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Avedis Chamber Music Series celebrates its 29th season

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Avedis means “good news” in Armenian. It is also the middle name of the late Bay Area pianist Robert Avedis Hagopian. In 1985 flutist Alexandra Hawley initiated the Avedis Chamber Music Series as a tribute to Hagopian’s memory and as a platform for presenting chamber music composed for the flute. Next month the Avedis Chamber Music Series will begin its 29th season. This will consist of four concerts at the Legion of Honor, all taking place at 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.

The specific dates and themes for each of these concerts will be as follows:

  1. January 19: The featured performers will be the members of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet. Hawley will be joined by James Matheson on oboe, Mark Brandenburg on clarinet, Lawrence Ragent on horn, and Rufus Olivier on bassoon. The program will also feature sextets by Gordon Jacob and Leo Smit, for which the quintet will be joined by pianist Paul Hersh.
  2. February 16: The title of this concert will be Bach and Sons. The major work will be Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 211 “Coffee” cantata, which will feature baritone Jeffrey Fields as Schlendrian (whose name means “stick in the mud”), soprano Shawnette Sulker as his coffee-loving daughter, and tenor Michael Dailey as the narrator. Instrumental accompaniment will be provided by the San Francisco Conservatory String Ensemble. The remainder of the program will feature sonatas by Bach and two of his sons, Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Christoph Friedrich. Hersh and violinist Roy Malan will join Hawley as instrumental soloists.
  3. March 16: The featured guest artist will be guitarist David Tanenbaum. The principal work will be Franz Schubert’s D. 96. This is often called his “guitar quartet;” but it is actually an arrangement for flute, viola, guitar, and cello of a nocturne by the Bohemian composer Wenzel Thomas Matiegka, scored for flute, viola, and guitar. Tanenbaum will be joined by Hawley, Hersh on viola, and Stephen Harrison on cello.
  4. April 20: The program will present four pieces for flute, each involving a different combination of instruments. Hawley will perform with a string quartet consisting of Malan, Hersh, and Harrison, as well as Susan Freier as the second violin. In addition, harpist Emily Laurance will join Hawley and Malan for a composition by Jacques Ibert.

All performances will take place in the Florence Gould Theater of the Legion of Honor, located in Lincoln Park, just north of where 34th Avenue meets Clement Street. There is a free parking lot on the grounds. Tickets are $23 for general admission and $16 for seniors and students. However, there are two options for %15 discounts for tickets ordered by December 31. The full series will cost $77 for general admission and $54 for seniors and students; and there is also a three-concert option at $58 for general admission and $40 for seniors and students. Tickets may be purchased over the phone by calling 415-392-4400. In addition, City Box Office has a single Web page from which all options may be purchased online. The only option not covered by City Box Office is a special group rate, according to which the group leader receives a free ticket with the purchase of ten or more tickets. Group tickets are handled through the separate telephone number 415-346-7805.

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