Called “extravagantly charismatic” by the San Francisco Chronicle and praised by San Francisco Classical Voice for her “vivid and technically assured” singing, soprano Tonia D’Amelio has sung with opera companies, orchestras, and chamber ensembles across the U.S. and abroad. With a repertoire spanning five centuries, Tonia particularly enjoys premiering new works. She created the role of Celia in Allen Shearer’s Middlemarch in Spring for the premiere in San Francisco and the revival with Charlottesville Opera, sang in the premiere of Ryan Brown’s Mortal Lessons at the Hot Air Festival, and joined the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys to premiere Ben Bachmann’s Fantasia on American Christmas Carols. She performed featured roles in the modern stage premieres of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and Carlo Pallavicino’s Le Amazzoni nell’Isole Fortunate (1679) with Ars Minerva. Other opera credits include the Queen of the Night, Musetta , Donna Elvira, and Elisetta (Il matrimonio segreto). An advocate for sacred music in sacred spaces, Tonia has been soloist for liturgical performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers, Mozart’s Requiem, and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion. In addition to singing and teaching voice, Tonia teaches alignment-focused barre fitness classes at The Dailey Method’s Piedmont and Berkeley studios.
The evocative and embracing resonance of the natural world is a pervasive theme in the music of composer Ann Callaway, one of the contributing directors of Sonic Harvest. Her works have been premiered by the Seattle (Concerto for Bass Clarinet) and St. Louis (Amethyst for soprano & orchestra) Symphony Orchestras, the New York New Music Ensemble and Earplay, among others. She has been composer in residence for Bella Musica and was chosen as the inaugural composer for Voci’s New Works Project, which commissioned On Music and Nature: Three Hopkins Settings (2015). The Peninsula Women’s Chorus will perform Silvery Blue (2003, on her own poem on a local butterfly) this spring. Her 2020 project was a setting of Jonah’s hymn of deliverance from the whale’s belly (Clamavi de tribulatione mea for double chorus). Callaway is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Leighton Artist Colony in Banff. Her music is published by Subito Music Corp and her website is annmcallaway.com.
Antonio Celaya writes: I was born and raised in Southern Arizona, and it is in my roots there that that I have found the best in my musical compositions. It is his my early musical experiences – Yaqui deer dance music, Tohono’Odam Yaila, or chicken scratch, mariachi music, boleros of the Trio Los Panchos, mambos of Beny Moré and Pérez Prado to which my parents danced during the 1950’s, and the cowboy songs – that influence my music most deeply. I strive to compose music that engages the body and the emotions.
Victoria Ehrlich, cellist, was born in Texas and received her musical education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and summer programs at Interlochen, Aspen, and Tanglewood. Her principal teachers include Robert Marsh, Bernard Greenhouse, and Robert Gardner. Before joining the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in 1984, she performed with the Santa Fe Opera and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and served as principal cellist with the Symphonies of Omaha, Richmond, VA, and Phoenix. Ms. Ehrlich has performed with the San Francisco Ballet and Symphony, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and Lamplighters, and is an active chamber musician, appearing regularly with the Picasso Ensemble, I.O. Piano Quartet, Edgewood Ensemble, the Bridge Players, the Fath Chamber Players, Trio Solano, and the Ariel String Quartet, resident ensemble of the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento. She counts many living composers as friends and inspiration.
Peter Josheff (composer and clarinetist) has been on the front lines of the northern California new music scene for more than thirty years. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Peter is a co-founder of Earplay and of Sonic Harvest. He is a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Empyrean Ensemble (UC Davis), the Eco Ensemble (UC Berkeley), and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. He performs frequently with Opera Parallele and West Edge Opera. He is an Instructor of Clarinet at the University of California, Berkeley. Peter’s music has been performed by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Farallon Quintet, Earplay, Sonic Harvest, the Laurel Ensemble, the Bernal Hill Players, the Empyrean Ensemble, and many individual performers. His most recent works include: Same Old Sadness (2020) for solo violin; On the Way to the Day (2020) for solo cello; Dewy not, Dewy got (2020) for solo bassoon; Warped Oracle (2019) and Images from the Past (2018) for spoken voice and piano; and The Dream Mechanic (2016), for woman’s spoken voice, tenor, and chamber orchestra. In his spare time Peter is an amateur guitarist/singer/songwriter.
As a solo recitalist and founding member of the Maybeck Trio, California-based pianist Jerry Kuderna embraces traditional repertoire and new music with boundless virtuosity and fierce commitment. He has been presented by Group for Contemporary Music, The American Society of University Composers, The New Jersey Composer’s Guild, The Los Angeles SCREAM Festival, Earplay and Cal Performances. He has premiered works by composers such as Milton Babbitt, Claudio Spies, Robert Helps, Richard Swift, Edwin Dugger, Judith Shatin, and Ann Callaway, many of them written especially for him. He recorded Babbitt’s Phonemena for Soprano and Piano (with Lynne Webber) for New World Records, and he gave the West Coast premiere of Elliott Carter’s Piano Concerto with the Berkeley Symphony. He received his initial training in piano and conducting in Denver with Antonia Brico. While studying the music of Webern and Schoenberg with Rudolf Kolisch he performed works of the second Viennese school with soprano Bethany Beardslee. He studied piano with Adele Marcus at Juilliard and Robert Helps at New England Conservatory. He has taught at several universities, and recently celebrated 20 years of regular lecture-recitals given under the auspices of the Berkeley Arts festival.
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.
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 Parallèle, 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. With Eva-Maria Zimmermann he formed the piano duet team ZOFO, which recently appeared in Michigan’s Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in collaboration with Wellspring/Cori Taylor Dancers.
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 in 2019. Prospero’s Island, of which portions will be performed in Sonic Harvest 21, is on a libretto by Claudia Stevens after Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and will premiere in March, 2023 at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco. 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 2019 at Z Space in San Francisco. Recent operas in collaboration with Shearer are Jackie at Vassar and Prospero’s Island, of which a portion will be presented in Sonic Harvest 21. Claudia Stevens is a Contributing Director of Sonic Harvest.
Praised for her “…breathtaking…” and “…captivating…” performances and for her “…great expressiveness…”, pianist Brenda Tom Vahur has distinguished herself as an artist of passion and integrity. Her diverse career reflects her versatility as a soloist as well as a chamber musician. A strong advocate of new works, Brenda is the pianist for Earplay, celebrated new music ensemble in San Francisco. Brenda has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra, I Solisti di Oakland, Fort Collins Symphony, California Symphony, and Sacramento Symphony, among others. Her playing has garnered acclaim as “… a tour de force performance, playing with impeccable fluency…”, “…the B-flat minor piano concerto (Tchaikovsky) was a sensation and the audience was wildly enthusiastic”. As a chamber musician, Brenda has collaborated with luminaries including Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Dennis Russell Davies, Zuill Bailey, Phil Myers, and Gary Karr. For many years she was a member of the Sacramento Chamber Music Society and Music/Now. As a member of Earplay, Brenda regularly presents premieres of new solo and chamber ensemble pieces. Brenda has recorded for PianoDisc, China Recording Company, Klavier Records, IMG Media, and most recently, Snow Leopard Music – featuring compositions by Howard Hersh. She received her training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying under Mack McCray and Beatrice Beauregard.