Valérie Sainte-Agathe has prepared and conducted the San Francisco Girls Chorus since 2013—including performances with renowned artists such as Jon Nakamatsu, Deborah Voigt, Frederica von Stade, Gustavo Dudamel, The New Century Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Philip Glass, and Aaron Jay Kernis. In June 2016, she conducted the SFGC alongside The Knights Orchestra and Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the New York Philarmonic Biennial Festival at Lincoln Center, New York. She collaborated again with The Knights for the SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, in April 2017.
A native of Martinique, Ms. Sainte-Agathe received her Bachelor of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Universite Paul Valery in Montpellier, France, and her Diplome d’Etudes Musicales in Piano, Chamber Music, and Theory from the Montpellier Conservatory. She holds a Master’s Degree in Management from the University of Montpellier and has also studied Piano Performance at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
In 1995, she returned to Montpellier and served as a pianist for the Orchestre National de Montpellier and the Festival de Radio France where she performed in concerts and recordings of works by contemporary composers such as John Adams, Michael Torke, and Steven Reich.
She joined Junior Opera in 1997 and participated in numerous productions of the Opéra National de Montpellier and Opera Junior, first as a vocal coach and then as a choirmaster. In 2000, she was appointed as Artistic Coordinator and Music Director, where she trained young singers between 6 and 25 years old and prepared choirs for the Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Radio France Festival, and the Festival Presence in Paris.
In 2005, she served as Choir Director for the 2nd Biennial of Vocal Arts in Paris and the Festival de Radio France with Armin Jordan for the production of Die Konigskinder and with Emmanuel Krivine and Alain Altinoglu for Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher with the Philharmonic Orchestra. She also produced the world premiere of ¡Libertad!, a jazz opera written by Didier Lockwood, at the Opéra Comédie in Montpellier.
In 2008, she prepared the Junior Opera Chorus in collaboration with the Regional Symphonic Choir led by Hervé Niquet and the Orchestre National de Montpellier for Mahler’s 3rd Symphony conducted by Alain Altinoglu. The following year, she collaborated with the orchestra for Dido and Aeneas, staged by Jean-Paul Scarpita.
In 2010, she participated in les Victoires de la Musique, an annual French award ceremony, where her group performed Pavane by Fauré, accompanied by the Orchestra of Montpellier, and Amahl and the Night Visitors. The performances were broadcast on national French television.
In 2012, she received her Master’s degree in Cultural Project Management from the Paul Valéry University and led the university choir Ecume.
Ms. Sainte-Agathe participated in eight recordings with the Orchestre National de Montpellier and the Festival de Radio France. She is a recipient of Victoires de la musique (equivalent of the Grammy award in France) and she is a two-time recipient of the Orphée d’Or award for Honneger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher and d’Indy’s l’Étranger.