So excited to be the guest artist with my band Boca Mundial (Jonathan Alford, Sam Bevan, Colin Douglas) for a benefit at Angelica’s Bell Theater in Redwood City. We are performing with a stellar youth choir, Cantabile.

About Cantabile

Pronounced “kahn / TAH / bee / lay ,” it is an Italian word which can be literally translated as “singable” or “song-like.” However, in a musical context, it refers to a smooth, flowing, and melodious style. This is exactly how Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley sound as they perform exciting music from many different cultures, time periods and styles.

In 2004 internationally recognized conductor Elena Sharkova was named as the organization’s Artistic Director.

The singers, ages 4­-18, enjoy weekly rehearsals, seasonal concerts, participation in music festivals, and tours abroad, are frequent guests with premier symphony, opera and ballet companies, and have performed a stand-alone concert at Carnegie Hall.

Cantabile Youth Singers organizes its members into six different choirs, based on level and age: three age-appropriate Preparatory Choirs for students ages 4-9; a fun and high-energy Intermediate Choir for students ages 9-12 (or roughly from 4th-6th grade); and the two senior choirs: Ensemble, for young people ages 12-15, wishing to further their musical experiences by learning a fantastic variety of advanced literature; and Vocalise, Cantabile’s most advanced group for youth aged 14-18, who will find this group to be challenging, rewarding, and exciting to participate in!

Demo classes are held in August and January and auditions are held by appointment throughout each semester.

Elena Sharkova
Artistic Director and Conductor of Vocalise, Artistic Advisor to Aria

Elena Sharkova has been Artistic Director of the Cantabile Youth Singers since 2004 and oversees all educational and performance aspects of the program, in addition to conducting the top choir, Vocalise and being the Artistic Advisor to Aria.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ms. Sharkova received a Bachelor’s Degree in music education and piano and subsequently a graduate degree in conducting from the world-renowned St. Petersburg Rimski-Korsakov State Conservatoire, alma mater to Tchaikovski, Prokofiev, Schostakovich and Balanchin. Upon graduation, Elena was appointed Chair of the Choral Department of the Preparatory Music School at the conservatory. There she developed a new curriculum based on the innovative Ogorodnov Method and directed four youth choirs (ages 3-18.) In 1993 Ms. Sharkova moved to the US and received her second graduate degree in conducting from Western Michigan University where she later served on the faculty. Elena arrived in the Bay Area in 1998 to join the music faculty at San Jose State University where she served as Director of Choral Studies, conducting three choirs and teaching classes in voice, choral conducting, and music education until spring 2006.

Equally comfortable working with professional musicians and very young children just beginning their musical explorations, Elena is thrilled to be starting her second decade as Cantabile’s Artistic Director. She believes that young people are the best ambassadors of music and culture, and that choral and ensemble singing is the most powerful art that brings people together no matter of their age, social differences, politics or religion.

A dedicated music educator, speaker and clinician, Elena Sharkova is one of the busiest festival and honor choir conductors in North America. Elena has conducted professional, university, youth and community choirs and orchestras in 17 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In the US, Ms. Sharkova appeared as guest conductor at several prestigious venues such as New York City’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, Chicago Orchestra Hall, San Francisco’s Davies Hall, Washington DC Kennedy Center and Segestrom Concert Hall in Orange County.

Elena has conducted national, divisional and state honor choirs for American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Music Educators, Organization of American Kodàly Educators, and Association for Music in International Schools. Most recent and upcoming engagements include Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Washington and Virginia All-State High School Honor Choirs as well as Southwest ACDA Division College Honor Choir and All-Eastern Honor Choir. Ms. Sharkova is looking forward to the profession’s highest honor – conducting one the National Honor Choirs at the ACDA National Convention in Salt Lake City in February 2015.

Artistic Director of Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale (formerly San Jose State University Chorale) since 1998, Ms. Sharkova has prepared and conducted the chorus in over 50 major choral-orchestral works such as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem and opera Aida (concert production) among many others.

As conductor and coach, Elena Sharkova regularly appears with professional artists. In 2014, she served as guest music director for the Grammy Award winning “Orchestra of Voices” — male choir Chanticleer in a genre- and time—spanning program entitled Russian Dreams that featured folk, spiritual, secular, and urban vocal heritage of the nation. With Cantabile, Elena’s other recent projects have been with Kronos Quartet, Symphony Silicon Valley, Stanford Symphony, Ballet San Jose, visual artist Nene Humphrey, and actor Ryan Gossling’s rock play “Deadman’s Bones, among others.

A passionate advocate for Russian choral music, Elena has lectured extensively on its repertoire and conducted several U.S. premiers of Russian contemporary compositions. Since 2013, she has been serving as the editor for “Elena Sharkova Choral Series” with Carl Fischer Music and has published with National Music Publishers as well.

As a soprano, Elena has performed and recorded with Lege Artis, one of Russia’s finest professional choirs, and appears on five studio CDs on SonyClassical label.