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Christa Pfeiffer, Soprano; Katherine McKee, Mezzo-soprano; Leandra Ramm, Mezzo-soprano; Brent Smith, Piano
June 19, 2018
Christa Pfeiffer, Soprano; Katherine McKee, Mezzo-soprano; Leandra Ramm, Mezzo-soprano;  Brent Smith, Piano

Claude Debussy

Images Book II


Songs for Voice and Piano

Soprano, Christa Pfeiffer has been enchanting Bay Area audiences with her pure effortless singing for over a decade.

Having established herself as a specialist in oratorio and concert work, Christa’s performances include Haydn’s St Nicolai Mass at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the CD Singers in Phoenix, AZ, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Haydn’s The Seasons with Marin Oratorio. She has also performed with the San Francisco Choral Society, Soli Deo Gloria, Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus, Pacific Chamber Symphony, Oakland Symphony Chorus, and the UC Alumni Chorus.

In 2010 she performed Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the American Philharmonic Sonoma County. Other engagements include Eden/Eden by Steve Reich with the San Francisco Ballet, Gubaidulina’s Symphony for Two Orchestras with the Berkeley Symphony under Kent Nagano, and Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses and Shéhérezade. In June of 2013, she performed the orchestrated version of Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb.

Christa’s dedication to performance practice of the Baroque Period was inspired by her formative work at Eastman School of Music with Paul O’Dette, Nigel Rogers, Julianne Baird and Arthur Haas.

She has performed as a soloist with American Bach Soloists and works regularly with the Albany Consort having sung nearly all of Bach’s solo soprano cantatas as well as cantatas of Telemann, Handel, Scarlatti, and Strozzi. She has sung the role of Clori in Handel’s Clori, Tirsi e Fileno numerous times and sang the title role in Handel’s Rodelinda in 2014 with the Handel Opera Project. In the 2012/2013 season, she sang Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus and performed Cantata #140 with Blue Hill Bach in Blue Hill, Maine.  Other recent engagements include Handel’s Dixit Dominus and a modern-day premiere of Durante’s Stabat Mater.  In June of 2015, she will perform Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Æneas with Marin Baroque.

As a recitalist, Christa performed a live broadcast program including Poulenc’s Banalités on KPFA, Grieg’s Sechs Lieder at Old First Concerts, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 on the San Francisco Public Library recital series, Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen at the Tiburon Music Festival and a selection of songs by Messiaen as part of Grace Cathedral’s Messiaen at 100 concert series. She has also performed on Noontime Concerts (SF and Stanford), Florio Street Concerts, Trinity Concerts, Hillside Concerts, Chattanooga Concerts, Gualala Arts Concerts and programs at The Bellevue Club, Piedmont Center for the Arts and Piedmont Piano Company.

Operatic roles include St. Settlement (Four Saints in Three Acts) with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Galatea (Acis and Galatea) and l’Amour (Orphée et Eurydice), with the Handel Opera Project, Nero (Agrippina) with Oakland Opera Theater, Dido (Dido and Æneas) with Marin Oratorio and Musetta (La Bohème) with Livermore Opera. She has also performed with Festival Opera and the Bear Valley Music Festival.

Christa grew up in Oakland and has memories of singing and playing her flute in church as long as she can remember – her dad was a Lutheran minister and her mother sang soprano in the choir. She received a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Eastman School of Music. She also attended the Britten Pears Institute for Advances Musical Studies, SongFest, Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute, San Francisco Early Music Society Baroque Workshop and L’Accademia d’Amore in Seattle, WA.

Her CD entitled “Hush: Lullabies from around the World” is a favorite among many new parents and she looks forward to releasing a CD of love songs in the near future. Christa recently moved from Berkeley to San Rafael with her designer builder fiancé.  She maintains a busy voice studio at her home as well as at the San Francisco Community Music Center.

The American mezzo-soprano, choral conductor and voice teacher, Katherine McKee, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree with honors in Choral Conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied choral conducting with Lorna Cooke deVaron and voice with Bernard Barbeau. She is a student of Sylvia Anderson.

Katherine McKee is active as a soloist both in concert work and on the opera stage throughout the Bay Area. Much in demand as an oratorio soloist, she has performed with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Nicholas McGeganAmerican Bach Soloists under the baton of Jeffrey ThomasSan Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, Emil de Cou, and Vance George, as well as in performances with the San Francisco Choral Society, Oakland Symphony Chorus, Camerata Singers of Monterey, St. Luke’s Oratorio Choir, San Francisco Lyric Chorale, U. C. Davis Chorus & Orchestra, Sanford Dole Ensemble, Modesto Symphony, Soli Deo Gloria, , Marin Oratorio, and Sacred & Profane. A former member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and the American Bach Soloists, she has been a core member of the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale since its founding in 1995 and sings frequently with the San Francisco Opera Chorus. During the summers of 2000 and 2003, she was a featured soloist with the San Francisco Boy’s Chorus on two-week tours of Europe under the direction of Ian Robertson.

Opera credits include performances with Berkeley Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Spellbound Productions and the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute in such roles as Azucena in Il Trovatore, the title role in Georges Bizet‘s Carmen, Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Madame Flora in The Medium. A devoted recitalist, she has presented recitals at The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Music at St. Matthew’s, Pacifica Performances, Capp Street Community Music Center, Holy Innocents’, St. Luke’s, St. David of Wales and First Presbyterian Church in Alameda. She sings regularly with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, American Bach Soloists‘ American Bach Choir, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra‘s Chorale, and San Francisco Renaissance Voices, serving the latter organization as assistant conductor as well.

Katherine McKee and has directed choirs, community orchestras and operas, and school groups since her college years. In the Boston area, she directed the children’s, youth and adult choirs at Hanscom Air Force Base’s Protestant Chapel, taught stringed instruments and conducted orchestras in the Somerset (Massachusetts) public schools and served as Assistant Conductor for the Jamaica Plain Symphony Orchestra. In New York, she founded and directed the chamber group Premier, which focused on newly composed works for a cappella voices and served as an Assistant Conductor for the Gregg Smith Singers and at St. Bartholomew’s Church.

In the San Francisco Bay Area Katherine McKee has served on the conducting faculty of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, as Chorus Master, Prompter and Music Director for San Francisco Lyric Opera, and as Music Director of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Noe Valley and the First Lutheran Church of Palo Alto. She is also the recently-appointed Music Director for St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Menlo Park (Calfornia). Since 2007, she has served as the Assistant Music Director and Alto Section Lead of San Francisco Renaissance Voices and has been the resident conductor for the group’s annual Boar’s Head Festival & Mid-Winter Gala. In June 2014, San Francisco Renaissance Voices is pleased to announce the appointment of Katherine McKee as Music Director effective the 2014-2015 season. She replaced Todd Jolly, who has led the group as Music Director since its founding in 2004. San Francisco Renaissance Voices is a San Francisco Bay Area’s professional mixed-voice a cappella vocal ensemble dedicated to the music of the Renaissance and related periods.

Katherine McKee teaches private vocal students who perform throughout the Bay Area including members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Opera Chorus, San Francisco Choral Society, Woodminster Theater and the Lamplighters Music Theatre.

LEANDRA RAMM is a classically trained mezzo-soprano whose singing has been described as “beautiful and quite moving” (Nordstjernan Newspaper), “clear” and “perfect” ( Equally at home in opera, oratorio, and musical theatre, Leandra has performed at numerous concert venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The United Nations, and Steinway Hall. Leandra is a professional member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, performing numerous times each season at Davies Symphony Hall, and is currently touring schools in the Bay Area performing the lead role in La Cenerentola with the San Francisco Opera Guild. She also currently sings with Volti, Cappella SF, and American Bach Soloists.

Her favorite previous roles performed include Ordo Virtutum (Soul) with San Francisco Renaissance Voices, Mamma Mia! (Tanya) with Woodminster Summer Musicals, The Cunning Little Vixen (Rooster/Blue Jay) with West Edge Opera, The Full Monty (Estelle) at The Media Theatre, Iolanthe (Leila) at The Buxton Opera House with the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival (UK), A for Adultery (Hester Prynne) with Little Times Square Theatre, Man of la Mancha(Antonia) with Diablo Theater Company, Hell’s Kitchen The Musical (Annie) at The Hudson Guild Theatre in New York City, Darwin in Malibu (Sarah) with Indra’s Net Theatre, Some People Hear Thunder (Anoush) with Smoger Productions performed at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco and her one woman show entitled One Night With You, which performed Off-Broadway at Theatre Row. In addition to her performances on land, Leandra has completed four contracts as a lead vocalist with Celebrity Cruises, sailing throughout the world.

Leandra debuted at the age of 14 as a soloist in Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road with the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein and performed at Avery Fisher Hall. Leandra received her training at the Manhattan School of Music, and completed apprentiship programs with Arizona Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Carolina, Des Moines Metro Opera, Sarasota Opera and New Jersey Opera.

Leandra has appeared and sung on television programs around the globe. Such programs include: CNN’s ANDERSON COOPER 360, THE VIEW, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 60 MINUTES, 60 MINUTES AUSTRALIA and the BBC as well as appearing on radio broadcasts and magazines in Ireland, the USA, and England. Leandra has been featured in newspaper articles from the LA TIMES to THE LONDON MIRROR, to the NY TIMES to newspapers in BEIJING, CHINA. Celebrities such as Barbara Walters, Anderson Cooper, Star Jones, Morley Safer and Robin Roberts have interviewed Leandra. As a recording artist, Leandra has released many singles and two full albums: Invitation to a Voyage and One Night With You. She also is on the cast albums of The Fourth Messenger and Mario and the Magician (under Albany Records).

Brent Smith, piano, graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance and continued post-graduate studies at the Eastman School. He moved to San Francisco in 1999 and began a career in technology but remained active in music by performing at private soirees in homes across the Bay Area. In 2016, Mr. Smith was invited to join the Noontime Concerts Artistic Advisory Committee, providing guidance on programming and artist selection for the esteemed music series. He has performed with the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra and was a performer in the 2015 Scriabin Centennial Festival at Old First Church, which he also co-produced with Daniel Glover.