Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Anticipating the 2017–2018 San Francisco Performances Season

Yesterday afternoon San Francisco Performances (SFP) announced its plans for all subscription events in its 2017–2018 season. A new Web page has been created with several basic hyperlinks. These include PDF files for a digital version of the brochure for the new season, a summary of the season calendar, and a form for ordering subscriptions. There is also a browsing hyperlink that brings up a list of the twelve series options for subscriptions, each of which is a hyperlink to further details. Each series Web page then has a hyperlink to a City Box Office package page for ordering the subscription online. The season home page also includes an embedded YouTube video in which SFP President Melanie Smith introduces the entire season.

As was the case when the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) announced its new season about a month ago, this will be a lot of data to absorb. My reaction at that time was to filter the whole thing down to a few items that leapt out of the whole enchilada and really got be looking forward to things. Where SFP has been concerned in the past, my basic strategy was to write series-by-series articles, ordered chronologically by the date of the first performance and scheduled during the usually quiet period at the end of the summer. However, as was the case with SFS, there were those few items that got me into I-can’t-wait-to-tell-you-about-this mode.

It turns out that, for those just beginning to think about subscribing, one of those items is an entire series, the one called Virtuosi Series in the browsing list. This consists of four concerts in Herbst Theatre, all beginning at 7:30 p.m. The quick summary, including the dates to save, is as follows:

  • Tuesday, November 7: Violinist Leila Josefowicz will return, accompanied by pianist John Novacek, to present a program based entirely in the twentieth and present centuries.
  • Friday, November 15: Jazz violinist Regina Carter will return, leading a quintet in a program entitled Simply Ella, consisting of her own arrangements of some of the most iconic works performed by Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Thursday, February 8: Clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann will return, performing with pianist Gilles Vonsattel. The first half of the program will be chamber music for clarinet from the nineteenth century. The second half will be Widmann’s own works, one solo for piano, one solo for clarinet, and one duo.
  • Wednesday, February 21: Flutist Emmanuel Pahud will present a program of music from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that will feature his arrangements of works not originally written for flute; his accompanist will be pianist Alessio Bax.

In addition pianist András Schiff will be making his annual return to San Francisco. He will give two recitals on Sunday, April 15, at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, April 17, at 8 p.m. As in the past, production of these concerts will be shared with SFS; and the performances will take place in Davies Symphony Hall. The programs will revisit Schiff favorites, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Robert Schumann. However, from a personal point of view, both of these recitals will be providing me with my first opportunity for listening to Schiff playing late works by Johannes Brahms. These will be part of the SFP Specials Series, which will also include a recital by Yuja Wang on Sunday, May 6, at 7 p.m., also shared with SFS and held in Davies.

The new Hear Now and Then Series is piquing my attention from opposite ends of the time line. It will begin on Saturday, October 7, with the premiere of a new work by local composer Danny Clay, whose performance will involve a joint effort by the Kronos Quartet, Youth Speaks, the organization behind the annual Teen Poetry Slam, and The Living Earth Show, the mind-blowing duo of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson. At the other end Jordi Savall will visit with his viola da gamba with a program entitled Celtic Universe, which will examine music from Ireland and Scotland along with influences from French Brittany, Galicia, and the Basque Country. That program will conclude the series on Thursday, May 3. Both of these program will take place in Herbst Theatre, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, the PIVOT Series will be returning. At 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24, local pianist Sarah Cahill will present a program honoring the 100th birthday of Lou Harrison for which she will be joined by both the members of the Alexander String Quartet and the William Winant Percussion Group. Of particularly interest will be that the latter ensemble will be performing on “American gamelan” instruments conceived an created by Harrison and his partner William Colvig.

Apparently, I shall not be having any trouble keeping myself busy during the coming season.

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