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Musician Profile: Peter Myers, Assistant Principal Cello

Peter Myers is a striking example of the outstanding young talent our orchestra has been able to attract.


A polymath with a wide range of skills, he might well have become a scientist - as a young boy with a scientific bent, he summoned up the courage to send a letter to astronomer Carl Sagan. The famed scientist’s encouraging reply is now a treasured keepsake. But the lure of music eventually proved to be irresistible, and after starting piano lessons at the age of four, he fell in love with the cello four years later.



From a musical family (his parents and siblings are all musicians), Peter studied with two of the finest teachers in the country, Ronald Leonard and Ralph Kirshbaum, and is a graduate of the Colburn Conservatory and USC. Before settling in San Francisco, he enjoyed the traveling musician’s life, concertizing in Japan, Mongolia, Laos, and Pakistan, as well as performing in this country with the Marlboro Music Festival and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. As early as 2013, Peter had his sights set on joining the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, but an opening in the cello section did not occur until 2017. After a vigorous and taxing three-round audition, he was selected from a field of 110 applicants to fill the coveted position. Our Music Director at the time, Nicola Luisotti, was very taken with Peter’s playing, and strongly expressed his pleasure and enthusiasm at welcoming a musician of his caliber to the orchestra.


Entrepreneurial spirit was evident from his student days. He founded two ensembles, the Saguaro Piano Trio (saguarotrio.com) and the SAKURA Cello Quintet (sakuracellos.com), the latter being one of the most unusual and arresting groups before the public today. The following SAKURA video of Debussy’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” in Peter’s own arrangement, is a wonderful example of his ability on the cello (he performs the fiendishly difficult high solo beginning at 1:52), his skill at arranging, and the quintet’s overall artistry, both individually and as an ensemble.



Peter has found family in the Orchestra: “I knew I would love living in San Francisco, and this beautiful city has not let me down. It’s the first place I’ve ever lived that I am constantly homesick for whenever I’m away. I also knew I’d enjoy playing with singers and the opera repertoire. But the best thing about my job in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, that I hadn’t expected or even considered, is the wonderful, warm community of steady colleagues who welcomed me into their ranks.”


The Orchestra has been proud to welcome Peter into its ranks, and we hope to look forward to a bright future of both his presence and our maintaining the ability to attract such fine musicians.

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Photo of San Francisco War Memorial Opera House © Mingjia Liu