The Music

Show Credits: Syntax

Posted by SoundBox

April 24, 2019

Pamela Z is a composer, performer, and media artist who works with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video. A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she processes her voice in real time to create dense, complex sonic layers. Her solo works combine experimental extended vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text, digital processing, and wireless MIDI controllers that allow her to manipulate sound with physical gestures. In addition to her solo work, she has been commissioned to compose scores for dance, theater, film, and chamber ensembles including the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ethel, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Her interdisciplinary performance works have been presented at venues including the Kitchen (New York), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), REDCAT (Los Angeles), and MCA (Chicago), and her installations have been presented at such exhibition spaces as the Whitney (New York), the Diözesanmuseum (Germany), and the Krannert Center (Illinois). Pamela Z has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. She has performed in numerous festivals including Bang on a Can at Lincoln Center (New York), Interlink (Japan), Other Minds (San Francisco), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), Dak’Art (Sénégal), and Pina Bausch Tanztheater Festival (Germany). She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation residency, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, an Ars Electronica honorable mention, and the NEA Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship. She holds a music degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. For more on Pamela Z, visit

Conductor, composer, and curator Christopher Rountree is a forward-thinking innovator in classical programming, conducting, and community building. He founded the twenty-four-piece ensemble wild Up in 2010. The group’s eccentric mix of new music, pop, and performance art has led to collaborations with Björk, John Adams, David Lang, Scott Walker, and many of the planet's greatest orchestras and ensembles.

This year, Mr. Rountree curates and conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic's FLUXUS Festival, the experimental music component of the LA Philharmonic’s 100th season in collaboration with the Getty Research Institute. His 2018-19 season includes debuts with the Cincinnati Symphony conducting John Adams The Dharma at Big Sur, and at the Berkeley Symphony conducting Sofia Gubaidulina's Concerto for Two Orchestras and Duke Ellington's Black, Brown, and Beige; the New York premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up at Miller Theater; and his subscription debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic leading Berio’s Sinfonia and John Cage’s Apartment House 1776 with Roomful of Teeth. He takes wild Up on tour with audience interactive programs, celebrating local communities and the intersection of art and social justice; premieres new pieces of Julianna Barwick and Andrew Greenwald at Walt Disney Concert Hall; unveils an evening-length program with Ted Hearne, George Lewis, Jen Hill, and Weston Olencki about religion, space, and the Internet called of Ascension; makes his debut on the Ecstatic Music Festival with new work by William Brittelle and Zola Jesus; plays a live radio show at the ACE Hotel with Nadia Sirota, Andrew Norman, and Caroline Shaw; curates a joint program with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Four Larks at Hauser and Wirth; and conducts a new program called Eve with Martha Graham Dance Company at The Soraya.

In September 2018, Mr. Rountree debuted with Martha Graham Dance Company and Opéra national de Paris conducting The Rite of Spring, Samuel Barber’s Medea, and the Paris premiere of the Graham-Copland Appalachian Spring at Palais Garnier. Recently, he made his Lincoln Center debut premiering Ashley Fure's Pulitzer Prize finalist piece Bound to the Bow on the New York Philharmonic's Biennal; conducted Ted Hearne’s twenty-first century masterwork Law of Mosaics with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; gave the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s opera about the death of the American Dream, Proving Up, at Washington National Opera and Opera Omaha; conducted the world premiere of David Lang’s opera anatomy theater at Los Angeles Opera; and premiered Annie Gosfield and Yuval Sharon’s War of the Worlds with Sigourney Weaver and Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, simultaneously performed across downtown Los Angeles and at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

A seventh-generation California native descended from Santa Cruz County sheriffs, Mr. Rountree lives in Los Angeles.

Alexander Barantschik, occupant of the Naoum Blinder Chair, began his tenure as San Francisco Symphony Concertmaster in September 2001. Former concertmaster of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (Germany), London Symphony Orchestra (1989 to 2001), and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic (1982 to 2001), he has also been an active soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe. He has collaborated in chamber music with André Previn, Antonio Pappano and, on several occasions, Mstislav Rostropovich. As leader of the LSO, Mr. Barantschik toured Europe, Japan, and the US, performed as soloist, and served as concertmaster for acclaimed cycles of Mahler, Stravinsky, and Debussy with Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as major symphonic cycles with Rostropovich and Bernard Haitink. He was also concertmaster for Pierre Boulez’s year-long, three-continent 75th Birthday Celebration.

Born in Russia, Mr. Barantschik attended the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and went on to perform with the major Russian orchestras, including the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic. His awards include first prize in the International Violin Competition in Sion, Switzerland, and in the Russian National Violin Competition. Since joining the SFS, Mr. Barantschik has led the Orchestra in several programs and appeared as soloist in concertos and other works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Walton, Piazzolla, and Schnittke, among others. Later this month he appears as soloist with the SFS in J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with conductor Juraj Valčuha. Mr. Barantschik is a member of the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he teaches graduate students from around the world in a special concertmaster program.

Through an arrangement with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Mr. Barantschik has the exclusive use of the 1742 Guarnerius del Gesù violin once owned by the virtuoso Ferdinand David, who is believed to have played it in the world premiere of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in 1845. It was also the favorite instrument of the legendary Jascha Heifetz, who acquired it in 1922 and who bequeathed it to the Fine Arts Museums, with the stipulation that it be played only by artists worthy of the instrument and its legacy. For more on Alexander Barantschik, visit

David Chernyavsky joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2009. Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, he began violin studies at the age of six and at eleven gave his first solo recital. After winning prizes in competitions in Russia and France, he entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. In 1997, Mr. Chernyavsky came to the US to study at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and, later, at the Juilliard School. He has recorded several CDs with the Saint Petersburg Quartet and with the Joel Rubin Klezmer Music Ensemble, and he has released a solo CD, Klezmer Violin. He also performs and teaches with the San Francisco Academy Orchestra.

Matthew Young joined the SFS viola section in 2012. He was a founding member of the Verklärte Quartet, which won grand prize in the 2003 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He currently performs as a member of Ensemble San Francisco. Winner of a 2007 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians and the Robert Vernon Prize for Viola Performance, he attended the University of Kentucky, Yale School of Music, and Cleveland Institute of Music.

Anne Pinsker joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1982. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, where she studied with Leonard Rose, and she has served as a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra and as a regular substitute in the Chicago Symphony.

Soprano Marnie Breckenridge is a champion of contemporary music, regularly performing new music by modern composers in concert and recital. Recent opera roles include Mother in Dog Days by David T. Little with Montclair Peak Performances, Sierva Maria in Peter Eötvös’s Love and Other Demons at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, La Princesse in Philip Glass’s Orphée and Margarita Xirgu in Golijov’s Ainadamar with Opera Parallèle, her Berkeley Symphony debut in Unsuk Chin’s Cantantrix Sopranica with Kent Nagano, and her Ravinia Festival debut in Jake Heggie’s To Hell and Back with Philharmonia Baroque. She recently composed the vocal lines for and sang the lead in Wake, an original production with director Mei Ann Teo and composer Jon Bernstein at the Connelly in New York. For her debut with the Sacramento Philharmonic she sang Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras and Chicago Songs, written for her by Kurt Erickson. Other recent concert work includes Carmina burana with the San Francisco Choral Society, Berg in Vienna concerts at Bard Festival, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Napa and Pacific Symphonies. She performed under the baton of Lorin Maazel as Lucia in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia at his Castleton Foundation and on tour. Ms. Breckenridge is a featured soloist on a 2012 New World Records’ album of Victor Herbert songs and recently made her European and Asian debuts as Cunegonde in Candide with the English National Opera and Prague State Opera.

Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy-winning, artist-run quartet of classically trained percussionists from Chicago, IL. For more than ten years, the ensemble has forged a unique path in the musical landscape with virtuosic, energetic performances that celebrate the extraordinary depth and breadth of musical possibilities in the world of percussion. The four members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and since 2013, have served as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

A direct connection with the audience is at the core of all of Third Coast Percussion’s work, whether the musicians are speaking from the stage about a new piece of music, inviting the audience to play along in a concert or educational performance, or inviting their fans around the world to create new music using one of their free mobile apps. They maintain a busy touring schedule, with past performances in thirty-three of the fifty states plus Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland, and venues ranging from concert halls at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and De Doelen, to clubs and alternative performance spaces such as New York’s Le Poisson Rouge and the National Gallery’s West Garden Court.

A commission for new work from composer Augusta Read Thomas in 2012 led to the realization that commissioning new musical works can be—and should be—as collaborative as any other artistic partnership. Through extensive workshopping and close contact with composers, Third Coast Percussion has commissioned and premiered new works from Philip Glass, Devonté Hynes, Donnacha Dennehy, Glenn Kotche, Lei Liang, Gavin Bryars, Christopher Cerrone, Marcos Balter, and today’s leading up-and-coming composers through their Emerging Composers Partnership Program. These works have become part of the ensemble’s core repertory and seen hundreds of performances across North America and throughout Europe.

Third Coast Percussion’s recordings include eight full-length albums, three EPs, and numerous appearances on other releases. The quartet has put its stamp on iconic percussion works by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Philippe Manoury. They have also created first recordings of commissioned works by Philip Glass, Augusta Read Thomas, David T. Little, and Ted Hearne, in addition to recordings of the ensemble’s own compositions. In 2017 the ensemble won the Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble performance for their recording of Steve Reich’s works for percussion.

Third Coast Percussion has collaborated with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Chicago Philharmonic, and the Adler Planetarium. They performed at the grand opening of Maggie Daley Children’s Park, conducted residencies at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, created multi-year collaborative projects with Chicago-based composers Augusta Read Thomas, Glenn Kotche, and chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird, and taught tens of thousands of students through partnerships with The People’s Music School, Urban Gateways, the Chicago Park District, Rush Hour Concerts, and others.

The members of Third Coast Percussion met while studying percussion at Northwestern University. Members of Third Coast also hold degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Rutgers University, New England Conservatory, and Yale School of Music.

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 2014, Mr. Kritzeck spent six years working for Cirque du Soleil on its touring production TOTEM and in Macau on its resident show ZAiA. He also served as the lighting director for featured Cirque performances, including the Venetian Macau Tennis Showdown and the International Indian Film Awards. 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.

Adam Larsen is a documentary filmmaker and designer for live performance. Video designs for the San Francisco Symphony include Le martyre de Saint Sébastien, Peer Gynt, Peter Grimes, On the Town, Das klagende Lied, Michael Tilson Thomas’s Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, and most recently, Boris Godunov. Mr. Larsen is also Resident Projection Designer for SoundBox. Other works include Hal Prince’s LoveMusik on Broadway; Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking The Waves at Opera Philadelphia and Prototype; Lee Breuer’s The Gospel at Colonus at the Athens, Edinburgh, and Spoleto festivals; Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle at the Singapore and Edinburgh festivals; Kaija Saariaho’s Maa with Atlanta Symphony; Janáček’s From the House of the Dead at Canadian Opera; The Pelleas Project at the Cincinnati Symphony; Jonathan Dove’s Siren Song, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann at Hawaii Opera Theatre; John Adams’s A Flowering Tree and Handel’s Agrippina at Opera Omaha; Handel’s Semele with Pacific Musicworks; Cage’s Second Hand and Foss’s Phorion with New World Symphony; Dove’s Flight at Juilliard; Bora Yoon’s Sunken Cathedral at Prototype; and Mascagni’s Iris at Bard Summerscape. Mr. Larsen’s documentary about autism entitled Neurotypical aired on the PBS series POV.