Upcoming Events & Artists

Maria Asteriadou, Piano

A native of Greece, Maria Asteriadou is an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician highly praised by the New York Times as an artist with intense personality, virtuosic flair and beautiful tone. Maria Asteriadou has performed in major halls throughout the United States and Canada as well as Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. Her orchestral engagements include appearances with the Moscow Radio Symphony, Academy of St. Martin of the Fields, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Stuttgart Kamerata, Luxembourg Philharmonia, Bucharest Chamber Orchestra, Iasi Philharmonic Romania, Manhattan School Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Chamber Academy, Athens State Orchestra, as well as the Thessaloniki State and City Orchestras. Her love for her native Greece and her enthusiasm for new music have resulted in prestigious premieres of works by many of Greece’s most important composers, including Manos Hadzidakis, Perikles Koukos, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Emilios Riadis, Christos Samaras, Yiorgos Sicilianos, Nikos Skalkottas, as well as American-born Greek composer George Tsontakis. The recipient of numerous awards and prizes, Maria Asteriadou won first prize in performance from the State Conservatory in Greece, and the top prize in the Maria Callas International Piano Competition.

Maria Asteriadou enjoys the distinction of being the only pianist selected from the Musik Hochschule in Freiburg to perform in honor of the composer-conductor Pierre Boulez in BadenBaden, Germany. Both her Geneva debut recital and her debut at Weill Hall in New York’s Carnegie Hall were greeted with rave reviews. In 1992 she won the Dora Zaslovsky piano competition at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and was subsequently chosen to collaborate with renowned conductor Christopher Keene in a critically acclaimed performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto.

Sarn Oliver, Violin

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.

Peter Wyrick, Cello

Peter Wyrick has served as Associate Principal Cello of the San Francisco Symphony, occupying the Peter & Jacqueline Hoefer Chair, since 1999. Born in New York to a musical family, he began his studies in Poughkeepsie, New York, and proceeded to the Juilliard School at the age of eight, where he was one of the last students of Leonard Rose. Mr. Wyrick made his solo debut at age twelve with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Since then he has performed as soloist with the Aspen Chamber Orchestra, the Queens Philharmonic, the American Chamber Orchestra, the Oklahoma Chamber Orchestra, the Kozponti Sinfonicus in Budapest, Hungary, and Symphony Silicon Valley. He has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony in works including Leonard Bernstein’s Meditation No. 1 from Mass, Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante in B-flat major, and music from Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Concerto.

Mr. Wyrick was the principal cello of the Mostly Mozart Orchestra and associate principal cello of theNew York City Opera Orchestra. His recordings include the cello sonatas of Gabriel Fauré with pianist Earl Wild for dell’Arte Records, and performances for the Stereophile and Arabesque labels. In chamber music, Mr. Wyrick has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Jeremy Denk, Julia Fischer, and Edgar Meyer, among others. He was a member of the Ridge String Quartet, whose recording of the Dvořák piano quintets with pianist Rudolf Firkusny on the RCA label won the French Diapason d’Or and was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Chamber Music Performance. Mr. Wyrick has participated in the Helsinki, Spoleto, Bard, Vancouver Chamber Music West, La Jolla, Santa Fe, Ruby Mountain, and Lake Tahoe music festivals.

Mr. Wyrick plays a David Tecchler cello, on generous loan from Jacques and Barbara Schlumberger, made in Rome, circa 1724.

Ruth Ellen Kahn, Viola and Artistic Director

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 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

Kurt Nikkanen, Violin

American violinist Kurt Nikkanen is an international soloist of the highest order. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he began his violin studies at the age of three, later studying with Roman Totenberg and Jens Ellerman. At twelve he gave his Carnegie Hall debut, performing with the New York Symphony; two years later he was invited by Zubin Mehta to perform the Paganini Concerto No.1 with the New York Philharmonic for a Young People’s Concert. He studied with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School.

Mr. Nikkanen regularly receives invitations from the leading orchestras and presenters in the USA and Europe, and has toured Japan and the Far East. He has worked with many of the world’s leading conductors, including Hirokami, Jarvi, Kreizberg, Fischer, Litton, and Nelsons. In North America he has appeared with the Dallas Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra, and in Europe with the BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Dresden Staatskapelle. He has also appeared with the Belgian National Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony and the orchestra of RAI Turin, Orchestra of Galicia, the Bilbao Symphony, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Nikkanen has given acclaimed performances of the Dvorak concerto with the Czech Philharmonic and Vladimir Ashkenazy, both in Prague and on tour in the USA, with concerts in New York and Chicago.

An enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music, Kurt Nikkanen has given numerous performances of the John Adams Violin Concerto, with orchestras such as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Oregon Symphony, Hallé Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony (all under the composer’s direction).

With the National Chamber Orchestra of Washington, Kurt Nikkanen recorded Steven R. Gerber’s violin concerto, which was written for him, for Koch International. Mr Nikkanen performed the world premiere of Mikko Heinio’s Concerto Alla Madre, subsequently recording it for Sony Classical with the Turku Philharmonic under Petri Sakari and released to great acclaim in 2010. His live recording of William Walton’s Violin Concerto with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra was released on the Nimbus Alliance label, and was a Gramophone Magazine “Critic’s Choice” selection in 2010. In May 2010, Mr.Nikkanen gave the New York premiere of the Violin Concerto by Thomas Adès, earning praise for his ‘brilliant’ performance from the New York Times.