Sunday, November 26, 2017

Choices for December 15, 2017

Now that the list of options for the next weekend have been enumerated (and augmented), it turns out that the next day that will involve some serious choice-making will be Friday, December 15. This will give those overwhelmed by having to choose among too many options a couple of weeks of breath-catching. At present count, the number of alternatives for December 15 is relatively modest; but there is certainly time to things to get more crowded. The current specifics, in chronological order, are as follows:

7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM): This will be the first concert in the Young Masters Series organized by San Francisco Performances (SFP). The young master in question will be Cuban jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, whose jazz background is complemented by formal classical training. Rodriguez was born in Havana in 1985 and moved to Los Angeles in 2009, where he was able to enjoy mentoring by Quincy Jones. In 2011 he signed with Mack Avenue Records, the same label on which jazz trumpeter (and SFP Artist-in-Residence) Sean Jones records. It is worth noting that, while SFP did not announce an explicit Jazz Series for the 2017–2018 season, there have been an impressive number of jazz offerings for the season’s first half, including Adam Shulman’s Salon appearance at the Hotel Rex, Regina Carter’s appearance in the SFP Virtuosi Series, and Sean Jones’ participation in the Concerts with Conversation events at the Community Music Center, held in conjunction with SFP.

This performance will take place in the SFCM Concert Hall. SFCM is located at 50 Oak Street, halfway between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street and a short walk from the Van Ness Muni Station. All tickets are being sold for $40 and may be purchased in advance online from a City Box Office event page. Because this is the first event of a three-concert series, subscriptions to the entire series are still on sale for $105. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a separate City Box Office event page. 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. SFP may also be reached by called 415-392-2545.

8 p.m., Old First Presbyterian Church: As usual, the Old First Concerts (O1C) series will be offering season-appropriate music during the month of December. This particular occasion will see the return of the Lacuna Arts Chorale for the third year in a row, offering a program entitled Fire & Ice: Winter Madrigals. In the order in which their works will be performed, the featured composers will be Emma Lou Diemer (a collection of three madrigals), Morten Lauridsen (a collection of six madrigals called Fire Songs), Theodore Morrison (Winter Madrigals), Paul Mealor (“Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal”), and Abbie Betinis (“In the bleak midwinter”). Director Sven Edward Olbash will conduct, and the pianist will be Danny Sullivan.

The Old First Presbyterian Church is located at 1751 Sacramento Street on the southeast corner of Van Ness Avenue. If purchased in advance online from an O1C event page, general admission will be $23 with a discounted rate of $18 for seniors aged 65 or older. Tickets for full-time students showing valid identification will be $5; and children aged twelve and under will be admitted for free. There is also a discount available for those parking at the Old First Parking Garage at 1725 Sacramento Street, just up the street from the church.

8 p.m., The Lab: This will be the beginning of a two-day CREATE festival dedicated to Wadada Leo Smith, a trumpeter who has explored the most adventurous frontiers of both jazz and classical music. Over the course of two concerts on two successive days, Smith will lead five ensemble performances. He will also join the members of the RedKoral Quartet (violinists Shalini Vijayan and Mona Thian, violist Andrew McIntosh, and cellist Ashley Walters) in a performance of “Pacifica,” his twelfth string quartet. Similarly, the ROVA quartet of Bruce Ackley, Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, and Steve Adams will play Smith’s first saxophone quartet. In addition Jesse Gilbert will contribute video art, and Hardedge will create sound designs. Hardedge will also work with the opening set, which will bring guitarist Lamar Smith together with Pheeroan akLaff on drums.

Like the Friday concert, the Saturday (December 16) concert will begin at 8 p.m. There will also be a seminar on Saturday afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m., at which Smith will discuss some of the principal components of his music. The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street. This is a short walk from the corner of Mission Street. This is particularly good for those using public transportation, since that corner provides bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel as well as a BART station.

General admission for each of the two concerts will be $40. Admission for the Saturday afternoon seminar will be $50. General admission to the entire festival will be $70 with a $60 rate for members of The Lab. There will be separate registration Web pages for members and guests for Festival Passes, as will as single-event registration pages for the Friday concert, the Saturday concert, and the Saturday seminar. Doors will open half an hour before each event is scheduled to begin. Events at The Lab tend to attract a large turnout, so early arrival is almost always highly recommended.

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