San Francisco's Home for Great Concerts since 1970

Program for Winnie Nieh & Paul Dab – Yearning and Innocence

Friday, November 12, 2021 at 8 pm

download a copy of this program here.

Yearning and Innocence

Winnie Nieh, soprano
Paul Dab, piano


Franz Schubert (1797–1828)
Willkommen und Abschied (D767, 1st version)
Suleika I
Suleika II

Michael Robert Smith (b. 1989)
Peter Quince at the Clavier
World Premiere
      Just as my fingers on these keys
      In the green water, clear and warm
      Soon, with a noise like tambourines
      Beauty is momentary in the mind


Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)

Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979)
Soir d’hiver

Aaron Copland (1900–1990)
The little horses
Simple gifts
Nature, the gentlest mother
I bought me a cat

Download a lyrics sheet here.

About the artists

Soprano Winnie Nieh graduated from Harvard and received Associate diplomas from Trinity College London in piano, violin and voice. Gifted with perfect pitch and a “well-focused”, “impeccably pure and heart-breaking” voice “able to soar above piano or orchestra”, she has appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Austrian Embassy, as well as in Germany, Canada, South Korea and Hong Kong. She made her European solo debut with legendary Maestro Helmuth Rilling in Bach’s Cantata BWV 147. She won First Place in the St. Andrews Arts Council (Canada) International Aria Competition, Third Place & Audience Favorite in Madison Early Music Festival’s Handel Aria Competition, was a National Finalist in New York Lyric Opera’s Competition, and a Runner-up in two consecutive San Francisco Classical Voice Best of the Bay polls – behind world-renowned pianist András Schiff for “Best Recital Soloist” and behind internationally-acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato for “Best Vocal Recital”. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco-based, Grammy-winning vocal ensemble, Chanticleer.

Later this season, she will be premiering Colin Martin’s Songs from “By Heart” set to texts by Karen McKinnon, with the New Mexico Philharmonic. Besides her acclaimed solo recitals in both the US and Hong Kong, her recent performances include: the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony in Boston, and Handel’s Messiah in New Jersey and Colorado.

Paul Dab is a San Francisco based pianist, teacher, vocal coach, and music director. He collaborates with singers and instrumentalists in a variety of musical styles and enjoys presenting audiences with a wide range of music and discussion topics. Paul collaborates with Bay Area organizations including Lamplighters Music Theater, West Bay Opera, and Cinnabar Theater and has been part of the creative process for world premier operas by Hector Armienta and Joseph Colombo. In classes, private lessons, and performances he engages students on a weekly basis through programs at San Francisco Community Music Center, San Francisco Opera Guild, and Schools of the Sacred Heart. Paul has been a dedicated musician since his grandparents first took him to piano lessons at the age of four. He received degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Vanderbilt University and has worked in educational outreach at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Cypress String Quartet, and the Nashville Symphony.

Michael Robert Smith (b. 1989) is an award-winning composer of contemporary concert music. His music has been described as “Relatively simple, elegantly-turned, beautifully vocal music with a compelling through-line from start to finish” (Gabriel Jackson) and has been commissioned and performed by The Crossing, Chorosynthesis, Mouthscape, the SFCM New Music Ensemble, soprano Winnie Nieh, The Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble, Pianist Josh Wilson, The Commonwealth Club of California, cellist Nadia Geier, and violinist Sam Weiser.

Michael has won multiple awards and prizes, including the 1st place prize in the SFCM Biennial Choral Composition competition, 2nd place prize in the SFCM Biennial Art Song Competition, and the Commonwealth Club of California’s Fanfare Commission, which was performed by members of the San Francisco Symphony for the grand opening of the Club’s new building.

In addition to composing, Michael is an active choral performer and church musician, as well as a conductor. He has performed with many prestigious institutions including the New York Philharmonic, The London Philharmonia, the Philadelphia Orchestra (featured soloist), and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir.

Michael received his Master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and his Bachelor’s degree from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.


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