Gretchen Claassen, a versatile chamber musician, often appears as ‘cellist, baroque ‘cellist and viol player in diverse groups around the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. She has recently performed with American Bach Soloists, Archetti, Wildcat Viols, Karl Cronin and the Americana Orchestra, and is a founding member of the Cello Street Quartet and period ensembles MUSA and the Alchemy Trio. During the 2013-14 season she will be appearing for the first time with Portland Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Bach Choir, Nash Baroque Ensemble and Musica Pacifica, in addition to embarking on a US State Department-sponsored international tour with the Cello Street Quartet.Gretchen's love of chamber music began early on with three summers spent at the prestigious Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival in Maine, and string quartet studies with Joel Smirnoff of the Juilliard String Quartet. As a participant in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s acclaimed Chamber Music Masters series, Gretchen has collaborated with Menahem Pressler, Robert Mann, Bonnie Hampton, Roberto Diaz, and Joseph Swensen. In May of 2011, she was invited to perform alongside SFCM and Shanghai Conservatory faculty in China, as part of the Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival. While pursuing graduate studies, she was first introduced to historically informed performance practice and soon began performing widely on both baroque ‘cello and viola da gamba, participating in the American Bach Soloists Summer Academy and as an apprentice with Benvenue House Concerts, as well as performing as a soloist with SFCM's Baroque Ensemble. Gretchen was a student of Bonnie Hampton at The Juilliard School, where she received a BM in ‘Cello Performance. In 2012, she was awarded an Artist’s Certificate in Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied with Jennifer Culp and Elisabeth Reed.
Cellist J. Adam Young, is a pianist, baroque cellist, and gambist. Mr. Young believes art and music must be approached from a myriad of aspects and pursuit of those concepts absorbs the major focus of Adam's life. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor Degree in Music for Cello Performance under the direction of Jean-Michel Fonteneau at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Mr. Young is the Cello Street Quartet’s main arranger, and is a specialist in harmony, counterpoint, and accompaniment. Mr. Young often performs for free in public spaces around the Bay Area and avidly enjoys broadening the audience of classical and baroque music.
As a viola da gambist, he was invited to perform and study at festivals including American Bach Soloists, Conclave of Viola da Gamba Society of America, and Early Music Vancouver. Under the guidance of Elisabeth Reed, Corey Jamason, and Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Mr. Young anticipates a Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance with an emphasis in baroque music.
Matthew Linaman, soloist, chamber musician and educator, has been featured on stages across the US and Europe. He has performed with faculty from some of the nation’s leading conservatories including the Peabody, Manhattan and San Francisco Conservatories. Dedicated to making music widely accessible to diverse populations, his passion for communicating through music extend far beyond the concert hall with his passionate activism in the LGBT, autistic and bi-lingual communities. Matthew was a scholarship award winning student, graduating with distinction from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Jean-Michel Fonteneau. He speaks fluent spanish, is learning French and American Sign Language, and studies neuro-cognitive sciences.
Cellist, Andres Vera is a native of Puerto Rico and is currently a member of the Miami Symphony Orchestra. In addition to modern cello, Mr. Vera plays the baroque cello and ukelele. He is an active chamber musician, soloist, and educator based in San Francisco and Miami. He often performs with singer-songwriters and chamber ensembles across the United States.
Mr. Vera is involved with the Friends of Haiti for Music organization, which travels to Haiti and provides music emersion sessions to its children. Andres enjoys improvisational performance, arranging new songs for the Cello Street Quartet, and enthusiastically reads science magazines and environmental news articles. Andres is a graduate of the University of Miami and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is fluent in both Spanish and English.
He studied with Ross Harbaugh at the University of Miami, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 2010. At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music he studied with Jean-Michel Fonteneau and Jennifer Culp, earning his masters degree and professional studies diploma in 2013.