About Julie Ann Giacobassi

a performer with “exquisite” and “silvery grace”
–  San Francisco Chronicle

“an English horn genius” – “exceptional by any standard”
–  San Francisco Examiner  

a performer who “brings dark-toned eloquence to a wide range of Romantic and modern music.”
–   San Francisco Chronicle  

“a great artist and a great soul”
–  Herbert Blomstedt

Julie Ann Giacobassi
Photo by Norbert

 Julie Ann Giacobassi, English horn player with the San Francisco Symphony from 1981-2006, spent her playing career promoting, performing and recording new music for the English horn and the oboe d’amore.

Her premieres included:

Eric Ewazen
Quintet for English horn and Strings

Richard Felciano
Dark Landscape for solo English horn
Contraltos for English horn and viola

Deborah Kavasch
The Fox and the Grapes for soprano and English horn
Songs of the Swan Maiden for soprano, English horn and harp

Aaron Kernis
Colored Field for English horn and orchestra

John Marvin
Concerto for English Horn
Five Pieces for English Horn and Piano
Music from the Night for 2 oboes and English horn
Octet for Winds
Ratmir’s Aria arr. from Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, for contralto, English horn and harp
Tapestry for oboe d’amore, viola and piano

Harold Schiffman 
Chamber Concerto for English Horn
Concerto for Oboe d’amore

John Thow
Musica d’amore for oboe d’amore, viola d’amore and harp
Bellini Sky for solo English horn, strings, percussion and harp

In 1994, Ms. Giacobassi along with conductor Alasdair Neale and the San Francisco Symphony presented the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Colored Field for English horn and orchestra, commissioned for her by Hugh and Eugenie Taylor.  Both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Examiner rated Colored Field in the top five classical music highlights of 1994.  Critic Joshua Kosman wrote, “The piece was written to show off Giacobassi’s particular skills, especially her talent for shaping melodic lines with dark-hued eloquence, and it does so splendidly.  Her performance was as vibrant, as serenely shapely and as precise as anyone could desire.”  Their recording of Colored Field (for Argo) was awarded France’s “Diapason d’Or”.

Ms. Giacobassi joined the San Francisco Symphony as English horn player in 1981, and in 1985 made her solo debut with the Symphony performing Telemann’s Concerto for Oboe d’amore.  Other solo performances with the SFS have included Copland’s Quiet City, Farberman’s Shapings, Honneger’s Concerto da Camera, Sibelius’ The Swan of Tuonela and John Thow’s Bellini Sky.  She performed Peteris Vasks’ Concerto for English Horn with the Grand Rapids Symphony. 

Other premieres included Harold Schiffman’s Chamber Concerto for English horn, and his Concerto for Oboe d’amore, which she recorded with Matyas Antal and the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra for North/South Records. Ms. Giacobassi can be heard on the Philips, London, Nonesuch, BMG and the SFS Media recordings of the San Francisco Symphony.

Ms. Giacobassi began her oboe studies at the age of fourteen with Gail Warnaar in Muskegon, Michigan.  She is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she studied with Florian Mueller.  Before joining the San Francisco Symphony, Ms. Giacobassi performed as English horn player and oboist with the Shreveport Symphony, the National Ballet Orchestra, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Wolf Trap, and the American Camerata for New Music.  While in Washington, DC, Ms. Giacobassi studied with English horn player Richard White.  She performed regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of Chamber Music Sundaes and the SFS Chamber Music Series.

Julie Ann Giacobassi played a Laubin English horn and a Loree oboe d’amore, both with Lickman bocals.  She used the “Giacobassi” English horn shaper tip made by Bob Hubbard.  It is available through Westwind DoubleReed.

Performance Reviews

“Giacobassi is perfect interpreter for composer’s charming premiere”
Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle

“A Dazzling Hornist”
Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle

“CDs  By Our Own”
Robert Commanday, San Francisco Classical Voice

“Voyages Of An English Horn Player”
Jeff Rosenfeld, San Francisco Classical Voice