Wednesday, July 11, 2018

SF International Piano Festival to Return

In August of last year, the New Piano Collective, founded by Bay Area pianist Jeffrey LaDeur, launched the San Francisco International Piano Festival. Over the course of a week, the festival offered nine concerts in seven different venues around the Bay Area, three of which took place within the San Francisco city limits. Next month the festival will return for its second round, this time lasting eleven days and taking place in eight different venues. This time, however, five of the concerts will be held in San Francisco. Specifics (to the extent to which they are available) are as follows:

Saturday, August 18, 8 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), Solo Spotlight: Pianist Daria Rabotkina will present a solo recital featuring two compositions, both entitled “Moments musicaux” (musical moments), the first by Franz Schubert (D. 780) and the second by Sergei Rachmaninoff (Opus 16).

Sunday, August 19, 2 p.m., Legion of Honor, The Poet Speaks: This program will present two significant and ambitious piano sonatas, each played by a different pianist. In the first half Albert Kim will play Charles Ives’ second sonata, given the title “Concord, Mass., 1840–60” with the movements reflecting on leading American figures within that time frame. He will precede his sonata performance with “Aubervilliers,” composed by Charlie Usher for piano and monophonic audio track. In the second half Bobby Mitchell will play Robert Schumann’s Opus 11 (first) sonata in F-sharp minor, which depicts the fictitious characters that embody the two sides of the composer’s personality, Florestan and Eusebius.

Monday, August 20, 7:30 p.m., Knuth Hall, Solo Spotlight: This will be a solo piano recital by Johnandrew Slominski. He will play two selections by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the K. 511 rondo in A minor the the K. 310 sonata, also in A minor. He will also perform Johannes Brahms’ Opus 118 collection of short piano pieces. Details of the remainder of his program have not yet been announced.

Tuesday, August 21, 12:30 p.m., Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Noontime Concerts: LaDeur will contribute to the festival with a free performance that will be given as part of the Noontime Concerts series. Noontime Concerts has played a significant role in LaDeur’s efforts to prepare all of the solo piano music by Claude Debussy for performance in honor of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death this past March 25. For this return to Noontime Concerts he will play Debussy’s collection of twelve études.

Sunday, August 26, 2:30 p.m., Legion of Honor, Life Cycles: This will be the Festival Finale. LaDeur will shift his attention to chamber music. In the first half of the program, he will accompany mezzo Kindra Scharich in a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s only song cycle, An die ferne Geliebte (to the distant beloved), his Opus 98. In the second half LaDeur will join his Delphi Trio colleagues, violinist Liana Bérubé and cellist Michelle Kwon, in a performance of William Bolcom’s 2014 piano trio. Delphi’s chamber offering will be followed by the two-piano version of Bolcom’s suite of four rags, The Garden of Eden, played by Jiyang Chen and Igor Lipinski. The only solo piano composition on the program will be Robert Schumann’s Opus 17 fantasia in C major.

SFCM is located at 50 Oak Street, between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street and a short walk from the Muni Van Ness Station. The Legion of Honor is located in Lincoln Park. It is approached by following 34th Street north of Clement Street (which is the southern boundary of the park). Knuth Hall is in the Creative Arts Building at San Francisco State University. This is a short walk from the SFSU Muni stop at the corner of 19th Avenue and Holloway Avenue. However, for many getting to this corner will be complicated by the closing of the Twin Peaks Tunnel; so those planning to attend the Slominski recital are advised to make their plans well in advance of the recital itself. Finally, Old St. Mary’s is located at 660 California Street, on the northeast corner of Grant Street.

With the exception of LaDeur’s free recital, tickets for all concerts will be sold separately. General admission will be $25 with a $15 rate for students and seniors. Those age eighteen or less will be admitted without charge. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online through the hyperlinks attached to the dates in the above descriptions.

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