Last year the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) did not begin its 2018–2019 season until November. This year the season will get under way in September. This is usually a competitive month, but NCCO may benefit by holding off until the end of the month to present its first concert of the season.
As was the case a year ago, the season will be a “moveable feast,” drawing upon several different venues, including the newly-renovated Presidio Theatre. Single tickets will not go on sale until August 1; but subscriptions are currently available. These will cover both the full five-concert season and “subset” subscriptions for three or four concerts. NCCO has created a single Web page for processing all of these alternatives. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dates and venues for the performances in San Francisco are as follows:
Saturday, September 28, Herbst Theatre: Perhaps drawing upon the famous rondeau by Guillaume de Machaut (“Ma fin est mon commencement et mon commencement ma fin,” my end is my beginning and my beginning my end), NCCO will begin its season with a program entitled “Fin de siècle” (end of the century). In spite of its generality, this phrase tends to refer to the end of the nineteenth century; and that is how Music Director Daniel Hope has interpreted it. Hope will lead from the Concertmaster’s chair in performances of music by Edward Elgar (“Chanson de Matin,” Opus 15, Number 2, and the Opus 47 coupling of an Introduction to an Allegro movement, scored for string quartet and string ensemble), Christian Sinding (the Adagio movement from his Opus 10 Suite im alten Stil), and the “Méditation” intermezzo from Jules Massenet’s opera Thaïs, with its extended solo part for violin. The program will also feature an early nocturne that Arnold Schoenberg scored for strings and harp and an arrangement of Richard Strauss’ song “Morgen” (the fourth in his Opus 27 collection) for violin and strings. (Strauss’ own version for voice and orchestra includes an extended violin solo.) The program will begin with an arrangement for string ensemble of Ernest Chausson’s concerto for violin, piano, and strings. Simon Papanas will be the violin soloist and will also serve as Guest Concertmaster. The pianist will be Maxim Landos.
Saturday, November 9, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: Simone Dinnerstein will make her first appearance as artist-in-residence, leading NCCO from the piano. The program will consist almost entirely of concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach. These will include the fifth of the “Brandenburg” concertos (BWV 1050 in D major) and three of the keyboard concertos: BWV 1053 in E major, BWV 1056 in F minor, and BWV 1052 in D minor. She will also perform (presumably as a solo) Ferruccio Busoni’s transcription of the BWV 639 organ chorale prelude “Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I call on Thee, Lord Jesus Christ), included in Bach’s Orgelbüchlein (little organ book) collection.
Thursday, December 19, 7:30 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The season will include a special Christmas concert featuring mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter as soloist. Hope will lead from the Concertmaster’s chair to accompany von Otter in selections by Bach and George Frideric Handel, as well as at least one traditional carol and recent popular seasonal songs. Hope will serve as soloist in a performance of the “Winter” concerto from Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. The program will also include concerto grosso selections by Handel and Arcangelo Corelli.
Friday, January 24, 7:30 p.m., Presidio Theatre: This will be the first of two concerts celebrating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, who was baptized on December 17, 1770, thus getting this landmark anniversary year off to an early start. Dinnerstein will return to perform chamber music with Hope and cellist Lynn Harrell. The three of them will play the first of the Opus 1 piano trios in the key of E-flat major. In addition, Dinnerstein will accompany Harrell in a performance of the second of the Opus 102 cello sonatas in the key of D major and Hope in the Opus 47 (“Kreutzer”) violin sonata in A major. This chamber music recital will not be part of the subscription series but can be added to the subscription order. Ticket prices will be $61, $49, and $27.
Saturday, January 25, 7:30 p.m., Presidio Theatre: NCCO will join the festivities to accompany all three of these soloists in a performance of the Opus 56 (“Triple”) concerto in C major. The program will conclude with the Opus 21 (first) symphony, which was also composed in the key of C major. Hope will lead from the Concertmaster’s chair.
Saturday, May 16, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: Hope will use this program to showcase compositions that he recorded on his Spheres album. The selections will be drawn from the current and preceding centuries. In addition, the San Francisco Girls Chorus will return for its third collaboration with NCCO. They will be featured in the three final works on the program.
The entrance to Herbst is the main entrance to the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, located on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. St. Mark’s is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. The Presidio Theatre, scheduled for completion this summer, is located at 99 Moraga Avenue and will be accessible by public transportation via PresidiGo Shuttle vehicles.