Masterworks Serenade Chamber Choir Dr. Bryan Baker, director
Date & Time: Sun. April 23, 7 pm
Venue: 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco
Tickets: $20 General, $15 Seniors/Students
This program of exquisite choral miniatures features leading composers’ settings of poems by beloved poets. From the profound thoughts of Morten Lauridsen’s beautiful setting of James Agee’s mystical poem “Sure on the Shining Night” to the humor of Eric Whitacre’s delightful take on Ogden Nash’s witty poetry in “Animal Crackers,” the concert is full of variety. The English composer Patrick Hawes set his brother’s poem to music in the delicate “Prayer to a Guardian Angel”, and the Canadian Imant Raminsh set Pablo Neruda’s sensual “In the night we will go in” to music for cello, piano, and choir. Exciting spirituals and a bit of Gershwin round out the program.
Founded in January 2008 by Dr. Bryan Baker, Serenade is a chamber choir of 26 singers selected by audition primarily among members of Masterworks Chorale. The singers are committed members of the chamber choir, devoting many hours to rehearsal and performance with Serenade. Its varied repertoire, which partially overlaps that of Masterworks Chorale, ranges from classical to contemporary, spirituals and popular pieces.
Serenade has performed in beautiful venues throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, such as the St. Regis San Francisco, Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Half Moon Bay, Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, and private homes in Woodside, Hillsborough, and surrounding communities. Created as an outreach ensemble of Masterworks Chorale Serenade provides an opportunity for chamber music performances at events and private parties.
The Masterworks Chorale is critically recognized as one of Northern California’s finest choral ensembles. Founded in 1964 by Artistic Director Emeritus Galen Marshall, the Chorale performs masterworks of sacred and secular choral literature from the Baroque period to today. Richard Garrin was Music Director from 1997-2002. Dr. Bryan Baker has been Artistic Director of the Chorale since the Fall of 2002.
Each season, the Chorale performs 3 to 4 pairs of concerts featuring instrumental ensembles comprised of the Bay Area’s leading professional musicians. In addition, Masterworks is joined by professional vocal soloists whose credits include appearances with leading symphony orchestras and opera companies throughout North America and Europe.
Among the Chorale’s guest appearances are performances with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Jose Symphony, the Festival of Masses, and the Cabrillo Festival. Internationally, Masterworks has received critical acclaim during seven European tours, a tour of the People’s Republic of China, a performance at Avery Fisher Hall and their 1989 debut at Carnegie Hall, featuring the Verdi Requiem.
Conductor and pianist Bryan Baker is in his eleventh season as Artistic Director and Conductor of Masterworks Chorale. He also holds the positions of Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, Assistant Conductor of the San Francisco Choral Society, and Director of Serenade Chamber Choir. He often leads instrumental ensembles, and has conducted the Solaris Chamber Orchestra, Masterworks Orchestra, Peninsula Symphonic Winds, New Millennium Strings, and the Kensington Symphony. Some highlights include performances of Carmina Burana, (wth Peninsula Cantare and Ragazzi Boys Chorus), Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, Mozart’s Requiem and Grand Mass, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. He has judged and led choral clinics and frequently appeared as guest conductor in the Bay Area. Dr. Baker most recently conducted American choirs in Hungary, Romania, and Brazil. An accomplished pianist, Dr. Baker has played solo concerts, chamber music, and accompanied vocal recitals across the United States and in Europe and South America. Locally, he has performed in Davies Symphony Hall, Herbst Theater, at the Stern Grove Festival, on the Old First Concert Series, among others. During recent seasons, he played concertos by Beethoven, Haydn, Saint-Saëns and Shostakovitch, with the Kensington Symphony, New Millennium Strings, the Community Music Center Orchestra, the California Chamber orchestra and the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra.