December 3, 2013
The venerable and benevolent Pacific Musical Society is now in its 103rd year of supporting young musicians — some as young as 6 — a mission that began with such illustrious protégés as Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, and Leon Fleisher.
The Society's annual winter gala is held this Sunday at 5:30 in the St. Francis Hotel. The important fund-raiser for the Society will honor Susan Stauter, artistic director of the San Francisco Unified School District.
Pianist, teacher, and Sonos Director James Meredith, who has a key role in both the Society and the apparently defunct Young Musicians Program, is accompanist at the gala for soprano Hope Briggs. He is also also directing YMP's 17-member Young Musicians Choral Orchestra Choraleers, which will perform a work staged by Olivia Stapp.
Among the YMP alumnae and participants in the Choral Orchestra: Melissa Angulo, first place winner in 2011 and 2013 Society competition winner, currently a junior at S.F. Conservatory, studying with Cesar Ulloa. Angulo is also feature, along with Marisol De Anda, 2013 second place winner, in a medley from Claude Michel Schönberg's Les Misérables.
The program includes violinist Robert Chien (first place instrumental, 2013) and pianist Alex Chien (first place piano, 2008) in Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25.
To recall just two of the many testimonials on behalf of the Society, Robert Commanday has said:
In the good old days, during the first half of the last century, San Francisco’s musical and educational life was nurtured and enlivened by its music clubs, music stores, music schools, and even music magazines.
The Pacific Musical Society is the sole survivor of that great tradition, still flourishing, still discovering, supporting, and enabling the best young and emerging talents. At the programs I have attended, including a couple pretty far back, there was no mistaking the love of music and the animating spirit that keeps the flame alive.
And from Frederica von Stade, a great benefactor of young talent herself: "God bless the Pacific Musical Society and every organization that champions the nurturing of young musicians."