All concerts are held at Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122 (unless otherwise stated). Map
Susan Merdinger, piano
American Pianist Susan Merdinger has been internationally acclaimed in prestigious newspapers and journals for her stunning performances. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described her recital as a “daring, enormously joyous presentation which captured and transfixed the audience”. Fanfare Magazine ( March/April 2014) declared that her “Carnival” CD was “exquisitely detailed and full of life”, likening her playing to that of legendary pianists Leonard Bernstein, Annie Fischer and Nadia Reisenberg. Among her many honors, was selected as an Honored Artist of The American Prize in 2019, and is a First Prize Winner of the 2012 (Professional Solo) and 2017 (Professional Piano Duo) Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, First Prize Winner of the 2013 International Music Competition of France, a Winner of the Dewar’s Young Artists Award in Music (presented by the late Marvin Hamlisch), the Artists International Young Musicians Competition, the Artists International Distinguished Winners Prize, the IBLA Grand Prize Competition “Special Liszt Award”, and the Master Players International Music Competition. She is also a laureate of the prestigious Harveys Leeds International Piano Competition, Montreal International Concours de Musique, William Kappell International Piano Competition and Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition. Ms. Merdinger is the recipient of Gold Medals in the Global Music Awards for her CD recordings “American Melting Pot” and “French Fantasy”. In Fall 2019 she was awarded Best Classical Album in the Clouzine international Music Awards. All of her recordings have received glowing reviews in publications such as American Record Guide, Classical Sentinel, Audiophile Audition, Fanfare Magazine, The Whole Note, The Hyde Park Herald, Classical Candor, and the Audio-Video Club of Atlanta.
An Tran, guitar
An Tran is an internationally acclaimed Vietnamese Classical Guitarist and winner of over 13 international competitions and awards. Based in Chicago, USA, An has been praised for his “gorgeous playing” and “flawless technique” by the KnoxTNToday, and received many accolades for his dynamic artistry including being hailed as a “Vietnamese guitar virtuoso” by Austin Classical Guitar. Crafting his signature style by merging world cultures with Vietnamese classical music he, was invited to teach, perform and judge at various festivals including the Milwaukee Latino Arts Guitar Festival, Latin-American International Guitar Festival, New Orleans International Guitar Festival, Hamilton International Guitar Festival (Canada), and Lone Star Guitar Festival (Texas), to name a few.
Building on the momentum of his many successes, An collaborated with Vietnamese composers Nguyen The-An and Dang Ngoc Long for his latest 7-track solo album entitled “Stay, My Beloved”, which was described by Classical Guitar Magazine as “to make the year-end Top Ten list of my favorite classical guitar albums of the year”. Released on Frameworks Records in 2020, the album portrays varying elements of traditional instruments expressed by An’s virtuosic guitar playing. Taking listeners on an emotional journey through the rich soundscapes of Vietnam, An is set to grace the stages in Germany, France and Spain on his upcoming European CD release tour.
Mark Valenti, piano
Mark Valenti received his Master of Music from Northwestern University, Bachelor of Music from the Philadelphia Musical Academy and has studied with such notable teachers as Benjamin Whitten, Zoltan Kocsis and Mary Sauer. In addition to giving solo recitals in cities throughout the U.S., Mr. Valenti has performed in France, Belgium, Hungary and Luxembourg as well as for former First Lady Barbara Bush in Washington, D.C.
Mark Valenti has performed recitals live on WFMT classical radio. He has also done extensive work in the Jazz field including performances with Gregory Hines, Frank Foster and Al Grey and has appeared on television with Joe Sudler’s Swing Machine and singer/actor Christopher Durham.
Formerly Professor of Music at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Xavier University in Chicago and the Loire Valley Music Institute in France, Mr. Valenti currently teaches at his studio in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.
Holiday Concert with the San Francisco Youth Chorus
San Francisco Youth Chorus (SFYC), founded in 2015 by Artistic Director Katherine Gerber, advances the musicianship of children in grades K-12, in San Francisco, California. Sponsored by Great Adventures Through Education, the after-school chorus of nearly 150 youngsters, across several ensembles, rehearses weekly, August-May, and performs several times throughout the season.
Celebrate Christmas with the San Francisco Boys Chorus (Intermediate)
The San Francisco Boys Chorus (SFBC) is comprised of the Grammy award-winning Concert Chorus, the Graduate Chorale, the Hand Bell Program and the four-level Chorus School, which includes the Preparatory Chorus.
The CONCERT CHORUS is the SFBC’s premiere performing ensemble and is comprised of choristers who exhibit vocal excellence, performance flair, and exceptional musicianship skills. Led by Artistic Director, Ian Robertson, the committed Concert Chorus members, ages 10 to 13, present a full concert series in the San Francisco Bay Area, tour nationally and internationally, record often and appear annually with renowned artistic partners, such as the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet, the Robert Moses Kin Dance Company and other Bay Area arts organizations such as George Cleve’s Midsummer Mozart Festival and Stanford Live.
The Concert Chorus is the level to which Chorus School singers aspire. Under the guidance of our Associate Artistic Director, the San Francisco Boys Chorus faculty team train youngsters through four CHORUS SCHOOL levels, beginning as early as kindergarten in the Preparatory Chorus (Level I) and up through the Junior (Level II), Apprentice (Level III), and in time to the Intermediate Choruses. (Level IV).
Christmas Lessons and Carols with organist Vaughn Jones
Come join us in celebrating the joy and the mystery of Advent and Christmas with organist, Vaughn Jones, in a candlelight service of Advent and Christmas carols. You will have lots of opportunity to sing and enjoy both familiar and not so familiar carols. This is a fun event for the entire family.
Vaughn Jones is a native of St. Joseph, Missouri and a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He and his wife, Gloriann lives in Daly City and have four children and seven grandchildren. Vaughn has served as organist and choir director at many Lutheran, Catholic and Episcopal churches in the Bay Area since 1974.
View the 2023 season calendar here.
Past Concerts: 2021 – 2022 Season
Opening Weekend! Klezmer-Jazz Project: Alon Nechushtan Jazz Quartet
Alon Nechushtan’s music adventures has brought him to various far corners of the globe such as the Yokohama ‘Rejoicing Sounds’ Festival in Japan with his contemporary orchestral compositions, The Manila Cultural Center of the Arts, with his Clarinet Concerto for the Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra, The Sao-Paolo Brazil Jewish Music Festival with his groove based Quintet Talat, Toronto and Montreal with his words beyond Jazz Trio and Tel Aviv New Music Biannale with his Compositions for Large Ensemble.
Resident of New York City, Alon has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Central Park Summer Stage, The Blue Note Jazz Club and the Kennedy Center with his projects as a band leader of various groups or as an in demand sideman. in October 2015 the Kennedy Center has commissioned from Alon Nechushtan a new piece for Billy Strayhorn Centennial Celebration, following by a Far East tour in China and Philippines, along with Jazz Festivals in Belo Horizonte-Brazil, Israel. In 2017 the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C has commissioned from Alon Nechushtan a new program of Thelonious Monk’s less known compositions.
All About Jazz magazine called him “A fantastic pianist-composer with abundant chemistry and boundless eclecticism,” while DownBeat Magazine recognizes “A talent to watch, with a surfeit of ideas, an unbridled spirit and bold, two-fisted sense of Architecture.”
Cellist Joel Cohen grew up in Oakland, studying cello with Irene Sharp and Margaret Rowell. He finished his formal studies at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. He did further work with Anner Bylsma in Holland. He then became a member of the Oakland Symphony, as co-principal cello for his final six years there. He left California in 1985 to go live in Vienna, Austria. While there, he played and toured Europe and the world with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Symphony, Wiener Kammeroper, Johann Strauss Festival Orchestra, and many other groups. Ten years in Boston had him playing with Boston Symphony, Portland Symphony, and PORT Summer opera. Joel was a founding member of Quartet San Francisco, which was twice nominated for Grammy™ awards. Now he back in California, playing chamber music, with orchestras, and as soloist in recitals and concertos.
Meg Eldridge, a Marin Native, has studied music performance at the University of Michigan, the Manhattan School of Music, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She performs regularly with the Marin Symphony, the Santa Rosa Symphony, Oak-land Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, the California Symphony, the Echo Chamber Orchestra, the Sound Collective, and other Bay Area groups. She plays Baroque violin and viola with the Carmel Bach Festival, Archangeli Baroque Strings, Marin Baroque, the California Bach Society, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Jubilate, and Philharmonia Baroque. Meg performs regularly with the Tamalpais String Quartet, the Marin String Quartet, and Lawrence Strings. She also regularly plays in recording sessions at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. In the summers, Ms. Eldridge has played at Interlochen, the Vancouver Mozart Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Midsummer Mozart Festival, and at the Sunriver Music Festival. In addition to music, Ms. Eldridge enjoys cooking, running, tennis, mountain climbing, and is a black belt in Aikido.
Soprano and violinist Wendy Loderhas delighted San Francisco Bay Area opera audiences with her vivid portrayals of Adele, Adina, Blonde, Cunegonde, the Dew Fairy, Fanny, Frasquita, Fiorilla, Fiordilidgi, Gilda, Gretel, Lauretta, Nanetta, Olympia, Queen of the Night, Miss Sweetsong, Violetta, The Vixen, and Zerbinetta. In February Wendy served as concertmistress with the Marin’s ECHO Chamber Orchestra and she also appears regularly with the Quantum Quartet. She is also featured as both violinist and singer on a recently released CD “Serenata”, a collection of unique music from Italy, France and Spain, also available on CDBaby.com. In addition to her performance activities, Wendy directs music for the Trinity Lutheran Church, and teaches voice, violin, and piano. She is on the faculty at San Domenico School in San Anselmo, and her students have performed with San Francisco Opera, Lamplighters, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Young Women’s Choral Project, Young People’s Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra, and have been featured as soloists on video games. She is happily married and the proud mother of two beautiful daughters.
Odin Mitaineis a native of France and holds double degrees in Piano and Violin. As a young violinist, he was accepted to the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, England. Later, he studied at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Lyon and earned a Masters in Violin, Chamber Music, and Musical Theory while earning the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in Piano. He has studied the violin with Gerard Poulet, Peter Csaba, and Roland Daugareil and taken masterclasses with Fine Arts Quartet. Odin has performed throughout Europe. He worked as Associate Concertmaster at Opera de Rouen with notable conductors Oswald Salaberger, Laurence Equilbey, and David Stern. He has performed series with Opera de Paris and Radio France.Since arriving in California, he has played with different chamber groups including Echo Chamber Orchestra and worked as a piano accompanist with notable musicians. For the past several years, Odin has worked in music education teaching in several schools in the Bay Area.
Pianist Jeanette Tietze holds degrees in piano and violin pedagogy from the Hochschule für Musik, Vienna, and an MM degree in Piano Performance from SF State University, where she studied with Carlo Bussoti. Her teachers include Marcele Gallez, John McCarthy, Klara Harrer, Oleg Maisenberg and Leonid Brumberg, former assistant to Heinrich Neuhaus.Jeanette also holds a Kodaly Certificate from Holy Names University and has taught at several schools in the Bay Area.She is Organist/Music Direc-tor at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Corte Madera and accompanist for the Dominican Chorale and the Young Women’s Choral Project. She teaches piano at San Domenico, Marin Country Day School, and Notre Dame des Victoires, Jeanette has per-formed as soloist with several Bay Area orchestras.
Liana Paniyeva, piano
Award winning pianist Liana Paniyeva has performed at international festivals in Norway, Hungary, Canada, Italy, South Africa and Israel. Liana performed three times at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Her solo recital in 2016 at the Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago was broadcast live on WFMT Radio. Ms. Paniyeva is the winner of the American Protégé International Competition of Romantic Music; Grand Prize at the Metropolitan International Piano Competition; and the winner of the AFAF Golden Era of Romantic Music International Competition. Liana Paniyeva was also awarded the Cargill Foundation Prize in the 2014 Scottish International Piano Competition in Glasgow, and became a prizewinner at the Iowa International Piano Competition in 2015. In 2013-2015, Ms. Paniyeva was awarded the E.B. Storrs Piano Scholarship from the Musical Club of Hartford. Liana earned Third Prize at the International Competitions in Memory of E. Gilels, First Prize at the International Competition in Memory of Prokofiev, and Second Prize at the International Competition in Memory of A. Karamanov.
In 2008, Liana won First Prize in the “Music World” International Competition in Italy. In Israel Ms. Paniyeva won a prize in memory of Bracha Eden for a most impressive performance during the competition ”The Voice of Music Jerusalem.” Most recently, Liana played in concert halls of Scotland, South Africa, and in multiple states of the USA including Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Chicago Cultural Center , Epiphany Church in Downtown of Washington DC, Chicago Public Library, Grand Country Concert Series in Colorado, Jamestown Piano association, and many more.
Liana graduated from the Donetsk Music Academy in Ukraine, and went on to earn her Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music in 2011. Ms. Paniyeva finished her Artist Diploma at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. Her career continues with recitals in Hungary, Israel, Ukraine, USA, England, Syria, Canada, South Africa, and Norway.
Lyle Sheffler, guitar
International guitar soloist Lyle Sheffler began playing classical guitar at the age of seven and made his first public appearance at the age of eight. Acclaimed for his artistry, warm tone, and captivating programs, he has played at such esteemed venues as Carnegie Hall, Freight & Salvage Stadium, the Tilles Center, and the Hanoi Opera House, as well as numerous other concert halls around the globe. In addition to solo recitals, Lyle has performed as a concerto soloist with orchestras with Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un Gentilhombre” and Antonio Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto in D Major.
In the fall of 2012, Lyle was invited to tour the Middle East and Asia with Celebrity Cruises as a solo classical guitarist. He was also selected to participate in the prestigious Ile de Ré International Guitar Festival in France, led by guitar virtuoso Philippe Villa in 2010. While in France, Lyle was hand picked to perform in a solo concert held open to the public, as well as to play first guitar in several different chamber ensembles. During the summer of 2009, Lyle was awarded the opportunity to participate in both the Iserlohn Classical Guitar Festival in Germany and the Polish Guitar Academy in Poznan, Poland. There, he performed both in ensembles and as a soloist. He has participated in master classes with many world-renowned artists including Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, and many others.
Lyle earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, where he studied under the tutelage of acclaimed guitar pedagogue Ray Chester. Lyle received his Masters of Music degree in classical guitar from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the instruction of Guitar Foundation of America competition winner and Naxos recording artist Marc Teicholz and department chair David Tanenbaum. As a performer, Lyle has become an integral part of the San Francisco music community, both as a soloist and chamber musician. He also maintains a thriving teaching studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. Besides classical guitar, Lyle is proficient on double bass, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, and lute. He looks forward to a future of sharing his love for the guitar with his audiences and students, alike.
Lyle Sheffler currently plays on a spruce double-top super concert guitar hand built by Jeroen Hilhorst.
Frank Huang, piano
Frank Huang is a Steinway Artist and currently serves as an Associate Professor of Piano at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Previously, he was a faculty member at The College of Wooster and The Cleveland Institute of Music.
Described by New York Concert Review as a “thoughtful and accomplished performer” and that his playing was “impressive for its maturity and refinement,” Mr. Huang has gained international recognition for his artistry and technical command. Others have also acknowledged his talents, as the Chopin Foundation of the United States, Northwest Chapter has commented that “Huang plays with authority and panache” while El Comerico of Lima, Peru praised his interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Concerto, K.482 “with the utmost sensitivity.” Mr. Huang’s performances have led him throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Such notable venues include Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall, Benaroya Hall (Seattle), US Embassy in Warsaw, Zelazowa Wola (Warsaw), Gijon International Piano Festival (Spain), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Holland Music Sessions, Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Dame Myra Recital Series at Chicago’s Cultural Center, Lincoln Center in New York, and St. Martin in the Fields, London, UK. Mr. Huang’s concerts have also been featured on radio and television broadcasts in various cities across the United States and abroad. Most recently, his performances were aired on “Primo Movimento,” a popular classical music program on RaiRadio 3 in Rome, Italy. An avid chamber musician, he also enjoys performing with others as he has collaborated with members of the Cleveland Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in recitals. Equally active as a soloist with orchestra, he has performed with the Sammamish Symphony, Northwest Philharmonia, Peru National Symphony, Wooster Symphony Orchestra, Central Ohio Symphony, and Sichuan Symphony Orchestra.
Huang’s recordings can be found on the Centaur Records and Nimbus Alliance labels. His latest album, Celebrating Women Composers, is a chamber disc that he collaborated with violinist, Shannon Thomas. Other recordings include Jack Gallagher: Piano Music and Johannes Brahms: Selected Piano Music, in spring 2017. Both of which have received rave reviews as critics have described Huang’s performances as “thrilling” (The Classical Reviewer) and that “Huang deserves kudos for his sparkling and sensitive playing, and that better performances of these works would be well-nigh impossible to come by.” (Fanfare) Soon-to-be-released albums include volume one of the complete solo piano music of Nikolai Medtner.
Anton Smirnov, piano
Anton Smirnov began his piano studies at age of seven in Novosibirsk, Russia. After graduating from Novosibirsk State Conservatory with a Bachelor’s Degree, Anton came to the United States in 2006 to further his education. Anton has received his Artist Diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory with Sedmara Z. Rutstein and Peter Takacs as his piano teachers; Professional Studies Certificate at The Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA with John Perry. Mr. Smirnov received his Master’s Degree from Yale University in 2015 with help of Boris Berman and Hung Kuan Chen as his primary piano professors.
As a student, he was honored by the Russian government with several special talent scholarships. He has made more than 1000 public performances worldwide at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fischer Hall, Walt Disney Hall, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Anton is a prizewinner at many international piano competitions including the Moscow International Competition for Young Musicians, International Russian Music Piano Competition in San-Jose, CA, Oberlin Concerto Competition, Corpus Christi International Concerto Competition, Louisiana International Piano Competition, the NTD International Piano Competition in New York, and many others. He has performed as a soloist with various orchestras including the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, Tomsk Philharmonic Orchestra, San Jose Symphony and The Oberlin Orchestra.
Anton is a prominent chamber musician: he performed with members of Quatuor Ebene; Edgar Meyer, Alexander Buzlov, Evgeny Tonkha, Antonio Lysy, Boris Allakhverdyan, Simone Porter, and many others.
BRAZZISSIMO is a ten-piece brass chamber music ensemble. You may well ask, “What exactly is a brass chamber ensemble?” Well, it’s a fascinating combination of four trumpets (including piccolo trumpet, various pitched trumpets and flugelhorn), four trombones (including euphonium), French horn and a tuba which comprise this captivating and exciting music ensemble.
We perform a variety of music especially arranged or composed for this brass ensemble medium, all of which include arrangements of classical, jazz, Latin and contemporary works.
Our musicians, past and present, represent some of the finest brass players in the San Francisco Bay Area region. In addition to our ensemble’s responsibilities, individually we perform in orchestras, bands, smaller chamber groups, and often freelance. Our continuing goal is to present the most enjoyable and memorable concert experiences possible.
Circadian String Quartet
Bay Area based Circadian String Quartet was founded in 2013 to promote the classical and contemporary string quartet repertoire, in particular music of cultural and folkloric significance. Since then, the group has been featured through Mt. Shasta’s Music By the Mountain, Sunset Music | Arts Chamber Music Series in San Francisco, and the Merced Symphony Association. In 2014, the CSQ were invited to collaborate with the St. Petersburg-based Rimsky Korsakov String Quartet during their North American tour. They have also given U.S. premieres of pieces by world-renowned British composer Ian Venables in collaboration with mezzo-soprano Sally Munro of the San Francisco Opera and Natalie Parker, Principal Clarinetist of the San Francisco Ballet.
An Evening with Pablo Estigarribia
An evening with Argentinian virtuoso tango pianist, arranger, and composer Pablo Estigarribia.
Program: Horacio Salgán Piano Transcriptions
Horacio Salgán is without a doubt the most inventive, virtuosic and elegant pianist in Tango History. Recently an unofficial live recording that makes the only solo piano concert he played that we know of was discovered. Horacio Salgán Piano Transcriptions is the result of almost 2 years decoding this rare recording into a studio album and a music book with all the scores and research notes of the project. In this concert the full content of the book will be performed. The repertoire will feature traditional tango and some of original work by the Maestro.
Like many artists of this genre, Pablo Estigarribia began his training as a classical musician and soon branched out into the world of tango. He studied at the National Conservatory in Buenos Aires, where he won the Bienal Juvenil National Competition for Young Artists. After graduating, he spent several years on the frenzied performance circuit in Argentina, collaborating with the Congress Chamber Orchestra, the National Radio Orchestra, and the Chaco Symphony, among many others. Seeking to broaden his musical horizons beyond the classical realm, Estigarribia took a brief detour through jazz and then discovered tango in 2005. He quickly won the Orquesta Escuela de Tango scholarship and performed with this superb ensemble under the direction of Maestro Emilio Balcarce. Estigarribia continued working with Balcarce shortly thereafter when he first toured Europe.
He is considered among the best tango musicians of his generation.
Jason Chiu, piano
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason Chiu was a recent prize winner of the American Protege Piano and Strings Competition and was invited to perform in the winners’ concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. He has received a number of other top prizes including first place in the 2019 inaugural Bay Area Piano Competition, and a third-place award in the 2014 American Prize Competition for his recording of Chopin’s four Ballades. In his rendition of these major works for the piano, he displayed “many original interpretative ideas and a very individualistic way of listening,” according to the judges. While attending U.C. Berkeley, where he attained his B.A. in Music, Jason performed as a soloist with the University Symphony Orchestra, and was a recipient of the Eisner Award for achievement in the creative arts. He later earned his Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with Sharon Mann. Recent appearances include solo performances in Seattle at Benaroya Hall and in San Francisco with Old First Concerts, as well as performances with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra and the Saratoga Symphony. Jason maintains an active teaching studio from his home near Berkeley where he resides with his wife along with his two children.
Christmas Lessons and Carols with San Francisco Renaissance Voices
Date: Saturday December 18, 4 p.m.
Free Admission. Donations gratefully accepted.
Come join us in celebrating the joy and the mystery of Advent with the San Francisco Renaissance Voices in a candlelight service of Advent and Christmas carols. You will have lots of opportunity to sing and enjoy both familiar and not so familiar carols. This is a fun event for the entire family. A free reception follows the service.
Jack Cimo, guitar
Jack Cimo is a classically-trained Spanish guitarist known for his powerful presence, beautiful tone, and exciting renditions. Having played the guitar since he was a toddler, his devotion to the instrument has directed the course of his life. He has over 20 years of performing experience, and now calls San Luis Obispo, California home.
He has worked with Grammy-award winning musicians such as Steve Suvada, William Kanengiser, and Pepe Romero; and has captivated audiences in Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, Costa Rica, and Ireland to name a few. He has been a finalist or prizewinner in various competitions, including winning USC’s Presser Award and taking 3rd in the Sierra Nevada Guitar Festival. He was recently one of two Americans to be invited to the prestigious Joann Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition in Buffalo, NY.
Shtrykov-Tanaka (Clarinet-Piano) Duo
Comprised of two sensationally gifted and acclaimed virtuosi, clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov and pianist Misuzu Tanaka, the Shtrykov–Tanaka Duo has been heard throughout the U.S., garnering an impressive record of instant re-engagements. Clarinet and piano duos are still rare gems on the modern concert stage despite the immense repertoire. With its innovative programming, master classes, and recitals, the Duo makes it their mission to transform the superb instrumental combination fr om a rare occurrence to a welcomed guest in concert series across the globe.
The 2017 – 2018 season highlights include the Duo’s debut album release on Concertant Classics label as well as numerous concerts and master classes with appearances on the Fairmont Chamber Music Society (WV), Highlands Chapel Concert Series in Seattle (WA), and Cedarhurst Chamber Music (IL) among others. During past seasons, the Duo gave numerous concerts on many eminent concert series across the country including Chamber Music Society of Maryland, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts (IL), Summer Stars Classical Series in Ocean Grove (NJ), Tuesday’s Music Live Series in Augusta (GA), Frederick Collection Historical Piano Concerts in Ashburnham, (MA), and Endless Mountain Festival in Elmira (NY) to name a few.
The Duo’s upcoming debut album “Epilogues” will focus on the last works of three leading composers – Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Saëns and Francis Poulenc. Each of these composers chose the clarinet as the last medium of their genius, referring to its rich sound and soulful expression in the late stage of their lives, entrusting in it a lifetime of wisdom and experience. Though the story behind the creation of each composition differs, all of them hold a deep philosophical meaning as the pinnacles of the composers’ mastery.
Maksim and Misuzu first met in December 2012 and, as avid chamber music collaborators, instantly felt a unique artistic connection resulting in an inspiring and creative friendship. Both artists are graduates of The Juilliard School and enjoy extensive international solo careers that have heard them in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Germany’s Leipzig Gewandhaus and Japan’s Izumi Hall.
Patrick Galvin (violin) and Jennifer Hou (piano)
Patrick Galvin is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Camilla Wicks and Wei He. Patrick also spent two years studying violin with Barbara Gorzynska at the Prayner Konservatorium in Vienna, Austria. Patrick made his solo debut at age 11 with the Oakland East Bay Symphony playing the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1. He was winner of the East Bay Young Artist Competition in 2000, the Yehudi Menuhin/Helen Dowling award in 2002 and the Kensington Young Artist Competition in 2003. In April 2004 he was the soloist with the Kensington Symphony playing the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No 5. He has also performed at the Junior Bach Festival. In 2013 and 2015, Patrick competed in the Johannes Brahms International Competition in Pörtschach, Austria.
Jennifer Hou is an Australian pianist and a second-year Masters student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She studies with Corey McVicar and Jon Nakamatsu and is the piano department assistant. Jennifer has performed at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Town Hall and NSW Parliament House, and made her concerto debut with the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2018. She is an alumni of the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival (2021), and has also participated in masterclasses in Europe. Jennifer completed her Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours, and a Bachelor of Laws at the University of New South Wales in 2019. She is generously supported by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the PPCA Performers Trust Foundation, and the American Australian Association Arts Fund.
Stars Aligned Siblings – String Quartet
Stars Aligned Siblings is an all-sibling string quartet ages 9, 12, 14, and 15 years-old. They have toured internationally at festivals and events in the United Kingdom, Argentina, Mexico, and in the United States. Formerly Little Stars Trio, the siblings have appeared on NBC TV’s Little Big Shots with host Steve Harvey and on ITV’s Little Big Shots in the U.K. They have performed as soloists and as a quartet at Iguazú en Concierto Festival in Argentina and at Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Mexico. In the United States they have performed on Michael Cerbelli’s The Hot List, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Gala, Festival Napa Valley, Bear Valley Music Festival, MTAC State Convention banquet, Presidio concert series in San Francisco, National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference, and for Steinway Society sponsored outreach to local schools in their community.
Stars Aligned Siblings have won numerous awards in chamber music, including 1st Place Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, including the Haydn Prize and BIPOC/Female Composer Prize, Winner “Ensembles” Cadenza Contest 2.0, 1st Place Chicago International Music Competition – Amateur Division, 1st Place & Outstanding Gold Medalist Award of U.S. Open Music Competition, 1st Place U.S. International Music Competition, 1st Place MTAC VOCE State Finals, 1st Place DVC-HNU Strings Competition, and 1st Place Sacramento Chamber Music Society Competition, 3rd Place Piero Farulli International Competition for Young String Quartets where they also received the youngest ensemble award.
Janis Mercer (piano) and Daniel Lewin (violin) and Friends
About the Artists
- Caroline Jou Armitage, soprano
- Dan Flanagan, violin
- Daniel Lewin, violin
- Heidi Moss, soprano
- Jacob Hansen Joseph, viola
- Janis Mercer, piano
- Matt Ingalls, clarinet
- Ricardo Martinez, saxophone
- Robert Howard, cello
- Thalia Moore, cello
Janis Mercer is an American pianist/composer living in San Francisco. As a solo pianist and accompanist, Janis Mercer’s interest in the music of the Second Viennese School has continued unabated since the early 1980’s. With her ensemble, schwungvoll!, she received funding from the Zellerbach Family Fund for a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of Webern’s death in 1995. In 2005 she commemorated the 60th anniversary of his death with the commissioning of student and professional composers to write music “completing” Webern’s unfinished children’s piano cycle. These pieces were performed as part of concerts commissioning Webern’s death, in San Francisco and Spokane, Washington. She was invited to compose a chamber work and to attend the 2005 kofomi (KompositionForumMittersill) commemorative concerts staged throughout the town of Mittersill, Austria, where Webern was killed.
Daniel Lewin has had an unusually varied career as a chamber musician, concertmaster, and teacher. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Juilliard School as a student of Joseph Fuchs. Mr. Lewin was Concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony (S.C), the Nevada Symphony, the West Virginia Symphony and the Cedar Rapids Symphony, among others. He has also been a member of the National, Houston, and San Antonio Symphonies, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Daniel Lewin has been a Professor of Violin at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of Memphis. He has performed at many summer music festivals, including Cabrillo, Casals, Grand Tetons, Skaneateles, Spoleto and Deer Valley.
An evening of works by Astor Piazzolla with pianist Julieta Iglesias
Julieta Iglesias was born in 1985 in Buenos Aires. She started her piano studies in 1995 at the “Alberto Williams” Conservatoire. In 2001 she received the ‘Lía Cimaglia Espinosa’ scholarship and the Santa Cecilia Medal. Since then, she has been performing in important halls in Argentina, Spain, Germany, France, Holland, U.K., Poland, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland and Hungary. Julieta graduated from the ‘Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte’ where she studied under the guidance of Professor Aldo Antognazzi. She also taught Piano for two years at the same institution. In 2017 she got a Bachelor of Musical Education from ‘Conservatorio Superior de Musica de la Ciudad de Bs. As. Astor Piazzolla’.
Julieta has been working with many contemporary composers. In 2010, she gave the Première of the piano works by Mauro de María and also released Volume 1 of de María’s music, to critical acclaim, and in 2012 she gave the Premiere of Vol. II. In 2014 Julieta embarked on a tour around Europe, supported by the Argentine Government, releasing her first album with classical musical and tango. After that, she was invited to participate in the ’15 th Festival Por los caminos del vino’ in Mendoza, Argentina. In her last tour, in 2016, Julieta pomoted her new album: ‘Obras para piano: Bach, Chopin, Ravel, Guastavino, Golijov, Ginastera’.
During 2020 she recorded two EP’s: ‘Piano in Quarantine’ and ‘My Homages’, and one album, ‘Londoner’. In 2021 she released ‘Simply Classical’ and her first classical fusion work, ‘Londres suena a Serú’, which contains piano arrangements on songs by a very popular Argentine band of the 80’s.
Gayatri Venkatesan (soprano) in concert
Gayatri Venkatesan, soprano, is a recent first place winner of the American Protege International Vocal Competition, and has been invited to perform in Carnegie Hall in 2022 as part of their winners concert. Some of her notable performances include Eurydice in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and Leila in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles. She has also been in the chorus of Opera San Jose’s production of Mozart & Salieri, and Lamplighters Musical theater in their production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. In addition to her operatic performances, Gayatri has found solid ground as the soprano soloist at Union Church of Cupertino, under the direction of Dr. Ross Hoksbergen. She has been featured in the chorus of Andrea Bocelli’s 2012 and 2018 concerts at the SAP center in San Jose. Her upcoming engagements include promotional concerts at the Equator Festival in London to advertise an upcoming asian-western cross-cultural opera based on the life of Noor, directed by Priti Paintal.
In addition to working as a Financial Analyst at Google, Gayatri runs a busy voice studio in the SF Bay Area. Her students have enjoyed lead roles in several community theater productions, and in addition, have received gold medals at the state and national level in the Royal Conservatory of Music annual examinations. Ms. Venkatesan is also active in the Royal Conservatory of Music and NATS communities.
Trio 180, the faculty piano trio-in-residence at the University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, is dedicated to its roles as performer, proponent of new music, and educator. In addition to giving concerts and master classes throughout the United States, the trio has been featured on concert series in Mexico and Canada. This talented ensemble includes celebrated concert violinist Ann Miller, renowned cellist Vicky Wang, and award-winning pianist Sonia Leong.
Trio 180 performs a wide range of music from the Classical era to the present and is an active advocate of new music. The trio was awarded a Barlow Grant in 2006 to commission eminent composer Chen Yi’s first piano trio, Tibetan Tunes (Theodore Presser). The trio also premiered Robert Coburn’s a depth of silence (2018); Robert Greenberg’s 180 Shift (2013); Reinaldo Moya’s Gothic Sea (2011, in honor of Trio 180’s tenth anniversary); Francois Rose’s Gently, Wild Rose Petals (2008); Derek Jacoby’s Trio No. 2 (2008); and Allan Crossman’s Icarus (2005). The trio has also recorded works by Jorge Liderman (Suite del Sur; Sidewalk recorded on Albany Records), and Cindy Cox (Wave).
The trio’s current season features appearances throughout California, (San Francisco, Stockton, Livermore, Berkeley) and a showcase performance at Chamber Music America’s National Conference in New York in January. In past seasons, the trio has toured to Vancouver, Canada and Ajijic, Mexico; presented numerous performances for Composers Inc., in San Francisco and Berkeley; and given concerts at the Crocker Museum (Sacramento); the Mondavi Center (Davis); the Sundays Live series (Los Angeles County Museum); Sundays at 3 (Columbia , MD), and Old First Concerts (San Francisco). Recently, the trio was featured on Music for a Great Space‘s Women in Music Series in Greensboro, NC. The trio completed its first CD of works by Dvorak, Suk, and Schumann in 2015.
Tango concert with Ramiro Boero, Heyni Solera, and Sumi Lee
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Ramiro Boero is an Argentine bandoneon player, arranger and composer born in Buenos Aires. He has been a soloist in the Madrid Symphony Orchestra, the Argentine National Symphony Orchestra, the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sao Paulo Jazz Symphony Orchestra, the Medellin Symphony Orchestra, the Juan de Dios Filiberto Argentina Music Orchestra, the Stable Orchestra of the Province of Tucumán and the Córdoba Symphony Orchestra, among others.
He has participated in various concerts with the great tango luminaries Víctor Lavallén, Leopoldo Federico, Rubén Juárez, Emilio Balcarce, Daniel Binelli, Osvaldo Piro, Roberto Alvarez and played in the great tango ensembles Sexteto Mayor, the Color Tango Orchestra and the Orquesta El Arranque, with which he has received two Carlos Gardel Awards and a Latin Grammy nomination.
Praised for her “soulful bandoneón” (Washington Classical Review), Heyni Solera is a sought after bandoneonist in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Solera has enjoyed a career in the US and abroad playing with performances in Argentina, Canada and Australia collaborating with prominent musicians in the tango music scene. Heyni regularly performs with the Da Capo Tango Orchestra, which focuses on playing danceable tangos and is part of the cello/bandoneon duo, Arco & Aire, with cellist Maxfield Wollam-Fisher. She is also the bandoneonist of Solidaridad Tango Orquesta which focuses on female tango musicians in a typically male dominated genre.
Sumi Lee is a classically trained pianist who obtained a master’s degree in music, piano performance, from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has also been professionally trained as a tango pianist from La Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce, (Class of 2018), the most prestigious tango orchestra school in the world sponsored by the city government of Buenos Aires. Lee is a widely respected piano teacher and is on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco branch of Music Teachers’ Association of California. While living in Buenos Aires, she performed with living maestros and musical directors such as Víctor Lavallén, Jose Pepe Colangelo, Osvaldo Piro, Roberto Alvarez, Daniel Binelli, Mauricio Marceli, Nicolas Ledesma, Pablo Estigarribia and many more. One of her past concerts at Teatro General San Martin in Buenos Aires was sold out to a large audience and aired live via national radio 2*4 and TV.
San Francisco Girls Chorus Level III – Terry Alvord, Director
Praised by Gramophone Magazine as a “remarkable tapestry of teenage voices,” the five-time GRAMMY Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) is recognized as one of the world’s leading youth vocal ensembles. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC presents subscription performances throughout the Bay Area and regularly performs both nationally and internationally as a cultural ambassador for San Francisco. SFGC is a frequent collaborator with leading arts organizations such as Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera, as well as numerous world-renowned guest artists.
In addition to its Premier Ensemble, the San Francisco Chorus School is renowned as a regional center for choral music education and performance for girls and young women ages 4-18. Through its innovative Online Learning Program, SFGC has utilized technology to keep its hundreds of choristers engaged and advancing in their musical activities and performing live together from their own homes.
Level III of the San Francisco Girls Chorus School is an ensemble of singers generally between the ages of 10-13. Throughout each season, they learn and perform a varied repertoire of classical, contemporary, and multilingual folk songs from multiple musical eras. In recent years, Level III has performed with other local organizations such as the SF Opera and Opera Parallèle, as well as in the community at schools across San Francisco and the East Bay.
The Soloist Intensive program is a select cohort of soloists that are part of SFGC’s GRAMMY Award Winning Premier Ensemble. Singers strengthen their performance experience, vocal technique, stage presence, diction and language skills through an individualized program of private voice lessons; projects that build organization, communication, and professionalism; masterclasses; auditions; and performances, often in collaboration with world class professional singers. Many Soloists go on to pursue vocal performance in universities and conservatories, and all receive college prep and advising as a part of the program.
Terry Alvord, Level III Director
Terry Alvord, a mezzo soprano and conductor, has conducted the San Francisco Symphony Chorus in rehearsals of Brahms’ Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, and has conducted the San Francisco Conservatory’s chamber vocal ensemble, assisting Maestro Ragnar Bohlin. She has also been one of four assistant conductors for the San Francisco Symphony’s Community of Music Makers “Sing Out Davies” program since its inception in 2011.
For the 2015-2016 season, Ms. Alvord was the interim artistic director for Resound Ensemble, a 50 member mixed voice choir based in San Francisco. Last summer, Ms. Alvord was a featured conductor in a program of sacred music in Sarteano, Italy. She is currently music director at Trinity United Methodist Church in Berkeley.
In addition to conducting, Ms. Alvord is an active soloist and choral singer. She has appeared as soloist in James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross with the Berkeley Symphony and with many other groups in performances of Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Bach’s Magnificat. Ms. Alvord has sung with many Bay Area opera companies in roles such as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Siebel in Faust, and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel. She has been a professional member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus since 2000, and has also sung with San Francisco Opera Chorus and Philharmonia Baroque Chorale.
Basma Edrees (violin) and Ava Nazar (piano)
Basma and Ava met at The Juilliard School while pursuing their Masters degree. They have been friends ever since collaborating on a multiple of performances including a highlight performance at the United Nations in New York. Trained in the Western Classical musical tradition and growing up in their respective Eastern musical traditions, Basma Edrees and Ava Nazar feature the rich aesthetics of both musical worlds and are passionate about expanding musical access across various communities.
Eric Tran, pianist and composer
Pianist-composer Eric Tran has performed in Italy, Korea, China, Canada, and in over 20 states in the United States. He has appeared in music festivals such as PianoTexas, Aspen, Art of the Piano, Gilmore, and Chautauqua, both as participant and as guest artist. His principal studies were with pianists Sharon Mann, Thomas Schultz, and Christopher Taylor; and with composers Jaroslaw Kapuscinski and Laura Schwendinger.
Eric is a graduate of Stanford University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Mead Witter School of Music. During his studies, he was the winner of the concerto competitions of all three institutions, and he was awarded the prestigious Robert M. Golden Medal for outstanding contributions to the arts. As a composer, he won the Pacific Musical Society Composition Prize, and his sets of children’s music have been programmed for over seven years on the syllabus of the US Open Music Competition. His music has been performed by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the Friction Quartet, and his debut album, Water, was supported by Stanford University’s Young Alumni Arts Grant.
He comprises one half of the notorious “Happy Dog” piano duo with his longtime friend and piano partner, Nathan Cheung. They won the 1st prize and Abild American Music Award at the Ellis Duo-Piano Competition, hosted by the National Federation of Music Clubs; 1st prize at the inaugural MTNA-Stecher and Horowitz Two Piano Competition; and 1st prize at the Ohio International Duet and Duo Piano Competition. For over a decade, they have performed four-hands originals, transcriptions, and classics alike with a focus on bringing humor and joy to the classical music world.
Kenneth Renshaw and Elizabeth Dorman in concert
With playing hailed as “Positively ravishing, a marvel of emotional maturity and assurance” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and praised for its “true chamber music-making, and a natural, honest sense of communication” (The Strad), NY-based violinist Kenneth Renshaw is a performer known for his emotional depth and intensity and pedagogue who focuses on the individual needs of each student.
Kenneth came to international attention in 2012 after winning First Prize and the Prize for Best Semifinal Recital at the 2012 Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition. He also won First Prize and several special prizes in the 2010 Louis Spohr International Competition, First Prize at the 2009 Los Angeles Philharmonic competition, and was a Laureate of the prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition of Belgium in 2015.
As a result of these successes, he has been a featured soloist with orchestras such as the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Lithuanian National Orchestra, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Weimar, and the Jenaer Philharmonie, and has performed recitals at the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, Flagey Studios (Brussels), the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele in Germany.
As a chamber musician he has made festival appearances at Caramoor, Ravinia, and the Perlman Music Program, performing with renowned musicians such as Itzhak Perlman, Leon Fleischer, Sir James Galway, Pamela Frank, and Kim Kashkashian. He has also participated in performances through Music for Food, a musician-led initiative founded by Kim Kashkashian for hunger-relief in major cities across the United States.
Praised by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle for her “elegance and verve,” pianist Elizabeth Dorman enjoys performing music both new and old as a soloist and chamber musician. A finalist of the 2018 Leipzig International Bach Competition, Elizabeth has been widely recognized as a leading performer for her inquisitive interpretations of Bach’s music on the modern piano.
Elizabeth has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Louisville Orchestra, the Leipzig Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Symphony Parnassus, as a soloist for interdisciplinary projects at New World Symphony, and will appear as a soloist with the Santa Rosa Symphony later this season. She has been presented as a soloist and chamber musician at venues including the Kennedy Center, Davies Symphony Hall, Herbst Theater, Merkin Hall, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Leipzig’s Hochschule für Musik, and her live solo performances have been nationally broadcast on NPR and public radio. She has appeared at festivals including Tanglewood, Britt, Sarasota, Aspen, Toronto Summer Music, Icicle Creek, and Banff Centre.
A native of San Francisco, Elizabeth began her training in piano and double bass at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Paul Hersh and Stephen Tramontozzi. She was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University where she studied with Gilbert Kalish. Other important mentors in her musical development include Robert Levin, the Emerson String Quartet, Christina Dahl, Wu Han, Mark Sokol, Emmanuel Ax, and Arthur Haas.
Robert Schwartz in concert
Pianist Robert Schwartz has earned an international reputation as a remarkable artist whose powerful performances are marked by poetry, insight and technical mastery of his instrument. Known for putting together challenging programs of great dramatic range, he plays actively around the globe and is a sought-after performer here in the Bay Area.
Schwartz is equally at home playing large-scale works and more poetic repertoire. He has recently received praise for his Liszt B minor Sonata and regularly performs all twelve pieces of Albeniz’s Iberia. He also often programs the more intimate pieces of Chopin, Mendelssohn and Brahms. Schwartz has always had a special affinity for French music which led to his winning the Ravel Prize at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris. His CD of works by Debussy, Franck and Poulenc has garnered accolades.
Mr. Schwartz’s concerts and master classes have taken him to many U.S. cities, including New York, Boston, Houston, Portland, Memphis and Dallas. He has given concerts and master classes at festivals in Argentina, China, France, Switzerland and Austria and has had a profound influence on a generation of young musicians.
Heeguen Song, Sharon Lee Kim, and Scott Macomber
Native of South Korea, Heeguen Song is Associate Concertmaster of the SF Ballet Orchestra. She has held positions at Santa Rosa Symphony, Oakland Symphony and Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Song performs regularly in South Korea and throughout the Bay Area in venues such as Seoul Arts Center, Sejong Arts Center, Old First Concerts, Herbst Theater, Bing Concert Hall, and many more. She is an active chamber musician and is a member of Beaubliss Quartet and Ensemble Ari. She has performed at Yale Chamber Music Society, Yellowbarn Music Festival, Taos Music Festival, and Banff Chamber Music Residency. Heeguen was invited to play at Osaka City Hall, Daejeon Chamber Music Festival, Beethoven institute at New School and City University of NY. Additionally Heeguen gave a solo debut recital at Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and had solo appearances with many orchestras such as SF Ballet Orchestra, Oberlin Orchestra, Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble 212, and Camerata Academica de Merida. She was a prize winner at the Henryk Szeryng International Competition, Irving M Klein Competition, and Kingsville International Competition among others. Heeguen studied at Oberlin Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Yale School of music and Rutgers University under the direction of Almita Vamos, Masao Kawasaki, Peter Oundjian, and Arnold Steinhardt.
Native to the Bay Area, pianist Sharon Lee Kim actively performs as solo and chamber pianist, vocal coach, music director, choral and vocal accompanist, and is a highly demanded piano instructor. She is a frequent recitalist, collaborating with the top instrumentalists and opera singers in the world. Ms. Kim joined the Saint Mary’s College Music Faculty in 2008. As Adjunct Associate Professor her roles include: Asst. Director/Accompanist of the choral program, Lecturer in piano, chamber music, and music history, and Director of the Faculty Concert Series. Aside from her roles at the college, Sharon is the pianist of Ensemble Ari, the co-founding member of Duo Camaraderie together with flutist Laura Scarlata, a collegiate staff pianist at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, freelances as a solo, vocal, and chamber pianist, and maintains a thriving private studio teaching piano and vocal coaching singers. Sharon is a member of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) and adjudicator for local competitions. Sharon holds degrees from UC Berkeley (BA) and New England Conservatory (MM and GD). Her primary teachers were Irma Vallecillo, Kayo Iwama, John Greer, Barbara Shearer, and Margret Elson. (www.sharonleekim.com)
Scott Macomber has served as Acting Second Trumpet of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 2016 as well as maintaining permanent positions with the California Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, and Sacramento Philharmonic. Scott frequently appears with the San Francisco Symphony, with whom he has served as Acting Third Trumpet, and the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. A busy recording artist, Scott is frequently at Skywalker Ranch to appear on video game and film soundtracks as well as commercial albums.
Dorisiya Yosifova, violin: Lecture and Performance
Born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Dorisiya Yosifova is a San Francisco based violinist and instructor. Her musical training began very early on at the age of 5, and her first solo debut came at the age of 7 with the Gabrovian Chamber Orchestra in Bulgaria. At 15, Dorisiya won a full scholarship to the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California and left her home country to study in the US. During her years at Idyllwild, Dorisiya won the Idyllwild Arts Academy Concerto Competition and the Eastern Music Festival award for Orchestral excellence, as well as Idyllwild Arts Academy’s “Most Outstanding Freshman” award. She gained invaluable training in ensemble playing as concertmaster of the Idyllwild Arts Academy orchestra, and in solo playing in master classes with Midori Goto, Sergiu Schwartz, Ian Swensen, and others. Additionally at 18, Dorisiya collaborated with folk legend Richard Thompson and Harry Shearer in recording and premiering Thompson’s album, “Cabaret of Souls.”
In 2015, Dorisiya completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Oberlin Conservatory. There, she studied with Gregory Fulkerson and Marilyn McDonald. During her time at Oberlin, she played in orchestra and chamber music ensembles under the direction of Raphael Jimenez and Timothy Weiss. She also performed alongside the Jupiter Quartet in Oberlin’s Winter Term Intensive chamber music festival, performed at Carnegie Hall with the conservatory’s orchestra during their New York tour, and New York’s Le Poisson Rouge as part of the Next Festival. During her time at the conservatory, Dorisiya has played as Concertmaster and Principal Second with the Round Top Festival Orchestra, as well as with the Next Fest Orchestra, and in 2015 she won Marrowstone’s string fellowship award. A passionate instructor, Dorisiya was also a part of Oberlin Conservatory’s Secondary Student program and taught violin lessons to college students and other community members.
Dorisiya completed her Master of Music degree in Violin Performance at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2017. During her time at the Conservatory, she took part in a string leadership masterclass for principal players with Boston Symphony Orchestra member Haldan Martinson and performed as Principal Second Violinist with multiple orchestras at the conservatory. Dorisiya currently enjoys an active career in music as a teacher and performer. As an orchestra musician, Dorisiya has performed with the Apollo ensemble of Boston as Principal Second Violinist, the Cape Ann Symphony as Section Player and the Lowell House Opera as Concertmaster. Dorisiya is also a member of the Boston New Music Initiative, where she most recently performed in a remote performance in January 2021. Before her recent move to the Bay Area, Dorisiya had a strong concertizing presence in the music community in Boston as a solo and chamber musician and performed at venues such as the Art Complex Museum, King’s Chapel, Wellesley Library and others. Enthusiastic about teaching, Dorisiya is currently on the String Faculty of the Maud Powell String Institute, Myriad Music School, MidPeninsula Music Academy and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Previously, she has also taught at the Boston School of Music Arts and the El-Sistema inspired Youth and Family Enrichment Services. Additionally, Dorisiya is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Maud Powell String Institute – a string program specifically designed for immigrant children in MA.
Monica Chew, piano
Monica Chew (she/her) is an Oakland pianist and composer. In 2017 she released her first solo album, Tender and Strange, featuring works by Bartók, Janáček, Messiaen, Takemitsu, and Scriabin. A “gifted player with an affinity for deeply sensitive expression” (Whole Note, June/July/August 2018), her playing is “wonderfully delicate, like tissue” (International Pianist, July/August 2018). She has been a featured artist on KVMR, KPFA and radio stations across the United States. She started composing in 2017 and couldn’t be happier about it. Her work has been featured as part of the Gabriela Lena Frank’s Creative Academy for Music’s #GLFCAMGigThruCovid initiative, Hot Air Music Festival, and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble’s Intersection program. Her first string quartet, Delayed Send, was premiered by Friction Quartet in November 2020 and reviewed as “monumental” and “stunning” by San Francisco Classical Voice. She loves playing chamber music and received a Zellerbach Family Foundation award for her chamber music work. Prior to 2015, she neglected piano for nearly a decade to work as a principal software engineer on security and privacy at Mozilla and Google after receiving her Master of Music from SF Conservatory of Music and a PhD in computer science from UC Berkeley. She lives in Oakland with her husband, an 1899 Steinway B, a clavichord, and a disused violin. In spring and summer of 2020 she gave free twice-weekly live concerts on her Facebook and YouTube channels.
Sing Out Strong! presents ‘Unforgettable’
Like visions of places visited long ago, we all have songs that remain in our hearts. Maybe the melody, the lyrics, or a special person helped place them there. Perhaps the song made us laugh, or cry, or want to dance……
Celebrating its 4th season at Sunset Music & Arts, the 14-member vocal ensemble Sing Out Strong! will perform songs from Broadway, the Great American songbook, folk tunes, and more. Musical memories that have earned for us the title, Unforgettable.
Founded in January 2017, by Ellaine Jerome and pianist Betty Fujimoto, singers come from all walks of life and varied San Francisco neighborhoods. The ensemble enjoys singing for non-profit organizations and for community members unable to attend concerts. Singers share their talents on guitar and banjo as well.
An evening with soprano Cheryl Cain and pianist Kevin Navarro
Cheryl Cain, soprano, sings with the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, American Bach Soloists, Cappella SF, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, and many others. She has her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She continued her post-graduate studies in opera in Florence, Italy. She is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She runs the Merced Manor Music Studio in San Francisco where she teaches voice and violin.
Kevin Navarro, classical pianist and vocal accompanist is a native of Seattle, Washington and has resided in San Francisco for the past nine years. Kevin earned his Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance from Pacific Lutheran University School of Music, where he studied under Dr. Calvin Knapp of the Julliard School, Dr. Richard Nance, Director of Choral Activities and Mira Frohnmayer, Chair of Vocal Studies at PLU School of Music. During his tenure at PLU, Kevin served as the choral accompanist for both University Chorale, and internationally renowned Choir of the West. Kevin was very active in musical theater and opera productions in the Seattle/Tacoma region, and has served as a principle/stage accompanist for PLU Opera Workshop, Tacoma Opera, Seattle Opera and the Tacoma Musical Playhouse including productions such as Madame Butterfly, Marriage of Figaro, Magic Flute, and West Side Story. In December of 2020, Kevin placed 2nd at the San Francisco Semi-Finals of the Music International Grand Prix Competition.
Women Compose Jazz – Laura Klein and friends
A special evening of seldom heard jazz gems composed by women, from classics by Lil Hardin Armstrong and Bernice Petkere, swinging tunes by Mary Lou Williams, Melba Liston, and Marian McPartland, to music by contemporary masters Eliane Elias, Joanne Brackeen and Renee Rosnes, and some originals by Laura Klein.
About the Artists
- Laura Klein: piano
- Ruth Davies: bass
- Kelly Fasman: drums
Laura Klein (bandleader/pianist/composer) is delighted to be leading this celebration of women jazz composers. When she was first starting to play and compose jazz, she heard Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams, and Joanne Brackeen perform live on numerous occasions, and was inspired and influenced by these brilliant musicians. Laura has recorded her own compositions with FivePlay Jazz Quintet, Triceratops, and vibraphonist Ted Wolff. She has appeared with her own groups at numerous venues, including SF Jazz, Piedmont Piano Company, Vallejo Jazz, Pacifica Performances, and Sacramento Jazz Cooperative, and has been featured on KCSM’s “In the Moment” and “Desert Island Jazz”. This is her second appearance at Sunset Music and Arts.
Ruth Davies has performed with such jazz and blues greats as Keb’ Mo’, Charles Brown, Clark Terry, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, Jay McShann, Van Morrison, Maria Muldaur, Junior Mance, Barbara Morrison, Etta Jones, Terry Gibbs, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Little Jimmy Scott. Her discography (including several Platinum and Grammy-winning CDs) covers various jazz and blues styles as well as movie soundtracks. She has recorded with Charles Brown, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison, Clark Terry, Vassar Clements, Toots Thielemans, Ernie Watts, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Jackie Ryan, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, among others. She toured the world for ten years with the late Charles Brown, performing at major jazz festivals and concerts and on radio and television broadcasts worldwide. Ruth continues to spend considerable time abroad. She has recorded and performed internationally with Maria Muldaur, Denise Jannah, Dmitri Matheny and European pianist/composer Amina Figarova. Lately she has “returned to the roots” and travels with Elvin Bishop’s band.
Kelly Fasman (drums) is a dynamic performer whose propulsive playing adds excitement and dynamic range in any musical setting. She has performed with Kenny Loggins, The Moody Blues, Joan Baez, and Joan Rivers. She was the house drummer for The American Musical Theatre of San Jose, and has worked with Teatro Zinzanni, Broadway By the Bay, and Theatreworks. Kelly is the powerhouse of the 17 piece jazz orchestra, the Morchestra. She is a highly in-demand performer and educator on the Bay Area scene.
Samantha Cho and Hanqing Chang in concert, piano 4-hands
Born in Los Angeles, pianist Samantha Cho is active professionally as a performer and educator. Her recent appearances include Noontime Concert Series (San Francisco), Classical King FM (Seattle), Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert (Chicago), Harbor College (Los Angeles), and more. Her 2020 engagements include solo recitals in San Francisco and Los Angeles, a radio appearance on Chicago’s “Live from WFMT” with CSO cellist Brant Taylor and violinist Florin Parvulescu, and her debut in Korea’s prestigious chamber music venue, Sejong Cultural Center. Passionate about chamber music, Samantha has collaborated with members of the San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra; and she has also performed as soloist with Kenwood Symphony as winner of the 19th Annual Master’s Concerto & Aria Competition. Her performances have been broadcast on WFMT (Chicago), Classical KingFM (Seattle), and Arte TV (Seoul).
Also passionate in music education, Samantha joined the piano faculty at Los Angeles Pierce College in 2019, and she has coached pre-college chamber music groups at San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 2016.
Chinese pianist Hanqing Chang has appeared in concert venues throughout Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, U.S., and China. At the age of 10, she started performing in public. By 12, she had her first piano recital in Guiyang. She was invited to perform Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 with the Guiyang Symphony Orchestra in Beijing’s National Centre for Performing Arts. Critics praised Ms. Chang’s performance, the Jin Qian News, “Hanqing Chang’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto was bursting with Russian character and sentiment. Together with the orchestra, their musical collaboration produced music that was graceful, youthful, and brilliant. Especially for the soloist, the melody flowed from her delicate but vigorous fingers, displaying her agile technical ability. The audience was immersed in the music’s expressive atmosphere and gave her a thunderous standing ovation.”
Hanqing has won many piano competitions, including the Winner of the CCM Liszt Piano Concert Competition, Cincinnati; Audience Favorite Award 58th World Piano Competition; First Prize of the 3rd Wiesbaden International Piano Competition in Germany; Second Prize in the Asian Youth Music International Competition in Sichuan, China; First Prize of the 10th “XinHai” National Piano Competition in Sichuan, China; First Prize of the 3rd HGS National Piano Competition in Guiyang, China and the 12th Hong Kong Piano Open Competition in Hong Kong. In addition, she has performed in the master classes of renowned musicians such as Russell Sherman, Tamás Vásary, Menahem Pressler, Sergei Babayan, Menahem Pressler, Wha Kyung Byun, Dang Thai Son, Nelita True, Ann Schein, Stephen Prutsman, Boris Slutsky, Jura Margulis, Enrico Elisi, Alexander Korsantia, Ursula Oppens, Frederic Chiu, Vladimir Viardo.
Alison Lee, piano – All Scriabin program
A native of Fremont, California, Alison Lee is a pianist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the first prize winner of several competitions including Thursday Musical’s Scholarship Competition and the Dorothy Van Waynen Piano Competition. She also received second prize at the Midwest International Piano Competition, where she performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with conductor Jason Weinberger and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. Most recently, Alison was featured as a soloist with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra after winning their 2019 National Young Artists Competition.
In addition to performing as a soloist, Alison enjoys playing chamber music and is the pianist of Ensemble 1828, a touring piano trio that presents several programs each year. She frequently performs with her sister, pianist Katherine Lee, as well as with cellist Isaac Pastor-Chermak, with whom she has presented recitals featuring the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Cello and Piano. Other collaborative performances include appearances with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and violinist Charles Castleman.
Offstage, Alison is active in the community as an advocate for making classical music more approachable to the public. She regularly presents at local elementary schools through The Steinway Society of the Bay Area’s outreach program, and currently serves on the board of East Bay Music Foundation as director of the East Bay Chamber Music Festival.
Alison holds a doctoral degree in piano performance from the University of Minnesota, and her previous teachers include Lydia Artymiw, Jon Kimura Parker and Angela Cheng.
Angela Kraft Cross, organist
Angela Kraft Cross, San Francisco Bay Area organist, pianist and composer, graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in 1980 with bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Organ Performance. She then earned her Doctor of Medicine degree at Loma Linda University, where she subsequently completed her residency in ophthalmology. In 1993, she completed her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the College of Notre Dame with Thomas LaRatta. Her organ teachers have included Louis Robilliard, Marie-Louise Langlais, Sandra Soderlund, S. Leslie Grow, William Porter and Garth Peacock. In 2001, she was awarded the Associateship credential of the American Guild of Organists (AAGO) after passing rigorous playing and written examinations. She has studied composition with Pamela Decker. Dr. Kraft Cross has performed extensively on both organ and piano, having given over five hundred concerts across the United States, in Canada, England, Holland, France, Hungary, Korea, Lesotho and Guam, including such venues as Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Sulpice and the Madeleine in Paris, Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Thomas Church in New York City, Methuen Memorial Music Hall and Trinity Church in Boston, E. Power Biggs’ organ at Harvard, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral in London, and the Mormon Tabernacle. She has been featured soloist with local Bay Area ensembles; Master Sinfonia Orchestra, Soli Deo Gloria, Sine Nomine, Masterworks Chorale, Viva la Musica, The Choral Project, and the San Jose Symphonic Choir as well as Seattle’s Philharmonia Northwest Chamber Orchestra and the Skagit Symphony in northern Washington.
Sofia Schütte and Ines Guanchez founded Duo Avila in 2019, because they were disappointed with the lack of female and Latin American composers in classical music programming. Their collaboration — Sofia on violin, Ines on piano — happened naturally, built upon years of friendship and musical understanding.
Sofia and Ines met at a summer music camp in 2010 and, being among a handful of Venezuelans attending, forged a strong friendship. In addition, both of their families had moved to Costa Rica for different reasons, and by a quirk of fate, ended up in the same neighborhood. They been friends ever since.
We started giving recitals in 2015, and as time went by, we realized a common concern: What could we, two Venezuelan musicians beginning their careers, do to help address the lack of diversity we often witnessed in the Western classical music world?
The answer was simple in concept: We would use our combined musical knowledge, skills and passion to perform the music of female and Latin composers and share it with audiences. For our first concert, we wanted to program music written by female composers whose music, due to the time and society in which they were born, hadn’t received the same attention and respect as that of their male counterparts.– Ines Guanchez
Las Almas – Tango Music to your soul
Date: Saturday October 22, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Las Almas will present traditional and contemporary Argentine tango music that will take the audience on a magical journey to Buenos Aires. The mission of Las Almas is to present contemporary Argentine tango through virtuosic artistic performance and informative educational events. Las Almas is a collaboration between powerhouse female tango musicians, Sumi Lee, Heyni Solera, and guest violinist Teagan Faran. They originally bonded in Buenos Aires, drawn by a mutual love of tango music, as well as a realization of the inequality of professional opportunity for women in the Tango genre. They studied under the same maestros and performed with prestigious tango orchestras in Buenos Aries, and now frequently perform around the world including their respective adopted cities of San Francisco, Washington, DC, and NYC. All of the musicians are producing their own music. This concert will feature the famous Argentine tango singer, Romina Bianco, from Barcelona as a guest artist.
Videos: Las Almas