BCO Roster

Conductor Hisham Bravo Groover

Hisham Bravo Groover is serving in his first season as Music Director and Conductor of the Buffalo Community Orchestra. In addition, he is pursuing his doctorate degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Minnesota, studying under Mark Russell Smith. At the university, Hisham serves as co-director of the university’s campus orchestras.

Before moving to Minneapolis, Hisham lived in Denver, CO, where he held the positions of Associate Conductor of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Arapahoe Philharmonic, and Assistant Conductor of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theater. While living in Colorado, he also received his artist diploma in orchestral conducting from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. Prior to Colorado, Hisham graduated with a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The University of Iowa.

As an educator, Hisham is deeply passionate about working with students. He has served as Adjunct Instructor and Conductor at Ripon College (Wisconsin) as well as at Arapahoe Community College (Colorado). Furthermore, he was invited to conduct the 2018 Colorado State University-Pueblo Honors Orchestra in Pueblo, CO.

Aside from conducting, Hisham is also a violinist. Throughout his education, he has studied with several pedagogues including Mark Rush, Michel Boris Zaitzeff, and Ching-Yi Lin. Hisham holds a master’s degree in violin pedagogy from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Loyola University in New Orleans. Additional violin studies have taken him to the New Zealand School of Music and the summer orchestra festivals at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

Hisham’s principal conducting mentors include Mark Russell Smith, Leonid Grin, Lawrence Golan, and William LaRue Jones.

As the new Music Director of the Buffalo Community Orchestra, Hisham is proud to serve its musicians and community during its celebratory 25th season.


Buffalo Community Orchestra Board:

President: Michael Walsh
Vice President: Jolyn Halvorson
Secretary: Joelle Strandquist
Treasurer: Jeff Burns

Gretchen Katzenberger
Sarah Kremer
Kendall Kubasch
Veronica Lilly
Mary Ellen Lundsten
Thomas Maresh
Yvonne Rammel

Concertmaster James Zabawa-Martinez

James Zabawa-Martinez was born in Austin, Texas and had a strong desire to play the violin since early childhood. He began his studies at the age of 11 in his middle school orchestra. When James was 14, he met violinist Jennifer Bourianoff from the Austin Symphony and began to study with her. Shortly after, he moved to Faribault, Minn. to attend Shattuck-St. Mary’s Pre-Conservatory Program, where he studied with Sally O’Reilly.

He continued his studies with her while earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. James has performed in various master classes for teachers including Joseph Silverstein, Pamela FrankAni Kavafian, Angie Fuller, Yair KlessJonathan MagnessVijay Gupta, Bruce Coppock, and many more. James has performed throughout Europe and North America as a soloist and chamber musician, and has participated in national-level competitions such as the Sphinx Competition, Saint Paul Chamber Competition, Music Teachers National Association, and more. He received his master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin with professor Brian Lewis, and maintained a teaching studio at Orpheus Academy of Music. He is currently working on his Doctoral degree with Sally O’Reilly and works as her teaching assistant.

The Orchestra

  • icon-violin

    Violin I

    Sarah Braith
    Kari Hartman GM
    Sarah Kremer
    Veronica Lilly
    Diana Mills
    Julie Rathmanner#
    Dawn Weis#
    James Zabawa-Martinez+

  • icon-violin

    Violin II

    Anna Colbenson
    Sophia Cruz
    Marilyn Groth#
    Mary Ellen Lundsten
    James Lyke
    Aja Majkrzak *
    Ryan Nelson
    Ellie Stonecipher#
    Donald Strand
    Joelle Strandquist§
    Victoria Van Beusekom

  • icon-viola


    Zachary Armstrong *#
    Aaron Clark
    Annelise Raisanen
    Niloofar Sohi*

  • icon-bass-cello


    Andrew Burgdorf *
    Jeffrey Burns £
    Gavin Downer
    Linda Emmel ∞
    Hunter Simard
    Erin Walsh#

  • icon-bass-cello

    String Bass

    Charlie Emerick
    Annika Lind
    George Morris

  • icon-flute


    Lee Ann Carlsted (piccolo)
    Yvonne Rammel
    Kristi Wagner *#

  • icon-oboe


    Abigail Amundson#
    Michael Jeannot *#

  • icon-oboe

    English Horn

    Abigail Amundson#

  • icon-clarinet


    Jennifer Domka
    Gretchen Katzenberger *
    William Tregaskis

  • icon-tuba


    Jason Koets

  • icon-trombone


    Ryan Anselment *
    Tim Domka
    Jake Pavia

  • icon-trumpet


    Kyle Anderson
    Michael Dailey *
    Jackie Kuhns#
    Ken Ross

  • icon-bassoon


    Mike Hilden
    Heather Kurtz#
    Larry Marquette *

  • icon-drum


    Marshall Carlsted *#
    Kendell Kubasch $#
    Jen Schroeder#
    Merijo Strandquist#

  • icon-frenchhorn

    French Horn

    Jolyn Halvorson *2
    Thomas Maresh
    Kara Stonecipher#
    Michael Walsh# 1

  • icon-piano


    David Kilgore#

+ Concertmaster
* Section Principal
£ Treasurer

GM General Manager
$ Finance/Budget Chair
∞ Stage Decorations

1 BCO President
2 BCO Vice President
§ Secretary
# Absent fall 2020



Past Conductors

  • 2019 to present

    Hisham Bravo Groover

  • 2016 to 2019

    Ernesto Estigarribia

  • 2015 – 2016

    Lindsay Boyd

  • 2014 – 2015

    Paul McShee

  • 2011 – 2014

    Erik Rohde

  • 2010 – 2011

    Foster Beyers

  • 2009 – 2010

    Steven Eckblad

  • 2006 – 2009

    Peter C. Jacobson

  • 2004 – 2006

    Brendan Caldwell

  • 2002 – 2004

    Nicholas Wallin

  • 2002

    Joseph Schlefke

  • 2001

    Michael Halstenson

  • 1997 – 2001

    John Robert Sall

  • 1995 – 1997

    Mary Roberts Wilson