FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Kaulkin
Acclaimed Bay Area chamber choir engages three SF Conservatory students as Composers-in-Residence for the 2022-23 season.
San Francisco, October 28, 2022 – San Francisco Choral Artists (SFCA), Magen Solomon, Artistic Director, has named SF Conservatory composers Clark Evans, Samuel C. Nedel, and José Daniel Vargas as Composers-in-Residence for the 2022-23 concert season. Each composer will write a commissioned piece that will be premiered on one of SFCA’s three concert sets taking place in December, March, and June.
SFCA’s Composer-in-Residence program was launched in 1999, in keeping with the choir’s mission to foster the careers of local composers and to encourage the creation of new choral music in general. Each season since then, the choir has engaged a single Bay Area composer for the role, which entails writing a commissioned piece to premiere on each of the season’s three concert programs. Prominent local composers like David Conte, Kirke Mechem, and Henry Mollicone are on the list of past participants.
This season’s inclusion of three student (and recent graduate) composers – a departure from the usual model – is part of SFCA’s ongoing effort to nurture the next generation of choral composers. In addition to the New Voices Project – an annual competition open to US-based composers under the age of 30, since 2010 the choir has been assisting the SF Conservatory’s bi-annual Choral Composition Competition – affording SFCM student composers the opportunity to hear professional-quality performances of their pieces, and to receive valuable practical feedback from Artistic Director Magen Solomon.
Solomon said, “The singers and I had a wonderful time preparing for the competition last spring, and working with the Conservatory's talented composers. I thought our Composer-in-Residence program would offer three of them (it was a hard choice!) a further opportunity to write for choir, and to be heard by a broader audience.”
In 2010 SFCA added the Composer-Not-in-Residence program, open to composers outside the Bay Area. This season’s honor goes to Buffalo, NY–based Caroline Mallonee, whose works SFCA audiences have heard in past seasons. Each concert will also include commissioned premieres of her music.
SFCA’S 2022-23 SEASON
Tickets: “Pay What You Will” at www.sfca.org
December 2022 – CHRISTMAS POSTCARDS
World premieres by Composer-in-Residence Samuel C. Nedel (SFCM) and Composer-Not-in-Residence Caroline Mallonee
Sample 500 years of seasonal music and the rich diversity of cultures, languages, and traditions here in the Bay Area and across the world, from exciting new works to spirituals and audience favorites. Music by Sweelinck, Vaughan Williams, and Mollicone, plus 4 world premieres!
Join us as we explore the ephemeral power of both sound and silence: music’s ability to transform and delight, to move, comfort, and celebrate. We sing of birds, trees, and outer space, of love, pain, and laughter.
June 2023 – SHAKESPEARE & FRIENDS
World premieres by Composer-in-Residence José Daniel Vargas (SFCM), Composer-Not-in-Residence Caroline Mallonee, and the winner of the 2023 New Voices Project competition
450 years on, Shakespeare’s words still inspire composers and poets. In collaboration with a local actor we’ll pay musical tribute to the genius of William and friends, including Dickinson, Whitman, Hirschfield, Kay Ryan, Rilke, Tagore, Cummings, Basho, and others.
BIOS – Photos available at www.sfca.org/press
About San Francisco Choral Artists
Now in their 38th season, and 28th under the leadership of Artistic Director Magen Solomon, San Francisco Choral Artists (SFCA) are a Bay Area chamber choir with a mission to foster new American choral music. They present eclectic, imaginative programs of new works and repertoire spanning 600 years in performances of uncompromisingly high quality. Each season, SFCA offers three concert sets consisting of three live performances in San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto and other Bay Area communities. Winner of the 2020 American Prize and two Chorus America/ASCAP awards for adventurous programming, SFCA has collaborated with a diverse range of musicians, including jazz violinist Mads Tolling, harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels Dupree, the SF Chamber Orchestra, the Alexander String Quartet, The Whole Noyse, the Galax Quartet, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and the Sonos Handbell Ensemble. SFCA has also performed with the Chamber Choir of the Academy of Arts in Berlin (Germany), and the Ateneo Chamber Singers (Philippines).
Magen Solomon, Artistic Director
SFCA Artistic Director since 1995, Magen Solomon avidly cultivates engagements with living composers to bridge the gulf between audience, composer, and performer. Under her leadership SFCA has established the Composer-in- and Not-in-Residence programs, the Composers Invitational, the New Voices Project competition to help launch the artistic careers of young composers under age 30, SFCA+1 to expand the repertoire for chamber choir and a single instrument, and the Wild Card Program to expand SFCA composer support.
An innovative teacher and conductor, Dr. Solomon is active across the US and abroad as clinician, teacher, and guest conductor, and she has collaborated on performances of major choral works with Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Nicolas McGegan, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Helmuth Rilling, among others. She taught at the University of Southern California from 2004-2010 and was Director of Choral Activities at Santa Clara University, served as Music Director of the Oakland Symphony Chorus for twelve years, of the Stockton Chorale and Master Chorale for four years, and currently serves as artistic director of the San Francisco Bach Choir in addition to her SFCA role. She is Chair of ACDA’s Herford Dissertation Prize Committee and has published a scholarly edition of 16th-century German partsongs.
Samuel C. Nedel
Composer-in-Residence, December 2022
Originally from Kent, Ohio, Samuel’s formative years were in orchestral and choral music. As a young adult he played double bass in the Kent State Symphony, sang with the Cleveland Opera Chorus and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, founded and directed a youth contemporary music choir at a church in Kent, and performed on stages and in orchestra pits throughout Ohio and the Northeast US.
In 2008, Samuel moved to New York City to pursue a career as a freelance musician. Over the ensuing decade he composed and performed choral works with Chromatic Voice Exchange, sang with the choirs of Saint Bartholomew’s Church and The Church of the Ascension (Catholic), and played double bass with The Chelsea Symphony, the Queer Urban Orchestra, Amore Opera, Blue Hill Troupe, The Bronx Opera, and internationally renowned cabaret artist, Micheline Van Houtem. He performed at venues including Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall), The Juilliard School, The Bruno Walter Auditorium, The Stonewall Inn, and Carnegie Hall. In 2014, Samuel made his television debut as a member of the fictitious "New York Symphony" in Amazon Studios' original series, Mozart in the Jungle.
In 2015, Samuel began studying composition with Lowell Liebermann at Mannes School of Music (The New School). After a move to San Francisco in 2017 and a hiatus, he resumed his studies with David Garner at San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), where he received his Bachelor of Music in Composition in 2022. Samuel is currently pursuing a Professional Studies Certificate in the Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program at SFCM.
Composer-in-Residence, March 2023
Clark Evans has been a part of many varied ensembles as a cellist and as a pianist, competed as a soloist on both instruments, and has taught many students. He has received awards and has had opportunities to perform as a soloist with various community and professional orchestras including the Brigham Young University Philharmonic, the Utah Philharmonic, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Civic Orchestra of Tucson. Additionally, he was a finalist in the 2018 Osaka International Music Competition.
A prolific composer, he has had the privilege of seeing many of his works performed throughout the United States and Europe. His music has been commissioned by individuals and by professional and student ensembles, and has been performed in local venues, on tours, and programmed in regular concert seasons. He has received the awards of finalist and honorable mention in the annual ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition. Additionally, in July of 2018 he was involved as an administrative assistant for the prestigious annual Barlow Commission. In 2019 he was awarded 1st prize in the Vera Hinckley Mayhew Composition Contest.
Evans is a graduate of San Francisco Conservatory of Music, with Masters of Music degrees in cello performance and in music composition. He also holds a B.M. in Music Performance, with an emphasis in strings, from Brigham Young University. His past teachers include Elinor Armer, Stephen Jones, Michael Hicks, Christian Asplund, Steve Ricks, and Ilona Vukovic Gay.
José Daniel Vargas
Composer-in-Residence, June 2023
José Daniel Vargas is a 3rd-year bachelor’s student in Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, José had an eclectic musical upbringing that began with the electric guitar and classic rock music in his early teenage years. Joining his middle school orchestra playing the double-bass, José learned how to read sheet music and was immediately interested in learning how to write his own. Almost entirely self-taught through internet forums and YouTube tutorials, the only music lessons José received before arriving at SFCM were private lessons on the double-bass with Dr. Philip Alejo at the University of Arizona.
Throughout high school, José became heavily involved in music performance, participating in band, jazz band, orchestra, as well as a community youth orchestra program called Tucson Junior Strings. José would perform everything from James Brown to Beethoven at festivals, paid gigs and school concerts. Throughout this time José was also constantly writing his own music and learning from the music he played. Eventually José participated in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project where student composers worked with professional musicians and had their music played by the orchestra. The Tucson Symphony premiered José’s first orchestral work Amour dépérissant in May of 2019. December of 2021 saw the world-premiere of a piece José arranged and orchestrated with the Cape Cod Pops Orchestra on their holiday concert.
José is currently studying under David Conte, as well as teaching private lessons.
American composer Caroline Mallonee (b. 1975) is an award-winning composer based in Buffalo, NY. Her music has been programmed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, Bargemusic, Tenri Cultural Center, Town Hall, Roulette, and National Sawdust in New York City, as well as further afield at the Carlsbad Music Festival (CA), Long Leaf Opera Festival (NC), Bennington Chamber Music Conference (VT), the Corcoran Gallery (Washington, DC), and Jordan Hall (Boston, MA).
The New York Philharmonic included her music on its CONTACT! new music series in 2015 and commissioned a new work in 2019. She has also been commissioned to write new pieces for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Spektral Quartet, Present Music, Wet Ink Ensemble, PRISM Quartet, Ciompi Quartet, Ethos Percussion, and the Buffalo Chamber Players, for whom she serves as composer-in-residence.
Her choral music is performed widely. She has been commissioned by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Vocális Chamber Choir, Buffalo Girlchoir, and A Prairie Home Companion, among others. First rising to national prominence at 14 with The Carolers At My Door, Dr. Mallonee has won the ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Yale Glee Club’s Emerging Composers Competition, Ft. Myers Mastersingers Prize, and the Institute for Choral Creativity Competition.
She is the director of the Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat, a week-long festival for composers and improvisers held in New Hampshire each June. She holds degrees from Harvard, Yale and Duke, and held a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands, where she studied with Louis Andriessen.