San Francisco Girls Chorus Announces Guest Conductor and Guest Artist For June 2012 Concerts
CONDUCTOR/PERFORMER/EDUCATOR BRANDON BRACK, FORMERLY OF CHANTICLEER NAMED GUEST CONDUCTOR
PIANIST/COMPOSER/NPR PERSONALITY CHRISTOPHER O’RILEY GUEST ARTIST FOR JUNE 8 and 9 CONCERTS
San Francisco, November 11, 2011 – The San Francisco Girls Chorus has announced that singer and conductor Brandon Brack will serve as Guest Conductor for the spring of 2012 and conclude the 2011-2012 season with guest pianist, composer and popular From the Top program host Christopher O’Riley for concerts June 8 and 9, 2012 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. www.sfgirlschorus.org.
“The San Francisco Girls Chorus is fortunate to be working with Brandon Brack as Guest Conductor during the 2011-12 season,” says Christine Bullin, President and general Director of Chanticleer. “As a former singer and Director of Education for Chanticleer, Brandon performed and toured widely with the ensemble, and conducted workshops and master classes throughout the country. His experience as a performer, conductor and educator make him a compelling choice.”
Brack will work with the 40 members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus in rehearsal and coaching from April through June, overseeing its award-winning artistry and preparing the Chorus in repertoire for June performances, including world premiere arrangements by guest artist Christopher O’Riley.
Christopher O’Riley said in anticipation of his appearances with SFGC in 2012, "I look forward to performing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus next June. I got to know the group through their From the Top performance and broadcast in 2009, and I'm delighted to have the chance to write and perform a new arrangement with this talented young classical music ensemble."
Brandon Brack embodies a broad range of experience as a singer, teacher and
conductor ranging from work with top professional vocal ensembles to youth music education and performance. He has enjoyed a dynamic career as both a singer and choral conductor. A former member of Chanticleer in San Francisco, he currently serves on faculties of two colleges and universities in Southern California where he conducts choral ensembles and teaches voice and music theory. He was founding Teaching Artist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra LA at HOLA, the El Sistema initiative championed by the LA Philharmonic’s Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel. Serving on the Choral and Voice faculties of Fullerton College, Mr. Brack conducts the Collegiate Chorale and the 40-voice Women’s Chorale, as well as Applied Voice. He recently joined the faculty at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, where he teaches Studio Voice and Class Voice. He was conductor of the famed Apollo Men’s Chorus for the 2009-2010 season at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he will complete his doctorate in 2012.
Brandon Brack holds two Master of Music degrees in both Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. He has performed with such prominent ensembles as Chanticleer, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Vox Humana, Pacific Chorale and the John Alexander Singers. He has been a featured soloist with the New World Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, Seraphic Fire, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the UC- Berkeley Symphony, and the Berkshire Choral Festival, where he led master classes in choral conducting and vocal technique.
As a member of Chanticleer in the 2003-2004 season, he sang more than 100 concerts throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe, performing with artists such as countertenor David Daniels and pianist Mitsuko Uchida, in venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Vienna’s Konzarthaus, and the Concertgebow in Amsterdam.
While living in the Bay Area from 2003- 2005, Mr. Brack served as the Artistic Director of Musaic Singers Inc., a 10-voice male a capella ensemble, as Choral Conductor of the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley, and was the Director of Level I for the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
Pianist/Composer/Arranger Christopher O’Riley to Appear as Guest Soloist with SFGC and Brandon Brack for June 8 and 9 Concerts
Internationally recognized for bringing new audiences—most notably youth and rock/pop fans—to classical music through dynamic and top-quality programming, compelling musical arrangements and his presence on National Public Radio, Christopher O’Riley will appear as guest soloist for the closing concerts of the San Francisco Girls Chorus 2011-2012 season, June 8 and 9 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall. The program will include the premiere of new arrangements by Mr. O’Riley commissioned by the Girls Chorus.
As a prestigious artist, pianist and national media personality, Mr. O'Riley has dazzled the world over on stage, the radio and his records. His memorable interpretations of traditional and popular repertoire make him a cherished bridge between musical tastes, genres and audience worldwide.
Mr. O’Riley’s exquisite and poetic interpretations have granted him phenomenal reviews and several recording contracts with labels like Sony Classical. His warm personality has brought him to host NPR’s “From the Top” for the last 10 years. Christopher O’Riley differs from other artists in two ways. First, his repertoire spans classical styles, from Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel and Busoni to contemporary artists such as Radiohead, Nirvana, Pink Floyd and Elliott Smith. He is the deﬁnition of a Classical Crossover artist. Second, O’Riley 's unique, passionate and heartfelt piano interpretations of both classical and popular music create unforgettable musical performances and astonishing audience experiences. His most famous recording, Radiohead “True Love Waits” album, was awarded four stars in Rolling Stone magazine. Most importantly, it has also created a dedicated and diverse fan base that appeals to all ages, uniting them through music.
From his groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead to his powerful interpretations of repertoire classic and contemporary, pianist Christopher O’Riley has redeﬁned the possibilities of classical music. He has taken his unique vision to both traditional classical music venues and symphonic settings, as well as to entirely new audiences on the radio, at universities and even clubs. As host of the most popular classical music radio show on the air today, National Public Radio’s From the Top, Mr. O’Riley works and performs with the next generation of brilliant young musicians, demonstrating to audiences, with humor and a lack of pretense, that these young artists are as characterful and diverse in their personal lives as they are in their music-making. In 2007, From the Top was ﬁlmed for public television in Zankel Concert Hall at Carnegie Hall and debuted on PBS in the spring. The series is now airing its third season.
An interpreter and arranger of some of the most important contemporary popular music of our time, O’Riley lives by the Duke Ellington adage, “there are only two kinds of music, good music and bad.” His ﬁrst recording of Radiohead transcriptions, ”True Love Waits” (Sony/Odyssey) received 4 stars from Rolling Stone and was as critically acclaimed as it was commercially successful. His second set of music from the British alt-pop outﬁt, entitled “Hold Me to This: Christopher O’Riley plays the music of Radiohead,” was released on World Village/Harmonia Mundi to a similarly enthusiastic response. In April 2006, his third set of transcriptions was released on the same label. Entitled “Home to Oblivion; An Elliott Smith Tribute,” Mr. O’Riley this time tackles the deeply emotional and complex work from the troubled singer/songwriter who died prematurely in 2003. His most recent recording, released in April 2007 and entitled “Second Grace: The Music of Nick Drake,” is a disc of transcriptions of the music by the British folk singer. Nick Drake died in 1974 after releasing just 3 albums, yet inﬂuenced two generations of songwriters in his wake.
Just as his radio show and his contemporary classical recordings have created extraordinary buzz, so have his performances in traditional classical context. In November 2004, Mr. O’Riley toured the U.S. with the world-famous Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra visiting 10 cities in 2 weeks, playing Bach, Mozart and Liszt concerti. He has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Minnesota Orchestra, the symphonies of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Colorado, Atlanta and Baltimore. The illustrious group of conductors with whom he has collaborated includes Marin Alsop, David Zinman, Leonard Slatkin, John Williams, Neeme Järvi, Bobby McFerrin, Hans Graf, Yoel Levi, Hugh Wolff and Andrew Litton.
Performances in the 2008-2009 season include tours with James Galway and cellist Carter Brey, recitals at the University of Colorado Boulder, Duke University, Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, and orchestral engagements with the Baltimore Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, and Atlantic Classical Orchestra. At the Miller Theatre in New York City, Mr. O’Riley will showcase his own arrangements alongside Classical repertoire in three programs juxtaposing works of Shostakovich (Preludes and Fugues) with Radiohead, Claude Debussy (Images and Estampes) with Nick Drake, and Robert Schumann (Arabeske and Kreisleriana) with Elliott Smith. This season also ﬁnds O’Riley playing recitals in many of the great European cities: London, Paris, Munich, Berlin, Salzburg and Vienna.
An enthusiastic advocate of new music, Mr. O’Riley has twice participated in the annual “Absolute Concerto” concerts at Avery Fisher Hall, a brainchild of O’Riley’s fan in the 80’s, Andy Warhol, premiering works by Richard Danielpour and Michael Torke. In 1999-2000 he performed Michael Daugherty’s “Le Tombeau de Liberace” with the Detroit Symphony and with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, both in St. Paul and on tour. He has also recently given premieres of works by Aaron Jay Kernis, including his piano quartet, “Still Movement with Hymn,” (also recorded for Decca’s Argo label) and the “Superstar” Etude No. 1, inspired by the pianism of Jerry Lee Lewis.
From early in his career, Mr. O’Riley was honored with many awards at the Leeds, Van Cliburn, Busoni and Montreal competitions, as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He was also a ﬁnalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1981. Among his many solo releases are a Scriabin disc for Image Recordings and an all-Stravinsky disc on Elektra Nonesuch, featuring “Three Movements from Petrouchka” and Mr. O’Riley’s ﬁrst foray into transcriptions with his own versions of “Apollo” and “Histoire du Soldat.” Other recordings include an RCA Victor Red Seal release of French repertoire for ﬂute and piano with James Galway; his audacious debut disc of music of Busoni including the monumental ‘Fantasia Contrapuntistica’, a disc of Ravel’s solo works; a recording of Beethoven Piano Sonatas; a collaboration with cellist Carter Brey entitled “Le Grand Tango”; and the premiere recording of P.D.Q Bach’s “The Short-Tempered Clavier” by the fabled composer-satirist Peter Schickele. Other contemporary composers he has recorded include Richard Danielpour, Robert Helps, Todd Brief, Roger Sessions and John Adams.
In addition to his own transcriptions, Mr. O’Riley has ventured into alternate territory on tour with other classical artists. He has developed programs with fellow pianists: “Heard Fresh: Music for Two Pianos,” with the jazz pianist Fred Hersch; and “Los Tangueros,” with the Argentinian pianist Pablo Ziegler, a program of two-piano arrangements that feature Astor Piazzolla’s classic tangos. In 1999 he collaborated with choreographer and director Martha Clarke, who staged several stories of Anton Chekhov set to the piano works of Alexander Scriabin, performed live on stage by Mr. O’Riley. This production, titled “Vers la Flamme,” toured Europe and the United States, and was presented by Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center, among others.
As Mr. O’Riley continues to create new directions in which to take the solo piano recital, the demand for his work internationally has continued to grow. He has performed his transcriptions at major jazz festivals in Istanbul, London, San Francisco and Sicily as well as on a tour of the U.K. He recently appeared at the Belfast Festival and he debuted in Australia at the 2006 Sydney Festival.
O’Riley studied with Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music. Christopher O’Riley splits his time between Los Angeles and rural Ohio. His radio and tv show can be found on-line at www.fromthetop.org. His personal website is at www.christopheroriley.com.
A New Direction for the San Francisco Girls Chorus
The June 2012 concerts usher in a new era for the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Building on its thirty years of artistic and educational excellence in the field of choral music, SFGC will be seeking new artistic leadership and opportunities to deepen and broaden its artistic reach and impact. The organization will be led with interim artistic leadership and guest artist partners during the 2012-2013 season while an international search process is underway. Permanent artistic leadership will be in place for the 2013-2014 season. Details of the search process and the 2012-2013 season will be announced in early 2012.
For more information about the San Francisco Girls Chorus, visit www.sfgirlschorus.org.
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