Russian-American conductor Elena Sharkova holds a Bachelor’s degree in piano and music education and a graduate degree in conducting from the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory. Elena became the Chorus Master for Symphony San Jose in 2006 and since then has prepared over fifty major works for distinguished conductors such as John Nelson, George Cleve, Jane Glover, Carlos Vieu, Gregory Vajda, William Boughton, and others. Elena Sharkova is known for her affinity to folk- and world-music-inspired compositions.
Ms. Sharkova’s most recent engagements have been with Britain’s foremost professional choir the BBC Singers in Glasgow and London, Seraphic Fire, GRAMMY® Award-winning men’s choir Chanticleer, Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the GRAMMY®-nominated Houston Chamber Choir. She has conducted concerts on stages of Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco), Chicago Orchestra Hall, the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), the Mormon Tabernacle, and in world cultural landmarks such as the Vatican, Notre Dame de Paris, Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral and La Sagada Familia in Barcelona, among others. In October 2022, Elena Sharkova made a conducting debut on the venerable stage of the Berliner Philharmonie with a program of choral-orchestral masterworks by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Johannes Brahms.
Ruben Valenzuela is the Founder and Artistic Director of Bach Collegium San Diego (BCSD). As a conductor, keyboardist, and musicologist, he has led BCSD in notable performances of music of the Renaissance, early and high Baroque, early Classical period, as well as music of the twentieth century. Valenzuela's performances have been described as ‘dramatic’ and ‘vibrant’ and ‘able to unlock the true power of Baroque music’ (SanDiegoStory.com). Under Valenzuela’s leadership, BCSD has achieved international acclaim through virtuosic performances of iconic repertoire, in addition to lesser-known works.
In addition to his work with BCSD, Valenzuela is regularly called upon as a guest director and keyboardist. Notable guest engagements include Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, New York City, Marsh Chapel Choir and Collegium at Boston University, Bach at Emmanuel Church, Boston, Juilliard415 at Lincoln Center, New York City, and the Washington Bach Consort. Upcoming invitations include Westminster Choir College with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Handel+Haydn Society, and BachFest, Leipzig. Valenzuela holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University and is also the Director of Music & Organist of All Souls’ Episcopal Church, San Diego.