Brian Rice is a highly acclaimed performer, educator and recording artist and one of the most versatile percussionists in the Bay Area. Though best known as a specialist in Brazilian and Cuban music, Brian can be heard playing a multitude of styles and his percussion playing graces over 60 recordings.
After coming to the United States over two decades ago, Rita Sahai continued her extensive music studies under the world famous sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who passed away in 2009. Impressed by her talent and passion towards music, “Khansahib,” as she affectionately called her guru, gave her the title Gayan Alankar (Jewel of Music).
Sahai, an acclaimed composer, performer and teacher, tours throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and India. She is also in demand at recording studios at home and abroad, where she graciously lends her voice to many diverse musical projects, including contributing vocal tracks for Grammy Award-winning artist Béla Fleck and performing on Alonzo King’s Sacred Texts, a CD of international music that won the Isadora Duncan Award for music excellence. She has also collaborated on several live musical productions with Jennifer Berezan’s “Edge of Wonder” project.
Stacey Pelinka is a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and the Eco Ensemble. She plays principal flute with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program productions and second flute with the Berkeley Symphony, the Santa Rosa Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Midsummer Mozart Festival. A certified Feldenkrais Method® practitioner, Stacey teaches Feldenkrais at the San Francisco Symphony. She attended Cornell University and the San Francisco Conservatory, where she studied with Timothy Day.
Michael Goldberg, guitar, is currently playing solo and chamber recitals throughout the United States. He has toured throughout the United States as part of the Alma Duo, an ensemble of violin/viola and guitar, and is also a longtime member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, a group devoted to contemporary music performance. He has recorded on the Arabesque and Kameleon labels.
Oakland-based composer-performer Kyle Bruckmann’s work extends from a classical foundation into gray areas encompassing free jazz, electronic music and post-punk rock. He is a member of acclaimed new music collective sfSound, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eco Ensemble, Splinter Reeds, and Quinteto Latino. He has worked with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the area’s regional orchestras while remaining active in an international community of improvisers and sound artists. From 1996-2003, he was a fixture in Chicago’s experimental music underground; long-term affiliations include the electro-acoustic duo EKG, the art-punk monstrosity Lozenge, and the Creative Music quintet Wrack.
Principally committed to influencing and expanding the repertoire for solo percussion through commissions and premieres, Chris Froh is a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Empyrean Ensemble at UC Davis.
Michael Seth Orland has appeared extensively in the Bay Area as a chamber musician, playing with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players Earplay, the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, New Music Theater, the Empyrean Ensemble, Other Minds, and in the San Francisco Symphony’s New and Unusual Music Series.
Marilyn Swan, piano, began her musical studies in Los Angeles with Robert Turner, and participated at an early age in master classes with Rosina Lhévinne at UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the Aspen Music Festival.
Kevin Stewart hails from the greater metropolitan area of Detroit. Upon graduating from the University of Michigan, where he received a Bachelor of Woodwind Performance degree, Kevin headed west and settled in the Bay Area, hooking up with the San Francisco Saxophone Quartet, the Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra, and most recently the South American Jazz group Quinteto.
Bassist, teacher, and conductor Thomas Derthick is currently principal bass of the Sacramento Philharmonic, Opera, Ballet, and Choral Society, and recently served 25 years as principal of the Cabrillo Festival, America’s foremost Contemporary Music Festival. He frequently performs with the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento and has recorded and toured with the Empyrean Ensemble. Derthick has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Symphony and Oregon Symphony, as well as recording work and Broadway shows.
A champion of contemporary music in the United States and abroad, violist Ellen Ruth Rose is currently a member of Empyrean Ensemble, the flagship new music ensemble in residence at UC Davis, and Earplay, the San Francisco-based contemporary ensemble.
Jolán Friedhoff recently relocated to Davis after serving as assistant concertmaster of the Saar State Opera Orchestra (Germany) for 20 years. She also served as concertmaster of the Sinfonietta Saarbrucken for 5 seasons.
Sand plays with the chamber ensemble Musical Assembly, is director of the New York State Baroque, and appears with many Bay Area early music groups. He has recorded for Meridian, Harmonia Mundi (France and the U.S.), Arts and Music, KATastroPHE, Wildboar, and Titanic.
Dan Flanagan currently serves as concertmaster of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, lecturer in violin at UC Davis, coach and adjudicator for the Sacramento Youth Symphony, concertmaster for California Musical Theater, and founder and director of the Sacramento School of Music.