Riverside PhilHarmonic

The Mission of the Riverside Philharmonic is to advance the enjoyment and appreciation of symphonic music to the diverse communities in the Inland Southern California region through performances and innovative programs that challenge, educate, enrich, and entertain.


Established in 1959 as the Riverside Symphony, the orchestra’s debut concert took place April 7, 1959 at Ramona High School and was a sell-out.  The Philharmonic has been delighting its audiences ever since with performances of well known masterworks and newer compositions. 

The orchestra has been acclaimed by local and out-of-town critics for compelling performances and for its unique programming and exceptional roster of guest soloists. On several occasions, reviewers have dubbed the Philharmonic: “Best orchestra in Southern California.” 

The orchestra performs weekend concerts in the state-of-the-art concert hall at the Coil School for the Arts in downtown Riverside.  The orchestra has also appeared throughout the region, including Cerritos, the Ramona Bowl, Lake Elsinore, Fallbrook, Rancho Cucamonga, and Temecula.  It performs at the annual Concert for Heroes at Riverside’s National Cemetery as a part of 4th of July observances.​

Riverside Philharmonic is a non-profit organization.


Tomasz headshot.jpg
Tomasz Golka

Music Director 

Since winning 1st Prize at the 2003 Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition, conductor and composer Tomasz Golka has appeared with orchestras in North and South America and Europe to great critical acclaim.


As guest conductor, he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Seattle, Fort Worth, Buffalo, Spoleto Festival USA, Warsaw Philharmonic, Baden-Baden Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, as well as numerous orchestras throughout Mexico, including those in Xalapa, Mérida, Queretaro, Guadalajara, Boca del Río, Guanajuato, Puebla, Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Juarez, Monterrey, Saltillo, and the OFUNAM in Mexico City, as well as Puerto Rico Symphony in San Juan and in Concepción (Chile), where he was Principal Guest Conductor. He has collaborated with some of the world’s top soloists, including Susan Graham, Alisa Weilerstein, Gary Hoffman, Inon Barnatan, Miriam Fried, Yuval Yaron, Joseph Swensen, and his pianist-brother Adam Golka.


Golka was Chief Conductor of Colombia National Symphony in Bogotá as well as Music Director of the Lubbock Symphony. He was hired as Music Director of Riverside Philharmonic in October 2010 and recently celebrated his 10th anniversary with the orchestra with a virtual concert, available on the Philharmonic’s YouTube channel.


Golka has served as Cover Conductor for Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Solti International Conducting Competition and the 2005 Malko International Conducting competition, where he conducted the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and the Danish Radio Symphony, respectively.


A composer of both film and concert works, he was named Composer-in-residence of the 2018 Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, which commissioned his piece “True Green.” He composed scores for the films “Shaking Cup” (2019), “The Dare” (2018), and the web series “Pagan Holidays” (2019). His concert works have been performed by the symphony orchestras of California, El Paso, Williamsport, Boca del Río, and the Suffolk County Festival Orchestra.


As a conducting fellow at the 2006 Tanglewood Music Festival, Golka conducted a historic performance of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale with legendary composers Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, and John Harbison as narrators – a recording that is now available through the Boston Symphony. He has also recorded Ciranda das sete notas by Heitor Villa-Lobos for Melo Records. He was also a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival in 2002 and has conducted in masterclasses for such esteemed conductors as David Zinman, Yuri Temirkanov, and Daniel Lewis.


Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1975, Golka’s family emigrated to Mexico in 1980 and to the United States in 1982. His conducting teachers were David Effron at Indiana University and Gustav Meier at the Peabody Conservatory. He has a Certificate in Film Scoring from the prestigious UCLA Extension Film Scoring Program where he was the recipient of the coveted BMI/Jerry Goldsmith Film Scoring Scholarship. He also holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in violin performance from Rice University, where his teachers were Sergiu Luca and Kenneth Goldsmith. His other violin teachers included Tadeusz Wronski and Marina Yashvili. He is fluent in Polish, English, and Spanish.

Board Members
Orchestra TEnured musicians


Eugene Sam Fischer


Anna Kostyuchek

Jennifer Y. Takamatsu

Linda Wilson

Michelina Wright 


Aaron Oltman


Rachel L. Coosaia


James F. Bergman

Lisa J. Gass


Eileen M. Holt, Principal

Julie R. Long, 2nd 


Rong-Huey Liu, Principal


Linda G. Silva, 2nd


Duncan F. Massey, Principal

William J. Wood, 2nd  


Sarah C. Bach, Principal

Amy M. Sanchez, 2nd

Laura K. Brenes, 3rd

Audrey H. Lamprey, 4th


David L. Scott, Principal

David A. Etterbeek, 2nd


Steven H. Suminski, 2nd

Philip M. Keen, Bass Trombone


Scott W. Sutherland, Principal


Danielle R. Squyres, Principal

Corey Ritter


Kris R. Mettala, Principal

Executive Commitee
Virginia Blumenthal

Christopher Brown

Ken Gutierrez

Robert Herrick
Vice President

Colleen nicol
Vice President

Stan Morrison
Vice President

Norm Pelzer

Vice President
Board Members
Robert beatty
Erin Christmas
Kim Devlin
Sergio Diaz
Kathleen granillo

Amy Harrison
stephen harding
Robert Hicks

Donna Knox
rose mayes

Marcia McQuern
robert nava
Mireille Savona
Dwight Tate
Kathy Wright

Becky Whatley
Executive Director

Jenny Goldware

Development Director

Personnel Manager/
Orchestra Librarian
Kris Mettala