Volti Announces 2015-16 Season


Volti Announces its 2015-16 Concert Season – “The Next Page” – The Year of the Young Composer

San Francisco, CA, September 21, 2015—The Bay Area’s acclaimed contemporary music chamber chorus, Volti, will spend its 37th season celebrating three young composers it helped to discover through its young composer competition – the Choral Arts Laboratory (CAL). CAL was founded in 2003 in order to give American composers under the age of 35 an opportunity to work with a highly skilled professional vocal ensemble during the compositional process – to learn what voices can (and cannot) do, how to write for the voice and for a group of voices.

image Opening November 7 in Oakland and November 8 in San Francisco (SEE CALENDAR LISTING BELOW), Volti’s first “The Next Page” concert features Amy Beth Kirsten, who has been praised by top-tier publications, including the Washington Post: “…the music is complex and multilayered, rich in allusions, and often extraordinarily beautiful.” Volti will sing the world premiere of her new work, It is possible these things do not exist:, after Ursula Le Guin’s short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omegas and Izumi Shikibu’s poem, Although the wind… This new commission will pair with In the Black, Kirsten’s CAL winning composition from 2007. The audience is invited to an “Inter-ception” after the concert—an interactive reception for the audience to share feedback on what they’ve just heard, and to connect them directly with the artists. Also on the program is Forrest Pierce’s gorgeous Gratitude Sutra, the 2012 Barlow Prize winner Volti premiered in 2014; Stacy Garrop’s Songs of Lowly Life—poetry by Paul Laurence Dunbar; and a beautiful work by young Lithuanian-born composer Žibuoklė Martinaitytė—The Blue of Distance.

image“The Next Page” continues in March (SEE CALENDAR LISTING BELOW) with the music of Robert Paterson, who is writing a piece based on the graffiti he sees in the world around him. Volti will sing this world premiere along with The Essence of Gravity, Paterson’s CAL composition from 2005. Robert Paterson’s compositions have been described by New Music Box as “vibrantly scored and well-crafted” music that “often seems to shimmer.” The concert will also feature music of David Lang, Paolo Longo, and Ingrid Stölzel.

On the final concerts of its 37th season in May, Volti will introduce its CAL composer for 2016, Tonia Koimage—a Hong Kong born, Honolulu raised composer and visual artist whose music has been described by critics as “expansive, meditative,” (Chicago Classical Review). Ms. Ko’s new piece is based on Virginia Woolf’s short story Monday and Tuesday, and will be accompanied by the reprise of Kui Dong’s Painted Lights, a work Volti premiered in 2011. Now, as then, the performance will feature guests Ensemble from the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, who shared Volti’s triumphant run of performances of Pandora’s Gift—a staged multimedia choral performance piece that won the 2015 San Francisco Classical Voice Best of the Bay audience poll. There will also be an opportunity to hear Ms. Ko’s work-in-progress at an open rehearsal on October 7, 2015. (SEE CALENDAR LISTING BELOW)

Volti remains committed to choral music education, and will lead a celebration of song featuring the high school choirs from its Choral Institute for High School Singers on October 24 (SEE CALENDAR LISTING BELOW). The concert includes solo performances by Volti and the choirs of Acalanes High School, Head-Royce School, Ecco from Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, and Mill Valley’s Throckapella, as well as a spectacular combined finale of over 200 singers performing a world premiere by the young composer and sometime Volti singer, Eric Tuan.

Tickets for Volti’s Bay Area concerts can be purchased online via Brown Paper Tickets or at VoltiSF.org; prices are $25 in advance / $30 at the door for general admission; $20 / $25 for seniors; and $10 for students.

For additional information, contact:
Barbara Heroux, Executive Director
415.771.3352 | barbara@voltisf.org | VoltiSF.org

Volti’s twenty professional singers, under the direction of founder and Artistic Director Robert Geary, are dedicated to the discovery, creation, and performance of new vocal music. The ensemble’s mission is to foster and showcase contemporary American music and composers, and to introduce contemporary vocal music from around the world to local audiences. The group has commissioned nearly 100 new works, by emerging as well as established composers. Hailed by San Francisco Classical Voice as “undoubtedly the finest collection of new music singers we have,” Volti boasts a 36-year track record of some of the most sophisticated vocal performances in the nation. Composers seek opportunities to partner with these stellar musicians, who are known for their sheer technical brilliance as well as their vibrant, passionate sound. Nationally recognized as a pioneer in new vocal music, Volti has won the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music six times. Attending a Volti concert is like visiting a modern art gallery, stimulating the mind, the imagination and the heart. For more information, visit VoltiSF.org.

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2015-16 Season Calendar

Choral Institute Showcase Concert

Saturday, October 24, 7 PM
First Unitarian Universalist Center

Tickets and More Info: http://voltisf.org/volti/2015-16-season/youth-and-music-2015/

Featuring Amy Beth Kirsten

Saturday, November 7, 8 PM
Piedmont Center for the Arts

Sunday, November 8, 4 PM
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

Tickets and More Info: http://voltisf.org/volti/the-next-page-november-2015/

Featuring Robert Paterson

Friday, March 11, 8 PM
St. Gregory of Nyssa

Saturday, March 12, 8 PM
Piedmont Center for the Arts

Tickets and More Info: http://voltisf.org/volti/another-page-march-2015/

Featuring Tonia Ko

Weekend of May 13-15, 2016

More Info: http://voltisf.org/volti/paging-through-may-2016/

Open Rehearsal with 2015-16 CAL Composer Tonia Ko

October 7, 2015, 7-9pm
First Unitarian Universalist Center, San Francisco

Join Bob Geary and the Volti singers for an open rehearsal in which Volti will introduce its Choral Arts Lab (CAL) composer for 2016, Tonia Ko. Ms. Ko is a Hong Kong born, Honolulu raised composer and visual artist whose music has been described by critics as “expansive, meditative,” (Chicago Classical Review). Volti will premiere her new piece based on Virginia Woolf’s short story Monday and Tuesday in concerts next May; come hear us work on the music, talk to the composer and singers, and have a cookie!

Space is very limited so, while admission is free, we are requesting advance sign-ups.

Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2304166

There Is Magic Afoot . . .

Bob Geary’s Creative Process with Pandora’s Gift

When asked about his current thinking at the helm of the great ship Pandora’s Gift, Bob Geary offered these musings:

This is getting interesting. Alchemy? Magic? Spirit? Paradigm shifts? Tectonic shifts?

This is the Bay Area, our performances have to release the stress on the San Andreas fault. How else can we avoid the BIGONE? We don’t just climb outside the box, we explode the damn thing! Our premiere in May and the Outside the Box spotlight concert at the Golden Gate International Choral Festival in July will do just that.

Mix a room full of amazingly creative people, poets, composers, choreographers, lighting designers, costumers, singers and what do you get? Pandora’s Gift

How is the project shaping up? My way of answering this question is to say that in the forty years I have been conducting, I have never seen something like this grow from nothing.

Pandora’s Gift is organic. It’s elemental. It’s magical. It’s a powerful force for contemporary music and choral singing—the new future.


Sue Bohlin, rehearsal pianist, enjoys a career as accompanist, freelance pianist, composer, vocal coach, and conductor. A music performance graduate of the Conservatory at University of the Pacific, she taught oboe at the National Conservatory in Mexico City and played with several orchestras. She was Music Director with George Coates Performance Works Theater for a decade, and she has toured and worked with Robert Geary’s choirs extensively since 1984. She founded and conducts the Anchor Bay Children’s Choir, and has written several pieces that have been published by Alliance Music and Santa Barbara Music.


Donald A. Ziff joined Volti in the 2010 / 11 season. He is a soloist at the Saint Ann Chapel in Palo Alto and has sung with many Bay Area choirs and choruses, including AVE, Pacific Collegium and the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. He has also performed in opera, from the 12th century Play of Daniel to Darius Milhaud’s 1926 opera, Les Malheurs d’Orphée. He lives in El Cerrito with his lovely wife, singer Dorothy Manly.


Joseph Sargent holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and teaches music history and theory at the University of San Francisco. A scholar of Renaissance music by day, he indulges his new music interests at night by singing with Volti. He also sings at Grace Cathedral and has performed with AVE, Schola Cantorum San Francisco and Pacific Collegium, among other ensembles. A writer/editor as well as musician, he contributes to San Francisco Classical Voice and manages the communications department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Tenor Paul Ingraham, now in his thirteenth season with Volti, began singing at the age of ten with the American Boychoir, studied at the Oberlin Conservatory, and received his B.A. degree in music from the University of California, Irvine, where he majored in tuba and orchestral conducting and founded the wind ensemble. He studied for the Master’s degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaii where he performed in the Javanese gamelan and dance ensembles. Paul is Special Projects Coordinator for the New Choir, a Korean chamber choir in Sunnyvale. His current interests include evolutionary musicology and the cross-cultural philosophy of music. When he’s not performing, he’s probably mentoring students, hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains or working on his international model railway.


Jessica Winn
, mezzo-soprano, hails from Lafayette, CA and is thrilled to be in her second season with Volti. As a member of the Mannes Vocal Repertory Ensemble, she performed as a soloist in the Vivaldi Gloria and Handel’s Messiah. Jessica has participated in several training programs, including Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI) and West Coast Opera Works, where she sang Medoro in Handel’s Orlando and played the roles of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Seviglia, Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos, Beatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict, and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro in scenes programs. Jessica received her Master’s in Music at the SF Conservatory of Music, studying with Cesar Ulloa. There she performed as Volupia and Ore 2 in L’Egisto, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Rinaldo in Handel’s Rinaldo with the SFCM Baroque Ensemble.


Justin Montigne, countertenor, is originally from Des Moines, Iowa, where he received his Bachelor’s in music from Drake University, followed by a Master’s and DMA in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota. Justin sang alto for three years with the acclaimed male vocal ensemble, Chanticleer, is a founding member of the men’s ensemble, Clerestory, and has sung with the Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Western Plains Opera, Des Moines Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, AVE, Seraphic Fire, and Conspirare. Justin teaches voice at the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and is a registered yoga teacher, specializing in yoga for singers.


A member of VOLTI since 2000, Verah Graham has also sung in the chorus of SF Opera’s production of Saint Francois d’Assise, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Chorale, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Currently a section leader at St. Paul’s Church in Oakland, she has appeared as Joanne in the Stephen Sondheim show Company, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Katisha in The Mikado, the Mother in Amah! and the Night Visitors, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Ellen in the Ned Rorem opera Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Also an illustrator and calligrapher, Verah lives in Oakland with an assortment of annoying cats and rides her bicycle every chance she gets.


Marjorie Gómez,  alto, is very excited to be singing her third season with Volti. She began her music career with Bob Geary in the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir when she was seven years old, and is thrilled to be working again with such a skilled conductor and caring mentor. Marjorie recently completed her Bachelors of Music at Pomona College. While at Pomona, she kept herself busy by singing in three choirs and directing a well-known campus a cappella group. She has since moved back to the Bay Area and is very happy to be out of the traffic and back in the fog.   Marjorie is currently back at Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir as the Program Manager and thrilled to be helping kids find their love of music.