School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor Harold C. Schmidt Director in Choral Studies and Professor (Teaching) of Music
BioStephen M. Sano, Professor at Stanford University’s Department of Music, assumed the position of Director of Choral Studies in 1993. At Stanford, Dr. Sano directs the Stanford Chamber Chorale and Symphonic Chorus, where he has been described in the press as “a gifted conductor,” and his work as “Wonderful music making! ... evident in an intense engagement with his charges: the musicians responded to this attention with wide-eyed musical acuity.” Other reviews have lauded, “It is difficult to believe that any choral group anywhere is capable of performing better than the Stanford chorus under the direction of Stephen M. Sano.”
Dr. Sano has appeared as guest conductor with many of the world’s leading choral organizations, including in collaborative concerts with the Choirs of Trinity College and St John’s College, Cambridge; the Joyful Company of Singers (London); the Choir of Royal Holloway, University of London; the Kammerchor der Universität der Künste Berlin; and the Kammerchor der Universität Wien (Vienna). He often appears as guest conductor of the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra in its collaborative concerts with the Stanford Symphonic Chorus, and has served on the conducting faculty of the Wilkes University Encore Music Festival of Pennsylvania. He has studied at the Tanglewood Music Center and is in frequent demand as a master class teacher, conductor, and adjudicator in choral music. To date, he has taught master classes and conducted festival, honor, municipal, and collegiate choirs from over twenty states, as well as from England, Austria, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
On Stanford’s campus, Dr. Sano’s accomplishments as a leader and educator have been recognized through his appointments as the inaugural chair holder of the Professor Harold C. Schmidt Directorship of Choral Studies and as the Rachford and Carlota A. Harris University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He was also the recipient of the 2005 Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. Dr. Sano's recordings with the Stanford Chamber Chorale have appeared three times on the Grammy Awards preliminary ballot in the category "Best Choral Album." His choral recordings can be heard on the ARSIS Audio, Pictoria, and Daniel Ho Creations labels.
Outside of the choral world, Dr. Sano is a scholar and performer of kī hō‘alu (Hawaiian slack key guitar), and an avid supporter of North American taiko (Japanese American drumming). As a slack key artist, his recordings have been nominated as finalists for the prestigious Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award and the Hawaiian Music Award. His recording, "Songs from the Taro Patch," was on the preliminary ballot for the 2008 Grammy Award. Dr. Sano’s slack key recordings can be heard on the Daniel Ho Creations and Ward Records labels.
A native of Palo Alto, California, Dr. Sano holds Master’s and Doctoral degrees in both orchestral and choral conducting from Stanford, and a Bachelor’s degree in piano performance and theory from San José State University. He has studied at Tanglewood Music Center and with Mitchell Sardou Klein, William Ramsey, Aiko Onishi, Alfred Kanwischer, Fernando Valenti, and Ozzie Kotani.
Billie Bennett Achilles Director of Keyboard Programs and Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Music
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsAs a concert pianist, I deeply value the rich traditions of classical music. My passion lies in blending this artistry with scientific insights from neuroscience to biomechanics. This isn't solely about music; it's about applying lessons about optimal practice and peak performance to life's broader canvas. Through my research, I strive to evolve musical training, paving the way for the next generation of dedicated and resilient performers.
BioStephanie Sherriff is an interdisciplinary artist, composer, and performer currently based in San Francisco, California. Their work with sound, video, and physical phenomena is ephemeral in nature and culminates as time-based installations and performances that deconstruct fragments of daily life through experimental processes. They received a BA from San Francisco State University in 2014 and an MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University in 2019. Their work has been featured both nationally and internationally at creative centers such as the Institute for Research Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM), the Sfendoni Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), O. Festival, Gray Area, The Lab, Artists Television Access (ATA), and the Center for New Music (C4NM).
Professor of Music, Emeritus
BioSmith is a professor emeritus of music and (by courtesy) electrical engineering (Information Systems Lab) based at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Teaching and research pertain to music and audio applications of signal processing. Former software engineer at NeXT Computer, Inc., responsible for signal processing software pertaining to music and audio. For more, see https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jos/.
C. Kwang Sung, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery (OHNS) and, by courtesy, of Music
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsLaryngology