Friday, December 29, 2017

Choices for January 19–21, 2018

Given how busy this season was during the fall of 2017, it should be no surprise that 2018 will not waste very much time before confronting the serious listener with hard choices. What is particularly interesting is that the first weekend to involve such choices will have a heavy emphasis on adventurous listening. This is potentially a good sign, since it suggests that the New Year will present us with a felicitous balance of both innovative listening opportunities and offerings of the familiar. Here are the specifics, given in roughly chronological order:

Friday, January 19, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM): The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP) will present the only installment of the in the LABORATORY series for the 2017–18 season. This will be a significant event for several reasons, the most important of which will be the guest appearance of composer and vocalist Meredith Monk, two of whose works will be included in the program. This will mark the conclusion of Monk’s two-day Artist Residency at SFCM, and SFCM students will be involved in performing both of those compositions. Vocal students Courtney McPhail (soprano) and Marina Davis (mezzo) will offer the “Cave Song” from Book of Days, accompanied by SFCMP harpist Karen Gottlieb; and piano student Taylor Chan will join Kate Campbell in a performance of “Ellis Island” for two pianos. This will also be the first appearance of incoming SFCMP Artistic Director Eric Dudley, who will hold a conversation with Monk prior to the performance of her pieces, during which Dudley will also entertain questions from the audience.

The concert will be preceded in the afternoon by a How Music is Made event featuring two of the composers whose music will also be performed. At 4 p.m. there will be an open dress rehearsal of Vivian Fung’s “Twist,” scored for electric guitar and violin, which will begin the program. Both Fung and Ryan Brown, whose “Under the Rug” will be performed, will then participate in a Composer Talk hosted by Dudley. Other composers whose music will be performed will be Don Byron (four of his études for vocalizing pianist), Frederic Rzewski (“Les Moutons de Panurge”), and John Zorn (“Cobra”). 45 minutes before the concert begins, Dudley will lead a discussion with some of the SFCMP members contributing to the program. Ticket holders will also be invited to a party following the concert.

SFCM is located at 50 Oak Street, between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni Station. General admission to the concert will be $35, with a $15 rate for students. How Music is Made will be open to the public at no charge. Tickets may be purchased in advance online from an Eventbrite event page.

Friday, January 19, 8 p.m., Community Music Center (CMC): This will be the next installment of Jazz in the Neighborhood, and it is likely to be just as adventurous as the program being offered on the other side of Market Street. The program will feature selections from the first album to be recorded by the Ben Goldberg School, Vol. 1: The Humanities, which was discussed on this site this past May. Clarinetist Ben Goldberg composed all of the selections on this album; and he led a group whose other members were trombonist Jeff Cressman, at whose studio the sessions were recorded, along with Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Rob Reich on accordion, David Ewell on bass, and Hamir Atwal on drums. The ideas behind these pieces grew out of Goldberg’s artist-in-residency in Umbria (in Italy) at Civitella Ranieri, a fifteenth-century castle. The title of the collection has little to do with an academic curriculum, dealing, instead, with those pursuits that make us human.

This performance will be held in the CMC Concert Hall. CMC is located in the Mission at 544 Capp Street, between Mission Street and South Van Ness Avenue and between 20th Street and 21st Street. Tickets will be sold at the door at prices of $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased in advance (until the end of the day on January 18) for $18 through a CMC event page. Those wishing further information may call 415-826-2765.

[added 1/16, 4:05 p.m.:

Saturday, January 20, 7:30 p.m., Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church: The Vinifera Trio, which brings pianist Ian Scarfe together with violinist Rachel Patrick and clarinetist Matthew Boyles, just announced its next performance. The program will revisit Boyles’ arrangement of George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris;” and the trio will also perform a suite by Darius Milhaud and Igor Stravinsky's suite of music from his “L’histoire du Soldat.” Scarfe will also accompany two duo sonatas with Boyles playing the sonata by Francis Poulenc and Patrick playing the sonata by Maurice Ravel.  Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church is located in the Mission at 455 Fair Oaks Street. Ticket prices will be $20, available only at the door.]

Saturday, January 20, 8 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The second program being performed during the eleventh season of Voices of Music will be entitled An Evening in Paris: Music for the King’s Chamber and the Parisian Salons. The selections will feature music that would have been heard in Versailles and/or Paris during the eighteenth century. Not all of the composers will be French. Georg Philipp Telemann will be included for his so-called “Paris” quartets, which were performed at those Parisian salons when he visited them in 1737. French composers on the program will include François Couperin and Marin Marais.

St. Mark’s is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission will be $45 with at $40 rate for seniors and members of several of the local early music organizations. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an Arts People event page. In addition, the Box Office may be reached by telephone at 415-260-4687.

Saturday, January 20, 8:30 p.m., The Lab: This will be an evening of three new and recent long-form works by composer Tashi Wada. Cellist Charles Curtis will perform the solo work “Valence,” composed in 2016, which involves isolating and reharmonizing the natural overtones of a single string. Bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval will then play Wada’s 2017 “Witness.” This involves the invention of scale structures through the assembly of tetrachords, many of which have their origins in music from Ancient Greece, Persia, and Arabian territories. Both of these pieces were written for the musicians that will perform them. The program will then conclude with a duo performance in which Julia Holter will join Wada in a work involving keyboard, voice, and sirens.

The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street. This is a short walk from the corner of Mission Street. This is particularly good for those using public transportation, since that corner provides bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel as well as a BART station.

Admission will be $15, and members of The Lab will be admitted for free. Advance registration is strongly advised. Separate Web pages have been created for members and the general public. Doors will open at 8:30 p.m., half an hour before the performance is scheduled to begin. Events at The Lab tend to attract a large turnout, so early arrival is almost always highly recommended.

Sunday, January 21, 11 a.m., SFCM: This will be an all-day Chamber Music Festival featuring both students and faculty. It will be structured as four concerts taking place throughout the day, beginning, respectively, at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. All performances will take place in the Sol Joseph Recital Hall, except for the final concert, which will be held in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall. The entire festival will be free, and reservations will not be required.

Sunday, January 21, 2 p.m., SFCM: On the same day Scott Foglesong will give his Faculty Artist Series piano recital, which will probably also involve his discussing background material. As readers probably know by now, 2018 will be the centennial year of the death of Claude Debussy; and Foglesong will honor that composer’s memory with a performance of his Children’s Corner suite to conclude his program. He will begin his program with a suite from another era, Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 816 (“French”) suite in G major. Foglesong will then offer a suite of his own by juxtaposing selections from four of Johannes Brahms’ collections of solo piano pieces, Opera 116, 117, 118, and 119. The remaining work on the program will be the set of variations that Federico Mompou wrote on the seventh (in A major) of Chopin’s Opus 28 preludes. This recital will take place in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall. Like the chamber music concerts, it will be free; and reservations will not be required.

Sunday, January 21, 2 p.m., Legion of Honor: This will mark the beginning of the 33rd season offered by the Avedis Chamber Music Series. This organization has regularly presented recitals by the Stanford Woodwind Quintet. On this occasion the group will be joined by three guest artists for the opening concert. Emily Laurance will join the quintet for a performance of a concertino for harp and winds by Joseph Weigl. The winds will then accompany soprano Désirée Goyette in a selection of the songs from the Auvergne region of France collected and arranged by Joseph Canteloube. During the second half of the program, pianist Paul Hersh will join the quintet in two sextets by Gordon Jacob (Opus 6 in B-flat) and Theodor Blumer (Opus 45), respectively.

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). General admission is $28 with a discounted rate of $18 for seniors and students. In addition if tickets are purchased together for a group of ten or more, the group leader’s ticket is free. Tickets can no longer be purchased online, so the simplest way to order is by calling 415-392-4400. The discount for group tickets is available by calling 415-452-8777.

There will also be three more concerts in the Avedis season, all taking place at the Legion of Honor at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The dates are as follows:
  1. February 24: Pianist Robin Sutherland will join his Avedis colleagues for a selection of works for flute, strings, and piano.
  2. May 6: Sutherland will return for a performance of the suite that Claude Bolling composed for flute and jazz trio.
  3. June 3: This will be the annual concert based on the Baroque repertoire, this time presenting music by both Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann.

Single tickets for all of these concerts are all the same price. In addition there are two subscription options. The full series is $97 for general admission and $64 for seniors and students. There is also a three-concert subscription for $75 for general admission and $49 for seniors and students. An “early bird” discount will be applied for those ordering before the end of this month.

[added 12/30, 7:20 a.m.:

Sunday, January 21, 4 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: The first Noe Valley Chamber Music recital of the New Year will present the newly-formed chamber ensemble that calls itself the Joshua Trio. The members are soprano Ann Moss and instrumentalists Emil Miland on cello and Meredith Clark on harp. The concert was planned as a celebration of the 300th anniversary of Miland's cello. The program will include world premieres by local composers Candace Forest and Brian Fitzsousa. There will also be an assortment of selections from the works of Lou Harrison, including the air from his Rapunzel opera, the solo cello movement from his piano trio, and his suite for cello and harp. As might be expected, the cello will also be featured in a performance of Pablo Casals arrangement of the Catalan “Song of the Birds"and the “Swan” movement from “The Carnival of the Animals.” Clark's harp work will also be featured in a performance of Germaine Tailleferre's sonata. Moss will sing two Joni Mitchell songs in arrangements by Liam Wade, as well as more “conventional” songs by composers such as Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky.

The Noe Valley Ministry is located in Noe Valley at 1021 Sanchez Street. Tickets are $30 at the door with a $25 rate for seniors and a $15 rate for students aged thirteen or older. (Those over the age of eighteen will be required to show valid identification as confirmation of full-time status.) Children younger than thirteen will be admitted for free. If purchased in advance through a Brown Paper Tickets event page, general admission will be discounted to $25. Tickets may also be purchased in advance by calling NVCM at 415-648-5236.]

[added 1/18, 11:55 a.m.:

[added 1/20. 6:10 p.m.: This concert has been cancelled due to illness.]

Sunday January 21, 4 p.m., Church of the Advent of Christ the King: This month's installment of the Third Sunday Concerts series, arranged by the church's Director of Music, will present the a cappella vocal quartet of soprano Jennifer Ashworth, alto Lauren Carley, tenor Kevin Baum, and bass James Monios. They have prepared a program entitled In Other Words. This will consist of unaccompanied vocal music spanning the period of time from the Middle Ages in England to the work of living composers, such as Scottish composer James MacMillan. Selections will be both sacred and secular.

The Church of the Advent of Christ the King is located at 261 Fell Street, between Franklin Street and Gough Street. The entry is diagonally across the street from the SFJAZZ Center. For those planning on driving, parking will be available in a lot adjacent to the church. A festive reception will follow the performance in Lathrop Hall. The concert is free, but there is a suggested donation of $20.]

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