Director of Music, Dr. Bryan Baker
Dr. Bryan Baker is an active Bay Area conductor, pianist and voice teacher. He has directed Luminescence, the adult choir, and coordinated the strong music program at the church since 2003. During this time, he has led many fundraising activities, including reinstating a Sing-it-Yourself Messiah and organized numerous joint events with other congregations. Bryan is also Artistic Director and Conductor of Masterworks Chorale, Assistant Conductor of the San Francisco Choral Society, and directs the chamber choir Seranade. Having earned his Doctoral degrees in music, Dr. Baker now serves on the faculty of the College of San Mateo. He formerly taught at San Francisco State University, Foothill College, Truman University in Missouri, and Arizona State University. He maintains a busy private studio, and his students have won competitions and appeared in concerts and opera productions in the Bay Area and across the country.
As a pianist, Bryan has performed across the United States and in Europe. Locally he has performed in Davies Symphony Hall, Herbst Theater, at the Stern Grove Festival, and on the Old First Concert Series. During recent seasons, he performed with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, the California Chamber Symphony, the New Millennium Strings, and the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra in concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, St-Säens, and Shostakovitch.
Dr. Baker has won prizes in numerous competitions, including first place in the Klatzin Contemporary Keyboard Competition and the Bay Area Keyboard Arts Competition, Living Composers. He received a grant for performances of chamber music and has performed a wide range of unusual works for small ensembles.
Bryan finds great joy in the theater. As a musical director, his last two shows were Side by Side by Sondheim and the opera La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart. As an actor, he most recently appeared in productions of Driving Ms. Daisy and Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
Principal Organist, Katya Kolesnikova
Katya was born in Russia, where she began her musical studies at the age of seven. She decided to make music her profession, eventually graduating from musical School, College and Conservatory in Russia, earning advanced degrees in ‘Piano’, ‘Chamber music’, ‘Organ’ and ‘Musical Science’. She was then awarded a scholarship at Ecumenical Institute of Church Music by Hochschule Der Kunste in Berlin, Germany, where she received yet another degree in ‘Organ Performance’ and started working as a church organist. Returning to Russia, she married Alex, a physician, with whom she eventually moved to US.
They came to America first living in Chicago, where Katya worked as a church organist, piano and organ teacher and performer. She continues doing so, currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She plays primarily for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley in Sunday services and at special concerts such as the Messiah Sing Along held in late December.