BRIAN ASAWA’s groundbreaking career has established him as one of the foremost countertenors of our time. The Japanese American singer was the first countertenor Grand Prize Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the first countertenor Adler Fellow and Merolino at San Francisco Opera, and the first countertenor honored with Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year Award. He is also the only countertenor ever to win the top prize of Placido Domingo’s Operalia International Vocal Competition.
Over a career spanning 23 years, he has sung in most major opera houses worldwide, including San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, de Nederlandse Opera, Opera National de Paris (Garnier), Teatro Real (Madrid), Barcelona Opera, Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin), Hamburgische Staatsoper, Munchner Bayerische Staatsoper, Opera de Lyon, Opera de Montpellier, The Spoleto Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera di Roma, Teatro di San Carlo (Napoli), Florida Grand Opera, Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, New Israeli Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Cologne Opera, and Opera de Geneve. On the concert platform he has performed with Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston’s Haydn and Handel Festival, Washington Chorale (D.C.), National Symphony (D.C), London Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Vail Valley Music Festival, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Lincoln Center (NYC), Vienna Musikverein, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Lincoln Center.
Recently, he also made his Hawaii Opera Theater debut as Orlofsky in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus signifying the first time in history where a countertenor performed on the stage of HOT. He also made his LA Phil debut in Peter Oetvos’ Angels in America which received high acclaim.
Asawa recorded Baroque arias and cantatas entitled Spirits of the Air (on LML records) with mezzo-soprano Diana Tash for September 30, 2014 release.
Asawa’s discography includes: The Dark is my Delight (lute songs of Dowland, Campion, and others), Vocalise (arias and songs by Medtner, Faure, Rachmaninov, and Villa-Lobos) with Sir Neville Marriner, cantatas by Alessandro Scarlatti with Nicholas McGegan, and 2 song cycles by Ned Rorem with the LA Chamber Orchestra. He is featured on video as Baba the Turk in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with Swedish Television One, Fyodor in Mussorgsky’s Boris Gudonov (Willy Decker production) and L’Umana Fragilita and Anfinomo in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Pierre Audi production) both with Nederlandse Opera. Most recently, he is featured in the video of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre with Opera del Liceu, Barcelona as Prince Go-Go.
Brian Asawa (1966-2016)
“One of the most gifted singers in his Fach whose passion for furthering the art of countertenor singing and nurturing the burgeoning careers of young artists recently led him into the arena of artist management, Asawa’s vocalism was virtually inseparable from his personality. To hear him sing was to know his soul, and to know his soul was to cherish his artistry, whether or not countertenors occupy a place of affection in one’s own heart.” — voix-des-arts.com
Pianist STEVEN BAILEY is the regular continuo player for the San Francisco Bach Choir, and a pianist of wide versatility, performing in and outside the San Francisco Bay Area as soloist, chamber and collaborative keyboardist. As concerto soloist Steven has performed with Symphony Parnassus, Diablo Symphony, UC-Davis Symphony, San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, and Magnificat Baroque Orchestra. He has performed with American Bach Soloists as guest soloist and continuo organist and collaborated with members of the Alexander, Arlekin and Sausalito quartets. He played for the Smuin Ballet’s production of Stravinsky Piano Pieces. Mr. Bailey’s first solo CD recording, The Art of the Opera Transcription, features seven virtuoso operatic fantasies of Franz Liszt. Mr. Bailey holds a Master of Music degree in Piano performance from Boston University. He teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Pianist and conductor BRYAN BAKER is Artistic Director of Masterworks Chorale, Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, and Assistant Conductor of the San Francisco Choral Society. He holds a doctoral degree and now serves on the faculty of the College of San Mateo. He formerly taught voice at San Francisco State University and Truman University, and piano at Foothill College and Arizona State University. He maintains a private studio, and his students have won competitions and appeared in concerts and opera productions in the Bay Area and across the country. Mr. Baker has appeared in and been musical director for many theatrical productions, including a 2011 production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
Pianist LAURA DAHL, active as a performer both in the United States and abroad, has played in venues including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Henley Festival (England), Davies Symphony Hall, the Carmel Bach Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. Dahl was formerly the Associate Director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus and with them her engagements included a recital at Carnegie Hall, a critically acclaimed benefit concert with mezzo soprano Frederica von Stade, and an appearance at the San Francisco Stern Grove Festival with mezzo soprano Susan Graham.
Dahl is a member of the music faculty at Stanford University, where she teaches collaborative and solo piano, chamber music, art song interpretation, and diction. Internationally in demand as a teacher and coach, Dahl has also served on the faculty of the New National Theatre Young Artists Training Program in Tokyo, Japan. She is the founder and artistic director of the A. Jess Shenson Recital Series at Stanford University, and the founder and artistic director of Music by the Mountain, a chamber music festival in northern California.
Together with violinist Dawn Harms and cellist Emil Miland, Dahl is a founding member of the Harmida Piano Trio. Each member brings years of acknowledged artistry and experience to the trio which celebrates the standard literature as well as a commitment to the commissioning and performing of new works. Commissions by the Harmida Piano Trio include works by composers Jake Heggie and Mark Applebaum.
Dahl set a precedent as the first musician to be named a German Chancellor’s Scholar of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 1992. She lived two years in Germany, studying under the tutelage of pianist Phillip Moll and baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. In association with the San Francisco Opera Center, Dahl was Assistant Conductor for Western Opera Theater in 1996, as well as a member of the Merola Opera Program. Dahl was an invited fellow at the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center for two years and has held coaching and accompanying positions at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Banff Academy of Singing, the Music Academy of the West, and the University of Michigan Opera Theater. Dahl’s education includes the Master of Music Degree with highest honors from the New England Conservatory of Music. She was a student of Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, and Eckart Sellheim.
Bass KIRK EICHELBERGER has sung major operatic roles throughout the U.S. and Canada, including performances with the Sacramento Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Monterey Opera, Opera Memphis, Sorg Opera, Trinity Lyric Opera, the Washington National Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera Birmingham, Dayton Opera, the Virginia Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Spoleto Festival USA. He was most recently seen as The Emperor in Tan Dun’s Tea: A Mirror of Soul with the Opera Company of Philadelphia; as Mephistophélès in Faust with Opera Grand Rapids; as Sparafucile in Rigoletto with the Vancouver Opera; as Karenin in Anna Karenina with Opera San Jose; as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Festival Opera; and Ferrrando in Il Trovatore with Opera Manitoba. On the concert stage, Mr. Eichelberger has performed as a principal soloist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the San Francisco Choral Society, the Redwood Symphony, the Peninsula Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the San Francisco Concert Choral, Masterworks Chorale, Symphony Silicon Valley, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington. Mr. Eichelberger participated in the Merola Opera Program in 2000, he was a national finalist in the 1999 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and won the 1999 MacAllister Award for Opera Singers.
HEIDI MOSS ERICKSON, noted for her “rich and radiant soprano” (Edward Oriz, Sacramento Bee) is thrilled to return to her LIEDER ALIVE! musical home. In addition to her national and international performances, she has performed with numerous San Francisco companies such as Opera Parallele, Festival Opera, West Edge Opera, Livermore Opera, Fremont Symphony, Peninsula Symphony, Oakland Symphony, and the Sacramento Choral Society.
Last April she had the honor of performing the iconic role of Blanche in Opera San Jose’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire. A champion of new music, she helped spearhead the performance of eight song premieres by eight different renowned composers for an alte/neue Liederfest with LIEDER ALIVE!, including Daron Hagen, David Conte, Kurt Erickson, and Henry Mollicone. She continues her collaborations with living composers including a recital of works by Jake Heggie, with the composer himself at the piano. She has also premiered works by philanthropist Gordon Getty with the Russian National Orchestra and San Francisco Opera. In January, she was honored to premiere a new orchestral work by her then fiancée Kurt Erickson under the baton of conductor Ming Luke with the BCCO. Heidi has also garnered recognition in major vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (NYC First Place Winner), the Liederkranz Awards, the MacAllister Awards, and the KDFC competition which resulted in a performance with pianist Lang Lang.
In addition to her musical life, Heidi graduated with a biology/music degree from Oberlin and a masters in biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. She studied telomeres at Rockefeller University and has several publications, including a landmark paper in Cell. Heidi teaches voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is interested in the science of singing ever since she came down with a rare facial paralysis in 2007. Recently, she gave two talks at the Pacific Voice Conference to great acclaim. She is the new wife of composer/pianist Kurt Erickson and they proudly parent four children together.
Composer/pianist KURT ERICKSON studied piano performance with Philip Lorenz at California State University Fresno, and continued his graduate studies with William Cerny at The University of Notre Dame, and composition at Mills College with Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran. He has received awards from ASCAP, American Composers Forum, and the Seaver Institute, and has been commissioned by Festival Opera, the Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival (Houston), the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Sacramento Philharmonic, choreographer Lawrence Pech, and many others. In 2001, he was appointed Composer-in-Residence at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, where he composed for Schola Cantorum; a recording of Mr. Erickson’s choral works by this outstanding ensemble has garnered considerable critical acclaim. In 2006 he participated in the prestigious Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, under the direction of Aaron Jay Kernis. His current projects include Andalusian Love Songs, commissioned by the acclaimed countertenor Brian Asawa; a new work for guitar and mandolin for the German duo Ahlert & Schwab; and the expansion of Festival Opera’s 2012 commission, Mister Merrick, based on the story of the so-called “Elephant Man.”
Pianist GEORGE FEE received his doctorate in piano performance from Indiana University, graduating with Highest Distinction. Having begun his collegiate study at the Eastman School of Music, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory and his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. His teachers at these schools were Menahem Pressler, Cecile Genhart, Jack Radunsky, and Howard Karp. Pre-college and summer study was with Willis Bennett, Rosina Lhevinne, Frank Mannheimer, and Aiko Onishi. He later coached with Igor Kipnis and Freda Rosenblatt. Dr. Fee has performed numerous solo recitals throughout the country, as well as appearing as chamber musician, soloist with orchestra, and accompanist. He has received many awards, including first place National Piano Award in the National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Student Auditions and third prize in the National Guild of Piano Teachers’ International Piano Recording Competition.
Pianist AMY GLENN holds a B.M. degree in piano performance from Brigham Young University, and an M.M. in Vocal Coaching/Accompanying from Fresno State Universiry. She has worked as an collaborative pianist/coach for many organizations including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, West Bay Opera, Golden Gate Opera, BASOTI (Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute), A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theater), A.M.D.A. (American Music and Dramatic Academy), The Cinnabar Theater, and the San Francisco Opera Center. She performs regularly in recital with members of the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera Orchestra, and has worked with various choral groups in the Bay Area including Cantare Con Vivo, San Francisco City Chorus, and Philharmonia Baroque. She and her husband, tenor Thomas Glenn, reside in Calgary, B.C.
Tenor THOMAS GLENN has performed at the San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Netherlands Opera and The English National Opera among others. His roles include Ferrando in Così fan tutte and the title role in La Clemenza di Tito, as well as Italian bel canto roles such as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Tebaldo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. He equally has a great love of Twentieth Century operas, particularly those of Britten, Stravinsky and Janácek. He frequently performs with the Atlanta Symphony as well as orchestras like The Cleveland Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, the China National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Marin Symphony, and Santa Rosa Symphony. He is a graduate of the prestigious Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera where he enjoyed performing the Steersman in Der Fliegende Holländer, Vitek in Janacek’s The Makropulos Case, and Gherardo in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Also at San Francisco Opera, Thomas created the role of Physicist Robert Wilson in the world premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic. He reprised this role in many productions and won a Grammy Award for the 2011 recording with the Metropolitan Opera on the Sony label. In the 2012-13 season, Thomas appeared as Beppe in Cincinnati Opera’s production of I Pagliacci and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi; as Charlie in Mahagonny and Taco Bell in Vera of Las Vegas with Berkeley Opera; as Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Intermountain Opera; as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Sacramento Opera; and as Spalanzani in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at San Francisco Opera. Thomas holds three degrees in music performance: a bachelor’s from Brigham Young University, a master’s from The University of Michigan and a doctorate from Florida State University. He is a past winner of the Concours International de Chant de Canari, France and a semi-finalist in the Monserrat Caballé Competition.
Violinist ZAKARIAS GRAFILO joined the Alexander String Quartet in July 2002. Prior to that he served as Principal Second Violinist of the Pacific Symphony, and Concertmaster of the Stockton Symphony. Mr. Grafilo was co-founder of the Chamberlain String Quartet, which was Assistant Quartet-in-Residence to the Alexander String Quartet at San Francisco State University. He received his early musical training at the Preparatory Division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and was later admitted into the Marin Music Conservatory where he studied with Serban Rusu. He received his early orchestral training with the world-renowned San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra where he was Concertmaster in 1992. Mr. Grafilo continued his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, studying with Alexander Treger, Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University.
Born in Montreal, pianist RONNY MICHAEL GREENBERG discovered his passion for vocal collaboration while pursuing his Bachelor’s degree at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam. Mr. Greenberg’s performing experiences range from guest soloist appearances with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to concerts in venues such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization for the Glenn Gould Exhibit, Steinway Hall as part of Yale in New York, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall as part of the Worldstrides Heritage Performance Programs. After finishing his Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Warren Jones, Mr. Greenberg was a coach apprentice at the 2014 Merola Opera Program. He was then selectedto join the Adler Fellowship at the San Francisco Opera. Since his arrival to the Bay Area, Mr. Greenberg has appeared on the “To do List” at KQED, the Human Rights Watch Annual Inauguration and the celebration concert for Cantor Roslyn Barak of Temple Emanuel. Recent engagements have included performances with the Lines Ballet at the Yerba Buena Arts Center and fundraising events for the Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco Symphony. At the opera, he worked on Carmen last summer, and Aida in the fall of the 2016/17 season.
Boston-based mezzo-soprano KATHERINE GROWDON is a critically acclaimed singer whose voice has been described as “full of dusky colors and pathos” (Boston Globe), “sweet and creamy-toned” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) and capable of “heartrending emotion” (San Francisco Classical Voice). She is known for her total commitment to music, character and text: “...she used her eyes and expressive face to heighten the meaning of all she sang; I was riveted and felt like she was singing directly to me” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). As Myrtle Wilson in the Boston premiere of Harbison’s The Great Gatsby with Emmanuel Music she “was thoroughly in character.... Everything about her physical presence and slightly quivery voice said yearning” (Boston Classical Review). Her operatic roles have included Cherubino, Idamante, Hansel, Nicklausse, Charlotte, and Mercedes. In concert, she has been a soloist with renowned ensembles including the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, American Bach Soloists, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and the Albany Symphony, performing a wide range of repertoire from early renaissance to contemporary works. As a vocal fellow at Tanglewood she performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and was subsequently featured in numerous productions including Dido and Aeneas, in which the New York Times called her performance as Dido/Sorceress “incisively authoritative.”
Katherine is an ardent lover of song and the intimate setting of the song recital, and was one of thirty international singers invited to participate in Thomas Quasthof’s first Das Lied competition in Berlin. Originally from California, Katherine holds an M.M. in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory, where she studied with Jane Randolph, and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Oberlin College. Her 2016-17 season includes Zephyrus in Mozart’s Apollo and Hyacinthus, alto solos in Bach’s Magnificat with the Handel and Haydn Society at Symphony Hall, the Boston premiere of Here All Night with Gare St Lazare Ireland, Monteverdi’s Vespers at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, and Purcell’s King Arthur with the Purcell Society of Boston.
Pianist, conductor, and lecturer PETER GRÜNBERG is the musical assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, a lecturer for the Symphony’s “Inside Music” pre-concert talk series, and principal musical consultant and advisor for its award-winning “Keeping Score” program, a PBS television and radio series about classical music composers, scores, and techniques. Over the course of his career, Grünberg has performed widely as a soloist, and also as a collaborating pianist in vocal recitals with such outstanding singers as Laura Claycomb, Michelle DeYoung, Franz Grundheber, Frederica von Stade, Kurt Streit, Deborah Voigt, and dozens more. As a chamber musician, he has performed with musicians from San Francisco Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Opera orchestras. His experience as an orchestra and opera conductor includes engagements with the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra (Sapporo), San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and the Sydney Symphony. He is the founder of SongStage.
COREY JAMASON is a Grammy-nominated harpsichordist whose playing of Bach was described in the Los Angeles Times as displaying “the careful, due balance of objective detachment and lofty passion.” He appears frequently with American Bach Soloists, with whom he is principal keyboardist and co-director of the ABS Academy held each summer at the Conservatory. He has performed with a variety of ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Opera, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica,Yale Spectrum, Musica Pacifica, El Mundo, and Camerata Pacifica for whom he directed a series of concerts for several years in southern California. Festival appearances include the Berkeley, Bloomington, San Luis Obispo Mozart, Music in the Vineyards, Whidbey Island, Tage Alter Musik Regensburg (Germany), Echi lontani (Sardinia) and Norfolk festivals. Having a great interest in American theatre music, he is co-artistic director, pianist, and conductor of Theatre Comique, a new San Francisco-based ensemble specializing in late nineteenth and early twentieth century American musical theatre. In 2007 he conducted performances of Monteverdi's Orfeo at the Bloomington Early Music Festival in celebration of the 400th year anniversary of its premiere and from 2007 to 2014 was artistic director and conductor of the San Francisco Bach Choir. Recordings include performances with American Bach Soloists, violinist Gilles Apap, El Mundo, and recorder player Astrid Andersson. He is a contributing author to the History of Performance, published in 2012 by Cambridge University Press and is currently preparing an article on the performance practice of early 20th century musical theatre for Oxford Handbooks Online. Born in New York City, Jamason received degrees in music from SUNY-Purchase, Yale University, and the Early Music Institute at Indiana University where he received a D.M. degree. He joined the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory in 2001, where he holds the school’s Distinguished Chair in Historical Performance and is professor of harpsichord.
Recently selected by Opera News as one of their “25 rising stars,” Korean Baritone SOL JIN was recently seen performing as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata at Carnegie Hall this past spring. He reprised the role with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, from which he recently graduated. Jin has been praised for his “incisive performance, evenly and beautifully sung” (Opera News) and “resonant, powerfully projected voice” (SFCV).
In 2014, Jin made his opera debut singing with Long Island Opera as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata. In addition to Germont, Mr. Jin has appeared with the Merola Opera Program as Rodrigo in Don Carlo, the title role in Gianni Schicchi, and Prince Yeletsky in Pique Dame. He also sang the title role in Macbeth with The Manhattan School of Music and Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro with Long Island Opera.
Mr. Jin received his master’s degree from The Manhattan School of Music (MSM) and his Bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University. He received 1st prize in The Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, 4th prize in The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation’s Annual International Vocal Competition, Emerging Artist Awards for Opera Index Competition, 2nd Prize in XIV ALTAMURA/CARUSO International Voice Competition, as well as the Hugh Ross Annual Singer award from MSM. Most recently, Mr. Jin was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions.
Soprano ERIN JOHNSON is a second-year Adler Fellow who made her San Francisco Opera debut last March as Mrs. Medlock in the world premiere of The Secret Garden at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall and appeared in various roles in the world premiere of last summer’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. This fall, she sang Marta in Mephistopheles and Mary in The Flying Dutchman. Johnson was a participant in the 2012 Merola Opera Program, where she performed in scenes as Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena) and Mab (La Jolie Fille de Perth). A native of Washington, New Jersey, she holds a master’s degree from Rice University. While at Rice, Johnson also studied in Florence through the Margaret Pack Italian Language Study Program in 2012. In 2009, the soprano was accepted into the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, where she appeared in scenes from Roméo et Juliette, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, and Die Meistersinger von NÜrnberg. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cairn University.
KEVIN KORTH graduated in 2006 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with his Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance, studying under Christopher Taylor. He won the University’s concerto competition the year prior, performing Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto. In August of 2006, Kevin moved to San Francisco to pursue a Master’s degree in Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Paul Hersh and completed the degree in May of 2008. Since then, he has held a position at the Conservatory as both a Vocal Coach and a Collaborative Pianist, dividing his time between working with instrumentalists and singers, and performing in numerous recitals throughout the year.
Now an in-demand pianist and coach in the Bay Area, he has collaborated with artists such as Robert Mann, Axel Strauss, Joel Krosnick, Suzanne Mentzer, William Burden, and the late Zheng Cao. Mr. Korth is also an avid practitioner of yoga and meditation, and seeks to use performance as a vehicle to bring himself and the audience deeper into the present moment.
JEFFREY LADEUR enjoys an increasingly busy career as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He has concertized throughout North America and abroad including performances at the Kennedy Center, Eastman Theater, Shanghai Conservatory of Music and as an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Jeffrey won the concerto competition as a freshman, resulting in a performance of Franck’s Variations Symphoniques with the Eastman Philarmonia and Maestro Neil Varon. His recitals have have been broadcast over WFMT Chicago and South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A passionate chamber musician, Jeffrey is a founding member of the Delphi Trio. Formed while its member were studying in the prestigious chamber music program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, they have concertized throughout the Bay Area, in recital at the Hochshüle für Musik in Frankfurt, Germany and as Ensemble-in-Residence at the 2011 Dakota Sky International Piano Festival. In addition to his activities with the trio, Jeffrey regularly collaborates with his colleagues and guest artists at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has performed with such artists as Robert Mann, Bonnie Hampton, Ian Swensen and Jodi Levitz. Jeffrey was one of two pianists accepted into the 2010 Taos School of music, a premier chamber music festival led by pianist Robert McDonald and the Borromeo, Brentano and St. Lawrence String quartets. Jeffrey is also highly sought after as a teacher and chamber music coach. He has worked with solo pianists and chamber music groups at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as a guest artist in masterclass in addition to his studio teaching. Jeffrey’s teaching philosophy is influenced by the great example of his principal teachers who include Yoshikazu Nagai, Douglas Humpherys and Annie Sherter.
Violinist FREDERICK LIFSITZ studied in his native Boston with Marylou Churchill and at Indiana University with Paul Biss. As a member of the Alexander String Quartet he has performed throughout Europe and North America, appearing regularly at halls such as Amsterdam’s Concertebouw and New York City’s Lincoln Center. He has been an Artist in Residence at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in Wye, Maryland and has held similar positions at St. Lawrence University, Baruch College, and North Carolina School of the Arts.
Prior to joining the Alexander Quartet, Mr. Lifsitz performed over several seasons with the Boston Symphony and taught Chamber Music and Violin at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. Mr. Lifsitz continues to perform as soloist and in recital.
As a soloist or collaborator, DANIEL LOCKERT is equally versatile on the piano, organ, and harpsichord. He has had an active career accompanying choral groups, singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. He has collaborated with Metropolitan Opera singers such as Deborah Voigt. Daniel was the only American finalist in the first International Accompanying Competition held in the Netherlands.
As a coach and teacher he has been on the staffs and faculties of the Juilliard School, the San Francisco Opera, Opera San Jose, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Chapman University and the Aspen Music Festival. Daniel has taught and coached students for special projects at the American Conservatory Theater. He was associate musical director for Mountain Days: the John Muir Musical and the Haunting of Winchester by Craig Bohmler, assisting the composer in their world premieres at the Concord Pavilion and the San Jose Repertory Theatre. Daniel began piano studies at the age of five in San Diego, California. After obtaining his Bachelor's in Piano Performance from Loma Linda University he attended the University of Southern California, obtaining an advanced degree in the specialized area of accompanying, studying with Gwendolyn Koldofsky, the pioneer teacher in the field.
Mr. Lockert is currently organist at Christ Episcopal Church in Sausalito, as well as Professor of Collaborative Piano and Vocal Coach at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, and also Staff Accompanist at Mills College, Oakland.
The young American dramatic soprano HEIDI MELTON has been called “the Wagnerian voice we have been waiting for since Flagstad and Nilsson” (La Presse), a voice that is “big, gleaming and tonally resplendent” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Heidi Melton returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in two Ring Cycles in the 2013 - 2014 season: first as Gutrune and the Third Norn under Simon Rattle, then as Sieglinde, Gutrune, and the Third Norn under Donald Runnicles. She also debuts as Sieglinde under the baton of Zubin Mehta at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia. Ms. Melton sings her first Siegfried Brünnhilde in concert with Opéra National de Bordeaux, as well as the “Immolation Scene” and “Liebestod” for Wagner concerts in Bordeaux and on tour in France. Ms. Melton will debut at North Carolina Opera as the Foreign Princess in a concert performance of Rusalka and in excerpts from Un ballo in maschera and Tristan und Isolde with the Alabama Symphony under Justin Brown. She returns to San Francisco for a recital with San Francisco Performances and pianist John Parr. In Karlsruhe, she will be seen in new productions of Die Fledermaus and Un ballo in maschera, as well as revivals of Tannhäuser and Peter Grimes. Future seasons will see her at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Oper Frankfurt, Teatro alla Scala, Semperoper Dresden, English National Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Canadian Opera Company, among others.
A former Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera, Ms. Melton has performed a variety of roles including Mary Todd Lincoln in the world premiere of Phillip Glass’s Appomattox, Marianne Leitmetzerin in Der Rosenkavalier, and Dianne in Iphigénie en Tauride. As a 2006 participant in the Merola Opera Program, she performed Amelia Grimaldi in scenes from Simon Boccanegra. Ms. Melton received her Master of Music degree at the Curtis Institute of Music where she performed the roles of Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos, Alcina in Alcina, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte.
HATEM NADIM was born in Cairo, Egypt. At age ten, he entered the Cairo Conservatoire, where he studied solo piano with R. Yassa, V. Fedorovtzew and V. Samaliotow and graduated with honors.
Later, as a music scholarship winner at the University at Frankfurt (Germany), he continued his post-graduate studies in chamber music and vocal accompaniment, with Professors Joachim Volkmann and Rainer Hoffmann, where he earned his degree. From 1989 to 1996 he held the position of faculty member at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz teaching solo piano. In 1989 he accepted the coveted position as faculty member at the University of Music in Mannheim, where his responsibilities included those of collaborative pianist, chamber music coach and piano accompaniment teacher. In September 2006, Mr. Nadim was appointed staff accompanist at California State University in Fresno.
Mr. Nadim has performed extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Korea and the Middle East, and is recognized as one of Germany’s leading chamber music pianists. He has performed chamber music with some of the most renowned performing artists including Leslie Parnas, Arto Noras, Michael Flaksman, Susanne Rabenschlag, Jean-Michel Tanguy, Michael Hasel, the Verdi Quartet, Herrmann Voss and Helene Joseph-Weil.
Tenor CHRIS NICHOLS, fresh from his debut at the Oxford Lieder Festival in September, 2016, has spent the last 3 years enjoying exploration of new repertoire. After decades singing as a baritone, encouraged by several professional musicians and especially Maxine Bernstein, Director of Lieder Alive!, Mr. Nichols undertook study as a tenor with Heidi Moss, and later coaching with Peter Grünberg. This will be the third lieder recital he has performed over the years in the Bay Area.
Mr. Nichols has always kept music as a part of his life. He has performed as soloist in dozens of services and special concerts with churches and synagogues including Calvary Presbyterian, Congregation Sherith Israel, Montclair Presbyterian and Trinity Presbyterian. He has performed leading roles in opera productions, including Figaro, Don Giovanni, Magic Flute and I Pagliacci. He is currently preparing for opera auditions with Bay Area opera companies studying the roles of Captain Vere in Britten’s Billy Budd, and both baritone and tenor roles in Die Tote Stadt.
Mr. Nichols received both B.A. and M.A. in music composition, focusing performance in conducting and singing. At UCLA he received the highest award received by graduate students, the Frank Sinatra Vocal Performance Award as part of his studies.
Mr. Nichols began his focus on singing when he began playing guitar at the age of 10, when he also began playing ‘cello. Singing was part of playing folk music, and ‘cello was for performance of classical music. He only discovered he had a more powerful voice in the summer following high school where he suddenly had to sing something in an open air stage to an unexpectedly large audience without aid of microphone.
A native of South Carolina, NATALIE PARKER is currently the Principal Clarinet of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. She joined the Ballet Orchestra in January 2012 and received her M.M. degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music the following May. Natalie has recently attended such music festivals as Orchestra Institute Napa Valley, Music in the Mountains, Brevard Music Center, the Madeline Island Chamber Music Camp, and the Texas Music Festival. While in school, she actively participated in the Houston Da Camera Young Artist’s Program and JUMP!, the community music outreach program at Rice University. In 2010, she won second prize in the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition and performed in recital at their annual ClarinetFest. Since arriving in San Francisco, Natalie has played frequently with the San Francisco Symphony as well as with several regional orchestras and enjoys performing chamber music throughout the Bay Area.
Pianist and Master Coach, JOHN PARR, in the summer of 2011 left his eleven-year post as the head of music staff at San Francisco Opera to become casting director and assistant to the music director at the Badisches Staatstheater, Karlsruhe, Germany, where he has also launched a series of vocal recitals. Recently appointed as head of music staff at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he assumed this position in August 2014. A native of Birmingham, U.K., Parr studied piano at the Royal Northern College of Music with Sulamita Aronovsky, and musicology at Manchester University. He was a prize-winner in the International Viotti Piano Competition in Vercelli, Italy in 1980 and worked for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from 1985 to 1988, touring with the company to Japan and Korea in 1986. He was engaged at Scottish Opera from 1988 to 1990. In 1991, he joined the Lower Saxony State Opera in Hannover, Germany, where he was head of music staff and musical assistant to music directors George Alexander Albrecht, Christof Perick and Andreas Delfs, specializing in the Wagner and Strauss operas. During this time he developed an extensive series of Lieder recitals and chamber music programs for the Opera, and also broadcast on SFB Radio Berlin and on NDR Television.
With San Francisco Opera, Parr developed and performed in numerous recital programs. In the summers from 2002 to 2005 he worked as a coach at the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, and also gave recitals in the Wagner Museum there. In June 2005 he initiated a series of vocal and chamber music recitals entitled “Basically British” at Old First Church in San Francisco. Over the last few years, he has appeared with one of the world’s leading cellists, Lynn Harrell, in chamber music concerts in the Bay Area, and in recitals for the Marilyn Horne Foundation and for San Francisco Performances and LIEDER ALIVE! He has accompanied singers in the Schwabacher Recital Series since 2000. He continues to return regularly to San Francisco to coach young artists in the Merola and Adler Fellowship programs of the San Francisco Opera, and to further his collaboration and advisory role with the teaching and concert program, LIEDER ALIVE!
MARK PETERS was born in Berkeley, California, of an Austrian father and Canadian mother. Growing up in Palo Alto, he began piano and cello instruction at the age of eight and went on to study Cello, conducting and English and German literature at Bard College in New York and at Baylor University, graduating with a Bachelor of Music magna cum laude. In 1979, he moved to Vienna, Austria, where he continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik and at the Mozarteum - Salzburg, graduating summa cum laude with a prize for exceptional artistic achievement granted by the Austrian Ministry of Education.
In Vienna, he had the opportunity to work as a soloist in various Austrian Ensembles, notably Concentus Musicus Wien, under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the Wiener Kammerorchester with Philippe Entremont and the Camarata Académica Salzburg with Sandor Vegh. He was a founding member of Martin Haselböck’s Wiener Akademie, and its principal cellist for eight years. He played in the principal concert venues in Vienna, in many cities throughout Europe and in North and South America, Japan, Israel, Taiwan and Jamaica, and he recorded on various occasions for the Austrian, German and Hungarian Radios and on numerous CDs. He also imparted classes of Cello, Chamber Music and the baroque interpretation at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at various summer festivals in Austria.
In 1992, he moved to the Canary Islands and was principal cellist of the the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife for 16 years where he was invited regularly soloist with the orchestra, interpreting concertos by Walton, Haydn and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto among others. His recording of sonatas by Canarian composers was met with widespread critical acclaim. He was the founder of a well-loved series of chamber music on the Island, Melolas in an enchanting 15th castle on the shoreline, which combined the best of local musical talent with a tasting of wonderful Canarian wines.
During his time in Tenerife he was also active as a conductor and as a teacher at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Canarias, and was also invited as coach in the Spanish and Catalonian Youth Orchestras (JONDE y JONC).
Hailed for his “warm, promising bass,” (Baltimore Sun) American bass ANTHONY REED joined the San Francisco Opera as an Adler Fellow in January 2015.
A versatile singer and actor, Anthony Reed’s operatic credits include Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Truffaldin (Ariadne auf Naxos), Four Villains (Les Contes d’Hoffman), Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), Don Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore), Death (Der Kaiser von Atlantis), Spencer Coyle (Owen Wingrave), and many others. This season's engagements include Mayor (Jenůfa), Schmidt (Andréa Chenier), The King of Egypt (Aida), and The Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly) all with the San Francisco Opera. In addition to his mainstage debut with Fort Worth Opera, the Alexandria, Minnesota native has performed with orchestras including the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, and Curtis Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Equally at home on the concert stage, Anthony Reed has performed as bass solist in Mozart's Requiem, Adam in Haydn’s Creation, and the bass solos of Bach’s B Minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and Handel's Missa in Tempore Belli. As a member of the 2014 Merola Opera Program, Anthony Reed was seen in the Schwabacher and Grand Final concerts in scenes from Luisa Miller, Mignon, Così fan Tutte, and Rigoletto. Reed has collaborated in recital with Mikael Eliasen as part of Curtis On Tour, and in Philadelphia’s Field Concert Hall.
The 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Encouragement Award winner has been a young artist at the Merola Opera Program, the Wolf Trap Studio, and the Seagle Music Colony, in addition to his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Reed has studied under the tutelage of such artists as William Stone, Mikael Eliasen, Sheri Greenawald, Danielle Orlando, George Manahan, and Darren Keith Woods.
Soprano ESTHER RENÉE RAYO found her voice at age six in her church choir and grew up as the Cantor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Imperial County. She moved on to the study of classical voice at Sonoma State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Vocal Performance in 2012, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music with emphasis in Vocal Performance from DePaul University, in Chicago. Ms. Rayo has been a featured soloist for numerous ensembles, including The Diablo Valley College Symphonic Band, San Francisco Wind Ensemble, Sierra Chamber Society, and DePaul Chamber Chorus. Past merit based awards include Jarvis Conservatory’s “Encouragement Award”, First Place Overall in the Redwood Empire Chapter, National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Vocal Competition, Second Place in the Opera Division of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, NATS Competition, and Top Five of The East Bay Opera League Vocal Competition. Ms. Rayo will soon be traveling to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for a month long Summer Program, focusing on Bel Canto repertoire, and is set to perform the role of Anna Maurrant in Kurt Weill's Street Scene in the DePaul Fall Opera.
Mexican tenor ELEAZAR RODRIGUEZ has received acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic for his vibrant portrayals of leading roles in operas by Donizetti, Rossini, and Mozart. In the 2013-14 season, Mr. Rodriguez will return as a member of the ensemble to the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, where the press has remarked that “the theatre can consider itself lucky to have such a tenor” (Pamina Magazin), especially following his celebrated performance as Tonio in the company’s new production of Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment in the 2012-13 season. This season, he will not only revive the role of Tonio, but also perform the roles of Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Rev. Horace Adams in Peter Grimes, Le Théière in L'enfant et les sortilèges, and the Fisherman in Le Rossignol with the opera company.
He was a member of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program in 2009 and 2010, where he performed Federico in Pietro Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz. Other appearances in North America were with Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit as Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, a role he also performed with Fremont Opera. In 2008 Mr. Rodriguez appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center. During the 2006-07 season, he sang lead roles in the world premieres of three operas in San Francisco: Salvador Dali in David Conte’s opera Famous, Lara in America Tropical, also by David Conte, and the title role in Young Caesarby Lou Harrison. He was also heard in concerts and recitals throughout Mexico, including at the Teatro del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
MAREK RUSZCZYNSKI has given recitals across Europe in concert halls including the Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Berlin Philharmonie and the Musikverein. He has worked and performed under the tutelage of Marilyn Horne in the programme The Song Continues both in Carnegie Hall in New York and at the Opéra de Bastille in Paris.
Marek was very lucky to grow up in the fascinating era when communism was declining and cultural influences from the ‘passionate’ East and ‘enlightened’ West were confronting one another. He received his formative musical education from Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron, in Gdansk, Poland and at 19 he was awarded a prize from the Polish Ministry of Culture and Education for Musical Achievement, and a Gdansk and Brussels Rotary Club Prize for the Best Conservatorium Graduate in Northern Poland. He came to London a year later.
Driven by a passion for vocal music, Marek acquired the skills of supporting opera singers, learning the craft from a number of distinguished artists including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Christa Ludwig and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. During his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama he was awarded the Gold Medal Accompanist Prize in both 2009 and 2011. Further success followed when he won the Prix de Piano in the Nadia and Lili Boulanger International Voice-Piano Competition 2012 in Paris. Marek is a Samling Artist, a Britten-Pears Young Artist, and an alumnus of Academie Musicale de Villecroze where has been now working as an accompanist for Teresa Berganza.
He has held a position of a vocal coach at both the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Supported by the International Opera Awards Foundation he trained as repetiteur at the National Opera Studio in London. In 2015 he worked as the language coach for the production of King Roger for the Royal Opera House in London under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano.
Currently he is a member of the music staff at the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and he works as a coach for the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. Marek has given masterclasses at the Trinity College of Music in London and the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a freelancer he also works as a recitalist in Europe and the United States and sits on a jury of the Manhattan Voice Competition. Beauty of tone, visceral empathy with musical emotion and passion are the hallmarks of his performances.
Mezzo-soprano KINDRA SCHARICH, our treasured artist-in-residence, has been praised by The San Francisco Chronicle for her "exuberant vitality", "fearless technical precision", "deep-rooted pathos" and "irrepressible musical splendor." As a dedicated recitalist, she has given solo recitals the The American Composer's Forum, The Wagner Society, Lieder Alive, The La Jolla Athenaeum, among others. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Scharich performed a series of concerts in São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, where she performed with Ricardo Ballestero and Cristiano Alves at the acclaimed Sala Cecília Meireles. Next year, she and Mr. Ballestero will embark on a project encompassing a series of performances and recordings that will present all of the non-Portuguese songs of the great Brazilian composer Alberto Nepomuceno, which until now have remained in relative obscurity.
A great proponent of Lieder, she is currently collaborating with the Alexander String Quartet on new quartet and voice arrangements of the great orchestral Lieder (Rückert, Kindertotenlieder, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Wesendonck-Lieder and Vier letzte Lieder), which are to be recorded in 2017 and released in the spring of 2018. In the world of opera, Ms. Scharich has sung over 25 roles in the lyric mezzo repertoire, most recently and to much acclaim as Minerva in West Edge Opera's production of Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. This spring she will be seen as Agathe in Opera Parallèle's production of the Philip Glass opera Les Enfants Terribles. Enthusiastic about working with living composers, she has premiered works by Kurt Erickson and will be heard in Janis Mattox's upcoming chamber opera Sueños de medianoche (Midnight Dreams), set in Spanish and based on Bolivian legend. More info: kindrascharich.com
Pianist MICHAEL ANTHONY SCHULER, a California native, is pleased to be back in the Bay Area making music. He now coaches language and music both privately and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A Harvard-educated linguist and lifelong pianist, Michael is at home with the mingling of word and music in the theater. In recent years he has worked as a vocal coach and conductor for numerous productions at various European venues, among them Barbe-bleu and Die Zauberflöte (Zurich Opera) and Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Falstaff (Hanover State Opera). Last fall he music directed the 42nd St. Moon’s production of Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing and in March music directed Pageant at the Victoria Theater. His current projects include OoT’s Le nozze di Figaro and North Bay Opera’s Don Pasquale, and his collaboration with Heidi Moss and Maxine Bernstein for their Bringing Lieder to Life class.
Pianist SIMONA SNITKOVSKAYA was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. She studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory until 1994, earning the equivalent of bachelor’s, master’s and post graduate degrees in piano performance and chamber music. She stayed on in St. Petersburg, working as an accompanist for the Conservatory as well as the Marinsky Theatre until 2001, when she moved to the U.S. During the 1990’s she won numerous awards in major international competitions, vocal performance accompaniment, and chamber music ensemble performance. Since coming to America, Ms. Snitkovskaya has worked as a coach accompanist for Opera San Jose on over 25 operatic productions, and has performed many concerts as a soloist and vocal accompanist in and around the Bay Area. She is also a private teacher and vocal coach.
Clarinetist ANTHONY STRIPLEN is a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. He has been affiliated with the San Francisco Opera since 1984, first as Principal Clarinet for the company’s touring arm, Western Opera Theater, and now as it’s Bass Clarinetist. Throughout his career, Tony has performed with a wide variety of artists ranging stylistically from Luciano Pavarotti to Ella Fitzgerald to Metallica. Tony currently records at Skywalker Studios for many music, cinema and other media projects. He has appeared with San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony on the Deutsche Grammophon, Teldec, and Sony record labels among others. Outside the Bay Area, the many venues where Tony has performed include Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the Jerash Festival in Amman, Jordan. Tony has been on the music faculties at San Francisco State University and St. Mary's College of California. Tony has also been a frequent speaker at the San Francisco Opera Education Workshops. Most recently he was a guest faculty at the 2015 Boston University Tanglewood Institute where he gave a series of masterclasses.
Mezzo-soprano KATHARINE TIER has established herself as a prodigiously gifted young singer with important experiences on the operatic, concert and recital stages. Ms Tier has sung with San Francisco Opera, Virginia Opera, the Sydney Symphony, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Opera North (USA), Opera Australia, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the American Philharmonic, the UC Davis Symphony, Napa Valley Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Western Australia Symphony, the Empyrean Ensemble, Macquarie Singers, and Earplay. Company debuts in most recent seasons include projects with Opera Australia, the Saito Kinen Festival of Japan, and Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe where she has been regularly seen. Ms. Tier makes her debut with the distinguished Dallas Opera in 2014 in a reprise of Brigitta (Die Tote Stadt) along with a return for tba projects in Germany in the 2013-2014 Season.
A member of the 2007 and 2008 classes of distinguished Adler Fellowship program of the San Francisco Opera, Ms. Tier made her mainstage opera debut with the company as the Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. She performed Suzy in La Rondine and Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly for the company, and she was seen as Brigitta in Die Tote Stadt in performances which were met with great acclaim. Ms. Tier added significant roles to her repertoire during her tenure in the Alder Fellowship program comprising Flosshilde (Das Rheingold), Polinesso (Ariodante), Idamante (Idomeneo), Dalila (Samson et Dalila) and Octavian in (Der Rosenkavalier.)
An avid concert performer and recitalist, Ms. Tier has performed the Shostakovich song-cycle From Jewish Poetry, Op. 79; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9; the Duruflé Requiem, Op. 9; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; Handel’s Israel in Egypt; Mozart’s Requiem in D minor; George Crumb’s song cycle, Night of the Four Moons, written to the text of the pre-eminent Spanish poet and dramatist Frederico Garcia Lorca; James H. Carr’s song-cycle for Mezzo-Soprano and Clarinet, Four Wilde Aphorisms; and concert performances of Puccini’s La Rondine and Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges. Ms. Tier has given recitals for the National Lieder Society and the Joan Sutherland Society, and can be heard in a recording of the acclaimed contemporary oratorio, Hallel for Our Times, by American composer Shelley Olson.
Mezzo-soprano TALIA TROZZO, a San Francisco native, is a graduate of Sonoma State University, where she received a bachelor of arts in vocal performance. Talia has studied voice with Ruth Ann Swenson for five years. An alumna of the Interlochen Center of the Arts in Michigan, Talia has also performed throughout the Bay Area, including the Lamplighters’ production of Pirates of Penzance, and in Napa, as Diana Morales in the Napa Valley Opera House’s production of A Chorus Line. Most recently, she had the honor of participating in Le Chiavi: The Institute of Bel Canto Studies at the University of Houston.
American baritone EUGENE VILLANUEVA has been hailed by critics for “a voice as handsome as his countenance” (San Francisco Classical Voice). His “full resonant instrument, flowing legato line, gorgeous vocalism allied to passionate declamation, and exemplary diction” have brought him many successes in opera and concert halls throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
The San Francisco native has performed with many prestigious international companies & festivals including the San Francisco Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (France), Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Italy), Theater Basel (Switzerland), Festival Puccini (Italy), Opera Theater of St. Louis, Michigan Opera Theater and the Shanghai National Grand Theater (China) in repertoire that includes the title roles of Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin, Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Lescaut (Manon), Il conte Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Danilo (The Merry Widow), Prince Yeletsky (The Queen of Spades), Dandini (La Cenerentola), Marcello & Schaunard (La bohème), Ping (Turandot), Albert (Werther), among others.
An avid recitalist, he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2008 and returned again in 2011. He was a member of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, which presented him in recital in New York and Pennsylvania. He has also presented concerts for San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Schwabacher Debut Recital Series, the New York Festival of Song and was featured in the prestigious Podium der Jungen series in Hannover, Hamburg & Frankfurt (Germany). He is also the first and only American ever to have been awarded the coveted Tosti song prize from the Istituto Nazionale Tostiano in Ortona, Italy.
He has been featured as soloist with orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Toscanini Orchestra of Parma, the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) Philharmonie and the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande in repertoire that includes Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Fauré and Brahms Requiem, Copland’s Old American Songs, Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, the Dvorák Te Deum, and Ligeti’s Aventures & Nouvelle Aventures.
Soprano JESSICA WAN performs regularly throughout the Bay Area, singing opera, lieder, musical theatre, and more. Jessica has performed with Pocket Opera, San Francisco Renaissance Voices, and San Francisco Early Music Society’s Fringe Festival. An avid recitalist, she makes it her mission to introduce people of all backgrounds to classical vocal music. For the last decade, Jessica has also built a career as a marketing professional, helping to shape companies like Apple, the San Francisco Opera, and Smule, a social network that connects over 100 million people worldwide through music. Jessica has a BA in Music and a BS in Product Design from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Currently studying voice with Susan Gundunas, her musical journey began at an early age on the piano, adding violin, oboe, and voice along the way. Jessica sits on the Board of Directors for Community Music Center, where she consults in the areas of marketing and development.
A native of Northumberland, England, SANDY WILSON, cellist, completed his graduate studies at the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen as a recipient of two Danish Government Scholarships and the Sophus Berendsen Award. While performing as a member of the Royal Chapel Orchestra, he studied composition with Niels Vigo Bentzon and cello with Erling Blöndal-Bengtsson. Mr. Wilson was principal cellist at the age of 21 in the Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft Orchestra in Lucerne, Switzerland, at which time he also performed extensively in duo recital with Swiss pianist, Hedy Salquin. In 1979 Mr. Wilson moved to the United States, completing a degree at Yale University as a student of Aldo Parisot, Otto Werner Mueller and the Tokyo Quartet. He co-founded the Alexander String Quartet in 1981 and has since lived in this country, devoting most of his energies to the development of the Quartet. Mr. Wilson has written and frequently participates on panel debates on the subject of chamber music residency development and presentation. He currently serves as an elected board member of Chamber Music America and is a member of the California Cello Club.
ROGER WOODWARD, pianist, rose to international prominence in a series of collaborations with Olivier Messiaen, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, Jean Barraqué, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Toru Takemitsu, Franco Donatoni, Sylvano Bussotti, Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Arvo Pärt, among others. At the invitation of the late Sviatoslav Richter, Mr. Woodward performed at La Grange de Meslay and Tours, and at most of the major international festivals including Le Festival d’automne à Paris, the Venice Biennale, the Edinburgh Festival, and the BBC Proms. He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles, Israel, Cleveland, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, the Orchestre de Paris, and five London orchestras directed by Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Erich Leinsdorf, and Witold Rowcki.
His performances have been broadcast on radio and television in the U.S, France, Germany, and the U.K., and his highly acclaimed recordings have been issued on the EMI, Decca, RCA, DGG, CPO, and Celestial Harmonies labels. Mr. Woodward’s many honors and awards include the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Goethe Prize, and the Diapason d’or, as well as the Polish Order of Merit, Polish Order of Solidarity (for Human Rights), Polish Gloria Artis Award, and the Order of the British Empire. He is a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres and a Companion of the Order of Australia. He was the founding director of the San Francisco State University School of Music and Dance, where he is Professor of Keyboard Performance Practice.
The young Korean soprano JI YOUNG YANG, a graduate of the Adler Fellowship program of the San Francisco Opera, is a gifted singer possessing a voice of sheer beauty and described as “silvery,” “fluent,” and “graceful.” Her recent European debut in a performance and recording of the Soprano Solo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the BBC Scottish Symphony in Glasgow and Perth garned high praise with Garry Frasier of the Courier, characterizing her interpretation as “sensational. ” He added: “There was vigour and there was passion but in the main there was ethereal beauty, all wrapped up in a performance of stunning quality” Her recent reprise of of Carmina Burana with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra at UC Davis Hall also garnered excellent acclaim.
Since making her San Francisco Opera debut in 2007, Ms. Yang has sung with distinguished opera companies and orchestras in the US and has demonstrated exceptional artistic expressiveness on the concert, recital and operatic stages. Opera companies and orchestras with whom Ms. Yang has performed in addition to San Francisco Opera include Boston Lyric Opera, the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, Gold Coast Ensemble, and Earplay. Ms. Yang recently returned from Adelaide at Elder Hall and the Port Fairy Spring Festival in Victoria where she performed in recital with the acclaimed Australian pianist, Kate Stevens.
PAUL YARBROUGH, violist, is a native of Clearwater, Florida, whose teachers have included Elaine Lee Richey, Lillian Fuchs, Raymond Page, and Sally Peck. He is a founding member of the Alexander String Quartet, renowned throughout the world as one of the most outstanding chamber music ensembles performing today. The Alexander was the first American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition in 1985, and has since then gained widespread admiration for its performances of both standard repertoire and contemporary music at major halls throughout North America and Europe. Performing with the Quartet over the past three decades, Mr. Yarbrough has collaborated with some of the most acclaimed musicians in the world, such as pianist Menahem Pressler, clarinetist Richard Stolzman, cellist Lynn Harrell, soprano Elly Ameling, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and many more. Since 1992 the Alexander Quartet has been Ensemble-in-Residence at San Francisco Performances, and its members have served as directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University. A frequent soloist, Mr. Yarbrough has also given numerous solo recitals throughout the U.S., and was principal violist of the Chamber Orchestra of New England.