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Emanuela Nikiforva, Michael Graham, Amy Zanrosso
June 6, 2023
Emanuela Nikiforva, Michael Graham, Amy Zanrosso

Astor Piazzolla: Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

Antonín Dvorák: Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 90 “Dumky”

Emanuela Nikiforova, violin
Emanuela Nikiforova’s musical background is eclectic. A native of Bulgaria, she benefited from the influence of the Russian violin school at Varna and Sofia middle and high music schools, the lineage of thinking of Carl Flesh, through his pupil, Yfrah Neaman, and Neaman’s esteemed student, Professor Kevork Mardirossian (Louisiana State University School of Music), the dedication of Lord Yehudi Menuhin and Argentinian Maestro Alberto Lysy at the International Menuhin Music Academy, Gstaad, and the finesse and brilliance of Camilla Wicks at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Nikiforova has performed on three different continents from a young age as a soloist, chamber, and orchestra musician. She is a former member of Camerata Lysy, Camerata Bariloche, Philharmonica de Buenos Aires, Sarasota Orchestra, and Baton Rouge Symphony, and a current member of the Santa Rosa, Marin, Berkeley, Oakland, and Silicon Valley symphonies, a substitute at the San Francisco Ballet, Opera San Jose, California and Napa symphonies and others.

Nikiforova enjoys making time for private teaching, coaching youth orchestra members, and popularizing Bulgarian Classical music as a Music Director of Bay Area Bulgarian Festival Strings.

Cellist Michael 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.

Amy Zanrosso’s playing has been hailed as expressive, magnetic, and masterful but since no one at the New York Times has said this, she’s not allowed to put it in quotes. Her first touch of a keyboard was a two-octave electric organ that her parents had found who knows where. She enjoyed picking out tunes like O Sole Mio and Ode To Joy until her cousin decided to show her Heart and Soul on an acoustic piano. That’s the moment Amy fell in love. Thanks to her attentive and industrious Italian immigrant mom, piano lessons started at the age of 6, and by the age of 15, Amy had made the decision to make music her life. A few years later she was accepted into the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada where, in Bruce Vogt’s studio, she realized that she had way too much to learn and would always be in awe of the absolute force that is music. Bruce’s wisdom and humor still influence her life today and she will always be thankful for his guidance in those early years of learning what playing the piano really meant.

As a soloist, Amy is addicted to the thrill of performing with an orchestra. Since 2016, concerto repertoire, similar to chamber music but on steroids, has forced her to push her limits, helping make her into the confident and electrifying player she always hoped to be. She has appeared as a soloist with the Symphony of the Kootenays, the Russian Chamber Orchestra, and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. Her intense love of chamber music has led her to more fully admire and explore her favorite composers while sharing the experience with countless inspiring, dedicated players and appreciative audiences. In addition to freelancing in the Bay Area with various musicians and ensembles, the RossoRose Duo, founded in 2015, keeps Amy and violinist Alisa Rose occupied learning and performing repertoire from Beethoven to Auerbach.

After her Bachelor’s, Amy furthered her studies for a few years in Italy and then completed a Master’s Degree at McGill University in Montreal. Her life was filled with a wealth of chamber music and was rounded out by some Broadway musicals, German cabaret, and a number of years in an Argentine tango quintet. In 2014, Amy moved from Montreal to the Bay Area with her partner Dave and her dog Roscoe. She is currently based in Oakland. Since the big move, Amy went on tour to China with the GRAMMY award-winning Pacific Boychoir, rehearsed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel at the podium, and was the pianist for Chorissima, the five-time GRAMMY award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus Premier Ensemble throughout the 2017–18 season.

Like performing, Amy finds teaching to be a highly rewarding part of a musician’s life. She is a faculty member and chamber music coach at the Pre-College Academy of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA. She is constantly fueled by her fantastically inspiring students and enjoys forcing her favorite composers on them as well as telling them what to do. Amy is looking forward to all the superb music, musicians, students, and enthusiastic audiences that will come her way in the future. Many thanks to Beethoven and Brahms for inspiring her to come this far – she wouldn’t change a thing. For more information, please visit www.amyzanrosso.com.