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Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association Names New Board Officers

Paksy Plackis-Cheng will serve as president for the 60th anniversary season

The Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association is pleased to announce Paksy Plackis-Cheng as its 2012-13 board president.

Paksy Plackis-Cheng
Paksy Plackis-Cheng

Plackis-Cheng will assume her duties on June 1 throughout the symphony’s 60th anniversary season. Immediate Past President Stefan Riesenfeld will continue to serve as a board member.

The symphony’s 2012-13 officer appointments also include Arthur Swalley, vice president; Gene Sinser, treasurer; David Chernof, M.D., secretary; and Janet McGinnis, counsel.

“I salute Maestro Kabaretti, the orchestra, staff, board and countless volunteers for their passion and dedication, which has provided a solid foundation for the Santa Barbara Symphony to achieve great heights,” Plackis-Cheng said. “I thank the symphony patrons, donors and community partners for their support to help build a special symphony in a special community.”

Initially drawn to the Santa Barbara Symphony via the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, part of the symphony’s education and outreach programs, Plackis-Cheng is especially pleased to see the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Suite becoming even more robust and accessible to thousands of children each season in Santa Barbara County.

“With significant school budget reductions, the Santa Barbara Symphony is committed to offer these unique and powerful services to the children in our community,” Plackis-Cheng said.

The symphony’s education and outreach programs lead music education in the community with receptive and participatory programs for third-graders to young adults with programs such as the Music Van, Concerts for Young People, String Workshop, Junior Strings and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony.

About the 2012-13 Board Officers

Paksy Plackis-Cheng, president

Plackis-Cheng served as the interim executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2010-11 and was responsible for all aspects of symphony management, operations and planning. Prior to her interim post, she was the vice president of the board and chair of the Marketing Committee.

Plackis-Cheng successfully developed, deployed and managed marketing strategy and functions in 11 countries for high-technology companies. She served in management positions for Openwave Systems Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her career also includes key international marketing management roles at Banyan Systems and consulting for notable software companies in Europe managing enterprise relationships with HP, IBM and Microsoft.

At age 27, she was named Business Star by the German Computer Partner magazine, an IDG publications. Plackis-Cheng, a Dutch native, earned a bachelor’s degree from the Erasmus University, Faculty of Economics, the Netherlands. She completed the Human Resource Management program at the Institute for Higher Professional Education at the Hogeschool Rotterdam, and studied at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Plackis-Cheng is fluent in English, Chinese and Dutch. She also serves on the board of Opera Santa Barbara.

Stefan Riesenfeld, immediate past president

Riesenfeld has served in executive financial and management roles at top technology companies in London, New York and California, including senior vice president and chief financial officer at Asia Global Crossing, an international telecommunications company; executive vice president and chief financial officer at Teledyne Technologies; chief financial officer at International Computers Ltd.; vice president and corporate treasurer at Unisys Corporation; and assistant vice president at Chemical Bank. Riesenfeld holds an MBA with honors from Stanford Graduate School of Business, a master’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology.

Arthur Swalley, vice president

Swalley is a founding partner and director of investments for Arlington Financial Advisors, a Santa Barbara-based wealth planning firm. Arthur holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Yale University and a CIMA designation from the Wharton School. Arthur is a past treasurer and current member of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara board, member of the Santa Barbara Music Club board, and completed a term as treasurer of the Santa Barbara Symphony Board. Swalley lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and two sons.

Gene Sinser, treasurer

Sinser is a former division manager of Fortune 500 companies in the food service industry. The last 20 years of his professional career he spent as the owner of an art gallery. Aside from his service as the incoming treasurer of the SBSOA, he is on the board of the Montecito Association, the Santa Barbara chapter of SCORE, which is an arm of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Santa Barbara Arts Fund. Sinser is an avid traveler and sportsman formerly having been an All Star Field Hockey Player in his native Germany and is now a devoted tennis player. He is married to Patty DeDominic, and has four children and five grandchildren.

David Chernof, M.D., secretary

Chernof is the medical director of the Ventura County Health Care Plan. He is an honors graduate of Harvard University. After receiving his M.D. degree and specialty training in internal medicine from UCLA Medical School, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Thereafter, he was a staff member of the City of Hope, and then entered private practice in Northridge, having become board certified in internal medicine, hematology, medical oncology and geriatrics, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

During this period, he was medical staff president of Northridge Hospital and later president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association. In 1991, Dr. Chernof left medical practice to become senior vice president for medical affairs for Blue Cross of California. In 1995 he retired, but later served for several years as the founding medical director of the L.A. Care Health Plan. Dr. Chernof has maintained his connection with the UCLA (now the David Geffen) School of Medicine. He has served as associate professor of medicine, and for the past 10 years has taught, with others, a course for first year medical students called “Doctoring.”

Janet McGinnis, counsel

McGinnis practices law in Santa Barbara. A California native raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, McGinnis served many years as the City of Santa Barbara’s trial lawyer and has been engaged in nonprofit and public governance all her professional life, including service on boards of the Anti-Defamation League, Domestic Violence Solutions, Channel Counties Legal Services and California Rural Legal Assistance and her firm’s representation of nonprofit and public entities.

Before joining the Oregon and California bars, she enjoyed careers as a political science professor, land use planner and Oregon state legislative aide.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Symphony.

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