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The Musical World of Sheli Nan

May 15, 2010 | By Brechin Flournoy
“The Musical World of Sheli Nan” highlights four original compositions by Sheli Nan, the noted 21st century Baroque composer, musician and arts educator, and includes a special performance by dancer Aviva Nan-Tabachnik.

The program centerpiece is the world premiere of Ms. Nan’s “String Quartet for the 21st Century,” a harmonic work in four movements created for the award-winning Ariel Quartet. This 24-minute composition was commissioned by Bill Barbini, a former musician with the New York Philharmonic and now leader of the Ariel Quartet. These champions of contemporary music has been together for 20 years and performed extensively throughout Northern California under the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento. Two of the ensemble’s members are on the San Francisco Conservatory of Music staff. The recipient of many awards and grants locally, the Ariel Quartet won the highest commissioning grant awarded from Chamber Music America. Ms. Nan’s “String Quartet for the 21st Century” is, in her words, “complex, contemporary classical music for our time [that] does not set the nerves on edge.”

In addition to the “String Quartet for the 21st Century” there are three other compositions by Sheli Nan that will be performed.

Divo Zachary Gordin (baritone) will perform two works by Sheli Nan. “I Have a Constant Fever” features Gordin accompanied by cello, piano, and Glen Shannon on recorder; and “Journey the Song Cycle” accompanied by the composer on piano. Gordin is a noted interpreter of the 18th century coloratura bass repertoire, the Bel Canto works of Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi, as well as works of contemporary composers - including Ms. Nan who has composed many pieces for Gordin. He has sung La Scala and been a principal soloist with opera companies in Europe and several Bay Area companies, including the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

The concert will be completed by a special performance by choreographer and dancer Aviva Nan-Tabachnik with violin and piano in “Absinthe avec mes amis.” Nan-Tabachnik formerly danced with Tania Salas Perez Dance Company of Mexico City.

“The Musical World of Sheli Nan” is a mid-day salon that occurs for a single afternoon, Saturday June 5 at 1:00pm at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street @ Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco). This is a free concert. Information is available on

SHELI NAN is a Berkeley composer, musician and arts educator. Sheli Nan is a performer and composer whose life’s work focuses on the creation, performance, distribution, and teaching of music. She has been professionally involved in the musical landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area for more than two decades. The Music Studio is an umbrella for her various musicals enterprises, including composition, performance, recording and teaching, privately and in school programs, as well as written publications.

Sheli is the author of two books, many articles on music and has had 20 editions of music published and performed including her symphony, “Signatures in Time and Place.” Her latest large scale musical work is SAGA-PORTRAIT of a 21st CENTURY CHILD, an opera for our time, with libretto and music written by Sheli. She is a member of ASCAP and the consistent recipient of the Standard Awards Panel. She is also a member of the New York Composers Circle, The Western Early Keyboard Society, Early Music America, The San Francisco Early Music Society, The Society of Composers International, and the American Composers Forum. For more information and to read any of Sheli’s published articles on music, or to make a tax deductible donation for Sheli’s opera, SAGA, please visit

THE ARIEL ENSEMBLE, Bill Barbini, Director The Ariel Ensemble has performed extensively in northern California under the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento. The recipient of many awards and grants locally, the ensemble won the highest commissioning grant awarded from Chamber Music America. Their performances have met with extremely enthusiastic response in Napa, Monterey, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, with many return visits.

The quartet's recording of "Jazz Quartet" by Meyer Kupferman on Soundspells Productions received a very favorable review: "The musicians convey the feeling of great joy and superior sound. Fans of jazz, classical fusion, fans of contemporary music- get this disk!" - Fanfare Magazine.

ZACHARY GORDIN is a noted interpreter of the 18th century coloratura bass repertoire, the Bel Canto works of Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi, as well as works of contemporary composers. Recent engagements include Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with North Bay Opera, Wagner in Faust, Angelotti in Tosca, and the title role (cover) in Don Giovanni with Festival Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with San Francisco Lyric Opera, Paris in Roméo et Juliette with Opera San José, and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Center Stage Opera. He has been a principal soloist in staged and concert performances with the Ibla International Festival, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, San Francisco Opera, Opera Frontier, Berkeley Opera, Open Opera, Center Stage Opera, Festival Opera, Oakland Lyric Opera, Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, Oakland East Bay Symphony, San Francisco City Chorus, Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and WomenSing, the Santa Clara Chorale and Choral Project, and the Sacramento Philharmonic. Upcoming is Giorgio Germont in La Traviata with West Bay Opera. Mr. Gordin is also in demand as a voice teacher and presenter of Master Classes. Visit for more information.

GLEN SHANNON is an American composer and recorder player living near San Francisco, California. His love of straightforward, approachable music for the recorder has garnered him several prizes in composition contests since 1997. With clear influences of Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, and other masters of the Baroque and Classical periods, Shannon's music is largely contrapuntal, with fugues featuring prominently in his collection. He publishes his music under his own name at, and has also had works published by Moeck Verlag, PRB Productions, and the American Recorder Society. In 2007 he was a prize winner in two composition contests — one sponsored by the Chicago Recorder Society and the other jointly sponsored by the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet and the American Recorder Society. Performances of some of his works can be found at In October 2009 he traveled to Dortmund, Germany to participate in the world premiere of a new recorder orchestra piece written expressly for the Dortmund Recorder Consort's 15th Anniversary Celebration concert.

Glen is active in the American Recorder Society, as editor of the semiannual Members' Library Editions, a series introducing new recorder music to the worldwide membership. He has also been selected by the ARS to compose the piece to be played worldwide in March 2011 for their annual Play the Recorder Month celebration.

JONATHAN DAVIS, A native of Berkeley, California, Jonathan Davis holds a Master of Music degree in harpsichord performance from the Mannes College of Music in New York City where his principal teachers included Arthur Haas and Myron Lutzky. In New York, Jonathan performed, with the New York Continuo Collective under the direction of Stephen Stubbs, La Rappresentatione de Anima, e di Corpo by Caelliere, on period instruments. While an undergraduate at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mr. Davis was Laurette Goldberg's teaching assistant. Mr. Davis is the recipient of outstanding performance awards from the Mu Phi Epsilon Honors Foundation, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Mannes College of Music. As the winner of the 2003 Indiana University Baroque concerto competition, Jonathan was a featured soloist with the IU Baroque Orchestra. Mr. Davis has performed throughout Italy as a soloist and chamber musician, most recently at the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori, Florence, Italy.

AVIVA RAHEL NAN-TABACHNIK Aviva is a graduate of U.C. Santa Barbara, and former performer with the UCSB Dance Company. While in Santa Barbara she was chosen for the summer program at the Alvin Ailey Institute in New York City. In 2005 Aviva relocated to New York where she worked on smaller individual dance projects with fellow UCSB graduates. In 2007-08 Aviva lived in Mexico City where she danced and performed with Tania Perez Salas Compania De Danza. Aviva spent this last season back in the Bay Area working with Copious Dance Theater.





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