Next month the Pacifica Quartet (violinists Simin Ganatra and Sibbi Bernhardsson, violist Masumi Per Rostad, and cellist Brandon Vamos) will return to San Francisco Performances (SFP) to give the second concert in the SFP Chamber Series. They have prepared a program that will focus on two major piano quintets; so, for this occasion, they will be joined by pianist Marc-André Hamelin. This will be the fourth time SFP has presented the Pacifica Quartet and Hamelin’s ninth appearance under SFP auspices.
The more familiar quintet will be Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 81 in A major. This will be paired by the much more rarely performed quintet composed by Leo Ornstein in 1927. Born in Russia in 1893, Ornstein was a child prodigy, studying composition with Alexander Glazunov at the Moscow Conservatory at the age of ten. His family emigrated to the United States in 1906 to escape the anti-Semitic pogroms. As Ornstein matured, he was drawn to the American avant-gardists as both a composer and a pianist. That influence emerges in his quintet through his use of dissonance and complex rhythms.
Prior to being joined by Hamelin, the Pacifica Quartet will begin their program with a performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Opus 108 in F-sharp minor, the seventh of his fifteen quartets, composed in 1960 after he had survived the death of Joseph Stalin but was still kept on a tight leash by Soviet authorities.
This concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, November 11, at the SFJAZZ Center (201 Franklin Street on the northwest corner of Fell Street). Single tickets are available for $38, $55, and $68. These may be purchased through the event page for the recital on the SFP Web site. SFP may be reached at 415-392-2545 for further information.