The button below is for young musicians who already had an audition and were accepted, and for returning members!

Artists-in-Residence: David, Heghine, John, Ilana

BYO is proud to have as a part of our music program our “Artists in Residence” program.  The coaching provided by BYO's artists in residence elevates the support each member of the orchestra receives to a very high level.

In addition, Ilana Matfis, David Ryther, John Bennett, and Heghine Boloyan form the AiR quartet. This ensemble provides professional modeling that is an essential part of BYO's chamber music program.


David Ryther, Artist-in-Residence, Violin

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "Vivid and Extraordinary" Violinist David Ryther has brought his interpretive powers as a soloist to such festivals as the Darmstadt Summer Festival of New Music, the Banff center, and the Green Umbrella Series at the Bing theater in Los Angeles. He has been featured playing new music with adventurous ensembles sf sound group, Earplay, San Francisco Contemporary Players, the Berkeley New Music Ensemble, Sonor, and Octagon. He is a  member of the Circadian String Quartet, a group that specializes in contemporary music. David Ryther graduated with highest honors in music from UC Santa Cruz and recently received his doctorate in contemporary violin performance from UC San Diego. Important mentors of his have included Janos Negyesy, Roy Malan, Roy Oakley, Ravi Shankar, and George Lewis. David Ryther can also be found playing in the Berkeley Symphony and the San Francisco Ballet orchestra. As a music educator, David Ryther is on faculty at the Crowden Center for music in the Community, Villa Sinfonia, and is a violin coach with the Berkeley Youth Orchestra.


Heghine Boloyan, Artist-in-Residence, Violin

Heghine is a teacher with 40 years of experience in the USSR and America. She teaches at The Crowden School, coaches for the Young People's Youth Orchestra and the Berkeley Youth Orchestra, and has coached the Oakland Youth Orchestra for more than 20 years. She currently performs with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Marin and the Santa Rosa Symphony. As a soloist, Heghine has performed with the Oakland East Bay Orchestra, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Fremont Symphony. She was Concertmistress for San Francisco Camerata Americana Chamber Orchestra and has recorded the opera "Corpus Evita" by Carlos Frenzetti. Heghine has performed with the San Francisco Opera and Merola program and has had the pleasure of performing with the greatest musicians in the world such as Sarah Chang, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Az, and Yo-Yo Ma, to name a few. Heghine graduated from the prestigious Armenian Conservatory of Music with a Masters Degree in Violin Performance, Chamber Music Performance and Teaching.


Ilana Matfis, Artist-in-Residence, Viola

Ilana is a freelance violist and teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a Master’s degree in viola performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a B.A. in music from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She is a member of the Sacramento Philharmonic, and is the assistant principal violist of the Berkeley Symphony, the West Bay Opera Orchestra, and Symphony Napa Valley. She appears frequently with other Bay Area ensembles, including the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra, and the Oakland, Marin, Modesto, Santa Rosa and Silicon Valley Symphonies. An enthusiastic teacher, Ilana maintains a private studio of violinists and violists, coaches chamber music for the Villa Sinfonia Foundation, and leads sectionals for the Oakland Youth Orchestra. Ilana is the violist for the Berkeley Youth Orchestra's Artist in Residence string quartet; she spends her Saturday mornings coaching viola sectionals, chamber music, and teaching a viola class for violinists.


John Bennett, Artist-in-Residence, Cello

 John was born and raised in the Bay Area; he attended San Francisco State University and California State University at Hayward and has worked for several summers with Burton Kaplan at the Practice Marathon Retreats in New York. His cello teachers include Allen Gove, Laszlo Varga, Margaret Rowell, and Irene Sharp, with chamber music coaching from Bonnie Hampton and Roy Bogas. Since 2007, John has been the cello/bass coach and a member of the Artist-in-Residence string quartet of the Berkeley Youth Orchestra. Also, he maintains a full private teaching studio at his home in Vallejo, teaching students of all ages and levels, and leading cello ensemble and chamber music classes. John is a member of the Vallejo Symphony and the Symphony Napa Valley, freelances as much as time permits, and has a music contracting business, The Armonioso String Group. John is very involved in singing and is a member of the Vallejo Choral Society, Vallejo Choral Society Chamber Choir, and is the choir director at The Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Vallejo.  John’s great joy is to work with and perform cello/piano music with his wife, the pianist Karen Balabanian.




BYO 45th Season Celebration at Laney College's Quad.

Artists-in-Residence David Ryther, John Bennett and Heghine Boloyan show how it's done!