The Music

Show Credits for “Transcendent”

Posted by SoundBox

February 18, 2016


Ragnar Bohlin, conductor, began his tenure as Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony in 2007. Mr. Bohlin served as choirmaster of Stockholm’s Maria Magdalena Church and holds degrees from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. He studied conducting with Eric Ericson and Jorma Panula, piano with Peter Feuchtwanger in London, singing with Nicolai Gedda, and through a Sweden-America Foundation scholarship he visited choruses throughout the US. With Stockholm’s KFUM Chamber Choir, the Maria Magdalena Motet Choir, and the Maria Vocal Ensemble, Mr. Bohlin has won numerous prizes in international competitions. Currently teaching at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he has also taught at the Royal Academy in Stockholm and been a visiting professor at Indiana University and Miami University. With the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, he has conducted J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and B minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and Orff’s Carmina burana. He has also appeared as guest conductor of the Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia, the Madrid Choral Society, the Swedish Radio Choir, the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, and the Stavanger and Edmonton symphonies. Recent and upcoming appearances include performances in Lund and Stavanger, return engagements with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and a recording of Sixten’s Saint John Passion in Stockholm. Mr. Bohlin is the founding Artistic Director of the professional chamber choir Cappella SF; the group recently released a Christmas CD on the Delos label. In 2013, he was awarded the Cultural Achievement Award from the Swedish-America Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Symphony Chorus was established in 1973 at the request of Seiji Ozawa, then the Symphony’s Music Director; the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, numbering thirty-two professional and more than 120 volunteer members, performs more than twenty concerts each season. Louis Magor served as the Chorus’s director during its first decade. In 1982 Margaret Hillis, assumed the ensemble’s leadership, and the following year Vance George was named Chorus Director, serving through 2005-06. Ragnar Bohlin assumed the position of Chorus Director in March 2007. The Chorus can be heard on many acclaimed recordings, including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, and 8 (with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting), choral works of Brahms, Mahler’s Das klagende Lied, Stravinsky’s Perséphone, selections from Berlioz’s Lélio, and John Adams’s Harmonium. The ensemble has received Grammy awards for Best Performance of a Choral Work (for Orff ’s Carmina burana, Brahms’s German Requiem, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8) and Best Classical Album (for a collection of Stravinsky’s music including Perséphone, The Firebird, and Le Sacre du printemps; and for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 8).

Pre-Concert Artists

The Crucible, founded in 1999, is a nonprofit education organization focused on industrial arts and crafts. Based in a 56,000 square foot West Oakland facility, the organization offers classes year-round in twenty different disciplines including blacksmithing, ceramics, enameling, foundry, glass blowing, jewelry, kinetics, leather, neon, stone working, textiles, welding, woodworking, and others. With spring and summer camps for kids, The Crucible is the largest school of its type and serves more than 5,000 students of all ages each year. The organization is also known for a variety of high-profile annual events such as Hot Couture, a unique amalgam of fashion and industrial design. Chris Niemer is The Crucible’s Head of Blacksmithing and Celeste Flores is Senior Blacksmithing Faculty.

Margaret Davis, harp and recorder, and Kristoph Klover, flute, (Friday only) perform original arrangements of Celtic music from the British Isles and Medieval and Renaissance melodies of the European courts and countrysides, interweaving vocals with Celtic harp, mandolin, recorders, guitar, flute, and whistle. They have appeared with the San Francisco Renaissance Voices, and on many concert series throughout the West Coast. They have recorded twelve CDs on the Flowinglass Music label, both as a duo and with their groups Broceliande and Avalon Rising. In 2008 they performed in the Disney movie Bedtime Stories.

Shawna Spiteri, harp, (Saturday only) took up the harp two decades ago to explore her interest in early and Celtic music. She is a member of the Triskela Harp Trio, and also serves as the music director for Bella Donna Historical Performers, a singing/acting troupe which appears at various historic re-creation events around the Bay Area.


Jonathan Thomas, tenor, a Lawrence, Kansas native, joined the San Francisco Symphony Chorus in 2014 and has since appeared as a soloist with the SFS in Carmina burana, led by Ragnar Bohlin, and in Monteverdi’s Magnificat from the Vespers of 1610 in the SoundBox series, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Before moving to the Bay Area, Mr. Thomas completed opera apprenticeships at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Des Moines Metro Opera. He has performed concert and opera repertory throughout the Midwest, including singing the tenor solo in the world premiere of Robert Kapilow’s Summer Sun, Winter Moon with the Kansas City Symphony, performing with the Kansas City Chorale, and appearing on recordings with the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers. He currently sings with the professional chamber choir Cappella SF.

Matthew Peterson, baritone, is in his fifth season as a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Previous solo appearances with the Symphony include Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Missa solemnis, Stravinsky's Mass, the Magnificat from Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 in the SoundBox series, and the role of First Burgess in Britten's Peter Grimes. He has also made solo appearances in the Bay Area with Cappella SF, Opera San Jose, and the San Jose Symphonic Choir, in Washington DC with the Washington Master Chorale, and in the Czech Republic and Austria with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Peterson studied piano with Hans Boepple and voice with Paul Murray at Santa Clara University.

Video Designer

Adam Larsen is a filmmaker and projection designer. His work has been seen in Hal Prince’s LoveMusik on Broadway; The Gospel at Colonus at the Athens, Edinburgh, and Spoleto festivals; The Wind Up Bird Chronicle at the Singapore and Edinburgh festivals; Brief Encounters and My Fair Lady at the Shaw Festival; The Women of Brewster Place at Alliance Theatre and  Arena Stage; Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and Native Guard at Alliance Theatre; big at Atlanta Ballet; Love Lies BleedingFumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Balletlujah at Alberta Ballet; Janáček’s From the House of the Dead at Canadian Opera; Lily Plants a Garden at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; Saariaho’s Maa with Atlanta Symphony and GloAtl; Adams’s A Flowering Tree and Handel’s Agrippina at Opera Omaha; Handel’s Semele with Pacific Musicworks; Quartet at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet; Seed at Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet; Cage’s Second Hand and Foss’s Phorion with New World Symphony; Black Whole at Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center and Moog Music; and Peter Grimes, Peer Gynt, and Debussy’s Le martyre de Saint Sébastien, as well as several SoundBox performances with the San Francisco Symphony. Mr. Larsen holds a BFA in cinematography from North Carolina School of the Arts. His documentary about autism entitled Neurotypical aired on the PBS series POV.

Lighting Designer

Luke Kritzeck has worked with artists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds in theater, dance, music, circus, and opera on stages around the world. Prior to joining New World Symphony as the Director of Lighting in January 2014, Mr. Kritzeck spent six years working for Cirque du Soleil on its touring production TOTEM and in Macau, China on its resident show ZAiA. His other projects with Cirque du Soleil include serving as the lighting director for featured performances, including the Venetian Macau Tennis Showdown and the International Indian Film Awards, which was broadcast to more than 350 million viewers. Mr. Kritzeck’s design credits include Chautauqua Opera Company, Cincinnati Ballet, Cedar Fair Entertainment, Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Lafayette Ballet Theatre, and the San Francisco Symphony.