Meet the Artists

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Gianna Abondolo

Gianna Abondolo, cellist, leads a dynamic career performing regularly as soloist, chamber musician, improviser, and composer. Top prizewinner of the 1988 Young Musician’s Foundation Debut Competition, she gave her New York solo debut performance in 1991 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she started playing the cello at age eight and subsequently began concertizing, including at the age of 15 a performance of Vivaldi’s double concerto with Yo-Yo Ma and the Crossroads School Orchestra of which Terry McQuilkin of the LA. Times wrote, “clearly a musician of exceptional talent”. In 1991, upon receiving her Masters Degree from the Juilliard School, she won a position with the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Esa Pekka Salonen, with whom she played for four years. She has played in numerous festivals including Marlboro, Tanglewood, Steamboat Springs, Santa.Clara Univ. New Music Fest., Other Minds SF, the Santa Barbara Academy of the West, and in Italy at the Accademia Chigiana and the Festivale Positano. Ms. Abondolo resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she has played with the Adorno Ensemble, Quartet San Francisco, SF Contemporary Music Players, and as principal cellist of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the SF Chamber Orchestra, and the Berkeley Akademie. Among the noteworthy composers she has worked with include Joan Tower, John Adams, Esa Pekka Salonen, Lou Harrison, Gabriela Frank, Karen Tanaka, and Alex Shapiro.

As a composer herself, her compositional style blends ethnic influences with western classical tradition. Recently she just finished writing the musical score for the film Of Stones and Water, directed by Tonia Shimin. She has been commissioned to write for various individual artists as well as by dance companies, The Perks and Santa Barbara Dance Theater. Her compositions have been performed at the Cunningham Space in N.Y. City, Jacob’s Pillow, the Oakland Dance Festival, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, Mills College, Old First Concerts in San Francisco, the Santa Clara University New Music Festival, Music at the Mission San José, Cal State LA, Strings Showcase in Berkeley, and by the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. Of her recordings, her CD “De’ja` Vu”, was showcased on S.F. Bay Area radio stations, “Sing Out” KPFA and KALW.

Gianna is a former lecturer of UC Berkeley and is on the faculty of Mills College in Oakland, California.

“Gianna Abondolo is clearly a musician of exceptional talent” -Terry McQuilkin, The Los Angeles Times

“A lyrical performer with a judicious delicacy” -David Bratman, San Francisco Classical Voice

“Indeed, Gianna Abondolo was the real star of the occasion.” -Kenneth Brown, The Santa Barbara News Press

“Her cello sighed as eloquently as any diva expiring on stage” -Greg Hettmansberger, Santa Barbara News Press


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Dr. Dianna Anderson

Pianist, Dr. Dianna Anderson demonstrates a rare combination of scholarship and virtuosity, performing frequently as a solo recitalist and collaborator, her repertoire ranging from classical standards to new music. As a founding member of the piano trio, Luminus, with violinist Dr. Jon Rumney, and cellist Dr. Erik Anderson, she has performed hundreds of concerts bringing the intimate art of chamber music to stages throughout the Midwest. Also with cellist, Erik Anderson, she has a more than 20-year relationship as a duo, performing recitals across the US and in Canada.

Much sought-after as a collaborator, she performs regularly with various musical groups, including the Minot Symphony Orchestra, Western Plains Opera Company, her colleagues at Minot State University as well as guest artists. Recent highlights include collaborative performances with the Ying Quartet and a series of concerts given in Minot, ND of the complete works for cello and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven with cellists Yehuda Hanani and Erik Anderson. She has recently been a featured soloist with the North State Symphony, Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, Minot Symphony Orchestra, and the Bismarck-Mandan Youth Symphony.

A passionate educator, she teaches piano, piano pedagogy, and collaborative piano at Minot State University, as well as maintaining a studio of young pianists. She frequently adjudicates regional festivals and competitions and is on faculty at Dakota Chamber Music and International Music Camp. Her degrees are from the University of Idaho, and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where her principle instructors were Jay Mauchley and Frank Weinstock.

An avid runner, Dr. Anderson has run numerous marathons. She also enjoys cooking, traveling, back-packing, and gardening. She lives in a home designed based on Brahms’ Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 2, with her husband, four sons, two yellow labs and cat.


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Erik Anderson, Cellist

As a cellist, bassist, conductor and teacher, Erik Anderson’s charismatic personality and thoughtful approach to music engages audiences of all ages and musical tastes. Whether in pre-concert lectures for the Minot Symphony Orchestra, presentations in public school classrooms, or on stages from the Great Plains to Europe, he communicates not only an infectious curiosity and deep respect for the music he performs-from AC/DC to Zeppelin, Baroque to Contemporary-but also a passion for education and exploration.

A native of Washington State, he began his cello studies at the age of three, earned his BM and MM from the University of Idaho, and completed his DMA at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His principal teachers have been Wayne C. Smith, William Wharton, and Yehuda Hanani. In 2003, after seven years as a free-lance cellist, assistant conductor, and business owner in Cincinnati, OH, he joined the faculty at Minot State University (Minot, ND) where he currently resides with his wife and four sons as a Full Professor of Music and Chair of the Division. He plays on a modern Italian instrument, made by Riccardo Bergonzi in Cremona in 2006. Apart from music, Dr. Anderson loves to cook, golf, cross-country ski, play games with the family, and chase any type of ball as though his life depended on it.

Anderson is particularly active with the music of JS Bach, highlighted by the Unaccompanied Suites BWV 1007-12, central to his graduate study with renowned performer and pedagogue Yehuda Hanani. Last year he was featured as a performer, clinician, or lecturer on the music of Bach in Chico, CA, Grand Forks, ND, Las Vegas, NV, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany, and with the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas in Cincinnati, OH. Recent lecture-performances include Six Preludes, Six Stories and OrdinaryExtraOrdinary, the latter an exploration of Bach’s life and music as a bridge connecting disparate worlds, using Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher Bach as a point of departure. Characterized by spontaneity as a player and speaker, his favorite performing situation involves programs of music where both topic and musical selections evolve in conversation with the audience, seated just a few feet away. In the Spring of 2016, he was granted a one-semester sabbatical to study and record the Bach suites; many of these are currently available on his Soundcloud profile: fourstringcntrpnt.

Chamber music is also central to his performing and teaching activity. Dr. Anderson is a founding member of the piano trio Luminus, along with his wife, pianist Dianna Anderson, and violinist Jon Rumney. Over the past twelve years, they have performed hundreds of regional programs exploring both traditional and modern repertoire, including several world premieres. Most recently, Luminuspremiered Evolution 3, written for them by Pittsburgh composer Sean Neukom; a recording of this 45-minute work will come in the Spring of 2017. Exploration of new repertoire continues a passion Dr. Anderson developed while at the Cincinnati Conservatory. At their annual new music festival, hosted by composer Joel Hoffman, he premiered several works per summer, and collaborated with Steve Reich, George Crumb, Milton Babbitt, and Augusta Read Thomas on their own chamber music.


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Charles Chandler

Bassist Charles Chandler has been a member of the San Francisco Symphony since 1992. Prior to his current position, he was Associate Principal Bass and Soloist with the Phoenix Symphony. He also served as Principal Bass of the Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra and the New York 20th Century Chamber Players.

His primary teachers were Shinji Eshima of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and David Walter at the Juilliard School. His numerous honors and awards include the San Francisco Symphony Pepsi Cola Young Musician Award, the Pittenger Scholarship, the Irving Klein Scholarship, and first prize in the A.S.T.A. National String Competition.
Upon receiving his Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard in 1987, Charles Chandler was selected to perform as a member of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. Playing with Marin Symphony, he has enjoyed performing with his wife Van, a violinist. He also performs at the Music@Menlo Festival and Chamber Music Sundaes series and frequently records at Skywalker Ranch. Mr. Chandler resides in San Francisco with his wife and their daughter Julie.

When not playing on his 1750 double bass made by the Venetian luthier, Domenico Busan, he enjoys organic gardening, bicycling, hiking and spending time with his family.


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Mark Diamond

Baritone Mark Diamond is a graduate of the Studio of Houston Grand Opera where notable performances include Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in La bohème and the Marchese d’Obigny in La traviata. He also covered several roles such as Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Taddeo (L’italiana in Algeri), and Gaylord Ravenal (Showboat) Tarquinius (The Rape of Lucretia) and Rodrigue (Don Carlos). He has since returned as a guest artist to Houston Grand Opera to sing Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music and Wilbur in the world premiere of David Hanlon’s opera, After the Storm. Recent, Mr. Diamond made his debut with the French opera theaters of Limoges, Caen, and Reims as well as Ars Lyrica of Houston and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Mark Diamond is the recipient of a 2012 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation and spent the summer of 2011 as a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, where he sang the title role of Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He gained particular notice in the summer of 2010, when he sang the role of Top in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land at the Glimmerglass Festival. As a member of the company’s Young American Artist Program, he also covered Araspe in Handel’s Tolomeo, and was a recipient of a 2010 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation.

He is the 1st Prize Winner of the 2010 Eleanor McCollum Competition at Houston Grand Opera and the 2011 Sun Valley Opera Competition in Seattle, Washington. Mr. Diamond was twice a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was awarded 2nd Prize in the Charles A. Lynam Competition in North Carolina.

A native of Augusta, Georgia, Mark Diamond received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Georgia Southern University, where he studied voice with Dr. Allen Henderson. He completed his Master’s degree at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University while studying with Dr. Stephen King and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at The Moores School of Music at University of Houston where he studies with Hector Vasquez and continues to perform both concert work and opera internationally.


Miles Graber

Miles Graber

Miles received his musical training at the Juilliard School, where he studied with Anne Hull, Phyllis Kreuter, Hugh Aitken, and Louise Behrend. He has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1971, where he has developed a wide reputation as an accompanist and collaborative piano for instrumentalists and singers. He has performed with numerous solo artists, including Sarah Chang, Cho-Liang Lin, Camilla Wicks, Axel Strauss, Mimi Stillman, Judith LeClair, Martha Aarons, and Lev Polyakin. Mr. Graber performs frequently with violinists Christina Mok and Mariya Borozina, flutists Gary Woodward, Amy Likar, and Ai Goldsmith, and clarinettist Tom Rose. He is a member of the chamber groups Trio Concertino, MusicAEterna, GGR Trio, and Sor Ensemble, as well as the new music group Sounds New.

Mr. Graber has been associated with such ensembles as the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Midsummer Mozart, the Oakland-East Bay Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony, the California Symphony, the Santa Rosa Symphony, Oakland Lyric Opera, Berkeley Opera, and Opera San Jose. He has accompanied master classes by such artists as Midori, Joseph Silverstein, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Pamela Frank, Alexander Barantchik, James Galway, Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Lipsett, Ronald Leonard, and Leon Fleisher. He has been a frequent performance accompanist and chamber player with members of San Francisco Symphony, San Jose Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, California Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Oakland East Bay Orchestra, Oakland-East Bay Youth Orchestra, UC Berkeley Symphony, and members of the San Francisco Conservatory faculty.

He is on the faculty of The Crowden School in Berkeley, and he accompanies students of the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley. He is a staff accompanist at the San Domenico Conservatory in San Anselmo, California, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Northern California Flute Camp in Carmel Valley. He is a piano for the annual Young Artist Competition at the Mondavi Center for the Arts at UC Davis, as well as the annual Irving Klein Competition at UC San Francisco, and the Summer Brass Institute at the Menlo School in Atherton, California.

View Miles’s Video


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Robert Howard

Robert Howard, cellist is a native of Atlanta, GA, Robert began studying cello at age 12. Graduate of Rice University and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has studied and performed at festivals such as Tanglewood, Spoleto, Verbier, the Accademia Chigiana, and the Sandor Vegh Academy in Prague. Robert won first prize in the Rome Festival Competition and has received grants from the Maggini and Virtu Foundations. Robert has performed in the Festival Internacional de Musica in Costa Rica, the Festival de Guadarama in Spain, and on the Mostly Mozart series in Lincoln Center. Locally, he has performed with American Bach Soloists, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, and the San Francisco Symphony. A frequent guest on many Bay Area chamber music series, Robert has also made concerto appearances with BARS Orchestra and Stanford Symphony. As a teacher, he has coached at San Francisco Conservatory, Stanford University, San Jose State University, and Sonoma State University.


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Ruth Ellen Kahn Violist, Founder and Artistic Director of Musica Marin is a
graduate of The Juilliard School and native of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Kahn, has performed on every important concert stage in this country including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, among others. Her extensive chamber music experience includes performing with such eminent artists as, Cynthia Phelps, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Maurice Bourgue, the Miro String Quartet, the Colorado String Quartet and West End Chamber Players. She has received numerous awards, prizes and critical acclaim, as well as invitations to perform for such organizations as the New York Viola Society and the Hertz Hall in Berkeley, California. She has also performed as soloist with the Mexico City Philharmonic and the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

Ruth has been artistic director of two chamber music series in both New York and New Jersey, one of which resulted in a recital in Carnegie Recital Hall as a recipient of the Artist’s International Competition Award. Among the many orchestras with which she has played are the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the New York City Opera Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, the Carmel Bach Festival, the San Francisco Opera, and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Ruth is also an accomplished violinist, and is co-concertmaster of The Russian Chamber Orchestra of the Bay Area.

Ruth has toured with the New England Symphonic and New York Chamber Ensembles to Morocco, Israel and Jordan, where they performed for the Royal Families. In addition, she has been  invited numerous times to attend the Spoleto Festival in Italy.

Ms. Kahn is very active in the area of viola pedagogy and has been the assistant to Paul Doktor at The Juilliard School, taught master classes and has maintained a private studio in both the New York metropolitan and San Francisco Bay areas. She is currently on the faculty of InterHarmony Music Festival in Italy.

Her teachers have included Karen Tuttle, Paul Doktor, Heiichiro Ohyama, Louis Kievman, and the world-renowned violist, William Primrose.

“The viola recital by Ruth Kahn showed off the naturally rich sound of her instrument..Kahn let loose with a welter of secure technical passages and produced double-stops that were vibrantly in tune, Kahn sunk into the dark sound of her viola and pulled the harmonies out with full color.”
-Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey


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Laura Krumm, Mezzo-Soprano

Praised for her “exceptionally beautiful mezzo” and “always a delight on stage” Iowa native Laura Krumm is a 2013 graduate of the prestigious Adler Fellowship of the San Francisco Opera. A former Merola Opera Program artist, Ms. Krumm has been heard in several roles on the company’s mainstage including Rosina in the family matinee performances of The Barber of Seville, the Countess Ceprano and the Page in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and a Maid in the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne. Ms. Krumm added a number of roles to her repertoire while with the company. She covered the renowned Joyce DiDonato’s Roméo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Christel Loetzsch’s Dorabella in Così fan tutte. She created the role of Martha in the world premiere of Nolan Gassers’ The Secret Garden for the San Francisco Opera Center and she sang Laura in Jack Perla’s Love/Hate at the ODC Theater in association with the Opera Center. In concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Ms. Krumm performed arias from Le Nozze di Figaro, Cendrillon, and La Cenerentola. She joined the distinguished roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago as a cover in their new production of Dvorak’s Rusalka in 2014 and made her Carnegie Hall debut singing the Alto Solo in Mozart’s Requiem with the New York City Chamber Orchestra also in 2014. She returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for where she covers Angelina for the company in the 2015-2016 season.

The 2014-2015 Season for Ms. Krumm has seen a return to her home company, San Francisco Opera, and a host of debuts with prominent organizations in the US and abroad. Ms. Krumm covered Angelina (La Cenerentola) in the season for SFO and joined the highly regarded roster of The Dallas Opera where she covered Jan Arnold in the world premiere of Joby Talbot’s Everest. She made her Skagit Opera debut performing the role of Angelina and, most recently, reprised Jake Heggie’s Camille Claudel: Into the Fire with the distinguished Alexander String Quartet – as part of the Chamber Music at Kohl Mansion Concert series. Ms. Krumm also debuted with the internationally renowned Berkeley Symphony in two projects: a performance of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Songs, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra, and sang excerpts from Jake Heggie’s Camille Claudel: Into the Fire, the song cycle which she originally covered for Joyce DiDonato’s world premiere performance of the work with the Alexander String Quartet, subsequently performed in its entirety for San Francisco Performances Chamber Series, and reprised for San Francisco Performances as a recitalist in its Salon at the Rex series. Based on the life of the French sculptor and graphic artist who became Auguste Rodin’s inspiration, model, confidante and lover, the cycle was commissioned by San Francisco Performances on the occasion of the eminent Quartet’s thirtieth anniversary. Another company and role debut in the season for Ms. Krumm included Elena for Opera Parellèle in the American premiere of Anya 17, a new opera which originally premiered in the UK with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Ensemble and composed by ‘British Composer Award’ winner Adam Gorb. Ms. Krumm joined the LINES Ballet of the visionary choreographer ALONZO KING in their Brazil tour of Constellation where she sang the works of Handel, Vivaldi and Strauss in collaboration with a performance by the ballet corps.

Ms. Krumm earned a Masters of Music from the University of North Texas in 2011 and is a 2009 graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

 


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Jay Liu

Jay Liu, associate principal viola of San Francisco Symphony since 1993. Viola Professor of San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 2014.

As a soloist, Mr. Liu has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. He regularly plays solo recital, chamber music concert and give master classes throughout US and Asia. In 1999 he performed the US premiere of George Benjamin’s “Viola, Viola” with viola Geraldine Walther. He has been performed chamber music with such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Julia Fischer, Yefim Bronfman, YuJa Wang and Michael Tilson Thomas.

He has served as guest principal viola with Los Angeles Philharmonic and Asia Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1999 he served as viola coach of Asian Youth Orchestra, the most successful youth orchestra in Asia.

Jay Liu was born in Shanghai. He was graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where his teachers included Prof. Shen Xi-Di and Wu Fei. In 1986, he came to the United States to study with Prof. Donald McInnes and Alan De Veritch at the University of Southern California.

In October 2012, He has completed his three weeks residency of Fulbright Specialist Program in Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, sponsored by US State Department and William Fulbright Foundation.


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Bruce Loeb, Piano

For nearly three decades Bruce Loeb has been creating piano accompaniments for silent films at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and the Pacific Film Archive. Among numerous festivals and shows he has appeared at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the New York Public Library. He has presented silent film for the Esalen Institute and the California FiIm Institute Summerfilm program.

Bruce draws upon his knowledge of classical piano, popular music and a talent for improvisation to create scores that complement the visual story-telling of silent movies.

Music provides special access to feeling that is rooted in the past. Silent movies come from a lineage of 19th Century entertainments: Vaudeville, Music Hall, Panorama and Magic Lantern. Bruce creates scores that use knowledge of the period to give modern audience a living example of how music and machines first came together to create a new cinematic art.

Bruce is a graduate of UC Berkeley Music Department and studied harpsichord at the Royal Dutch Conservatory and voice at The Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. He lives in Berkeley where he is active as a piano teacher, vocal coach and piano accompanist.


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Peter Magadini, Percussion

Peter Magadini has been bringing skill, passion, and aplomb to percussion for nearly a lifetime. Peter has collaborated, recorded, taught and performed with a rich lexicon of jazz, country, and soul greats across a broad range of legendary clubs and festivals. Peter’s played with such luminaries as George Duke, Chet Baker, Mose Allison and Diana Ross, with whom he toured for a year. The breadth of his venue experience is a widely cast net, including appearances at Yoshi’s (SF & Oakland), The Waldorf Astoria (NYC), Carnegie Hall, and the San Francisco and Montreal Jazz Festivals.

A prolific recording artist, Peter’s studio time features both innovative collaborations and long-term partnerships. His albums count among them a Juno Nomination for Best Jazz Album of the Year (Bones Blues, 1977). He has recorded with Motown records, A & M, Sackville, and others.

Peter holds a MM from the University of Toronto and has taught and lectured percussion for over forty years at many esteemed institutions, including McGill University and the Dave Brubeck Institute. He has authored numerous instructional books and videos, among them The Musicians Guide to Polyrhythms named 6th in Modern Drummer Magazine’s list of the “25 Greatest Drum Books of All Time” (1993).

Pete plays and is endorsed by Yamaha drums, Paiste cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, and Aquarian Drumheads. He currently lives in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.


Laura Magnani

Laura Magnani

Italian piano and native of Spoleto (Italy), Laura holds a double Degree in Piano and Voice, earned with honors at the Conservatory “F. Morlacchi” in Perugia, a Diploma of Specialization in Piano at the “Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia” in Rome and a DMA in Piano at the Conservatory of Perugia.

Her many titles include a great number of Masterclasses attended in Salzburg, Brussels, Rome, Perugia with eminent piano such as S. Perticaroli, A. Delle Vigne, B.Petrushansky, M. Campanella and many others.

Since the age of 15 she has been active as a performer, touring Italy, Europe, USA and Canada both as a soloist and in various Chamber Ensembles, constantly gaining the enthusiasm of the audience and the acclaim of the critics.

Personally invited by Gian Carlo Menotti she was featured in the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, and she has been repeatedly invited to perform at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston (SC) as an Ambassador of her hometown.

Very skilled also as an organizer, she directed the Spoleto Piano Festival for 15 years.

Her versatile talent keeps her busy also in the fields of Opera, Musical Theatre and Vocal repertoire as well as in Music Education, in which she has been active since the age of 19, teaching Piano, Chamber Music and Vocal training.

Her latest production, a CD/DVD featuring works by Liszt, Chopin and Prokofev, will be released in November 2013.


edwardnelsonEdward Nelson, Baritone

A second-year San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow in the 2016-2017 season, baritone Edward Nelson will sing mainstage performances of Malatesta in Don Pasquale and roles in the world premiere of Dream of the Red Chamber. He will also sing the role of the Steward in Jonathan Dove’s Flight at Opera Omaha, his first performances in Hamlet at West Edge Opera, and Schaunard in La bohème at Cincinnati Opera conducted by Louis Langrée.

In the 2015–16 Season, Mr. Nelson performed Richard Nixon’s “News has a kind of mystery” from John Adams’ Nixon in China for the gala honoring David Gockley at the San Francisco Opera. He also performed the roles of the Second Priest in The Magic Flute, Hermann Ortel in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, L’Ami in Debussy’s La chute de la Maison Usher, and Moralès in Carmen. In 2015, he created the role of Lieutenant John Buckley in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women and will reprise the same role at Teatro Regio di Torino in 2018. He is a graduate of the 2014 Merola Opera Program where he sang the title role of Don Giovanni.

Recent engagements include the Ferryman (Britten’s Curlew River) with the Mark Morris Dance Group/Tanglewood Music Festival and Montreal’s Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime, covering Miller in Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas with Gotham Chamber Opera, as well as the title role of Britten’s Owen Wingrave, Dandini (La Cenerentola), and Le Podestat (Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle) with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he holds undergraduate and graduate degrees.

On the concert stage, he has been a soloist with the Philharmonia Baroque, American Choral Directors Association and the Reno Philharmonic. He is a grant winner from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, a national semifinalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2014 Naumburg International Voice Competition, First Prize winner of the 2014 Corbett Opera Competition at CCM, and a winner in the 2013 Opera Columbus and 2014 Mildred Miller International Voice Competition.

 


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Sarn Oliver

Sarn Oliver began playing violin at age four. He studied with Elmar Oliveira, Ronald Neal and Sally Thomas at Juilliard where he earned bachelor and master degrees. Mr. Oliver has taught as an assistant to Sally Thomas at Juilliard Pre College, and Meadowmount. He has also served on the faculty of UC Berkeley and the University of the Pacific.

Mr. Oliver has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe and Asia and Russia. Including Solo performances with the Dallas Symphony, Sacramento Symphony and the Shreveport Symphony and The Kazan, Russia Festival Orchestra.

His recordings include the Benda and Stamitz Violin Concertos with the Montpellier Chamber Orchestra, Eric Ewazen’s Quintet for English horn and String Quartet, “Tangled Flow” and “Inner Vision” CD’s which include his own compositions. A recording engineer as well as a Composer, Mr. Oliver has his own recording studio and Label, SarnWorks. Recent releases on the SarnWorks label include a rerelease of the Bach Goldberg Variations by SF Symphony piano, Robin Sutherland.

Mr. Oliver was a founding member of the bay area piano trio the Tilden Trio with Peter Wyrick and June Oh. He also performed with and founded the Jazz group, Continuum.
Also active composer, Mr. Oliver’s compositions have received performances in Hawaii, Japan, Russia, Europe and throughout the United States. His compositions and recordings can be found on ITunes and CDBaby.

Mr. Oliver is the former Principal Second Violin of the Sacramento Symphony, Concertmaster of the Santa Cruz Symphony and is currently a First Violinist with the San Francisco Symphony.


Diane Perry

Diane Perry

“Diane Perry is a true musician’s musician and singer’s singer and the jazz artists who have stood the test of time all fit this same definition….She is the real deal!”

-David Amram  |  Legendary jazz musician, composer, author and conductor

Classically trained at Juilliard, her violin playing combines the tone of the concert-hall virtuoso with the growl of the blues and the weighty swing feel of the big bands.

An alumnus of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks as well as symphony orchestras across the eastern seaboard, Diane Perry has performed with Travelin’ Light, John Stubblefield, The DMP Big Band, Quartette Indigo, Jeff Tyzik, and Tom Harrell.

 


Cynthia Phelps

Cynthia is the principal viola of The New York Philharmonic (The Mr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Rose Chair). Her solo appearances with the Orchestra have included performances on the 2006 Tour of Italy, sponsored by Generali, and the 1999 premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths, which the Orchestra commissioned for her and Philharmonic Associate Principal Viola Rebecca Young. Other solo engagements have included the Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao.

Ms. Phelps performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Chamber Music Society, and Bargemusic. She has toured internationally with the Zukerman and Friends Ensemble; appeared with The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Guarneri, American, Brentano, and Prague string quartets; and has given recitals in the music capitals of Europe and the U.S.

Her honors include the Pro Musicis International Award and first prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola and Washington International String competitions. Her most recent album, for flute, viola, and harp, on Telarc, was nominated for a Grammy Award. She has released a solo CD on Cala Records. Ms. Phelps has performed on PBS’s NPR, Radio France, and RAI in Italy.


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Solenn Séguillon

Parisian violinist Solenn Séguillon performs nationally and internationally as a soloist and chamber music musician. Last spring, Solenn’ s performances highlights included the Beethoven Triple Concerto with One Found Sound Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco and with the Venice Symphony in Florida under the baton of Maestro Imre Palló.

She has appeared as soloist with several other symphony orchestras including the Southeast Iowa
Symphony, the Bear Valley Music Festival Orchestra, the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, and the American Philharmonic Orchestra with whom she completed a nine Concert Tour of China as soloist. Peter Jaret of Classical Sonoma wrote of Solenn’s performance of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with the Sonoma County Philharmonic, “Even in the highest register, her tone was warm and musical. There were moments when the audience seemed to be barely breathing.” Solenn’s past performances have brought her to many prestigious venues including the Davies Symphony Hall and Herbst Theater in San Francisco, the Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall, the Green Music Center in Sonoma, the Banff Centre’s Rolston Recital Hall in Canada, the Britten Studio at Aldeburgh Music in the UK, the Shanghai Oriental Center and the Poly Theatre in Beijing and the Theatre de Mogador in Paris.

With her ensemble Aleron Trio, Solenn was invited to the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at Aldeburgh Music in England and to the Banff Chamber Music Residency in Canada in 2014. Aleron Trio also won the 2014 Berkeley Piano Club Emerging Artist Award and was last season’s Ensemble-inResidence at the Old First Concert Series in San Francisco. The San Francisco Examiner.com wrote of an Aleron Trio performance, “They focused in on every detail, never missing out on any tricks; and, by
dutifully respecting [the composer’s] every demand, they allowed the rest of us to sit back and enjoy every bit of the fun.” Solenn has performed on three tours of France with her trio where the ensemble was praised for their “dexterity and breathtaking perfection” by critics. She also completed a residency with the Southeast Iowa Symphony performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and giving 17 school and community outreach presentations. Aleron Trio has been mentored by members of the Alexander String Quartet, participating in the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar twice, and has worked with members of the Juilliard String Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, Pavel Haas Quartet, Tokyo Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, and with pianists Robert McDonald, Mack McCray, Paul Hersh, and Klára Würtz.

As violinist of the San Francisco-based Hurd Ensemble, Solenn enjoys pushing the boundaries of contemporary music by performing original works by the ensemble’s founder that unify the worlds of electronic and classical music. The Hurd Ensemble released its first album Navigation Without Numbers with Innova Recordings last month and has been invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in July. After graduating from the Paris Regional National Conservatory, Solenn studied with Pavel Vernikov at la Scola Musica di Fiezole in Italy, with Igor Volochine, and with Eduard Wulfson, chair of the Stradivarius Society in Europe. She received her Bachelor of Music and her Master degree from the San Francisco Conservatory as a student of German violinist Axel Strauss. She was the recipient of the Vincent Constantino and the Lester A. Holmes Scholarships.


Iris Stone

An artist of broad musical interests, German violinist Iris Stone resides in San Francisco where she is a member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared as part of the Stone-Zimmermann violin-piano duo and performed and recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle.

As a member of the Munich Chamber Orchestra, a world-class touring ensemble, Ms. Stone performed in the great concert halls of Europe, Asia, and America on prestigious series such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York and San Francisco Performances.

She has also been a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, has been Assistant Concertmaster of San Francisco’s Women’s Philharmonic and Principle of the Monterey Symphony Orchestra.

Iris Stone first came to the United States in 1993 as a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Subsequently she worked with violinist Donald Weilerstein, founding member of the Cleveland Quartet, and was granted a long-term residency at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada.


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Michael Taddei

Double bassist Michel Taddei leads a varied career as performer, teacher, and administrator. He is Director of Artistic Administration at the Crowden Music Center in Berkeley, and has consulted for the California Symphony’s El sistema-inspired program Sound Minds, and serves as Education Consultant for Music at Kohl Mansion. Michel is Principal Bassist of the Berkeley Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Fremont Symphony, the Pacific Chamber Symphony, Symphony Napa Valley, and the Mendocino Music Festival, and is Assistant Principal of the California Symphony. Other groups with which he has performed locally include the San Francisco Symphony and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Chamber music is a passion for Michel — a founding member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, he has performed with groups including the Empyrean Ensemble, Earplay, Quartet San Francisco, Ensemble SF, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and at festivals including Moab, the Musical Days at Forest Hill, and the Festival des sept Chapelles in Brittany, and will perform at this summer’s inaugural Valley of the Moon Music Festival. He has also performed with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in the US and in Central Asia.

Michel studied bass with Homer Mensch at the Juilliard School, and is a graduate of Columbia University, where he was a John Jay National Scholar. He interrupted his graduate studies in history at UC Berkeley to accept the invitation of Kent Nagano to become Principal Bass of the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, where he played for seven seasons, touring widely and making numerous recordings.


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Brian Thorsett

Since taking to the operatic stage in 2001, tenor Brian Thorsett has been seen and heard in over 100 diverse operatic roles, ranging from Monteverdi to Britten, back to Rameau and ahead again to works composed specifically for his talents. During the 2013-14 season, Brian returns to Acis in Acis and Galatea, and adds the roles of Arnalta in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw as well as the title character in Handel’s Samson

As a concert singer Brian fosters a stylistically diversified repertoire of over 200 works, which has taken him to concert halls across the US and Europe. Future highlights include Evangelist and soloist in both Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Britten’s War Requiem and St. Nicolas, von Weber’s Jubilee Mass.

An avid recitalist, Brian will be featured in several recitals: Les Nuits d’Ete and Winterreise with woodwind quintet, new works with Friction Quartet, and piano quintet with voice. Closely associated with expanding the vocal-chamber genre, he has been involved in premieres and commissions of Ian Venables, Peter Josheff, David Conte, Shinji Eshima, Gordon Getty, Michel Bosc, Noah Luna, Laurence Lowe, Brian Holmes, Eric Davis, Robert Conrad and Nicholas Carlozzi.

He is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artist program, American Bach Soloists’ Academy, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at Aldeburgh, England and spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West. Brian is currently on faculty at Santa Clara University and UC Berkeley.

View Brian’s Video


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Tanya Tomkins

The first ‘cellist ever to win the international Bodky Competition for Early Music Soloists, Tanya is equally at home on Baroque and modern instruments. She has performed on various chamber music series to critical acclaim – including at the Library of Congress, the Frick Collection, “Great Performances” at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, San Francisco Performances, and the Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal.

She is particularly renowned for her performance of the complete Bach Suites on Baroque ‘cello, available in a recording from Avie.

As part of the Zivian-Tomkins Duo, Tomkins collaborates with piano and fortepiano Eric Zivian on both modern and original instruments. With Zivian and English Baroque violinist Monica Huggett, she is one third of the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio.

She is also a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, a cutting-edge group that combines traditional chamber music with modern works, many of which have been composed for the group.

Tanya serves as co-principal cellist of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Portland Baroque Orchestra. She has been featured as a soloist with various orchestras and at dozens of festivals all over the world.

Tanya is an avid teacher, giving master classes at Yale, Juilliard, and San Francisco Conservatory.


Andrés VeraAndrés Vera

Andrés Vera is a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, who has performed in countless venues throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. He performs the Classical cello and the Baroque cello. Andrés is a founding member of San Francisco’s acclaimed Cello Street Quartet, which began in 2011. He is the newest member of the Grammy-nominated Quartet San Francisco, joining in the summer of 2015.

A native of Puerto Rico, Andrés brings a rich mix of cultural influences to his playing. He grew up with an affinity for music; its rich variety, color, and ethnic diversity. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Andrés began his formal training in cello performance at age 8.  He was enrolled in a magnet school for the arts and eventually joined Miami’s famed New World School of the Arts. At 17, he was invited to join the Miami Symphony Orchestra. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Miami and earned his M.M. degree and post-graduate Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He studied with Michael Erwin, David Cole, Ross Harbaugh, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Jennifer Culp, Mark Sokol, and Paul Hersh.

During the summer of 2013, he was invited to join the American Bach Soloists Academy and was a featured soloist during their summer season.  In May of 2014, Andrés and his Cello Street Quartet traveled to Russia, Kosovo, and Hungary with the American Music Abroad program in cooperation with the United States Department of State. In July of 2015, he joined Quartet San Francisco.


Mark-Votapek_175Mark Votapek

Already regarded as a leading teaching, orchestral, chamber music, and solo cellist, Mark Votapek now has the title “Hiking Concert Cellist” at the top of the list.  Last summer he embarked on a 27-performance tour from Mexico to Canada, walking the entire 2700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from concert to concert.  Venues included the Mexico-United States border fence, the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival, Drake Park alongside Mirror Pond, and the amphitheatre at historic Timberline Lodge, as well as various taverns, libraries, churches, and community spaces.  From The Oregonian: “His talent is amazing.  All were transfixed.”

Votapek’s deep connection between the cello and the outdoors didn’t develop overnight.  His previous positions as Associate Principal Cello of the Saint Louis Symphony for five years, and as Principal Cello of the major orchestras of  Honolulu and Oregon (where in 1996 he was the youngest principal cellist of any major American orchestra), along with his residencies at varied festivals in Washington and Maine introduced him to regions with some of the finest natural lands in the United States. He performed a duo with Sarah Chang at Aspen and climbed Mt. Elbert the following day. He was a regular member of the Ebb and Flow Arts new music ensemble and Pacific Concert Artists International while completing over a hundred hikes on the Hawaiian Islands.

Votapek’s concerts have been aired numerous times on Hawaii Public Radio and Arizona Public Radio, and his concerto performance of Schelomo was featured on NPR’s Performance Today.  This year he relocated to San Francisco from Tucson, where he had been professor of cello at the University of Arizona.

Votapek’s 2014 concerts are dedicated to the memory of his cellistic mentor Janos Starker, with whom Votapek studied for five years. Starker’s instruction inspires Votapek’s attempt to live up to this quote from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: “During the Halekulani Masterworks series, we have occasionally had the chance to hear Votapek’s cello in a few musical lines, and that was enough to understand his musicianship. In his interpretation of Saint-Saëns’ work, however, we had the opportunity to hear how effortlessly he can reveal the instrument’s colors and variety of registers. At the very beginning of the piece, after a short orchestral chord, his instrument played the main motif with verve and clarity. And his continual exchange with the orchestra, with which Votapek clearly felt comfortable, rendered the composer’s idea of a seamless and unified work.”


Alicia Yang

Alicia Yang

A former member of the Oregon Symphony, concert violinist Alicia Yang can frequently be heard performing with such renowned ensembles as Philharmonia Baroque, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. Her training at the Oberlin and New England Conservatories spanned genres from Renaissance to contemporary-minimalist, and she has recorded an album of contemporary compositions on the Opus One label. Ms. Yang is a specialist in historically-informed violin performance, and has appeared with period instrument ensembles across the US, including the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Carmel Bach Festival, and American Bach Soloists. Her performances have taken her through Europe and the US, including such lauded orchestras as the Kennedy Center Opera, the Seattle Symphony, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon (Spain). In addition to maintaining a private teaching studio in San Francisco, Ms. Yang enjoys performing with the baroque string band Archetti, playing chamber music with her husband Amos Yang, Assistant Principal Cellist of the San Francisco Symphony, and spending time with their children, Isabel and Noah.


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Amos Yang

Amos Yang is the Assistant Principal cellist for the San Francisco Symphony. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., the Far East and Europe, including performances at the Aspen Music Festival, the American Academy in Rome, Wigmore Hall and Alice Tully Hall. He has also collaborated in chamber music with the Ying Quartet, the Turtle Island String Quartet, piano Ann Schein and Melvin Chen, violinist Earl Carlyss and composer Bright Sheng. Yang’s awards include the Performer’s Certificate at Eastman School of Music and first prizes in the American String Teacher’s Association and Grace Vamos competitions. He was finalist in the Pierre Fournier International Cello Competition and was awarded the CD Jackson Prize at the Tanglewood Music Festival for outstanding musical contribution. As cellist of the Maia String Quartet from 1996-2002, Yang was involved in many educational programs, performing throughout the country for schools under the auspices of such organizations as Arts Excel, Young Audiences Inc. and the Midori Foundation. During this time he also served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, the University of Iowa, Grinnell College and the Interlochen Advanced String Quartet Institute. Yang holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School of Music. His primary teachers have included Irene Sharp, Channing Robbins, Paul Katz and Steven Doane. Before joining the San Francisco Symphony, Yang was a member of the Seattle Symphony, maintaining a private teaching studio as well as cultivating an active solo and chamber music life. Born and raised in San Francisco, he is a graduate of Lowell and was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and San Francisco Boys Choir.


Eric_jpgEric Zivian

Eric Zivian is a fortepianist, modern piano and composer. He has performed with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Toronto Symphony, among others.

Eric has given solo recitals in Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He has performed extensively on fortepiano since 2000 and is a member of the Zivian-Tomkins Duo and the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio, performing at Chamber Music San Francisco, the Da Camera series in Los Angeles, Boston Early Music, the Seattle Early Music Guild and Caramoor. On modern piano, he is a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and has performed with the Empyrean Ensemble, Earplay, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He is a founder and Music Director of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, a new festival in Sonoma specializing in Classical and Romantic music on period instruments.

Eric’s compositions have been performed widely in the United States and in Tokyo, Japan. He was awarded an ASCAP Jacob Druckman Memorial Commission to compose an orchestral work, Three Character Pieces, which was premiered by the Seattle Symphony in March 1998.

Eric was born in Michigan and grew up in Toronto, Canada. where he attended the Royal Conservatory of Music. He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to receive graduate degrees from the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. He studied piano with Gary Graffman and Peter Serkin and composition with Ned Rorem, Jacob Druckman, and Martin Bresnick. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center both as a performer and as a composer.