Next month the San Francisco International Piano Festival
will present its fourth annual season. In the past
founder and Artistic Director Jeffrey LaDeur has presented performances at a variety of venues throughout the Bay Area, and this site has focused on the concerts presented within the San Francisco city limits. Under the current extraordinary circumstances, this year’s Festival will be presented in a variety of virtual formats, combining retrospective highlights alongside commissioned programs. The title of the Festival will be “A Season of Reflection;” and all of the virtual presentations will be presented without any charge. The schedule for these events is as follows:
Thursday, August 20, 7:30 p.m., A Call to Reflection:
As was the case when the Festival was first launched, the opening program will be a Schubertiade. The program will be presented in collaboration with LIEDER ALIVE!
and will feature LIEDER ALIVE! Artist-in-Residence mezzo Kindra Scharich, accompanied at the piano by LaDeur (who performs regularly at LIEDER ALIVE! recitals). The program will be devoted entirely to the music of Franz Schubert, and Scharich will perform six of his most familiar songs. In addition LaDeur will give a solo performance of the D. 894 piano sonata in G major (whose recording by Peter Serkin was discussed at the beginning of this week
Friday, August 21, 7:30 p.m., Music of the Future: In Conversation with Albert Kim: Kim has been a favorite with Festival audiences. When he is not performing, he is a passionate educator and thinker who is sensitive to the constantly shifting landscape of performance, scholarship, and classical music at large. The program will revisit selections from the 2019 Festival, beginning with Kim’s performance of “Une barque sur l’océan” (a boat on the ocean) the third of the five movements of Maurice Ravel’s Miroirs (mirrors) suite. There will also be performances by the Fervida Trio with pianist Karina Tseng joining violinist Sean Mori and cellist Angeline Kiang. They will play Pierre Jalbert’s first trio, given the title “Life Cycle” and the Presto Finale of the first, in the key of E-flat major) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 1 collection of three piano trios. Between the performances Kim and LaDeur will discuss the exploration of tradition and innovation, the formats through which we share and receive music, illusions of the classical music industry, and the extraordinary young musicians that are leading the way forward.
Saturday, August 22, 7:30 p.m., Mysteria: This program will revisit another 2019 Festival performance. This was a candlelight concert presented by soprano Kayleen Sánchez, pianist Paul Sánchez and violinist Eka Gogichashvili in partnership with Old First Concerts (O1C). The program will consist of three compositions by David M. Gordon, whose approaches to instrumentation involve three pianos, singing glasses, autoharp, finger symbols, harmonica, and more.
Sunday, August 23, 7:30 p.m., Ode to Joy: This will revisit the 2019 Festival performance of Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Beethoven’s Opus 125 (ninth) symphony in D minor. Scharich will return as mezzo soloist, joined by soprano Heidi Moss Erickson, tenor Michael Jankosky, and bass Kirk Eichelberger. The instrumental score will be performed entirely by pianist Bobby Mitchell.
Monday, August 24, 7:30 p.m., Night Music: This program will present new performances by pianist Eunmi Ko, who made her Festival debut in 2017. The program will begin with David Liptak’s “Star Light,” composed in 2009. This will be followed by Frédéric Chopin’s very first nocturne, the first (in the key of B-flat minor) of the three in the Opus 9 collection. Then, somewhat in the spirit of the synthesis of thesis and antithesis, Ko will play “Nocturne after Stella Starlight,” composed for her by John Liberatore. Her program will then conclude with the “Carambola” movement from Tyler Kline’s Orchard suite.
Tuesday, August 25, 7:30 p.m., Nicholas Phillips Presents #45 Miniatures Project: A Musical Protest: This program will be the result of a “Call for Scores” post to Facebook. Composers were welcome to use anything related to our 45th President (tweets, speeches, etc.) as source material to create a miniature, or small collection of miniatures, for solo piano. This will be the premiere performance of the results of that project.
Wednesday, August 26, 7:30 p.m., Concert Confidential: This program will revisit an evening of anecdotes, musical encounters, and mishaps, originally presented by LaDeur at the 2018 Festival. The musical selections will be drawn from different periods of music history. The earliest of these will be “Les Barricades Mystérieuses” (the mysterious barricades), the fifth piece, in the key of B-flat major, in the sixth ordre in the collection of harpsichord compositions by François Couperin. This will be followed by the first of Chopin’s four ballades, Opus 23 in G minor. The next selection will be “La fille aux cheveux de lin” (the girl with the flaxen hair), the eighth piece in Claude Debussy’s first book of twelve piano preludes. The musical selections will then conclude with William Bolcom’s, “The Graceful Ghost Rag.”
Thursday, August 27, 7:30 p.m., Frederic Rzewski: Songs of Insurrection: This program will revisit the 2019 Festival at which Mitchell presented the United States premiere of Songs of Insurrection, which Rzewski completed in 2016.
Friday, August 28, 8 p.m., Beethoven 250 - Live!: This will be the 2020 installation of the Festival’s partnership with O1C. The program will present three selections of Beethoven’s chamber music featuring pianists Gwendolyn Mok, Allegra Chapman, and Sarah Yuan. Stephen Harrison will be accompanied by Mok in a performance of the second of the Opus 5 cello sonatas in the key of G minor. Chapman will then join violinist Eunseo Oh for the third of the Opus 30 violin sonatas in G major. Finally, Yuan will join four members of the Nomad Session wind and brass octet, oboist Jesse Barrett, clarinetist Jonathan Szin, bassoonist Kristopher King, and hornist Stephanie Stroud, to conclude the program with the Opus 16 quintet in E-flat major.
Saturday, August 29, 7:30 p.m., Dialogue Interrupted: The “interruption” refers to the fact that Johann Sebastian Bach died before completing one of the fugues he was composing for his BWV 1080 collection The Art of Fugue. That music will be represented by the performance that Owen Zhou gave during the 2018 Festival. That performance will be complemented by another “live” Phillips offering showcasing the music of Florence Price. He will perform her grand and virtuosic piano sonata, complemented with a selection of her miniatures for solo piano.
Sunday, August 30, 2 p.m., Reflection in Nature: The Festival Finale will explore human experience as reflected in nature. The first half of the program will feature solo performances by LaDeur. George Walker’s third piano sonata, revised in 1996, will be flanked by two major nineteenth-century compositions, the first, in the key of F minor, of the four D. 935 impromptus by Schubert, and Chopin’s Opus 54 Scherzo in E major. Following the intermission, Scharich will return to sing Ravel’s Histoires naturelles (natural histories) song cycle, accompanied by LaDeur. Finally, LaDeur will join the wind players that performed Beethoven’s Opus 16 to conclude the program with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 452 quintet for piano and winds in E-flat major.
The Festival Web site has not yet provided the necessary hyperlinks for these concerts; readers are advised to consult the concert calendar page
prior to those concerts they wish to experience.