Our sixth Musica Marin concert event, in a beautiful home in Sea Cliff, San Francisco. This event featured both a debut US performance for German-Italian baritone Marco Vassalli and a world premiere of two songs by our Resident Composer Clint Borzoni. This event benefited in-part the Merola Opera Program.
- Baritone -
The German baritone, Marco Vassalli was born of Italian roots. He grew up on Lake Constance and began his singing studies in 1997 at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. Since 1999, he studied there with Kammersängerin Professor Edda Moser. In October 2002, he ﬁnished his graduate studies there with honours. For some time he worked with Maria Baldauf in Zürich. He received Master-classes with Nico Castel (New York), Peter Schreier (Dresden), Christa Ludwig (Villecroze) and Hans Sotin (Munich).
Even before the start of his singing studies in Cologne, Marco Vassalli stood on the concert podium. Meanwhile he was acquired a wide repertoire of oratorios, cantatas, Passions and masses, such as “Matthäus-Passion BWV 244”, “Magniﬁcat BWV 243”, “Weihnachtsoratorium BWV 248” by J.S. Bach. “Die Schöpfung” by J.Haydn, “Messiah” by G.F. Handel, “Requiem” by G. Fauré, G. Verdi and Maurice Duruﬂé. A concert tour with J.S. Bach’s “Johannes-Passion BWV 245” led him from the Morgenlandfestivals Osnabrück to Tehran in Iran and with Lindbergs “Requiem” to Syria and Jordania.
His other stations were: Hoher Dom zu Osnabrück, Philharmonie Köln, Berliner Dom and the Beethovenhalle Bonn. His lieder recitals have been with received excellent resonance and artistic recognition by both the public and the press. Above all, Marco Vassalli is at home on the opera stage; guest engagements have led him, among others venues, to the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Dresdner Festspiele, the Opernhaus Köln, the Teatro Poliziano in Montequlciano, the Mecklenburgische Staatstheater Schwerin, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Staatsoper Hannover and the Istanbul State Opera. His main roles include: Papageno (Zauberﬂöte), Conte Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Marcello (La Bohème), Dottor Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Wolfram von Eschenbach (Tannhäuser), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Marchese di Posa (Don Carlo), Pelleas (Pelleas et Melisande), Count Danilo (Lustige Witwe), Edwin (Csardasfürstin), Graf Réné (Graf von Luxemburg) and Gabriel von Eisenstein (Fledermaus).
In May 2004 he sang under the baton of Thomas Hengelbrock in Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in the staging of Philippe Arlaud the Count of Ceprano (production of ZDF/3sat under the “Herbert von Karajan-Festspiele” at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden). Also at the Festspielhaus BadenBaden he sang 4.Knappe in Richard Wagner’s Parsifal (DVD-production of RM-Productions), the musical director was Kent Nagano, the work was staged by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. In September 2005 he appeared at the Internationale Beethovenfest in bonn in an aria concert with the WDR-Rundfunkorchester under the baton of Helmuth Froschauer on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the death of Thomas Mann.
From October 2003 to August 2005 Marco Vassalli was a member of the Opernstudio der Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düssledorf. Here he sang, among other things, Schlemihl/Hermann in “Hoffmanns Erzählungen“ and Papageno form Mozart’s “Zauberﬂöte“ both in production by Christof Loy. From September 2006 to August 2012 he was an ensemble member of the Städtischen Bühnen Osnabrück. Here he sang next to various huge/large Fachpartien a lot of Uraufführungen such as: “Neda, der Ruf” von Nader Mashayekhi, “Operette” von Mario Wiegand. “Rotkäppchen, lauf” und “Schön, schöner Schneewittchen” in cooporation with the Adevantgarde Festival in Munich. In the season 2015/2016 Marco Vassalli will sing at the Staatsoper Hannover in Leonard Bernsteins “Candide” as well as “Roman Cycowski” in “Comedian Harmonists” at the Theater Osnabrück and gives his US debut in a recital with the world premiere of songs by Clint Borzoni.
- Viola -
A graduate of The Juilliard School and native of the San Francisco Bay Area, violist Ruth Ellen Kahn, has performed extensively on both coasts. Her chamber music experience includes performing with such eminent artists as, Cynthia Phelps, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Maurice Bourgue, the Miro String Quartet, and the Colorado String Quartet among others. 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 at 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. Ms Kahn performed with the New York City Ballet Orchestra for nearly 20 years, before relocating back to the Bay Area. Among the many other orchestras with which she has played are the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New York City Opera Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, the Carmel Bach Festival, and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Ruth is also an accomplished violinist, and the co-concertmaster of The Russian Chamber Orchestra of the Bay Area.
Internationally, 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 and Charleston, N.C.
Ms. Kahn is very active in the area of viola and violin pedagogy and has been the assistant to Paul Doktor at the Juilliard School, taught master classes and has maintains a private studio in Marin County CA.. She has been on the faculty at U.C. Berkeley, The Marin Waldorf School and San Domenico. She is currently on the viola faculty at 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
- Violin -
Robin just celebrated her 21st season as concertmaster with the Midsummer Mozart Festival and her association with Maestro George Cleve. Ms. Hansen performs regularly with the San Francisco Opera and has been concertmaster at the Stern Grove Festival for the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra where she holds a position of first violin. In addition, she is a member of the Skywalker Symphony which records movie and video score projects at Skywalker Ranch. Receiving three consecutive Alfred Hertz Memorial Traveling Fellowships from U.C. Berkeley for graduate study with Alexander Treger, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Hansen went on to Munich, Germany with Christiane Eding- concert violinist and recording artist. She joined Michael Tilson Thomas’ New World Symphony in Miami Beach, where she was a concertmaster during its inaugural years. She has toured with the San Francisco Symphony in Europe and with the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta in the U.S. Robin was co-concertmaster with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra under the tutelage of Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas performing at the Hollywood Bowl. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from U.C. Berkeley where she was concertmaster of the Cal Symphony.
- Cello -
Jennifer Culp, cellist, is currently professor of cello and chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has been an active chamber musician and performed worldwide. Culp was a member of the Kronos Quartet for seven years beginning in 1998, during which time included performances at Sydney Opera House, London’s Barbican Centre, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the WOMAD Festival in New Zealand. The quartet won many awards, including Musical American’s 2003 “Musicians of the Year” and a Grammy Award for the Best Chamber Music Performance of Berg’s ‘Lyric Suite’ in 2004. Culp has collaborated with such diverse artists as Zakir Hussein, Dawn Upshaw, Tom Waits, Sandor Vegh, Asha Bhosle, Irina Schnittke and the Romanian Gypsy Band ‘Taraf De Haidouks’. She received a B.M. and M.M. from the San Francisco and New England Conservatories, studying with Bonnie Hampton and Laurence Lesser. Other important mentors to mention are Louis Krasner, Eugene Lehner and Sandor Vegh (who worked directly with Kodaly, Bartok, Schoenberg, and Berg). Festivals attended have included Ravenna, Tanglewood, Spoleto, Kneisel Hall & Open Chamber Music of the International Musician’s Seminar in Cornwall, England (for seven consecutive years). Culp was also cellist with the Dunsmuir Piano Quartet, Philadelphia String Quar-tet, Empyrean Ensemble, San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has recorded numerous world premieres for Nonesuch, New Albion, CRI, Orion, New World, Sony and most recently Thomas Sleeper’s Cello Concerto for Albany Records.
- Piano -
Born in Montreal, Ronny Michael Greenberg discovered his passion for vocal collaboration while pursuing his Bachelor’s degree at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam. Mr. Greenberg’s performing experiences range from guest soloist appearances with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to concerts in venues such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization for the Glenn Gould Exhibit, Steinway Hall as part of Yale in New York, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall as part of the Worldstrides Heritage Performance Programs.
After finishing his Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Warren Jones, Mr. Greenberg was a coach apprentice at the 2014 Merola Opera Program. He was then selectedto join the Adler Fellowship at the San Francisco Opera. Since his arrival to the Bay Area, Mr. Greenberg has appeared on the “To do List” at KQED, the Human Rights Watch Annual Inauguration and the celebration concert for Cantor Roslyn Barak of Temple Emanuel. Upcoming engagements include performances with the Lines Ballet at the Yerba Buena Arts Center and fundraising events for the Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco Symphony. At the opera, he will be working on Carmen and Aida for the summer and fall.
- Composer -
Mr. Borzoni is the current Composer-in-Residence for Musica Marin, a nonprofit organization that presents, supports and inspires classical music throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
He studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici at the City University of New York where he received an MA in Music Composition. He lives and works as a composer and teacher in New York City. is an award winning composer whose “highly original yet lyrical music…[and] natural gift for melody and harmonic structure” (The Huffington Post) has resulted in international performances and premieres.
He has collaborated with librettist John de los Santos on the opera When Adonis Calls, which will premiere at Ashville Lyric Opera this May. It will also receive a production by the Thompson Street Opera (Chicago) this November, and was previously presented at Fort Worth Opera’s 2015 Frontiers Festival and Opera America’s New Works Forum in 2017. Their second opera,The Copper Queen, won the top prize for Arizona Opera’s commission program, Arizona SPARK, and is currently being developed by Arizona Opera. Excerpts were recently performed at the American Lyric Theater’s Alumni Concert at the Morgan Library & Museum, and a third workshop is slated for April of 2018 at Opera America. Other operatic works include Margot Alone in the Light, an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s story All Summer in a Day (premiered by operamission (2009) and subsequently produced by Opera On Tap); and Antinous and Hadrian, originally conceived of in the American Opera Projects Composer and the Voice Series and later commissioned by operamission.
Mr. Borzoni has composed songs and song cycles for many leading vocalists. He won BARIHUNKS Best New Song (2015), Best New Solo Work for Baritone (2017), and was a winner of Sparks & Wiry Cries Second annual NYC songSLAM, and operamission’s cabaret song competition. Borzoni’s additional honors include the Morton Feldman Award, the Boston Metro Opera Festival Award, an artist residency with the American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program (2009), the Queer Urban Orchestra’s 2018 composition contest winner, and an associate producer credit for Patricia Racette’s CD Diva on Detour.
In addition to composing opera, art song, and concert music, he wrote the music for the musical My Life as a Bald Soprano which received an Off-Broadway run at the Midtown International Theater Festival. Borzoni has also scored two films for the production company JR VISION, which were featured at the Take Two Film Festival, the Miami Short Film Festival, and Anthology Film Archives. His music has been presented by the Merola Opera Program, the Glimmerglass Festival, the Bay View Music Festival, the Wintergreen Festival, the Summer Street Festival, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the U.S. embassy in Switzerland, La MaMA, Symphony Space, the Laurie Beechman Theatre, Opera Grows in Brooklyn, the New York Youth Symphony, Expositions :: SLC concert series, the Walt Whitman Project, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Guildhall School of Music, the Mannes School of Music, and many more venues and universities. He has recently been commissioned by Arizona Opera, the Delaware Art Museum, the Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band, the Gavin Dillard Poetry Library & Archive, and the Foundation for the Advancement of Baritones.
Ruth Kahn, Artistic Director | Mark Furr, Culinary Director
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