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SFCM to host fourth annual San Francisco-Shanghai Chamber Music Festival

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This is the year of the fourth annual San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival. This event brings together administrators, faculty, and students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) and the Shanghai Conservatory Music for a week of intensive master classes, rehearsals, and coaching sessions. This then culminates in a pair of public concerts featuring performances by both faculty and students.

Last year the Festival took place in Shanghai, so 2014 is a year in which SFCM will play host, meaning that San Francisco listeners will be the beneficiaries of the public concerts. The Festival will begin on March 10; and the public concerts, which conclude the Festival, will take place on March 13 and March 14. Both concerts will feature world premieres reflecting the work of both San Francisco and Shanghai faculty and students.

The world premieres for the first concert will be a string quartet by SFCM composer David Garner and a string trio by Shanghai student Minzuo Lu. Garner’s quartet will be performed by the Han Quartet, consisting of Shanghai faculty members: Weimin Zheng and Shuting Wu on violin, Nian Liu on viola, and Dandi Wang on cello. Lu’s trio will be formed by SFCM students Douglas Kwan on violin, Yiwen Zhang on viola, and Natalie Raney on cello. The opening selection will be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 478 piano quartet in G minor, performed by students from both San Francisco and Shanghai. The program will conclude with SFCM faculty members Wei He on violin, Bonnie Hampton on cello, and Paul Hersh on piano performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ghost” trio, the first of his two Opus 70 trios.

The second concert will also feature world premieres of a string quartet and a string trio. In this case the quartet will be by Guohui Ye, Dean of the Shanghai Conservatory Composition Department. It will be performed by SFCM faculty members, violinists Bettina Mussumeli and Wei He and violist Jodi Levitz, who will be joined by student cellist Patricia Ryan. The trio will be by SFCM student Kenji Oh (who will be graduating this year). It will be performed by Shanghai students Yang Zhang on violin, Yucheng Shi on viola, and Menglu Li on cello. The program will begin with Johannes Brahms’ Opus 67 string quartet in B-flat major performed, again, by the Han quartet. The “grand finale” will be Felix Mendelssohn’s Opus 20 octet in E-flat major with half of the parts being taken by representatives of each conservatory. Thus, on the SFCM side the violin parts will be performed by faculty member Ian Swensen and alumnus Joseph Maile, Levitz will play viola, and Jean-Michel Fonteneau will play cello. They will be complemented with a final appearance by the members of the Han Quartet.

Both of these concerts will begin at 8 p.m. in the SFCM Concert Hall, taking place on Thursday, March 13, and Friday, March 14, respectively. Tickets cost $20 for general admission and $15 for students, seniors, and Friends of the Conservatory. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 415-503-6275. (The Box Office is located in the lobby of the SFCM building at 50 Oak Street; and its regular hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday through Friday.)

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