Skip to content Skip to navigation

A. Jess Shenson Recital Series

The A. Jess Shenson Recital Series has brought extraordinary singers, pianists, and other collaborative partners to Stanford since its first season in 2005. This recital series offers Bay Area audiences the opportunity to experience live vocal performances in the intimate setting of the recital hall, conveniently located in the heart of Stanford campus. In addition to their recital appearances, the artists give free masterclasses and question-and-answer sessions for Stanford students, enabling personal student and artist interaction. The public is welcome to attend these masterclasses. 

All Shenson recitals and masterclasses take place in Campbell Recital Hall.

The Shenson Recital Series is generously funded by the Ben and A. Jess Shenson Funds at Stanford University.

F A L L   2 0 1 8

John Brancy, baritone
Peter Dugan, piano
Program: "Armistice: The Journey Home"
Sunday, October 14 at 2:30 PM


Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I, this program tells the story of men and women who must find their way back home, literally and figuratively. While most of the music is directly related to World War I, its themes are universal, reaching as far back as Homer’s Odyssey. “Armistice: The Journey Home” features selections from Schubert’s Der Wanderer and Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, popular WWI-era tunes by Oley Speaks and Irving Berlin, and works by Gustav Holst, Pete Seeger, Rudi Stephan, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Ivor Novello.

John Brancy, baritone, performs an eclectic season of new music for his 2018-19 season. Brancy is on a national tour of his critically acclaimed programs "A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song" and "Armistice: The Journey Home" with internationally renowned pianist and collaborator Peter Dugan. This tour takes Brancy to locations such as Stanford University, West Point Academy, the Smithsonian Institute, the US Naval Academy, and the Kennedy Center, to name a few.

Brancy will follow with a tour of Handel’s Messiah with performances in Victoria Symphony in Canada, the Johnstown Symphony, and a return to Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern stage. Brancy then makes his way to Lisbon, Portugal, for a semi-staged production of Romeo et Juliet with the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir conducted by Lorenzo Viotti. Additonally, Brancy will collaborate again with director Yuval Sharon as a featured performer on a new production of Meredith Monk’s ATLAS, this marking Brancy’s debut with the LA Philharmonic. Brancy is also the co-creator of Operation Superpower, a "Superhero Opera" for children that aims to combat bullying through the courage of knowing and believing in one's own superpower and voice.

Pianist Peter Dugan’s 2017 debut solo performances with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony were described by the Los Angeles Times as “stunning” and by the SF Chronicle as “fearlessly athletic.” Prizing versatility as the key to the future of classical music, Mr. Dugan is equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms. Mr. Dugan has performed in duos and trios with artists ranging from Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell to Jesse Colin Young and Glenn Close. The Wall Street Journal described Mr. Dugan’s collaboration with violinist Charles Yang as a “classical-meets-rockstar duo.” Mr. Dugan’s recent chamber music recitals include the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, Music at Menlo, St. John’s College Recital Series, and a Weill Hall debut presented by Carnegie Hall.  His debut album with baritone John Brancy –  "A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song" – pays homage to composers who lived through, fought in, and died in the Great War. 

Voice Masterclass with John Brancy
Monday, October 15 at 4:30 PM


This masterclass for Stanford voice students is free and open to the public.


W I N T E R   2 0 1 8


Brian Thorsett, tenor
Laura Dahl, faculty pianist
Program TBA
Sunday, March 10 at 2:30 PM


Brian Thorsett has been hailed as “a strikingly gifted tenor, with a deeply moving, unblemished voice” (, excelling in opera, oratorio, and recital across the world. Since taking to the operatic stage, he has been seen and heard in over 100 diverse operatic roles, ranging from Monteverdi to Britten, back to Rameau and ahead again to works composed specifically for his talents.

Closely associated with expanding the vocal-chamber genre, he has been involved in premieres and commissions of Ian Venables, Peter Josheff, David Conte, Shinji Eshima, Scott Gendel, Gordon Getty, Michel Bosc, Noah Luna, Laurence Lowe, Brian Holmes, Eric Choate, Eric Davis, Michael Scherperel, Robert Conrad, and Nicholas Carlozzi. His voice has been featured in film and commercials, being the artist for Soundiron studio's Voice of Rapture: The Tenor. He also makes many concert appearances with SF Opera & Ballet Principal horn Kevin Rivard. Their interpretations of Britten's Serenade and Cancticle III have been called “impressive, captivating, transporting” (, “lifted to greatness” (, “arresting, fervent and eerie” (, and “so striking it managed to efface the original recording... a great rendition, sad and poetic” ( Other projects include working with Theatre Comique, which specializes in historically informed performances of early Broadway music. Brian's first solo album was released in 2016, featuring works of Frank Tours, Idabelle Firestone, Guy d'Hardelot, and their contemporaries arranged for salon orchestra. He is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artist program, American Bach Soloists' Academy, and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at Aldeburgh, England; additionally, he spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West. Brian is currently Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech and previously served on faculty at Santa Clara University and University of California at Berkeley.

Stanford Faculty Pianist Laura Dahl is an active international performer and educator, having appeared in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall and Stern Grove Festival, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University, the Carmel Bach Festival, and the Henley Festival in Great Britain. A specialist in collaborative performance and chamber music, Dahl is the founder and artistic director of Music by the Mountain, a chamber music festival in Northern California, and the A. Jess Shenson Recital Series at Stanford University. Dahl is a member of the Department of Music faculty at Stanford University, where she teaches collaborative and solo piano, chamber music, art song interpretation, and diction. The first musician to be named a German Chancellor’s Scholar of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany), Dahl holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan School of Music.


Voice Masterclass with Brian Thorsett
Monday, March 11 at 4:30 PM


This masterclass for Stanford voice students is free and open to the public.


Last modified on: 
Wednesday, December 7, 2016