Who is Orli Shaham, you ask? Orli Shaham is the sublime pianist who'll play Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini with the SF Symphony at Stern Grove this Sunday. Rachmaninoff, Paganini: you don't need to know much about music to know that this is all about sheer virtuosity and crazy technicity, and that Shaham will match that genius. But in addition to tickling the ivories with zeal, Shaham also had her radio show, Dial-A-Musician, where she asked her pro friends in classical music to answer questions from the listeners.

While interviewing her, we found out Shaham is the best person to interview: she knows the business from the soloist angle. (However, she also plays accompanist to her brother, Gil Shaham, the violinist who frequently cameos with the SF Symphony.) But if she ever wanted to know the point of view of the conductor, she can ask her husband, David Robertson. (Robertson leads the St Louis Symphony, but will be the guest conductor of the SF Symphony's finale, starting tonight.) As Orli says, "he closes the season, and I open the summer."

Photo Credit: Christian Steiner