Press Releases


J. Andrew Bradford Executive Director

Dear Friends of the San Francisco Girls Chorus,

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce J. Andrew Bradford as Executive Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Andrew will take the reins from the capable hands of Interim Executive Director Beth Schecter, who has provided exceptional leadership during this time of transition and expansion for the organization.

Originally from New York City, J. Andrew Bradford comes to the San Francisco Girls Chorus from Music@Menlo, the Atherton-based chamber music festival, where he was Director of Development. Prior to Music@Menlo, Andrew served as Executive Director of the Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts, in Boulder, and as Executive Director of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in Chicago. He has also worked in fundraising, marketing, and operations for the Kennedy Center, National Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Houston Symphony, and San Francisco Classical Voice.

J. Andrew Bradford was trained as a cellist and received his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. He received his master’s degree from the University of Michigan, where he was recipient of a graduate fellowship and studied music and management. Andrew is also a graduate of the prestigious Arts Management Fellowship program at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Committed to volunteer service, Andrew serves on the Board of Directors of the California Music Center/Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and is a former Board member of the Scientific and Cultural Collaborative (Denver, CO) and the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

Please join me and the entire Board of the San Francisco Girls Chorus in welcoming Andrew. We look forward to building upon the past year of premieres, cherished traditions,  and bold new horizons and hope you will join us for another incredible upcoming season.

Sincerely,
Shelton Ensley
President, Board of Directors, San Francisco Girls Chorus

SF GIRLS CHORUS PRESENTS A HIGHLANDS HOLIDAY AT DAVIES HALL DECEMBER 19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SF GIRLS CHORUS PRESENTS A HIGHLANDS HOLIDAY AT DAVIES HALL
DECEMBER 19

FEATURING NEW MUSIC FOR VOICES AND BAGPIPES BY MATTHEW WELCH PLUS SEASONAL FAVORITES, SING-ALONGS AND HUNDREDS OF COMBINED VOICES OF THE GRAMMY-WINNING CHORUS…AND CELLIST JOSHUA ROMAN!

San Francisco, CA, November 7, 2016—More than 350 voices of the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus and acclaimed Chorus School will take the stage of Davies Symphony Hall Monday, December 19, at 7:30 pm for A Highlands Holiday. Curated by SF Girls Chorus Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa and conducted by Music Director and Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the evening will feature the world premiere of Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor for large chorus and bagpipes by Matthew Welch, James MacMillan’s New-Made for A King and Nova! Nova! Ave fix et Eva, Britten’s Missa Brevis, Kurt Erickson’s “We Three Kings” (world premiere), John Tavener’s “The Child Lived from Carnival of the Animals, and a host of holiday music by Holst, Purcell, Rutter and traditional English carols and sing-alongs bringing the community together with a joyful program that looks ahead to the 2017 summer tour to the British Isles. Tickets are priced $30-$60 and may be purchased at www.sfgirlschorus.org .

The UK has brought us some of the most beloved Christmas music of all eras, but it also boasts some of the most innovative choral composers in the present day. This is a chance for our audiences to hear the elegant heraldry of the English Baroque master Henry Purcell alongside the masterful Benjamin Britten, born a century ago, and the pioneering contemporary composer James MacMillan, whose Scottish-Irish influenced music for voices is captivating a whole new musical generation. Matthew Welch leads a rousing team of local pipers for a truly unique festive sound, and both Welch and Bay Area composer Kurt Erickson receive world premiere performances.

About Matthew Welch
The music of Matthew Tobin Welch (b.1976), Composer/Multi-instrumentalist, stems from a multi-faceted foundation. As a virtuoso of the Highland Bagpipe, he studied traditional music with Gold Medalist masters such as Colin MacLellan, Jack Lee, Angus MacLellan and Andrew Wright. Matthew also was a member of the four – time World Champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, winning with them in 1999 and 2001.

Mr. Welch holds two degrees in Music Composition, a BFA from Simon Fraser University (1999), and an MA from Wesleyan University (2001), having studied with noted composers such as Barry Truax, Rodney Sharman, Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. After locating to New York City in 2001, he has worked with a host of other artists such as John Zorn, Julia Wolfe, Zeena Parkins, and Ikue Mori. The eclectic breadth of his interests in Scottish bagpipe music, Balinese gamelan, minimalism, improvisation and rock converge in compositional amalgams ranging from traditional-like bagpipe tunes to electronic pieces, improvisation strategies and fully notated works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra and non-western instruments. Since 2002, Mr. Welch has been running and composing for his own eclectic ensemble, Blarvuster, and he has recorded for the Tzadik, Mode, Cantaloupe, Leo, Porter, Muud, Avian, Newsonic and Parallactic record labels.

TICKETS AND INFO: $30-$60  www.sfgirlschorus.org .

MEDIA CONTACT:
Scott Horton Communications
510-735-9200
Bluescott260@hotmail.com

Announcing The 2016-17 Season

JOURNEYS EARTHLY AND DIVINE

Join us for the San Francisco Girls Chorus 2016-2017 Season!
Subscriptions and single tickets to our concerts can be purchased through City Box Office at 415-392-4400 or by visiting http://www.cityboxoffice.com/SFGC.

Coming off the groundbreaking performance at the NY PHILHARMONIC BIENNIAL at Lincoln Center in June, the San Francisco Girls Chorus presents a season that celebrates the artistic breadth of our young singers, who show audiences at every performance that young women’s voices can give utterance to the whole range of human experience.

This season, we explore the vagaries and foibles of love, the deep solemnity of spiritual devotion, the ecstasy of the natural world and the excitement of joining together with others to make joyful noise in community. We welcome new friends to share the stage with us, including rising star mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, bagpiper/composer Matthew Welch, and the esteemed Trinity Youth Chorus from Manhattan in their West Coast debut.

This season, we explore the vagaries and foibles of love, the deep solemnity of spiritual devotion, the ecstasy of the natural world and the excitement of joining together with others to make joyful noise in community. Our season looks to the British Isles and its generations of music traditions, in anticipation of our summer tour to England and Scotland. The variety of styles and musical languages that have come from this part of the world is redoubtable. A rich tapestry to explore – come join us!

Check out the full season schedule 

SF GIRLS CHORUS TO CONCLUDE SEASON WITH PREMIERES FOLLOWING NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC BIENNIAL DEBUT

NEW WORKS BY AARON JAY KERNIS, GABRIEL KAHANE, THEO BLECKMAN AND LISA BIELAWA PLUS MUSIC BY TIMO ANDRES AND THIERRY ESCAICH

JUNE 12 AT SF CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

San Francisco, April 7, 2016 – Following its performance as part of the prestigious New York Philharmonic Biennial June 9 with The Knights chamber orchestra and Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the five-time Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus will return to San Francisco perform the new works featured in New York as it closes its 2015-2016 season. The concert, entitled Luminous Premieres, will feature newly commissioned works by Aaron Jay Kernis, Gabriel Kahane, Theo Bleckman and SF Girls Chorus Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa’s My Outstretched Hand with text by Mary MacLane, plus Timo Andres’ Comfort Food and Thierry Escaich’s Vocis caelestis (2009) with an instrumental chamber ensemble. The concert will be conducted by Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe Sunday, June 12, at 7 pm at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Tickets are priced $18-$36 and may be purchased at sfgirlschorus.org.

The season-closing concert features premieres created expressly for the San Francisco Girls Chorus by an engaging and diverse foursome of gifted American composers. Aaron Jay Kernis’ work was premiered by the New York Philharmonic when he was just 23 years old. Full of dramatic virtuosity, his style often features a dense and lush tonal palette with glorious melodies stacked one on top of another in sensual, sonic, heart-stirring constructions. Contemporary bard Gabriel Kahane’s pop-infused style has been praised for its beguiling and insightful lyrics, soul-touching simplicity, and contemporary relevance. Theo Bleckmann is a Munich-born jazz vocalist and composer whose work is playful yet sophisticated. Lisa Bielawa takes her inspiration from literary sources and close artistic collaborations and her work has been described as a combination of the layered precision of a Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of a Jackson Pollock. Completing the program is composer/pianist Timo Andres, who will accompany his serene meditation on comfort foods, inspired by a list of them from friends.

MEDIA CONTACT
Scott Horton Communications
510-735-9200
Scott@SHCommunications.org

SF GIRLS CHORUS PRESENTS ECHOES OF THE CLASSICS: CANONS BY BRAHMS, FRANCK AND HAYDN WITH GUEST CELLIST AND COMPOSER JOSHUA ROMAN

APRIL 10 AT HERBST THEATRE IN SAN FRANCISCO

 

San Francisco, CA, February 12, 2016 – The Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus continues its 2015-2016 season with guest cellist, composer and TED fellow Joshua Roman in a program entitled Echoes of the Classics: Canons by Brahms, Franck and Haydn, Sunday, April 10 at 4 pm at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Conducted by San Francisco Girls Chorus Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the concert demonstrates how some of history’s great composers elevated the complex yet humble form of canons and rounds to high art.

Included will be the world premiere of a new work for chorus and cello by Joshua Roman, Veni Mater Gracie – Dou Way Robin (Anonymous) , a selection of canons by Haydn, In Meeres Mitten by Schumann, Panis Angelicus by Franck, Zwei Gesänge Op. 91, #2 – Geistliches Wiegenlied and Canon Op. 113, #13, Geographical Fugue by Ernst Toch and Snow by Alan Vincent. Tickets for the April 10 concert are priced $18-$36 and may be purchased at www.sfgirlschorus.org.

Lisa Bielawa, San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director, comments, “Composers like Haydn, Brahms and Schumann need no introduction to music-loving audiences, and surely we might simply like to sit back and bask in the tenor sonority of the cello, played by a masterful soloist with a young heart, in combination with some of the younger voices of the SF Girls Chorus. But the pieces on this program bring these icons together with other composers who may be new discoveries for our listeners , specifically in order to explore their commerce in the craft of the imitative melody. For centuries, since the Medieval era and before, composers have known the charm of a melody heard echoing itself. Canons, fugues and other kinds of melodic echoes haunt us as listeners, invite us to hover between the heart and the mind.

“From the intellectual tour-de-force of some of Haydn’s a cappella canons, most of which follow the rules of canonical writing to the note, to the simple echoing of an opening phrase in Brahms’s Opus 91, these pieces show composers’ recognition of the power of the melodic voice to remember itself. Franck’s Panis Angelicus may be so well-known for its lush lyricism that many may not realize that it is actually a canon, and early 20th-century composer Ernst Toch’s Geographical Fugue takes melody itself out of the canon, leaving us only with dialoguing rhythms.”

About Joshua Roman

Joshua Roman has earned national renown for performing a wide-ranging repertoire with an absolute commitment to communicating the essence of the music at its most organic level. He is also recognized as an accomplished composer, curator, and programmer, particularly in his work as Artistic Director of Seattle Town Hall’s TownMusic series, with a vision to engage and expand the classical music audience.

For his ongoing creative initiatives on behalf of classical music, Roman was named a 2011 TED Fellow, joining a select group of next generation innovators of unusual accomplishments who show potential to positively affect the world. The 2013-14 season began in July when Roman was the inaugural Alumnus-in-Residence at the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In the fall, Roman gave the San Francisco premiere of Dreamsongs, a new cello concerto written for Roman by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Other highlights include concerto performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and recitals in Napa, CA, Coral Gables, FL, Los Alamos, NM, and Seattle. As a composer, two new Roman works receive world premieres this season, one in Washington, D.C., by the Verge Ensemble, and the other in Seattle as part of the TownMusic series.

A complete musician who is dedicated to performance, artistic leadership, and creation of new works through collaboration, Roman’s work as Artistic Director of TownMusic in Seattle has showcased his eclectic musical influences and inspirations, from chamber music favorites to a host of newly commissioned works. Under Roman’s guidance, the series has offered world premieres of compositions by some of today’s brightest young composers and performances by cutting-edge ensembles. The 2013-14 TownMusic season features concerts by Roomful of Teeth, Enso String Quartet, violinist Karen Gomyo, Latin jazz pianist Pablo Ziegler and soprano Mary Mackenzie, and world premieres of works by Raymond Lustig, Amir Shpilman, Wang Jie, and Roman himself. Beyond TownMusic, Roman’s adventurous spirit has led to collaborations with artists outside of the music community, including his co-creation of “On Grace” with Anna Deavere Smith, a work for actor and cello featuring original music composed by Roman, which premiered in February 2012 at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and is now performed around the country. The two artists will be in residence at the University of Chicago in January 2014.

Beyond the performance stage, Roman is dedicated to exploring emerging platforms to harness new audiences, in particular social media. He recently completed an ongoing video series called “The Popper Project,” where the cellist performed, recorded and uploaded the complete David Popper’s High School of Cello Playing to his dedicated YouTube channel. His newest YouTube project, “Everyday Bach,” features Roman performing Bach’s cello suites from beautiful settings around the world. He has collaborated with photographer Chase Jarvis on Nikon video projects, and Paste magazine singled out Roman and DJ Spooky for their cello and iPad cover of Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place,” created for the Voice Project. Roman’s outreach endeavors have taken him to Uganda with his violin-playing siblings, where they played chamber music in schools, HIV/AIDS centers, and displacement camps, communicating a message of hope through music.

Oklahoma City native Roman began playing the cello at the age of three on a quarter-size instrument, and gave his first public recital at age 10. Home-schooled until he was 16, Roman then pursued his musical studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Richard Aaron. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance in 2004, and his Master’s in 2005, as a student of Desmond Hoebig, former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra. He is grateful for the loan of an 1899 cello by Giulio Degani of Venice.

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SF GIRLS CHORUS TO PERFORM AT NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC’S 2016 BIENNIEL FESTIVAL

Full release from the NY Phil available here. Selected relevant excerpt:

THE KNIGHTS To Perform with SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS and BROOKLYN YOUTH CHORUS World Premieres by Aaron Jay KERNIS, Colin JACOBSEN, and Lisa BIELAWA

U.S. Premiere by Nico MUHLY Featuring Tenor NICHOLAS PHAN and Violinist COLIN JACOBSEN New York Premiere by Timo ANDRES Prelude Concert with CHORUSES To Include World Premieres by GABRIEL KAHANE, CAROLINE SHAW, and THEO BLECKMANN

June 9, 2016, at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Knights, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform a concert of works by American composers derived from literary sources—including Sappho, C.P. Cavafy, Mary MacLane, and Lydia Davis — and from an informal survey of friends. The program comprises World Premieres by Aaron Jay Kernis (United States, b. 1960), Lisa Bielawa (United States, b. 1968), and Colin Jacobsen (United States, b. 1978); a U.S. Premiere by Nico Muhly (United States, b. 1981) featuring tenor Nicholas Phan and violinist Colin Jacobsen; and a New York Premiere by Timo Andres (United States, b. 1985). The concert will be conducted by Eric Jacobsen, coartistic director and conductor of The Knights, and will take place at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The Knights and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform the World Premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Songs After Sappho (2016), a commission from the San Francisco Girls Chorus. It will explore the significance of the young female voice through Sappho, drawing from adaptations of her writings and text fragments by 19th and 20th–century poets and translators. Composition professor at the Yale School of Music, Aaron Jay Kernis will also be performed on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program featuring works by Yale School of Music composers, past and present. The Knights, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform the World Premiere of a new work by San Francisco Girls Chorus artistic director Lisa Bielawa, commissioned by The Knights. Bielawa writes that she is “employing the two groups of young voices — each with their unique sound and energy — in dialogue with each other and within the rich tapestry of The Knights’ vibrant sound. The piece expands around excerpts from an arresting autobiography written by Mary MacLane, an extremely precocious 19-year-old girl living in Montana in 1902. With the ecstatic vision of William Blake, the roiling passion of Lawrence Durrell, and the earnest confessional tone of Anne Frank, MacLane was a child genius whose words deserve not to be forgotten.” Lisa Bielawa’s music will also be featured on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program Shared Madness with violinist Jennifer Koh.

The Knights and Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform the World Premiere of a new work by Colin Jacobsen, commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The work uses texts from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. Jacobsen writes: “I was attracted to Lydia’s stories for their mixture of humor and sadness, their tight construction, and the elevation of consciousness to a greater level of awareness about our surroundings, the mundane, and how we interact with the world.” Colin Jacobsen’s music will also be performed on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program featuring Brooklyn Rider, of which he is a founding member. 18 The Knights, tenor Nicholas Phan, and violinist Colin Jacobsen will perform the U.S. Premiere of Nico Muhly’s song cycle Impossible Things for tenor, violin, and string orchestra (2009), based on poems by 20th-century Greek poet C.P. Cavafy. Written for and premiered by the Britten Sinfonia, the work is a “valentine to Benjamin Britten,” in Muhly’s words. He added: “Cavafy was one of the first people to deal with being a homosexual poet, whereas Britten’s music deals with buried erotic longing and inaccessibility. I’m treating the final line of the song cycle’s final poem, Impossible Things — ‘A poet has said: The loveliest music is the one that cannot be played. And I, I daresay that by far the best life is the one that cannot be lived’ — to be addressed directly to Britten.” Nico Muhly’s music will also be featured on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra.

The Knights, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform the New York Premiere of composer and pianist Timo Andres’s Comfort Food (2012), which uses a text comprising comfort foods from, in the composer’s words, an “informal survey of friends, family, and members of the Milwaukee Choral Artists” (which performed in the premiere). It moves from “pedestrian and earthly food items” (including “buttered toast” and “my mother’s meatloaf”), “through an episode of depressants” (“rye whiskey,” “red wine”), and “finally into the somewhat metaphysical” (“the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person” and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7, which he quotes in the piece). Timo Andres’s music will also be featured in the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program Shared Madness with violinist Jennifer Koh. The San Francisco Girls Chorus and Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform a prelude concert at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center preceding their appearance with The Knights.

San Francisco Girls Chorus, led by music director and conductor Valérie Sainte Agathe, will perform the New York Premiere of Herring Run by Carla Kihlstedt (United States, b. 1971), commissioned by the chorus; the New York Premiere of a choral arrangement of “Father Death Blues” from Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass (United States, b. 1937); and the World Premiere of a work by Theo Bleckmann (Germany, b. 1966), featuring the composer as vocal soloist, commissioned by the chorus. Brooklyn Youth Chorus, led by artistic director and conductor Dianne BerkunMenaker, will perform the World Premiere of a work by Caroline Shaw (United States, b. 1982) and Become Who I Am by Mary Kouyoumdjian (United States, b. 1983).

Together, the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform the World Premiere of a work by Gabriel Kahane (United States, b. 1981), cocommissioned by the choruses. Philip Glass’s music will also be performed on the NY PHIL BIENNIAL program Shared Madness with violinist Jennifer Koh. Gabriel Kahane’s music will also be performed in Shared Madness as well as the concert featuring the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. Since its beginnings as a casual, late-night chamber music reading group, The Knights has evolved into an orchestra collective that is rooted in the classical tradition, but which defies boundaries and transforms the concert-going experience. The group’s members — including composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers — bring a range of cultural influences to the group, from jazz and klezmer to pop and indie rock. 19 Now in its 23rd season, the Grammy Award–winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, under the direction of founder and artistic director Dianne Berkun-Menaker, has performed with major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic; popular artists, including Barbra Streisand and Elton John; and award-winning composers, including David Lang, Caroline Shaw, and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.

The young singers, ages 7–21, are drawn from all five boroughs of New York City, and receive performance-based training in Brooklyn. The five-time Grammy Award–winning San Francisco Girls Chorus is an internationally recognized center for musical performance and education for girls and young women ages 5–18. Four hundred singers from nearly fifty Bay Area cities participate in its acclaimed programs. In addition to its own home seasons and touring performances, the Chorus collaborates regularly with organizations including the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. Forty of the Chorus’s top young artists ages 12–18 will be performing during the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.

Both concerts are presented by the New York Philharmonic.

Contact
Katherine E. Johnson
212-875-5718
johnsonk@nyphil.org

SF GIRLS CHORUS HOLIDAY CONCERTS FEATURING DEBORAH VOIGT AND GUEST APPEARANCES WITH NEW CENTURY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

SOPRANO DEBORAH VOIGT TO GUEST WITH 350 VOICES OF THE GRAMMY-WINNING SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS IN AN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS DEC. 7 AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL

SF GIRLS CHORUS AGAIN GUESTS WITH NEW CENTURY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA FOR DECEMBER 17-20 HOLIDAY CONCERTS AROUND THE BAY

San Francisco, CA, October 11, 2015 –International opera, concert and recording star soprano Deborah Voigt will join the multiple Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus, Lisa Bielawa, Artistic Director, and its full complement of 350 singers including the San Francisco Girls Chorus School on stage at Davies Symphony Hall for An American Christmas. Conducted by Music Director and Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the performance will be given Monday, December 7, at 8 pm at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. In addition, the 40-voice San Francisco Girls Chorus will appear as guest artists with New Century Chamber Orchestra for its holiday concerts December 17-20 at various Bay Area venues. For information and tickets, visit www.sfgirlschorus.org and follow on social media at @SFGirlsChorus.

San Francisco Girls Chorus Holiday Concerts

Monday, December 7, at 8pm at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco
An American Christmas

The full complement of more than 300 voices of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and School take the Davies Symphony Hall stage in song for the annual celebration of the season. This year, the holiday concert will feature soprano Deborah Voigt and a program that illustrates in music how American composers and culture have shaped how we view, celebrate and sing about the holidays from colonial times to the present. The concert will feature William Billings’ (1746-1800) Shepherd’s CarolJudaea and Bethlehem; Kirke Mechem’s (b. 1925) Seven Joys of Christmas; PDQ Bach’s (Peter Schikele, born 1935) Little Town, Good King Kong and Throw the Yule; Edward Pola/George Wyle’s 1963 It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year; Felix Bernard/Richard B. Smith’s 1934 Winter Wonderland; Robert Wells/Mel Torme’s 1946 The Christmas Song; John Jacob Niles’ 1933 I Wonder as I Wander and other American works to be announced. Sing-along favorite carols from abroad that have inspired generations of Americans will include We Three Kings, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald, The First Noel and Silent Night.

Tickets for An American Christmas with special guest Deborah Voigt are priced $30-$65 and may be purchased by phone through City Box Office 415-392-4400 and online at www.sfgirlschorus.org.

December 17-20 with New Century Chamber Orchestra and David Krakauer

The 40-member San Francisco Girls Chorus will appear as guest artists with New Century Chamber Orchestra and Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg in concerts featuring clarinetist and klezmer artist David Krakauer in a program to include Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze and Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring in addition to a variety of Christmas and Hanukkah holiday favorites, to be announced at a later date. This will mark the second collaboration with New Century Chamber Orchestra and adds to the Chorus’ impressive list of partners over the years which have included regular appearances with San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Opera Paralèlle, and occasional appearances with Joe Goode Performance Group, ODC Dance, Stephen Petronio Dance Company and others.

Performances with New Century Chamber Orchestra will be given Thursday, December 17, 2015, 8pm, at First Congregational Church in Berkeley; Friday, December 18, 2015, 8pm, at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto; Saturday, December 19, 2015, 8pm, at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco; and Sunday, December 20, 2015, 5pm, at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael. For details and tickets, visit ncco.org.

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CALENDAR EDITOR PLEASE LIST: CLASSICAL MUSIC/HOLIDAY.CHORUS:

SOPRANO DEBORAH VOIGT TO GUEST WITH 350 VOICES OF THE GRAMMY-WINNING SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS IN AN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS

DEC. 7 AT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL

SF GIRLS CHORUS AGAIN GUESTS WITH NEW CENTURY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA FOR DECEMBER 17-20 HOLIDAY CONCERTS AROUND THE BAY

WHO: San Francisco Girls Chorus and Soprano Deborah Voigt conducted by Valérie Sainte-Agathe
WHAT: An American Christmas
WHEN: Monday, December 7, at 8 pm
WHERE: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

PROGRAM: The concert will feature William Billings’ (1746-1800) Shepherd’s CarolJudaea and Bethlehem; Kirke Mechem’s (b. 1925) Seven Joys of Christmas; PDQ Bach’s (Peter Schikele, born 1935) Little Town, Good King Kong and Throw the Yule; Edward Pola/George Wyle’s 1963 It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year; Felix Bernard/Richard B. Smith’s 1934 Winter Wonderland; Robert Wells/Mel Torme’s 1946 The Christmas Song; John Jacob Niles’ 1933 I Wonder as I Wander and other American works to be announced. Sing-along favorite carols from abroad that have inspired generations of Americans will include We Three Kings, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald, The First Noel and Silent Night.

TICKETS/INFO: $30-$60 www.sfgirlschorus.org and follow on social media at @SFGirlsChorus.

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MEDIA CONTACT
Scott Horton Communications
510-735-9200
Scott@SHCommunications.org

SF GIRLS CHORUS ANNOUNCES 2015-2016 SEASON

WORLD PREMIERES BY AARON JAY KERNIS, GABRIEL KAHANE AND THEO BLECKMANN PLUS UNUSUAL WORKS BY 17TH CENTURY ITALIAN WOMEN, CANONS BY HAYDN, BRAHMS AND FRANCK AND MUSIC OF TIMO ANDRES AND THIERRY ESCAICH

GUEST ARTISTS INCLUDE NY EARLY MUSIC ENSEMBLE TENET, SOPRANO DEBORAH VOIGT, CELLIST JOSHUA ROMAN AND COMPOSER-PIANIST TIMO ANDRES

PERFORMANCES WITH SIMON BOLIVAR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN SEPTEMBER 

San Francisco, CA August 7, 2015 – San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa has announced details of the 37-year-old, five-time Grammy Award-winning Chorus’ 2015-2016 season, which will feature premieres by leading American composers and performances with a variety of noted guest artists. The four-program season runs October 30, 2015 through June 12, 2016 in San Francisco and the East Bay and features premieres by Aaron Jay Kernis, Gabriel Kahane and Theo Bleckmann and guest artists including New York early music ensemble TENET, soprano Deborah Voigt in a special American Christmas program at Davies Hall, cellist Joshua Roman and composer-pianist Timo Andres, all conducted by Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe. The season will be preceded by a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Venezuela’s celebrated Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and others under the baton of sensational conductor and LA Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel September 25 at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. At the other end of the season will be the Chorus’ return to New York’s Lincoln Center in performances of music by Kernis, Kahane, Bleckmann and Bielawa. For more information, visit www.sfgirlschorus.org.

Says Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa, “So much of the world’s great music arose out of magical collaborations between composers and performers–each inspiring and challenging the other to reach new heights. The 2015-16 season begins with a peek into a veritable microcosm of collaborative inspiration, the nunneries of 17th-century Italy, where gifted women composers and musicians of all ages came together, free from the strictures of domestic life, and brought forth a whole repertoire of breathtaking virtuoso works by and for their colleagues and protegés. It is fitting, then, that it ends with an actual celebration of this process in our own time, a concert of works created by composers expressly for our singers, inspired by their sound and their spirit. Throughout the season, the focus will be on collaboration, with the SFGC sharing the stage with NYC early music group Tenet, iconic American artist Deborah Voigt, young superstar cellist and musical entrepreneur Joshua Roman, and wunderkind pianist-composer Timo Andres. These are all artists whose careers are helping redefine the field of classical music, and we are proud to be collaborating with them all on that journey!”

SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS 2015-2016 SEASON SCHEDULE
Lisa Bielawa, Artistic Director
Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Music Director and Conductor

Surprising Freedoms
Friday, October 30, 2015 at 8 pm, Mission Dolores, San Francisco
Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 4 pm, First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Guest Artists: TENET Early Music Ensemble
Jolle Greenleaf, soprano and artistic director
Molly Quinn, soprano
Virginia Warnken, mezzo-soprano
Jeffrey Grossman, chamber organ
Charlies Weaver, theorbo
Steven Lehning, viola da gamba

Acclaimed New York early music ensemble TENET will join the Chorus for the season opening concert of music composed by and for women in Italian monasteries in the 17th century that reveals a different view of cloistered life during the baroque era.  Separated from many worldly indulgences, women in monasteries were often able to pursue active careers and acclaim by perfecting the creation of music and literature, resulting in masterworks of stunning and rarely heard beauty.

An American Christmas
Monday, December 7, at 8 pm, at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco
Guest Artist: Deborah Voigt, soprano

Which beloved Christmas carols were written in America? Audiences will discover this and more as the full complement of more than 350 voices of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and School from ages 7 to 18 will be lifted in celebration of the holiday season—American style with superstar soprano Deborah Voigt. From colonial times, America shaped its own brand of holiday celebration fusing cultural traditions and forging new ones. Join us for a uniquely American holiday in music including performances by all levels of the Chorus School and audience sing-alongs.

In addition to the Davies Symphony Hall holiday concert, the Girls Chorus will team up again this year with New Century Chamber Orchestra and violinist/Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg  in San Francisco (Herbst Theatre), Berkeley (First Congregational Church), Palo Alto and Marin (Marin-Osher JCC).

Echoes of the Classics
Canons by Brahms, Franck and Haydn
Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 4 pm at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Guest Artist: Joshua Roman, cello

Dynamic young artist and 2011 TED Fellow Joshua Roman joins the Chorus and singers from the Chorus School in a program that shows how great composers lifted canons and rounds to high art.

Luminous Premieres
Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 7 pm, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Premieres by Aaron Jay Kernis, Gabriel Kahane and Theo Bleckmann plus Timo Andres’ Comfort Food and Thierry Escaich’s Vocis cælestis (2009)

The season-closing concert features premieres created expressly for the San Francisco Girls Chorus by an engaging and diverse trio of gifted American composers. Aaron Jay Kernis’ work was premiered by the New York Philharmonic when he was just 23 years old. Full of dramatic virtuosity, his style often features a dense and lush tonal palette with glorious melodies stacked one on top of another in sensual, sonic, heart-stirring constructions. Contemporary bard Gabriel Kahane’s pop-infused  style has been praised by Rolling Stone magazine for its beguiling and insightful lyrics, soul-touching simplicity and contemporary relevance. Theo Bleckmann is a Munich-born jazz vocalist and composer whose work is playful yet sophisticated. Completing the program is composer/pianist Timo Andres, who will accompany his serene meditation on comfort foods inspired by a list of them from friends.

TICKETS
Subscriptions, priced $150, and single tickets, priced $18-$65, may be purchased through City Box Office.

MEDIA CONTACT
Scott Horton Communications
510-735-9200
Scott@SHCommunications.org

SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS TO GIVE FREE NOONTIME CONCERT AT SF CITY HALL MAY 28

PERFORMANCE CELEBRATES BELOVED TEACHER AND CHORUS SCHOOL DIRECTOR BETH AVAKIAN ON HER RETIREMENT AFTER 32 YEARS

San Francisco, CA March 12, 2015 – The five-time Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus will give a free public performance Thursday, May 28, in the rotunda of San Francisco City Hall to celebrate the legacy of Elizabeth “Beth” Avakian, who will retire after 32 years as a beloved teacher and SF Girls Chorus School Director in June. During the course of more than three decades, Avakian has been responsible for the music education of thousands of girls and young women.

The dedication, inspiration, professional values and joy of music she has inspired in them and their families and friends have influenced their careers in music and other fields and the community. The 40+ voices of the San Francisco Girls Chorus will be conducted by Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe.

Elizabeth Avakian has been a member of the San Francisco Girls Chorus music faculty since 1983.  She directed and supervised the Chorus School from 1983 until 2014, and she currently conducts Level IV, the Chorus School’s most advanced ensemble.  Avakian prepares singers for performances with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and other notable performance organizations.

She studied conducting at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, and received a BM degree from the University of Georgia.  Postgraduate studies were completed at Arizona State University.  She conducts sight-reading clinics for the American Choral Directors Association, adjudicates at choral and vocal music festivals, and serves as a clinician for youth choruses throughout Northern California.

About the San Francisco Girls Chorus
For 36 years, the thrilling sounds of the extraordinarily gifted young women of the San Francisco Girls Chorus have captured the attention and fired the imaginations of audiences worldwide. Following a phenomenal 30th anniversary season that included featured performances at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, a New York debut at Lincoln Center and unprecedented ticket sales, the San Francisco Girls Chorus has furthered its status as an internationally celebrated professional choral ensemble. In 2010, the ensemble won its fourth and fifth Grammy Awards for Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. In 2013 it toured to Berlin, Germany, to participate in new Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa’s large-scale spatial symphony, Tempelhof Broadcast, and performed as part of the San Francisco iteration of the ambitious piece, Crissy Broadcast, in October 2013.

The 40 members of the professional-level ensemble are 11-17 years old and come from all over the Bay Area. Each singer represents as much as a decade of musical training and performance experience. Audience members and critics have come to expect a soaring, exquisite sound, remarkable versatility and concerts of great beauty and depth.

Each year, dedicated young artists present season concerts, tour nationally or internationally, and appear with respected sponsoring organizations, including San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. The Chorus has been honored to sing at many prestigious national and international venues, including the World Choral Symposium in Kyoto, Japan, in 2005. In 2007 the Chorus toured to China and South Korea, and Cuba in 2011.

Known as a leader in its field, the San Francisco Girls Chorus was honored in 2001 as the first youth chorus to win the prestigious “Margaret Hillis Award” given annually by Chorus America to a chorus that demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure, and a commitment to education. Other awards include three ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming in 2001, 2004 and 2011.

The San Francisco Girls Chorus has produced CD recordings including Heaven and Earth, a two-disc set that represents some of the greatest sacred and secular repertoire ever written for treble voices; Voices of Hope and Peace, which includes many SFGC commissions; Christmas, a collection of diverse holiday selections; Crossroads, a compilation of world folk music; and Music from the Venetian Ospedali, a disc of Italian Baroque music. The San Francisco Girls Chorus can also be heard on several San Francisco Symphony recordings. Highly regarded for collaboration, the Girls Chorus has participated in joint projects with composers Luciana Souza, Rollo Dilworth and others, and choreographers and directors including Brenda Way, Joe Goode and Stephen Petronio.

The Chorus embarks on a tour of Estonia, Finland and Norway in June, 2015. For more information about the San Francisco Girls Chorus, its School, programs and performances, visit www.sfgirlschorus.org.

SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS PRESENTS WEST COAST PREMIERE OF GAWLICK/BRECHT “KINDERKREUZZUG”

WORLD PREMIERE OF NEW ARRANGEMENT OF PHILIP GLASS’S FATHER DEATH BLUES PLUS LILI BOULANGER’S PIE JESU

San Francisco, CA, February 12, 2015 –The five-time Grammy-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus will present the West Coast premiere of German-Kurdish composer Ralf Yusuf Gawlick’s Kinderkreuzzug (Children’s Crusade) based on Bertolt Brecht’s moving account of a group of war orphans who band together to collectively survive the hardships inflected on them by adult conflict and search for a land of peace. The program, conducted by SFGC Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe, will also feature the world premiere of a new arrangement by Philip Glass and SFGC Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa of Glass’s Father Death Blues, a setting of Allen Ginsberg’s poem of the same name, and Lili Boulanger’s ethereal and stunning Pie Jesu. Two performances will be given Friday, April 17, at 8 pm at First Congregational Church, Berkeley; and Sunday, April 19 at 4 pm at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco.

Tickets are priced $36 for Reserved; $26 and $18 (Students) for General Admission. They are available for purchase through City Box Office; by phone at 415-392-4400; online at www.cityboxoffice.com; or in person at City Box Office, 180 Redwood Street, Suite 100, San Francisco (Monday – Friday, 9:30am-5pm).

“Our April concert weekend brings the artistic depth and expressive range of our young singers to a subject that is as relevant in our own time as in the times when these stories and pieces were written: the impact of war and conflict on the lives of children,” says SFGC Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa. “Brecht’s Kinderkreuzzug, penned in 1941 in response to a story he heard about a nomadic community of war-orphaned children walking across Poland together, is the lodestar for the program, in a beautiful setting by German-Kurdish composer Ralf Gawlick. We hear Allen Ginsburg’s words too – his own meditation on Death and those it leaves behind in Father Death Blues, his Buddhist-informed collaboration with Philip Glass (in an arrangement made expressly for our young singers, for this performance, by Philip and myself); and Lili Boulanger’s Pie Jesu, composed when she herself was on her deathbed–herself only 24 years old–just months after attending to wounded soldiers on the field as a nurse during World War I.

When Bielawa was a member of the San Francisco Girls Chorus in her teens, she was profoundly affected by learning and performing a work about children’s experiences of war that was an important influence in her development as an artist. “No world history class at my school had anywhere near the impact of this experience: we sang multiple performances – many in Bay Area Jewish temples – of Charles Davidson’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly, with texts written by children in the Terezin camp. When I felt the impact of our singing on these audiences, in the context of this emotionally demanding yet beautifully human and expressive musical work, I came to a new understanding of what a musical performance could be, how important our role as choral singers could be, in the face of some of our society’s most troubling sorrows. I knew when I discovered Gawlick’s Kinderkreuzzug that this work could give our singers an opportunity to fill this role for today’s audiences, and deepen our whole community’s shared understanding of our human history and of its dark shadows in our own time.”

About Kinderkreuzzug
Composer Ralf Yusuf Gawlick says, “In the years following his 1933 escape from Nazi Germany Bertolt Brecht penned some of his most extraordinary and grim anti-war poetry. This bitter, anti-war literary crusade finds one of its most poignant expressions in a ballad that springboards with dramatic precision from reality to intimate, personal contemplations of that same reality. The Kinderkreuzzug consists of 35 4-line stanzas. Brecht’s simple and direct tone betrays a lyric force and beauty that stems from and unfolds in an unadorned and episodic story-telling style that is never sentimental or callous.

Kinderkreuzzug is a dramatic cantata for children’s voices and small chamber ensemble including clarinet, string trio (vln, vla, vc), sanctus bells, and organ. The story is simple: in 1939, fifty-five war-orphaned children embark from Poland in search of a land of peace. Brecht’s socio-political commentary is as relevant and necessary today as when it was first published in 1941.

“There is nothing new in the deprivation, want, suffering, and death Brecht profiles. Nor is there any redemptive moral hidden in the lost innocence, dogged hope, and simple sincerity of this little band of children. They are neither martyrs nor heralds of goodwill, but simply orphans who are hungry and tired. Their plight and wretchedness are actually quite unremarkable and all too familiar tale in that each generation from time past to time present bears witness to such pitiful crusades. Even hope has become ordinary. In fact the only extraordinary outcome would be for these children to actually find a land of peace.

“I felt utterly compelled to write this music. Brecht’s children still walk and suffer in our collective conscience. Although my music may not give bread, it just may harbor their hope, and ours, for the extraordinary.

About Ralf Yusuf Gawlick
Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, born in Pfaffenhofen-an-der-Ilm, Germany in 1969, is of Kurdish descent but has never lived in his ethnic homeland or in the town where he was born. Educated in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Austria, Poland and the United States, Dr. Gawlick holds degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara (B.M. cum laude), the University of Texas at Austin (M.M.) and the New England Conservatory of Music (D.M.A).

Similarly, his music travels far afield by drawing inspiration from and engaging with literary, visual and musical landscapes both in time and place. This dialogue across centuries and among the arts informs much of his solo, chamber, orchestral, film and vocal music.

Through noteworthy festivals, recordings, and commissions, his work has received both national and international recognition, including grants, fellowships and awards from the American Composers Orchestra, American Music Center, ASCAP, SCI, the Moniuszko Musical Society, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Britten-on-the-Bay International Piano Composition Competition, the 1st Karol Szymanowski International Composers Competition and most recently, the Red Note New Music Festival International Composition Competition. Groups championing Mr. Gawlick’s works include the Slovak State Philharmonic, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the American Composers Orchestra, The Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, Sinfonietta Polonia, the New England Conservatory Classical Orchestra, the Knabenchor der Chorakademie Dortmund, the Gütersloh Knabenchor, the Poznan Boy’s Choir, the Treble Chorus of New England, Youth Pro Musica, New York’s Music at the Anthology (MATA), Composers in Red Sneakers, Majestic Brass, the Hawthorne and Atma String Quartets, as well as numerous new music ensembles and distinguished soloists.

In 2003, Mr. Gawlick was the American selection at the 1st Festival of Contemporary Art in Kosice, Slovakia. Zrodlo, for soprano solo, mixed chorus and full orchestra, was commissioned in 2004 for the 25th anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Boston and the United States. The following year, his work At the still point of the turning world for solo violoncello was selected by the Miami ISCM Section as one of six works sent to the 2005 World Music Days in Zagreb, Croatia, representing the United States. His compositional oeuvre includes solo, chamber, orchestral and choral music as well as music for a film documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary (2009) of the fall of the Berlin Wall, music commissioned by the German Embassy (Washington D.C.) and Boston College. The world première of his cantata Kinderkreuzzug in April 2010, written for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, was supported by the German Consulate General Boston, the Jesuit Institute, Boston College as well as the Goethe Institutes in Boston and Munich. In addition to the European premiere of Kinderkreuzzug in Dortmund, Germany, in June 2012, and a performance for the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII in Poland, August, 2014, his song-cycle Kollwitz-Konnex (…im Frieden seiner Hände) was performed at the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln by soprano Anne Harley and guitarist Eliot Fisk in April 2013. Missa gentis humanæ, a Mass for eight-voice a cappella choir was recently premièred by Julian Wachner and the Grammy-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Mr. Gawlick’s music, broadcast on National Public Radio, is available on the Capstone label and Musica Omnia. He currently teaches at Boston College.

MEDIA CONTACT
Scott Horton Communications
510-735-9200
Scott@SHCommunications.org

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