Next month Sunset Music | Arts will launch the last of the five concert series planned for its 2017 season. The title of this series is East Meets West. There will be three programs, each of which, in its own way, will feature musicians who uniquely meld music from Western and Eastern classical traditions to produce new compositions and approaches to performance. All of these concerts will be held on a Saturday, two in the evening and one in the late afternoon. Here are the specifics:
June 17, 7:30 p.m.: The featured artist will be violinist Lucian Kano Balmer. Those celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love may recall (if they remember anything, as the old joke about the Sixties goes) that 1967 was the year in which Angel (the American label for EMI classical recordings) released the first volume of West Meets East, which brought violinist Yehudi Menuhin together with Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar. Menuhin basically “sat in” on a session in which Shankar played his interpretations of traditional Indian ragas as well as original compositions. He led a group that also consisted on Alla Rakha on tabla and Prodyot Sen on tambura. Menuhin both improvised and played from his own transcriptions of Shankar performances.
Balmer will take a somewhat different approach. He will be performing with Joanna Mack on sitar and Josh Mellinger on tabla, but he also will be joined by Ivo Bukolic on viola. In addition, Balmer will perform as a vocalist, as well as a violinist. His group will play and improvise on traditional Hindustani music. However, the program will also include original pieces by Balmer, which he describes as “Raga-infused.”
July 29, 7:30 p.m.: Vocalist Gautam Tejas Ganeshan will present a program of Carnatic music. He usually performs as part of a chamber ensemble. However, no additional performers have yet been announced, nor has any specific information about the selections he will be presenting.
August 19, 4 p.m.: This will also be the third and final concert of the Sunset Music | Arts Choral Series. It will consist of an East-Indian approach to the performance 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. 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. The program will also include a dance troupe specializing in the East-Indian style:
provided by San Francisco Renaissance Voices, courtesy of Sunset Music | Arts
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.