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Guest Artists


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Sara Davis Buechner
Pianist Sara Davis Buechner is one of the leading keyboard artists of our time. She has been praised on four continents for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times), “fascinating and astounding virtuosity” (Philippine Star), and “thoughtful artistry in the full service of music” (Washington Post). “Buechner has no superior,” says Japan’s InTune magazine. Winner of a bouquet of prizes at the world’s great piano competitions -- Reine Elisabeth of Belgium, Leeds, Salzburg, Sydney and Vienna -- she established her early career with the Gold Medal of the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and a Bronze Medal in the 1986 Tschaikowsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. Now residing in Canada, Ms. Buechner enjoys a vibrant international performance and recording career.

With an active repertoire of over 100 piano concertos ranging from A (Albeníz) to Z (Zimbalist), she has appeared as soloist with the world’s prominent orchestras: New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Montréal, Vancouver, Victoria; the CBC Radio Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic, City of Birmingham (U.K.) Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Kuopio (Finland) Philharmonic, Slovak Philharmonic and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León (Spain). Audiences throughout the world have applauded Ms. Buechner’s recitals in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Hollywood Bowl, Prague’s Dvorák Hall and Kyoto’s Alti Hall; and she enjoys a special following throughout Asia where she tours annually

Ms. Buechner’s discography includes extensive recording work for the Yamaha Disklavier and PianoSoft systems. Find Out More



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Zlatomir Fung
​Zlatomir won the gold medals at the 2015 Johansen Competition, the 2014 Stulberg String Competition and the 29th Irving Klein Competition. He placed second in the cello division of the 20th International Brahms Competition in Portschach, Austria in 2013, and in 2012 was the silver medal winner of the cello division of the Seventh International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Montreux-Vevey, Switzerland. He has appeared on NPR’s From the Top four times, as well as Performance Today.

He was also the winner of the 2014 Aspen Music Festival Lower Strings Concerto Competition, 2014 Boston Symphony Concerto Competition, the Harvard Musical Association High School Achievement Awards Prize, NEC Prep School Concerto Competition, the Walden Chamber Players, New England Philharmonic, and Music Worcester Competitions. He has soloed with the Santa Cruz Symphony, Boston Pops, Peninsula Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Symphony Pro Musica, the New England Philharmonic, the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, the Brockton Symphony, the Concord Orchestra, the Boston Civic Orchestra, the Lowell Philharmonic, the Nashua Chamber Orchestra, the Quincy Symphony, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Wellesley Symphony and the Lausanne Sinfonietta. Find Out More




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Kay Stern
Kay Stern is the Concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, a position she has held since 1994. 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 published several articles in Chamber Music America. As former first violinist and founding member of the Lark String Quartet, she performed and gave master classes throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Kay's former 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 George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. Kay is an active chamber musician, collaborating with colleagues in numerous venues in and around the Bay Area. She regularly plays for fund raising events and has helped raise money for medical research, schools, arts organizations, student orchestras and political causes. Some of the educational and community programs she has 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, Grand Teton Music Festivals and most recently, the Lake Tahoe Summerfest. Kay attended the Julliard School as a student of Dorothy DeLay. While at Julliard, 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.




Bella Sorella

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Bella Sorella (Nova and Susanna Jiménez (sopranos) accompanied by Danielle Naler on piano and Joyce Lee on violin) is an award-winning soprano ensemble that combines classical and contemporary styles in melodic duets. Bella Sorellas ethereal music, magnetic stage presence and remarkable personal story has earned them acclaim and recognition throughout the United States and abroad.

Bella Sorella’s angelic sound has graced the airwaves of radio stations in the Bay Area and Japan, and they have given live television performances on NBC in San Diego and the Bay Area’s Bruce Latimer Show, the longest-running television variety show in the United States. Industry professionals have already taken notice of this spectacular ensemble. The Los Angeles Music Awards unanimously selected Bella Sorella as the 2007 Vocal Group of the Year.


Mare Island String Quartet with guest Michel Taddei

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Mare Island String Quartet members (Nicola Gruen, Christine Meals, Ondine Young, Joan Hadeishi) have known each other for decades; some since childhood playing in local east bay youth orchestras and at Crowden School. They love playing in VSO and other local groups, from rock/jazz (Dirty Cello) to baroque/classical (Philharmonia Baroque) and more. They are thrilled to work with Michel Taddei, bass player and brother of Marc Taddei.

Michel Taddei is an active performer as double bassist, singer, and conductor in the Bay Area and beyond, and is a highly sought-after teacher and coach at Crowden School and elsewhere.




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