Before the “holiday lull” sets in next month, the second Saturday will be of particular interest for its breadth. The morning will see the latest of several efforts by a variety of performing arts organizations to prepare a new generation of audiences. The evening of that same day will then see two recitals taking place exactly at the same time, both of which will involve introducing new compositions.
The morning event will be hosted by Noe Valley Chamber Music, which has supplemented the six concerts of its 24th season with three concerts in a series called Classical Kids. These concerts last only 45 minutes. The content is suitable for all ages, but the focus is on preschool and elementary school children. What is important is that the performances themselves have been conceived to appeal to both the kids and the older members of the family.
The second concert in this series will take place next month, and it will feature violinist and conductor Dawn Harms. Harms has been working with family audiences for years and definitely knows how to connect. Her repertoire includes not only Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but also contemporary composers and folk sources. The performances are always enhanced by clever staging. Thus, she can perform a bluegrass piece like Ervin T. Rouse’s “Orange Blossom Special” (which became the title track on a Johnny Cash album) dressed as a cowboy with an enormous purple hat. She also makes it a point to allow the audience to interact as a further enhancement of engagement.
Harms will present her Classical Kids program at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 10. She will be accompanied at the piano by Karen Hutchinson. The venue will be the recently renovated Noe Valley Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street, just south of 23rd Street. Kids two years old and under will be admitted free of charge. General admission will be $15 per person, but a $40 Family Pass is available that will admit up to four people. Both general admission tickets and Family Passes may be purchased in advance online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.
Those interested in a more adult bill of fare will need to choose between two “new music” options taking place at exactly the same time that evening. The first is a preview event for the premiere of the most ambitious project undertaken to date by the three guitarists of the Mobius Trio, Robert Nance, Mason Fish, and Matthew Holmes-Linder. This involves the complete performance of Prescription Drug Nation, an evening-length work based on the music of Aaron Gervais augmented with choreography by Here Now Dance from New York. The music is a suite in six movements, each of which explores the effects and side effects of a pharmacological product that has made a serious impact on our society.
The music for the first of these movements, “Adderall,” was given its world premiere at an Old First Concerts recital in March of 2015. On December 10 Mobius will perform the last three movements, Vicodin, Prozac, and Viagra. This event will be both a preview of the music and a fundraiser to support the premiere of the work in its entirety, scheduled for April of 2017. In the interest of attracting audience for the fundraising, the music will be supplemented by finger food, chocolate, coffee, and alcoholic beverages provided by a variety of different local culinary sources.
The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 10; and, including time of socializing, it is expected to run for three hours. It will take place at the Center for New Music (C4NM) at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. Because of the special nature of this event, general admission will be $30, and the rate for C4NM members will be $25. Tickets will be available at the door, but they may also be purchased in advance online through a Vendini event page. The festive nature of the evening will be further enhanced by the fact that the concert will also serve as Mobius’ sixth birthday party.
For those who prefer the choral repertoire, that same evening will also offer the next San Francisco performance by the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco (IOCSF). Those who have been following this group know two important things about it: It is named after the color of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the concerts are free. The title of next month’s concert will be The Full Heart: Choral Music of Love and Passion, meaning that it may well be the only choral concert in December with no connection to any of that month’s holidays.
Instead, IOCSF will follow its usual strategy of serving up a wide variety of choral offerings, all on the themes of love and passion, by an equally wide variety of composers. The program will include the world premiere of “Into the Golden Vessel of Great Song, by IOCSF’s inaugural Composer-in-Residence who served during the 2015–2016 season, Nicholas Weininger. There will also be a performance of “Without Words” by Huang Ruo, whose “The Distant Sky” was given its world premiere at the end of that season at the concert given this past June. The program will also include works by Ivo Antognini, David Conte, Paul Crabtree, Aaron Jay Kernis, Sven-David Sandström, Stephen Smith, Peter Warlock, Eric Whitacre, and Healey Willan.
This free concert will also begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 10. The venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the intersection with Franklin Street. Donations are always welcome.