Noe Valley Chamber Music (NVCM) has finalized plans for its 2016–17 season. All concerts will take place on Sundays at 4 p.m. beginning next month. There will be six of these concerts, along with an evening benefit concert that will be held in April. Programming has not yet been finalized for all of the events. However, full details are available for the opening concert of the season. Specifics are as follows:
October 23: The season will begin with the recently-formed Thalea String Quartet, whose members are violinists Christopher Whitley and Kumiko Sakamoto, violist Luis Bellorin, and cellist Bridget Pasker. All are students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), where the group is in its second year as that institution’s first Quartet-in-Residence. In addition, Thalea was selected as NVCM Emerging Artists for the 2016–17 season. The program will begin with Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken III/75, the first of the Opus 76 quartets that he composed in 1797 and dedicated to Count Joseph Erdödy. This “opening gesture” will be complemented by concluding with Felix Mendelssohn’s final string quartet, his Opus 80 in F minor, composed half a century later in 1847. Between these two classics, Thalea will play “Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector,” which Terry Riley composed for the Kronos Quartet in 1980. Kai Christiansen will give an introductory talk prior to the concert, beginning at 3:15 p.m.
November 13: Thalea will be followed by another string quartet with ties to SFCM. The Friction Quartet consists of violinists Kevin Rogers and Otis Harriel, violist Taija Warbelow, and cellist Doug Machiz. They will be joined by special guest pianist Jenny Q Chai for a program consisting entirely of piano quintets. Featured will be the San Francisco premiere of a quintet by Andy Akiho. The remainder of the program will offer a rather unique coupling of the classical and the contemporary. The former will be Robert Schumann’s Opus 44 in E-flat major; and it will be complemented by a “rethinking” of this piece in the form of a piano quintet by Timo Andres, which was given its world premiere here in San Francisco in March of 2013 as part of a four-concert series for San Francisco Performances organized by pianist Jonathan Biss and titled Schumann: Under the Influence. For this program Christiansen will moderate a discussion after the concert.
January 15: 2017 will begin with a shift back to pre-Classical times with a recital given by Musica Pacifica. The members of this group are Judith Linsenberg on recorder, violinists Elizabeth Blumenstock and Katherine Kyme, William Skeen on gamba, and harpsichordist Charles Sherman. The program has not been finalized, but Musica Pacifica specializes in bringing rarely-performed gems of early music to light. In this case they will offer works by two Scarlattis, Alessandro and his son Domenico, along with several less-familiar composers from the same period in music history.
February 12: Soprano Christine Brandes will return to NVCM with her piano accompanist Laura Dahl. Cellist Marcy Rosen will join them to premiere two new works for cello and voice by Eric Moe and Richard Festinger, respectively. Other composers to be included on the program will be Lori Laitman, Maurice Ravel, Johannes Brahms, and Haydn.
March 19: San Francisco Symphony (SFS) bassoonist Steven Dibner is preparing a program with his SFS colleagues including pianist Robin Sutherland, clarinetist Carey Bell, and other members of the SFS wind section. This will be a program of solos and ensemble works concluding with an all-hands performance of a sextet for piano and winds. Scott Foglesong, who frequently gives the pre-concert talks for SFS concerts in Davies Symphony Hall, will offer an introductory talk for this concert, beginning at 3:15 p.m.
May 21: The season will conclude with a visit by the Farallon Clarinet Quintet, which brings clarinetist Natalie Parker together with violinists Dan Flanagan and Matthew Oshida, violist Elizabeth Prior, and cellist Jonah Kim. They will present two newly-commissioned works by composers Durwynne Hsieh and Chad Cannon, respectively. There will again be an introductory talk by Foglesong at 3:15 p.m.
All concerts take place in the recently renovated Noe Valley Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street, just south of 23rd Street. Subscriptions are available for both the full series of six concerts and for a Custom Series of any four concerts. General admission for a full subscription is $120 with a $96 rate for seniors. The Custom Series charge is $90 for general admission and $72 for seniors. Brown Paper Tickets has created an event page for ordering both of these subscription options. Tickets for individual concerts will be $30 if paid at the door. However, if paid in advance, the charge is $25 for general admission and seniors and $15 for students. Children aged twelve and under are admitted at no charge. Each concert has its own Brown Paper Tickets event page, and hyperlinks to all of them may be found on the season summary Web page in the NVCM Web site.
The benefit concert will be held on April 23, beginning at 6 p.m. Geraldine Walther, former Principal Viola with SFS and currently viola in the Takács Quartet, will be the featured artist. She will perform with pianist David Korevaar. The program will present the premiere of “True Divided Light,” written on a commission from NVCM by David Carlson. They will also perform Schumann’s Opus 113 collection of four short pieces entitled Märchenbilder (fairy-tale pictures), as well as a viola performance of César Franck’s A major violin sonata. Jules Delsart prepared an alternative version for cello (with Franck’s approval); and, since the viola strings have the same tuning as those of the cello (but an octave higher), it is likely that Walther’s performance will be based on Delsart’s version. As is the case at most benefit events, both food and drinks will also be provided. All tickets for the benefit concert will be $85, $50 of which is tax-deductible. Tickets are currently on sale and may be purchased online from an Eventbrite event page.