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
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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Artist Spotlight
July 13, 2010

Before their run at the Carmel Bach Festival, the violinist and cellist talk about their tenure at the festival, how it has changed over the years, being married to a musician, and nostalgia for what will be missed.

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Artist Spotlight
July 7, 2010

Filmmaker Michael Lawrence’s Bach and Friends has been making waves among classical listeners and audiences who might never have suspected they would have a connection to J.S. Bach’s music. In advance of the SFCV-sponsored premiere on July 14 at San Francisco’s Kabuki Cinema, Lawrence sat down to answer some questions about the film and his take on Bach’s music.

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Artist Spotlight
July 6, 2010

In some ways, pianist Joyce Yang is merely getting started. She graduated from the Juilliard School in May, and is still only age 23. When you look at her accomplishments to date, though, you’ll find that hard to believe. She has been called “the most gifted young pianist of her generation," and here she talks about music that moves people to tears, filming a documentary as the youngest in the Van Cliburn competition; and in her spare time — food, wine, and hitting the gym.

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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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