From the sumptuously-scored Amethyst for soprano and orchestra, inspired by the structure of crystals, to Silvery Blue, a choral setting of an original poem celebrating the seasonal life of a butterfly, to “Descent into the Maelstrom” from Seven Dramatic Episodes, based on writings of Poe, the pervading resonance of the natural world is a consistent theme in the work of composer Ann Callaway, one of the contributing directors of Sonic Harvest. Her works have been premiered by the Seattle and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras, the New York New Music Ensemble, and organist Thomas Murray, among many others. The women’s choral ensemble Voci chose Callaway as its inaugural composer for their New Works Project and commissioned On Music and Nature: Three Hopkins Settings. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Leighton Artist Colony in Banff. Callaway’s music is published by Subito Music Corp. Her website is annmcallaway.com
Undaunted by the vocal and theatrical demands of contemporary classical music, soprano Amy Foote has performed everything from leading roles on the operatic stage to world premieres of contemporary chamber music. Most recently she appeared as the titular character in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen. She is a founder of Nonsemble 6, with whom she performed a staged version of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire on tour throughout the U.S. She has performed with the San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox series, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Friction Quartet, Elevate Ensemble, and Composers, Inc.
Peter Josheff has been on the front lines of the northern California new music scene for more than thirty years as a composer and clarinetist. A founding member of Earplay and of Sonic Harvest, he is a core member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Empyrean Ensemble (UC Davis), and Eco Ensemble (UC Berkeley). He performs frequently with Opera Parallèle and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and has worked with many other groups including Other Minds, West Edge Opera, Melody of China, the Ives Collective, Mills College Contemporary Performance Ensemble, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, and Composers, Inc. He appears on numerous recordings on the Albany, Bridge, Centaur, Innova, Arabesque, CRI, Rastascan, Tazdik, and Electra labels. He has composed instrumental and vocal music, opera, and pop songs as well as music for dance and theater. His music has been performed by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Farallon Quintet, Laurel Ensemble, Bernal Hill Players, Earplay, Empyrean Ensemble, Melody of China, Goat Hall Productions, and many individual performers. Recent works include Images from the Past (2018) for spoken voice and piano; September (2017) for solo violin; Dream Spaces & Recurring Nightmares (2017) for spoken voice and piano, written for and premiered by pianist Kate Campbell; and The Dream Mechanic (2016), for woman’s spoken voice, tenor, and chamber orchestra, commissioned by and premiered by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra with tenor Brian Thorsett.
Bass Richard Mix made his singing debut as Truelove in Berkeley Contemporary Opera’s 1992 production of The Rake’s Progress and went on to the Darmstädter Sommerferienkurse für neue Musik, where he was awarded a Patenring grant. He appears with many Bay Area opera companies singing a repertoire that embraces Wagner, Monteverdi and Stockhausen.
A native of Washington, D.C., Thalia Moore began her cello studies with Robert Hofmekler, and after only five years of study appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. She earned degrees at the Juilliard School of Music as a scholarship student of Lynn Harrell. At Juilliard she received the Walter and Elsie Naumberg Scholarship and won first prize in the National Arts and Letters String competition. Since 1982 she has been Associate Principal Cellist of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, and in 1989 joined the cello section of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. She continues to concertize extensively, appearing as soloist at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, Herbst Theater, and San Francisco Legion of Honor. She has also performed as guest artist at the Olympic Music Festival and the Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival.
Keisuke Nakagoshi began his piano studies at the age of ten, arriving in the United States from Japan at the age of 18. He earned his bachelor’s degree in composition and master’s degree in chamber music at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Graduating as the recipient of multiple top awards, he was selected to represent the SFCM for the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project. Pianist-in-Residence at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Opera Parallèlek, he has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and Davies Symphony Hall, and has received training from Emanuel Ax, Gilbert Kalish, Menahem Pressler, Robert Mann, Norman Fisher, and the Peabody Trio. He is honored to have collaborated with Lucy Shelton, Ian Swensen, Jodi Levitz, Robin Sutherland, the Afiara String Quartet and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. September 19 he will appear with William Burden and Frederica von Stade in an Opera Parallèle event titled “Bill and Flicka: Generous Spirits.”
Pianist Karen Rosenak has performed with Earplay, Empyrean Ensemble, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players as well as Sonic Harvest. She appears in many recordings on the Albany, CRI and Ravello labels. Retired as senior lecturer at UC Berkeley, she holds music degrees from SF State and Stanford University. She studied piano with Carlo Bussotti and Nathan Schwartz and fortepiano with Margaret Fabrizio.
Composer Allen Shearer has been honored with the Rome Prize Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship, the Aaron Copland Award, residencies at the MacDowell Colony, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. His chamber opera The Dawn Makers, on a libretto by Claudia Stevens, was premiered at Herbst Theatre by Composers, Inc. The Dawn Makers was selected as a finalist in the National Opera Association’s Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition 2015. His Three Lyrics, a work written at the Copland House, won the Sylvia Goldstein Award. The premiere production of his opera Middlemarch in Spring was named one of the Ten Best Operatic Events of 2015 by the San Francisco Examiner, and one of the year’s most notable events in classical music worldwide by the Encyclopedia Brittanica. His opera Howards End, America premiered in San Francisco last February. Allen Shearer is a Contributing Director of Sonic Harvest.
Claudia Stevens’ creative works for her interdisciplinary solo performance have been recognized by grants from the NEA (“New Forms”) and Virginia Commission for the Arts, as well as artist residencies including the MacDowell Colony, RS9 Szinhaz in Budapest, Baltimore Theater Project, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Gitameit Art Center in Burma and numerous colleges and universities. Two of her solo plays and her libretto for A Very Large Mole appear in the avant-garde poetry journal Exquisite Corpse. She is the librettist of a number of operas in collaboration with Allen Shearer, including Middlemarch in Spring and Howards End, America, which premiered in February at Z Space in San Francisco. Her most recent opera in collaboration with Shearer is Jackie at Vassar, of which a portion will be presented in Sonic Harvest 19. Claudia Stevens is a Contributing Director of Sonic Harvest.
Nadya Tichman is Associate Concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony. Born in New York, she studied with Dorothy DeLay at Juilliard and earned a bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Ivan Galamian, Jaime Laredo and Yumi Ninomiya-Scott. In San Francisco she continued her studies with Isadore Tinkleman. In 1980 she joined the S.F. Symphony, with which she has often performed as soloist and has served as Acting Concertmaster. She has participated in festivals such as the Grand Teton Music Festival, Chamber Music West, the Olympic Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards, and the Gualala Summer Arts Festival. She was a founding member of the Donatello Quartet and has co-directed Chamber Music Sundaes. A champion of contemporary music, she has had pieces dedicated to her by composers Peter Schickele, Jim Lahti and Allen Shearer, whose Memory Beams, written for her and guitarist John Imholz, was premiered by Sonic Harvest.
An eclectic composer who works comfortably in both the classical and jazz traditions, Mary Watkins draws no firm boundaries around any one style. Elements of blues, gospel, county/folk, and pop slip easily into her work, and her versatility as a composer, arranger, pianist, and producer shows in the pieces she has composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, film, and theater. Born in Denver, she began her formal musical training at age four, and by the age of eight was improvising and composing short piano pieces. After receiving a degree in music composition from Howard University she performed with jazz combos in the Washington, D.C. area, then moved to the West Coast and established her own jazz quartet. Several albums and numerous commissions and awards soon followed. Notable among her many compositions are the jazz score for the musical play Lady Lester Sings the Blues, based on the life of Lester Young;The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie, a jazz adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet; and her operas Queen Clara, Dark River and Emmett Till.