Usually, it is not until April that I have to start worrying about collecting multiple previews in a single article. This seems to be the fairest way to deal with the “truth universally acknowledged” (this being the centennial year of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) that no one can be in two places at once. Thus, if there is a busy weekend ahead, it is best provide all of the options as a group, allowing each reader to make the most appropriate choices according to personal taste.
Such a weekend will actually get an early start on a Thursday this month. The Kronos Quartet will return to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) for two performances of a concert entitled Listen Local. The entire program will focus on the work of four composers all based in San Francisco: Pamela Z, Nathaniel Stookey, Dan Becker, and Stephen Prutsman. The first two of these composers will be represented by world premieres: “And the Movement of the Tongue” by Pamela Z and Stookey’s third quartet, subtitled “The Mezzanine.” Becker’s “Carrying the Past” will receive its West Coast premiere. The remainder of the program will feature Prutsman’s arrangements of four “world music” additions to the Kronos repertoire.
This program will be given two performances, both at 8 p.m., on Thursday, February 21, and Friday, February 22, in the Lam Research Theater at YBCA (700 Howard Street). The Thursday performance will be preceded by a conversation with all four participating composers moderated by Sara Cahill. This will run from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will be free for all with tickets to that night’s concert. Tickets purchased at the door are available for $30 or $35 for general admission, with a $5 discount for students, seniors, and teachers, a $10 discount for YBCA members, and free for those with a YBCA:You pass for the month. There is also a $5 discount for general admission, students, seniors, and teachers if tickets are purchased in advance through the event page on the YBCA Web site or by calling the Box Office at 415-978-2787.
Those who opt for the Thursday evening concert will then be free to attend the inaugural concert of the 2013 (second) Tangents Guitar Series. As I announced last year, this is a concert series that aims at showcasing the diversity and depth of the contemporary guitar repertoire, directed by guitarists Giacomo Fiore and Steve Lin. I also announced last week that Fiore and Lin are using crowdsourcing to fund this new season; and, according to their IndieGoGo Web page, they are now over one-third of the way to achieving their $1500 goal by the end of the day on February 23. The 2013 inaugural concert will feature One Great City, the duo of guitarists Alexandra Iranfar (who also sings) and Timothy Sherren (who prepares many of the arrangements). The pair only made their concert debut this past November, but they have gotten off to a delightful start. Their new program will feature world premieres by Renaud Cote-Giguere and Benjamin Dameron.
This recital will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 22. As the was case for last season’s concerts, the performance will be given in the Chapel for the Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco at 1187 Franklin Street, at the southwest corner of Geary Street. Tickets are $15 with a $10 rate for students with ID. General admission tickets may be purchased in advance through the event page on the Brown Paper Tickets Web site.
February 22 is also the date for the next San Francisco performance by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO). Conductor Benjamin Simon has entitled this concert Dance Suite, which refers to the orchestral suites that will begin and end the program, Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1067 suite in B minor and Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg” suite in its arrangement for string orchestra. Two soloists will also be featured. Guitarist Ben Pila will perform the world premiere of a guitar concerto by Michael Gilbertson, written on an SFCO commission; and Concertmaster Robin Sharp will perform “Voyage” for solo violin and string orchestra by John Corigliano (who happens to be Gilbertson’s mentor).
The San Francisco performance of this program will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 22, in Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Avenue). As usual, Simon will give a short talk to introduce the works to be performed, and this begins 30 minutes prior to the start of the concert. Also as usual, admission is free.
That same evening Bach’s music may also be heard courtesy of the California Bach Society. Magen Solomon will serve as guest conductor for a program entitled Die Familie Bach. As that title implies, the selections will provide a major tour of Johann Sebastian’s relatives. This will include not only three of his sons (Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Christoph Friedrich) but also his father’s cousins (Johann Christoph and Johann Michael), his great-grandfather’s son (Johannes, known as the head of the “Erfurt line”), and his great-grandfather’s brother (Johann Ludwig, known as the “Meininger Bach”). Each half of the program will have a subtitle, “Fear & Death,” followed by “Joy & Life;” and the featured work, which will conclude the first half, will be the double-choir motet “Fürchte dich nicht” (BWV 228).
This concert will also take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 22. The venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (1111 O’Farrell Street, just off the southwest corner of Franklin Street). Tickets are $30 at the door with discounts for advance purchase. The California Bach Society has a Web page for online purchase and may be reached by telephone at 650-485-1097. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the performance.
On Sunday, February 24, Noe Valley Chamber Music (NVCM) will continue their season with a boundary-breaking concert. The title is Alone, Duets and Didjeridu: The Acoustic Works of Nils Bultmann. Based in San Francisco, Bultmann is a violist and improviser, as well as a composer. He has performed with the New World Symphony and recorded and toured with jazz saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell. The didgeridoo in the title will be played by Stephen Kent, and violist Charlton Lee of the Del Sol String Quartet will also perform.
Like all NVCM concerts, this program will begin at 4 p.m. In addition the artists will engage with the audience in a Musical Conversations event at 3:15 p.m. The venue will again be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Tickets are available for advance purchase through an event page for Brown Paper Tickets for $24.28 (including the service fee) for general admission at $18 for seniors and students.
Finally, another free concert will take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 24. This will be a solo recital by the thirteen-year-old pianist Victor Lin. Bach will also figure in the ambitious program that Lin has prepared. He will begin with the prelude and fugue in C-sharp minor from the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier (BWV 849). This will be followed by both of Frédéric Chopin’s published sets of twelve études, Opus 10 and Opus 25. The venue will be Sherman Clay Pianos, where Lin gave his first solo recital at the age of ten on November 21, 2009. Sherman Clay is located at 647 Mission Street. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-543-1888.