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2019 Recital: Vocal Series

January

A concert of music by Czech and Russian composers
John Smalley (baritone),  Janis Mercer (piano)

A concert of music for Baritone and piano

Saturday January 26, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

John Smalley, baritone, is a native of San Francisco. He received his B.A. in Classics from Santa Clara University and holds an M.A. and M.Phil. in Historical Musicology from Columbia University in New York, where he taught for six years.  He has lectured and performed as soloist throughout the Bay Area, including Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, numerous Bach cantatas, and Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together. He was awarded a prestigious 2009 Shenson Performing Arts Fellowship.

Janis Mercer is an American composer/pianist living in San Francisco. Her musical activities as composer, and pianist are closely interwoven. Her compositions range in size from 8-piece chamber ensemble to digitally realized fixed electronics; utilize timbres from voice to drum set; and employ styles from 12-tone technique to structured improvisation, microtonality to field recordings.  Ms. Mercer holds artist residencies at Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts, Ragdale, Centrum, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods.

February

Ramana Vieira – A Journey to the World of Portuguese Fado

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Saturday February 9, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

Journey to the world of Portuguese Fado as interpreted by Ramana Vieira, a northern California native of Portuguese descent. Vieira’s parents immigrated to the United States from Portugal, where her grandfather was a well-known musician and composer from Madeira Island.

Vieira’s work captures traditional Fado and influences from the Portuguese diaspora in a musical tapestry that ranges from the whispering, haunting ballads of Fado, to American classics and jazzy blues.  She also is a proficient pianist and a gifted songwriter having penned and composed her own original Fados, of which several have been nominated at the International Portuguese Music Awards.

Nicole Takesono (mezzo-soprano) in concert

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Saturday February 16, 4 p.m.
Venue: Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

Originally from Hawaii, mezzo-soprano Nicole Takesono has been praised for her sweet, warm voice and dedication to character. Ms. Takesono has performed principal roles with San Francisco Opera, Opera San Jose, West Edge Opera, Festival Opera, West Bay Opera, among others. Roles performed include Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Dido in Dido and Æneas, The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, Second Shining One and Madam Wanton in A Pilgrim’s Progress, Mercedes in Carmen, Flora and Annina in La Traviata, Siébel in Faust, and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Takesono sings with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Cappella SF and studies with Deborah Benedict.

April

Sing Sistah Sing! Andrea Baker, mezzo-soprano

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Sunday April 7, 7 p.m.

Sing Sistah Sing! is the first work conceived and written by internationally renowned Mezzo Soprano Andrea Baker.  The show is both a celebration of the sound and extraordinary breadth of the African American female voice, and a heartfelt retelling of some of their most incredible life stories.

Sing Sistah Sing! brilliantly weaves together these women’s brave struggles both in the civil rights movement and in their fight for artistic freedom both at home and abroad. Some have chosen opera, jazz or blues to express themselves. Celebrated artists include Leontyne Price, Marian Anderson, Donna Summer, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.

Andrea Baker, herself an artistic trailblazer, is the first African American to sing Fricka, Waltraute, Erda and 2nd Norn in Wagner’s great Ring Cycle in the Chinese premiere of the work at the Beijing Arts Festival, the first African American Carmen in Australia at the Sydney Opera House and the first African American to sing the role of Ortrud in the South Korean premiere of Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Daegu Opera Festival. Andrea began her operatic career with the San Francisco Opera, and now resides in Scotland.

With Sing Sistah Sing! Andrea Baker tells her own deeply personal story and pays joyful, soulful and varied musical homage to many of the women who courageously paved the way. Andrea began to discover that their stories were also her story and that she too would continue to lay the path for the next generation

September

Burning River Baroque

Saturday September 14, 7:30 p.m.

Praised by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as a group that “left an indelible imprint on my psyche,” Cleveland-based Burning River Baroque is an innovative artist-run ensemble focused on presenting cutting-edge programs about issues at the forefront of contemporary thought. Inspired by the environmental reform that occurred after the Cuyahoga River burned, they throw open the doors of the concert hall to all by performing in diverse venues and offering most concerts for free. From rural churches and libraries to urban warehouses and everywhere in between, they make regular appearances across Ohio and bring the drama, passion, and vitality of baroque music to life for diverse audiences. Each year they further fuse together the past and present by commissioning a new composition to create programming that is fresh and relevant to contemporary audiences. With each new season they further their intention of presenting programs that use classical music to reframe and engage with current reality, rather than using it as a privileged escape from current events.

Core members are Malina Rauschenfels, a Juilliard-educated multi-instrumentalist and composer, and Dr. Paula Maust, a CIM and Peabody-trained harpsichordist, organist, and scholar. Since its formation in 2012, Burning River Baroque has put on an average of 15-20 concerts each season. Last season’s concerts, “Destructive Desires” and “The Other Side of the Story,” addressed issues raised by the #MeToo Movement. The 2019-2020 season focuses on unconventional 17th-century women and includes “A Mad, Burning Desire” and “Witches: Revered and Reviled.” Each year they form partnerships with local organizations whose missions align with their concert programming. This year’s collaborations will include Bard High School Early College, songwriting workshops at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center, and a concert at the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick.

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