This morning the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) announced the details for all events that will be open to the public during the coming 2016–17 season. This season each of the two semesters will have a unifying theme. Appropriate to the fact that this is the year of a presidential election, the theme of the fall semester will involve the intersection between music, politics, and social justice. The spring semester will then turn to folk elements and regional traditions.
In addition concert programming will be both more extensive and more diverse than it has been in the past. SFCM Opera will present two full-length fully-staged productions, The Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten and an evening of two one-act operas, Giacomo Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” and Jules Massenet’s “Le portrait de Manon.” Massenet composed the latter about ten years after his full-length Manon; and it focuses on a single episode from the 1731 novel by Antoine François Prévost that inspired both operas. In addition, the Historical Performance program will present two operas from the Baroque period, George Frideric Handel’s Atalanta and Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
There will also be a generous number of artists in residence over the course of the season. These will include pianists Leon Fleisher, Garrick Ohlsson, and Warren Jones, violinist Geoff Nuttall, the husband-and-wife violin-piano duo of Donald and Vivian Weilerstein, soprano Patricia Racette, and the Miró Quartet. This will also be the year of the third biennial Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, hosted by SFCM for the second time.
At the present time, however, what is most important is the extensive plan for the series of Kick-Off Weekend performances. These will provide a wide variety of different concert settings, including the debut performance of the new Music Director of the Conservatory Orchestra, Eric Dudley. The specific events will be as follows:
Friday, September 16, 8 p.m., Concert Hall: This will be a program of chamber music for strings and piano that will feature compositions by Dmitri Shostakovich and Frederic Rzewski.
Saturday, September 17, 5:30 p.m., Recital Hall: This will be a program featuring the SFCM pre-college students.
Saturday, September 17, 8 p.m., Concert Hall: Dudley’s debut Orchestra concert will begin with the first of Joan Tower’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” pieces. This will be followed by John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances.” The second half of the program will be devoted entirely to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 55 (“Eroica”) symphony in E-flat major.
Sunday, September 18, 2 p.m., Concert Hall: David Tanenbaum, Chair of the Guitar Department, has organized a concert entitled 100 Guitars. The program will feature the West Coast premiere of David Lang’s “questionnaire.” Other selections will include Terry Riley’s “When bad things fall from the sky” and Henry Brant’s “Rosewood.”
Sunday, September 18, 5 p.m., Recital Hall: The Historical Performance concert will shift its attention away from early music to another historical era. The title of the program will be The Good Ol’ Dollar Bill. This will involve songs about social justice, economic inequality, and the value of small things, all taken from the age of vaudeville and the early years of music theatre in both the United States and Great Britain. Composers to be performed will be Richard Rogers, Noël Coward, Marc Blitzstein, Kurt Weill, Irving Berlin, and Jerome Kern.
Sunday, September 18, 7 p.m., Osher Salon: The weekend will conclude with performances by both students and faculty in the Technology and Applied Composition program.