Julie Ann Giacobassi (b.1949), English horn player of the San Francisco Symphony since 1981, has been hailed as "an English horn genius" and "exceptional by any standard" by the San Francisco Examiner, and as a performer with "exquisite" and "silvery grace" by the San Francisco Chronicle. Conductor Herbert Blomstedt called her "a great artist and a great soul." Ms. Giacobassi began piano lessons with her mother at the age of five. Nine years later, she was attracted to the oboe and began studying with oboist Gail Warnaar in Muskegon, Michigan. Ms. Giacobassi continued her oboe studies with Florian Mueller at the University of Michigan, where she received her BA in 1971. Intending to make teaching a career, she moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, taught oboe at three colleges, and played principal oboe with the Shreveport Symphony. She made the change to full-time performance a year later when she moved to Washington, DC. It was during her ten years of freelancing at the Kennedy Center and her work with English horn player Richard White that she was drawn to the English horn. By the time she joined the San Francisco Symphony, she had made the English horn her primary instrument.
Ms. Giacobassi spends much of her free time promoting new works for the English horn and the oboe d'amore, and performing chamber music that features these instruments. In 1994, Ms. Giacobassi, along with conductor Alasdair Neale and the San Francisco Symphony, presented the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis's Colored Field for English horn and orchestra, commissioned for her by Hugh and Eugenie Taylor. Following those performances, Ms. Giacobassi and the SFS recorded Colored Field for Argo, and in 1996 that recording was honored with the Diapason d'or, awarded by the French music publication Diapason Harmonie. Both the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner rated Colored Field in the top five classical music highlights of 1994. Music Critic Joshua Kosman wrote,
The piece was written to show off Giacobassi's particular skills, especially her talent for shaping melodic lines with dark-hued eloquence, and it does so splendidly. Her performance was as vibrant, as serenely shapely and as precise as anyone could desire.
Other solo performances with the SFS have included Copland's Quiet City, Honneger's Concerto da Camera, Farberman's Shapings, and Telemann's Concerto for Oboe d'amore.
Ms.Giacobassi has recorded the Summit Records Orchestral Excerpts for the English Horn CD, part of the Summit Records OrchestraPro Series. Her transcription for English horn of the Bach Cello Suites has been published by Fish Creek Music. Other premieres include Harold Schiffman's Chamber Concerto for English horn and his Concerto for Oboe d'amore, which she recorded with Matyas Antal and the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra for North/South Records. Ms. Giacobassi can be heard on the Philips, London, Nonesuch, BMG and the SFS Media recordings of the San Francisco Symphony.
Julie Ann Giacobassi plays a Laubin English horn and a Loree oboe d'amore, both with Lickman bocals.
Ms. Giacobassi is accompanied on this CD by violinists Sarn Oliver & Yukiko Kurakata, violist Adam Smyla, cellist Peter Shelton, violist d'amore Geraldine Walther, harpist Douglas Rioth, oboists Evgeny Izotov & Roger Wiesmeyer, and pianist Stephen Thomas.
For more information about Ms. Giacobassi please go to www.FishCreekMusic.com