Friday, February 21, 2020

Choices for March 6–8, 2020

The first full weekend in March is going to be another busy one. As was the case with the account of March 1 earlier this week, the weekend will mark the beginning of several monthly schedules, which will also be summarized in this report. In other words, this will be another “fasten your seatbelts” article, hopefully with enough diversity that no particular interest will be slighted. Specifics are as follows:

[added 3/3, 10:50 a.m.:

Friday, March 6, 12:30 p.m., Cadillac Hotel: Close on the heels of a last-minute announcement of classical music last week, Concerts at the Cadillac will present a jazz quintet to kick off the weekend. The group is led by trombonist Bob Roden, who also provides vocals and occasionally percussion. He is joined on the front line by Ron Jackson playing both alto saxophone and flute. Rhythm is provided by Mark Rossi at the piano and Dave Casini on drums.

The hotel is located at 380 Eddy Street, on the northeast corner of Leavenworth Street. All Concerts at the Cadillac events are presented without charge. The purpose of the series is to provide high-quality music to the residents of the hotel and the Tenderloin District; but all are invited to visit the venue that calls itself “The House of Welcome Since 1907.”]

[added 2/29, 12:40 p.m.:

Friday, March 6, 6 p.m., Bethany Center: The next Concert with Conversation event to be presented by the Community Music Center (CMC) in partnership with San Francisco Performances (SFP) will feature Bill Kanengiser, a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and the Alexander String Quartet. As if often the case this will serve as a preview for the recital that these five musicians will bring to Herbst Theatre the following evening (see below for details about that event). Note, however, that this event will not take place at CMC. The Bethany Center is located at 580 Capp Street, a few doors down the block from CMC. This event will still be free and open to the general public. However, due to the popularity of these offerings, reservations are recommended. These are being handled through an Eventbrite event page. Note, however, that this will not guarantee seating, which will be first-come first-served. There will also be space for walk-up patrons without prior reservations.]

Friday, March 6, 7 p.m., Center for New Music (C4NM): The March calendar at C4NM will begin with the third annual Songfest, held as part of San Francisco State University’s annual RGB Arts Festival. The program will present the results of student composers working with poets from the Creative Writing Department. The resulting works will be performed by student vocalists and accompanists. There will be no charge for admission, and tickets will be available only at the door.

As of this writing, this concert will be the first event of the month at C4NM. In necessary, I shall use my Facebook shadow site to put out the word about updates as more information becomes available. For those who do not yet know, the venue is located at 55 Taylor Street, half a block north of the Golden Gate Theater, which is where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. Most of the remaining events of the month will required tickets, which may be purchased in advance through a Vendini event page. Hyperlinks to the appropriate Web pages will be attached to each of the dates in the following summary:
  • Sunday, March 8, 7 p.m.: Bay Area pianist Ric Louchard will give a solo recital. The program will be divided between his own compositions and those of Michael Rothkopf, currently Professor of Composition a the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students. [updated 3/12, 5:45 p.m.: All remaining events in March at C4NM have been cancelled in the hope that the schedule will be able to resume in April.
  • Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.: C4NM curator Glenda Bates will perform in a concert of solo works for oboe and electronics. She will play electroacoustic works for both oboe and cor anglais by Diana Syrse, Daria Semegen, and Thea Musgrave. This performances will be interwoven with projections of artwork by Julia Marquis, which will tell the story of humanity's descent into darkness and our will to create a brighter future. The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.
  • Saturday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.: This will be a two-set program. Desert Magic is a music collective founded in 2015 by Alex Wand, Steven Van Betten, and Logan Hone. For their visit to C4NM, they will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Mustafa Walker. Their offering will be the premiere performance of a song cycle entitled The Valley Spirit, whose text consists primarily of Ursula Le Guin’s version of the Tao Te Ching. The other set will be taken by Bay Area folk musician Meg Baird. The charge will be $20 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.
  • Sunday, March 15, 4 p.m.: The Surround Sound Salon Series, curated by Chris Brown, will continue with its third concert. The program will feature five local electronic music composers who present their fixed media and/or live electronic music through the 8-channel surround system, generously provided by Meyer Sound. Those composers, Maggi Payne, Michelle Moeller, Léa Boudreau, David Michalak, and Tom Nunn, will mix their sounds from the center of the space, and the audience is free to choose their own listening location, and to move within the space to hear the music from different vantage points. The charge will be $10 for general admission and $5 for C4NM members and students.
  • Monday, March 16, 8 p.m.: Cornettist and composer Taylor Ho Bynum will make a rare visit to the Bay Area. He will lead a quartet whose other members will be Hafez Modirzadeh (tenor saxophone), Tomeka Reid (cello), and Keshav Batish (drums and tabla). The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.
  • Tuesday, March 17, 8 p.m.: Luciano Chessa will return to C4NM to present a three-set program. The first set will be performed with Joshua Howes; and the performance by the two of them will involve piano, voice, and a diversity of signal processing technology. The second set will be performed by Tenderloin Noise, which is Chessa’s duo with Williams. Williams will provide sound through turntables to accompany Chessa’s performance on amplified piano. Chess will then conclude with a solo set involving feedback technology applied to both voice and piano. The charge will be $25 for general admission and $20 for C4NM members and students.
  • Thursday, March 19, 7:30 p.m.: Violinist Pauline Kim Harris will play “Ambient Chaconne,” which she composed in partnership with Spencer Tope. They describe the composition, which takes a little less than three-quarters of an hour, as “an immersive exploration” of the chaconne movement that concludes Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1004 solo violin partita in D minor. The work blends live and pre-recorded violin with electronically synthesized sounds. The performance will also incorporate a film by Eric Leiser. The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.
  • Friday, March 20, 7:30 p.m.: Harris will return the following night as half of the String Noise violin duo, joined by Conrad Harris. They will play their own arrangement of the score for The Decline of Western Civilization, Penelope Spheeris’ documentary about the Los Angeles punk rock scene, based on footage that she captured between 1979 and 1980. The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.
  • Saturday, March 21, 7:30 p.m.: Eric Dahlman, E. Doc Smith, Edo Castro Woodhouse and Peter McKibben will present a program entitled Cloud About Mercury Revisited. In the spirit of the String Noise program, this quartet will present new arrangements of music from guitarist David Torn’s album Cloud About Mercury. They will also take the same approach to tracks from the Upper Extremities album recorded by Bill Bruford and Tony Levin. All four members of the group will also contribute original compositions of their own. The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.
  • Friday, March 27, 7:30 p.m.: Andrew Watts, Constantin Basica, Ryan Maguire, Julie Herndon, Andrew Blanton, and Caroline Louise Miller will all present original compositions that will reflect on the emergence of a “post human” culture during the Internet Age.The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students. For this particular program, advance ticket sales will end at 5 p.m. on the day of the event; and tickets will be available at the door 30 minutes before the show begins.
  • Saturday, March 28, 8 p.m.: Pianist Rory Cowal will give a solo recital. His program will feature contemporary composers who draw from avant-garde jazz traditions. Those composers will include George Lewis, Kris Davis, and Anthony Davis. The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.
  • Sunday, March 29, 8 p.m.: Rova 2020: The Music Revealed Take 1 will be the next performance by the Rova Saxophone Quartet to be hosted by C4NM. As they are putting it, they will perform “works devised or brought to a place of revelations in this 2019 -20 season, including at least one world premiere.” (The Take 2 incarnation of this program will take place in April.) The charge will be $15 for general admission, $10 for C4NM members, and $6 for students. [added 3/4, 11:40 a.m.:
  • Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.: The month will conclude with a program entitled André Guéziec and Friends. Guéziec has organized an evening of new music by himself and other composer-performers. The program will offer not only Guézic's work but also recent pieces by Paul Smith-Stewart and John-Paul Labno. The performances will be followed by an opportunity to meet with local composers. The charge will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members and students.]]
Friday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Incarnation: The March calendar for Sunset Music and Arts will offer six concerts, only one of which will be part of The Beethoven 2020 Project. Instead, the month will open with the Alon Nechushtan Jazz Quartet, which will present their Klezmer-Jazz Project. Program details have not yet been announced. Nechushtan will lead his group from the piano. The other five concerts will also take place at 7:30 p.m. Specifics are as follows:
  • Saturday, March 7: Duo SF consists of guitarists Christopher Mallet and Robert Miller. They have prepared a program of impressive breadth. It will include arrangements of music from Manuel de Falla’s opera La vida breve (the brief life), tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and arrangements of four Beatles songs composed by Leo Brouwer.
  • Friday, March 13: This month’s Beethoven 2020 Project concert will feature organ scholar Oliver Brett. Ludwig van Beethoven wrote very little for the organ, but several of his teachers were organists. There seem to have been occasions when he assisted them in performance. For this concert, however, Brett will accompany hornist Dan Hivley in a performance of Beethoven’s Opus 17 horn sonata in F major. The remainder of the program will then be devoted to the organ repertoire.
  • Friday, March 20: Baritone John Smalley will present a program entitled Schoenberg and his Students. Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern all composed adventurous vocal music. However, Smalley’s program will also include less familiar Schoenberg students, such as Hans Eisler and Viktor Ullmann. He will be accompanied by pianist Janis Mercer.
  • Saturday, March 21: The next jazz offering will be a program entitled Women Compose Jazz!, performed by the Laura Klein Trio. Klein will lead from the piano with rhythm provided by Carla Kaufman on bass and Kelly Fasman on drums. The trio will play Klein’s own music, as well as the works of jazz icons such as Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams, Renee Rosnes, Alice Coltrane, and Joanne Brackeen.
  • Saturday, March 28: Ensemble LudeCanta is an ever-changing consortium of musicians committed to presenting new and rarely-performed chamber works. The Artistic Director is soprano C.A. Jordan. Nicholas Chase is the resident composer, performing on electronics when necessary. The other instrumentalists are Amy Likar, playing all sizes of flutes, cellist Lori Hennessy, and pianist Linli Wang. The group will present a program of music by American composers including Samuel Barber, Henry Cowell, and Ernest Bloch.
All performances will take place in the Sunset district at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, located at 1750 29th Avenue, about halfway between Moraga Street and Noriega Street. Ticket prices are $20 for general admission with a $15 rate for students and seniors. Because the demand tends to be high, advance purchase is highly advised. Tickets may be purchased online through Eventbrite. Each of the hyperlinks on the above dates leads to the event page for single ticket purchases. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-564-2324.

[added 2/29, 9:15 a.m.:

Friday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center: The next concert in the Pomeroy LIVE! series of programs will be a “Good ol’ fashioned bluegrass n boogie” program presented by banjo player Ted Kuster. When this program was first announced, the material said that Kuster would lead a combo, whose members would be announced at a later date. It turns out that this will be a rather generously populated group. The performers will include fiddlers Ron Esparza and Jody Richardson, mandolinist Jim Letchworth, guitarist Ian Epstein, bassist Hideaki Mizuno, and Steve Owen on resonator guitar. This population promises as broad approach to repertoire.

The Pomeroy Center is located in the Outer Sunset (about as “outer” as you can get). The street address is 207 Skyline Boulevard; but the entrance is on Herbst Road (which is the first possible right turn after Skyline branches off of Sloat Boulevard). Admission is free for all those with disabilities. Tickets for others are $10. Those who pay $60 to purchase a Cafe Table for four will benefit from one drink (presumably one for each of the four people at the table) and a “bowl of crunchy snacks.” Tickets may be purchased online through a certified secure Web page maintained by giv.]

[added 3/4, 6:10 p.m.:

Friday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM): The SFCM Alumni Artist Insights Series will present a concert by Nomad Session, the octet consisting of four wind and four brass instruments, respectively. Six of the eight members of the ensemble are SFCM alumni. Oboist Laura Reynolds is an alumna from the class of ’91, and the other five are from either the class of ’14 or the class of ’15. Their program will survey the diversity of repertoire that the group has cultivated since its inception. The composer to be represented on the program will be Edvard Grieg, Percey Grainger, Rager Zare, and Marc Mellits. The performance will take place in the Sol Joseph Recital Hall. There will be no charge for admission, but reservations will be required using the hyperlink in this sentence.]

Friday, March 6, 8 p.m., and Saturday, March 7, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., ODC Theater: The Living Earth Show (TLES) and ODC will co-present T.L.E.S.tival a two-day festival. Those that have followed this site regularly probably know that TLES is the highly imaginative and creative duo of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson. This two day event will celebrate the duo’s tenth anniversary with two separate programs (and two performances of the Saturday program).

The Friday program will present Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman, a ten-movement song cycle composed by M. Lamar working with TLES. The texts are drawn from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s The Phenomenology Spirit, which includes a section entitled “Lordship and Bondage” dealing with the master-slave dialectic, and the “Prophecy” of the Übermensch (superman) from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The libretto also includes texts by Sun Ra taken from both interviews and his own writings on discipline and freedom.

The Saturday program will also present a single composition, the one-hour spoken-word chamber opera “Echoes,” composed by Danny Clay. This piece was created for San Francisco Performance, which presented the premiere performance on October 7, 2017. The libretto for this performance was curated by Tassiana Willis, one of the inaugural Emerging Arts Fellows at Youth Speaks, whose texts were combined with those of four other poet-performers, Gabriel Cortez, A. M. Smiley, Aimee Suzara, and Michael Wayne Turner III. The libretto also included texts by Tongo Eisen-Martin and Enrique Garcia Naranjo; and one of the poems was delivered by Sean San José, who directed the entire performance. Clay’s score was performed by both TLES and the Kronos Quartet of violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist Sunny Yang, along with field recordings that Clay collected.

Tickets for the two performances are being sold separately. However, ticket sales are being managed by ODC, meaning that all tickets can be collected into a Shopping Cart and given a single payment. Tickets may be purchased through the event pages for the two programs on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Ticket prices for Friday will be $19, $29, and $39; and those for Saturday will be $19, $29, $39, and $49.

Friday, March 6, 8 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: On March 17 the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will embark on its final tour of New York and Europe with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT). As in the past, there will be two “preview programs” of the music to be performed on that tour. The first of these will be given only one performance and will consist only of the performance of Gustav Mahler’s sixth symphony. Peter Grunberg will be giving the Inside Music talk beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets for this concert are almost sold out. As of this writing, tickets are only available in the Terraces and 2nd Tier for $185. Tickets may be purchased online through an event page on the SFS Web site. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 415-864-6000 or by visiting the Davies Box Office, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and two hours prior to Sunday performances.

The second program will feature cellist Gautier Capuçon. He will tour with SFS to perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s Opus 126 (second) cello concerto. The “overture” for the program will be MTT’s “Street Song,” composed for the brass section. The program will conclude with Igor Stravinsky’s score for the ballet “The Firebird.”

This program will be given three performances, all at 8 p.m. on March 12, March 13, and March 14. As can be seen from the hyperlinks, each performance now has its own event page; but they all point to the same Web page for choosing tickets to purchase. Tickets are available at all prices (from $35 to $175); and tickets can also be purchased at the Box Office. The Inside Music talk will be given by Elizabeth Seitz, again beginning at 7 p.m.

Friday, March 6, 8 p.m., War Memorial Opera House: Across the street from Davies, the San Francisco Ballet will be presenting the first of its two full-evening programs of major works by choreographer George Balanchine. The first of these is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set to music by Felix Mendelssohn. Over a 35 years after his death, Balanchine remains one of the most musically-informed of choreographers. His biographer Bernard Taper even noted that Balanchine will prepare to teach a new ballet by first writing his own solo piano version of the music he would be setting.

In addition to the opening, there will be nine additional performances. These will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, Sunday, March 8, Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, and Saturday, March 14, and at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, Wednesday, March 11, and Thursday, March 12. The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue, on the northwest corner of Grove Street. The home page for this production has hyperlinks for online purchase of tickets. Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Box Office can also be reached by calling 415-865-2000.

[updated 3/6, 8:05 a.m.: This event has been cancelled, because, as of this writing, all flights out of Milan have been cancelled; those either holding tickets are planning to attend can call the Omni Foundation at 415-242-4500 for further information.

Saturday, March 7, 7:30 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The next Dynamite Guitars program presented by the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts will present the duo of guitarist Giampaolo Bandini performing with Cesare Chiacchiaretta on bandoneon. Program details have not been released, but it is easy to assume that they will focus on Argentinian music, probably with a preference for tangos. St. Mark’s is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Ticket prices will be $55 for Orchestra level seating, and $45 for the Balcony. Seating will be general admission in both sections. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a City Box Office event page.]

Saturday, March 7, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: At the same time as Omni, San Francisco Performances (SFP) will present the next concert in its Guitar Series. This will feature the return of Bill Kanengiser, who performed in Herbst with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet this past November. On this occasion he will perform with the Alexander String Quartet. The title of the program will be British Invasion; and it will feature the United States premiere of Prism, arrangements of six songs by Sting prepared by Dušan Bogdanović. The “pop” spirit of the program will continue with Brouwer’s arrangements of seven Beatles songs, after which the group will play “Labyrinth,” composed by Ian Krouse and based on a theme by Led Zeppelin. Earlier British music will be represented by Krouse’s “Music in Four Sharps,” based on John Dowland’s “Frog” galliard. Kanengiser will also give solo performances of several of Dowland’s songs.

Herbst Theatre is located on the first two floors of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, convenient to public transportation on both Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. Ticket prices will be $60 for premium seating on the Orchestra level and in the front of the Dress Circle, $50 for the Boxes, the remainder of the Orchestra, and the remainder of the center Dress Circle, and $45 for the Balcony and the remainder of the Dress Circle. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a SFP event page.

Saturday, March 7, 7:30 p.m., Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church: Readers may recall my report on the Prism Percussion duo of Divesh Karamchandani and Elizabeth Hall when they performed at the McRoskey Mattress Company this past November. Their first recital of the new year will be given in the Seventh Avenue Performances recital series. The program will feature “Transit,” composed by Nicholas Pavkovic for vibraphone, marimba, and keyboard. They will also revisit Kyle Hovatter’s settings of four poems by Terry Severhill, given a memorable account at their McRoskey recital.

The Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church is located at 1329 Seventh Avenue, about half a block south of the stop for the Muni N trolley line. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for students and seniors. Tickets are available in advance online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.

Sunday, March 8, 2 p.m., Legion of Honor: Pocket Opera will begin its 43rd year of presenting grand opera on an intimate scale to Bay Area audiences. The first performance in San Francisco will present Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by Jane Erwin. The case will feature Anders Froehlich in the leading role and Sara LeMesh as Zerlina. Adler Fellow César Cañón will conduct.

This performance will take place in the Gunn Theater. The Legion of Honor is located in Lincoln Park at 100 34th Avenue. Single tickets are being sold in advance for $55 and for $60 at the door. Senior rates are $48 in advance and $54 at the door. There is also a special $25 rate for those aged 30 and under, but these are most easily purchased by called 415-972-8934. Because this is the beginning of the season, subscriptions are still being sold. A Web page has been created for online purchase of both subscriptions and single tickets, providing all relevant information.

Sunday, March 8, 2 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: The next visiting program to be hosted by SFS will be the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble. This group brings together Israeli and Palestinian musicians playing side-by-side. They are currently led by violinist Michael Barenboim. The program will feature the octet “Jawb” by Benjamin Attahir, composed on commission by the Ensemble. The program will also feature Felix Mendelssohn’s octet, as well as compositions by Franz Schubert and Giuseppe Tartini. Tickets are being sold for prices between $29 and $89. They may be purchased online through the event page for this concert or directly through the Box Office.

Sunday, March 8, 4 p.m., Congregation Sha’ar Zahav: Once again San Francisco Choral Artists (SFCA), led by Artistic Director Magen Solomon, will collaborate with the klezmer trio Veretski Pass. The title of the program will be Stomping Feet: Song and Dance in the Jewish Tradition. The selections will combine the classical repertoire with the folk roots of Jewish music.

Congregation Sha’ar Zahav is located at 290 Dolores Street, on the southeast corner of 16th Street. Ticket prices will be $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors, and $12.50 for those under 30. Prices at the door will be $35 for general admission, $29 for seniors, and $15 for those under 30. All tickets are being sold online through a Web page on the SFCA Web site.

Sunday, March 8, 7 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) will present is 2020 Commissions Concert. The title of the program will be Mothers & Daughters. It will present world premiere performances of music by Elinor Armer, David Garner, and Brennan Stokes. The program will also include compositions by Anna Clyne, William Grant Still, and Chen Yi. The E4TT trio of soprano Nanette McGuinness, cellist Anne Lerner, and pianist Dale Tsang will be joined by guest artists Laura Reynolds on cor anglais and Ilana Blumberg on violin.

The Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez Street. Tickets will be $30 for general admission, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students. Tickets at all price levels are currently available for sale online through an Eventbrite event page.

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