American Mavericks

Music and the Players

Here’s a catalog of the music heard—and the musicians performing it—in American Mavericks 2012.

Orchestral works featuring the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas are noted by the legend SFS/MTT.

View the musicians performing on each piece below:

Adams: Absolute Jest | Bates: Mass Transmission | Cage: Song Books |
Copland: Orchestral Variations | Cowell: Piano Concerto | Cowell: Piano works |
Cowell: Synchrony | Del Tredici: Syzygy | Feldman: Piano and Orchestra |
Foss: Phorion | Foss: Echoi | Harrison: Concerto for Organ and Percussion |
Ives: A Concord Symphony | Monk: Realm Variations | Partch: Fives Pieces |
Partch: Daphne of the Dunes | Reich: Music for Pieces of Wood |
Riley: G Song | Ruggles: Sun-Treader | Subotnick: Jacob’s Room Monodrama |
Varèse: Ameriques

Adams: Absolute Jest

SFS/MTT | St. Lawrence String Quartet

The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) was established in 1989 in Canada. In 1992, the quartet won both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Since 1998 the SLSQ has been Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University, and the quartet’s members are visiting artists at the University of Toronto. SLSQ frequently performs new works and has active working relationships with composers R. Murray Schafer, Christos Hatzis, Ezequiel Viñao, Jonathan Berger, Ka Nin Chan, Roberto Sierra, and Mark Applebaum. John Adams wrote his String Quartet for the SLSQ, which premiered the piece in 2009. That same year, the SLSQ celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its founding by commissioning five Canadian composers and performing their work across Canada. Last October, the quartet premiered Kohelet, a new work by Osvaldo Golijov. The piece (co-commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts and Carnegie Hall) builds on the success of the quartet’s previous collaboration with Golijov, which culminated in the twice-Grammy®–nominated SLSQ recording of the composer’s Yiddishbbuk (EMI) in 2002. This season the foursome performs across the US and Canada and returns to Australia. Violinists Geoff Nuttall and Scott St. John grew up in London, Ontario; Nuttall is a founding member and St. John joined in 2006. The two alternate the role of first violin. Violist Lesley Robertson is a founding member and hails from Edmonton, Alberta. Cellist Christopher Costanza is from Utica, New York, and joined the quartet in 2003. All four members teach at Stanford and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Bates: Mass Transmission

Paul Jacobs, organ | Mason Bates, electronica | Alexandra Sessler, soprano | Danielle Reutter-Harrah, mezzo-soprano | San Francisco Symphony Chorus | Donato Cabrera conductor

Paul Jacobs began studying piano at age six and organ at thirteen. At fifteen he was appointed head organist of a parish in his hometown of Washington, Pennsylvania. He studied organ and harpsichord at the Curtis Institute and received a master’s degree and artist diploma from Yale. He won the 1998 Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition and was the first organist to be honored with the Harvard Musical Association’s Arthur W. Foote Award. In 2000, at age twenty-three, Mr. Jacobs gave a recital in Pittsburgh—eighteen hours, non-stop—playing all of J.S. Bach’s organ music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. He has also performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in a series of marathons across the country. Mr. Jacobs has chaired the organ department at the Juilliard School since 2004. He toured with the San Francisco Symphony in 2010, performing Copland’s Organ Symphony; his recording of that work with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra was released last year on SFS Media. This season Mr. Jacobs returns to the Pacific Symphony, where he performs the world premiere of a new Michael Daughtery work. Paul Jacobs has been a featured performer at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and performs frequently at festivals throughout the US and abroad. He has appeared on American Public Media’s Pipedreams and Saint Paul Sunday, on Bavarian Radio, Brazilian Arts Television, ABC-TV’s World News Tonight, NPR’s Morning Edition,and CBC Radio. New York Magazine named him Best Organist of 2007. His 2010 recording of Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement (Naxos) was awarded a Grammy® in the Best Solo Instrumental category—the first time a disc of solo organ music received this honor.

Mason Bates fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz, and the rhythms of techno in his compositions. Frequently performed by orchestras large and small, his symphonic music has been the first to receive widespread acceptance for its expanded palette of electronic sounds, and it is championed by leading conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, and John Adams. He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his residency with the Chicago Symphony, or through his classical/DJ project Mercury Soul, which has transformed spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing over a thousand people. Bringing classical music to new audiences is a central part of Mr. Bates’s activities as a curator, be it through residencies with institutions such as the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNOWseries, or in alternative spaces with Mercury Soul. A collaboration with director Anne Patterson and Maestro Benjamin Shwartz, Mercury Soul embeds sets of classical music into an evening of DJing and beautiful, surreal visuals. Sold-out performances from San Francisco’s famed Mezzanine club to Miami’s New World Symphony have brought a new vision of the listening experience to widespread audiences. Studying English literature and music composition in the Columbia-Juilliard program, Mr. Bates worked primarily with John Corigliano, and has also studied with David Del Tredici and Samuel Adler. Mason Bates is this season’s Project San Francisco resident composer with the San Francisco Symphony.

Alexandra Sessler (soprano) is a professional member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. She appeared as the Dew Fairy in Golden Gate Opera productions of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, has been soloist in Orff’s Carmina burana and Mozart’s Requiem with San Francisco State University, and was featured as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. Ms. Sessler has been soloist with the Miami Bach Society and Miami Oratorio Society. She performed the role of The Aunt in Madama Butterfly with Golden Gate Opera as well as Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with San Francisco State University’s Opera-Theatre program, where she is an associate teacher. She is also a cantor at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco’s Castro district. Ms. Sessler’s honors include the Edwin Barlow Award with San Francisco Bay Area NATS. She was first-place winner in the Leopoldskrom Vocal Competition in Salzburg, received the first-place voice merit award from the Miami Teachers Association, and was named outstanding graduate of the University of Miami Vocal Performance Department.

Danielle Reutter-Harrah (mezzo-soprano) is a versatile performer with a particular enthusiasm for historically informed performance practice. In her most recent solo performance she appeared with the American Bach Soloists in a rarely performed early version of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion. While she frequently interprets Handel, Bach, and Purcell, her repertory also includes Saint-Saëns, Bruckner, and Corigliano. She has appeared with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, the San Francisco Bach Choir, the San Jose Opera, and the American Bach Soloists, among others. A native of Portland, Oregon, Ms. Reutter-Harrah holds a bachelor of music degree from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver and a master of music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She joined the San Francisco Symphony Chorus as an AGMA member in 2011.

The San Francisco Symphony Chorus was established in 1972 at the request of Seiji Ozawa, then the Symphony’s Music Director; the 150-member Chorus today gives a minimum of twenty-six performances each season. Louis Magor served as the Chorus’s director during its first decade. In 1982 Margaret Hillis, Director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, assumed the ensemble’s leadership, and the following year Vance George was named Chorus Director, serving through 2005-06. Ragnar Bohlin assumed the position of Chorus Director in March 2007. The Chorus can be heard on many acclaimed recordings, including Mahler’s symphonies 2, 3, and 8 (with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting), choral works of Brahms, Mahler’s Das klagende Lied, Stravinsky’s Perséphone, selections from Berlioz’s Lélio, and John Adams’s Harmonium. The ensemble has received Grammy® awards for Best Performance of a Choral Work (for Orff ‘s Carmina burana, Brahms’s German Requiem, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 ) and Best Classical Album (for a collection of Stravinsky’s music including Perséphone, The Firebird, and Le Sacre du printemps; and for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 8). The current ensemble is made up of thirty professional and 120 volunteer singers.

Donato Cabrera is San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor and Wattis Foundation Music Director of the SFS Youth Orchestra. He made his Symphony debut in April 2009, conducting on short notice a program that included works of Mozart and Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. In 2002, he was a Herbert von Karajan conducting fellow at the Salzburg Festival. From 2005 to 2008, he was associate conductor of the San Francisco Opera. He has assisted in productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has served as an assistant conductor at the Ravinia, Spoleto (Italy), and Aspen Music Festivals, and the Music Academy of the West. His South American debut came in 2008, when he led Madama Butterfly with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción, in Concepción, Chile, where he returns yearly to conduct symphonic and operatic repertory. This season is his first as music director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, he was one of eight participants in the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. He has been recognized as a Luminary by the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee for his contributions to the Bay Area’s Mexican community. Donato Cabrera holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Nevada, Reno; a master’s degree in conducting from the University of Illinois; and has pursued graduate studies in conducting at Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music.

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Cage: Song Books

Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, & Jessye Norman, vocals | Leor Maltinski, violin | Yun Jie Liu, viola | Amos Yang, cello | Stephen Paulson, bassoon | Mark Inouye, trumpet | Timothy Higgins, trombone | Peter Grunberg & Marc Shapiro, pianos | Yuval Sharon, director | Daniel Hubp, stage designer | Jason H. Thompson, projection designer | Jesse Stiles, electronics | Christopher Kuhl lighting designer

Joan La Barbara, composer, performer, sound artist, and actor, is renowned for her unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques—multiphonics, circular singing, ululation, and glottal clicks—influencing generations of composers and singers. In 2008, the American Music Center conveyed its Letter of Distinction Award to La Barbara for her significant contributions to American Contemporary Music. Awards and prizes include: Premio Internazionale “Demetrio Stratos”; DAAD-Berlin Artist-in-Residency; Civitella Ranieri, Guggenheim and seven National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and numerous commissions. Composing for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, theater, orchestra, interactive technology, and soundscores for dance, video, and film, including a score for voice and electronics for Sesame Street, her multi-layered textural compositions were presented at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Warsaw Autumn, Frankfurt Feste, Metamusik-Berlin, Olympics Arts and Lincoln Center. She was Artistic Director of the multi-year Carnegie Hall series “When Morty Met John” and New Music America festival in Los Angeles, and co-founded the performing composers-collective Ne(x)tworks. She produced and performs on acclaimed recordings of music by John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Earle Brown, and premiered landmark compositions written for her by Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Cage, Feldman, Philip Glass, Alvin Lucier, Steve Reich, Morton Subotnick, and James Tenney. Recordings of her work include: ShamanSong (New World), Sound Paintings, and Voice is the Original Instrument (Lovely Music). 73 Poems, her collaboration with text- artist Kenneth Goldsmith, was included in The American Century Part II: Soundworks at The Whitney Museum. The award-winning interactive media/performance work Messa di Voce premiered at ars electronica festival in Linz. Exploring ways of immersing the audience in her music, La Barbara recently placed musicians and actors throughout Greenwich House Music School for her music/theater piece Journeys and Observable Events, allowing the audience to explore the building, unveiling theatrical and sonic events. In March 2011, she seated musicians of the American Composers Orchestra around and among the audience in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel auditorium, building her sonic painting In solitude this fear is lived, inspired by Agnes Martin’s minimalist drawings. La Barbara is developing a solo performance work, Storefront Diva, for pianist Kathleen Supové, and composing a new opera exploring the artistic process, interior dialogue, and sounds within the mind. For more information, visit

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music-theater works. A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique,” she has been hailed as a “magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers.” Recently Monk was named 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America and one of NPR’s Fifty Great Voices. In 1965, Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multifaceted instrument, composing mostly solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice and keyboard. In 1978, she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. In addition to numerous vocal, music-theater works, and operas, Monk has created vital new repertory for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson Thomas/New World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Her music can also be heard in films by Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers, among others. Celebrated internationally, Monk’s work has been presented by Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, London’s Barbican Centre, and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria. Meredith Monk’s numerous honors include a MacArthur “Genius” Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, an American Music Center Letter of Distinction, an ASCAP Concert Music Award, a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also holds honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Bard College, the University of the Arts, the Juilliard School, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Boston Conservatory. Monk has made more than a dozen recordings, most of which are on the ECM New Series label, including the 2008 Grammy-nominated impermanence and Songs of Ascension, recently named No. 1 new music release of 2011 by WNYC/New Sounds host John Schaefer. Monk’s fortieth year of performing and creating new music was celebrated in 2005 by a four-hour marathon at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, including performances by Björk, Bang on a Can All-Stars, DJ Spooky, John Zorn, Alarm Will Sound, and Pacific Mozart Ensemble. She is currently developing a new music-theater work, On Behalf of Nature, premiering in 2013.

Jessye Norman performs a breadth and depth of repertory encompassing her innovative programming and scholarship. She is as admired and respected for her artistry presented on the world’s opera and concert stages and now into her newest expansion into jazz, as for her humanitarian contributions. Her collaborations with today’s most exciting and creative artists include her work with four-time Grammy-winning composer Laura Karpman, resulting in a multi-media musical theatre piece, Ask Your Mama—Twelve Poems on Jazz–by Langston Hughes, premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2009 as a part of the HONOR! Festival, a fifty-two event celebration of the African-American contribution to world culture, curated and directed by Miss Norman. Ask Your Mama was also presented at the Hollywood Bowl. The Jessye Norman School for the Arts in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia is a tuition-free arts program for talented middle-school students otherwise unable to experience private arts tutoring. The school, in its ninth year, is Miss Norman’s response to the understanding that, given the opportunity to explore the arts, students introduced to this positive means of self-expression perform better academically and become more involved citizens. To find out more, visit Miss Norman’s latest recording, Roots: My Life, My Song, shares with listeners part of her personal universe; in it she pays homage to some of the many who encourage her curiosity and what she feels is an obligation to offer musical expression outside the Classical canon, to reach all those open to taking this often surprising musical journey with her. Her work with not-for-profit organizations, including the New York Public Library, The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Howard University, Carnegie Hall, and the Partnership for the Homeless speaks to her concern for the larger community and the citizenship she credits her parents for demonstrating through their own community service. Among Miss Norman’s many recognitions, she is a Kennedy Center honoree, a National Medal of Arts awardee from President Obama, a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres and an officer in the French Legion of Honor. With five Grammys and almost forty honorary doctorates, it is yet the sheer joy of singing that keeps her searching, exploring, and seeking to honor the ancestors.

Leor Maltinski joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2003. Born in Tel Aviv in 1976, he began playing violin at age six. He studied with Igor Polesitsky in Florence and in 1993 moved to the United States to continue his music education, first at the Curtis Institute and then at Indiana University. He has also studied at the Juilliard School and the Peabody Conservatory. Mr. Maltinski won first prize at the 1999 Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, an award that enabled him to present violin recitals and perform with orchestras throughout the US and Europe.

Yun-Jie Liu, Associate Principal Violist of the San Francisco Symphony, was born in Shanghai and began violin studies with his father. He entered the middle school of the Shanghai Conservatory and was named assistant professor of viola upon graduation. He regularly gives chamber music concerts and solo recitals, and he has performed in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington DC, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. In 1990, Mstislav Rostropovich invited him to join the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC. Yun-Jie Liu joined the SFS in 1993.

Amos Yang joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2007 as Assistant Principal Cellist. He was previously a member of the Seattle Symphony. Born and raised in San Francisco, he was a member of the SFS Youth Orchestra and San Francisco Boys Choir and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. He has made regular appearances with the Seattle Chamber Music Society and at the Olympic Music Festival, and from 1996 to 2002 he was the cellist in the Maia String Quartet. Mr. Yang’s awards include the CD Jackson Prize at the Tanglewood Music Festival. He has served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, the University of Iowa, Grinnell College, and the Interlochen Advanced String Quartet Institute.

Stephen Paulson joined the SFS as Principal Bassoonist in 1977 and has performed numerous times as a soloist with the Orchestra. Also a conductor, he has been Music Director since 1998 of Symphony Parnassus, which performs throughout the Bay Area. Mr. Paulson graduated from the Eastman School; he studied bassoon with K. David Van Hoesen and Mordechai Rechtman, and composition with Samuel Adler. He performed with the Rochester Philharmonic for four seasons and from 1970 to 1977 was co-principal bassoonist of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He was soloist with both the Rochester Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony in his own Bassoon Concerto. Mr. Paulson is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Mark Inouye, Principal Trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony and occupant of the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation Chair, attended the University of California at Davis and graduated from the Juilliard School. He has held principal trumpet positions with the Houston and Charleston symphonies and has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. He has toured the United States with the organ and trumpet duo Toccatas and Flourishes, and he was a member of the Empire Brass Quintet. At home in both classical music and jazz, he was a founding member of the Juilliard Jazz Sextet at Lincoln Center and a guest performer at the Hollywood Bowl in the Playboy Jazz Festival. The Trumpet & the Bull, his jazz album, includes his own compositions.

Timothy Higgins, the San Francisco Symphony’s Principal Trombonist, is occupant of the Robert L. Samter Chair. He was previously acting second trombone with the National Symphony. A Houston native, Mr. Higgins graduated from Northwestern University and has performed with the Milwaukee, Virginia, and Chicago symphony orchestras, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and the Baltimore Symphony. In 2005, he won the Robert Marsteller Competition and the ITA Trombone Quartet Competition, both part of the International Trombone Association.

Peter Grunberg served as Head of Music Staff at San Francisco Opera from 1992 to 1999 and is currently Musical Assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas. He has appeared as piano soloist with the SFS, has performed at the Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg festivals, and has collaborated in recital with such artists as Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, and Joshua Bell. He has also conducted at the Moscow Conservatory, Grand Théâtre de Genève, and the Pacific Music Festival. In 2003 he moderated the “Visual Sounds” symposium, part of the SFS’s festival focusing on Wagner, Weill, and the Weimar Republic.

Marc Shapiro has partnered with soloists including John Mack, Timothy Day, David Wilson-Johnson, Geraldine Walther, and William Bennett. He is principal keyboardist of the California Symphony, and from 1984 to 2003 he was San Francisco Symphony Chorus accompanist. In 1998 he accompanied the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus on tour in the US and Canada. He performs frequently with Composer’s Inc., Chamber Music Sundaes, Sierra Chamber Music Society, Mainly Mozart Festival (San Diego), and the Mohonk Festival. Mr. Shapiro holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and is on the faculty at Mills College.

Yuval Sharon (director) has been creating an unconventional body of work that explores the boundaries of music, visual art, and concert theater. He has worked with international companies such as the San Francisco Opera, Mariinsky Theater, Bregenz Festival, and Komische Oper Berlin, as well as experimental venues such as Le Poisson Rouge, Berkeley Opera, and the Deitch Projects. He was assistant director to Achim Freyer on the Los Angeles Ring Cycle. Mr. Sharon was project director for four years of New York City Opera’s VOX, an annual workshop of new American opera. He is now Artistic Director of The Industry, an independent company for new opera and interdisciplinary performance in Los Angeles, where he is directing its inaugural production of Anne LeBaron’s hyperopera Crescent City, opening on May 10. For more information, visit

Daniel Hubp (stage designer) is a four-time Emmy-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning director, editor, and production designer. His recent projects include the narrative short FBH, which he wrote, directed, and edited. His other films include Not This War, an official selection of Slamdance’s Anarchy competition; The Great Lie; the documentary Me, Jane; and the short film Y2K. As a freelance production designer in New York, he designed more than eighty commercials, music videos, and television shows. With the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Hubp collaborated as stage designer for John Adams’s El Niño, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and Beethoven’s Fidelio.

Jason H. Thompson (projection design) has designed projections for shows on Broadway (Baby It’s You!) and Off-Broadway (for such groups as the Parsons Dance Company, Joyce Theatre/National Tour, Vineyard Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Theatreworks, and Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre).He has also designed lighting for Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera at Lincoln Center. He designs content for Stars on Ice USA and Canadian Tours, has worked in Taiwan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, and is an adjunct professor at UCLA. He has just finished working on The Great Immensity with the New York-based company The Civilians. For more information, visit

Jesse Stiles (electronics) is a new-media artist, musician, and designer of electronic systems. In 2000, he was awarded a Watson Fellowship, which culminated in his album Watson Songs. His most recent release is The Target Museum. In 2010 Mr. Stiles was hired as sound engineer and music coordinator for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Jesse Stiles holds a BA in cognitive science from Vassar College and an MFA in integrated electronic arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He maintains studios in New York City and throughout New York State.

Christopher Kuhl (lighting designer) is a lighting, scenic, installation, and conceptual designer. His work has been seen at UCLA Live, BAM, Jacob’s Pillow, the Krannert Center, YBCA, Portland Center Stage, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Beijing Music Festival, and the Sundance Film Fest, among others. He has lectured at CalArts, UCLA, and the USC School of Theater. Recipient of the 2011 Sherwood, Ovation, Drammy, and Horton awards, his work has been shown at festivals in China, Indonesia, Canada, France, Belgium, and Hong Kong. He is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts.

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Copland: Orchestral Variations


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Cowell: Piano Concerto

SFS/MTT | Jeremy Denk, piano

Jeremy Denk received a degree in chemistry from Oberlin College and a degree in music from the Oberlin Conservatory. He went on to earn a master’s degree in music from Indiana University and a doctorate in piano performance from the Juilliard School. A 1998 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the 1997 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, he made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1997 as winner of the Juilliard Piano Debut Award. Jeremy Denk appears often in recital, including engagements in New York, Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia. He was artist-in-residence at the 2008 Gilmore Keyboard Festival and gave a recital tour playing the Ives Concord Sonata and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata, culminating in a solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall. An active chamber musician, Mr. Denk has appeared at the Spoleto Festival in this country and in Italy, at the Santa Fe and Seattle chamber music festivals, and at the Verbier Festival. This season, he is the featured artist for the Ives Project, a three-day exploration and celebration of Charles Ives, at Maryland’s Strathmore Hall; he also performs with the Saint Louis Symphony and returns to Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Jeremy Denk has spent several summers at the Marlboro Music School in Vermont and been part of Musicians from Marlboro national tours. A faculty member at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, he has been a featured artist-in-residence on NPR’s Performance Today.

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Cowell: Piano works

Jeremy Denk, piano

Jeremy Denk(see Cowell: Piano Concerto)

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Cowell: Synchrony


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Del Tredici: Syzygy

Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor | Kiera Duffy, soprano | Nicole Cash, horn | Tom Hemphill, James Lee Wyatt III, & Raymond Froehlich, tubular bells | Linda Lukas, piccolo | Robin McKee, alto flute | Russ deLuna & William Bennett, English horns | Luis Baez, clarinet | Steve Sanchez, bass clarinet | Stephen Paulson, bassoon | Steven Braunstein, contrabassoon | Scott Macomber & Micah Wilkinson, trumpets | Florin Parvulescu & Dan Carlson, violins | Jonathan Vinocour, viola | Sébastien Gingras, cello | Scott Pingel, bass

Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony since 1995, is a Los Angeles native. He studied at the University of Southern California, became Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at nineteen, and worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts. In 1969, Mr. Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony. Ten days later he came to international recognition, replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He went on to become the BSO’s Associate Conductor, then Principal Guest Conductor. He has also served as Director of the Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Principal Conductor of the Great Woods Festival. He became Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and now serves as Principal Guest Conductor. He continues as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, which he founded in 1988. Michael Tilson Thomas’s recordings have won numerous international awards, and his recorded repertory reflects interests arising from work as conductor, composer, and pianist. His television credits include the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts, and in 2004 he and the SFS launched Keeping Score on PBS-TV. Among his many honors, he is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2010 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Kiera Duffy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in voice performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. She has received awards and recognition from the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Young Concert Artists International Competition. Ms. Duffy was a finalist in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is featured in the film The Audition, which has recently been released on DVD by Decca. Ms. Duffy’s 2011-12 season includes her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and the National Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah, as well as a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 for performances in Los Angeles and on tour in Caracas. Next season Ms. Duffy debuts at the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago and returns to the Atlanta Symphony and New World Symphony. She also debuts with the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk for a recording with Sony and with the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center. Accompanied by pianist Roger Vignoles, Kiera Duffy is heard in her first commercial recording, an installment in the series of Richard Strauss’s complete songs, released on Hyperion Records last year.

Nicole Cash, a native of Annandale, Virginia, joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2009 as Associate Principal Horn. Prior to joining the SFS, Ms. Cash served as third horn of the Dallas Symphony for eight years. She has served as guest principal horn with the Saint Louis Symphony and performed with the orchestras of Honolulu, San Antonio, Houston, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Tom Hemphill joined the San Francisco Symphony’s percussion section in 1974. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, he was a member of the Toledo Symphony before joining the SFS, and he has also retained a strong interest in jazz. Mr. Hemphill has been featured with the Orchestra in music including Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Steve Reich’s Three Movements, George Antheil’s Ballet mécanique, Russell Peck’s Liftoff!, Michael Tilson Thomas’s Island Music, and several works by Lou Harrison. He was an organizer of the San Francisco Percussion Ensemble and currently serves as a coach of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

James Lee Wyatt III joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2001 after serving as principal percussionist of the Honolulu Symphony from 1997 to 2001. A native of Princeton, Kentucky, he received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Michigan and his master’s degree from Temple University. Mr. Wyatt has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, as well as at the Ojai Festival, Britt Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and the US and Italian Spoleto Festivals.

Raymond Froehlich joined the SFS as a percussionist in 1991. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory, he was previously a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and a timpanist with the Berkeley Symphony. Mr. Froehlich has often been featured with the SFS in works by twentieth-century and contemporary composers. He performs with several jazz ensembles in the Bay Area, as well as a rock trio and Ultra World X-tet, which combines Chinese instruments—the guzheng and pipa—with saxophone, electric guitar, and bass.

Linda Lukas joined the San Francisco Symphony flute section in 1990 and is occupant of the Alfred and Dede Wilsey Chair. She holds degrees from Ohio State University, the University of Iowa, and the École Normale de Musique in Paris. She previously served as principal flute with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra and was a member of the San Diego Opera Orchestra. Ms. Lukas has been principal flute of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho since 1996, and she is currently on the faculty of San Francisco State University.

Robin McKee is Associate Principal Flutist of the San Francisco Symphony and occupant of the Catherine and Russell Clark Chair. She studied with Robert Willoughby at the Oberlin Conservatory. Before joining the SFS in 1984, she played piccolo in the Richmond (Virginia) Symphony and served as assistant principal flutist of the Baltimore Symphony. Ms. McKee has performed as soloist many times with the SFS, including performances of the Bach Brandenburg concertos, and in February 2005 she was featured in Gang Situ’s Echoes at the Chinese New Year concert.

Russ deLuna joined the San Francisco Symphony as English horn player in 2007 and is occupant of the Joseph & Pauline Scafidi Chair. He was previously principal oboist of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony; he played English horn in the Atlanta Ballet and the Alabama Symphony. He holds a master’s degree from Boston University, where he studied with Jonathan Dlouhy, and he has taught at Emory University and Columbus State University and given master classes at the Manhattan School of Music. He performs on the Noe Valley Chamber Music Series as well as with the Gold Coast Chamber Players.

William Bennett is Principal Oboist of the SFS and occupant of the Edo de Waart Chair, a position he has held since 1987. He studied at Yale University and the Juilliard School and joined the Orchestra in 1979 as Assistant Principal. A frequent soloist with the Orchestra, Mr. Bennett gave the world premiere of John Harbison’s Oboe Concerto, commissioned for him by the SFS and recorded for London Records. Mr. Bennett has performed at the Marlboro Festival, Festival D’Inverno in Sao Paolo, the Aspen Festival, and the Berkshire Music Center. He is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Luis Baez, Associate Principal and E-flat Clarinet of the San Francisco Symphony, joined the Orchestra in 1990. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, he began his professional career as principal of the Annapolis Opera Company Orchestra and has been a member of the Florida Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, and New Mexico Symphony, where he served as principal clarinet for four years. Mr. Baez is a coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra and serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Steve Sanchez is the San Francisco Symphony’s utility/bass clarinet. He has served as principal clarinet of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and also performed with the Detroit Symphony. He received his master’s degree in music as a fellow from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, and his principal teachers include Dan Gilbert and Fred Ormand. His awards include scholarships from the Gordon Getty Foundation, and he was a recipient of the Leni Fe Bland Foundation Award.

Stephen Paulson (see Cage: Song Books)

Steven Braunstein, a New York City native, studied bassoon with Elias Carmen and William Polisi at Queens College, and contrabassoon with Paul Camerata and Burt Bial. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the California Institute of the Arts and his master’s degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a member of the Toronto Symphony for ten years and in 1990 joined the San Francisco Symphony as contrabassoonist. Mr. Braunstein has been on the faculty at San Francisco State University and the University of Toronto.

Scott Macomber, principal trumpet of the Napa Valley Symphony, was an acting member of the San Francisco Symphony during the 2009-10 season. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has performed with many Bay Area ensembles, and co-founded the San Francisco Brass Company. As principal trumpet of the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, he has appeared frequently as a soloist. Scott Macomber is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and UC Davis.

Micah Wilkinson joined the SFS in 2011 as Acting Second Trumpet. He has been a member of the Oregon and Tucson Symphonies, and was adjunct professor of trumpet at Portland State University. In the summers, he performs at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. He is a graduate of Saint Olaf College and pursued additional studies at the State Conservatory of Music in Freiburg, Germany.

Florin Parvulescu, a native of Romania, joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1998. He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard Preparatory Division. He has been a member of the Saint Louis Symphony and Baltimore Symphony, won the 1993 Marbury Competition at the Peabody Conservatory, and was a prizewinner in the 1994 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition. Mr. Parvulescu has appeared in the Victoria International Festival and the École d’Arts Américaines in Fontainebleau, France. He also attended the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival.

Dan Carlson, who joined the SFS in 2006, is Associate Principal Second Violin and occupant of the Audrey Avis Aasen-Hull Chair. He previously served as rotating concertmaster for the New World Symphony during the 2004-05 season. Mr. Carlson has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Phoenix Symphony, and has participated in the Kneisel Hall, Tanglewood, and Marlboro festivals, as well as the Marlboro Music Tours. He has also performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School.

Jonathan Vinocour joined the SFS as Principal Violist in 2009, having served as principal violist of the Saint Louis Symphony and guest principal of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig. A native of Rochester, New York, he graduated from Princeton University in 2001 with a degree in chemistry and was awarded the university’s Sudler Prize in the Arts. He completed his master’s degree in 2003 at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Kim Kashkashian. Mr. Vinocour has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro; he has also participated in numerous other festivals, including the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Sébastien Gingras joined the San Francisco Symphony’s cello section in 2011. Previously, he was a member of the New World Symphony and the Saint Louis Symphony. Mr. Gingras grew up in Chicoutimi, Québec, where he was educated at the Conservatoire de Musique. After graduating, he moved to Boston to study with Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory, where he received his master’s degree in 2005. He has joined in chamber music performances with artists including Menahem Pressler, Anthony Marwood, and the Alcan and Borromeo String Quartets.

Scott Pingel was named Principal Bass of the San Francisco Symphony in 2004, having served in that position with the Charleston Symphony. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, and he has served as guest principal with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Mr. Pingel has performed with such artists as David Finkel, Wu Han, Joseph Silverstein, Yefim Bronfman, the St. Lawrence Quartet, and Julia Fischer. Also a jazz musician, he has worked with Michael Brecker, Geoff Keezer, James Williams, and others.

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Feldman: Piano and Orchestra

SFS/MTT | Emanuel Ax, piano

Emanuel Ax was born in Lvov, Poland, and moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. He studied at the Juilliard School with the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America; he also attended Columbia University, majoring in French. Mr. Ax captured public attention in 1974 when, at age twenty-five, he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize. Emanuel Ax made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1979 has since been a regular guest with the Orchestra. Highlights of his current season include return visits to the Boston, Houston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cincinnati symphonies, as well as the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics. He will act as curator and performer with the Chicago Symphony for a two-week spring residency, Keys to the City. In Europe, this season includes return visits to the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Orchestre National de France; he also performs a series of Beethoven sonata programs with violinist Leonidas Kavakos in London’s Wigmore Hall. Emanuel Ax is an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist. Recent releases include a disc of Mendelssohn trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, a recording of Richard Strauss’s Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and two-piano works by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. Other recordings include a Haydn piano sonata cycle, for which Mr. Ax has received multiple Grammy® awards; a Grammy–winning album with Yo-Yo Ma of cello and piano sonatas by Beethoven and Brahms; and period instrument performances of Chopin’s complete works for piano and orchestra.

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Foss: Phorion


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Foss: Echoi

Jeremy Denk, piano | Jack Van Geem, percussion | Carey Bell, clarinet | Peter Wyrick, cello

Jeremy Denk (see Cowell: Piano Concerto)

Jack Van Geem is San Francisco Symphony Principal Percussionist and occupant of the Carol Franc Buck Foundation Chair. Before joining the Orchestra in 1981, he studied in Cologne with Christoph Caskell and was a member of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. His made his first solo appearance with the SFS in 1982 in the Kraft Double Concerto; with Nancy Zeltsman, he performed with the Orchestra as marimba soloist in Michael Tilson Thomas’s Island Music in 2005. The duo previously performed in the world premiere of that work, and they released a CD of duets. Mr. Van Geem is percussion chair at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Carey Bell became SFS Principal Clarinetist and occupant of the William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair in September 2007. Also a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, he has held principal positions with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and the Syracuse Symphony, and he served as acting principal clarinetist of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Mr. Bell received degrees in performance and composition from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He continued his clarinet training at DePaul University and was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

Peter Wyrick, Associate Principal Cellist, currently holds the Peter and Jacqueline Hoefer Chair. He has been principal cellist of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and associate principal cellist of the New York City Opera Orchestra. As a member of the Ridge String Quartet, he performed throughout the world and recorded the Dvořák piano quintets with pianist Rudolf Firkusny, an RCA recording that won France’s Diapason d’Or and a Grammy nomination. He has also recorded the Fauré cello sonatas with pianist Earl Wild for dell’Arte records and performed at major festivals in Santa Fe, Spoleto, and Helsinki.

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Harrison: Concerto for Organ and Percussion

Paul Jacobs, organ | Robin Sutherland, piano | Marc Sharpiro, celesta | Jack Van Geem, Raymond Froehlich, Tom Hemphill, James Lee Wyatt III, David Herbert, Victor Avdienko, Artie Storch, Stan Muncy, percussion

Paul Jacobs (see Bates: Mass Transmission)

Robin Sutherland, holder of the Jean and Bill Lane Chair, studied with Rosina Lhevinne at the Juilliard School and with Paul Hersh at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. While still an undergraduate there, he was appointed Principal Pianist of the San Francisco Symphony by Seiji Ozawa. Mr. Sutherland was for thirty seasons co-director of the Telluride Chamber Music Festival in Colorado. His recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations was released in 1996 on the d’Note label.

Marc Shapiro (see Cage: Song Books)

Jack Van Geem (see Foss: Echoi)

Raymond Froehlich (see Del Tredici: Syzygy)

Tom Hemphill (see Del Tredici: Syzygy)

James Lee Wyatt III (see Del Tredici: Syzygy)

David Herbert, San Francisco Symphony Principal Timpanist, has been a member of the Orchestra since 1994. Previously he was timpanist of the New World Symphony and performed with the Pittsburgh and Saint Louis symphony orchestras. With the SFS, he has performed as soloist in such works as William Kraft’s Timpani Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, the latter of which was written for him. A graduate of the Saint Louis Conservatory and the Juilliard School, Mr. Herbert teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory. He is also international principal percussion instructor at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.

Victor Avdienko holds a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and a master’s degree from Juilliard. His teachers include Roland Kohloff and Elden Bailey of the New York Philharmonic, and Anthony J. Cirone of the San Francisco Symphony. Mr. Avdienko has recorded and toured with the SFS regularly since 1996, and is an active educator and coach for high school and youth orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He was music director, composer, and percussionist for the California Shakespeare Festival for nine years, and he has won several awards for his scoring of various plays.

Artie Storch plays percussion regularly with the San Francisco Symphony He is a graduate of Brooklyn College, where he studied with Morris Lang of the New York Philharmonic, and the Juilliard School, where his principal teacher was Saul Goodman. He is on the faculties of California State University and Chabot College and is percussion director for the California Youth Symphony.

Stan Muncy has played with the Honolulu Symphony as percussionist and associate principal timpanist. He holds a master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory. A native Californian, Mr. Muncy has worked in both the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas; in Los Angeles, he recorded numerous film scores at Warner Brothers Studios, Capitol Records, and Firehouse Studios. As a chamber musician, he has performed with the contemporary sextet eighth blackbird.

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Ives: A Concord Symphony


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Monk: Realm Variations

Catherine Payne, piccolo | Nadya Tichman, violin | Adam Smyla, viola | Bruce Roberts, horn | Stephen Paulson, bassoon | Steve Sanchez, contrabass clarinet and B-flat clarinet | Jieyin Wu, harp | Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble: Allison Sniffin, soprano 1 | Randall Wong, soprano 2 | Katie Geissinger, alto 1 | Meredith Monk, alto 2 | Bruce Rameker, baritone | Sidney Chen, bass

Catherine Payne, who joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1996, was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for two seasons. She was formerly principal flutist of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and associate principal flute and piccolo player with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. In the 2003-04 season, she performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Chicago and Europe. She studied at the Yale School of Music and New England Conservatory and while pursuing her musical education attended Tufts University, where she majored in English, graduating magna cum laude.

Nadya Tichman, Associate Concertmaster and occupant of the San Francisco Symphony Foundation Chair, joined the Orchestra in 1980 and served as acting concertmaster from 1998 to 2001. Born in New York, Ms. Tichman studied with Dorothy DeLay at Juilliard and received a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute. She was a founding member of the Donatello Quartet. She has had works dedicated to her by composers Peter Schickele and Jim Lahti, and she premiered a duet written for her and her husband, guitarist John Imholz, by composer Allen Shearer. Ms. Tichman plays a 1724 Stradivarius violin purchased by the San Francisco Symphony for her exclusive use.

Adam Smyla, who joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2000, won the National Viola Competition in his native Poland at age seventeen. Shortly thereafter he became the youngest member of the Polish National Radio and Television Orchestra and was invited to join the Penderecki String Quartet, with which he toured internationally for nearly a decade. From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Smyla was assistant principal violist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is active in chamber music and performs frequently with his wife, pianist Edna Koren.

Bruce Roberts joined the SFS in 1988 and currently serves as Assistant Principal Horn. A fourth-generation Californian, he studied with George Cable of the San Diego Symphony and went on to California State University Northridge, where his teachers were Fred Fox and Lawrence Christianson. He was a founding member of La Orquesta Filarmónica de la Cuidad de México in 1978, and he joined the Utah Symphony in 1981. Mr. Roberts is a member of the Bay Brass and teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory. He performs regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival and has been a soundtrack recording artist throughout his career.

Stephen Paulson (see Cage: Song Books)

Steve Sanchez (see Del Tredici: Syzygy)

Jieyin Wu has given solo harp recitals and chamber music performances in Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and the Bay Area. She performs regularly with such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, San Jose Symphony, and Oakland East Bay Symphony. In 2003 she won the concerto competition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the following year was appointed principal harpist of the Napa Symphony. This year she joined the Stanford New Music Ensemble on tour to Beijing and Shanghai for the Modern Music Festival.

Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble

Sidney Chen (bass) is a founding member of The M6, a vocal sextet dedicated to the music of Meredith Monk, which has recently performed at the Whitney Museum, La MaMa ETC, and Symphony Space in New York. He has performed music by Meredith Monk for solo unaccompanied voice at Garden of Memory in Oakland, and in 2006 sang at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as part of the Meredith Monk Young Artists Concert. In 2009 he performed in Carnegie Hall’s 45th-anniversary celebration of Terry Riley’s In C. He sings with and is the Artistic Adviser for Volti, San Francisco’s renowned chamber choir dedicated to contemporary music. He performs throughout the Bay Area as a bass soloist, and has recorded vocals for the Kronos Quartet. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

Katie Geissinger (alto 1) has been singing with Meredith Monk since the 1990 Houston Grand Opera production of Atlas (ECM), and recently appeared in Weave with the Saint Louis Symphony. She premiered Bang on a Can’s Obie-winning The Carbon Copy Building (Canteloupe) and sang in the world tour of Glass/Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach (Elektra/Nonesuch), recently revived in concert at Carnegie Hall, where she has also soloed in Bach’s Magnificat and played the Witch in Honegger’s Le Roi David. Other appearances include Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion (Jonathan Miller, director) at BAM, and Coram Boy and La Boheme (Baz Luhrmann, director) on Broadway.

Bruce Rameker (baritone) has appeared as both baritone and countertenor on the stages of Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, BAM, Town Hall, the Edinburgh Festival, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Spoleto Festival in a diverse repertory that includes ancient music, opera, operetta, oratorio, tango, and new music. Mr. Rameker has sung with the Skylight Opera Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, New York City Opera, Anchorage Opera, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Elysium Between Two Continents, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Waverly Consort, Voices of Ascension, and Musica Sacra. Born in Wisconsin, he is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Allison Sniffin (soprano 1, score preparation), multi-instrumentalist, singer, and composer, has been a member of Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble since 1996, performing in The Politics of Quiet, A Celebration Service, Magic Frequencies, mercy, Turtle Dreams, Book of Days, impermanence, and Songs of Ascension. She has engraved, edited and orchestrated several of Monk’s works, including Basket Rondo, Possible Sky, Stringsongs, Night, and WEAVE for Two Voices, Chamber Orchestra and Chorus. She has won awards for her compositions from Meet the Composer and Concert Artists’ Guild; her Prelude for Horn and String Orchestra was performed at the 2011 International Alliance for Women in Music Congress and Punch! for Marimba and Piano is pending publication.

Randall Wong (soprano) has built a distinguished career specializing in both the Baroque repertory and contemporary music as a male soprano/countertenor. His Monk premieres include Atlas, The Politics of Quiet, and A Celebration Service. New roles have been composed for Mr. Wong. With Houston Grand Opera he premiered Stewart Wallace’s Where’s Dick and Harvey Milk (reprised by New York City and San Francisco Operas). Previous performances as a soloist with San Francisco Symphony include Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Charles Wuorinen’s The W of Babylon. Mr. Wong has composed, performed, and designed several miniature operas. Presenters include the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Museum of Jurassic Technology, and the Chicago Humanities Festival. He received his doctor of musical arts degree from Stanford University.

Meredith Monk (see Cage: Song Books)

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Partch: Fives Pieces


PARTCH is an ensemble that specializes in the music and instruments of composer Harry Partch, who wrote music dramas, dance theater, multi-media extravaganzas, vocal music, and chamber music, all to be performed on instruments he designed and built. Since the ensemble’s formation as Just Strings in 1991 (renamed PARTCH in 2005) to perform music of Lou Harrison and Partch, the group has commissioned and premiered works by Larry Polansky, Mamoru Fujieda, John Luther Adams, Mari Takano, Sasha Bogdonawitsch, and others. The ensemble has toured Japan, performed for Chamber Music in Historic Sites, the LA County Museum of Art, UCLA’s Partch Centennial Celebration, Sacramento’s Festival of New American Music, Minnesota Public Radio’s American Mavericks, the Songlines series at Mills College, and the Gordon Getty Concerts at the Getty Center. PARTCH’s CD Just West Coast was CD Reviews CD of the Year in 1994 and in 2003 was inducted into Fanfare’sClassical Hall of Fame. Their recording of Sasha Matson’s The 5th Lake was released by New Albion Records, while Just Guitars appears on Bridge Records. PARTCH is the resident ensemble of MicroFest, Los Angeles’ yearly festival of microtonal music. Their 2006 performance of Castor & Pollux, choreographed by LizHoefner, was released on the DVD Enclosure 8: Harry Partch (Innova Records). PARTCH has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Copland Fund for Music to record Partch’s Bitter Music for Bridge Records.

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Partch: Daphne of the Dunes


Newband was founded in 1977 by composer Dean Drummond and flutist Stefani Starin, who continue as artistic directors. With Drummond’s invention of the thirty-one-tone zoomoozophone in 1978, Newband began to explore music using microtonality and alternative tuning systems in a repertory influenced by classical, jazz, and world music. In 1990, Newband received custodianship of the original Harry Partch Instrument Collection. Newband productions have included Partch’s Delusion of the Fury and Oedipus and The Wayward, and Dean Drummond’s The Last Laugh and Café Buffé. Newband has performed throughout North America and Europe, including concerts at Avery Fisher Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Barbican Centre, Kennedy Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Arts Center, Festival de Lille, and the Bang on a Can Festival. The ensemble has premiered numerous works by such composers as Harry Partch, Dean Drummond, John Cage, John Zorn, and Julia Wolfe and has recorded on the Innova, Mode, Music and Arts, Point, Aurora, and Wergo labels.

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Reich: Music for Pieces of Wood

Jack Van Geem, Raymond Froehlich, David Herbert, Tom Hemphill, James Lee Wyatt III, percussion

(see Harrison: Concerto for Organ and Percussion)

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Riley: G Song

Dan Carlson & Amy Hiraga, violins | Jonathan Vinocour, viola | Peter Wyrick, cello

Dan Carlson (see Del Tredici: Syzygy)

Amy Hiraga studied at the University of Cincinnati and earned her bachelor’s degree from Juilliard. She has been a member of the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Hiraga spent one year as a member of the San Francisco Symphony before returning to the East Coast with her husband, SFS Associate Principal Cellist Peter Wyrick. She worked as a freelance musician in New York and joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1991, then rejoined the SFS when she and Mr. Wyrick returned to San Francisco in 1999.

Jonathan Vinocour (see Del Tredici: Syzygy)

Peter Wyrick (see Foss: Phorion)

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Ruggles: Sun-Treader


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Subotnick: Jacob’s Room Monodrama

Joan La Barbara, vocalist | Sarn Oliver & Paul Brancato, violins | David Kim, viola | Margaret Tait, cello | Peter Grunberg, keyboard | Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor | Jesse Stiles, music supervisor/electronics

Joan La Barbara (see Cage: Song Books)

Sarn Oliver began playing violin at age four. He studied with Elmar Oliveira and Ronald Neal and won competitions that resulted in performances with the Dallas, Shreveport, and Richardson symphonies. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard, where he studied with Sally Thomas; while at Juilliard, he freelanced for the Composers Guild of New Jersey and played with the New Jersey Symphony. He has been a member of the Sacramento Symphony and performed chamber music with the Ansonia and Archduke trios. Mr. Oliver joined the SFS in 1993.

Paul Brancato joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1980. He is a former associate concertmaster of the Oakland Symphony and member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and he has served as associate music director of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In addition to his current post with the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Brancato performs with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony as principal second violinist and second violinist in its resident string quartet.

David Kim joined the San Francisco Symphony’s viola section in 2009. He attended the Juilliard and Eastman music schools, the New England Conservatory, and–as a recipient of a Fulbright/Swiss Government Arts Grant–the Geneva Conservatory, where he studied with Nobuko Imai. Mr. Kim was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and has been a member of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the IRIS Orchestra. His chamber music engagements have included performances at the Musée du Louvre, Ravinia’s Rising Stars Series, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Margaret Tait joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 and currently occupies the Lyman and Carol Casey Second Century Chair. A Virginia native, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and she previously served as principal cellist with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Tait was a founding member of the Aurora String Quartet, in which she performed with SFS colleagues for twenty-two years.

Peter Grunberg (see Cage: Song Books)

Jeffrey Milarsky has led such ensembles as the San Francisco Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, MET Chamber Ensemble, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and New York Philharmonic chamber music series, and he has performed at IRCAM. He is senior lecturer in music at Columbia University, where he is music director of the university orchestra. At the Manhattan School of Music he is artistic director of the percussion ensemble and contemporary music performance program. He is on the faculty of the Juilliard School and music director of AXIOM, Juilliard’s contemporary music ensemble. In 2008 Mr. Milarsky substituted for James Levine at Tanglewood in an all-Elliott Carter program celebrating the composer’s 100th birthday. In 2007 he led the New York premiere of Carter’s only opera, What Next? As timpanist and percussionist, he has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and other ensembles. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard and on graduation was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize.

Jesse Stiles (see Cage: Song Books)

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Varèse: Ameriques


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