Kay Stern and Friends

Sunday, March 3, 2024
5:00 PM

Please note the special day and time!

Kay Stern with her violinKay Stern is the Concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, a position she has held since 1994.

She is Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In the past, Kay served as assistant to Dorothy DeLay at the Aspen Music Festival, assistant to the Juilliard Quartet at the Juilliard School and held faculty positions at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Music Academy of the West. She has taught and coached at various music festivals around the world and been in residence at Wellesley College and San Diego State University.

Kay has been featured on television and radio. She has appeared in PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center, CNN’s Women Today, Minnesota Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and WQXR-NY Robert Sherman’s Listening Room. Kay has also contributed several articles in Chamber Music America. As the former first violinist and founding member of the Lark String Quartet, she performed and gave master classes throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Some of Kay’s Concertmaster positions include the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Concordia at Lincoln Center, the Cabrillo Music Festival, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. She regularly performs as Concertmaster for many movie sound tracks and video games recorded at Skywalker Ranch. Kay is an active chamber musician, collaborating with colleagues around the world. She regularly plays for fund raising events and has helped raise money for medical research, schools, arts organizations, student orchestras and political fundraisers. Some of the educational and community programs she participated in include the New York Philharmonic Musical Arts Experience, Young Audiences of NY Children’s Programs, Lincoln Center Student Programs and the Minnesota School & Resource Center for the Arts Touring Program, Seaside Music Academy and Pacifica School Volunteers. Her past music festival appearances include the Caramoor, Bard, Olympic and Grand Teton Music Festivals.

Kay attended the Juilliard School as a student of Dorothy DeLay. While at Juilliard, she received full scholarships for her Bachelor, Master’s and Doctoral degree programs. She also studied with Michael Davis at Ohio State University. Her concerto and chamber music recordings can be heard on Phillips, Nonesuch, Innova, MusicMasters, Koch International, Gramavision and Albany Records.

Benjamin SimonBenjamin Simon has performed for audiences around the world as violist of the Naumburg Award-winning New World String Quartet,, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Music from Marlboro, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. A native of San Francisco, Ben is a graduate of Yale College and the Juilliard School of Music; his teachers include Lillian Fuchs, Rapahel Hillyer and Emmanuel Vardi.

Ben began his conducting studies in the Bay Area with Denis DeCouteau, continuing at Yale and Juilliard with Otto Werner Mueller and at the Aspen Music Festival with Dennis Russell Davies. In 2002, Ben was appointed Conductor and Music Director for both the professional San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the award-winning youth orchestra, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra.

Ben has led orchestras and contemporary ensembles in the United States and Europe, and conducted performances for the theater as well as sound tracks for major motion pictures. He has taught at Harvard and Stanford Universities and has been on the viola and chamber music faculty at the University of California at Berkeley since 1998. Known for his creative programming and teaching style, Ben is a frequent lecturer on musical topics at colleges and universities around the Bay Area. He still loves to play the viola, especially chamber music, and most of all with Kay Stern!

Shaleah Feinstein and her violinShaleah Feinstein is a New York based violinist who recently completed her Master’s degree at The Juilliard School. She currently subs for The Metropolitan Opera, and just spent the summer playing full time with the San Francisco Opera. When not acting as principal second violin of the Brooklyn Chamber Orchestra, she serves as Jon Batiste’s first call violinist/contractor, and has played with pop musicians such as Ed Sheeran and Halsey.

Shaleah completed her undergraduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying under world-renowned violinist, Ilya Kaler. She was a contracted first violinist with the Canton and Akron Symphonies, Principal Second Violin of the Cleveland Opera Theater, and also a substitute musician with many other orchestras in Ohio and around the country.

From a very early age, Shaleah has been passionate and heavily involved in chamber music. She has coached with members of the Juilliard, Emerson, Dover, Orpheus, Turtle Island, Del Sol, Cavani, Orion, and Alexander String Quartets,, as well as regularly performing in different chamber series’ around the country. She was in the advanced chamber music programs at both Juilliard and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has recently become artistic director of the Wave Chamber Collective in New York City.

Michael Graham and his celloMichael Graham studied at the Eastman School of Music and Yale University, where he was a founding member of that institution’s first secret chamber music society, Skull and Bows. His instructors included Stephen Doane and members of the Amadeus, Cleveland, Tokyo, Emerson, and Kolisch string quartets.

Mr. Graham has toured and recorded with artists from Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg to John Densmore of the Doors, including performances with Yo-Yo Ma, Joan Baez, John Williams, Rita Moreno, Isaac Hayes, and Weird Al Yankovic. His playing has been hailed by the San Francisco Classical Voice for its “almost painfully pretty…expressive richness”, and by the San Jose Mercury News as “super-good”. In the 1990’s he created a rural residency in the Appalachian Mountains of western Pennsylvania as part of the Chagall String Quartet, through a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts. He has appeared on national US television including ABC’s Regis and Kelley and NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and can be heard on Van Morrison’s album Astral Weeks Live from Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Graham performs actively as a member of the Oakland Symphony, the funk chamber music collective Vitamin Em, and Taiwan’s acclaimed Ben Feng Music Studio. He teaches cello at Mills College.