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The February-to-March weekend offers many options

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The end of this month will bring another weekend of hard choices for serious concert-goers. Bearing in mind that last-minute announcements are likely to pile up as we get closer to the actual date (as they did for this current weekend), I would like to try to take stock of the options as they currently stand for the benefit of those who like (or need) to plan their activities in advance. Here, then, is a “first pass” of those alternatives likely to be of interest.

The young French pianist Lise de la Salle made her San Francisco Performances (SFP) debut in 2009. She will return as the third artist in this season’s SFP Shenson Piano Series at the end of this month (meaning that three of the four concerts in this Series will have taken place in February). She has prepared a program that neatly balances a German first half of Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann with a French second half of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.

This concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 28, in the Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station). Tickets are priced at $38 and $68. These may be purchased through the event page for the recital on the SFP Web site. SFP may be reached at 415-398-6449 for further information.

That same evening the California Bach Society will be giving its next season concert. The title of the program is German Cantatas circa 1700, and the composers that will be represented will be Phillip Heinrich Erlebach, Nicolas Bruhns, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Johann Pachelbel, Johann Kuhnau, and Johann Schelle. These will all be cantatas that predate the beginning of Johann Sebastian Bach’s tenure in Leipzig in 1723, and it is worth nothing that Bach became aware of Pachelbel through his early music studies with his older brother Johann Christoph.

This concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 28. The performance will take place in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Tickets are $30 with discounts for advance purchase, seniors, students and those under 30. They may be purchased in advance through the Tickets & Subscriptions page of the California Bach Society Web site. Further information is available by calling 650-485-1097.

On the other side of town San Francisco State University (SFSU) will be presenting the next free concert in its Morrison Artists Series. The performers will be the members of the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. They will present Michael Hasel’s arrangement of a fantasia that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed for a mechanical organ, as well as original compositions by Carl Nielsen, Darius Milhaud, and Kalevi Aho.

This concert will also begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 28. However, the Artistic Director of this concert series, Richard Festinger, will give a pre-concert talk beginning at 7 p.m. The performance will take place in the McKenna Theater in the SFSU Creative Arts Building, and Festinger’s talk will be given in the same building. Both events are free and open to the general public. Tickets may be reserved in advance through an Online Box Office site maintained by Vendini. Because they are free, advance reservation is highly advisable. Finally, the ensemble will also present a master class at noon on February 28. No tickets are required for this event.

The options for Saturday are fewer but more diverse. On the classical side, Sanford Dole has prepared a program of three compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for his Bay Choral Guild (BCG). In chronological order these will be the “Regina Coeli” (K. 276), the “Coronation” setting of the Mass text (K. 317), and the K. 339 Solemn Vespers. The chorus will be joined by the Jubilate Orchestra of period instruments and guest soloists Ann Moss (soprano), Janet Campbell (mezzo), Corey Head (tenor), and Jeff Fields (bass).

The San Francisco performance of this program will be presented at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, located at 500 De Haro Street at the foot of Potrero Hill. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 1. General admission will be $25 with a $20 rate for seniors and $5 for students. BCG has a Tickets Web page for advance purchase on their Web site.

For those who prefer jazz, pianist and composer Amina Figarova is currently on a thirteen-city tour of the United States and Canada with her sextet. That tour will take her to the Joe Henderson Lab of the SFJAZZ Center for four performances over the course of two days. The performances on Saturday, March 1, will be at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; and those on Sunday, March 2, will be at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The SFJAZZ Center is located at 201 Franklin Street, on the northwest corner of Fell Street. There are separate hyperlinks for purchasing tickets for the March 1 and March 2 dates.

The major event on Sunday, however, will be the fifth annual Hot Air Festival. This is a free marathon of new music that will run from 12:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event will take place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is entirely student-run. Fortunately, there is now a Web page providing an hour-by-hour timetable of the performances that have been scheduled. Those who read my account of the alliance between the International Low Brass Trio and the Guerilla Composers Guild will be happy to know that the alliance is continuing and will occupy the 1 p.m. slot. Other contributing ensembles will include the Friction Quartet, the Mobius Trio, and the Phonochrome Collective.

That same Sunday is also the date for the next San Francisco performance organized by the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS). The performing ensemble for this concert will be Quicksilver, consisting of Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijeski on violin, Greg Ingles on trombone, David Morris on gamba and cello, Avid Stein on harpsichord and organ, Dominic Teresi on dulcian, and Charles Weaver on theorbo and Baroque guitar. The title of their program is The Early Moderns. It will feature “extravagant and inventive new music” by seventeenth-century composers in Italy and Germany.

The San Francisco performance of this concert will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 2. The performance will take place in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Tickets are $35 with a $32 rate for seniors and $30 for SFEMS members. They may be purchased in advance through a Web page on the SFEMS Web site. They may also be purchased by calling 510-528-1725 between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday.

Finally, that evening will present the first of two concerts by the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic during its two-day visit to Davies Symphony Hall. As in past visits, the ensemble will be conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. The soloist will be pianist Denis Kozhukhin, who will be performing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Opus 23 piano concerto in B-flat minor (his first). The orchestral selections will be Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s suite from his The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and “…al Ninente” by Giya Kancheli.

This concert will take place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, in Davies Symphony Hall. Ticket prices range from $55 to $116. They may be purchased through the event page on the San Francisco Symphony Web site or by calling the Box Office at 415-864-6000.

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