"Inside Music" Pre-Concert Talks

Join us at Davies Symphony Hall one hour before select concerts for a free pre-concert talk! Inside Music talks are designed to enhance your enjoyment of the concert by providing insights into the works on the program—bringing you “inside” the music.

The music experts who give these talks bring different viewpoints and approaches to their conversations about the music. Some might explore why a composer wrote a particular piece of music, examining its social and historical context. Others might look at how a piece of music is constructed, guiding listeners through recorded excerpts of the works being performed.

From our events calendar, just click on your upcoming concert to view whether the concert includes an Inside Music talk.

Speaker Biographies

Alexandra Amati-Camperi holds a BA/MA in Slavic Studies and Philology from the Università degli Studi di Pisa (Italy), degrees in piano from the Conservatory of Music of Lucca (Italy), and an MA and a Ph.D. in Musicology from Harvard University.  She is Professor of Music and Chair of the Performing Arts Department at the University of San Francisco.

Amati-Camperi has published books and papers on Renaissance, operatic, and gender-related topics. She is currently writing a book about the presentation and treatment of women in opera, tentatively titled Euridice: The Evolution of the Mythical and Musical Other.  In addition to the Symphony, she lectures and annotates programs for the San Francisco Opera, Philharmonia Baroque and other organizations.

Scott Foglesong is Chair of Musicianship and Music Theory at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he has been a faculty member since 1978. Mr. Foglesong also teaches in the Fall Freshman Program at the University of California in Berkeley, is on the faculty of the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at USF, and serves as Program Annotator and Scholar in Residence for the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. He writes for the San Francisco Symphony’s Playbill and other publications.

As a pianist, Foglesong has appeared with the Francesco Trio, Chanticleer and members of the San Francisco Symphony, and performed solo and chamber recitals around the country featuring Renaissance, ragtime, jazz and modern music.  He was trained at the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied piano with Elizabeth Katzenellenbogen. At the San Francisco Conservatory, he studied piano with Nathan Schwartz, harpsichord with Laurette Goldberg, and theory with Sol Joseph and John Adams.

Ronald Gallman, the San Francisco Symphony’s Director of Education and Youth Orchestra, is a music educator who has written and lectured extensively on symphonic repertoire, chamber music, and opera. Gallman manages the San Francisco Symphony’s Inside Music talks and oversees the SFS’s extensive slate of education initiatives. 

Peter Grunberg served as Head of Music Staff at San Francisco Opera from 1992 to 1999 and is currently Musical Assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas. He has appeared as a piano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, performed at the Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg festivals, and collaborated in recital with such artists as Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, and Joshua Bell. He has conducted at the Moscow Conservatory, Grand Théâtre de Genève, and the Pacific Music Festival. He was the principal collaborator on the Symphony's Keeping Score project, both as music editor for the documentaries and as music consultant for the website.

James M. Keller, the San Francisco Symphony’s Program Annotator since 2000, also serves as Program Annotator of the New York Philharmonic, where in the 2008-2009 season he was Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence. His book Chamber Music: A Listener’s Guide was published in 2011 by Oxford University Press. He has contributed articles to Leonard Bernstein at Work: His Final Years, 1984-1990, Leonard Bernstein: American Original, George Crumb and the Alchemy of Sound, and the Encyclopedia of New York City.

Keller was a staff writer-editor at The New Yorker for ten years, and was honored with the ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award for his writing in Chamber Music magazine. He is critic-at-large for The Santa Fe New Mexican, and is curator of the exhibition Singing the Golden State, which spotlights historical popular music about California, at the Society of California Pioneers in San Francisco through December 2012.

John R. Palmer received his Ph.D. at UC Davis and studied at the University of Vienna on a Fulbright Fellowship. An assistant professor of music at Sonoma State University, he has taught courses on the music of Wagner, Beethoven, Mahler, Mozart and Verdi, as well as on popular music, cultural history, and writing. He has worked at UC Berkeley, the University of San Francisco and San Francisco Opera.

Laura Stanfield Prichard was educated at Yale University and the University of Illinois. She is a regular lecturer and writer for the Chicago Symphony, Boston Baroque, Boston Ballet, and the summer Berkshire Choral Festival. She teaches courses in Music and History for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, conducts student choirs for Merriam School in Acton, MA, is the Musical Director for the Winchester (MA) Cooperative Theater, and directs the music program at the First Parish UU Church in Arlington, MA.  Prichard performs regularly with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Boston Pops, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She has led the Boston-based Sharing a New Song Chorus on collaborative concert tours of South Africa and Vietnam, and conducted the Yale Alumni Chorus in Moscow and the Netherlands. 

She has written articles for the forthcoming Greenwood Encyclopedia of Latin Music, the forthcoming New Grove Dictionary of American Music. An alumna of the San Francisco Chamber Singers (Volti) and former assistant conductor to Vance George for the SF Symphony Chorus, she taught music and dance at California State University-East Bay and San Francisco State University.

Elizabeth Seitz is currently the Music History Coordinator at the Boston Conservatory, where she has been teaching since 2005. She received her Ph.D. from Boston University. She specializes in music at the turn of the twentieth century, though she has presented scholarly papers on a wide variety of subjects from Schubert to Bach to Tito Puente to MTV. She has been a frequent lecturer at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Rockport Chamber Music, Tanglewood, Road Scholar, and the New York Philharmonic. Her first murder mystery Dissertation Most Deadly was published in 2004 and she is currently working on the sequel, Murder Most Melodious.


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