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Eugene Brancoveanu is a graduate of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz and the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg. He is also a recent winner of the National Young Opera Singer Competition in Leipzig, the International Music Award in Loenberg, and the International Opera contest “Ferruccio Tagliavini”. Recent engagements for Mr. Brancoveanu include Lancelot in Camelot with Virginia Opera; “Songs of a Wayfarer” in a return to Peninsula Symphony Orchestra; was baritone soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra; directed La bohème and sang Marcello for Livermore Valley Opera; and sang in recital at Brookings Harbor Friends of Music.
In recent seasons he sang the title role in Shostakovich’s rarely performed opera, Orango, with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Peter Sellars directing and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting; sang as soloist in Carmina Burana with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra; in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Marin Symphony, under Alasdair Neale; continued his extensive recital career, performing with Brookings Harbor Friends of Music, and Davis Symphony in opera arias; was featured in the broadcast of Michael-Tilson Thomas’ The Tomashevskys, seen nationally on PBS stations; sang Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” with Sun Valley Symphony; and as soloist in Carmina Burana with San Francisco Choral Society.
Recent successes include his appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, in Michael-Tilson Thomas’ The Tomashevskys, conducted by the composer, a work which he premiered at Carnegie Hall, has reprised with the New World Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and at the Tanglewood Music Center under Seiji Ozawa. He recently returned to the Santa Cruz County Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, sang as soloist in Carmina Burana with Spokane Symphony Orchestra, sang as Marcello in La bohème with Virginia Opera, Gonzalvo in Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten with Los Angeles Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni with Berkeley Opera, Yeletzky in Pique Dame with the Israeli Opera, soloist in Carmina Burana with Santa Cruz County Symphony and with Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, in recital with California’s San Francisco Performances concert series, returned to San Francisco Opera as Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, sang Karnak in Lalo’s Le Roi d’ys with the American Symphony Orchestra, Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Livermore Valley Opera, and as soloist in Elijah with University of California/Davis.
Other highlights include his New York City Opera debut as Pandolfe in Cendrillon, the role of The Pilot in Portman’s The Little Prince for San Francisco Opera, soloist in Brahms’ Requiem with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and in a concert of Bernstein repertoire with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. He made his debut with San Francisco Opera in 2005-06 as Second Prisoner in Fidelio. Also that season he sang the role of Boris in Shostakovich’s Moskau, Tscherkomuschki at Staatstheater Stuttgart. He held a prestigious appointment as an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera for two seasons, directly following his critically acclaimed summer 2004 performances of Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with the company’s Merola Opera Program. With San Francisco Opera he has performed Christian in Un ballo in maschera, Marullo in Rigoletto, Moralès in Carmen, Frank in Die Fledermaus, Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and the Innkeeper and the Captain in Manon Lescaut.
Originating the role of Marcello in Baz Luhrmann’s Broadway production of La Bohème, the honorary Tony Award winner is also a recipient of a 2004 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for his performances of this production in Los Angeles. Other career highlights include performing the role of Nicomedes in the rarely heard Lou Harrison opera, Young Caesar, for Ensemble Paralèlle; a recital as part of the prestigious Schwabacher Debut Recital Series; the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with the International Music Festival in Gut-Immlings, Germany; and the title role in Philip Glass’s Orphée with the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg. Mr. Brancoveanu’s numerous performances with the Romanian State Opera include the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in Don Giovanni, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Escamillo in Carmen, and Uberto in La serva pedrona.
Dr. Jennifer Ellis
Jennifer R. Ellis (D.M.A. University of Michigan, M.M. Cleveland Institute of Music, B.M. Oberlin) has performed over fifty premieres. The first ever harpist to be a One Beat Fellow, a cultural diplomacy program through the U.S. State Department, she was also the first harpist accepted to the Bang on a Can, Fresh Inc., and Splice summer festivals. A UM Engaged Pedagogy Initiative Fellow, she received the Alice Chalifoux Prize, Rackham Centennial and Graduate fellowships, and AT&T Foundation scholarships. She holds prizes in the Ann Arbor Society for Musical Arts, Coeur d’Alene Young Artists, LMC of Seattle, and Inez Stafford competitions. She has played with Britten Pears, Spark Festival, American Wind Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra Institute, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Edgefest Fringe Festival, and Texas Music Festival. She performed the premiere recording of Steve Horowitz’s Entertainment Tonight and has written articles for The American Harp Journal and Harp Column Magazine. An in-demand clinician, she averages a dozen university workshops or masterclasses per season. She performs with the new music harp and saxophone group Admiral Launch Duo, four-time residents of Avaloch Music Institute. She teaches at the Diablo Valley Arts Academy, is a 2017-2018 UC Davis artist-in-residence residence, and is a featured artist at the 2017 Festival of New American Music at CSU Sacramento. Her teachers include Joan Holland, Yolanda Kondonassis, Alice Giles, and Jessica Siegel.
Dr. Ellis is dedicated to innovative music pedagogy and has taught a combination of harp, eurhythmics and music theory privately as well as at institutions including Harps Etc., Avon School of Music, Oberlin Secondary Instrument Program, Cleveland School for the Arts, and Young Artist’s Harp Seminar. She has given masterclasses at Interlochen and Michigan State University and she was the 2013 guest instructor for the University of Michigan MPULSE Harp Institute. She is a flexible clinician and gave over a dozen university workshops or guest lectures in the 2015-2016 season. She founded a eurhythmics program for University of Michigan music students that has expanded to include five levels of study. She specializes in inclusive teaching practices and her commitment to teaching has led her to help train other teachers through teaching eurhythmics pedagogy and leading practice teaching facilitations and training workshops for University of Michigan Graduate Student Instructors. She ran sessions on the art of one-on-one teaching for the UM GSI orientation this past September and will be teaching workshops later this fall on using eurhythmics in the private lesson for the American String Teachers Association in San Francisco and at San Francisco Conservatory. She has helped to train music educators on using tools from eurhythmics in classroom teaching through workshops for NafME at UMass Amherst and University of Michigan. She served as the harp department assistant at both Oberlin and CIM and has published in The American Harp Journal and Harp Column Magazine. Dr. Ellis studied harp with Yolanda Kondonassis, Jessica Siegel, and Alice Giles and earned her D.M.A. in Harp Performance with a Certificate of Musicology and CRLT Graduate Teacher Certificate with Joan Holland and Charles Garrett at the University of Michigan.
Chris Garrecht-Williams studied creative writing at Columbia University and has had his work published in Five Dials, Spinning Jenny, The Chattahoochee Review, Forklift: Ohio, and elsewhere. He has taught creative writing to high school students in various programs across the country and has also taught at Columbia, Rutgers, and Temple universities. He is currently a lecturer at San José State.