SFGC Presents Modern Masters
SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS CHORUS PRESENTS MODERN MASTERS
FEATURING A WORLD PREMIERE COMMISSION BY FRED FRITH
AND A DEBUT APPEARANCE BY CONTRALTO KIRSTEN SOLLEK
San Francisco, CA – January 28, 2019 – The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) continues its 40th anniversary season with Modern Masters on Sunday, March 3, 2019, 4:00 p.m. at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Led by Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC will present a varied program of choral works by contemporary composers including a new work, Rags of Time, by English avant-rock composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist Fred Frith marking the first of three world premiere commissions this season. Contralto Kirsten Sollek makes her debut appearance with the ensemble as guest soloist in a rare performance of Vaughan Williams’s Magnificat and The Cow Song from former SFGC Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa’s made-for-TV opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser. The program will also feature Steve Reich’s Clapping Music, Kaija Saariaho’s Horloge, Tais-toi, David Lang’s i lie and John Zorn’s Colombina.
Renowned for his improvisational talents on electric and acoustic guitar, Fred Frith has been described as “an extraordinary sound source for decades,” (The Guardian, UK) with a versatile career that also includes songwriting and instrumental performance. In his first collaboration with SFGC–made possible by the Gerbode Foundation’s Special Awards in the Arts program–Frith has written a playful work for chorus, synthesizer and percussion entitled Rags of Time that draws upon the concept of time and incorporates elements of improvisation. Frith developed and workshopped the piece with members of the SFGC Premier Ensemble, ultimately crafting a work that utilizes the unique rhythmic strength of the elite performing group.
Since its founding, SFGC has firmly established itself as a champion of music of our time. Praised by Gramophone Magazine as a “remarkable tapestry of teenage voices,” the organization has commissioned more than three dozen works by leading composers including Philip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gabriel Kahane, Augusta Read Thomas, Lisa Bielawa, and Chen Yi. In August 2017, SFGC returned to the recording studio with the Kronos Quartet to record works by nine living composers, including Philip Glass, Lisa Bielawa, John Zorn, and Gabriel Kahane, for its album, Final Answer, which was released on the Orange Mountain Music label in February 2018 to critical acclaim.
Praised by The New York Times as “an appealingly rich alto” and a “true contralto,” Kirsten Sollek has appeared at Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Chile), Boston Early Music Festival, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, among many others. As a champion of contemporary music, she has appeared as a guest artist at the 2017 Bang on a Can Festival, recorded works by Steve Reich with Alarm Will Sound and performed in the role of The Dying Cow in Lisa Bielawa’s Vireo.
Tickets range in price from $30 to $62, and can be purchased through City Box Office online at http//www.cityboxoffice.com or by calling (415) 392-4400.
The commission of Rags of Time from composer Fred Frith was made possible by generous support from the Gerbode Foundation’s Special Awards in the Arts program.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
San Francisco Girls Chorus Presents
Sunday, March 3, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Valérie Sainte-Agathe, conductor
Kirsten Sollek, contralto
Vaughan Williams: Magnificat
Lisa Bielawa: The Cow Song from Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser
Kirsten Sollek, contralto
Fred Frith: Rags of Time (SFGC Commission)
David Lang: i lie
Steve Reich: Clapping Music
John Zorn: Colombina
Kaija Saariaho: Horloge, Tais-toi
About Kirsten Sollek
Contralto Kirsten Sollek has been called “a true contralto” by The New York Times and a singer with “elemental tone quality” by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Appearances include Bach’s Magnificat with Musica Angelica Baroque, Mary Cleophas in Handel’s Resurrezione with the Helicon Foundation, Mahler’s Third Symphony with the MSU Symphony Orchestra, Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, The Death Knight in Amy Beth Kirsten’s Quixote, The Dying Cow in Lisa Bielawa’s serial TV opera, Vireo, and Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium Japan, Kansas City Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra. Sollek works extensively with John Zorn, premiering his music in the US, Europe, Australia, and Israel. She is a regular collaborator with Alarm Will Sound and Ensemble Signal, performing and recording the works of Steve Reich with both groups. She was a guest artist at the Bang on a Can festival in 2017, coaching the vocal fellows on Reich’s music. 2018 engagements include Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the York Symphony, music by John Zorn at National Sawdust, the Chicago Art Institute, the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim, and JazzFest in Sarajevo, and Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus at the Planetario Galileo Galilei in Buenos Aires.
About San Francisco Girls Chorus
Stunning range, flexibility, drama, and power are among the hallmarks of the 40-year-old San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC), recognized as one of the world’s leading youth vocal ensembles. Led by Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices.
During the 2018-2019 Season, SFGC will present a four-program Bay Area subscription series, with performances at Herbst Theatre, Davies Symphony Hall, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mission Dolores Basilica, and First Congregational Church, Berkeley. SFGC was also featured in performances of Stravinsky’s Persephone with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony and will present a joint concert with Denmark’s leading girls chorus, the Copenhagen Girls Choir. In July 2019, SFGC will embark on a 10-day European tour, with performances in and around London and Paris.
Recent concert highlights include debut performances in February 2018 at Carnegie Hall with Philip Glass and at leading New York new music venue, Le Poisson Rouge; June 2018 performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Voices of Music for the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition; performances in consecutive seasons with the Kronos Quartet for the ensemble’s KRONOS FESTIVAL at SFJAZZ; an April 2017 debut performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with The Knights for SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras; a June 2016 appearance at the NYPHIL BIENNIAL festival at New York’s Lincoln Center; tours to the Nordic countries, Germany, Japan, and Cuba; and the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
SFGC has been recipient of numerous music industry awards, including five GRAMMY Awards, four ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming, and the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America. Additionally, SFGC was voted Best Choral Group in the Bay Area in 2017 by the readers of San Francisco Classical Voice; and its June 2018 performances of Dido and Aeneas with Voices of Music was voted Best Opera Performance, Best Choral Performance, and Best Early Music/Baroque Performance of the 2017-2018 Bay Area concert season, also by readers of San Francisco Classical Voice.
SFGC is renowned as a regional center for choral music education and performance for girls and young women ages 4-18. Hundreds of singers from 46 Bay Area cities participate in this internationally-recognized six-level Chorus School, called “a model in the country for training girls’ voices” by the California Arts Council.
Beginning this season, SFGC will perform in a pair of custom concert outfits made exclusively for the chorus by designer Yuka Uehara, Creative Director for San Francisco fashion brand, Tokyo Gamine.
For more information, visit http://www.sfgirlschorus.org.
About Valérie Sainte-Agathe
Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Artistic Director, has conducted the San Francisco Girls Chorus since 2013, including in performances with renowned artists such as Jon Nakamatsu, Deborah Voigt, Laurie Rubin, Philip Glass, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gustavo Dudamel, and Michael Tilson Thomas. A strong believer in musical collaborations, she has performed with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Magik*Magik Orchestra and Tenet Ensemble. In February 2018 she made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Philip Glass Ensemble, conducting with Michael Riesman in Glass’s Music with Changing Parts. She also conducted The Photographer by Philip Glass in October 2017. In June 2016, she conducted the Chorus alongside The Knights Orchestra and Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the New York Philharmonic’s NY PHIL BIENNIAL festival at Lincoln Center. She also collaborated with The Knights for the SHIFT A Festival of American Orchestras at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. After five years in the United States, her first recording as SFGC’s Music Director, Final Answer, was released on Orange Mountain Music in February 2018. Between 2014 and 2016, she was assistant conductor for Lisa Bielawa’s made-for-TV opera, Vireo.
Ms. Sainte-Agathe served as Music Director for the Young Singers program of the Montpellier National Symphony and Opera in France from 1998-2011. In this capacity, she trained young singers for opera and symphony concerts and productions. She participated in eight recordings with the Montpellier National Orchestra and The Radio France Festival. She is a recipient of Victoires de la Musique, and a two-time recipient of the Orphée d’Or award—for Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher and d’Indy’s L’Étranger. Ms. Sainte-Agathe studied at the Montpellier Conservatory in piano performance. She received her bachelor’s degree in conducting and a Master in Management from Université Paul Valery in Montpellier.
Fred Frith / Heike Liss
Kirsten Sollek / Kirsten Sollek
Brenden Guy, Marketing & PR Consultant