The Morrison Artists Series is one of the most valuable sources of free chamber music within the San Francisco city limits, provided under the auspices of the Morrison Chamber Music Center, which is affiliated with the College of Liberal & Creative Arts at San Francisco State University (SFSU). 2018–2019 will be a landmark season, because last month Professor Cyrus Ginwala of the SFSU School of Music was appointed to succeed Richard Festinger as Artistic Director of the Morrison Chamber Music Center. However, the mission of the Morrison Artist Series to advance the art of chamber music and its appreciation by offering admission-free concerts and educational programs of the highest quality will remain unchanged.
As was the case last year, this 63rd season will consist of seven concerts held in the McKenna Theatre of the Creative Arts Building. Each concert will be preceded by an informative lecture, which will be held one hour prior to the performance. In addition each performing group holds a master class for students in the SFSU School of Music to which the general public is invited to observe.
The schedule for artists participating in the 2018–2019 season is as follows:
- Sunday, September 16, 3 p.m., Alexander String Quartet (ASQ): ASQ has been Ensemble in Residence at SFSU since 1989. They contribute regularly to the Morrison Artists Series. This time they will share the stage with the Ensemble-in-Residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), the Telegraph Quartet. The second half of the program will be devoted entirely to Felix Mendelssohn’s Opus 20 octet in E-flat major. The first half of the program will present two sharply contrasting string quartets, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 428 in E-flat major and Krzysztof Penderecki’s third quartet, which he completed in 2008.
- Friday, October 26, 8 p.m., Orlando Consort: The Ambassadors will be a program surveying French, Italian, Spanish and British vocal chamber music from the early Renaissance.
- Sunday, December 2, 3 p.m., Thalea Quartet: Formed in the summer of 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, Thalea was appointed the following year as the first quartet-in-residence at SFCM. They will present the world premiere of “A History of the String Quartet in its Natural Habitat,” composed by Vincent Calianno and scored for string quartet in pre-recorded electronics. This piece will be framed by two string quartets that differ as significantly as the two selected by ASQ. The program will begin with Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken III/33 in G minor, the third of his six Opus 20 (“Sun”) quartets. The program will conclude with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Opus 73 (third) quartet in F major.
- Sunday, February 10, 3 p.m., Nordic Voices: The program that will be presented by this six-voice a cappella ensemble from Oslo, Norway has not yet been announced.
- Sunday, March 10, 3 p.m., Musicians from Marlboro: Musicians from Marlboro is the national touring program associated with the Marlboro Music School and Festival held every summer in Vermont. The visiting artists for this recital will be violinists Robin Scott and Tessa Lark, violist Kim Kashkashian, cellist Christopher Richter, and pianist Zoltán Fejérvári. The program will present the world premiere of a duo for violin and viola by Berkeley-based composer Ken Ueno. The program will begin with Haydn’s Hoboken XV/27 piano trio in C major. The remainder of the program will be taken from the twentieth century, Zoltán Kodály’s Opus 12 serenade scored for two violins and viola and Maurice Ravel’s 1914 piano trio in the key of A minor.
- Friday, April 12, 8 p.m., Trio Ancuza Aprodu: Named after its pianist, Trio Ancuza Aprodu is a piano trio “embedded” within the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain. The string players are violinist Gael Raessert and cellist Valerie Dulac. They have prepared a program framed by two piano trios from the time of the transition from romanticism to modernism. The program will begin with Claude Debussy’s early (1880) trio in G minor and conclude with Gabriel Fauré’s late (1923) Opus 120 trio in D minor. Between these two selections Raessert and Dulac will play Ravel’s 1920 duo sonata.
- Sunday, May 12, 3 p.m., JACK Quartet: The season will conclude with a recital by one of the leading chamber ensembles dedicated to the performance of contemporary classical music. Currently, the quartet members are violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell. They have not yet announced the program that they plan to present.
The home page for the Morrison Chamber Music Center provides the full summary of these performances. The name of each group has a hyperlink, which provides additional information about the pre-concert talk and master class. (This will also be where further program details will be added.) The Creative Arts Building is a short walk from the SFSU Muni stop at the corner of 19th Avenue and Holloway Avenue. Three weeks prior to each concert date, each of these Web pages will have a hyperlink through which tickets may be reserved. Tickets are not required for the master classes, which will be held in the Knuth Recital Hall, also in the Creative Arts Building.