Kate Stenberg’s violin playing has been described as “highly virtuosic and deeply communicative…full of character and presence” (NewMusicBox), as heard in performances in a dozen countries and on numerous CDs from New World Records, Sono Luminous, Newport Classics, Decca Records, Other Minds and New Albion labels. She is a leading interpreter of contemporary chamber music having premiered over a hundred works, including pieces incorporating multi-media and improvisation. As a "Bay Area new-music luminary” (San Francisco Chronicle) Stenberg has commissioned, recorded and premiered new works by Tania Leon, Jack Body, Peter Sculthorpe, Chinary Ung, Per Nørgård, Kui Dong and many others. Stenberg’s CD Scenes from a New Music Séance with virtuoso pianist Eva-Maria Zimmermann has received special notice and features groundbreaking, innovative works by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Ruth Crawford Seeger and George Antheil. Composers who have dedicated work to her include Charles Amirkhanian, Robert Honstein, Amy X Neuburg, Aaron Gervais and Ronald Bruce Smith.
Kate Stenberg developed and commissioned new chamber music as co-founder of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (1993-1998) and Real Vocal String Quartet (2004-2006) and from 1995-2015 she served as the first violinist of the award winning Del Sol String Quartet - where she fostered the string quartet repertoire through collaboration and the commissioning of established and emerging composers. She worked closely with many composers including Joan Tower, Mason Bates, Mohammed Fairouz and Gabriela Lena Frank performing at such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Symphony Space, National Gallery of Art and on KQED public television. Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “masters of all musical things they survey”, Del Sol Quartet was a two time top winner of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. The quartet expanded its outreach to numerous educational institutions including the Manhattan School of Music, Dartmouth, MIT, Chapman University, University of California Berkeley and Santa Cruz, and the San Francisco and Peabody Conservatories of Music.
Stenberg has recorded work primarily by 20th and 21st century composers, including John Cage, Marc Bliztstein, Robert Erickson, Lou Harrison, Gabriela Lena Frank, Reza Vali and Kui Dong. During her two decade tenure with Del Sol String Quartet, she recorded numerous world premieres as well as established contemporary works. On the CD The Complete String Quartets with Didjeridu by Peter Sculthorpe, the quartet was hailed for their “luminous performance” and “sumptuous sound” (San Francisco Chronicle). Stenberg can also be heard on recordings with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New Music Works, Stratos and with tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain and the late sarod master, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
Stenberg’s festival performances include Other Minds, Opera Santa Fe, Chautauqua, Ojai, Cabrillo, Nirmita Composer’s Institute (Cambodia), Davos Festival (Switzerland), Tanglewood, Music Academy of the West, Centre Acanthes (France), Banff (Canada), and the Chengdu Contemporary Music Festival (China). Alongside cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, she has premiered the music of Daniel Bernard Roumain for San Francisco Performances in work with Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company. In addition to her festival appearances, Stenberg has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera and Ballet Orchestras, West Edge Opera, Earplay, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Bay Area Women's Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, and as concertmaster of Kammeroper Frankfurt.
Currently, Stenberg collaborates with composers and musicians from around the world and performs regularly with "sterling pianist" Sarah Cahill. Newly formed in 2016, the Stenberg|Cahill Duo is dedicated to promoting the American experimental tradition and expanding it through the commissioning of new work. “It’s difficult to believe that the Stenberg|Cahill Duo was formed in 2016: These two musicians sound as though they have been collaborating with one another much longer. Contemporary music fans are fortunate to have this simultaneously authoritative and approachable pair…” San Francisco Classical Voice. Recent appearances include performances at the San Francisco Performances PIVOT Series with percussionist William Winant, Cal State Fullerton New Music Festival, Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, Music by the Mountain Festival, Other Minds New Music Séance, Garden of Memory at the Julia Morgan Chapel of the Chimes.
Raised in a dynamic family of professional musicians and performing artists, Bay Area native Kate Stenberg holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory and the Eastman School of Music. She maintains and active teaching schedule and when she is not immersed in her music scores, she can be found enjoying Taiji or hiking trails in her beloved Sierra Nevada.