Several years ago during the month of December, I wrote about the idea of a concert subscription being a seasonal “gift that keeps on giving.” It turns out that several concert series will be getting under way next month. Two of them will begin on the same date, only one of which will be selling tickets in advance. Curiously, that last one comes from the same source that inspired my last effort to recommend a concert series as a Christmas gift.
That latter is the latest installment in the Saturday Mornings in San Francisco offering from San Francisco Performances. These involve a partnership between the members of the Alexander String Quartet (violinists Zakarias Grafilo and Frederick Lifsitz, violist Paul Yarbrough, and cellist Sandy Wilson) and SFP Historian-in-Residence Robert Greenberg. Each event involves works performed in their entirety but situated in a socio-historical context through introductory remarks provided by Greenberg.
Next month will see the beginning of the first part of a series of such lecture-demonstrations that will unfold over two seasons. The series has been organized around the fifteen string quartets composed by Dmitri Shostakovich, along with additional chamber works. This season’s series will cover the first seven of those quartets. These will be presented two at a time on January 21, February 4, and March 4, respectively. The seventh quartet (Opus 108 in F-sharp major) will be performed on May 13 along with the Opus 57 piano quintet in G minor. The pianist for Opus 57 will be Roger Woodward.
All of these events will begin at 10 a.m.. The venue will be Herbst Theatre, located at the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. Prices for the tickets for the entire series are $200, $160, and $100; and subscriptions may be purchased online through a City Box Office event page, which shows which sections of Herbst correspond to which price levels. Single ticket prices are $55, $45, and $30. They may be purchased through a hyperlink on the SFP Saturday Mornings Series Web page. That hyperlink brings up a menu of the four specific dates, each with its own hyperlink.
January 21 will also mark the beginning of the Instrumental Series in the 2017 season of Sunset Music | Arts. This is only that institution’s third season; but it has grown to accommodate five separate concert series, the first of these being the Instrumental Series. Since these will all be held in the evening (and on different days of the week), there will be no conflict with the Saturday morning events at Herbst. The series will consist of three programs featuring two pianists and one trumpeter. Specifics are as follows:
Saturday, January 21, 7:30 p.m.: This will be a recital by Eric Tran, who is also a composer. The program he has prepared will include his own “Water,” as well as Thomas Adès’ “Darknesse Visible” and the last of Ferruccio Busoni’s six sonatinas, which is actually a fantasia on themes from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen. The longer works on the program will be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 570 sonata in B-flat major and Franz Liszt’s solo piano transcription of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 68 (“Pastoral”) symphony in F major.
Sunday, May 21, 7 p.m.: The recitalist will be trumpeter Ari Micich, whose repertoire is broadly eclectic. His classical credentials include both the San Francisco Symphony and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and he is also an avid jazz musician. Details of his program have not yet been announced.
Saturday, September 16, 7:30 p.m.: The other solo piano recitalist will be Robyn Carmichael, whose touring schedule takes in both the United States and Europe. She has prepared an ambitious program, whose major works will include Franz Schubert’s D. 784 sonata in A minor and Robert Schumann’s Opus 13 “Symphonic Studies” (known in French as “Études Symphoniques”) consisting of a theme and twelve études, nine of which are variations on the theme. The program will begin with three keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti and will also include three short solo piano works by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
All performances will take place at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, located at 1750 29th Avenue, about halfway between Moraga Street and Noriega Street. Ticket prices are $20 for general admission with a $15 rate for students and seniors. Because the demand tends to be high, advance purchase is highly advised. Tickets may be purchased online through Eventbrite. Subscriptions are not being sold, but each of the hyperlinks on the above dates leads to the event page for single ticket purchases. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-564-2324.