San Francisco Girls Chorus, Valérie Sainte-Agathe
San Francisco Girls Chorus, founded in 1978, is a regional center for music education and performance for girls and young women, ages 5–18. Each year 400 singers from all nine Bay Area counties participate in this internationally recognized program. Annually, its dedicated young artists present their own concert season, tour nationally or internationally, and appear with partner organizations, including the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. In 2008-09, SFGC celebrated its 30th Anniversary Season, which culminated in a performance at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony, and a debut concert at Alice Tully Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center. The San Francisco Girls Chorus has won many honors, including Chorus America’s Margaret Hillis Award in 2001, given annually by to a chorus that demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure, and a commitment to education. They have also wond the 2001, 2004, and 2011 ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming, and five Grammys. Valérie Sainte-Agathe is Music Director and Principal Conductor of the San Francisco Girls Chorus. A native of Martinique, Ms. Sainte-Agathe studied at the Conservatoire National de Montpellier. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in musicology from the Paul Valéry University of Montpellier in 1993, she moved to Denver, where she began her career as a pianist and vocal coach at Fort Collins Opera. In 1995, she returned to Montpellier and served as a pianist for the Orchestre National de Montpellier and the Festival de Radio France. She joined Opéra Junior Montpellier in 1997, and in 2000 she was appointed as artistic coordinator and music director, where she trained young singers and prepared choirs for the Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Radio France Festival, and Festival Présences in Paris. In 2012, she received her master’s degree from the Paul Valéry University, where she led the university choir, Ecume. She is a recipient of a Victoires de la musique award and two Orphée d’Or awards for recordings of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bucher and d’Indy’s L’Étranger.