Dr. Clifford (Kip) Cranna, Dramaturg Emeritus of San Francisco Opera, served on the staff for forty years and was Director of Music Administration for over thirty years. In 2008 he was awarded the San Francisco Opera Medal, the company’s highest honor, and in 2012 he received the Bernard Osher Cultural Award for distinguished efforts to bring excellence to a cultural institution. In 2014 he received the Star of Excellence Award for outstanding service to the programs of the San Francisco Opera Guild.
He holds a B.A. in music from the University of North Dakota and a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University, where he specialized in Renaissance and Baroque music history and theory.
He has managed the commission or co-commission of more than twenty new operas, including Esther (1993) by Hugo Weisgall, The Dangerous Liaisons (1994) by Conrad Susa, Harvey Milk (1996) by Stewart Wallace, A Streetcar Named Desire (1998) by André Previn, Dead Man Walking (2000) by Jake Heggie, Earthrise (2003) by Lewis Spratlan, Doctor Atomic (2005) by John Adams, Appomattox (2007) by Philip Glass, The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2008) by Stewart Wallace, Three Decembers (2008) by Jake Heggie, Heart of a Soldier (2011) by Christopher Theofanidis, Moby Dick (2012) by Jake Heggie, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (2013) by Mark Adamo, The Secret Garden (2013) by Nolan Gasser, Dolores Claiborne (2013) by Tobias Picker and the upcoming La Ciociara (2015) by Marco Tutino, and Dream of the Red Chamber (2016) by Bright Sheng.
He has served as vocal adjudicator for numerous groups including the Metropolitan Opera National Council. For thirty years he was Program Editor and Lecturer for the Carmel Bach Festival. He teaches at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) at U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and Dominican University.
He has conducted a number of choral groups in the San Francisco Bay area, and has been active as a director of church music programs. He has served as a grant-award panelist for the Santa Clara County Arts Council. He was a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of Chanticleer, a professional vocal ensemble, and is currently on the board of Humanities West and the advisory board of the contemporary music group Opera Parallele.
He is a frequent guest lecturer throughout Northern California in the field of music appreciation, and has presented programs for such diverse groups as the San Francisco Symphony, Phi Beta Kappa, the Commonwealth Club of California, the Wagner Society, the Yung Institute, the Exploratorium, the National Opera Association, and the alumni groups of Stanford, Yale, and Columbia. He has written numerous articles on opera and recording liner notes, and music reviews for the online service San Francisco Classical Voice. He has also served as a musical Study Leader for Smithsonian Study Tours, and as intermission host for the San Francisco Opera radio broadcasts. He was named 2006 “Man of the Year” by Il Cenacolo, a San Francisco men’s Italian cultural organization.