Artist Spotlight

These lively Q&A's aim to shed light on the personalities behind the music. Get to know your favorite artists...or discover someone new!


Artist Spotlight
November 9, 2010

Mark O’Connor — the protean superfiddler, composer, music educator, and inventor of “The O’Connor Violin Method,” which has helped school countless budding violinists — heads to the Bay Area this month. The New Century Chamber Orchestra has designated him the featured composer this season.

More »
Artist Spotlight
November 5, 2010

Celebrated pop singer and songsmith Rufus Wainwright tells SFCV why he's turned towards composing arias and settings of Shakespeare, and why writers of opera and snarky critics are uneasy bedfellows.

More »
Artist Spotlight
November 2, 2010

One the eve of the 25th anniversary of S.F. Conservatory's chamber music master's degree program, Bonnie Hampton talks about her life, the founding of the program, and the value of being present every day.

More »
Artist Spotlight
November 2, 2010

SFCV catches up with Conductor Alan Curtis, who is based in Florence, but is back in the Bay Area this week to lead Handel's Xerxes for Berkeley West Edge.

More »
Artist Spotlight
November 1, 2010

Much has been made of soprano Measha Brueggergosman’s endearing idiosyncrasies: performing barefoot, sporting a nose ring, and, if you consider it such, practicing and teaching Bikram Yoga. What’s most important is that she is a major artist, blessed with a gorgeous voice, a fine command of language, and a true commitment to musical expression.

More »
Artist Spotlight
October 26, 2010

Meeting face-to-face after an intense, six-hour rehearsal at S.F. Opera for her role debut as Emilia Marty in Leoš Janáček’s The Makropulos Case, soprano Karita Mattila no doubt would have preferred to luxuriate in a bubble bath. Nonetheless, the great singer-actress, who recently showed her all onstage in Salome, slowly revealed herself. Speaking in the opera house, the diva shared thoughts on her imminent debut, ill-prepared conductors, and life at 50.

More »
Artist Spotlight
October 19, 2010

Over three decades, he’s refashioned tasty morsels of jazz, country, world, pop, and classical music, but Bill Frisell and his guitars have always flown far above pigeonholes. Frisell spoke to SFCV from the autumnal splendor of the Vermont Studio Center, where he and his wife, painter Carole d’Inverno, were pursuing their crafts for several weeks in the inspiring company of four dozen other artists.

More »
Artist Spotlight
October 18, 2010

Robert McDuffie is the quintessential American violinist, despite having performed with most major European and American orchestras and founding the Rome Chamber Music Festival. His love affair with American repertoire began with Samuel Barber and is currently manifest in a new piece, commissioned from Philip Glass, which he will perform on Nov. 2 at Herbst Theatre. McDuffie spoke to SFCV, in his soft, southern accent, about his life and work.

More »
Artist Spotlight
October 11, 2010

As one of the world’s best-known classical guitarists, John Williams has been responsible for both raising the instrument’s profile and expanding its repertoire. Today Williams, 69, has performed and recorded virtually every piece for the standard classical guitar repertoire; he has also championed African, Cuban, and Latin American composers, and collaborated widely. In a recent call from his home in London, he talked about his work and this week’s concert, which marks his 10th appearance for San Francisco Performances.

More »
Artist Spotlight
October 5, 2010

Ever since arriving in the U.S. 20 years ago Wu Man — the indefatigable, conservatory-trained master of the Pudong School of classical pipa playing — has made it her mission to explore new and diverse avenues for pipa recognition. A one-woman evangelist for her instrument, she converses with natural grace and charm as she recounts milestones in her journey.

More »