Next month will be a busy one at the Mission District Branch of the Community Music Center (CMC). While the CMC Concert Hall tends to be the venue for concerts involving both faculty and students, it is also made available to visiting artists; and there are enough of these “special events” next month to deserve bundling into a single head-up preview article. In addition, May is the month in which CMC runs its annual fundraising gala, for which it is not too late to register. With the exception of the gala, all of the events summarized below will take place in the CMC Concert Hall, which is located at 544 Capp Street, between Mission Street and South Van Ness Avenue and between 20th Street and 21st Street. Specifics are as follows:
Sunday, May 7, 8 p.m.: The Paterson Project is the shared brainchild of composer and pianist Fred Adler and visual artist Jonathan Sinagub. The goal is to develop a combined music and visual experience organized around the poetry of William Carlos Williams, with particular attention to his long poem Paterson. Adler has organized a chamber ensemble, whose other members are clarinetist Sarah Bonomo and cellist Samsun van Loon, along with sopranos Katherine Sundstrom and Alexandra Sessler. The program will present world premieres of Adler’s compositions, most of which have direct connections to Paterson. “The Run to the Sea” is an instrumental trio for clarinet, cello, and piano inspired by the fourth book of Paterson; and it will be performed with visuals created by Sinagub. That trio will also accompany Sessler in a performance of “Thalassa,” an extended song based on an excerpt from that same fourth book. Adler will accompany Sundstrom in his setting of “The Descent of Winter,” as well as poems from the second book of Paterson. Finally, the instrumental trio will play “Mexico: Images,” inspired by Adler’s visit to Mexico City and Chiapas in 2015. General admission for this concert will be $15 with a $10 rate for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an Eventbrite event page.
Monday, May 8, 6:30 p.m.: This is the date and time of the annual fundraising gala. The guest of honor will be Ruth A. Felt, Founder and President-Emeritus of San Francisco Performances (SFP), with which CMC has had a long-standing working relationship that includes the Concert with Conversation events held every season. Felt will be presented with the second annual Gertrude Field Community Impact Award. Music will be provided by jazz violinist Regina Carter and pianist Xavier Davis, and there will be an Instrument Petting Zoo. A three-course dinner will be served, and CMC has created a mouthwatering Web page with photographs of what will be offered. One of the sources of fundraising will be a silent auction, which is currently open for online bidding. Another Web page has been created to display both the items being auctioned and the current state of the bids.
The venue will be the Four Seasons Hotel, which occupies the southwest corner of Market Street and 3rd Street at 757 Market Street. Tickets are being sold individually for $300 and $500, as well as for eight-person tables at $2500 and $4000. A Web page has been created for online purchase.
Friday, May 19, 6 p.m.: The last Concert with Conversation event of the season will feature the members of the Alexander String Quartet, which has been the Ensemble-in-Residence with SFP since 1989. Program details have not yet been announced. All events in this series are free and open to the general public. They tend to be very popular, so early arrival is encouraged. Duration is usually about an hour.
Friday, May 19, 8 p.m.: Later that evening the CMC Concert Hall will host the final program in the current season of the Lacuna Arts Ensemble. The program has been organized around madrigals of passion and despair from different periods in music history. It will feature the Lamento d’Arianna (lament of Ariadne) from Claudio Monteverdi’s sixth book of madrigals. The piece is set for five voices (SSATB) in four separate parts and is almost a monodrama in miniature. It will be complemented by Alessandro Scarlatti’s madrigal (also in five voices), “Sdegno la fiamma estinse” (the flame was extinguished). These two examples of the Italian Baroque will be framed by both earlier and later compositions. The earlier piece will be “Standomi un giorno solo a la fenestra” (one day, standing alone at my window), the first part of a six-part madrigal cycle based on poems by Petrarch, again for five voices, by the Renaissance composer Orlande de Lassus. The later work will be Madrigali, a cycle of six “fire songs” by Morten Lauridsen, based on early Italian poetry. General admission will again be $15 with a $10 rate for students and seniors. However, advance purchase online will be handled by the event page on the Lacuna Arts Web site.
Saturday, May 27, 8 p.m.: This will be the next Jazz in the Neighborhood event to be hosted by CMC. It will feature the Montclair Women’s Big Band, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. The founders, trumpeter Ellen Seeling and saxophonist Jean Fineberg are still active members of the group. General admission will again be $15 with a $10 rate for students and seniors. Advance purchase online will be handled by an event page created by Jazz in the Neighborhood.