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.
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.
Orchestra TEnured musicians
Eugene Sam Fischer
Jennifer Y. Takamatsu
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
Kris R. Mettala, Principal