It is not often that I get to use the epithet “GRAMMY award winner” for a visitor to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). However, that is precisely the case for violist Kim Kashkashian, responsible for what I declared to be “the most pleasant surprise of all the GRAMMY awards” presented this past February. That it should go to an album of unaccompanied viola was remarkable enough; that it should go to performances of György Kurtág and György Ligeti was like a bolt from the blue. Still bathing in the glory of this accolade, Kashkashian will take up a one-week residency at SFCM as the final visiting artist in this season’s Chamber Music Masters series.
As is always the case, Kashkashian’s residency will include two public events. The first of these will be a Master Class to be held on Tuesday evening. This will then be followed on Thursday by a full concert featuring both SFCM students and faculty. Kashkashian will perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s Opus 147 viola sonata, his final composition. She will also take the first viola part in a performance of the first of Johannes Brahms’ two string sextets, his Opus 18 in B-flat major. Composed in 1860, this was his first piece of chamber music that did not involve the piano.
The Master Class will be held in the SFCM Recital Hall, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19. Again as always, admission will be free. For the Chamber Music Masters concert, which will be held in the Concert Hall, tickets will be required at $20, with the usual special $15 rate for students, seniors, and Friends of the Conservatory. Tickets may be purchased online at a Click4Tix event page set up by SFCM or by calling or visiting the Box Office at 415-503-6275. (The Box Office is located in the SFCM lobby at 50 Oak Street; and its hours are 10 AM–4 PM, Monday through Friday.)