This is where to find the previous guests we’ve had as our weekly “Classical Californian” since launching September 20, 2023!

December 6, 2023: Luke McEndarfer: This week, our Classical Californian is Luke McEndarfer, the Artistic Director and CEO of the National Children’s Chorus of the United States of America. What began as a group of 16 singers in Los Angeles has grown to an organization with more than a thousand singers, with more than 30 choirs in 8 chapter cities, including San Francisco. They’ve got a new CD out called Illumine, which we’ll be hearing a couple of selections from – as well as other choral works that made a lasting impression on McEndarfer as he was on his way to becoming a conductor. There are pieces by Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, John Rutter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Maurice Duruflé.

November 29, 2023: Frank Ticheli – He’s written for all sorts of instruments and voices, but Frank Ticheli might be best known for his works for concert band. He taught composition for decades at USC’s Thornton School of Music, and was the Pacific Symphony’s composer-in-residence for many years. His selections divide into two camps: works with multiple layers that seem to be at odds with each other (and yet combine beautifully), with examples by Benjamin Britten, Stephen Harte, and Ticheli himself… And then a pair of pieces showing off the range and energy that can be achieved by the concert band, courtesy of John Mackey and Omar Thomas.

November 22, 2023: Jaime Martín – Conductor Jaime Martín is Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra – and began his musical career as a flute player, working with some great conductors like Sir Neville Marriner, George Solti, Zubin Mehta, and Nicholas Harnoncourt. He’s chosen some vocal music that he says perfectly demonstrates the kind of phrasing and vibrato that any musician should try to achieve; a Mozart concerto in which he soloed; a piece by Debussy showing the kind of orchestration that can create a “floboe”; and a four-hand piano piece by Schubert that’s stayed in his mind since he heard it for the first time when he was a student.

November 15, 2023: Nicole Paiement – The Founder and Artistic Director of the Bay Area’s Opera Parallèle, which spotlights brand-new and lesser-known works, Paiement is also Principal Guest Conductor at the Dallas Opera, where she’s a mentor at the Hart Institute for Women Conductors. She’s selected a symphonic and jazz hybrid piece by Terence Blanchard inspired by Hurricane Katrina; a raucous work for organ and percussion by Lou Harrison; the haunting finale of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites; a meditative choral work by Joby Talbot; and an art song by Benjamin Britten that perfectly tells a story in 3 minutes.

November 8, 2023: Sameer Patel – Conductor Sameer Patel is Music Director and Orchestra Conductor of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. He’s also the Artistic Director of the San Diego Youth Symphony, and was named by Musical America “New Artist of the Month” this past April. He’s chosen a selection of pieces including a late Beethoven String Quartet, a choral work of empowerment by Caroline Shaw, an anguished song by Osvaldo Golijov. and more. There’s even a solo piano cover of a song by David Bowie.

November 1, 2023: Inon Zur – Composer Inon Zur has written for film and television, but is best known for the scores he’s written for video games. Growing up in Israel, he was introduced to some of the pieces of music that he’s going to share, imagining stories that would accompany works by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, and Stravinsky and more. His most recent videogame score is for Starfield, which he describes as a space-exploration game, in which you get to “fly anywhere… everywhere, time is not a limit, distance is not a limit.” We’ll hear some of his music as well.

October 25, 2023: Althea Waites – Pianist Althea Waites has had a long career as a concert soloist, chamber musician and collaborative artist, and has recorded several albums, most recently Reflections in Time, which includes works by Margaret Bonds, Jeremy Siskind, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, and Curt Cacioppo. The selections she’s chosen to share this week include a performance that reminds her of a brush with greatness she had on a cold night in the 1960s, a fateful symphony by Tchaikovsky that helped save her life, a late work by Beethoven that she waited to learn, and a Verdi selection that’s both operatic and reflective.

October 18, 2023: Adam Schoenberg – Adam Schoenberg has twice been in the top 10 listing of most-performed living composers by orchestras in the United States. He was introduced to several of the pieces that he’ll be playing this week back when he was an undergraduate at Oberlin Conservatory of Music – both in the classroom, and in the audience of a movie theater. A beautiful aria by Henry Purcell, a haunting duet by Messiaen, a few contemporary composers whose names might not be as familiar, the selections are works that have inspired and influenced him, or that he likes to teach his students.

October 11, 2023: Laura Karpman – Laura Karpman has scored the Marvel Studio’s series Ms. Marvel, and the upcoming film The Marvels… For her Classical Californian playlist, she returns to some of the music she listened to obsessively as a student – from the orchestration of light and dark heard in music of Stravinsky, to Benjamin Britten’s slippery strings, to a jazzy reinterpretation of Ravel. And we’ll hear one of her favorite works by Samuel Barber that she had a chance to re-examine in one of her own pieces.

October 4, 2023: Nicholas Phan – A song cycle called Stranger written for the tenor by composer Nico Muhly begins the playlist, examining the immigrant experience in their own words; another short set of songs by Jake Heggie, and a song setting a poem by Walt Whitman composed by Michael Tilson Thomas.

September 27, 2023: Anne Akiko Meyers – The violinist’s playlist includes two composers who have written concertos for her, some selections from the world of movie music, as well as works by a pair of composers best known for their writing for choral voices.

September 20, 2023: Jake Heggie – The composer of the operas Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick helped launch the series, and chose to play a recording that introduced him to the voice of Frederica von Stade, some music for the concert stage and movie screen by Mason Bates, and a visionary opera scene by Gordon Getty.