Who We Are

 

Magik*Magik is a made-to-order orchestra for artists and creatives.  

The size of the orchestra is dependent on the artist's goal and has ranged from a single violinist to a 80-piece symphony and choir.

 

Founded and organized by composer Minna Choi, M*MO debuted at Herbst Theater in 2008 performing Jonny Greenwood’s Popcorn Superhet Receiver to critical acclaim and a sold out house. 

Since then, M*MO has collaborated with over 150 artists and cultural institutions on an international level almost entirely by word of mouth. Ranging in size from a single violinist to a 80-piece orchestra and choir, M*MO has cast orchestral players and arrangers into hundreds of creative endeavors, including a 5-week North American tour and with Death Cab for Cutie; live performances with Chicago, Sting, Thao, Nick Cave, Third Eye Blind and Weezer; recording the score for the major motion pictures Looper, Kill the Messenger and Young Ones; summer camps for more than 700 Children at the Stern Grove Festival; an original children’s book soundtrack for McSweeney’s; numerous recordings with The Dodos, John Vanderslice, and composer Nathaniel Stookey; several sold-out shows with The Walkmen and Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers; and numerous others. M*MO has performed at the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco, accompanied performances by the ODC/Dance Company alongside cellist Zoë Keating, and performed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of an exhibition on Italian Futurists. In 2014, M*MO celebrated its 5 year anniversary with a 10 band collaborative bill at The Fox Theater.

Most of the bands we work with have never worked with orchestral musicians prior to working with M*MO. To date M*MO has proudly earned and distributed half a million dollars to freelance orchestral musicians. M*MO is the in-house orchestra for Tiny Telephone Studios and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.


Our Players

Our players are selected for projects based on their technical ability, professionalism, coachability, and their innate understanding of pop music. Their well-rounded musicality make the Magik*Magik Orchestra the favorite of producers including John Congleton and Chris Walla, amongst many others. The players in the Magik*Magik Orchestra perform frequently with the Bay Area’s top orchestras and are graduates of respected musical institutions including the San Francisco Conservatory, the Juilliard School, the Peabody Conservatory, and the Eastman School of Music.

Our strings are led by the following section leaders:

Liana Berube (concertmaster) - Canadian violinist Liana Berube's love of the violin began at the age of six and has since taken her around the world. Having performed in 14 countries on 4 continents, she is a founding member of the Delphi Trio, with whom she concertizes regularly nationally and internationally. Liana is deeply committed to using the communicative power of music to bridge differences in the world.

Michelle Kwon (principal cello) - Born and raised in the Bay Area, cellist Michelle Kwon is an enthusiastic performer and collaborator. She is a founding member of the Delphi Trio, with whom she has performed nationally and internationally since 2009. She also plays with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and the Monterey Symphony.

Philip Brezina (principal second violin) - A University of Maryland and San Francisco Conservatory graduate, Philip currently plays violin in groups with music ranging from bluegrass to persian traditional and finds that the beauties of life outside the practice room are as essential to music making as the sounds created within one. 

Jory Fankuchen (principal viola) - Violinist and violist Jory Fankuchen is quickly building a reputation as an engaging performer of many genres, as well as a passionate pedagogue. His many groups include the Magik*Magik Orchestra, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Musical Art Quintet, Squid Inc, and the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco. Jory is faculty at the Crowden Music Center, as well as the PACO and Crowden chamber music camps.


Our Arrangers & Composers

Minna Choi - Artistic Director Minna Choi (b. 1981) founded the Magik*Magik Orchestra in 2008 and remains its music director and lead arranger. Since starting Magik, she has worked closely with over 80 artists writing musical arrangements and conducting performances. Minna’s natural musicality and warm professionalism have guided her writing collaborations with highly respected acts such as Death Cab for Cutie, Weezer, John Vanderslice, The Dodos, Explosions in the Sky, The Lonely Forest, Zach Rogue, Thao, How to Dress Well, Mike Patton, Santana, Third Eye Blind, Thao, Zoe Keating, Son Lux, Hauschka, Faux Fix and Christina Vantzou.

Magik*Magik now has several assistant arrangers we hire for recordings and shows including:

Karl Digerness - Karl is a southern expat who has called San Francisco home since 2003. He has written dozens of arrangements for sacred, jazz and chamber music as well as charts for bands such as Third Eye Blind and Doe Eye. Karl's indie-pop project, The Frail Ophelias, explores the work of Shakespeare. Their first song cycle, “Macbeth”, debuted at NYC’s Chelsea Music Festival in 2013, and was performed at Stern Grove on the Road in 2014. Additionally, he has composed for Project Agora and San Francisco International Arts Festival.

Nahuel Bronzini - Nahuel Bronzini (b. 1988) is an Argentine guitarist and composer currently based in San Francisco. He studied at Escuela de Música Contemporánea (Buenos Aires) and at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Besides his arranging and production work, he currently performs with chamber jazz group “The View From Bernal Hill”.

Dario Slavazza - Dario Slavazza is a Bay-area native multi-instrumentalist, arranger, performer, and coffee enthusiast. His hobbies include home-made audio electronics, motorcycles, and books. 

Britney KaplanBritney Kaplan met Minna Choi at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, both having studied under Elinor Armer. She began working with Magik in 2011 and has since then written arrangements for Third Eye Blind, producer Narada Michael Walden, City Church San Francisco, and several local artists.