Saturday, July 21, 2018

Old First Concerts: September, 2018

Given that this site is beginning to account for activities at the beginning of the new season, it seems fair to note also that Old First Concerts (O1C) has now posted its offerings for the month of September. Presumably, this means that plans for the month have been finalized; but, if necessary, this Web page will be updated; and notification will be provided through this site’s Facebook shadow page. 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 for online purchase through 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 September:

Sunday, September 9, 4 p.m.: Pianist Lynn Schugren has prepared a program of four solo compositions, each of which is less than 100 years old. The most recent of these pieces is Points of Time, which she commissioned from composer Mark Vance. Given its premiere performance last year, this work is a collection of pieces evocative of events in the composer’s life, from views of glorious tulip fields in the Skagit Valley to the shock of the 9/11 attacks. Two of the pieces were written about 30 years ago. Bay Area composer Bruce Nalezny’s “Poeme” was completed in 1988 and was inspired by a poem about death written by Spaniard Jorge Manrique. In a similar vein, Miriam Gideon’s Of Shadows Numberless, completed in 1987, is a suite of short movements, each of which was inspired by particular lines from John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale.” The program will conclude with the solo piano sonata by Samuel Barber, the “grand old man” of this gathering of composers, which was written on a 1950 commission from the League of Composers.

Sunday, September 16, 4 p.m.: Soprano Winnie Nieh will present a program of both recent and classic compositions. Her accompanist will be pianist Paul Dab. They will give the world premiere performance of Richard Festinger’s “Winds of May,” completed in 2014, as well as his 2003 composition “Love Wanders There.” They will also present the West Coast premiere of a collection of five songs by Richard Aldag completed in 1989. The earliest music on the program will be two songs by Henry Purcell, “From silent shades and the Elysian groves” and “From rosie bow’rs,” the latter written as incidental music for a staging of Don Quixote. Richard Strauss will be represented by the three songs based on the words of Ophelia from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet included in his Opus 67 collection, as well as his early “Waldesgesang” (forest song). The remaining work on the program will be Maurice Ravel’s collection of five songs based on popular Greek sources.

Friday, September 21, 8 p.m.: Beth Custer, who plays all sizes of clarinets, will return to Old First, this time as part of a trio called Winds of Change. As might be guessed, the other two members of the trio also play wind instruments. Cornelius Boots, previously a virtuoso on the bass clarinet, will be playing the Japanese shakuhachi; and Stephen Kent will play the Australian didgeridoo. The title of the program will be New Music and Evolving World Traditions; and it will present original compositions, arrangements, traditional repertoire, and improvisations. The musicians will give solo, duo, and trio performances.

Sunday, September 23, 4 p.m.: The faculty members of the Golden Gate Philharmonic, San Francisco’s all-inclusive youth orchestra, have prepared an imaginative program that will serve as a benefit recital. The program will include new works by Bay Area composers Alden Jenks and Stephen Damonte. In addition, violinist Anthony Blea will lead an Afro-Cuban quartet is a selection of Cuban danzones. The performers will include four violinists (Blea, Eileen Bourgade, Jason Totzke, and Anna Washburn), two violists (Paula Karolak and Patrick Kroboth), two players alternating between violin and viola (David Daniel Bowes and Valerie Tisdel), three cellists (Louella Hasbun, Onew Park, and Ben Snellings), and one flutist (Darcy Mironov). Damonte will take the piano part in his own composition, and Mikako Endo will be guest pianist.

Friday, September 28, 8 p.m.: Pianist Jihye Chang will bring her five-year solo piano project, Continuum 88, which began in 2016, to Old First. Her objective is to explore the major forms and genres of the piano literature through both significant works from the past and newly commissioned compositions. Her Old First program will serve as the third “chapter” of this undertaking, dealing with both études and fantasias. The program will include four world premieres: two movements from a Fantasiestücke collection by Peter Kramer, “Hélium,” a “chemical” étude by Daniel Godsil, the Etude-Fantasy “Gradus Adversus Gravitatem” by Seungyeon Kim, and a chorale fantasy on “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” by Shinuh Lee. More familiar works by composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Czerny, Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, and Earl Wild will interleave with the premiere performances.

Sunday, September 30, 4 p.m.: Book of J is the vocal duo of Jewlia Eisenberg and Jeremiah Lockwood with Lockwood providing instrumental accompaniment on guitar. In celebration of the autumn Jewish festival of Sukkot, they will present a program entitled Ingathering: Jewish Music of Harvest and Holiday. The selections will include traditional liturgical chants from Eastern Europe, medieval sacred poetry from North Africa, and Judeo-Spanish songs that migrated to the Balkans.

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