artistic team

Meet our Artistic Director and Principal Musicians

Naples Community Orchestra is pleased to introduce our Artistic Director Max Rabinovitsj and our principal musicians.

 

Max Rabinovitsj - Artistic Director

Max Rabinovitsj - Artistic Director

Artistic Director Max Rabinovitsj brings a remarkable professional background to his position. In Europe, he founded the Trio da Vinci, which toured extensively on that continent. He was Director of Festivals in Entrecasteaux, France and in Sintra and Evora in Portugal. Max debuted as a solo recitalist in New York City at Alice Tully Hall, in Lincoln Center, and performed the Bach Double concerto in Carnegie Hall with Isaac Stern. As a conductor, he became well known for his interpretations of the classical repertoire and his work with Youth Orchestras. He conducted great artists such as Rostropovich, Jaime Laredo, Gil Shaham, Viktoria Mullova, Maria Joao Pires, Davide Gueringas, Roger Pascal, Pierre Amoyal and many others. As soloist, Max has played under James Levine, Leon Fleisher, Max Rudolf, Thomas Mayer, Walter Susskind, Vladimir Goldschman, Jerzy Semkov, Lukas Foss, Claudio Scimone, Eleazar De Carvalho, Michel Tabachnik, and Philippe Bender.

Max has been a Professor at Washington University, the University of Texas and the University of Evora (Portugal). He has also taught at the Nice Conservatory (France) and Edgecliff Academy in Cincinnati. He met his wife Mary, a harpist, when they were both students at The Curtis Institute of Music.

Since moving to Naples a little over six years ago, Max and his wife have been active in the Naples music community. He has performed at the Cultural Russian Center many times and continues as violinist in The Trio da Vinci. The other Trio da Vinci members are Dror Biran, piano and Paul York, cello. The members are all on the faculty of Louisville School of Music where Max goes every year to give master classes and perform. 

Max hopes to continue giving recitals in Naples. He has played recitals with pianist Alexandra Carlson both in Naples and Sarasota. His calendar is quite full and exciting. Becoming Music Director of The Naples Community Orchestra fulfills a lifelong passion for conducting. Max is on the board of The Russian Cultural Center and is an Ex Officio Board Member of Naples Community Orchestra.

Boris Sandler - Concertmaster

Boris Sandler - Concertmaster

February 7 & 8 and April 17 & 18, 2020

Boris Sandler was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in the former U.S.S.R. and began playing violin at age 7. He was the first prize winner at the State Competition for young performers at age 16 and played Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Mozart violin concertos with the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra. Sandler moved to the United States with his family in 1979 and began studies with Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School. He then continued his studies at the Manhattan School of Music in New York where he received lessons with the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Glenn Dicterow. In 2007, Sandler took a sabbatical from the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra to play with a newly formed opera orchestra in Valencia, Spain under the direction of Lorin Maazel.

Since joining the Naples Philharmonic in 2001, Boris has performed frequently as a chamber musician and as a recitalist with his wife, pianist Bella Gutshtein. They are founders of the Estero

Concert Series, which marks its 9th anniversary this coming season. 

This summer Boris played with the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder Co.

Susan Sikuta - Concertmaster

Susan Sikuta - Concertmaster

January 17 & 18 and March 13 & 14, 2020

A native Californian, Susan completed studies of music and literature at Harvard University (B.A. magna cum laude) and a fellowship year at Indiana University, Bloomington (I.U. Fellow), prior to her concert exam (Performance Degree) at the Conservatory of Music in Freiburg, Germany. As first violinist of the Fandango Quintet, she received first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition Schweinfurt, Bavaria, and performed as soloist with the Heidelberg Chamber Orchestra in concert tours throughout Europe prior to her permanent engagement as first violinist with the Staatstheater Orchestra in Darmstadt, Germany. During the near-decade that followed she also performed regularly with the Wiesbaden Johann-Strauss Orchestra, the Salon Ensemble Soiree, and the German Chamber Orchestra in concert tours throughout Europe and Japan. After a 1999 millennium-move back to the U.S., Susan has continued to perform locally with Anton’s Ensemble Soiree, Opera Naples, the Southwest Florida Symphony, and Classical Chamber Concerts, among others. She also received her law degree summa cum laude from the Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University in 2004 and is a practicing Florida Bar Board Certified Trusts and Estates attorney with Cohen & Grigsby, P.C. in Naples, Florida.

Barbara Lounsbury - Principal Viola

Barbara Lounsbury - Principal Viola

A native Californian, Barbara graduated from UCLA with a Bachelors’ Degree in Music. She then studied privately with David Schwartz (principal violist for the NBC Symphony) at the California Institute of the Arts. Shortly thereafter, she relocated to New York City to pursue a professional career as a violist, studying with Emanuel Vardi. She was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Tanglewood Center for Performing Arts, performed for two seasons at the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy and played the first world tour of the Bolshoi Ballet which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera Hall in New York City. Her musical experience spans a wide variety of styles. She was principal violist at Radio City Music Hall in NYC for 30 years, working with many artists including Tony Bennett, Elton John, Diana Ross, Liberace, Johnny Mathis and George Benson. Her experience also includes playing a number of Broadway shows.

Her symphonic experience has included performing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Symphony in Carnegie Hall, Little Orchestra Society in Lincoln Center, Music for Westchester, New York Choral Society, and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and most recently, The Fifth Ave Chamber Orchestra, Opera Naples and Gulfshore Opera. She also has performed operas with the NYC Opera in Lincoln Center, NY Grand Opera, NJ State Opera, NY Light Opera and the Canadian Opera.​

Diane Coffman - Principal Cello

Diane Coffman - Principal Cello

Diane Coffman is a cellist well-versed in many genres of music. For several years she worked with the major arts entities in the San Francisco Bay area. She was a member of the Aspen Festival Orchestra in Aspen, Colorado. She was also invited to participate in the recording for a film sound track at the Industrial Light and Magic Production Studios at Skywalker Ranch in Novato, California. Diane served as Principal Cellist for the Artea Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco and as a soloist.

She has a Master’s Degree in Music Performance where she studied with Laszlo Varga at San Francisco State University. Her undergraduate studies gave her the opportunity to study with Peter Howard at Bowling Green State University and Joseph Gingold at Indiana University. Diane enjoys playing chamber music. She is a founding member of the Bella Musica Ensemble whose mission is to teach music history and present musical performances of Baroque to Modern music.

Sydney Mason Labbe - Principal Second Violin

Sydney Mason Labbe - Principal Second Violin

Sydney Mason Labbe is a graduate of Stetson University and Western Michigan University, achieving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, in violin performance. In 2009, Sydney went on tour to China with the Appalachian State University Symphony Orchestra and performed joint concerts with the Fudan University Orchestra at the Beijing and Shanghai Concert Halls. She has enjoyed principal positions in all University Orchestras she has performed with.

Sydney performs regularly with the Craig Turley Orchestras and has performed with noted musicians such as The Who, The Alan Parsons Project, Mannheim Steamroller, Frankie Valli, Weird Al Yankovic, and Ramin Djawadi, composer for Game of Thrones

Sydney currently sits principal second violin with the Naples Community Orchestra.

Fred Eckler - Principal Percussionist

Fred Eckler - Principal Percussionist

After earning a Masters Degree in Music in 1965 from The Manhattan School of Music in New York City, Fred went on to have a performance career, spanning more than 50 years, as a percussionist and drummer in that city.

For just over 40 or those years, he was the Principal Percussionist of the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center. In addition, he has performed with the orchestras of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the occasional Broadway show.

Fred became a part time resident of Naples in 2004 and has lived here full time since 2013.