FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2022
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Philharmonia heads into its 2022-2023 season with a series of fresh faces and continued innovation:
Valérie Sainte-Agathe joins PBO as its new Director of the Philharmonia Chorale leading into a season of increased choral programming
PBO introduces David Belkovski as first ever Assistant Conductor/Conducting Fellow
PBO Creative Partner Davóne Tines extends role for another year with heightened focus on education and unique programming
SAN FRANCISCO—Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO) continues its longstanding commitment to innovation, creativity, and versatility in its 2022-23 season with two major additions to the artistic leadership team and a continuation of the vital Creative Partner role. As the largest historically informed ensemble in North America, PBO continues to the lead the way in adapting to broader and more diverse audiences and advancing the scope of historically informed performance.
Following a national search, Philharmonia is pleased to announce Valérie Sainte-Agathe as its new Director of the Philharmonia Chorale. She succeeds Bruce Lamott after his 25-year tenure and retirement in 2020. Sainte-Agathe has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the multi-Grammy-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus since 2013. She received her bachelor’s degree in choral conducting from Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier; her diplome d’études musicales in piano, chamber music, and theory from the Montpellier Conservatory; a master’s in management from the University of Montpellier; and a master’s in cultural project management from Paul Valéry University, where she led the choir Ecume.
Sainte-Agathe has conducted and directed with renowned groups throughout the country such as the Philip Glass Ensemble, TENET Vocal Artists and the New York Philharmonic, championing the music of today as gracefully as that of the past. Her exceptional work spans repertoire from the Baroque to new music. Sainte-Agathe focuses on uniting and elevating the San Francisco music community, having worked on projects such as Mahler’s Eighth with the San Francisco Symphony the children’s part in Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel with SF Opera, uniting the Boys and Girls choruses.
Says Executive Director, Courtney Beck, “We are thrilled to welcome Valérie as the next Director of the Philharmonia Chorale and doubly thrilled that she is already an integral part of the Bay Area classical music community. Her command of and passion for a wide range of repertoire makes her the perfect leader for the Chorale and her energy is palpable. And we also look forward to Valérie’s musical leadership and imprint on programming.”
Further expanding the musical leadership team, Philharmonia has appointed its first-ever Assistant Conductor/Conducting Fellow, David Belkovski. Born in Macedonia and raised in Michigan, Belkovski holds a master’s degree in both fortepiano and piano performance from the University of Michigan, a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music, and a master’s in harpsichord performance from The Juilliard School. First prize winner of several international and national competitions, including the 2019 Sfzp International Fortepiano Competition, David has been recognized for his artistry on both historical and modern keyboards
Belkovski is fast building a reputation as a director from behind historical keyboards. He was previously engaged as Assistant Conductor to Gary Wedow for Handel’s Teseo, and has directed Juilliard’s renowned period ensemble, Juilliard415. Along with international prize-winning violinist Rachell Ellen Wong, Belkovski founded Twelfth Night, a dynamic period-instrument ensemble based in New York City. His relationship with PBO has blossomed in the last few years, having rehearsed PBO’s co-production of The No One’s Rose with AMOC. Recently he performed with Davóne Tines in PBO’s 2022 Gala featuring a world premiere by Composer in Residence Tarik O’Regan, and stepped in for Music Director Richard Egarr in several performances of Handel’s Radamisto.
The Assistant Conductor/Conducting Fellow role serves as a platform to highlight emerging artists in the historical performance field, working closely with Music Director Richard Egarr and the top-notch artists of the Orchestra & Chorale.
“I am beyond thrilled to have David Belkovski as PBO’s first Assistant Conductor/Conducting Fellow. I have known David since I taught him at Juilliard as a student in the Historical Performance department. During all my years of teaching I have rarely met such an all-round, brilliant musician. He is a phenomenal keyboard player, endlessly inquisitive, and always searching for the music in all the right ways. His wide musical vision and ability will carry him far in the musical world of the future. I believe in that future, which is why I’m so proud that this new Conducting Fellowship, unique in the HIP world, will help make it a reality,” says PBO Music Director Richard Egarr.
Philharmonia has extended PBO Creative Partner Davóne Tines’ residency, continuing his vital role in the organization’s artistic, administrative and educational endeavors. He will continue his work as a member of PBO’s board of directors and as a participant in strategic and artistic planning, with a heightened focus on critical education programs. Tines has been active both on stage and behind the scenes throughout his residency, and continues to reimagine what a historically informed ensemble can be in the present day.