by LINDA FRABL | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Accomplished Musical Educator

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Poway resident Ulli Reiner is completely immersed in the world of music. She is the orchestra director at Twin Peaks Middle School and Bernardo Heights Middle School. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Palomar College, not only developing its violin and viola programs but also acting as the concertmaster for the Palomar Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Ulli is the conductor for the Symphonic Strings Orchestra at the San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory in Balboa Park.

Ulli is also the founder of many of San Diego’s popular musical establishments. She has founded: the Poway School Orchestra, the Poway Symphony/Symphonette orchestras at the Poway Unified Adult School, and the Suzuki School of Music at Ozzie’s Music in Poway. Plus, she co-founded the Civic Youth Orchestra Program of North County, and consulted with the San Marcos School District for their strings program.


Name: Ulli Reiner
Profession: Artistic Director, Conductor, Professional Violinist, and Educator
Community: Poway since 1980
Interests: Hiking, photography, biking, travel, studying Mandarin Chinese, speaking German, student pilot flying Piper Cherokee planes, wildlife rescue, volunteering for Project Wildlife, reading, watching documentaries, keeping up with the news, and attending concerts, operas, plays, and ballets
Favorite Local Spots: Lake Poway, Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Old Poway Park


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Recently Ulli was rewarded for her musical contributions by becoming one of the 25 finalists for the 2016 Grammy Education Award out of a total of 4,500 nominations. Discussing her many musical accomplishments, Ulli simply stated, “Music is a passion that I cannot live without. It has become my mission to bring joy to others through music, and I do so with pride. I plan to continue to serve the community by bringing quality programs, music education, and performances for all to enjoy.”

Her family upbringing in St. Louis, Missouri definitely fueled Ulli’s love of music. Her father, who studied violin at the Bruckner Conservatory of Music in Austria, taught Ulli the coronet when she was three, the accordion when she was five, and the violin when she was 11. Ulli remembered, “We all grew up not only studying musical instruments but also performing as a family at many social events.”

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Eventually Ulli became the youngest member of the violin section in the St. Louis Philharmonic, and she received a full scholarship at the Conservatory of Music in Missouri. She continued her studies at USC, and ended up in the violin section for the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Opera Orchestra, and the Starlight Opera Orchestra.

To unwind, Ulli flies planes, and currently holds a student pilot’s license. She is also a volunteer for Project Wildlife, assisting several avian rescue organizations. It seems soaring is a theme for Ulli: she flies, she helps birds, and, of course, she is forever reaching new heights through music.