Sunday, April 23, will be another day that will require serious listeners to make a considered choice. The good news is that it will be a choice among three decidedly different genres. (Mind you, listeners may then have to choose between go-with-what-you-know or try-something-different; but it will still be the case that each of the options will be distinctive in its own way!) As usual, the options will be presented in chronological order:
4 p.m., Old First Presbyterian Church: This will probably also count as a “bleeding edge” occasion; but it deserves to be considered in light of the other events on the same day. Old First Concerts will present jazz saxophonist Matt Renzi playing a repertoire of all original compositions. He begins with a jazz saxophone trio in which he is joined by John Wiitala on bass and Hamir Atwal on drums, both major figures in the Bay Area jazz scene. However, he will then add two string players, Lucy Southern on violin and Helen Newby on cello. This will give him the opportunity to explore sonorities rarely encountered in the jazz scene by working with a group that is as comfortable with improvisation as with playing from charts.
The Old First Presbyterian Church is located at 1751 Sacramento Street on the southeast corner of Van Ness Boulevard. If purchased in advance online from an Old First Concerts event page, general admission will be $23 with a discounted rate of $18 for seniors aged 65 or older. Note that this marks an increase in ticket prices. However, tickets for full-time students showing valid identification will still be $5; and children aged twelve and under will still be admitted for free. There is also still a discount available for those parking at the Old First Parking Garage at 1725 Sacramento Street, just up the street for the church.
6 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: Noe Valley Chamber Music will host a special benefit concert and celebration. Takács Quartet violist (and former Principal Viola of the San Francisco Symphony) Geraldine Walther will return to her former “home turf” for the occasion. She will be joined by pianist David Korevaar. They will give a reprise performance of “True Divided Light,” which was composed by David Carlson on an NVCM commission. They will also perform the four character pieces in Robert Schumann’s Opus 113, which he called Märchenbilder (fairy tale pictures). The program will begin with Frédéric Chopin’s Opus 65 sonata in G minor, which he originally composed for cello and piano. However, because the viola tunes to the same pitches as the cello, the sonata tends to be amenable to viola performance. The celebration will include a silent auction and a dessert reception following the performance.
The Noe Valley Ministry is located in Noe Valley at 1021 Sanchez Street. All tickets are $85 and must be purchased in advance online from an Eventbrite event page. $50 of each ticket is a tax-deductible donation. NVCM is a 501(c)3 organization, whose tax identification number is 94-3239153. Those using the Eventbrite page will also be able to enter an additional donation amount, which will be 100% deductible.
7 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Incarnation: This evening will also mark the beginning of the Sunset Music | Arts 2017 Choral Series. The first recital will present the Masterworks Serenade Chamber Choir, led by Director Bryan Baker. The program will be based on settings of a diverse selection of poems. This will include Morten Lauridsen’s choral setting of James Agee’s poem “Sure On This Shining Night’ and Eric Whitacre’s witty take on Ogden Nash’s “Animal Crackers.” There will also be Patrick Hawes’ setting of his brother’s poem “Prayer to a Guardian Angel” and Imant Raminsh’s setting of Pablo Neruda’s “In the night we will go in,” scored for cello, piano, and choir. On the lighter side the program will also include spirituals and arrangements of songs by George Gershwin.
The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, is 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. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-564-2324.
The second concert in the series will take place at 7 p.m. on July 15 and feature a visit by the Monaco Boys Choir. This event will be free and open to the general public. However, cause seating is limited. Registration is required. An Eventbrite page has been created to process registration.
The final concert will be a special “East meets West” treatment of Hildegard of Bingen’s “Ordo Virtutum” (order of the virtues), an allegorical morality play that is the only Medieval musical drama to survive with attribution for both text and music. The production will be presented by San Francisco Renaissance Voices, led by Director Katherine McKee. The Celtic harp will be played by Diana Rowan, while the “East” will be represented by the bansuri, a side-blown Indian flute, which will be performed by Deepak Ram. This performance will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 19. Tickets may be purchased online for this concert, at the same prices as those of the opening concert, through another Eventbrite page.