Press – 2022-2023 Season
San Francisco Choral Artists
Winner of the 2019-2020 American Prize in choral performance, San Francisco Choral Artists (SFCA) are a Bay Area chamber choir with a mission to foster new American choral music. They present eclectic, imaginative programs of new works and repertoire spanning 600 years in performances of uncompromisingly high quality. Each season, SFCA offers three concert sets consisting of three live performances in San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto and other Bay Area communities. They have collaborated with a diverse range of musicians, including jazz violinist Mads Tolling, harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels Dupree, the SF Chamber Orchestra, the Alexander String Quartet, The Whole Noyse, the Galax Quartet, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and the Sonos Handbell Ensemble. SFCA has also performed with the Chamber Choir of the Academy of Arts in Berlin (Germany), and the Ateneo Chamber Singers (Philippines).
Magen Solomon, Artistic Director
Artistic Director since 1995, Magen Solomon avidly works with living composers to bridge the gulf between audience, composer, and performer and helps to foster the careers of choral composers near and far, emerging and established. Active nationally as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician, Dr. Solomon is also Artistic Director of the San Francisco Bach Choir, has taught at UC-Berkeley, USC, and other colleges and universities, and directed the Oakland Symphony Chorus for twelve years. Dr. Solomon has collaborated on performances of major choral works with Michael Tilson Thomas, Nicolas McGegan, Michael Morgan, Helmuth Rilling, and Kent Nagano among others.
Samuel C. Nedel, Composer-in-Residence, December 2022
Originally from Kent, Ohio, Samuel’s formative years were in orchestral and choral music. As a young adult he played double bass in the Kent State Symphony, sang with the Cleveland Opera Chorus and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, founded and directed a youth contemporary music choir at a church in Kent, and performed on stages and in orchestra pits throughout Ohio and the Northeast US.
In 2008, Samuel moved to New York City to pursue a career as a freelance musician. Over the ensuing decade he composed and performed choral works with Chromatic Voice Exchange, sang with the choirs of Saint Bartholomew’s Church and The Church of the Ascension (Catholic), and played double bass with The Chelsea Symphony, the Queer Urban Orchestra, Amore Opera, Blue Hill Troupe, The Bronx Opera, and internationally renowned cabaret artist, Micheline Van Houtem. He performed at venues including Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall), The Juilliard School, The Bruno Walter Auditorium, The Stonewall Inn, and Carnegie Hall. In 2014, Samuel made his television debut as a member of the fictitious “New York Symphony” in Amazon Studios’ original series, Mozart in the Jungle.
In 2015, Samuel began studying composition with Lowell Liebermann at Mannes School of Music (The New School). After a move to San Francisco in 2017 and a hiatus, he resumed his studies with David Garner at San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), where he received his Bachelor of Music in Composition in 2022. Samuel is currently pursuing a Professional Studies Certificate in the Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program at SFCM.
Clark Evans, Composer-in-Residence, March 2023
Clark Evans has been a part of many varied ensembles as a cellist and as a pianist, competed as a soloist on both instruments, and has taught many students. He has received awards and has had opportunities to perform as a soloist with various community and professional orchestras including the Brigham Young University Philharmonic, the Utah Philharmonic, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Civic Orchestra of Tucson. Additionally, he was a finalist in the 2018 Osaka International Music Competition.
A prolific composer, he has had the privilege of seeing many of his works performed throughout the United States and Europe. His music has been commissioned by individuals and by professional and student ensembles, and has been performed in local venues, on tours, and programmed in regular concert seasons. He has received the awards of finalist and honorable mention in the annual ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition. Additionally, in July of 2018 he was involved as an administrative assistant for the prestigious annual Barlow Commission. In 2019 he was awarded 1st prize in the Vera Hinckley Mayhew Composition Contest.
Evans is a graduate of San Francisco Conservatory of Music, with Masters of Music degrees in cello performance and in music composition. He also holds a B.M. in Music Performance, with an emphasis in strings, from Brigham Young University. His past teachers include Elinor Armer, Stephen Jones, Michael Hicks, Christian Asplund, Steve Ricks, and Ilona Vukovic Gay.
José Daniel Vargas, Composer-in-Residence, June 2023
José Daniel Vargas is a 3rd-year bachelor’s student in Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, José had an eclectic musical upbringing that began with the electric guitar and classic rock music in his early teenage years. Joining his middle school orchestra playing the double-bass, José learned how to read sheet music and was immediately interested in learning how to write his own. Almost entirely self-taught through internet forums and YouTube tutorials, the only music lessons José received before arriving at SFCM were private lessons on the double-bass with Dr. Philip Alejo at the University of Arizona.
Throughout high school, José became heavily involved in music performance, participating in band, jazz band, orchestra, as well as a community youth orchestra program called Tucson Junior Strings. José would perform everything from James Brown to Beethoven at festivals, paid gigs and school concerts. Throughout this time José was also constantly writing his own music and learning from the music he played. Eventually José participated in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project where student composers worked with professional musicians and had their music played by the orchestra. The Tucson Symphony premiered José’s first orchestral work Amour dépérissant in May of 2019. December of 2021 saw the world-premiere of a piece José arranged and orchestrated with the Cape Cod Pops Orchestraon their holiday concert.
José is currently studying under Dr. David Conte, as well as teaching private music lessons at Guitar Center.
Caroline Mallonee, Composer-Not-in-Residence
American composer Caroline Mallonee (b. 1975) is an award-winning composer based in Buffalo, NY. Her music has been programmed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, Bargemusic, Tenri Cultural Center, Town Hall, Roulette, and National Sawdust in New York City, as well as further afield at the Carlsbad Music Festival (CA), Long Leaf Opera Festival (NC), Bennington Chamber Music Conference (VT), the Corcoran Gallery (Washington, DC), and Jordan Hall (Boston, MA).
The New York Philharmonic included her music on its CONTACT! new music series in 2015 and commissioned a new work in 2019. She has also been commissioned to write new pieces for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Spektral Quartet, Present Music, Wet Ink Ensemble, PRISM Quartet, Ciompi Quartet, Ethos Percussion, and the Buffalo Chamber Players, for whom she serves as composer-in-residence.
Her choral music is performed widely. She has been commissioned by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Vocális Chamber Choir, Buffalo Girlchoir, and A Prairie Home Companion, among others. First rising to national prominence at 14 with The Carolers At My Door, Dr. Mallonee has won the ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Yale Glee Club’s Emerging Composers Competition, Ft. Myers Mastersingers Prize, and the Institute for Choral Creativity Competition.
She is the director of the Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat, a week-long festival for composers and improvisers held in New Hampshire each June. She holds degrees from Harvard, Yale and Duke, and held a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands, where she studied with Louis Andriessen.
Click photos to download in full resolution.
San Francisco Choral Artists
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photo by Rebecca Scully
San Francisco Choral Artists in Concert
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photo by Jennifer Nixon
SFCA Artistic Director, Magen Solomon
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photo by Mason Poole
Dec 2022 Composer-in-Residence
Samuel C. Nedel
March 2023 Composer-in-Residence
June 2023 Composer-in-Residence
José Daniel Vargas
Reviews & Notable Mentions
- SF Choral Artists Explore Martin Luther’s Musical Legacy by Niels Swinkels, sfcv.org, Dec 19, 2017
- SF Choral Artists Celebrates Witches, Saints, and Mothers by Lisa Hirsch, sfcv.org, Mar 28, 2017
- “Celebrate…Young Prodigies”: Review of Old Masters, Young Prodigies by Be’eri Moalem, sfcv.org, Jun 16, 2015.
- “Unforgettable”: Review of Postcards From Abroad by Niels Swinkels, sfcv.org, Dec 13, 2014.
- Lascivious ‘Lilith’ at the Menlo Park Performing Arts Center review by Paul Bendix, May 2014.
- Lilith the Night Demon, article by Dan Pine in the J Weekly, May 2014.
- Articles about Lilith (various), May 2014.
- SFCA: #8 of 10 Choirs Worth Supporting This Year blog by Fahad Siadat, Dec 2013.
- Review of Omens, Dreams, and Curses by Benjamin Frandzel, Jun 2013.
- Review of Voices of Women by Maggee VanSpeybroeck, Mar 2, 2013.
Interviews & Backgrounders
- Magen Solomon blog on how she approaches concert programming
- Shawn Crouch Composer-Not-in-Residence interview Blog 2015-16
- John Kelley Composer-in-Residence interview Blog 2015-16
- Daniel Afonso Composer-in-Residence Interview 2014-15 (pdf)
- Wayne Eastwood Composer-Not-in-Residence Blog 2014-15
- Magen Solomon talks about 2014-15 season & “Postcards from Abroad”
- Press Release May 2018: More Pianos Than Bathtubs: America’s music
- Press Release Mar 2018: From Shtetl to Metropolis: Jewish Musical Diaspora
- Press Release Nov 2017: A Rebel’s Christmas
- Press Release Oct 2017: 2017-18 Season Announcement
- Press Release May 2017: East Meets West and Other Musical Marriages
- Press Release Feb 2017: Witches, Saints, and Mothers: Music By and About Women
- Press Release Oct 2016: 2016-17 Season Announcement
- Press Release Jun 2016: 21st-Century Baroque
- Press Release Mar 2016: Prayers from the Ark
- Press Release Nov 2015: 2015-16 Season Announcement
- Press Release Jun 2015: Old Masters, Young Prodigies
- Press Release Mar 2015: Wisdom, Wit, & Wonder
- Press Release Dec 2014: Postcards from Abroad
- Press Release Jun 2014: Midsummer Night’s Singing
- Press Release May 2014: Lilith the Night Demon
- Press Release Mar 2014: Love, Loss, and Latkes
- Press Release Dec 2013: Sweet Voices & Noyses
- Press Release Jun 2013: Omens, Dreams & Curses
- Press Release Mar 2013: Voices of Women
- Press Release Dec 2012: Wild Woods and Starry Nights
- Press Release Jun 2012: Poetry on Musical Wings
- Press Release Mar 2012: Prophets, Kings and Klezmer
- Press Release Dec 2011: Company at the Crèche