switzerland, Thy Chamber Music Festival in Denmark, as well as New York's Arcos Orchestra's Germany tour and recording of the music of Swedish composer Anders Eliasson for the Neos label.
While studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Jean-Michel Fonteneau, he received the conservatory's chamber music honors award, as well as the M. Alan Neys Award for first prize at the Pacific Musical Society's annual competition. Recent concert appearances include the series at Old Saint Mary's, Old First Presbyterian Church, Legion of Honor, as well as a duet with Cambodian dancer Chary Burt at San Francisco's annual Ethnic Dance Festival.
Samsun currently resides in San Francisco and in addition to maintaining a private teaching studio he is a regular faculty member at Lake Tahoe's Zephyr Music Camp, Cazadero Music Camp, and San Francisco's Community Music Center. In addition to the Chamber Music Society of SF he is a member of the conductorless chamber orchestra One Found Sound.