Last week it was announced that French-Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin would launch this season’s Concerts with Conversation at the Community Music Center while visiting San Francisco to participate in A Concert of Gratitude, being presented by San Francisco Performances (SFP). Readers probably know by now that Ruth A. Felt, Founder and President of SFP, announced her retirement last season and that her 37 years of service will be honored by a gala concert, entitled A Heartfelt Gala, which will take place at the end of this month. Next month Felt will return this gesture of thanks with one of her own. She has arranged one last concert, entitled A Concert of Gratitude, as her way of thanking Bay Area audiences for 37 years of supporting SFP activities.
The concert will be organized around performers who have made frequent visits to San Francisco to give SFP recitals. Hamelin is one of those performers, having appeared regularly, both as a soloist and in chamber music ensembles, since his SFP debut in 2003. The program will also include Midori, whose SFP debut dates back to 1998 and who last visited to perform all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin in March of 2013. Finally, the program will include the members of the Alexander String Quartet (ASQ). Based in San Francisco, they serve collectively as the Directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University; and they also have been the SFP Ensemble-in-Residence since 1989.
ASQ will begin A Concert of Gratitude by performing one of their specialities, a string quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Opus 95 (“Serioso”) in F minor, the last of the so-called “Middle” quartets. They will also conclude the program by joining Hamelin in a performance of Robert Schumann’s Opus 44 quintet in E-flat major. Hamelin will give a solo performance of the three intermezzi in Johannes Brahms’ Opus 117; and Midori will perform the first of Bach’s solo violin sonatas, BWV 10001 in G minor.
This concert will take place on Sunday, October 23, beginning at 7 p.m. The venue will be Herbst Theatre (the same venue for the Heartfelt Gala concert), located at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. There will be reserved seating; but all tickets will be priced at a symbolic $37 (as in the duration of Felt’s tenure). As of this writing, very few tickets remain. Those interested are advised to consult the City Box Office event page, whose seating chart indicates where tickets remain.