Peninsula Symphony


Mitchell Sardou Klein
Music Director and Conductor, Peninsula Symphony Mitchell Sardou Klein, whose performances on four continents have garnered wide acclaim, enters his 29th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Peninsula Symphony and his 17th season as founding Music Director of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra. He regularly guest conducts orchestras in California, throughout the United States, and in Europe.

He made his debut with Symphony Silicon Valley in two sold-out performances in 2012, praised by the San José Mercury as a “gorgeous performance; big, enveloping and wonderfully luxuriant.” His other recent appearances as a guest conductor in California include the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Inland Empire/Riverside Philharmonic, Ballet San Jose, the California Riverside Ballet and the Livermore-Amador Philharmonic. Concerts elsewhere have included his return to Europe to guest conduct the New Polish Philharmonic and the Suddettic Philharmonic, concert tours of England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Holland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand with PYO, numerous return engagements to the San Jose Symphony (the predecessor of Symphony Silicon Valley), and his return to the podium of the Santa Cruz Symphony. Prior guest conducting appearances have included the Seattle Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Eastern Philharmonic, Flagstaff Festival Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, South Bend Symphony, and many others. Maestro Klein also has extensive experience in conducting ballet orchestras, including the Kansas City, Lone Star, Oakland, and Westport Ballets, as well as the Theater Ballet of San Francisco and les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

Maestro Klein directed over a hundred concerts as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic (where he was also Principal Pops Conductor and Principal Conductor of Starlight Theater, the Philharmonic’s summer home), and also served as Music Director of the Santa Cruz Symphony.

Maestro Klein is a winner of many prestigious awards, including the 2008 Diamond Award for Best Individual Artist, the Silver Lei Award from the 2009 Honolulu Film Festival (for the World Premiere of Giancarlo Aquilanti’s La Poverta), the 2000 ASCAP Award for Programming of American Music on Foreign Tour, the 2001 Julie Billiart Award from the College of Notre Dame for Outstanding Community Service, a 1996 award for the year’s best television performance program in the Western States (for the one-hour PBS program about him and the Peninsula Symphony) as well as the 1993 Bravo Award for his contribution to the Bay Area’s cultural life.

Mr. Klein was born in New York City, into a musical family that included members of the Claremont and Budapest String Quartets. He began cello studies at age four with his father, Irving Klein, founder of the Claremont Quartet. His mother, Elaine Hartong Klein, danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.

Since 1984, he has been Director of the Irving M. Klein International String Competition. Held in San Francisco each June, the Competition has become one of the most prominent in the world, featuring prizes totaling over $25,000, attracting applicants from more than twenty nations annually, and launching numerous major international concert careers.

Cited for his “keen judgment, tight orchestral discipline, feeling for tempo, and unerring control,” Maestro Klein has conducted many significant world, American, and West Coast premieres, including works by Bohuslav Martinu, Meyer Kupferman, Joan Tower, Hans Kox, George Barati, Benjamin Lees, Giancarlo Aguilanti, Melissa Hui, Rodion Shchedrin, Brian Holmes, Ron Miller, Lee Actor, Alvin Brehm, and Margaret Garwood. He has appeared frequently on national and international broadcasts, including National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the WFMT Fine Arts Network, PBS Television, and KQED television. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife, violist Patricia Whaley. Their daughter, Elizabeth, lives and works in New York City.


Nathaniel Berman
Assistant Conductor

Conductor Nathaniel Berman maintains a wide range of activities as a performer and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. A faculty member at UC Santa Cruz, he is conductor of the UCSC Concert Choir, and has appeared as guest conductor of the Orchestra and Opera Theater, including a premier of Allen Shearer's chamber opera Riddle Me in 2011. Mr. Berman is also Music Director of the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony, and served as assistant conductor of the Oakland Civic Orchestra from 2011-12. In July of 2012, he appeared with the Rochester Philharmonic as one of the participants of the Eastman Summer Conducting Institute selected to perform in concert with the RPO.

Equally dedicated to new music and interdisciplinary collaboration, Mr. Berman has been a member and assistant conductor of the professional new-music chorus Volti, and is currently the conductor for the San Francisco-based new-music collective Wild Rumpus. He has appeared as a conductor and trumpet player for puppet theater performances at the San Francisco Performance Art Institute, and in April of 2013, he will premiere music by UCSC faculty member Hi Kyung Kim at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Smithsonian in Washington, D. C. Mr. Berman received his Master's degree in conducting from UC Santa Cruz, where he studied with Nicole Paiement. His first instrument was trumpet, and he grew up playing duets with his dad, a jazz pianist and singer.

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