Saint Michael Trio: Musicians In Residence
April 25, 2011:
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Russell Hancock, Michel Flexer and Daniel Cher are respected figures in the Silicon Valley business and medical communities, yet their names will soon become familiar to Menlo College students for a different—yet equally significant—reason.
Hancock, Flexer and Cher have been named Musicians In Residence at Menlo College. The three lead parallel lives as highly regarded musicians, performing collectively as the Saint Michael Trio.
"The Saint Michael Trio and Menlo College are perfectly matched," Menlo President G. Timothy Haight said. "All three performers are extremely successful in their business careers and their private sector experience will add significantly to the intellectual life of the college.
"And yet they have simultaneously built successful concert careers and perform on stage to the highest musical standards," he said. "They model the type of success and multi-dimensionality we intend for our graduates."
Pianist Hancock—the president and CEO of Joint Venture - Silicon Valley Network, a business-government group that tackles regional issues—said the sight of three well-respected Silicon Valley professionals expertly playing classical masterworks is not as startling as it may seem.
"A rich life has many dimensions," he said.
"We're honored by this appointment and excited to make Menlo our base for a wide range of musical activities," Hancock said. "We're especially pleased to do it in an environment where artistic excellence and business achievement are viewed as complementary and mutually reinforcing."
The St. Michael Trio is more than a hobby for Hancock, Flexer and Cher. All are classically trained musicians who have performed in a wide variety of venues. The trio also maintains a steady schedule of engagements.
"We don't play music because we have to," Hancock said. "We do it because we can't help it. We can't stop ourselves."
The trio plans to fulfill its commitment to Menlo in a variety of ways. In addition to regular campus concerts, the group will conduct master classes, hold open rehearsals and offer collaborative performance opportunities to Menlo students.
The trio would also like to launch a Menlo-based festival for gifted performance artists who, like themselves, pursue active professions in non-musical fields. All of the group's musical offerings will be open to the public.
Hancock has performed with the Redwood Symphony, Saratoga Symphony, Ohlone Chamber Orchestra, and the Oakland Temple Hill Orchestra.
Recent international engagements include Kaung-Jen Conservatory in Taipei and a lecture-recital in Mexico (Centro Estaca, Tapachula).
Cellist Flexer is a software engineer, an early employee at Siebel Systems and a serial entrepreneur. He performed throughout his youth with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. While a student at Harvard, he studied with Bernard Greenhouse at the New England Conservatory.
Violinist Cher, a medical doctor who leads clinical and regulatory affairs for Menlo Park-based Chestnut Medical Technologies, won the undergraduate music award at Stanford University. His professional experiences include performances with Orchestra New England and the New Haven Symphony.