Artistic Archives - Berkeley Symphony
Conrad Tao

Conrad Tao

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Conrad Tao

Guest Artist ~ Pianist

Biography

Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, performing to acclaim from critics and audiences alike. The former prodigy continues to emerge as a mature, thoughtful and thought-provoking artist, confidently pushing boundaries as a leading performer, composer, curator, and commissioner, championing new music while continuing to present core repertoire in a new light.

In addition to being the only classical musician selected to Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2012 (at age 17), a few of Tao’s numerous accolades and awards include being a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winner, and a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist. His career as composer has garnered eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards before he turned 18, and he has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, the Dallas Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and others. 

Tao’s Warner Classics recordings have been praised by NPR, The New York Times, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross and others, and New York Magazine called him “The kind of musician who is shaping the future of classical music.”

Derrick Spiva Jr.

Derrick Spiva Jr.

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Derrick Spiva, Jr. 

Guest Artist ~ Commissioned Composer

Biography

Derrick Spiva Jr. is a composer and musician based in the Los Angeles area who often integrates music practices from different cultural traditions around the world into his work with classical music communities. The Los Angeles Times has described his music as “something to savor” and “enormous fun to listen to.” During his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and the California Institute of the Arts, music across many cultures became an integral part of his musical vocabulary. Spiva studied classical music with Ian Krouse, Alex Shapiro, Paul Chihara, and David Rosenboom while also studying West African music and dance with Kobla Ladzekpo; Persian music theory with Pirayeh Pourafar and Houman Pourmehdi; Balkan music theory with Tzvetanka Varimezova; and tala (rhythmic cycles) in Hindustani classical music with Swapan Chaudhuri and Aashish Khan.

Spiva’s works have been premiered by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, UCLA Philhamonia, Los Angeles Electric 8, Chapman University Wind Ensemble, the Salastina Music Society, Super Devoiche (Bulgarian Women’s Choir), and Lian Ensemble (Persian Ensemble). Spiva has given pre-concert talks and workshops about the use of non-Western music in his compositions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Skirball Cultural Center. He received the New Music USA Award in 2010 and 2011 and was awarded a composer residency with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) through New Music USA’s “Music Alive” program with LACO for the 2015-2016 season. He was asked to speak at the 2016 League of Orchestras Conference on the topic of how classical music orchestras can forge stronger relationships with their diverse communities. Spiva serves as Artistic Director of the new music collective and arts organization Bridge to Everywhere.

Spiva passionately believes in music as a doorway into understanding other cultures and different ways of living. Through learning the music of other cultures, the opportunity for dialogue rather than conflict between strangers is opened, and our society can become one with less conflict due to cultural misunderstanding. He is deeply invested in fostering creative and effective collaboration between artists of different disciplines and traditions.

Berkeley High Jazz

Berkeley High Jazz

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Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble

Guest Ensemble

Biography

Dr. Herb Wong brought jazz to the Berkeley elementary and middle schools. He hired professional jazz musicians to teach Berkeley students. Dick Whitington and Phil Hardymon were two of those teachers. When Phil Hardymon became the band director at Berkeley High School in 1975, he established the jazz band as the culmination for students who had gained the basics in their elementary and middle schools. Under Hardymon’s leadership, the band began winning state-wide jazz competitions and often earned a spot at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Many Berkeley High School Jazz students went on to become professional musicians— Peter Apfelbaum, Benny Green, Steven Bernstein to name a few. With Phil Hardymon, the Berkeley Jazz Program thus developed into a national model of instrumental education.

Charles Hamilton took over leadership of the Jazz Ensemble in 1981. The band continued to thrive and develop some of the best musicians in the jazz world, including Joshua Redman, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Dave Ellis. 

The Ensemble has performed in venues large and small. In 1997, they performed by invitation at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals. In the summer of 1999, the Ensemble toured Japan and began the 1999-2000 school year with an appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Over the many years, numerous BHSJ students have won individual and Jazz Combo awards at Jazz festivals and have been awarded music scholarships to the best music schools in the nation. In both 2012 and 2013, the top BHS Jazz Combos won first place at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey earning them a slot at the Monterey Jazz Festival. In 2012 and in 2013, two different top BHS Jazz Combos were named High School Combo of the Year by Downbeat Magazine. In 2015 the top BHS Jazz Combo was invited to participate in the Mingus Jazz Festival in New York City where they won the top combo award.

In 2011, Sarah Cline became the Director of the Berkeley High Jazz Program, beginning a new era in the history of jazz at Berkeley High School.

Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble is led by Sarah Cline who is in her ninth year as Jazz Director at Berkeley High School, a premier jazz program known nationally and internationally as an incubator of talent and a citadel of swing. Her students regularly represent at high level festivals and get into top flight college music programs. During her time at Berkeley High, she has led four tours to Cuba, collaborating with La Escuela Nacional de la Musica in Havana. Sarah is the founder of JazzGirls Day, an event that now is spreading to communities across the US that encourages young women to see a place for themselves in the world of jazz. In addition to her teaching duties, Sarah is an in-demand professional trombonist in the San Francisco Bay Area in both jazz and salsa bands. She has presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, the Jazz Education Network Conference, and the California All-State Music Education Conference.

Sean Jones

Sean Jones

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Sean Jones

Guest Artist ~ Trumpeter

Biography

Music and spirituality have always been fully intertwined in the artistic vision of trumpeter, bandleader, composer, educator and activist Sean Jones. Singing and performing as a child with the church choir in his hometown of Warren, Ohio, Sean switched from the drums to the trumpet at the age of 10. 

Sean is a musical chameleon and is comfortable in any musical setting no matter what the role or the genre. He is equally adept in being a member of an ensemble as he is at being a bandleader. Sean turned a 6-month stint with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra into an offer from Wynton Marsalis for a permanent position as lead trumpeter, a post he held from 2004 until 2010. In 2015 Jones was tapped to become a member of the SFJAZZ Collective. During this time, Sean has managed to keep a core group of talented musicians together under his leadership forming the foundation for his groups that have produced and released eight recordings on the Mack Avenue Records, the latest is his 2017 release Sean Jones: Live from the Jazz Bistro.

Sean has been prominently featured with a number of artists, recording and/or performing with many major figures in jazz, including Illinois Jacquet, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Gerald Wilson and Marcus Miller. Sean was selected by Miller, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter for their Tribute to Miles tour in 2011. He has also performed with the Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Youngstown Symphony Orchestras as well as Soulful Symphony in Baltimore and in a chamber group at the Salt Bay Chamber Festival. 

Sean is also an internationally recognized educator. He was recently named the Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair of Jazz at John Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Before coming to Peabody, Sean served as the Chair of the Brass Department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

https://www.sean-jones.com/bio-1-1

Mary Kouyoumdjian

Mary Kouyoumdjian

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Mary Kouyoumdjian

Composer

Biography

MARY KOUYOUMDJIAN is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.

Kouyoumdjian has received commissions for such organizations as the NY Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble [ICE], Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the American Composers Forum/JFund, Roomful of Teeth, WQXR, REDSHIFT, Experiments in Opera, the Nouveau Classical Project, Music of Remembrance, Friction Quartet, Ensemble Oktoplus, and the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble. Her documentary work was recently presented by the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial and has also been performed internationally at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Barbican Centre, Cabrillo Festival, Millennium Park, Big Ears Festival, 21C Music Festival, and Cal Performances. Her residencies include those with Alarm Will Sound/The Mizzou International Composers Festival, Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, and Exploring the Metropolis. Her music has been described as “eloquently scripted” and “emotionally wracking” by The New York Times and as “the most harrowing moments on stage at any New York performance” by New York Music Daily.  In her work as a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she has collaborated on a diverse array of motion pictures including orchestrating on the soundtracks to The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films). 

Currently pursuing her Composition D.M.A. as a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University, Kouyoumdjian studies primarily with Zosha Di Castri, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl, and George Lewis. She holds an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University and a B.A. in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied contemporary composition with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Chinary Ung; new music performance with Steven Schick; and modern jazz with Anthony Davis. Kouyoumdjian is an educator, served as the founding Executive Director of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant, is a co-founder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering, and is a co-artistic director of Alaska’s new music festival Wild Shore New Music.

San Francisco Girls Chorus

San Francisco Girls Chorus

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San Francisco Girls Chorus

Guest Ensemble

Biography

Stunning range, flexibility, drama, and power are among the hallmarks of the 40-year-old San Francisco Girls Chorus, recognized as one of the world’s premier youth vocal ensembles. Led by Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices.

Recent performance highlights include debuts in February 2018 at Carnegie Hall with Philip Glass in a remounting of the composer’s 1971 work, Music With Changing Parts, and in April 2017 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with The Knights for the 2017 SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras; tours to the Nordic countries and Cuba; and the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. SFGC presents an annual Bay Area subscription series and will collaborate this season with leading arts organizations including the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Kronos Quartet, Opera Parallèle, and the Copenhagen Girls Choir.

Praised by Gramophone Magazine as a “remarkable tapestry of teenage voices,” SFGC has been a champion of the music of our time since its founding, having commissioned more than three dozen works by leading composers including Philip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gabriel Kahane, Augusta Read Thomas, Lisa Bielawa, and Chen Yi. In February 2018, the ensemble released its newest album Final Answer on Philip Glass’s Orange Mountain Music label, which features seven world premiere recordings and commissions for or by the chorus. SFGC’s performance and recording activities have garnered five GRAMMY Awards and four ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming.

SFGC also operates a Chorus School, which annually trains more than 250 young women, ages 4-18, in the art of choral singing and has been called “a model in the country for training girls’ voices” by the California Arts Council. For more information, visit sfgirlschorus.org.

Kelley O’Connor

Kelley O’Connor

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Kelley O’Connor

Guest Artist ~ Mezzo Soprano

Biography

Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, the Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation.

During the 2018-19season, the artist’s impressive symphonic calendar features Mahler’s Second Symphony with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Houston Symphony, his Third Symphony with Donald Runnicles and the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, and with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Das Lied von der Erde both with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.  Sought after by many of the most heralded composers of the modern day, Kelley O’Connor gives the world premiere of Joby Talbot’s A Sheen of Dew on Flowers with the Britten Sinfonia at the Victoria & Albert Museum to celebrate the opening of the institution’s new jewellery wing, debuts with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in the title role of John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary under the baton of the composer, presents the west coast premiere of Bryce Dessner’s Voy a Dormir with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra led by Jaime Martín, and brings Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs to life in performances with Stéphane Dénéve and the St. Louis Symphony and with Brett Mitchell and the Colorado Symphony.  Bernstein’s Songfest serves the American mezzo-soprano with her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of Bramwell Tovey and she is heard in performances of this work with Thomas Dausgaard leading the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Kelley O’Connor returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a Stravinsky Festival singing multiple works there under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen and she assays the title role of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia presented by Boston Lyric Opera in a new production by Broadway theater director Sarna Lapine conducted by David Angus.

John Adams wrote the title role of The Gospel According to the Other Mary for Kelley O’Connor and she has performed the work, both in concert and in the Peter Sellars fully staged production, under the batons of Gustavo Dudamel, Grant Gershon, Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Simon Rattle, and David Robertson.  She has sung the composer’s El Niño with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and continues to be the eminent living interpreter of Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs having given this moving set of songs with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra, with Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Robert Spano and the Minnesota Orchestra, and with David Zinman and the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich among many others.

Recent seasons include performances of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with Matthias Pintscher and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich. She has sung Mahler’s Des knaben Wunderhorn with Krzysztof Urbański and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Das Lied von der Erde with Louis Langrée and the Detroit Symphony and with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has been performed with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ravel’s Shéhérazade with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, Berio’s Folk Songs with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra, and the role of Erda in Wagner’s Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert. Recital appearances include performances in Boston with Thomas Adès in a program of Brahms, Purcell, and Stravinsky, in Chicago offering works of Debussy, Massenet, and Chausson, in Cincinnati with pianist Louis Langrée in programs of Brahms and Ravel, and in Jackson Hole with the music of Brahms and Bernstein in a collaboration with Donald Runnicles.

Miss O’Connor has appeared numerous times with Gustavo Dudamel, including in performances of Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony on an international tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra.  She enjoys a rich musical collaboration with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra with whom she has sung Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mass in C, Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony, staged performances of Falstaff both in Cleveland and at the Lucerne Festival, and Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles.

Operatic highlights include Carmen with Los Angeles Opera conducted by James Conlon, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Patrick Summers and directed by Kevin Newbury, Madama Butterfly in a new production by Lillian Groag at the Boston Lyric Opera and at the Cincinnati Opera under the baton of Ramón Tebar, Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict at Opera Boston, Falstaff with the Santa Fe Opera, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Canadian Opera Company.

Kelley O’Connor has received unanimous international, critical acclaim for her numerous performances as Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar.  Miss O’Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood, under the baton of Robert Spano, and subsequently joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances of Golijov’s piece with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  She reprised her “musically seductive, palpably charismatic” (Washington Post) portrayal of Lorca in the world-premiere of the revised edition of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera in a new staging by Peter Sellars during the 2005 season, which was also presented at New York City’s Lincoln Center and Madrid’s Teatro Real.

For her debut with the Atlanta Symphony in Ainadamar, she joined Robert Spano for performances and a Grammy® Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording.  Her discography also includes Mahler’s Third Symphony with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony, Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Xi Wang

Xi Wang

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Xi Wang

Guest Artist ~ Composer

Biography

Composer Xi Wang’s music has been performed and commissioned by notable orchestras and ensembles, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic, Voices of Change, among others. 

Xi Wang is the recipient the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts award, Meet the Composer, New Music USA, American Music Center, MacDowell Colony residency, as well as seven prizes from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). 

Xi Wang’s music education started at the age of five, She received her B.M. from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and D.M.A. from Cornell University. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the Meadow School of Arts of Southern Methodist University, where she received the Rotunda Award for Outstanding Teaching. 

http://www.xiwangcomposer.com/bio.php#

Joseph Young

Joseph Young

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Joseph Young


Music Director

Biography

Praised for his suavely adventurous programming, Joseph Young is increasingly recognized as “one of the most gifted conductors of his generation.”  Joseph is Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony, Artistic Director of Ensembles for the Peabody Conservatory, and Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra–USA at Carnegie Hall.   In recent years, he has made appearances with the Saint Louis Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Bamberger Symphoniker,  New World Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, and  the Orquesta Sinfonica y Coro de RTVE (Madrid); among others in the U.S. and Europe.

In his most recent role Joseph served as the Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony where he conducted more than 50 concerts per season  Mr. Young also served as the Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he was the driving force behind the ensemble’s artistic growth.  Previous appointments have included Resident Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony,  and the League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow with Buffalo Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony.

Joseph is a recipient of the 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award for young conductors, an award he also won in 2008, and 2014.  In 2013, Joseph was a Semi-finalist in the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition (Bamberg, Germany). In 2011, he was one out of six conductors featured in the League of American Orchestras’ prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview.

Joseph completed graduate studies with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar at the Peabody Conservatory in 2009, earning an artist’s diploma in conducting.  He has been mentored by many world-renowned conductors including Jorma Panula, Robert Spano and Marin Alsop whom he continues to maintain a close relationship.

Visit Maestro Young’s website for more…

 

Stuart Canin

Stuart Canin

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Stuart Canin


Guest Artist ~ Violin

Biography

Stuart Canin, concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony from 1970 to 1980, was born in New York City, where he studied violin with the famed pedagogue Ivan Galamian. He has also served as concertmaster of the Casals Festival Orchestra in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Mostly Mozart Summer Festival Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

In 1959, he surpassed 25 other violinists to capture First Prize at the Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy. A year later he was honored by his native city with its highest cultural award, the Handel Medal, in recognition of his musical achievements.

As concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, Mr. Canin was featured as soloist with the orchestra on numerous occasions, including concerts in Moscow, Leningrad, Berlin and Tokyo. For many years he was a Chamber Music Artist at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado, as well as the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, and Charleston, South Carolina. He has served as professor of violin at prestigious conservatories in this country and abroad, among them the Oberlin Conservatory and the Musikhochschule in Freiberg, Germany.

Mr. Canin had the signal honor of giving the first performance on the Jascha Heifetz Guarnerius violin following Heifetz’ death in 1987. Given at the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor, the concert received the highest critical acclaim.

For seven years, Mr. Canin served as music director and concertmaster of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, a conductorless orchestra that he helped found. Maestro Nagano in 2001 appointed him concertmaster of the Los Angeles Opera.

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  • Hometown: — New York City, NY
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Christian Reif

Christian Reif

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Christian Reif


Guest Artist ~ Conductor

Biography

A conductor of “technical assurance and forceful interpretive prowess” (San Francisco Chronicle), German-born Christian Reif is Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He started in San Francisco in the 2016/17 season following two seasons in Miami as Conducting Fellow with the New World Symphony, working closely with Michael Tilson Thomas.

In the 2017/18 season, Reif made a highly praised subscription debut with the San Francisco Symphony and led concerts with the Orchestre National de Lyon, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Brucknerorchester Linz, and Berkeley Symphony. His April 2018 San Francisco Symphony subscription concerts prompted Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle to write: “He’s a conductor of considerable stature, and everything felt like the work of a significant musical artist.” In Summer 2018, in addition to leading concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony and at the Lakes Area Music Festival, he makes his Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival debut on a program with the International Contemporary Ensemble featuring John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music.

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Peter S. Shin

Peter S. Shin

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Peter S. Shin


Berkeley Sounds Composer Fellow

Biography

Peter S. Shin (b. 1991) is a composer whose music navigates issues of national belonging, the co-opting and intermingling of disparate musical vernaculars, and the liminality between the two halves of his second-generation Korean-American identity. The New York Times described him as “a composer to watch” and his music “entirely fresh and personal.”

Peter’s music has been performed at Carnegie Hall through the “First Music” Commission, Walt Disney Concert Hall through the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Noon to Midnight” series, and Chicago’s Symphony Center through the Civic Orchestra New Music Workshop.

Current projects include a commission by John Adams and Deborah O’Grady for the 2018 Cabrillo Festival (Hypercolor premiering August 11, 2018), a commission for Roomful of Teeth through the American Composers Forum premiering in 2019, a film score for the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival with Alarm Will Sound, and a chamber orchestra work for the Berkeley Symphony’s 2018/19 season.

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Christopher Rountree

Christopher Rountree

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Christopher Rountree


Guest Artist ~ Conductor

Biography

We see Lady Macbeth in a dozen crooning silhouettes washing blood out of rags in a bathroom; hear Stravinsky pouring out of an abandoned warehouse; watch a violinist cutting himself out of duct tape with a razor as his amplified violin sits gathering feedback; and witness as a long lost John Adams suite comes alive at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Conductor and composer Christopher Rountree is standing at the intersection of classical music, new music, performance art and pop.

Rountree, 33, is the founder, conductor and creative director of the pathbreaking L.A. chamber orchestra wild Up. The group has been called “Searing. Penetrating. And Thrilling” by NPR’s Performance Today and named “Best Classical Music of 2015” by the New York Times. wild Up started in 2010 with no funding and no musicians, driven only by Rountree’s vision of a world-class orchestra that creates visceral, provocative experiences that are unmoored from classical traditions.

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Andrew Tyson

Andrew Tyson

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Andrew Tyson


Guest Artist ~ Piano

Biography

Hailed by BBC Radio 3 as “a real poet of the piano,” Andrew Tyson is emerging as a distinctive and important new musical voice. In summer 2015, he was awarded First Prize at the Géza Anda Competition in Zürich, as well as the Mozart and Audience Prizes. These victories have resulted in numerous performances throughout Europe under the auspices of the Géza Anda Foundation.

Andrew is a laureate of the Leeds International Piano Competition where he won the new Terence Judd-Hallé Orchestra Prize, awarded by the orchestra and conductor Sir Mark Elder. Enjoying an ongoing relationship with the orchestra Andrew joined them again last season for several performances. With concerto performances taking him across North America and Europe, Andrew has performed with orchestras from the North Carolina Symphony and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Alice Tully Hall, to the SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, Musikkollegium Winterthur and the National Orchestra of Belgium under Marin Alsop. Highlights this season include his Wiener Konzerthaus debut with the Haydn Philharmonic Orchestra and a performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. 

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Hannah Kendall

Hannah Kendall

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Hannah Kendall


Guest Artist ~ Composer 

Biography

Described as ‘…intricately and skillfully wrought’ by The Sunday Times, Hannah’s music has attracted the attentions of some of the UK’s finest groups including London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers, and Philharmonia Orchestra, with performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, The Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre, The Place, Westminster, Canterbury, Gloucester and St Paul’s Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and Cheltenham Music Festival. Hannah’s works have also been broadcast on BBC Radio, including ‘Composer of the Week’ in March 2015, and ‘Hear and Now’ in October 2016. In 2015, Hannah won the Women of the Future Award for Arts and Culture. Recent projects include a one-man chamber opera, ‘The Knife of Dawn’, premiered at London’s Roundhouse in October 2016. Based on the Guyanese/Caribbean political activist and poet Martin Carter, set to a new libretto by award-winning author Tessa McWatt, and directed by John Walton, it was described as being ‘dramatically intense and atmospheric, a powerful snapshot of a poet incarcerated in British Guyana’ by The Stage. Also, ‘The Spark Catchers’, an orchestral piece for Chineke!, which was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall on 30 August 2017 as part of the BBC Proms, described as ‘imaginatively intricate’ by the Financial Times. Upcoming works include ‘Verdala’ for London Sinfonietta, which will be premiered on 21 July 2018 at BBC Proms, conducted by George Benjamin.

Born in London in 1984, Hannah went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with First Class Honours in Music, having studied composition with Joe Duddell. Hannah also completed a Masters in Advanced Composition with Distinction from the Royal College of Music studying with Kenneth Hesketh and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Royal College of Music Study Award and the RVW Trust.

Hannah is deeply committed to contemporary culture as a whole and often works collaboratively with artists from other art forms. She has developed a fruitful creative relationship with Poet Rick Holland, setting Fundamental for choir and brass quintet, described as being ‘a hugely accomplished work’ by Music OMH and a number of other poems from Rick’s recently-published collection Story the Flowers. Hannah also worked closely with choreographer Symeon Kyriakopoulos in creating Labyrinthine, which was premiered at The Place as part of the Resolution! Festival in 2009. Most recently, Hannah joined forces with Gallery Libby Sellers in developing ‘Middlegame’ for solo piano, which took inspiration from the Gallery’s GAMES exhibition. Commissioned by the Richard Thomas Foundation, the work was premiered at the space by Andrew Matthews-Owen and expanded into a three-movement piece, ‘On the Chequer’d Field Array’d’ that was performed by Andrew at the Purcell Room in May 2013. The work was selected as a Premiere of the Year by Classical Music Magazine.

Hannah also has a Masters in Arts Management, graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Distinction. She has since enjoyed positions within the Music and Media Relations Departments at the Barbican Centre, Europe’s largest multi-arts venue. Currently, Hannah also works part-time as a Director at London Music Masters, a charity that aims to enable opportunity, diversity and excellence in classical music, inspiring positive change for individuals and communities, and teaches on the Composition/General Musicianship team at Junior Royal Academy of Music.

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Benjamin Beilman

Benjamin Beilman

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Benjamin Beilman


Guest Artist ~ Violin

Biography

Benjamin Beilman is recognized as one of the fastest rising stars of his generation, winning praise both for his passionate performances and deep rich tone which the Washington Post called “mightily impressive,” and The New York Times described as “muscular with a glint of violence.” The Times also praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence which showed why he has come so far so fast.” Following his First Prize win at the Montreal Competition, the Strad described his performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto as “pure poetry.”

Highlights of Mr. Beilman’s 2017-18 season include performances with the Houston Symphony, Oregon Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Orchestra St. Luke’s, as well as a multi-city tour of California play-directing the New Century Chamber Orchestra in a program including Bach, Stravinsky, and Andrew Norman. In recital, he will premiere a new work written for him by Frederic Rzewski and commissioned by Music Accord, presented by Boston Celebrity Series and Shriver Hall, and on tour throughout the US in the 17-18 and 18-19 seasons. Abroad, Mr. Beilman will make his Australian concerto debut with the Sydney Symphony where he will perform Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto, and debuts with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Trondheim Symphony.   More…

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Jonathon Heyward

Jonathon Heyward

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Jonathon Heyward


Guest Artist ~ Conductor

Biography

Jonathon Heyward is forging a career, as one the most exciting conductors of his generation.

Currently Assistant Conductor of The Hallé alongside Music Director Sir Mark Elder, the young American has also been selected to be part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra’s Dudamel Conducting Fellowship programme, commencing in July 2017. For his second tenure in the autumn 2017, Jonathon stepped in for Miguel Barth-Hadoya and made his debut with the orchestra for three major concerts at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, with violinist Hilary Hahn.

2017/2018 promises to be a busy season. In addition to strengthening his work with both The Hallé Youth Orchestra (as its Artistic Director and main Conductor) and The Hallé, with which he will conduct his first subscription series concert with soloist Benjamin Grosvenor in March, Jonathon will also embark on a number of eclectic projects: five performances premiering Giorgio Battistelli’s new opera, Lazarus, for the Birmingham Opera Company with stage-Director Graham Vick, a tour of France with Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen, to include performances at the festivals in Besançon and La Chaise-Dieu, a series of concerts at the best halls across Belgium with the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, debuts with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, the Orchestre National des Pays de Loire, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne as well as a return invitation to Japan, to conduct the Osaka Symphony Orchestra.

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Del Sol String Quartet

Del Sol String Quartet

Meet Our Artistic Team

Del Sol Quartet


Guest Artist ~ String Quartet

Biography

Hailed by Gramophone as “masters of all musical things they survey” and two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Del Sol String Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.

Fascinated by the feedback loop between social change, technology, and artistic innovation, the San Francisco-based ensemble is a leading force in 21st century chamber music – whether introducing Ben Johnston’s microtonal Americana at the Library of Congress, exploring Andean soundscapes with Gabriela Lena Frank and traditional musicians, deconstructing Ruth Crawford’s radical experimental processes with East Bay schoolchildren, or rocking Mason Bates’ techno grooves in his San Francisco club dance party.

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Matthew Szemela

Matthew Szemela

Matthew Szemela


Violin

Biography

Praised by the New York Times for his “outrageous fiddling,” Matthew Szemela is a violinist who crosses musical genres with ease. He has performed as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in several renowned concert halls both domestically (Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully, Merkin Recital Hall, Library of Congress, Kennedy Center), and abroad (Japan, China, Korea, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Italy).

Matthew has collaborated, recorded, and performed with a myriad of artists including Jay-Z, Questlove of The Roots, Beyonce, Rihanna, Savion Glover, Sting, Lana Del Rey, Josh Groban, Garth Brooks, Placido Domingo, Warren Haynes, Bob Weir, Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, Billy Childs, Lisa Fischer, Laurence Hobgood, Marcus Lovett, Mark O’Connor, Brian Blade, Cassandra Wilson, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Susan Sarandon, Johnny Mathis, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, and Olivia Newton John.

In the fall of 2007 Matthew portrayed an Irish rock violinist in the Warner Brothers film August Rush, working with famed music producer Phil Ramone. TV appearances include Good Morning America (with Josh Groban), The View (with Rihanna), and American Idol (with Lana Del Rey). Upon moving to Berkeley, CA in the summer of 2011, Matthew began performing with the Berkeley Symphony. As of 2017, he is the assistant concertmaster of the Opera San Jose Orchestra. Matthew maintains a busy domestic and international touring schedule with Rupa & The April Fishes, as well as with Tango Del Cielo.

An active member of the Bay Area music scene, he can be often be seen collaborating with such groups as Vadalma (Hungarian Folk), Incognito Express (Balkan), Musical Art Quintet (Nuevo Chamber), and Classical Revolution.

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  • Hometown: 
  • Started playing at age
  • Started playing with Berkeley Symphony in
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Ming Luke

Ming Luke

Meet Our Staff

Ming Luke


Education Director

Biography

With the “energy, creativity and charisma not seen since Leonard Bernstein” and “vibrant,” “mind-blowing,” and “spectacular” conducting, Ming Luke is a versatile conductor that has excited audiences around the world.  Highlights include conducting the Bolshoi Orchestra in Moscow, performances of Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella at the Kennedy Center, his English debut at Sadler’s Wells with Birmingham Royal, conducting Dvorak’s Requiem in Dvorak Hall in Prague, recording scores for a Coppola film, and over a hundred performances at the San Francisco War Memorial with San Francisco Ballet.  He has been recognized nationally for his work with music education and has designed and conducted education concerts and programs with organizations such

Ming Luke Conducting MSO

Photo Credit: Andrian Mendoz

as the Berkeley Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera and others.  Luke has soloed as a pianist with Pittsburgh Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, and San Francisco Ballet, and currently serves as Music Director for the Merced Symphony and Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra; Principal Conductor of the Nashville Ballet, Associate Conductor for the Berkeley Symphony; and Principal Guest Conductor for the San Francisco Ballet.  Long time critic Allan Ulrich of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Ming Luke delivered the best live theater performance I’ve ever heard of [Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet]” and in 2016 Luke’s War Requiem was named best choral performance of 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Passionate about collaboration with dance companies and deepening the impact of movement to live music, Luke has guested with Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Nashville Symphony/Ballet, San Diego Ballet and others and conducted l’Orchestre Prométhée in Paris as part of San Francisco Ballet’s residency with Les Etés de la Danse. Noted for is work with Ballet.  Famed dancer Natalia Makarova stated, “Ming has a mixture of pure musicality and a sensitivity to needs of the dancers, which are such rare qualities.”

Luke has written, arranged, and performed over 150 education concerts with the Berkeley Symphony and has served on grant panels for the National Endowment of the Arts and the Grants and Cultural Committee of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. An exciting pops conductor, Luke has created and conducted a variety of pops concerts in many venues, from baseball stadiums, to picnics in the park with over 4,000 people in attendance, traditional concert halls and recording for Major League Baseball.

Ming Luke holds a Master of Fine Arts in Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Piano Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

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