Philip Saunders, in his sixteenth season as low bass for Volti, studied trombone and voice at Indiana University. He played four years for the Fresno Philharmonic, and in various Los Angeles and San Francisco area orchestras. He sang with the Fresno Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera Chorus, L.A. Master Chorale, S.F. Symphony Chorus, Creative Voices, AVE and the Josquin Singers, and has twice been guest soloist at the Mendocino Music Festival. He also sings (and contributes the odd motet and psalm setting) for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oakland as soloist and substitute Music Director, and is a founding member of Pacific Collegium. He works with computers to keep the lights on.
E.E. “Chip” Grant IV, baritone, is in his seventeenth season with Volti. He has served as preparatory conductor and coach for Opera Carolina, New England Conservatory Opera, The American Symphony, Opera Festival di Roma, George Coates Performance Works, and San Francisco Lyric Opera, as well as Volti. Chip received his M.M. in conducting from New England Conservatory and taught music on the Sea Islands of South Carolina. He is currently Director of Music at St. Mary the Virgin in Cow Hollow. Three years ago he founded Urban Opera, conducting and directing the inaugural production of Dido and Aeneas. Most recently, he directed David Lang’s the little match girl passion with San Francisco Lyric Opera. This coming April, the production will be presented at Den Fynske Opera in Odense, Denmark.
Sidney Chen is a founding member of The M6, a New York-based vocal sextet dedicated to performing the music of Meredith Monk, which has recently sung at the Whitney Museum, the Stone and Symphony Space. He sang in Carnegie Hall’s 45th-anniversary celebration of Terry Riley’s In C. He has performed music for unaccompanied voice at Garden of Memory 2008 and live on KUSF, and in 2006 he sang in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as part of the Meredith Monk Young Artists Concert. He has been featured throughout the Bay Area as a soloist, and has recorded vocals for the Kronos Quartet. A graduate of Harvard University, he has been heard on NPR as the writer of The Standing Room, one of the earliest blogs about classical music.
Bass Jeff Bennett is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and College where he studied vocal repertoire and technique with Daune Mahy as well as early music, composition, music technology, and theatre production. He has performed with Oberlin Opera Theatre, Oberlin Collegium Musicum, Seattle Pro Musica and Seattle Men’s Chorus. In San Francisco, Jeff has appeared with SF Lyric Opera in a number of productions and has sung with Artists’ Vocal Ensemble. Offstage, Jeff also works in various aspects of theatre sound, having designed sound environments for productions of Angels in America (Pt. I), The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and The Herbal Bed at Actors’ Theatre, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Eric Tuan, tenor, is thrilled to be singing his second season with Volti. A singer, conductor, and pianist with a love for early music and new music, Eric has sung with Chalice Consort, the Monteverdi Consort, and San Francisco Lyric Opera. He is currently the music director at Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos and the administrator for Stanford’s choral studies program, as well as the founding director of the chamber choir Convivium. A recent graduate of Stanford University, where he studied choral conducting and musicology, Eric is also an emerging composer, with two octavos forthcoming from E.C. Schirmer.
Tenor Roderick Lowe is in his eleventh season with Volti. A San Francisco native, Rod earned a Master of Music Degree from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Music Degree from San Francisco State University. Rod enjoys singing music from all genres but particularly enjoys challenges and rewards of performing new and commissioned works. Rod serves as the singers’ representative to Volti ‘s Board of Directors and is the tenor soloist at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley. “Bringing new works to life is extremely rewarding and singing with Volti is entirely different than in other choirs. It requires mathematics, physics, and just plain derring-do. I love it!”
David Kurtenbach, tenor, is engaged as a regular soloist with progressive choral ensembles throughout the Bay Area and North America, including Volti, Apollo’s Fire, Clerestory, and AVE. David also enjoys a notable conducting career, having completed studies in voice and choral conducting at Oberlin. He served as Chorus Master/Assistant Conductor of Festival Opera and Oberlin Opera Theater, directed the choral program at Opera San Jose, and led symphony choruses in Cleveland, Akron, and Oakland. His passion for new music led to numerous world premieres, including compositions by David Lang, Kirke Mechem, Dave Brubeck, and Meredith Monk, among others, and he can be heard on recordings from Innova/Naxos, Decca, Tonehammer, and Koch International. While Chant Scholar and Cantor in the French National Church, David cultivated a similar passion for ancient and sacred music. He currently teaches voice to the boys and clergy of Grace Cathedral, where he sings two services each week as a member of the Choir of Men and Boys.
Michael Eisenberg, tenor, spent his formative years in Massachusetts studying violin and mathematics. He received his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. Later, as a graduate student at Berkeley, he was distracted from his research by singing with the UC Chamber Chorus, was a founding member of Vox Populi Vocal Ensemble, and served as principal violinist of the UC summer symphony. More recently he has performed with many Bay Area choral ensembles, including AVE, Schola Cantorum San Francisco, and Pacific Collegium, and has sung with Volti since 2003. By day he works as a software engineer for O’Reilly Media.
Celeste Winant, contralto, enjoys singing Hildegard, Jefferson Airplane (last heard at a karaoke bar in Truckee, CA), and everything else which comes in between. She performs regularly with Artists’ Vocal Ensemble, Pacific Collegium, Philharmonia Chorale, Vajra Voices and Volti, and has been studying voice (and life) with Karen Clark for almost three years. Nothing makes her cry like singing Old Timey gospel hymns in close harmony.
Emily Ryan, alto, is pleased to be singing her fourth season with Volti. Emily started singing as a child with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. She is now working at the Girls Chorus, where she is the Director of the Prep Chorus program and the Level II Director of the Chorus School. Emily also teaches Elementary School classroom music for the Cantaré Children’s Choirs of Oakland. In addition to Volti, Emily sings in several Bay Area ensembles, including EUOUAE and the Parish Choir at St. Mary the Virgin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from San Francisco State University and a Masters in music Education from Holy Names University.