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
June 29, 2010

Changing character and voice is nothing new for lyric soprano Alyson Cambridge. Equally comfortable in her high and low ranges, she recently celebrated the release of her recording of William Bolcom and Sandra Cecelia Seaton’s The Diary of Sally Hemmings. Bolcom’s music is a far cry from S.F. Symphony’s July 8 presentation of the GershwinsPorgy and Bess Suite, where she will alter her voice and temperament to sing favorite arias by three different characters.

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Artist Spotlight
June 15, 2010

Since her years in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists’ Program, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been on the fast track to stardom. In a field already crowded with mezzos, the graduate of Rice University and the Juilliard School has distinguished herself in a wide variety of concert, opera, and recital repertoire. Although her S.F. Opera debut is still several years away — read on for details — Cooke has made a strong impression in three previous San Francisco Symphony assignments.

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Artist Spotlight
June 1, 2010

In 2008, baritone Mark Delavan sang the first Wotan of his career in San Francisco Opera’s production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold. Now, at age 51, the Merola graduate returns to our fair city for his second Wotan, that of Die Walküre. Here, he talks about preparing for the life-changing role, coaching, and his most emotionally taxing performances.

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Artist Spotlight
May 24, 2010

Erin Wall, who made her San Francisco Symphony debut in 2004, has become something of a Bay Area favorite since then. The Canadian soprano returns for two S.F. Symphony programs in May and June. Here, she talks about working with MTT — the singer's conductor — the freedom of new repertoire, and the challenges ahead.

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Artist Spotlight
May 18, 2010

After 29 years with the San Francisco Symphony, violist Geraldine Walther left to join the Takács Quartet. She returns on June 6 for a performance at the Herbst Theatre. Here, she talks about the Brahms she wants to play before kicking the bucket, the challenge of performance in a quartet, and why mowing the lawn can be more rewarding than learning French.

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Artist Spotlight
May 17, 2010

Kent Nagano, who stepped down as musical director of the Berkeley Symphony, returns, as conductor laureate, to lead the Berkeley Akademie on May 20. Here, he talks about his programming philosophy, working with Messaien and Frank Zappa, and entertaining at home — and home for Nagano always means California.

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Artist Spotlight
May 10, 2010

Violist Kazuhide Isomura, founding member of the Tokyo String Quartet, talks about his obsession with string quartet literature, becoming more spontaneous over the years, and rehearsing in different languages.

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Artist Spotlight
May 4, 2010

There's no one quite like Laurie Anderson. Here, the performance artist talks about her upcoming performance of Delusion, the mystery of how our minds work, her love of books and desire to write, and how "talking about music is like dancing about architecture."

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Artist Spotlight
April 26, 2010

Stephen Hough wears a lot of hats — here, the "pianist's pianist" and blogger talks about his upcoming performance and tribute to Alfred Cortot and Paris, how he starts the day, nearly becoming a priest, and everything from hats to pudding.

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Artist Spotlight
April 19, 2010

New Yorker writer Alex Ross talks about the Golden Age of music and composing to "embrace the millions," whether or not there should be rules surrounding concert hall decorum, writing for music, and his respect for jazz.

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