Nicole Paiement, Founder, Artistic Director
Nicole Paiement has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works.
Maestro Paiement’s 2012 Dallas Opera debut conducting Peter Maxwell Davies’ 1979 thriller, The Lighthouse, earned rave reviews. Subsequently, Paiement was appointed Principal Guest Conductor at The Dallas Opera. Paiement has since returned to Dallas to conduct performances of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, as well as the critically acclaimed and highly anticipated world premiere of Joby Talbot’s Everest, Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma. In 2018, Paiement conducted the US premiere of Michel Van Der Aa’s Sunken Garden.
As Artistic Director of San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle, Paiement has conducted many new productions, including: world premieres of Lou Harrison’s final version of Young Caesar, Dante De Silva’s commissioned opera Gesualdo, Prince of Madness (presented as a graphic opera), Luciano Chessa’s commissioned opera A Heavenly Act, the commissioned chamber version of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, the premiere of the re-orchestration of Terence Blanchard’s Champion in collaboration with SFJAZZ Center; the West Coast premieres of John Rea’s re-orchestration of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and Philip Glass’ Orphée; Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts; Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar; Francis Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias; Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel; the American premieres of Adam Gorb’s Anya 17 and Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness; the San Francisco Bay Area return of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking; a new production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse; Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles; and Jonathan Dove’s Flight. In 2017/18 Paiement conducted a new double bill of Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus and Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti in collaboration with SFJAZZ as well as Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince.
Most recently, Opera Parallèle made its debut at Philip Glass’ Days & Nights Festival with Glass’ In the Penal Colony. In the 2018/19
Additionally, Paiement has served as the Artistic Director of the BluePrint Project at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) where she has commissioned, premiered, and recorded works from many living American composers. At SFCM, she holds the Jean and Josette Deleage Distinguished Chair in New Music. Paiement previously served as the Director of Ensembles at the University of California – Santa Cruz (UCSC). In 2014, she was awarded the UCSC Eminent Professor Award. In 2015, she received the Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship in recognition of her outstanding contributions and achievement in
In 2016, Paiement was awarded the American Composer’s Forum “Champion of New Music Award” for her outstanding contributions to contemporary music.
Ms. Paiement is a very active guest conductor. This past year she has conducted at Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival (2016 – 2018) and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Other prior engagements include Puts’ Silent Night at The Atlanta Opera and Washington National Opera for the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife.
Upcoming engagements include the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s If I Were You with Merola Opera, San Francisco and a debut at Seattle Opera with Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Future seasons also include debuts at the Houston Grand Opera, Opéra de Montréal and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Debbie Chinn, Executive Director
Debbie joined Opera Parallèle as Executive Director in February, 2017. Prior to her arrival she served as an arts advisor for the Ventura Music Festival where she provided board facilitation services to Music Camp International which delivers music training programs to children in Romania and Ukraine.
Debbie is the former Executive Director of the Carmel Bach Festival (CBF) where, from 2012-2016, she led the administrative and operations of the Festival. She established a strategic vision to grow CBF from a two-week summer festival in Carmel into a presenter of classical music concerts throughout the Monterey Peninsula over the course of a 12-month period. This vision was successfully achieved within four years as demonstrated by an 18% growth in local audiences and a 15% growth in sustained foundation support. In addition, Debbie led the season planning process, curatorial direction of CBF’s Community Engagement year-round activities, and oversaw board and staff development, artist relations, fundraising, marketing, event planning, finances, and general management.
Over the past 25 years, Debbie has held executive leadership positions as Managing Director at CENTERSTAGE (the State Theater of Maryland), California Shakespeare Theater, and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. While at the San Francisco Symphony, she served as Volunteer Council Director overseeing the activities of 1,700 volunteers. She began her career at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), University of San Francisco, and Center Theatre Group of the Music Center of Los Angeles where she was responsible for volunteer event management and institutional fundraising.
She currently sits on the board of Theater Bay Area, the largest regional theater service organization in North America. She is also on the board of Community Music Center of San Francisco, a 96-year old organization that provides music classes and programs to students of all ages. Debbie most recently served on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), the national coalition of ensembles created by and for theater practitioners. She is an immediate past Board President of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO), the statewide service organization providing programs and services for classical music producers and presenters in California and the west coast region. Her other past board affiliations include Theatre Communications Group (the national consortium for professional nonprofit theaters in the United States), Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, California Arts Advocates, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute’s Leadership Council – based in Baltimore, MD.
Debbie’s transformative work at the Carmel Bach Festival is featured as one of thirteen case studies in “Creative Social Change: Leadership for a Healthy World”, a recent volume (spring, 2016) in the International Leadership Association Series which assembles thought leaders to reimagine leadership in building a healthy, sustainable, and equitable world.
Debbie is originally from Syosset, NY and she attended the University of Southern California, majoring in Theater, under the artistic direction of John Houseman. Her passions include traveling, wine collecting, being in the audience to support the work of arts colleagues, immersing herself in the company of big and bold thinkers, and championing the growth of the next generation of artists and arts administrators.
Brian Staufenbiel, Creative Director
Brian has directed the conceptual designs of the companies’ productions since 2010. Specializing in multimedia interdisciplinary productions, he actively works across a wide range of artistic disciplines collaborating with film/media designers, choreographers/dancers, circus/designer fabricators. His progressive approach to stagecraft has garnered critical acclaim for Glass’ In the Penal Colony, Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness, Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles, Golijov’s Ainadamar, Berg’s Wozzeck, and Davies’ The Lighthouse. He recently created a new production of Das Rheingold for Minnesota
Jacques Desjardins, Artistic Administrator
acques Desjardins served as the General Manager of Opera Parallèle from 2004 until 2013 when he became the company’s first Artistic Administrator. As a composer Desjardins was responsible for the re-orchestration of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby performed by OP at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and at the Aspen Music Festival in 2012. He has received commissions from BluePrint, the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, the Arthur-LeBlanc Quartet, the Québec Youth Orchestras Association, and the Musica Nova Ensemble. Desjardins is on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he teaches Conducting, Music Theory, and Musicianship. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (DMA) in Composition at the University of Michigan.
Daniel Harvey, Artistic Assistant (Community Programs)
Daniel Harvey is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia and moved to San Francisco in 2017. Daniel’s background in set and costume
Marilyn Langbehn, Marketing Manager
Marilyn is an
Elaina Guyett, Development Coordinator
Elaina, a recent graduate of California State University East Bay, majored in Sociology and Ethnic studies, with an emphasis on gender and race. She is bringing this knowledge to Opera Parallèle in the hopes of helping to expand Opera’s inclusivity to younger, more diverse audiences while gaining experience within the world of development. She is also an advocate for the arts, participating and supporting Contra Costa Civic Theatre not only as their current House Manager, but as Props Organizer, and Facilities Aid. While Opera is quite new to Elaina, music has always played a very central role within her life, being surrounded by musical figures, such as her father, who played bass guitar for over 20 years with John Lee Hooker and many others. Through Opera Parallèle, Elaina’s two passions, music