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Tickets are now on sale for the SFP ‘gift concert’ debut of violinist Ray Chen

Violinist Ray Chen
Violinist Ray Chen
courtesy of San Francisco Performances

Every year San Francisco Performances (SFP) presents a concert that is not yet announced at the beginning of the season. This is the annual “Gift Concert for Subscribers,” so named because subscribers and donors who request tickets receive them free of charge. After those tickets have been claimed, the remaining tickets are sold to the general public.

These concerts often turn out to be “preview” events, presenting a talented young musician who will return on a subsequent subscription series. Thus, the Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova made her Bay Area debut in the SFP gift concert in April of 2012; and, exactly a week ago, she returned to SFP to give the second concert in the Virtuosi Series. This year the gift concert will again present the Bay Area debut of another promising young violinist. His name is Ray Chen, and his accomplishments include winning the 2008 Yehudi Menuhin Competition and the 2009 Queen Elizabeth Competition. His accompanist for this debut recital will be pianist Julio Elizalde.

Chen has prepared a program that will combine the disciplined classicism of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven with the nineteenth-century virtuoso stylings of Pablo de Sarasate. The program will be framed by two sonatas, beginning with Mozart’s K. 305 in A major and concluding with Beethoven’s Opus 47 (“Kreutzer”), also in A major. Between these selections Chen will take on the technical demands of three Sarasate pieces, the habanera, which is the second of his Opus 21 set of Spanish dances, the Andalucian playera, which is the fifth piece in his Opus 23 collection, and the Opus 20 “Zigeunerweisen” (Gypsy airs), which is probably Sarasate’s best-known composition.

Chen’s debut recital will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 10, at the SFJAZZ Center (201 Franklin Street, on the northwest corner of Fell Street). Tickets are now on sale for the general public at $40. All seating will be general admission. Further information may be obtained from SFP at 415-398-6449. Tickets may also be purchased through the Web page for this event.