San Francisco Girls Choir Presents Holiday Concerts, 12/6 & 12/22

The five-time Grammy-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus-Lisa Bielawa, Artistic Director, and Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Music Director and Principal Conductor-- will present two holiday concerts, today, December 6 and the 22nd at First Congregational Church in Berkeley and Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, respectively.

The 40-voice San Francisco Girls Chorus will present "Noel, Noel" Friday, December 6, at 8 pm at First Congregational featuring holiday favorites and an audience sing-along. These 40 award-winning young artists will be joined by the full complement of nearly 400 members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus School, from ages 5 to 18, for the annual Davies Hall holiday extravaganza, Sunday, December 22, at 8 pm. This year's edition, entitled "Hark, the Herald Angels Swing!" will feature the Marcus Shelby Quintet and Shelby's new arrangements of "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "Hark the Herald" written especially for the San Francisco Girls Chorus plus other seasonal favorites and an audience sing-along. For more information, visit .

Tickets are priced $18-$65 and are available for purchase through City Box Office; by phone at 415-392-4400; online at; or in person at City Box Office, 180 Redwood Street, Suite 100, San Francisco(Monday - Friday, 9:30am-5pm).

About Marcus Shelby Trio
Marcus Anthony Shelby is an accomplished teacher, composer, arranger, and bassist. Shelby has been bandleader of Columbia Records and GRP Impulse! Recording Artists Black/Note. Shelby has had the honor of arranging for and conducting the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Ledisi, performing and recording with Tom Waits, and receiving the City Flight Magazine 2005 award as one of the "Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area". As the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus Scholarship, Shelby's studies include work under the tutelage of composer James Newton and legendary bassist Charlie Haden. He currently serves as the Artistic Director and leader of The Marcus Shelby Orchestra, The Marcus Shelby Hot 7, and The Marcus Shelby Trio, which features the talents of singer Tiffany Austin and pianist Joe Warner.

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 toNew 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 inNew 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.

More On: Count Basie, Tom Waits, Philip Glass, New York Philharmonic, Paul McCartney, Carnegie Hall, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed.

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by Peter Danish