SFGC Presents "Philip Glass and the Class of '37"


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San Francisco, CA – September 20, 2017 – The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) and Music Director and Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe open the organization’s 39th concert season on Wednesday, October 25, at 8:00 p.m. at Herbst Theatre with “Philip Glass and the Class of ‘37” in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday. Longstanding members of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Music Director and keyboardist Michael Riesman and flutist/saxophonist Andrew Sterman, will share the stage with SFGC for selections from four Philip Glass works that are available for performance only with members of the Philip Glass Ensemble: Building and Knee Play 5 (Einstein on the Beach), Act III (The Photographer), Vessels (Koyaanisqatsi) and Father Death Blues (Hydrogen Jukebox). Setting context for Glass’s unmistakable style and extensive output, the program begins with a survey of works from three composers who share the “’37” birth year with Glass and represent three distinct periods in the evolution of classical music: Dietrich Buxtehude (born 1637), Joseph Michael Haydn (born 1737) and the Mily Balakirev (born 1837).
“We are opening our season with a program that reflects and celebrates our most cherished artistic values,” said Artistic Director, Lisa Bielawa. “It is at the core of SFGC’s identity to be an advocate and champion for the music of our time, to program and perform music for treble voices that spans hundreds of years, and to collaborate with leading artists, ensembles, and organizations. This program really encapsulates all three of these.”
Music Director and Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe, added, “This concert is a wonderful opportunity for audiences to experience the full range of musical and technical capabilities of our choristers in music spanning more than 300 years.”
This performance is the first of three opportunities to hear SFGC perform the music of Philip Glass this season. On Friday, February 16, 2018, SFGC makes its Carnegie Hall debut performing the composer’s seminal 1971 work, Music With Changing Parts, with the composer and the Philip Glass Ensemble. And just four days later, on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, the program is repeated in San Francisco at Davies Symphony Hall, under the auspices of San Francisco Performances.
Tickets for “Philip Glass and the Class of ’37” are $26 / $36, and can be purchased through sfgirlschorus.org or by phone at (415) 392-4400. $5 student tickets can be purchased in-person with valid student ID.

San Francisco Girls Chorus Presents:
“Philip Glass and the Class of ‘37”
Featuring members of the Philip Glass Ensemble
Michael Riesman, keyboard
Andrew Sterman, flute/saxophone
Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 8:00p.m.
Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102
Philip Glass: Building and Knee Play 5 from Einstein on the Beach
Philip Glass: Act III from The Photographer
Philip Glass: Vessels from Koyaanisqatsi
Philip Glass: Father Death Blues from Hydrogen Jukebox
Dietrich Buxtehude: Excerpts from Salve Jesu, patris gnate unigenite
Joseph Michael Haydn: Excerpts from Leopold Mass
Mily Balakirev: Selected Songs and Romances
Single tickets range in price from $5 to $36 and can be purchased through City Box Office: http://www.cityboxofice.com and (415) 392-4400.  
For more information, please visit sfgirlschorus.org.

About the San Francisco Girls Chorus
Now in its 39th year, the San Francisco Girls Chorus’s founding Artistic Director, Elizabeth Appling, prepared the first-ever chorus of girls to perform with the San Francisco Opera, an opportunity previously reserved only for boys. Founded with a vision to become an international-caliber chorus for young women, SFGC has grown into a renowned, industry-leading performing arts and music education organization. Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director, Lisa Bielawa, and Music Director, Valerie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC serves nearly 300 choristers ages 5-18 from 45 cities and all 9 Bay Area counties each year. Served by a music faculty of 21 teaching artists and 7 administrators, the organization operates a professional-level performance, recording and touring ensemble; the four-level Chorus School training program; and a Preparatory Chorus.

SFGC collaborates annually with leading arts and cultural organizations including the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Film Festival, and the Kronos Quartet, among many others. The Chorus has toured to more than a dozen countries and performed at major national and international venues including the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, New York’s Lincoln Center, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the World Choral Symposium in Kyoto, Japan, the World Vision Children’s Choir Festival in Korea, and the Gateway to Music Festival in China. SFGC’s commitment to artistic excellence has been recognized through numerous awards, including five GRAMMY Awards and three ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming.

SFGC also owns and operates the Kanbar Performing Arts Center, a six-story hub for the arts in San Francisco’s Civic Center district that annually serves more than 30 arts organizations. SFGC’s current annual operating budget is $2.4 million.
About Michael Riesman
Michael Riesman, the multi-talented composer, conductor, keyboardist, and record producer, has influenced many of today’s greatest talents as the innovative musical director of the world-renowned Philip Glass Ensemble.  Riesman has had a long-lived collaborative relationship with Philip Glass. Indeed, when Glass received his Golden Globe Award in 1999 for The Truman Show score, he publicly proclaimed Riesman "a genius." 

Riesman has been playing keyboards in the Philip Glass Ensemble since 1974, and has served as its Musical Director since 1976. In addition to conducting the Oscar nominated scores Notes On A Scandal, The Truman Show, and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, he is the conductor of the revolutionary Einstein on the Beach (both recordings), GlassworksThe Photographer, Songs From Liquid Days, Dance Pieces, The Illusionist, Hamburger Hill, Music in 12 Parts (all three recordings), Passages, Koyaanisqatsi (both recordings), Mishima, Powaqqatsi, The Thin Blue Line, Anima Mundi, The Secret Agent, A Brief History of Time, La Belle et La Bête, Candyman, , Naqoyqatsi, Taking Lives, Secret Window, and numerous other soundtracks and albums. Riesman was the pianist on the Oscar-nominated score for The Hours, and has also released an album of his arrangement of that music for solo piano. 

In addition to his work with the Philip Glass Ensemble, Riesman has also conducted and performed on albums by Paul Simon (Hearts and Bones), Scott Johnson (Patty Hearst), Mike Oldfield (Platinum), Ray Manzarek (Carmina Burana), David Bowie (BlackTie/White Noise), and Gavin Bryars (Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet). 

Along with interpreting the music of others, Riesman also finds time to create original works. He has released an album, Formal Abandon, which he wrote, produced and performed entirely, on the Rizzoli label, which originated from a commission by choreographer Lucinda Childs.  In the theater, he collaborated with Robert Wilson on Edison (presented in New York, Paris, and Milan). His film scores include Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Pleasantville (1976), and Christian Blackwood's Signed: Lino Brocka.
About Andrew Sterman
Saxophonist/flutist/composer Andrew Sterman brings a highly personal presence to the music he plays: (NYTimes: "beautiful, sensitive, and high-energy playing”, Wall Street Journal: “Powerful, a standout moment”, National Post Canada: “Searing”, London Observer: “Virtuosic”, San Francisco Chronicle: “Andrew Sterman’s wailing, soulful tenor saxophone solo feels like a dispatch from an entirely different cosmos”).   His CD The Path To Peace was called “A major conceptual work, whose exquisite ebb and flow merits listening by a worldwide audience” (All About Jazz: New York), and “A wonderful and inspiring album” (Philip Glass).   Of his Wet Paint CD: “Questing, devoid of self-indulgence, emotionally flexible…” (Jazz Times), “...emotive lyricism, inventively architected, superb compositional pen…” (Jazz Review.com).  Sterman has been principal woodwind in the Philip Glass Ensemble since 1991.  He has also recorded or performed with a deeply varied pantheon of music masters including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Fred Hersh, Rashied Ali, Sarah Vaughan, Itzhak Perlman and Bruce Springstein. Sterman is a practitioner of qigong and Chinese medicinal herbs, and writes the popular blog facebook.com/UnderstandingFood.

San Francisco Girls Chorus / Carlin Ma
Philip Glass / Steve Pyke
Brenden Guy, Marketing & PR Consultant
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