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Sergey Khalikulov

Sergey Khalikulov headshot


Office 547

Courses Taught

Opera Workshop

Fall Opera theater

Spring Opera theater

Chamber Opera






Sarasota Opera

Opera Santa Barbara

San Francisco Symphony


What is your hometown?

Tashkent, Uzbekistan (but I moved to San Francisco when I was 1!)

What is your favorite recording? Why?

I would have to say one that has stayed with me is a recording of Bellini's "I Puritani" with the incomparable Luciano Pavarotti and Richard Bonynge conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Specifically Arturo's aria "A te, o cara". It is one of the few recordings I have heard in my life where the human voice seems to reach out beyond the confines of digital conversion. I heard this as a young singer and I was immediately hooked on this kind of sound. Take a listen, and listen for the moment when Pavarotti holds his high C# at about might even hear some of the upper partials!

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Find a way to enjoy the process, no matter what!"

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

I participated in the Tanglewood Institute when I was 17 and after hearing Yo-Yo Ma debut Golijov's cello concerto "Azul", I knew I had to pursue music.

What was a turning point in your career?

After finishing up a season working as a singer young artist, Heather Mathews invited me to assistant direct "Mansfield Park" at SFCM. I fell in love with directing and have cherished my time working with my wonderful colleagues here at SFCM.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I would be a basketball coach (I hope to still coach someday!)

What is your daily practice routine?

Read, Watch, Study, and Rest!

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Shostakovich, Mozart, Sondheim

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you, and why?

While it was not necessarily a pleasant time for Leningrad (St. Petersburg), the Leningrad premiere of Shostakovich's 7th symphony in 1942. With the city surrounded by the Nazi army, musicians gathered from all corners of the city and joined forces to play this symphony and uplift the people in that terrible time.

What do you think makes a concert experience unique?

After the pandemic we can all see that live music is something to be treasured. It is a space where people can come and practice empathy. They can listen to the music and jointly share a singular moment with the rest of the audience and performers. As a matter of health, we need these vibrations!


Sergey Khalikulov is an interdisciplinary vocalist, stage director and educator, originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He has worked with many Bay Area institutions and companies including the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera Guild, SFArtsED, Opera Parallele, Foothill Music Theater, Broadway by the Bay, Opera on the Spot, and Cinnabar Theater, and participated in young artist training programs at Opera Santa Barbara and Sarasota Opera. Sergey is a graduate of Ruth Asawa School of the Arts (RASOTA), where he is now Artist-in-Residence for the vocal and theater departments, and holds a bachelor’s in music from the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, and a master’s in music and post-graduate diploma from SFCM. Since completing his studies at SFCM, Sergey has enjoyed staging scenes for Opera Workshop, assistant directing for various productions, and teaching a Russian Opera Workshop winter term class. Among his favorite operatic and musical theater roles he has performed are Figaro, Don Giovanni, Joey (The Most Happy Fella), El Gallo (The Fantasticks), Lt. Cable (South Pacific), and the title role in Sunday in the Park with George. Sergey has over a decade of experience teaching voice privately, and runs an active voice studio with students of all ages.