August 18, 2017
San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa, a chorus alumna who took office in 2013, will leave the organization at the end of the 2017–2018 season, Board President Rhonda L. Nelson announced today.
Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, who has served as principal conductor, will become artistic director for 2018–2019 season. The title will combine responsibilities of both positions. “When Lisa initially accepted this position with SFGC,” Nelson said, “the Board of Directors understood that given her multifaceted career as a composer and vocalist, her tenure would likely be around four or five years. While we were sad to learn that Lisa would be departing at the end of this season, we had also anticipated this eventuality.”
Sainte-Agathe, a native of Martinique, has been active in Europe and the U.S. She came to the chorus also in 2013, receiving rave reviews for her work. “The collaborative relationship Lisa and I have enjoyed over the last five years,” Sainte-Agathe said, “has been one of the most gratifying, fruitful, and rewarding experiences in each of our careers. We look forward to spending this upcoming season celebrating all that has been accomplished.”
The SFGC announcement from Executive Director J. Andrew Bradford emphasizes that SFGC is reaffirming its acclaimed commitment to championing music of our time, launching a composer-in-residence program specifically for its Chorus School, now in its third year; commissioning or premiering new works from leading composers, including Aaron Jay Kernis, Matthew Welch, Sahba Aminikia, Theo Bleckman, and Amy X Neuburg. The chorus is recording music in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet for a forthcoming album that will include 10 works by nine living composers, eight of whom are American.