SF Girls Chorus Opens Season with FRENCH IMPRESSIONS, 11/3
The five-time Grammy-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus will open its 2013-2014 35th anniversary season Sunday, November 3, 2013, at 7 pm at Marines' Memorial Theatre in San Francisco with a concert of music both French and French-inspired, conducted by new Music Director and Principal Conductor Valerie Sainte-Agathe. The program, entitled French Impressions, will feature Poulenc's Les petites voix; Maurice Ohana's 4 petits choeurs, Debussy's Nuit d'etoiles, Morton Lauridsen's Dirait-on, Eric Whitacre's Seal Lullaby, Antoine Busnoys' "A que ville" (with soloist Lisa Bielawa, new Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus) and works by other composers. For more information, visit www.sfgirlschorus.org .
2013-2014 SEASON SUBSCRIPTIONS AND TICKETS
Subscription packages will be available in August. Subscribers will receive 10% discount over single ticket prices. For subscription orders, please call 415-863-1752 x304 or visit www.sfgirlschorus.org for more information. Single tickets for non-subscribers are priced $18-$65 and are available for purchase starting August 2013 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).
About Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa
Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life. She began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and in 1997 co-founded the MATA Festival, of which she served as Artistic Director until 2006, curating an annual music festival in New York that celebrates young composers from around the world. She also served as composer-in-residence with BMOP from 2006-09, leading talks, creating partnerships, and founding the Score Board, a Boston-based composers collective.
As a choral and small-ensemble vocalist, Bielawa has toured and recorded with the renowned early music group Pomerium, sung in the professional chorus of the New York Philharmonic under the baton of most of the major conductors of our time, and with Paul McCartney at Carnegie Hall. As a solo vocalist she has performed in numerous composer-led projects, including John Zorn's Shir Ha-shirim with Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed, with Toby Twining in multiple appearances of Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, and in her ongoing role as the vocalist with the Philip Glass Ensemble since 1992.
As a leader of vocal groups, Bielawa is the choirmaster for the current touring production of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson's Einstein on the Beach. She assisted Paul Simon with the development of his Broadway musical Capeman, including the preparation of vocalists and children's choruses, and she has conducted the UC San Diego choir and chamber singers.
As a composer of choral music, Lisa Bielawa is a winner of the Dale Warland national competition, and the 1998 Morton Gould ASCAP Young Composers Award for her piece Spinning Flax, commissioned by the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Her spring 2013 season includes New York performances of her major choral work Lamentations for a Cityby Cantori New York, and the world premiere of Such Another Sleep, for the 50-voice Academic Male Voice Choir of Helsinki with the composer as vocal soloist.
In her own music, Lisa Bielawa takes inspiration from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Her work is frequently performed throughout the US, and in France, Italy, and the UK. Recent highlights include a Radio France commission for Ensemble Variances - the new 15-minute work was performed in Paris, Rouen, and Metz as part of a program called Cri Selon Cri or "Cry by Cry" which explores the cry as a primary sound shared by all cultures of the world. In addition, Bielawa has composed a piece for the 50-member Finnish male choir Akademiska Sångföreningen on a text from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Both new works feature Bielawa as the vocal soloist. Other recent highlights include the premieres of Rondolette by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and pianist Bruce Levingston and Double Duet by the Washington Saxophone Quartet (with subsequent performances by the Prism Saxophone Quartet); performances of Graffiti dell'amante by Bielawa with the Chicago Chamber Musicians in Chicago and with Brooklyn Rider in New York, Harrisburg, and Rome; the world premieres of The Project of Collecting Clouds at Town Hall in Seattle by cellist Joshua Roman and chamber ensemble, Double Violin Concertoand In medias res by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, The Right Weather by American Composers Orchestra and pianist Andrew Armstrong at Carnegie Hall, and The Lay of the Love and Death at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Bielawa's work, Chance Encounter, a piece comprising songs and arias constructed of speech overheard in transient public spaces, has been performed by soprano Susan Narucki and The Knights in Seward Park in Lower Manhattan and at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, in Vancouver, on the banks of the Tiber River in Italy, as part of the opening of the celebrated new MAXXI Museum in Rome, and in Venice.
Bielawa is currently at work on Airfield Broadcasts, two massive 60-minute works for more than 800 musicians, the first of which was be premiered on the tarmac of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin (Tempelhof Broadcast, May 2013). The next, Crissy Broadcast, will be performed at Crissy Field in San Francisco in October 2013, and will include members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Airfield Broadcasts turn former airfields into vast musical canvases, as professional, amateur and student musicians execute a spatialized symphony by Bielawa.
Lisa Bielawa's discography includes albums on the Tzadik, Orange Mountain Music, Innova, BMOP/sound, and Sono Luminus labels. For more information, please visit www.lisabielawa.net.
About Music Director and Principal Conductor Valerie Sainte-Agathe
Valerie Sainte-Agathe served as Musical Director for the Junior Opera and Young Singers program of the Montpellier National Symphony and Opera in Montpellier, France from 1998 through 2011. In this capacity she trained young singers for opera and symphony concerts and productions, and also prepared choruses for the International Radio France Festival. From 1996-1998 she served as pianist for the Montpellier National Orchestra and Opera. Prior to that, she served as rehearsal pianist and vocal coach for the Fort Collins Opera in Colorado.
A native of France raised on Martinique, Ms. Sainte-Agathe received her Bachelor of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Universite Paul Valery in Montpellier, and her Diplome d'Etudes Musicales in Piano, Chamber Music and Theory from the Montpellier Conservatory. She holds a Master's Degree in Management from the University of Montpellier, and has also studied Piano Performance at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
About the San Francisco Girls Chorus
For 35 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 sound installation,Tempelhof Broadcast, and will perform as part of the San Francisco iteration of the ambitious piece, Crissy Broadcast, in October 2013.
The 30-40 members of the professional-level ensemble are 12-16 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 March 2006 the Chorus was featured at the American Choral Directors Association Western Division Convention in Salt Lake City, and in 2007 the Chorus toured to China and South Korea.
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.
For more information about the San Francisco Girls Chorus, its School, programs and performances, visitwww.sfgirlschorus.org .