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Kay Stern


Kay Stern is the Concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, a position she has held since 1994.

Stern is a Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and an artist and faculty member of Festival Napa Valley, the Blackburn Academy and Classical Tahoe. Stern has served on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Music Academy of the West. She has served as assistant to Dorothy DeLay at the Aspen Music Festival and assistant to the Juilliard Quartet at the Juilliard School, and has taught and coached at various music festivals around the world including residencies at Wellesley College and San Diego State University.


As founding member and first violinist of the Lark String Quartet, she has performed and given master classes throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.


Stern has been featured on television and radio. She has appeared in PBS's Live from Lincoln Center, CNN's Women Today, Minnesota Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and WQXR-NY Robert Sherman's Listening Room. Kay has also contributed several articles to Chamber Music America.


Some of Stern's Concertmaster positions include the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Concordia at Lincoln Center, the Cabrillo Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Stern has also appeared in many performances at Music Academy of the West, Caramoor, Bard, Olympic and Grand Teton Music Festivals. She regularly performs as Concertmaster for movie soundtracks and video games recorded at Skywalker Ranch. As an active chamber musician, she has and continues to collaborate with colleagues around the world. Stern regularly plays for fundraising events and has helped raise money for medical research, schools, arts organizations, student orchestras and political events. As an advocate for educational and community outreach programs she participated in the New York Philharmonic Musical Arts Experience, Young Audiences of NY Children's Programs, Lincoln Center Student Programs and the Minnesota School & Resource Center for the Arts Touring Program, Seaside Music Academy and Pacifica School Volunteers. 


Kay attended the Juilliard School as a student of Dorothy DeLay. While at Juilliard, she received full scholarships for her Bachelor, Master's and Doctoral degree programs. She also studied with Michael Davis at Ohio State University. Her concerto and chamber music recordings can be heard on Phillips, Nonesuch, Innova, MusicMasters, Koch International, Gramavision, Arsis and Albany Records


Kay’s daughter, Shaleah, has always been around music . As an infant, she sat in the middle of chamber music rehearsals, captivated as she sat in the middle, in her bouncy seat. Shaleah caught the bug, and has been playing the violin since she was three years old, and is now a violin student at the Juilliard School. Kay and Shaleah both enjoy playing all varieties of music.

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