Thursday, June 21, 2018

Old First Concerts: July, 2018

Readers have probably noticed that this site has been giving a fair amount of attention to both previews and reviews of events being presented by Old First Concerts (O1C). It therefore seems appropriate to avoid any risk of there being loose ends by presenting the O1C schedule on a month-by-month basis. As has been the case with the Red Poppy Art House, this creates a Web page that may be easily updated to account for any change in plans. In the same manner the Facebook shadow site can be used to provide notification when such changes arise.

All O1C events take place at the Old First Presbyterian Church, 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. Hyperlinks to specific event pages will be attached to the date-and-time information given below. 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. Here are the specifics for the month of July:

Sunday, July 1, 4 p.m.: The Bridge Piano Quartet consists of Cynthia Baehr (violin), Eleanor Angel (viola), Kristen Garbeff (cello), and Kumiko Uyeda (piano). However, they will be presenting the world premiere of a composition whose resources go beyond those of the conventional piano quartet. The ensemble approached Chad Cannon with a commission to write a work focused on the struggles faced by immigrants and refugees. The result was “Gateway: Stories from Angel Island,” which draws upon poetry found on the walls of the Angel Island immigration center, having been etched there by Chinese immigrants. The performance of “Gateway” will require adding to the Bridge resources with narration, butoh dance, and electronics. Cannon’s premiere will be preceded by two more conventional piano quartet offerings, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 493 in E-flat major and Frank Bridge’s “Phantasy.”

Friday, July 6, 8 p.m.: The third of the four Debussy Centennial Festival concerts will be devoted entirely to the 24 preludes composed for solo piano. Debussy published these in two separate books, each consisting of twelve of the preludes. Performances of these pieces will be shared by Christopher Basso, Daniel Glover, Jeffrey LaDeur, Keisuke Nakagoshi, and Robert Schwartz.

Wednesday, July 11, 7 p.m.: O1C will be one of the host institutions for the Golden Gate International Choral Festival. Founded in 1991, this event is sponsored every three years by the Piedmont Easy Bay Children’s Choir. The Festival hosts young singers from all over the world, providing a variety of performance opportunities across the San Francisco Bay Area. O1C will host two of the performing choirs, the Chamber Singers of the Fairfield County Children’s Choir (Orange, Connecticut) and the St. Stephen’s College Choir (Hong Kong). Information about this and other performances can be found at the Festival’s Web site. This will be a free concert, and tickets will not be necessary.

Friday, July 13, 8 p.m.: As part of the O1C commitment to providing diversity in its offerings, Arjun Verma will present an evening of sitar music accompanied by Sudhakar Vaidyanathan on tabla.

Sunday, July 15, 4 p.m.: Traditionally, jazz pianist and vocalist Mike Greensill has been the harbinger of the end of summer and the beginning of a new concert season. This year he will present a midsummer offering entitled The Art of the Duo. He will be joined by Joe Cohen on alto saxophone. The program will be devoted almost entirely to the music of Duke Ellington; but, as may be expected, Greensill will include some of his own latest compositions.

Friday, July 20, 8 p.m.: Jazz will continue the following Friday with the return of the Resonance Jazz Ensemble. This group is led by pianist Stephen McQuarry; and it is far from your usual combo, owing to its string section (of sorts), consisting of violinists Michelle Mastin and Michèle Walther and cellist Nancy Bien. The group also includes Laura Austin Wiley playing flutes of different sizes. The more conventional players are Georgianna Krieger on saxophones, Ted Burik on bass, and Greg German on drums. The repertoire includes both standards and McQuarry’s own pieces.

Saturday, July 21, 8 p.m.: Le Due Muse is the duo of cellist Sarah Hong and pianist Makiko Ooka. This will be a return visit to O1C to present a concert entitled The Charm of Czech Music. The first half of the program will be devoted to Bohemian composers Josef Suk, a D minor ballade, the first of two pieces for cello and piano in his Opus 3, and Bohuslav Martinů, his second sonata for cello and piano. Following the intermission, they will be joined by violinist Fumino Ando for a performance of Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 90 (fourth) piano trio in E minor, named “Dumky” after the common form of all of the trio’s six movements.

Sunday, July 22, 4 p.m.: The final concert of the month will see the return of pianist Sarah Cahill. The program will consist of pieces that she has commissioned or have otherwise been dedicated to her. The composers to be represented on the program will be John Adams, Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk, Ingram Marshall, Annea Lockwood, Phil Kline, and Samuel Adams.

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