Friday, July 15, 2016

The San Francisco Piano Trio Regroups for a Visit to Old First Concerts

The San Francisco Piano Trio was formed in 2009 by three active educators in the Bay Area. Pianist Jeffrey Sykes, who directs both the Piano Accompanying and Vocal Coaching programs at the East Bay campus of California State University, joined forces with two prominent members of the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, violinist Axel Strauss and cellist Jean-Michel Fonteneau. A few years ago Strauss left San Francisco to accept the position of Professor of Violin at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, but the three members still reconvene for concerts as their respective schedules permit.

Fortunately, those schedules allow them to perform at the end of this month in San Francisco. They will give the final recital for the month of July in the Old First Concerts series at Old First Church. This will be a “three centuries” program, tracing the progress of the piano trio genre from its earliest days in the eighteenth century up to its rethinking in the early twentieth century.

The program will begin with Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken XV/25 trio in G major, best known for its final movement, a rondo based on themes in the Gypsy style. Franz Schubert will represent the nineteenth century with his D. 898 trio in B-flat major, and the journey will conclude with Maurice Ravel’s only piano trio. This is the sort of program that does “double duty,” providing those unfamiliar with the piano trio genre with a diverse but representative sampling, while offering the more experienced listeners the opportunity to enjoy how the San Francisco Piano Trio places its own individual stamp on these three repertoire favorites.

This concert will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 31. Old First Church is located at 1751 Sacramento Street, on the southeast corner of Van Ness Avenue, making it convenient for both north-south and east-west Muni bus routes. General admission will be $20 with a $17 rate for seniors and a $5 rate for students with valid identification. Children aged twelve and under are admitted at no charge. Finally, there is a $2 discount for general admission and seniors when tickets are purchased in advance online through the event page for this concert on the Old First Concerts Web site. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 415-474-1608, and they will also be available at the door.

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