Biography

A first-prize winner in the Carmel Chamber Music Society Competition, Dr. Kris Palmer is the director and founder of the Black Cedar Trio, a rare ensemble devoted to music for flute, cello, and guitar. Under her leadership, the trio has garnered multiple grants from InterMusic SF and the Zellerbach Family Foundation, commissioned eight new works for this unique instrumental combination, released an album of new and re-discovered trios, and earned an invitation to the National Flute Association Convention. “You can easily see why this unique group has become a chamber music draw in the musically rich Bay Area,” writes James Manheim of AllMusic.com.

Dr. Palmer created Local Composers in Public Libraries, where the Black Cedar Trio brings old and new chamber music to audiences across the San Francisco Bay Area in free public concerts at neighborhood public libraries.

Dr. Palmer also created Chamber Music Outreach at the Arc of the East Bay, a partnership between Black Cedar and the Arc of the East Bay, providing free chamber music performances to thousands of adults with developmental disabilities at the Arc’s San Francisco Bay Area campuses. The organization named Dr. Palmer their Bob Perrotti Volunteer of the Year in 2016.

Dr. Palmer is the artistic director of Summer Music at St. Jorge, a full course dining and live music series at St. Jorge Winery in the Lodi Wine Appellation. The 2021 inaugural season features the Black Cedar Trio, Berkeley Choro Ensemble, Astraeus String Quartet, harpist Madeline Jarzembak with Dr. Palmer, and the Stockton Chorale.

Dr. Palmer made her New York City recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2001 to rave reviews as a winner in the Artists International Competition. The New York Concert Review called Palmer’s performance “incisive and expressive…particularly enchanting…with sensuous tone and pace.” Dr. Palmer is a second-prize winner in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, a first-prize winner in the Ruth Burr Awards in Houston, a fourth-prize winner in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition in Texas, and a finalist in both the Hemphill-Wells Sorantin Young Artist Awards in Texas and the William C. Byrd Competition in Michigan. Her solo album, Versailles, is a compilation of her own arrangements of French Baroque works. The New York Concert Review says, “She is clearly among the few current performers on any instrument to fully understand the nature of French Baroque music.”

Dr. Palmer holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts with an emphasis in eighteenth-century performance practice from Rice University, where she worked as a teaching assistant for seven years. She is the author of the book, Ornamentation According to C.P.E. Bach and J.J. Quantz, and the American Music Teacher magazine writes, “Clearly, the author is knowledgeable about ornamentation.” She earned her Doctorate of Music Arts and Master of Music from Rice University, and her Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern California. Her primary teachers are Carol Wincenc, Isabelle Chapuis-Starr, John Thorne, Aralee Dorough, the late Roger S. Stevens, Walfrid Kujala, Anne Diener Zentner, Leone Buyse, and Gaetano Schiavone with the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Dr. Palmer is solo piccoloist with the Golden Gate Park Band. She is a former member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, where she served as acting principal flute on tours; the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, where she held the position of principal flute; and the Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles, where she held the position of second flute. She currently performs with Lamplighters Operetta Company, Island City Opera, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, Santa Cruz Symphony, and Monterey Symphony. She has also performed with Houston Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, and Ohio Light Opera Company.

Dr. Palmer is on staff at Music Village in San Jose. She launched the flute program at the Dominican Sisters School of Music in Fremont, California in 2012, where she coached mixed ensemble chamber music as well private flute instruction, and she served as a teaching assistant at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in the flute studio of Carol Wincenc. Her students have won awards in the U.S. Open Music Competition, Bay Area Music Association's Competitions, U.S. International Music Competition, Fremont Young Recitalist Competition, San Francisco Flute Society's Flutes By the Sea, and Music Teachers Association of California Certificate of Merit Honors Program. Her students regularly win placements with All-State Honor Groups, the Northern California All-State Honor Band, Santa Clara County All-County Honor Band, San Jose Youth Symphony Ensembles, and Junior Bach Festival.

Dr. Palmer is a frequent guest lecturer on eighteenth-century performance practice techniques, with engagements at the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention, Wichita State University, Chabot College, San Diego Flute Festival, MTAC State Convention, San Francisco International Flute Festival, Skyline College Flute Day, and Areon Summer Flute Institute. She has also served as an adjudicator for the U.S. Open Music Competition, MTAC Certificate of Merit Program and VOCE Competition, Berkeley’s Etude Club Scholarships, Seattle's Frances Walton Competition, Bay Area Music Association's Open Music Competition, and the Junior Bach Festival.