'Tis the season for singers, players and directors to work overtime. Steven Bailey, pianist and collegiate vocal coach, performs Beethoven's Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus and orchestra with Jeffrey Thomas and the University of California-Davis Symphony and University Chorus on December 7.
And fresh from leading the Conservatory Chamber Choir Christmas concert, director Ragnar Bohlin returns to the San Francisco Symphony to conduct Handel's Messiah from December 13 to 15, followed soon after by "'Twas the Night," the Symphony's annual program of traditional carols and songs, from December 22 to 24.
Congratulations to Voice Department Chair and mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook, who has been engaged by the Metropolitan Opera to perform the role of Marthe in Gounod's Faust. The production opens March 21.
Last month, the San Francisco Ballet performed RAkU by Preparatory bass faculty Shinji Eshima to standing ovations at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The ballet orchestra recently submitted a recording of RAkU for Grammy consideration. Earlier this year, Eshima made his conducting debut with The Bay Brass. He led the premiere of his own piece Bondage: Requiem for the Common Man, which was commissioned by the ensemble.
"Unrestful Sleep," a piano piece by electronic music faculty member Alden Jenks, received its Japan premiere last month in a performance by Mikako Endo at the Ogikubo Music Festival in Tokyo.
Music history faculty Hayoung Heidi Lee recently had her first article published in Opera Quarterly. "Papageno Redux: Repetition and the Rewriting of Character in Sequels to Die Zauberflöte" traces the characterization of Papageno to "the eighteenth-century fascination with parrots and the Italian commedia dell'arte." It appears in a special issue titled "After Die Zauberflöte," devoted entirely to Mozart's opera.
Faculty member Indre Viskontas (M.M., Voice, '08) recently interviewed renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of Musicophilia, on her popular podcast "Point of Inquiry." She also gave a talk about the reconstructive nature of memory to a standing-room-only crowd at NightLife, the cultural education and entertainment series at the California Academy of Sciences. Wearing her performer's hat, Viskontas appears as soprano soloist in Vivaldi's Gloria with the Mission Dolores Choir on December 16.
The San Francisco Opera has commissioned vocal coach, accompanist and diction faculty Marcie Stapp to write a new English translation of Rossini's The Barber of Seville for the 2013 fall season. The Conservatory Opera Theatre performs Stapp's translation of Die Fledermaus in April for its Spring Opera production.
Orchestral training faculty member Tanya Tomkins is touring with a program of unaccompanied Bach Suites performed on Baroque cello. Her spring itinerary includes New York's Helicon Foundation series, San Francisco Performances' Salon series and Live at Mission Blue in Brisbane. Tomkins peppers her performances with comments and audience questions, an approach she'll bring to the Conservatory next summer when she appears as artist-in-residence with the American Bach Soloists Academy.
Forthcoming issues of Cimarron Review and Southern Humanities Review will feature poems by Matthew Siegel, collegiate faculty in literature and creative writing. Siegel is currently circulating his poetry manuscript Blood-knowledge.
On December 9, William Wellborn presents a concert for the annual Cosima Liszt von Bulow Wagner annual luncheon, sponsored by the Wagner Society of Northern California. He begins the New Year with a recital and masterclass at Florida International University in Miami and then, on January 29, gives a recital of Alkan, Debussy and Ravel for Noontime Concerts at Old St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco.
Voice faculty Leroy Kromm performed to a sold-out crowd of 18,000 last month at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. (Barbra Streisand, appearing on the local leg of her "Back to Brooklyn" concert tour, may have helped swell the ranks.) Kromm conducted the San Jose Symphonic Choir in the finale "Make our Garden Grow" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide. Tickets commanded up to $2,500 each.
Soprano Julie Adams
won Third Prize in the Palm Springs Opera Guild's 29th Annual Vocal Competition held in Rancho Mirage on December 1. The field of competitors included Young Artists from the LA Opera and Adler Fellows from the San Francisco Opera. Adams is a second-year graduate student studying with César Ulloa
Guitarists Alexandra Iranfar
and Timothy Sherren
made their debut as the duo One Great City
last month at San Francisco's First Unitarian Universalist Chapel. The concert was presented by the Emerging Artists program launched by the alumni ensemble Delphi Trio
. Iranfar also sang soprano and Sherren arranged many of the pieces on the wide-ranging program. These included works by Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Ned Rorem, Samuel Barber and Cole Porter. Both are pursuing M.M. degrees at the Conservatory in the studio of Sérgio Assad
Mezzo soprano Julia Metzler
recently performed at the Pacific Musical Society's annual fund-raising gala in an evening that honored composer Jake Heggie. Metzler won First Place in the Society's competition earlier this year. As the oldest active musical organization in the Bay Area, the Society grants scholarships to young musicians through an annual competition. In addition, Metzler and mezzo soprano Evgenia Chaverdova
(M.M., voice, '11) were both finalists in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Auditions this year. Both study with César Ulloa
Tenor Robert Watson
made his debut with the San Francisco Opera as the Second Noble in this fall's production of Lohengrin
. Watson is an M.M. candidate studying with César Ulloa
.Preparatory Student News
Cellist Elena Ariza
, student of Jonathan Koh
, took First Prize in the strings division of the California Music Teachers National Association Junior Performance Competition. Pianist Henry Smolen
, student of Christie Skousen
, won the piano division and flutist Yulan Chen
, student of Esther Landau
, was the alternate winner in the woodwind division.Connie Chen
gave two concerts in Miami in October as part of the "Chopin For All" series featuring Chopin Foundation scholarship winners. Connie is a student of William Wellborn
Pianist Hilda Huang
was the featured guest artist for the Asian American Cancer Support Network Gala held in San Jose last month. She is a student of John McCarthy
Singers Marie Kelly
and Hanna Li
won the Greater Bay Area Performing Arts Competition held in San Jose last month. Marie was named Gold Champion in the novice Vocal Songs of Inspiration category and Overall Gold Champion in the age 14 group. Hanna won First Place Champion in the Vocal Broadway/Show Tunes category and First Place Champion in the age 11 to 12 group. Marie and Hanna are students of Eun-Mee Ko
Pianist Dominic Pang
recently performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as a winner of the American Fine Arts Festival. Dominic studies with William Wellborn
Guitarist Alexander Stroud
, violinists Alexander Goldberg
and Albert Yamamoto
and pianist Catherine Xu
have all been named finalists in the 2013 Mondavi Competition. Alexander is a student of Scott Cmiel
, Alex studies with Bettina Mussumeli
, Albert studies with Wei He
and Catherine is a student of John McCarthy
. Alumni NewsRebekah AuYeung
(M.M., voice, '10) was soprano soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony last month with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra. She sang the challenging work with the moral and vocal support of her younger sister Ruth Kenote, who performed the mezzo-soprano solos. Rebekah is a student of Jane Randolph
The Del Sol String Quartet
is marking its 20 years of championing new music by presenting "Del Sol Days" from December 4 to 8 at Z Space in San Francisco. The festival combines performances with open rehearsals, a workshop for composition students, pre-concert discussions and four world premieres. Guest artists include ZOFO Duet, the piano duo of Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi
(M.M., chamber music, '06). Del Sol's members are Kate Stenberg
(B.M., violin, '84), Rick Shinozaki
(Preparatory Division, violin, '86), Charlton Lee
(M.M., viola, '93) and Kathryn Bates Williams
(M.M., chamber music, '07).
The guitar team Zac Selissen
(M.M., guitar, '08) and Mike Roberts
(M.M., composition, '08) announces the release of a newly-pressed CD and a newly-minted name. Now called Duo Symphonius
(formerly the Judson-Tyler Duo), they release their first CD The Portable Nutcracker
with a concert on December 21 at San Francisco's Community Music Center.
After signing a recent agreement with ECS Publishing, Joshua Fishbein
(M.M., composition, '09) will have six of his choral compositions added to the ECS catalog. Fishbein was a student of David Conte
. Myung-Ji Lee
(B.M., piano, '08) recently won First Prize in the biennial Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. As part of the honor, she performs a recital next year at the Liszt Ferenc Museum and Research Center in Budapest. Lee is currently a D.M.A. candidate at the University of Arizona School of Music.
Soprano Emma McNairy
(B.M., voice, '11) plans to spend quality time in the New Year with Claudio Monteverdi. She sings the title role in L'incoronazione di Poppea
with West Edge Opera in El Cerrito this February and again in the fall during a three month tour with the Dutch company Vocaallab. Their production, called MonteverdISH,
is based on Poppea
and billed as a "hip hop breakdance opera." This spring, McNairy also sings Lucy in The Telephone
and Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief
with Brava! Opera Theater in Ashland, Oregon under the direction of former Conservatory Opera Director Willene Gunn
. McNairy studied with Pamela Fry
Soprano Ann Moss
(Postgraduate Diploma, voice, '05) appears with the Eco Ensemble in a concert presented by Cal Performances on January 26. She will sing Ivan Fedele's 1995 score for the film La Chute de la Maison Usher
written by Jean Epstein for soprano and small orchestra.Sharmay Musacchio
(M.M., voice, '01) makes her debut with New York City Opera in February, singing the role of Mrs. Grose in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw
New Yorker music critic Alex Ross recommends Aural Histories
by Kristin Nordeval
(M.M., voice, '87) as one of the best new CD releases on his blog "The Rest is Noise." Nordeval's recording of voice and electronica is part of Ross's short list - of only 4 CDs - that also includes the Berlin Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Joyce DiDonato. Not bad company to keep. Theodora Primes
(B.M., piano, '62) recently took her exam to become a Colleague of the American Guild of Organists. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is organist at the United Armenian Congregational Church. Also a pianist, she is preparing for a performance on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, next June. Robin Sutherland
(B.M., piano, '75) just disembarked from the San Francisco Symphony's seventh tour of Asia. In addition to performing as principal keyboardist, Sutherland reports he spent time planning for his Alumni Recital on April 24. He plans to share the Concert Hall stage with friends "both ancient and modern," and says at least a few of these will include Sergei Rachmaninoff, Gabriel Fauré and the Conservatory's own Nicholas Pavkovic
(M.M., composition, '11).
In another career update from the Pacific Rim, Annie An-Li Tseng
(Professional Studies Diploma, flute, '08) is enjoying her job as piccolo player for the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, a tenured position she has held since 2011. Tseng also performs with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Macao Orchestra and was chosen to participate in Japan's 2010 Pacific Music Festival.
Soprano Elza van den Heever
(M.M., voice, '04) is preparing to take the stage at the Metropolitan Opera as Elisabetta in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda
for the Met's New Year's Eve gala. She'll perform in the production through January in a cast that includes Joyce DiDonato and Matthew Polenzani. Winton Yuichiro White
(M.M., composition, '08) recently made his conducting debut with Beyond The Stage Productions in Los Angeles, leading a performance of Carmen
. White also served as chorus master in a narrated version of the opera that included hip hop and modern dance. The role of Don José was sung by Micheal Smith
(M.M., voice, '08) who also serves as the company's executive director.