Conductors and Artistic Team
Alvin Ho, Artistic Director
Described as “a thoughtful musician, extremely well prepared and meticulous in his approach” by the late Bernard Haitink, Alvin Ho, a native of Hong Kong, is named the Assistant Conductor of Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. He was the first prize winner of the 2022 Princess Astrid International Conducting Competition in Trondheim, Norway, having recently completed his two-season tenure as assistant conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Previously, he served as assistant conductor at the Indiana Opera and Ballet Theatre from 2017 to 2020. He has worked internationally with orchestras throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States, including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Jena Philharmonic, Lucerne Festival Strings, Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini and Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. Ho was previously selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to be the Karajan Conducting Fellow in residence at the Salzburg Festival, and also named Bruno Walter Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. He was also a semi-finalist in the Donetella Flick London Symphony Orchestra Conducting Competition. Ho studied primarily with Arthur Fagen, Riccardo Muti and Bernard Haitink and has worked additionally with Garry Walker, Nicolás Pasquet, Neeme Järvi and Thomas Wilkins. He is a Doctoral candidate and holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Boris Sandler - Concertmaster
Boris Sandler was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in the former U.S.S.R. and began playing violin at age 7. He was the first prize winner at the State Competition for young performers at age 16 and played Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Mozart violin concertos with the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra. Sandler moved to the United States with his family in 1979 and began studies with Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School. He then continued his studies at the Manhattan School of Music in New York where he received lessons with the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Glenn Dicterow. In 2007, Sandler took a sabbatical from the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra to play with a newly formed opera orchestra in Valencia, Spain under the direction of Lorin Maazel.
Since joining the Naples Philharmonic in 2001, Boris has performed frequently as a chamber musician and as a recitalist with his wife, pianist Bella Gutshtein. They are founders of the Estero
Concert Series, which marks its 9th anniversary this coming season.
This summer Boris played with the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder Co.
Sydney Mason Labbe - Principal Second Violin
Sydney Mason Labbe is a graduate of Stetson University and Western Michigan University, achieving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, in violin performance. In 2009, Sydney went on tour to China with the Appalachian State University Symphony Orchestra and performed joint concerts with the Fudan University Orchestra at the Beijing and Shanghai Concert Halls. She has enjoyed principal positions in all University Orchestras she has performed with.
Sydney performs regularly with the Craig Turley Orchestras and has performed with noted musicians such as The Who, The Alan Parsons Project, Mannheim Steamroller, Frankie Valli, Weird Al Yankovic, and Ramin Djawadi, composer for Game of Thrones
Sydney currently sits principal second violin with the Naples Community Orchestra.
Barbara Lounsbury - Principal Viola
A native Californian, Barbara graduated from UCLA with a Bachelors’ Degree in Music. She then studied privately with David Schwartz (principal violist for the NBC Symphony) at the California Institute of the Arts. Shortly thereafter, she relocated to New York City to pursue a professional career as a violist, studying with Emanuel Vardi. She was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Tanglewood Center for Performing Arts, performed for two seasons at the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy and played the first world tour of the Bolshoi Ballet which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera Hall in New York City. Her musical experience spans a wide variety of styles. She was principal violist at Radio City Music Hall in NYC for 30 years, working with many artists including Tony Bennett, Elton John, Diana Ross, Liberace, Johnny Mathis and George Benson. Her experience also includes playing a number of Broadway shows.
Her symphonic experience has included performing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Symphony in Carnegie Hall, Little Orchestra Society in Lincoln Center, Music for Westchester, New York Choral Society, and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and most recently, The Fifth Ave Chamber Orchestra, Opera Naples and Gulfshore Opera. She also has performed operas with the NYC Opera in Lincoln Center, NY Grand Opera, NJ State Opera, NY Light Opera and the Canadian Opera.
Franco Turchi - Principal Double Bass
Maestro Franco Turchi was born in Peicina, L’Aquila, Italy in 1949.
He began his musical studies in Toronto, Canada as a percussionist and in 1965 commenced his musical studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 1974 he received his degree specializing in the double bass with Maestro Salvatore Pitsianti.
Throughout his career, Maestro Franco Turchi maintained an intense concert schedule in both symphony and chamber music with Solisti Aquilani, Musica Drol and Estro Armonico and as a founding member of the Orchestra Sinfonica Abbruzzese where he was the principal bass player from 1974 to 1980.
He also performed for 12 years with the National Italian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra (RAI) as well as the Santa Cecilia Symphony Orchestra and the Rome Opera Theatre under the direction of many prestigious conductors including Georges Pretre, Yuri Ahronovitch, liah Inbal, Franco Ferrara. Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta. He also performed for noted dignitaries, diplomats and heads of state.
Highlights in Maestro France Turchi’s career also indude concerts in major italian, European, North and South American cities. He was a member of the Union Musicisti di Roma specialising in recording soundtrack music for films mainly with Ennio Morricone and Ritz Ortolan among other well-known composers.
For 36 years Maestro Turchi was a faculty Chair Professor for Solfeggio & Dettato Muskale, of which the last ten years were with the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. For 15 years he conducted the Orchestra Mandolinistica Romana, a 28-member orchestra composed of the entire mandolin family instruments, classical guitar, harp and double basis. The Orchestra website is www.aromana.it
On June 2nd 2003, he was conferred the title of Knight of the Republic of Italy by the Italian Prime Minister and President of Italy. In November 2012, he officially retired from his teaching position, but remains active as a double bass player.
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