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Faculty Artist Series: Jean-Michel Fonteneau and Dana Fonteneau, Cello


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Performed from Sol Joseph Recital Hall
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What's cool about this evening

  • Jean-Michel Fonteneau, one of the world’s most renowned cellists.
  • Bach, Davidovsky, León, Piatigorsky—a musical lesson on cello pieces from different eras.
  • A little electronic sound courtesy of Davidovsky’s Synchronisms No. 3.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008
     II. Allemande
     III. Courante
     IV. Sarabande
     V. Menuett I
     VI. Menuett II
     VII. Gigue

Tania León (b. 1943)
“Four Pieces” for Solo Cello (1981)

Mario Davidovsky (1934-2019)
Synchronisms No. 3 for Cello and Electronic Sounds (1964)

Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976)
“Prayer - Homage to Ernest Bloch"
"Prokofiev and Shostakovich Strolling in Moscow”

Get to Know Jean-Michel and Dana:

The eminent French cellist Jean-Michel Fonteneau has performed and taught around the world. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has appeared throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. He has served as a professor of cello and chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory for the past two decades, in addition to performing and teaching annually at Yellow Barn. 

Jean-Michel is a founding member of the Quatuor Ravel which received top prizes at the Evian International String Quartet Competition in 1989 and won the Victoire de la Musique Classique in 1994. The Quatuor Ravel performed annually at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as regularly at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Salles Gaveau, and Suntory Hall. They also toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, and North America. Jean-Michel created and led the first ever string quartet residency program in France. 

Recent collaborations include performances with Leon Fleisher, Peter Frankl, Claude Frank, Nobuko Imai, Gilbert Kalish, Kim Kashkashian, Anthony Marwood, Menahem Pressler, and Mark Steinberg. Jean-Michel has also performed alongside the Amadeus, Escher, Fine Arts, Pro Arte, and Tokyo Quartets. He has recorded extensively for Albany Records, MSR Classics, Centaur Records, and Musidisc-France. 

A passionate and dedicated teacher, Jean-Michel previously served on the faculty of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Lyon, France before coming to San Francisco. His students have won international competitions — including the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition — and gone on to major solo, chamber, and orchestral careers. His students have appeared at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, the  Concertgebouw, the Wigmore Hall, the Verbier Festival, and on many more of the world’s premier stages. In addition to his annual residence at Yellow Barn, he previously taught at Domaine Forget, the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival, and the Morges Summer Academy in Switzerland. 

Jean-Michel is currently a member of the San Francisco Piano Trio together with violinist Axel Strauss and pianist Jeffrey Sykes. The Trio performs annually at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, along with regular performances throughout North America. He also performs regularly with the Houston-based Music in Context ensemble dedicated to historically informed performance on period instruments. 
Jean-Michel studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Musique de Paris and plays cellos made by Francesco Goffriller in 1730 and Andrew Carruthers in 2016. He lives in Berkeley, CA together with his wife Dana.

Dana Fonteneau draws on her diverse background in music, business, finance, and psychology to help her clients attain greater personal and career success. She is part performance coach, management consultant, financial advisor, and therapist. Equally comfortable in the board room and the concert hall, Dana helps individuals and small businesses succeed. Her international practice is centered in the arts where she works with top soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestral musicians, actors, dancers, and educators, as well as with leading administrators, board members, and managers throughout the music industry. 

Her clients have included Grammy Award-winners, Avery Fisher career grant recipients, and Fulbright Scholars, along with leaders and board members from major arts organizations including Red Oak Realty and MKI Artists. She has also worked with members of the Boston, Dallas, and Seattle Symphonies and faculty members from the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Peabody Institute, and San Francisco Conservatory. Her work is conducted one-on-one, in small group settings, and through writing and speaking engagements to address career planning, interpersonal dynamics, performance anxiety, and financial planning and negotiations.

Dana also continues to work with select entrepreneurs, business owners, boards, and companies outside of classical music. Some of these clients have included employees at Apple and Genentech, Silicon Valley startups, and established companies. Her targeted work has enabled clients to negotiate a six-figure consulting contract with Twitter, succeed at interviews with Fortune 500 companies, and significantly increase business, profit, and fundraising results. 

Dana has appeared as a guest speaker and presenter at nearly every major music school in the United States including the Juilliard School, National Orchestral Institute + Festival, Concert Artists Guild, Young Concert Artists, Manhattan School of Music, University of Michigan, Rice University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder College of Music, the Shenandoah Conservatory and the San Francisco Conservatory. 

She has presented and served as a career advisor at the Chamber Music America National Conference, Association for Performing Arts Professionals, Dance, USA, Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, for the United States Marine Band, and Eighth Blackbird’s Creative Lab. 

Dana’s writing can be found on her blog 'The WholeHearted Musician'; in feature articles for Strings Magazine and Chamber Music Magazine; and her book "It's Not (JUST) About the Gig" which examines what success means to musicians and how to achieve it. 

Dana is a conservatory trained musician who has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and as a orchestral player around the world. She holds degrees in cello performance and chamber music from the San Francisco Conservatory. Additionally, she holds a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, is a Demartini Method and Demartini Values Facilitator, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC49425) in the State of California.

Departments and Faculty Involved with This Event