One of the first things that San Francisco Performances (SFP) will offer at the very beginning of its 38th season will be the launch of the Hear Now and Then Series. The idea behind the series will be the interleaving of the programming of contemporary and recent music with the early music repertoire, a period that is generally taken to be everything preceding the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750. Special attention will be given to the work of Philip Glass, who will celebrate his 80th birthday this coming January 31. There will be five events in this series distributed across three different venues. The specific dates and their related performers are as follows:
Saturday, October 7, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: Appropriately enough, the series will begin with a concert organized by the Kronos Quartet, whose members are, in the order shown below, second violinist John Sherba, cellist Sunny Yang, violist Hank Dutt, and first violinist David Harrington:
courtesy of San Francisco Performances
For this program Kronos will collaborate with The Living Earth Show duo of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson and Youth Speaks, the organization behind the annual Teen Poetry Slam. The full ensemble will collaborate in the world premiere performance of a new work by Danny Clay, whose title has not yet been announced. Details about the rest of the program have not yet been released.
Sunday, December 3, 7 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: New York Polyphony is an a cappella vocal quartet of four men presenting historically informed performances of early music. The members are countertenor Geoffrey Williams, tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson, baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert, and bass Craig Phillips. Their program will be based on their 2014 BIS album, Sing Thee Nowell, which spans seven centuries of Christmas. At one end of the timeline, there will be works by composers such as Philippe Verdelot and Tomás Luis de Victoria, while the other end will be represented by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Alexander Craig (the latter being the name used by Phillips when he is composing and/or arranging).
Friday, February 2, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: A few days after Glass’ 80th birthday, the members of the Kronos Quartet will get together with pianist Timo Andres. All five of these musicians have close associations with Glass’ music, and many of them have worked with the composer himself. They will present a program entitled On Playing Glass, at which they will discuss their experiences in preparing performances of Glass’ music, illustrating their observations by presenting musical examples.
Tuesday, February 20, 7:30 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: This will be the concert honoring Glass’ 80th birthday. It will feature a performance of “Music with Changing Parts,” one of his earliest (1970) efforts in working with what he came to call “repetitive structures.” The piece lasts a little over an hour; but, because of its “open score” structure, there is considerable flexibility in how many players are involved and how much time they take. It was first performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1970, and the current incarnation of that group will participate in this concert. However, they will be joined by the San Francisco Girls Chorus (whose Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa has worked with Glass and participated in performances of pieces such as Einstein on the Beach) and students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Thursday, May 3, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: The series will conclude with the SFP debut of gamba player Jordi Savall. He will present a program entitled Celtic Universe, which will explore the musical traces left behind by the Celtic migration. This will involve music from Ireland, Scotland, French Brittany, Galicia, and the Basque Country, that last being Savall’s own home. He will be joined by Carlos Núñez, who specializes in Galician bagpipes, along with an ensemble of winds, harp, and bodhrán.
The entrance to Herbst Theatre is on the ground floor of the Veterans Building, located on the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. The main entrance to Davies Symphony Hall (and the location of the Box Office) is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street.
Subscriptions are now on sale for $295 for premium seating, $250, and $150. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page, which includes information about the locations associated with each of the price levels. Orders may also be placed by calling the SFP subscriber hotline at 415-677-0325, which is open for receiving calls between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Single tickets will go on sale on July 31.