It should be clear to those who follow this site regularly that October has emerged as an extremely busy month, not only on the weekends but also on specific weekdays. It has already been observed that the events on this coming Tuesday will not overlap, but conditions will not be so fortuitous the following evening. Furthermore, that date will mark the beginning of one of the San Francisco Performances (SFP) concert series; so many readers will probably be thinking about long-term plans as well as more immediate ones. The specifics for that Wednesday, October 18 are as follows:
6:30 P.M., Hotel Rex: SFP will lead the way with the launch of its annual Salon series of one-hour recitals on Wednesday evenings in the casual and intimate setting of the Hotel Rex. These are structured in such a way that the performance of the music is followed by a Q&A session with the audience. This season the series will begin with the return of jazz pianist Adam Shulman. Shulman will be familiar to those who have attended this series regularly, since he has provided rhythm for several previous Salon performances by jazz artists. This time he will lead a trio, whose other members will be Lyle Link on alto saxophone and John Wiitala on bass. Specific programming has not yet been announced and will probably be announced from the stage, but it is expected that Shulman will draw upon the Great American Songbook for his selections. Remaining concerts between now and the end of January are as follows:
- November 1: Every season SFP presents one of the Adler Fellows of the San Francisco Opera (SFO) for one of the Salon offerings. This season that featured vocalist will be soprano Toni Marie Palmertree. Palmertree sang the role of Liù in the six SFO performances of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot last month. Her recital accompanist will be pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg. The title of their program will be Dramatic Tales, and it will feature narrative songs by Kurt Weill, William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, and others.
- November 15: Last year’s Salon series was launched by cellist Jennifer Kloetzel, who has been pursuing a solo career since the Cypress String Quartet disbanded. Last year she was accompanied by pianist Robert Koenig, but this year she will give a solo recital entitled Bach & Beyond. She will begin by drawing upon the the solo cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach and work her way up to the immediate present.
- January 31: Like Shulman and Kloetzel, the Alexander String Quartet will be returning to the Hotel Rex. They will use the Salon series to introduce the Meraki String Quartet. The four Alexander musicians have been mentoring the members of this new ensemble, all of whom are students at the Crowden School in Berkeley. Program specifics have not yet been announced.
Each concert takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Hotel Rex is located at 562 Sutter Street, between Powell Street and Mason Street. Tickets are $25 for each of the concerts; and subscriptions for all four performances are being sold for $80. City Box Office has created an event page for processing a full subscription. There is also an event page for next week’s opening concert, and hyperlinks to event pages for the remaining events are given above on the dates for which tickets may be purchased in advance online. Any additional information may be obtained by calling San Francisco Performances at 415-392-2545.
7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: The Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts will launch the 37th season of its Dynamite Guitars concert series with a return visit by Brazilian guitar virtuoso Yamandu Costa. Costa is best known for playing an instrument with seven nylon strings. He uses the additional string to extend his instrument’s lower register, which is particularly valuable in his approach to Brazilian choro compositions. He is also interested in the “gaucho” style of the indigenous music from both southern Brazil and northern Argentina.
The entrance to Herbst Theatre is on the ground floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Tickets are being sold for $35, $45, and $55. They may be purchased in advance online from a City Box Office event page. Because this is the beginning of the 2017–2018 season, subscription packages are still available by calling 415-242-4500. The price of the full series of ten concerts provides a 20% discount over the purchase of ten individual tickets. There is also the Create-Your-Own option. The subscriber can create his/her own package of four or more concerts and receive a 14% discount.
8 p.m., Center for New Music (C4NM): Costa’s recital will be the first of three plucked string concerts taking place at the same time. The second will be a visit to C4NM by Gordon Grdina, who plays both guitar and oud. His program will be in two sets. In the first set he will use both instruments to explore the connection between the melodic modal style of Arabic maqam and free improvisation. In the second set he will explore a different approach to improvisation in a duo performance with drummer Kjell Nordeson.
C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of the Golden Gate Theater, where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission for this concert will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members. Tickets may be purchased in advance through a Vendini event page.
8 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: The final plucked string option will also be the most unconventional. The Degenerate Art Ensemble, which brings Joshua Kohl on both guitar and electronics together with vocalist Haruko Crow Nishimura, who also dances, will visit the Poppy for two successive nights. They will present Skeleton Flower, a full-evening immersive performance that combines rich imagery, live music and song, visceral solo dance, and storytelling ritual. The second performance will take place the following evening, beginning again at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 19.
The Red Poppy is located in the Mission at 2698 Folsom Street. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. Because the Red Poppy is a small space, it is almost always a good idea to be there when the doors open. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25. However, there will also be limited pre-sales handled through a Brown Paper Tickets event page. The advance purchase price is $20; and the event page has a pull-down menu for selecting the date for which the tickets will apply.