Allan Crossman, Composer
Allan Crossman has had the great pleasure of writing for soloists and ensembles worldwide on both concert and theater stages, including many commissions. Compositions have received special awards and commentary, as has his teaching.
Music for Human Choir shared Top Honors at the Waging Peace Through Singing Festival in Oregon; Flyer was written in 2003 for the centenary of the famous Wright Brothers flight and recorded by the North/South Chamber Orchestra (NYC) under Max Lifchitz, with cellist Nina Flyer. North/South also produced the GRAMMY-nominated album Millennium Overture, with Crossman’s wind-string quintet of the same name. Canada Council, American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer and others have supported his work.
He has composed/music-directed for many theater companies. The Log of the Skipper’s Wife was produced by the Royal Shakespeare Co. at Stratford, England and the Kennedy Center, with Crossman’s music drawn from Irish/Scottish shanties; it also appeared at the Camden Opera House, Maine, where Dorothea Balano, the skipper’s wife, saw many operas in the early 20th century. He was music director of the Anne of Green Gables musical tour of Montreal and Hong Kong, and creator of the soundtrack for the award-winning animated film X MAN, by Christopher Hinton (National Film Board of Canada).
He has taught at Concordia University, Montreal (Professor Emeritus), San Francisco Conservatory, Wheaton College, Pacific Conservatory, and the John Adams Young Composers Program. A number of his students are active as concert and film composers.
The Eusebius Duo
Praised for their “sensitive and ingenious” interpretations, Monika Gruber and Hillary Nordwell formed the Eusebius Duo in 2005, shortly after graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2006, they took first prize in the CMFONE International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston, MA, which resulted in a performance at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, New York.
Based in the Bay Area, they perform regularly at San Francisco’s Noontime Concerts, Old First Concerts, and the Bing Concert Series at Stanford University Hospital. They have also appeared in Berkeley’s Trinity Chamber Concerts and Napa’s Festival del Sole, among others. Concert tours have taken the Eusebius Duo to perform several concerts in Washington State, where they were also featured on KONP Radio’s ‘Art Beat’, and to Germany, where they were invited to perform in Dortmund’s ‘Summer Matinees for Young Artists’ series.
The duo’s mutual love of Robert Schumann’s life and music brought them together under the name “Eusebius,” one of the pseudonyms Schumann used in writing for his Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. According to a German reviewer, “It is the split between the lyrical “Eusebius” and the wildly open “Florestan” (both pseudonyms of Schumann), that also characterizes the playing of the Eusebius Duo. Quick-tempered displays of strength pair themselves with irresistibly melting tone… The musical partners seem, even in the smallest nuances, to be in agreement with one another.” Another reviewer comments on Nordwell’s “musical zeal,” and Gruber’s “soft, clear tone, which she can also imbue with gripping fire.”
The shared education of the Eusebius Duo at the San Francisco Conservatory includes chamber music study with Mark Sokol, Paul Hersh, and Ian Swensen, and master classes with Gilbert Kalish (SUNY Stony Brook), Menahem Pressler (Beaux Arts Trio) and Martha Katz (Cleveland Quartet).
Monika Gruber, Violin
A native of Germany, Monika Gruber graduated from the ‘Hochschule fuer Musik’ in Weimar in 2003 with an Artistic Diploma and a Teaching Diploma. She spent the Academic Year 2000/01 as a recipient of the European “Erasmus” Scholarship at the ‘Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique’ in Lyon, France, studying violin with Stephane Tran Ngoc. In 2003 she won the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Award, which enabled her to come to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Ian Swensen and completed her Masters Degree in May 2005. After having served as 1st violinist of the SF Conservatory’s New Music Ensemble, Monika currently pursues her passion for New Music as concertmaster of the SF Composers Chamber Orchestra. A dedicated teacher, she was a faculty member of the SF Conservatory’s Preparatory Division in 2005/06 and currently teaches at the SF Community Music Center, where she won this year’s Faculty Concerto Competition and will perform the Sibelius Concerto in June of 2007.
Ann Moss, Soprano
Soprano Ann Moss is an ardent and acclaimed champion of contemporary vocal music who performs and collaborates with a dynamic array of American composers. Her high, silvery, flexible voice has been singled out by Opera News for its “beautifully pure floated high notes” and by San Francisco Classical Voice for its “powerful expression” and “exquisite phrasing.” In addition to working closely with well-known composers such as Jake Heggie, John Harbison, Aaron Jay Kernis and Wayne Peterson, Ann seeks out and performs music by emerging voices at forums and festivals across the USA. A co-founder and Artistic Director of new-music repertory group CMASH, she has been personally responsible for the creation and premiere of over eighty art songs, works of vocal chamber music and operatic roles, from composers such as Vartan Aghababian, Kenneth Froelich, Heather Gilligan, John Grimmett, Sanford Dole, Joshua Fishbein, Kurt Erickson, Jared Redmond, Miriam Miller, Garrett Shatzer, Weslie Brown, Jessica Rugani, Liam Wade, Sarah Wald, Andrew McManus, Allen Shearer, Carlos Gamboa, and Erik Jekabson. Ann has performed new works with Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, SF Contemporary Music Players, Earplay, Eco Ensemble, New Music Works, San Francisco Lyric Opera, the Ives, Alexander, and Hausmann String Quartets, Sanford Dole Ensemble, Composers in Red Sneakers, at FENAM, Other Minds Festival, Fresno New Music, PARMA, Switchboard Music Festival, and SF Song Festival. She has lectured about vocal composition at MIT, UC Davis, Longy School of Music of Bard College, NYU Tisch School For The Arts, UT Pan America, Sacramento State University, and CSU Los Angeles, and served on the 2008 & 2011 faculty at CSU Summer Arts’ Composer/Performer Collaboration Workshop. Her debut album Currents (Angels Share Records, 2013), produced and recorded by multi-GRAMMY® award winner Leslie Ann Jones at Skywalker Sound, features a dream team of collaborators from the chamber, new music, and jazz communities performing some of the extraordinary new and recent American vocal/chamber music Ann has championed over the past decade. Moss returns to Skywalker this summer with pianists Steven Bailey and Jake Heggie, cellist Emil Miland, violinist Isaac Allen, and GRAMMY® award winning ensemble Chanticleer to record songs by Heggie, Wade, Lennon/McCartney, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan for her sophomore album, Love Life, slated for release in February, 2016. Ann Moss has recorded on PARMA, Naxos, Albany, Navona Records and Jaded Ibis Productions labels.
Hillary Nordwell, pianist
Hillary Nordwell, an active performer on both piano and viola, has performed chamber music throughout the United States, as well as in Italy, Austria, Germany, and Sweden. In 2006, she was invited as pianist of the Eusebius Duo to perform in Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall, New York), following the duo’s success as first prize winners of the CMFONE International Chamber Music Competition.
Hillary earned her masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory in 2005, and was honored during her studies there for her outstanding accomplishments as a pianist. At the San Francisco Conservatory, she studied with Paul Hersh, Jodi Levitz, Axel Strauss, and Mark Sokol and participated in master classes with renowned artists Menahem Pressler and Paul Katz.
In 2003, she completed her bachelors degree in Piano Performance, magna cum laude, at Lawrence Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she studied with Catherine Kautsky and was honored for three consecutive years with the Marjory Irvin Prize for “excellence in solo piano and chamber music.” In 2001, she spent a semester abroad in Vienna, studying piano with Christiane Karajeva and developing a love for opera and the German language.
As a soloist, Hillary has made concerto appearances with orchestras including the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, the Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Port Townsend Community Orchestra. She has worked with master pianists and teachers Richard Goode, Robert McDonald, and Gilbert Kalish, and has performed chamber music with Ian Swensen and Paul Hersh of the San Francisco Conservatory, as well as with San Francisco Symphony French Horn player Jonathan Ring.
In 2005, Hillary Nordwell founded the Eusebius Duo with Monika Gruber, violin. In the ten years of its existence, the Eusebius Duo has performed numerous concerts, both in America and in Europe. The Eusebius Duo, which derives its name from the more inward of the two characters Robert Schumann used to describe his ego, enjoys programming the work of Robert Schumann, as well as a wide variety of music from many different eras and nationalities.
Though much of her performing involves works from the standard chamber music repertoire, Hillary has recently become familiar with the work of CMASH composers Vartan Aghababian and Liam Wade. She has enjoyed exploring their vocal chamber music through her collaboration with soprano Ann Moss and violist Alexa Beattie in the One Art Ensemble. She has worked with prominent American composer Joan Tower leading up to a performance of her “ballet for two pianos,” Stepping Stones, and recently collaborated with Santa Cruz composer Nick Vasallo on his chamber work for mixed ensemble, Explosions in the Sky.
Hillary has been featured on many Bay Area concert series including Noontime Concerts, Trinity Chamber Concerts, Old First Concerts, 405 Shrader, and the Bing Concert Series at Stanford University Hospital. Alongside her performing career, she enjoys working with young musicians in both private lessons and chamber music at her home studio in Pacifica, CA, where she is also the mother of a 4 year old daughter.
Justin Ouellet, Violist