Once again the San Francisco Performances (SFP) Chamber Series for the 2019–2020 season will focus on string quartets. However, while last season devoted all four events to string quartets, this season will begin with a piano trio; and the remaining performances will present quartets. Also, as was the case last season, one of those quartet performances will include a special “guest artist.”
As usual, all of the concerts will take place in Herbst Theatre. 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. The venue is excellent for public transportation, since that corner has Muni bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. The specific dates and their related performers are as follows:
Friday, October 18: The piano trio that will open the season calls itself the Z.E.N. Trio, taking its name from the first initials of the first names of the players: Zhang Zuo on piano, Esther Yoo on violin, and Narek Hakhnazaryan on piano. The program has not been finalized, but it is known that the music of both Franz Schubert and Dmitri Shostakovich will be on the program. Both of these composers wrote two piano trios; but Shostakovich’s earlier trio, Opus 8 in C minor, is rarely performed. On the other hand both Schubert trios, D. 898 in B-flat major and D. 929 in E-flat major, are frequently performed. They were both written in 1827, and D. 929 was probably written within a year of his death on November 19, 1828.
Monday, October 21: The Calidore String Quartet made its SFP debut this past January, sharing the stage with pianist Inon Barnatan. The players are violinists Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, violist Jeremy Berry, and cellist Estelle Choi. For their return to SFP they will present the world premiere of a new composition (not yet titled) by Anna Clyne. The second half of the program will be devoted to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 130 string quartet in B-flat major coupled with the Opus 133 “Große Fuge,” which was originally intended as the final movement of the Opus 130 quartet. The program will begin with Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken III/32 quartet in C major, the second of the six Opus 20 (“Sun”) quartets. This will be followed by Schubert’s D. 703 Allegro movement in C minor, given the name “Quartett-Satz" in Otto Erich Deutsch’s thematic catalog.
Tuesday, March 10: This season the string quartet that will be joined by a pianist will be the Pavel Haas Quartet, whose members are violinists Veronika Jarůšková and Mark Zwiebel, violist Jiří Kabát, and cellist Peter Jarůšek. The pianist will be Boris Giltburg, who will join them in a performance of Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 81 (second) piano quintet in A major. The first half of the program will present the sixth quartet by Bohuslav Martinů and the fourth quartet by Béla Bartók.
Saturday, March 28: The final recital will be given by the Jerusalem Quartet. This group consists of violinists Alexander Pavlovsky and Sergei Bresler, violist Ori Kam, and cellist Kyrie Zlotnokov. The second half of the program will be devoted entirely to Johannes Brahms’ first string quartet, the first of his two Opus 51 quartets in C minor. Their program will also begin with a Haydn quartet, this time Hoboken III/76, the second of the Opus 76 quartets known as the “Fifths” quartet. This will be followed by Shostakovich’s Opus 117 (ninth) quartet in E-flat major.
Subscriptions are now on sale for $260 for premium seating, $200, and $160. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page, which includes information about the locations associated with each of the price levels. Orders may also be placed by calling the SFP subscriber hotline at 415-677-0325, which is open for receiving calls between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Single tickets will go on sale on Monday, August 19 and will also be sold by City Box Office. Once available, they may be purchased through the hyperlinks attached to each of the above dates.