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
September 13, 2010

Soprano Danielle de Niese — eye-buggingly beautiful, extremely intelligent, and madly in love with everything she does — is a joy to interview. Here she talks about her steamy iPod encounters, S.F. Opera debut in Figaro, work with Nicola Luisotti, and recent vocal developments. 

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Artist Spotlight
September 13, 2010

Robert Levin is a leading keyboard artist, active in early music and historically informed performance, most notably for his expertise in the works of Mozart. His improvisational skills in this idiom are legendary — an approach not many dare to take, yet one he considers essential to the interpretation of this music. Here he talks with SFCV about finding Mozart fragments, the art of improvisation, and the importance of playing on the original instrument. 

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Artist Spotlight
September 6, 2010

San José’s Le Petit Trianon Theatre is the venue for pianist Joel Fan’s concert on Saturday, Sept. 11. If you don’t know Fan’s work, he’s an award-winning performer who effortlessly plays compositions ranging from the traditional to the modern. Here he talks with SFCV about everything from Harvard and the Silk Road Ensemble to jazz and race-cars.

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Artist Spotlight
August 30, 2010

Michael Kaiser, artistic head of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is one of the more respected artistic administrators in America, as well as an inspiring speaker who is bullish on the arts. Here he talks with SFCV about the arts in crisis and the future of classical music.

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Artist Spotlight
August 24, 2010

Soprano Ellen Hargis will give three recitals with lutenist Paul O’Dette across the Bay Area in a program, titled “Wait! I’m Singing Now…,” featuring the music of Strozzi, Kapsberger, Scarlatti, Cesti, and Piccinini. SFCV asked Hargis about her love of early music, the challenges of balancing singing and teaching, and what it’s like to work as an early-music star in a modern world.

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Artist Spotlight
August 9, 2010

Acclaimed cellist Zuill Bailey talks with SFCV about his love-at-first crush with the cello, doing what he loves for a living in El Paso and Alaska, his passion for musical outreach programs, and working on the television series Oz.

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Artist Spotlight
August 2, 2010

Philip Glass needs no introduction as one of today’s most influential composers. He’s a chief architect of the minimalist style, though today he reserves that term for his earlier compositions. As comfortable collaborating with conductor Dennis Russell Davies as with rock icon David Bowie, he composes works that blur the boundaries between classical music and contemporary culture. Here, he talks with SFCV about his busy touring schedule, the possibility of wedding bells, keeping a vegan diet, and how he has changed as a composer.

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Artist Spotlight
July 25, 2010

Composer Jennifer Higdon may have come late to the world of classical music (she famously didn’t start playing a musical instrument until she was in her teens), but she has certainly made up for any lost time. She holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, she’s in demand as a composer for symphonies and festivals, and her most famous work, blue cathedral, has become an often-performed staple of modern classical music. She returns to the Bay Area in August for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where two of her pieces will be featured.

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Artist Spotlight
July 25, 2010

Over the last decade, baritone Richard Paul Fink has become closely associated with the role of Alberich, the malevolent dwarf in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. He’s sung the role in San Francisco, in New York, and, most recently, in three complete Ring cycles at Los Angeles Opera. Now Fink comes to Berkeley Opera to take on a different Ring role, as Wotan in Legend of the Ring. He spoke with SFCV about how he’s preparing to “step up” from chief Nibelung to the king of the gods.

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Artist Spotlight
July 13, 2010

Less than nine months after her dynamic San Francisco Symphony debut conducting the annual SFS “Day of the Dead” concert, Alondra de la Parra is set to make an even deeper impression on her audiences. As she leads four consecutive concerts with the orchestra, her wide-ranging repertoire — two nights of American and America-associated music, one all-Russian evening, and a refreshing Dolores Park afternoon that mixes Dvořák’s New World with some of Mexico’s finest — will be as rounded as her roster of top-flight soloists. 

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