Late last month the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) announced that it would continue its inspired partnership with Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg for a seventh season. That season will consist of a subscription series of four concerts, each to be given in Berkeley, Palo Alto, and San Rafael, as well as San Francisco. There will again be a Featured Composer, this time Derek Bermel, whose composition commissioned by NCCO will be played at the final concert of the season, while the first program of the season will “introduce” him by presenting three of his past works. In addition, NCCO will have a guest leader for its third season concert, Glenn Dicterow, retiring Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. Dates and venues for the San Francisco performances, all of which will take place on Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., will be as follows:
September 13, San Francisco Conservatory of Music: This is the program that will “introduce” Bermel with three of his compositions. These will be “A Short History of the Universe,” scored for string quartet and clarinet, “Oct Up,” for two string quartets and percussion, and “Silvioudades,” a duet for clarinet and violin. Bermel will play clarinet in “A Short History of the Universe;” and he will play with Salerno-Sonnenberg in “Silvioudades.” The program will begin with a repeat performance of the suite of music that Rodion Shchedrin adapted from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen for the ballet version of this story, created in 1967 to showcase Maya Plisetskaya, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet, and scored only for strings and percussion. This will be followed by a performance of the version of Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” scored for solo violin, string orchestra, and percussion.
December 20, Nourse Auditorium: The guest artists for this concert of music for the Holiday season will be the members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus. They will perform a cappella selections by Ralph Vaughan Williams and César Cui. Accompanied by NCCO they will sing Christmas anthems by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and John Rutter; and Clarice Assad has prepared an arrangement of the chorus “For unto us a child is born” from George Frideric Handel’s HWV 56 oratorio Messiah. NCCO will begin the program with instrumental compositions by Handel, Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
March 7, Nourse Auditorium: Dicterow will be guest leader for this concert, whose program will include works by Mozart, Edvard Grieg, Gustav Holst, and Johannes Brahms.
May 30, San Francisco Conservatory of Music: This concert will feature a performance of Bermel’s new composition, commissioned by NCCO in collaboration with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra of Houston and Boston’s A Far Cry. The second half of the program will present Gustav Mahler’s arrangement for string orchestra of Franz Schubert’s D. 810 (“Death and the Maiden”) string quartet in D minor. The program will begin with Igor Stravinsky’s suite of music from the score he composed for the ballet “Pulcinella.”
NCCO subscriptions are now on sale. Full subscription packages range from $104 to $220; three-concert subscription packages are also available, which range from $78 to $165. Subscriptions may be purchased online from a special page set up on the NCCO Web site. Single tickets range in price from $29 to $61 and go on sale August 1 through the City Box Office Web site or at 415-392-4400. Discounted single tickets will be available for patrons under 35. Further information is available by calling 415-357-1111, extension 4.
Finally, as in the past, each concert will be preceded by a rehearsal open to the public. All four rehearsals will begin at 10 a.m. at the Kanbar Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni Station on Market Street. The specific dates are:
- September 10
- December 17
- March 4
- May 27
There is no subscription for these rehearsals. Admission is only by single tickets. Those tickets will also be sold for $8 by City Box Office beginning on August 1.