Friday, 16 October, 2020 | 5:00 PM

Paul Schrage

American conductor and pianist Paul Schrage is the music director of the Midsummer Mozart Festival. A versatile musician who spans genres, Schrage has recorded an album of his own work with the jazz trio Sideways.



Scott Joplin (1868-1917)
Euphonic Sounds
Solace: A Mexican Serenade

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)
Adagio in F minor

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor  (1875-1912)
African Dances, Op. 58
I. Allegro
II. Andantino molto sostenuto e dolce
III. Allegro con brio
IV. Allegro energico

with guest violinist Robin Hansen

Recording by Bill Rudiak

About the artist

American conductor and pianist Paul Schrage appears frequently throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and United States, leading orchestras, choruses and festivals from the podium as well as performing as a solo and chamber artist. He currently serves as Music Director of Symphonia Caritas, a professional orchestra that provides benefit concerts in partnership with other non- profits, and Music Director of the Midsummer Mozart Festival. Most recently, Paul was invited to serve as Interim Music Director of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra during the 2019-2020 season. Previously he served as Music Director of the St. Peter’s Chamber Orchestra, as well as on the conducting staffs of the Merced Symphony and the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra. Guest Conductor appearances include the San Francisco Academy Orchestra, Veridian Symphony, Nova Vista Symphony, and Sonoma County Philharmonic, among others. He also conducts and co-organizes the San Francisco Reading Orchestra, bringing some of the greatest orchestral literature to local musicians in an informal setting. 

As a pianist, Paul has performed in recital, with orchestras, and in jazz settings across the United States, in Europe, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has performed in such diverse venues as the INSAP Festival in Chicago, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the main square in Warsaw, Casa Huey Barbosa in Rio de Janiero, and with the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste of Kinshasa. Equally at home in the classical and improvisational realms, he frequently performs half classical, half jazz recitals. Artists he has performed with include harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, conductors David Ramadanoff, Armand Diangienda, and Elena Sharkova, trombonist and composer Bobby Brookmeyer, drummers Louis Bellson and Steve Smith, guitarist Gary Wittner, violinists Ian Swensen and Robin Hansen, and singers Christina Major, Kindra Scharich, and Nathan Granner. Paul has strong relationships with living composers, and has performed world premieres of works by Ingrid Stozel, Rubin Zahra, Eric Choate, and Paul Davies, among others. He was the Pianist-in-Residence of the Contemporary American Music Project, where he frequently collaborated with musical theorist and historian Cameron Logan. 

Combining his artistic endeavors with extensive experience as an impresario, Paul founded Symphonia Caritas in 2015 and has since partnered with numerous non-profit organizations such as Swords to Plowshares and the Gubbio Project, raising over $100,000 in proceeds that go directly to the partner organizations. In addition to serving as Music Director for the Midsummer Mozart Festival, Paul assists with vital organizational components including fundraising campaigns and providing guidance on programming and concert production. 

Released in 2004, Paul’s first solo album showcased the music of Mozart, Liszt, and Copland, as well as original compositions and jazz selections. With the jazz trio the Sideways Trio he released “In Defense of Our Dreams”, alongside drummer Jeff Hanson and bassist Doug Pohorski, featuring arrangements of rock songs, classical works, and original compositions. Paul has served on the piano faculties of Foothill College, Vandercook College of Music, and the International Summer Jazz Academy.

Robin Hansen, concertmaster of the Midsummer Mozart Festival for twenty years, is a native of Berkeley. Raised in a musical family, she started playing professionally with the San Francisco Ballet while in high school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from U.C. Berkeley where she received Hertz fellowships to study in Los Angeles and Munich, Germany. She joined Michael Tilson Thomas’ New World Symphony in Miami Beach, but returned to the Bay Area to play full-time with the Ballet. Robin has performed extensively in the contemporary genre with the SF Contemporary Chamber Players, Ear Play and Composer, Inc. She performs regularly with the San Francisco Opera and has been concertmaster at Stern Grove Festival for the SF Ballet Orchestra where she holds first violin position. In addition, she is a member of the Skywalker Symphony which records movie and video score projects at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. She has toured Europe with the San Francisco Symphony and the United States with the Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta.