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The end of March will require making choices

Diverse colors to celebrate a diversity of music offerings
Diverse colors to celebrate a diversity of music offerings
by Lynn Wilcox

The final weekend of March will be another one that will require serious listeners to make some hard choices as to how they will be spending their time. The good news is that two of the options will have two different performance dates. Nevertheless, the weekend will be a busy one; and I shall try to review those options in roughly chronological order.

Friday evening, March 28, will get under way at 6 p.m. with the next event in the Concerts with Conversation series at the Community Music Center (CMC). This will be one of the series’ jazz offerings, featuring trumpeter Sean Jones. Jones’ approach to jazz was inspired by the hard bop movement, and he singles out Miles Davis as one of his primary influences. CMC has not yet announced whether or not this will be a solo appearance.

This Concerts with Conversation event will be given on Friday, March 28. It will, as usual, last for about an hour, beginning at 6 p.m. in the CMC Capp Street Concert Hall at 544 Capp Street. It will be free to the general public; and, given that these events tend to fill the house, arriving early is advised. Further information may be found on the event page at the CMC Web site.

At the same time the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco (IOCSF) will be beginning the first of two performances of their latest program to be presented in San Francisco. Led by Artistic Director Zane Fiala and named after the color of the Golden Gate Bridge, IOCSF is an auditioned volunteer-based chamber choir whose repertoire has given particular attention to contemporary music, including newly commissioned works. The title of their next concert is Eternal Light, and it will feature the West Coast premiere of Missa Rigensis, a setting of the Mass text by Latvian composer Uģis Prauliņš and named for the city of Riga. The program will also include Arvo Pärt’s 1989 setting of the Magnificat canticle, “Song for Athene,” one of John Tavener’s compositions inspired by plainchant, and a setting of the communion antiphon for the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, “Lux Aeterna,” by Ivo Antognini.

This program will be given two performances in San Francisco, on Friday, March 28, at 6 p.m. and on Saturday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. The Friday performance will take place in the Solarium Public Space at 55 2nd Street in the Financial District, and the Saturday concert will be at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at 3281 16th Street in the Mission. Both performances are free, although donations are welcome.

That Friday will also be the date for the first of two concerts of the latest program prepared by the sixteen-voice Lacuna Arts Ensemble chamber chorus. Artistic Director Sven Edward Olbash has prepared a program entitled Music of the Italian Baroque. The principal work to be offered will be a setting of the Mass in four parts composed by Claudio Monteverdi in 1641. The program will also include motets and choruses by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Giacomo Carissimi, Giovanni Gabrieli, and Alessandro Scarlatti.

This program will also be given two performances in San Francisco. The Friday, March 28, performance will begin at 8 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, March 30. Tickets for both concerts are $40 for center seating and $30 for the remaining seats. These may be ordered from Eventbrite through an order form on the event page for this concert. There will be a $10 for orders placed by March 14 using the promotional code EARLYBIRD. Online sales will close on Thursday, March 27, after which any remaining tickets will be available for sale at the door.

The final Friday event will be an evening of chamber music featuring contralto Karen Clark in the Old First Concerts series. The major work on the program will be Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 21 Pierrot Lunaire. Performing musicians will include pianist Karen Rosenak, violinist Terrie Baune, clarinetist Rob Bailis, flutist Leslie Chin, and cellist Judyaba. The program will also include songs by Johannes Brahms and Alexander Zemlinsky, as well as Alban Berg’s Opus 5 set of four pieces for clarinet and piano.

Old First Concerts events take place in the Old First Church at 1751 Sacramento Street (on the southeast corner of Van Ness Avenue). This recital will be held on Friday, March 28, at 8 p.m. There will also be a pre-concert talk by Professor Emeritus Will Johnson beginning at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $17 with a special $14 rate seniors aged 65 and older and $5 for full-time students. These may be purchased through the event page on the Old First Concerts Web site. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-474-1608.

On Saturday, March 29, the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) will do their part to celebrate the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten in what is the ensemble’s 35th anniversary season. They will present a staged performance of Britten’s Opus 59, his musical setting of the text of the Chester Miracle Play Noye’s Fludde. The staging will be by Ariel Craft and will feature original art, costumes, and set pieces created by members of Creativity Explored. Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theatre, will be the guest artist providing The Voice of God. The leading soloists will be bass-baritone Joe Chappel as Noah and mezzo Silvie Jensen as his wife.

This concert will be given only one performance on Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m. The venue will be Congregation Emanu-El, located at 2 Lake Street, just south of the Arguello Gate into the Presidio of San Francisco. General admission is $30 with an $18 rate for students. There is also a 10% discount for groups of ten or more. Tickets may be ordered online through a City Box Office event page.

This performance is also part of the 35th Anniversary Season Benefit Gala for SFGC. Gala events being held in conjunction with the performance include a dinner and a live auction. Individual tickets for the benefit start at $300. They may be purchased by getting in touch with Cathy Lewis either through electronic mail or by calling 415-863-1752, extension 306.

In addition, CMC Guitar Faculty member Zac Selissen will be giving a concert at CMC with Jacob Niles and Michèle Walther, both composers of original music for the program. This will be an eclectic evening blending classical, jazz, folk, and rock styles. It will also be a free event in the Capp Street Concert Hall, beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 29.

Finally, the Sunday afternoon event in the Old First Concerts series will be the annual Junior Bach Festival. This has been a popular California tradition since 1953. The non-profit Junior Bach Festival Association was created to support young people’s explorations of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The accomplished students who will perform at this concert have been selected through an audition process, and the program will feature a variety of solo and ensemble works.

This event will also take place in the Old First Church at 1751 Sacramento Street on March 30, at 4 p.m. General admission is $17 with a special $14 rate seniors aged 65 and older and $5 for full-time students. These may be purchased through the event page on the Old First Concerts Web site. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-474-1608.

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