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Where it all started

In 1991 a conductor approached Joanne for some assistance in organizing his artist materials and that was the beginning of the agency. However, this was not the beginning of Joanne’s involvement with the world of classical music. That started when she was five, first with studying the violin for thirteen years and then added the piano at age six. She was a member of the Stockton Symphony while still in high school (Roy Harris was the conductor), was the youngest member of the Idylwild Chamber Orchestra (she was still in middle school) and she formed her own string quartet.

Even with her extensive background as an instrumentalist, Ms Barnes was always a singer. She graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with both a Bachelors and a Masters in Vocal Performance, having received a full scholarship in addition to being granted a graduate assistantship. Always an organizer, the assistantship was in concert management.

As a founding member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Joanne was privileged to work with some of the greatest conductors during her tenure (1973-1981). She was also the AGMA representative and was involved with the chorus negotiations. Learning the art of negotiating planted the seeds for becoming an artist manager later in her career.

Ms Barnes actively pursued her career as a professional singer from 1981 through 1987. She studied with renowned tenor Jess Thomas, who encouraged her to pursue the dramatic soprano repertoire. She was fortunate enough to have worked briefly with Birgit Nilsson as well. She was singing in Europe and doing concerts in both England and Germany when changes in her personal life necessitated her returning the States. Wanting to stay in the field of classical music, she became the artistic director for a small concert presenting organization in San Francisco for two years. In 1989, she was invited to be a guest on the voice faculty of the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. During that time, she also directed a production of
The Pirates of Penzance for San Joaquin Delta College and was the music director for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for Napa Valley College. Then, a funny thing did happen to Joanne Barnes - remember that conductor? Suddenly, over night, the direction of her life changed once again and she found herself in the role of mentor and manager, first for one artist and then for many.

For the rest of the story, please read our Company Philosophy and Where we are today.