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Gianna Abondolo, cellist, leads a dynamic career performing regularly as soloist, chamber musician, improviser, and composer. Top prizewinner of the 1988 Young Musician’s Foundation Debut Competition, she gave her New York solo debut performance in 1991 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she started playing the cello at age eight and subsequently began concertizing, including at the age of 15 a performance of Vivaldi’s double concerto with Yo-Yo Ma and the Crossroads School Orchestra of which Terry McQuilkin of the LA. Times wrote, “clearly a musician of exceptional talent”. In 1991, upon receiving her Masters Degree from the Juilliard School, she won a position with the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Esa Pekka Salonen, with whom she played for four years. She has played in numerous festivals including Marlboro, Tanglewood, Steamboat Springs, Santa.Clara University New Music Festival, Other Minds SF, the Santa Barbara Academy of the West, and in Italy at the Accademia Chigiana and the Festivale Positano. Ms. Abondolo resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she has played with the Adorno Ensemble, Quartet San Francisco, SF Contemporary Music Players, and as principal cellist of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the SF Chamber Orchestra, and the Berkeley Akademie. Among the noteworthy composers she has worked with include Joan Tower, John Adams, Esa Pekka Salonen, Lou Harrison, Gabriela Frank, Karen Tanaka, and Alex Shapiro.
As a composer herself, her compositional style blends ethnic influences with western classical tradition. Recently she just finished writing the musical score for the film Of Stones and Water, directed by Tonia Shimin. She has been commissioned to write for various individual artists as well as by dance companies, The Perks and Santa Barbara Dance Theater. Her compositions have been performed at the Cunningham Space in N.Y. City, Jacob's Pillow, the Oakland Dance Festival, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, Mills College, Old First Concerts in San Francisco, the Santa Clara University New Music Festival, Music at the Mission San José, Cal State LA, Strings Showcase in Berkeley, and by the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. Of her recordings, her CD “De’ja` Vu”, was showcased on S.F. Bay Area radio stations, “Sing Out” KPFA and KALW.
Gianna is a former lecturer of UC Berkeley and is on the faculty of Mills College in Oakland, California.
Belle Bulwinkle is known as a performer on both early and modern pianos. The San Francisco Chronicle described her playing as “terrific technically as well as expressively. One seldom hears so much finesse…”. Lou Harrison dedicated his Concerto for Piano and Javanese Gamelan to her. She played the world premiere of this work at Mills College and a second performance at the Cabrillo Festival. She has given the first US performances of works by international composers Jack Body, Marcello Panni, Anthony Payne and Makiko Nishikaza.
As a fortepianist she has performed at Davies Symphony Hall, UC Santa Cruz, Cornell University, Santa Rosa Symphony Summer Festival, Hausmusik, Old First Concerts, Cascade Head (OR) Music Festival, Musicsources and Mills College. She gave the dedicatory recital of a new fortepiano at Palomar College, and she was a soloist at the Antverpiano91 Festival in Belgium. In May 2014, she was both a performer and a panelist at the Keyboard Festival at UC Davis.
Her recordings include the Harrison concerto on the Leonardo label, songs of Darius Milhaud on Music & Arts, and Jose Maceda’s Sujeichon on Tzadik. Ms. Bulwinkle is on the performance faculty at Mills College where she frequently appears in concert. She has taught music history and theory at Mills and at the California College of Arts.
Sara Ganz, soprano, first arrived in San Francisco as a member of the prestigious Merola program, and subsequently performed often with the San Francisco Opera and its affiliates, touring with Western Opera Theater and starring in Spring Opera productions. A favorite with Donald Pippin’s Pocket Opera, Sara specialized in the operas of Mozart, Handel and Offenbach. During her seven seasons with the Carmel Bach Festival, Sara enjoyed the Mozart roles of Papagena, Despina and Zerlina, Marzellina in Fidelio, as well as her Bach cantata assignments. Sara has been heard as an orchestral soloist with San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Marin Symphony, Stockton Symphony, Pasadena Symphony and the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, in such works as Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite, and Britten’s Spring Symphony, as well as the soprano solos in the oratorio repertoire. An advocate of new works, Sara has been featured in San Francisco Symphony’s New and Unusual Series, with Composer’s Inc., Earplay and the Paul Dresher Ensemble. A devoted recitalist, Sara has performed with Community Concerts, Old First Concerts and Schwabacher Debut Recitals. She can be heard in recordings of Janacek’s Jenufa, songs of Darius Milhaud and Ron McFarland, Martins’ Maria Triptychon, and in “Lullaby”, which received a Parent’s Choice award in 2002. Sara served on the faculty of San Francisco State University for many years, and is currently on the music faculty at Mills College in Oakland. Sara maintains an active vocal studio from her home in the Sunset District of San Francisco.
Gloria Justen is a versatile violinist and composer who works and plays in solo, chamber, symphonic and electronic settings. As a violinist she has performed and toured internationally with The Philadelphia Orchestra and The San Francisco Symphony, as well as touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble and playing works by many other contemporary composers. She has also contributed to numerous albums by popular artists. Her compositions have been performed by chamber orchestras in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and she has released a CD called Four-Stringed Voice: music for solo violin. On the digital side, Gloria has created surround sound collages and pieces for electric violin. Gloria performs and composes using traditional instruments and methods side by side with computer audio techniques and electric instruments. She teaches violin at Mills College.
Daniel Lockert is a multi-talented pianist/collaborator. He was honored as the only American finalist at the first International Accompanying Competition held in Den Haag, the Netherlands. In his role as pianist/collaborator, his wide-ranging career has taken him around the globe, playing throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. He has been praised for exhibiting a strong sense of rhythm, lovely variety of touches, and a convincing sense of historical style.
Mr. Lockert has partnered with many notable singers including Deborah Voight, Enrico di Giuseppe, Brenda Boozer, Janice Taylor and Christopheren Nomura. His chamber music performances have included appearances with the Alexander String Quartet among others. Other noteworthy collaborations have included Nathaniel Webster, Angelina Reaux, David Gordon, Catherine Robbin and cellist Gary Hoffmann in addition to jazz singer Luciana Souza. And, he has been paired with a number of distinguished conductors including Sir David Willcocks and William Hall. Following one of his many recital appearances, it was stated in a Los Angeles Times’ review that ““Daniel Lockert was the expert pianist of the occasion; his sensitive and authoritative playing matched in every way the level of the singing.”
Daniel Lockert began his piano studies at the age of five. He received his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with a minor in organ from Loma Linda University. Following were studies for an advanced degree at the University of Southern California in the specialized area of accompanying, studying with the renowned Gwendolyn Koldofsky who was the pioneer teacher in the field of accompanying and the pedagogue to many distinguished accompanists.
Currently, Mr. Lockert is Professor of Collaborative Piano and Vocal Coach at Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont CA. as well as teaching courses in Song Literature at Holy Names University, Oakland, CA. He recently joined the piano and accompanying staff at Mills College. In his role as coach and teacher, he has been on several faculties including the Juilliard School, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Chapman University among others. He has also served on the coaching staff at the San Francisco Opera, Opera San Jose, and the Aspen Music Festival.
Winner of numerous awards, including the 1975 Ravel Prize at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris, pianist Robert Schwartz has performed extensively in the US and abroad. Of his performance of the Shostakovich first piano concerto with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Scranton Times wrote: "His playing was crystal clear and his poetic insights remarkable." Mr. Schwartz made his formal New York debut in 1983 at the Merkin Concert Hall, having already appeared in New York City on the concert series' of the American Landmarks Festivals, Trinity Church and the Maison Française at NYU. Musical appearances on radio have included the WNYC "Americathon" broadcast live from Merkin Hall, WQXR in New York, NPR affiliates KXPR-Sacramento and WGBH-Boston. Klavier Records has released his recording of Romero’s Spirals for piano and orchestra, with the San Francisco Camerata and his CD of French piano music was released in 2010. A recording of Iberia by Isaac Albéniz will be appear in 2012. Mr. Schwartz has recently given recitals and master classes at the Young International Pianists Festival in Vienna, the Chautauqua Institution, the Portland International Piano Festival in Portland, Oregon and the Beijing Conservatory in Beijing, China. He was invited return to Vienna to participate as professor in the Vienna Master Courses in July 2010. Schwartz has appeared in the Bay Area on the concert series' of Old First Church, The Steinway Society, Noontime Concerts, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mills College and San Francisco Performances, and has appeared as soloist with the Redding Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Camerata and the Orquesta de Cámara Municipal de Rosario, Argentina. Schwartz has taught at Skyline College and Santa Clara University and is currently on the piano faculty at Mills College in Oakland, CA and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He was featured on the California Arts Council Touring Roster for two seasons 2003-2005. Mr. Schwartz holds a Bachelor's Degree from Indiana University, a Masters Degree from Juilliard, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Manhattan School of Music.