The Artists

Season 12 Performers

Joshua Bell
Joshua Bell

With a career spanning more than thirty years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than forty CDs, garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone, and Echo Klassik awards, and is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. Named the Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958.

Angel Blue
Angel Blue

American soprano Angel Blue has performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Münchener Philharmoniker, Israel Philharmonic, Wiener Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, Los Angeles Opera, Teatro alla Scala Milan, San Francisco Opera, Frankfurt Opera, and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Theater an der Wien, Auditorio Nacional de Música, Seoul Arts Center and Edinburgh International Festival.

Danielle De Niese
Danielle De Niese

Danielle de Niese, hailed as “opera’s coolest soprano” by New York Times Magazine, is a regular on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages, as well as a prolific recording artist, TV personality, and philanthropist.

Stéphane Denève
Stéphane Denève

Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic, Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR). From 2011-2016, he served as Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and from 2005-2012 as Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Recognized internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, he regularly appears at major concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras and soloists. He has a special affinity for the music of his native France and is a passionate advocate for new music.

Gloria Estefan
Gloria Estefan

With seven Grammy Awards and over one hundred million albums sold worldwide, Gloria Estefan is the most successful Latin crossover performer in the history of pop music. In addition to her thirty-eight number one hits across the Billboard charts, Estefan recorded the Oscar-nominated song “Music of My Heart” and has received numerous honors and awards over the course of her illustrious career.

Festival Napa Valley Volti Chorale
Festival Napa Valley Volti Chorale

The Festival Napa Valley Volti Chorale’s professional singers, under the direction of founder and Artistic Director Robert Geary, are dedicated to the discovery, creation, and performance of new vocal music.

Festival Orchestra NAPA
Festival Orchestra NAPA

Centered around a core of musicians from New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra led by concertmaster Laura Hamilton and conductor Joel Revzen, Festival Orchestra NAPA includes hand-picked musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Dallas Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, among others.

Laura Hamilton
Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton is principal associate concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where she was the Nathan Milstein Scholarship recipient.

Havana Chamber Orchestra
Havana Chamber Orchestra

Composed of young musicians who have just graduated from the Superior Institute of Art, the Havana Chamber Orchestra made its debut in May 2006 under the leadership of Maestro Ivan del Prado. In its first years, the orchestra participated in the recording of the British Rock band Simply Red’s DVD Cuba and in Clásicos de Cuba with Cesar Lopez and Habana Ensemble, winning Cubadisco’s grand prize in 2008. The orchestra is currently conducted by Daiana Garcia.

Jiji
Jiji

Applauded by the Calgary Herald as “…talented, sensitive…brilliant,” Jiji is an adventurous artist on both acoustic and electric guitar, playing an extensive range of music from traditional and contemporary classical to free improvisation. Her impeccable musicianship, combined with compelling stage presence and fascinating repertoire, earned her First Prize at the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.

Nikolay Khozyainov
Nikolay Khozyainov

Nikolay Khozyainov is one of the most remarkable pianists of his generation. His musicality and formidable technique have thrilled audiences around the world. Still in his early twenties, his featured recitals and concerto engagements have already included sold out performances at some of the world’s foremost stages.

Karen LeFrak
Karen LeFrak

LeFrak’s works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic principal brass, the percussion departments of the Juilliard School and New York University, and the Shanghai Symphony, as well as for American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, New York Theatre Ballet, and Youth America Grand Prix. LeFrak is also the author of three children’s books, the proceeds of which have been donated to the New York Philharmonic, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, the AKC Canine Health Foundation, and Take the Lead.  

Aldo López-Gavilán
Aldo López-Gavilán

Aldo López-Gavilán is a brilliant Cuban classical pianist and a renowned master of improvisation. Beginning his career as an acclaimed child prodigy (in composition as well as performance), he has performed around the world, won numerous awards, and recorded six albums.

Wei Luo
Wei Luo

Of pianist Wei Luo, the Philadelphia Inquirer writes “Equally intriguing were those moments when she took you so far inside the music that your ears left behind previous points of reference, partly because she immerses herself in the music with an intensity that borders on madness.”

Lester Lynch
Lester Lynch

Lester Lynch has established himself as one of the most important Verdi baritones of the twenty-first century. In June 2016, he was hailed for his performances of Porgy in Porgy and Bess at the world renowned Spoleto Festival. Fred Cohn, of Opera News wrote, “The production came to full, throbbing life whenever Lester Lynch’s Porgy took the stage..."

Larisa Martínez
Larisa Martínez

Highly praised for her warm quality of voice and unique timbre, soprano Larisa Martínez was a winner of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition PR district, where she also received the Angel Ramos Foundation Award and the Audience Prize.

Bill Murray
Bill Murray

Bill Murray was born in 1950 and grew up in Wilmette, a village just outside Chicago. He worked closely with the director Ivan Reitman, whose 1984 comedy Ghostbusters propelled him into the first rank of Hollywood actors. Starting with the role of the aging actor in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, for which he received a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Oscar, he has increasingly established himself as a character actor.

Napa Regional Dance Company
Napa Regional Dance Company

Napa Regional Dance Company was founded in 1988, with a mission to provide excellent dance training and education, while promoting dance as an art form. Its instructors have performed with such groups as American Ballet Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, Oakland Ballet, Ballet West, Joffrey Ballet, and the Boston Conservatory.

Luis Napoles
Luis Napoles

Luis Napoles graduated from the National School of Arts in Havana, Cuba in 1983 with a Master of Fine Arts in Modern Dance and Afro-Cuban Folklore. He is the artistic Director of the Napoles Ballet, which he founded in 2007. He was a principal dancer with Sacramento Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Havana, and Contemporary Dance of Cuba.

Vanessa Perez
Vanessa Perez

Venezuelan-American pianist Vanessa Perez began her studies in Caracas, Venezuela at age seven at the Colegio Emil Friedman. She has degrees from the Royal Academy of Music in London and Yale University, and her teachers included Peter Frankl, Christopher Elton, Lazar Berman, and Ena Bronstein.

Joel Revzen
Joel Revzen

Joel Revzen holds the position of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Classical Tahoe. The festival presents symphonic and chamber music concerts with musicians from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and Dallas Symphonies, featuring internationally acclaimed soloists.

San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has a history of making history. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. 

Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Jean-Yves Thibaudet

For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed worldwide, recorded over fifty albums, and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. At twelve, he entered the Paris Conservatory; at age fifteen, he received the Premier Prix du Conservatoire; and at age eighteen, he won the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City.

Jan Vogler
Jan Vogler

Jan Vogler is one of today’s most renowned cello soloists, praised for his “soulful, richly hued playing” (New York Times) and his “spiraling virtuosity” (Gramophone Magazine). Vogler frequently performs with leading international orchestras, and he regularly collaborates with conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Fabio Luisi, Sir Antonio Pappano, Valery Gergiev, Thomas Hengelbrock, Manfred Honeck and Kent Nagano.

Mira Wang
Mira Wang

Mira Wang is the recipient of numerous prizes at competitions worldwide, including the First Prize of the International Violin Competition in Geneva and the First Prize of the International Violin Competition in New Zealand. She has appeared with numerous orchestras in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Singapore Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic.

André Watts
André Watts

André Watts burst upon the music world at age sixteen when Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic on one of the orchestra’s Young People’s Concerts, which was broadcast nationwide. More than fifty years later, Watts remains one of today’s most celebrated and beloved superstars.

Martin West
Martin West

Martin West is acknowledged as one of the foremost conductors of ballet. In recent seasons, he has worked with many of the top companies in North America and Europe including New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and The Royal Ballet. West joined SF Ballet in fall 2005, having been a frequent guest since his debut two years earlier.