Next Concert

Next Concert



Sunday | April 26, 2015 | 4:00 pm
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

Love and the Knight
Gregorian Chant, Hildegard of Bingen and Renaissance and Romantic pieces.

NVCM is thrilled to welcome back to its stage this Bay Area favorite vocal ensemble! Clerestory will present a program entitled “Love and the Knight”, a tribute to the music-loving King Charlemagne and his musical legacy in Europe.

This concert has been made possible in part thanks to the generous support of the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.

About Clerestory
Founded in 2006, Clerestory is the Bay Area’s acclaimed 8-man vocal ensemble. Clerestory’s singers, from countertenor to bass, are veterans of San Francisco’s finest professional vocal groups, including Chanticleer, Philharmonia Baroque, American Bach Soloists and others.

Jesse Antin is the founder of Clerestory. He has performed with many of the finest groups in the Bay Area since moving to California in 2000, including five years with the esteemed men’s ensemble Chanticleer. He appears on seven Chanticleer recordings, including one Grammy winner. Other recent local performances have been as a soloist and chorus member with the American Bach Soloists, the choir of Grace Cathedral, and the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Jesse is a native of Princeton, New Jersey, where he grew up singing countertenor in a cathedral men-and-boys choir. Jesse majored in music and philosophy at Brown University. During Jesse’s early career in church music, he was also an organist, choir director, and composer; his pieces continue to be performed and recorded by choirs around the country.

Jesse lives in Berkeley and works as a fundraiser for the non-profit environmental law firm Earthjustice. He is an avid cyclist, hiker, tennis player, home brewer of ales, and coffee roaster, and is a loyal fan of the Oakland A’s. Jesse sings in honor of his new baby son Mason, in memory of his beloved daughter Margaret, and with the support of his wife and muse, Lindsey.

Tenor Kevin Baum is currently section leader and a member of the ensemble Schola Adventus at Church of the Advent of Christ the King in San Francisco. He is also a cantor at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. Kevin sings with the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, with Schola Cantorum, the San Francisco Lyric Chorus, and as an alternate with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus.Kevin is also a tatting instructor in Berkeley.

John Bischoff, bass, has sung with some of the country’s finest choral groups. In addition to Clerestory, these have included Chanticleer, the Dale Warland Singers, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorale, the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, the American Bach Soloists, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. As a soloist, John has appeared with the Sacramento Choral Society, Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, Pacific Repertory Opera, West Bay Opera, and Berkeley Opera. He has also sung roles with companies in Sarasota, Des Moines, and Dayton, and he was an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera.John received his Master’s Degree in voice from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in English from Princeton University. Before recklessly pursuing a career in music, John taught English in Guangzhou, China, and worked as a journalist for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul, using his voice in a different capacity—as newscaster, reporter, and host of regional and national broadcasts. John lives in San Francisco with his bass-baritone German shepherd Lucy, where he enjoys cooking, serving, and consuming dessert—at all hours of the day.

Dan Cromeenes, countertenor, is a versatile musician who has performed professionally as a countertenor soloist, choral singer, and accompanist. Originally from southern California, he studied piano and voice at Biola University. He received his Master’s degree in accompanying at East Carolina University, where he made his countertenor solo debut with Capella Antiqua. After working three years at Biola as Staff Accompanist, he joined Chanticleer for their 2005-06 season, singing concerts across Europe, Japan, and the United States. Dan continues to perform throughout the San Francisco Bay area, both as an accompanist and as a singer. He has played for Santa Clara University, West Bay Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, BASOTI, Santa Clara Chorale, Lamplighters Music Theatre, and has worked as a freelance accompanist and coach. As a singer, he has performed with various ensembles, including American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, Clerestory, Pacific Collegium, Sanford Dole Ensemble, San Francisco Renaissance Voices, and Grace Cathedral Choir of Men & Boys. As a soloist, he has performed Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Santa Clara Chorale, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with Bach Collegium San Diego, Handel’s Te Deum in A Major with San Francisco Lyric Chorus, Bach’s St. John Passion with Bay Area Classical Harmonies (BACH), new editions of Alessandro Scarlatti’s works with Arcadiana, and early music recitals on SCU’s Faculty Recital Series and at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church. When not onstage or behind a piano, Dan can usually be found either on a hike in the mountains or at home baking gourmet goodies.

Chris Fritzsche, soprano, is a native of Santa Rosa CA. He has been a “performer” since the tender age of two, when he was first dragged (literally) across the stage, playing the part of young Michael’s teddy bear in the play, Peter Pan. Flush with such early success, he took up the guitar at age seven and immersed himself in music of the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, and John Denver, among others. He discovered the joys of choral singing in high school and went on to study voice in college as a tenor. Several leading musical theatre and opera roles later, he graduated with a degree in music, and was about to get a real estate license (in order to satisfy his Capricorn desire for money) when someone informed him that the falsetto voice he had only ever used in jest could actually be put to use on the concert stage. This led him to join the men’s ensemble Chanticleer as a soprano for the next 11 years, performing in many of the world’s greatest concert halls and singing on well over a dozen recordings, two of which won Grammy Awards. Having retired from the road in 2003, he has since expanded his solo and ensemble career, appearing with various groups and artists in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. He served on the vocal faculty at his alma mater, Sonoma State University, from 2004 to 2009. He continues to teach vocal classes and performs regularly with the Sonoma Bach early music organization. He is currently the Music Director for the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa.

Baritone Ben Kazez won awards as an app creator before emerging as a versatile singer, performing repertoire from the baroque to the twentieth century with American Bach Soloists, famed collaborative pianist Martin Katz, baroque violinist Robert Mealy, and others. Ben is baritone soloist at Trinity Episcopal Church (San Francisco) and has sung services at Temple Emanu-El (San Francisco), Cathedral of Christ the Light (Oakland, CA), and Temple Beth El (Omaha) as part of a guest vocal quartet. In fall 2013 he appears as baritone soloist with San Francisco City Chorus, the Valley Concert Chorale, and the San Francisco Masterworks Chorale, and he is thrilled to be making his debut with Chanticleer alumni in Clerestory. As a tech inventor, Ben created mobile apps for travelers that were featured in most major news publications worldwide and dubbed “brilliant” by the New York Times. Ben enjoys applying his entrepreneurship skills to arts organizations and in 2010 led the University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society to their most successful season in a decade. Ben currently serves on the marketing committee of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and studies voice with Sheri Greenawald (San Francisco Opera). He holds his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Carleton College, studied Italian in Bologna, Italy, and enjoys travel, hiking, and hand-rolled Italian pasta.

David Kurtenbach, tenor, is engaged regularly with leading Early Music and contemporary music ensembles throughout the Bay Area and North America. A soloist with Apollo’s Fire, Volti, Artists’ Vocal Ensemble (AVE), Clerestory, Oakland East Bay Symphony and Chorus, Schola Cantorum, and Pacific Mozart Ensemble, he has also shared the stage with American Bach Soloists, Magnificat, and the Marion Verbruggen Trio. His performances have been heard at Tanglewood, Ojai, Oregon Bach Festival, and Berkeley Early Music Exhibition, as well as on commercial recordings for Innova/Naxos, Koch International, Soli Deo Gloria, and Tonehammer. David is also an experienced opera conductor, having spent nine years with Festival Opera as Conductor of the Chorus and recently completed his appointment as Chorus Master of Opera San Jose. He currently works at Grace Cathedral teaching voice and music theory to choirboys and clergy, and sings each week with the Choir of Men and Boys.

James Nicholas Monios, bass, enjoys a varied musical career as a performer and teacher. A native of Long Beach, California, Jim studied piano, contrabass, and voice while earning a Master of Arts degree in historical musicology. Since moving to San Francisco in 1991, Jim has performed with many of the finest ensembles in the Bay Area, including San Francisco Opera Chorus, Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, American Bach Soloists, and San Francisco Choral Artists, and he has appeared as soloist with San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco City Concert Opera, Soli Deo Gloria, and Magnificat. He has been bass soloist at Temple Sherith-Israel and several San Francisco churches, including Church of the Advent, where he also served as Associate Director of Music. He began working with Piedmont Children’s Choir in 1994 and has continued teaching and conducting in private schools ever since, while maintaining a private piano studio in San Francisco.

Justin Montigne, countertenor, is originally from Des Moines, Iowa, where he was forced off the piano bench after a dismal accompanying stint into the middle school choir. After this fortuitous switch, he went on to receive his Bachelor’s in music from Drake University in Des Moines, and his Master’s and DMA in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota. An active teacher as well as performer, Justin taught voice for the University of Minnesota and toured Minnesota and the upper Midwest, performing with many ensembles including the Minnesota Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, Western Plains Opera, and the Des Moines Symphony. Justin then moved to San Francisco and sang alto for three years with the acclaimed male vocal ensemble, Chanticleer, performing a wide variety of works with the group in venues around the United States and the world. He has sung with the Minnesota Opera, the Oregon Bach Festival, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, AVE, Seraphic Fire, Conspirare, and other ensembles. Justin teaches voice at the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and is a registered yoga teacher, specializing in yoga for singers. When not warbling, teaching, or practicing yoga poses, Justin enjoys time at home with the other three J’s—his husband Joe and their two challenging canines, Jasmine and Jorge.

Daniel Pickens-Jones, baritone, is excited to be singing his first concerts with Clerestory. A specialist in antique and sacred music, Daniel has performed with American Bach Soloists, Artists’ Vocal Ensemble, San Francisco Schola Cantorum and the Eastman Collegium Musicum, directed by Paul O’Dette. As a recitalist, chorister and choral director, Daniel has also been a proponent of new music, premiering a number of works by living composers. Daniel was raised in the Bay Area and cut his musical teeth as a boy chorister at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. He went on to study international affairs at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and vocal performance at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he performed with the Eastman Opera Theatre and founded and directed the choral chamber ensemble Apeiron. Daniel lives in San Francisco and divides his time between the music and tech worlds.