Palo Alto Philharmonic

serving the Bay Area with quality classical music since 1988

Thomas Shoebotham Music Director
Thomas Shoebotham
Lee Actor Composer-in-Residence
Lee Actor

Board of Directors

Nat Collins


Nat Collins has been a musician in the Palo Alto Philharmonic since 2002, a Board member since 2004, and President since 2010. Besides playing violin in the Philharmonic, he plays in the Tempo Giusto quartet, and participates in Music at Kirkwood, an annual music camp for chamber musicians.

Nat is also a founding Board member and the Chairman of the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, a non-profit evening adult education center in Cupertino, where he also takes History and Art History classes. Other volunteering efforts include teaching Economics to high school seniors through Junior Achievement, as well as teaching music to kindergarteners and first graders.

Nat is an avid bicyclist, photographer, and electronics tinkerer. Currently starting his own bicycle accessory company, Nat has held semiconductor technology development positions with Texas Instruments and Micron Technology in Texas, Italy, and California. Nat has earned a B.S. and a M.S. degree from Boston University's College of Engineering and holds two U.S. patents.

Katalin Brennan

Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair

Bio of Katalin Brennan to be placed here shortly.

Kyle Adler


Kyle Adler began playing the trombone in the fifth grade. While an undergraduate at Harvard College, he performed with numerous ensembles including as principal trombone with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra, with which he appeared as soloist in the Wagenseil Trombone Concerto. He studied trombone with Lawrence Isaacson of the Empire Brass Quintet and Per Brevig of the Juilliard School and the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. After college, Kyle continued to play and perform actively as a trombonist in the Boston area and later in Philadelphia while a graduate student at the Wharton School. Relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area after finishing graduate school, he has held a variety of professional and management positions with Hewlett-Packard, where he currently manages HP's worldwide consumer trade services business. Married with two daughters (ages 17 and 15), Kyle continues to play the trombone in Bay Area community orchestras and chamber ensembles. He is principal trombonist with the Palo Alto Philharmonic and the Foothill Symphonic Winds, having recently performed the Rimsky-Korsakov Trombone Concerto as soloist with the latter group. In addition to professional and musical pursuits, Kyle also enjoys hiking, photography, and worldwide travel with his family.

Geri Actor

Marketing-Communications Committee Chair & Personnel Manager

Violist Geri Actor is a frequent contributor to several bay area musical groups, also as a pianist, keyboard player and percussionist. She has been principal violist of the Palo Alto Philharmonic for almost 24 years. To support her musical habits, Geri has worked in high-tech industries for over 30 years, principally in engineering, product development and program management; she has degrees in Physics and Materials Science, and is co-author of several patents and papers. Geri recently retired from the high-tech world, to concentrate on her musical activities, which also include teaching and gig management.

Ann Jona

Concert Coordinator & Business Development

In her late twenties Ann emigrated to the United States and settled in California.� She started cello lessons at age 10 in her native Hungary.� She has been affiliated with the Palo Alto Philharmonic from its founding, at one point acting as Board President.

Ann has an MBA in International Management from Golden Gate University and also holds a Certificate in Artist Management from� Berklee College of Music.� She has worked in various positions in the Bay Area's medical device and pharmaceutical companies.� Presently she is managing international clinical projects at Merz Aesthetics, a medical aesthetic company in San Mateo.

In her spare time Ann enjoys gardening, swimming, photography and playing chamber music with friends.

Annette Grot

Board Member

Annette Grot joined the Palo Alto Philharmonic in 1994 after moving to the area to work at HP Labs.� Having played the violin since elementary school, she enjoys the unique atmosphere of the orchestra's focus on classical music in a community setting.�� Annette is originally from Philadelphia, PA where she studied electrical engineering at the University of Delaware and the University of Pennsylvania.� She then earned her PhD in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology.� Music has always been an important part of her life, which she now shares with her husband, Geoff, and two school-age daughters, Emily and Allison.�� Annette joined the Philharmonic's Board of Directors to help with the operations and direction of the group.

Jason Shamas

Board Member

Jason joined the Palo Alto Philharmonic in 2012 as a violinist, after attending one of its concerts and being highly impressed with both the quality of the performance and caliber of the musicians. He began his violin studies in earnest at age 11 and played in a variety of youth orchestras growing up in Southern California. His responsibilities on the board include managing the orchestra s advertising program and assisting with personnel duties. When he is not focusing on the Palo Alto Philharmonic, Jason spends his time at HP, where he works as a strategy manager in its Enterprise Services group. Jason received his undergraduate degree at UCLA and MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Joy Mulhollan

Board Member

Joy joined the Palo Alto Philharmonic in 2015 shortly after moving to the area and was thrilled to find a community orchestra filled with such vitality and talent. Joy began her study of the double bass at age ten, won a concerto competition as a teenager, and eventually earned a bachelor's degree in musical studies. She has studied primarily with members of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

After graduating from college, Joy decided to refocus her career and received a master's degree in International Policy and Development from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Presently Joy enjoys a career in local government.

Joy serves on the MarCom committee and contributes to the Board by bringing her experience with the local community as well as experience in the grants and nonprofit sector. In her spare time, Joy teaches double bass and piano lessons and likes to travel, garden, and spend time with her friends, family, and little dog.

Natalie Haworth-Liu

Board Member

Natalie has been involved with the Palo Alto Philharmonic for over 12 years, holding both piccolo and principal flute positions, and appearing frequently as a soloist for chamber and Baroque music concerts. She is the Music Director at Monticello Academy in Santa Clara, CA, and her flute studio attracts some of the most talented and dedicated students in Silicon Valley.

Natalie received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Flute Performance from the University of Oregon's School of Music as a Ruth Close and Phi-Beta scholarship recipient, and has performed with numerous orchestras throughout Oregon and the Bay Area.

A passionate advocate for arts education, Natalie has worked extensively in Arts Administration and Educational Outreach with several Bay Area arts organizations, including, Ballet San Jose, Ballet San Jose School, sjDanceco, and the Ives String Quartet.

Natalie resides in San Jose with her husband, two sons, and two rescued Shih-Tzus.