Friday, October 20, 2017

Center for New Music: November 2017

Next month will get off to a busy start at the Center for New Music (C4NM); but things will probably start to quiet down around the middle of the month due to preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday. So it probably makes sense to account for the month in its entirety, although readers will note the “density” change after November 19. C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, half a block north of the Golden Gate Theater, which is where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. Not all of the events listed below will have the same price of admission, so that information will be provided with the description of each particular show. However, all tickets may be purchased in advance through a Vendini event page. Hyperlinks to the appropriate Web pages will be attached to each of the dates in the following summary:

Wednesday, November 1, 7 p.m.: This will be an evening of original compositions by three pianists, all of whom will be playing their own works. The pianists are Steven Cravis, Doug Hammer, and Philip Wesley. The music involves a blend of new age, classical, and jazz. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members.

Thursday, November 2, 7:30 p.m.: Julia Ogrydziak is curating a program entitled Poland Meets World. The Cracow Duo, whose members are cellist Jan Kalinowski and pianist Marek Szlezer, will be visiting San Francisco; and C4NM will host their recital program, which includes works by Polish and international composers. Each selection will be by a different composer. The composers to be performed during the first half of the program will be Tomasz Jakub Opalka (“The Glitch”), Arvo Pärt (“Spiegel im Spiegel”), Andrej Panufnik (“Dreamscape”), and Witold Lutosławski (“Grave, Metamorphoses”). The composers whose works will follow the intermission will be Jakub Polaczyk (“Act for T.K.”), David Rodriguez de la Pena (“Desplegar”), Marcel Chyrzyński (“Farewell”), and Wojciech Widłak (“All my angers”). General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members, students, and seniors.

Friday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.: Adam Marks will curate a benefit concert for the American Civil Liberties Union. The concert will be a solo piano recital by Russian-American Liza Stepanova. The title of the program will be Immigrant Voices. Stepanova is, herself, an immigrant; and she will be playing music by composers currently based in the United States but coming from countries around the world. “Tahiri, the Pure,” by Iranian composer Badie Khaleghian, will be given its world premiere; and, “The Way North,” by Venezuelan-American Reinaldo Moya will receive its first performance on the West Coast. Stepanova will also perform pieces by Lera Auerbach, Anna Clyne, Chaya Czernowin, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kamran Ince, Eun Young Lee, and Pablo Ortiz. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members.

Saturday, November 4, 7 p.m.: This will be “movie night” with a program entitled Light Moves Like Sound Waves. Two films by Lynne Sachs will be screened, both of which are products of her five-year collaborative relationship with sound artist Stephen Vitello, who provided the soundtracks. Vitello will also present selections of his recent compositions. This event will be free to SF Cinematheque members. General admission for all others will be $10.

Sunday, November 5, 7 p.m.: Jim Santi Owen will curate a program entitled Mexcla Music – Music for String, Percussion, and Breath Instruments of Europe, India, and Mesoamerica. Elements of different forms of indigenous music will be combined with the Western classical tradition, resulting in a contemporary language for musical expression. The performers, Jxel Rajchenberg and Christopher Garcia, will play on a prodigious variety of instruments. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members.

Monday, November 6, 8 p.m.: This will be the first anniversary of the election of Donald Trump to the position of President of the United States. To mark the occasion Phillip Greenlief and his colleagues will give a performance of THE STATES UNITED. This is one of Greenlief’s map scores, created for any ensemble or group of performers from diverse disciplines. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members.

Wednesday, November 8, 8 p.m.: The latest installment of the permutations series will bring together two string chamber groups. andPlay is the duo of violinist Maya Bennardo and violist Hannah Levinson, both of whom are based in New York City. Their set will be followed by the “transnational” trio, consisting of violinist Myra Hinrichs (Chicago), violist Carrie Frey (New York City), and cellist Helen Newby (San Francisco). General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members.

Saturday, November 11, 8 p.m.: This will be the second part of Emma Logan’s Alone/Not Alone series. Flutist Jessie Nucho will join pianist Anne Rainwater for a program of music for flute, piano, and electronics by living women composers. Contributing composers will be Alex Temple, Mei-Fang Lin, Elaine Lillois, and Anne LaBerge. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members and students.

Sunday, November 12, 7 p.m.: Kurt Rohde will curate a double bill of one-act operas hosted by Opera on the Spot. The first selection, “The Italian Lesson,” was composed by Lee Hoiby, taking a comedic monologue by Ruth Draper has his point of departure. This will be followed by a much older comic opera, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s “La Serva Padrona.” General admission will be $20 with a $15 rate for C4NM members.

Tuesday, November 14, 7 p.m.: Katarina Countiss is a multimedia artist who has been working with the phenomena arising from ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). She will present a 90-minute performance with live sounds inspired by graphic scores, live drawing, projection art, audience participation, and ASMR. After the performance concludes at 8:30 p.m., there will be a post-performance hang out at which the artist will compare experiences with those members of the audience who choose to participate. General admission will be $10 with a $5 rate for C4NM members.

Thursday, November 16, 8 p.m.: This will be a program of new works by graduate composers from the University of California at Berkeley. Contributing composers will be Andrew Harlan, Clara Olivares, James Stone, and Jon Yu. Their music will be performed by the Sound Icon ensemble, which will also play Helmut Lachenmann’s “Trio Fluido.” General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members, students, and the underemployed.

Friday, November 17, 7 p.m.: Searching for Serotonin will be a cello and electronics program by an (as yet) unnamed cellist. The performance was conceived to evoke the sorts of anxieties that emerge from our relationships with advanced technology. General admission will be $10 with a $5 rate for C4NM members.

Saturday, November 18, 7:30 p.m.: This will be a release show for Brett Carson’s latest album, Mysterious Descent. This is a recording of a mythodramatic song cycle in twelve movements. The presentation of Mysterious Descent will be preceded by an opening set taken by guitarist Jakob Pek. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members.

Sunday, November 19, 8 p.m.: Readers may recall the Jellyphones that Dennis Aman provided for the performance of Jelly Choruses, the final selection on the program entitled The Voice and The Machine, which was performed at C4NM last Saturday. Next month Aman will join forces with writer and sound artist Martin Azevedo (who was the librettist for Jelly Choruses). The title of the November program will be Disassembling The Clocks. Aman will perform on custom-designed instrument to explore a family history of inventions, devotions, confinements, and escapes. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members.

Roman and Urbański Bring Compelling Dvořák to Davies

Last night visiting conductor Krzysztof Urbański returned to the podium of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in Davies Symphony Hall for the first performance of the second program he had prepared for his visit. The entire first half of the program was devoted to Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 104 cello concerto in B minor. The concert had been planned for the SFS debut of Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta, but her newborn baby was unexpectedly not able to travel with her. She was replaced by Joshua Roman, who had just performed last week as a recitalist for San Francisco Performances and had made his SFS debut in February of 2010 under the baton of Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt.

Roman’s repertoire is impressively diverse and eclectic. He played Joseph Haydn (the Hoboken VIIb/1 concerto in C major) with Blomstedt, while last week’s program involved all living composers (one acting as an arranger) with Roman as one of those composers. For all of that breadth of tastes, Dvořák’s Opus 104 probably marked the closest Roman has come to playing an unabashed warhorse in San Francisco. The music positively gushes with sentiment, but its emotional intensity never crowds out the consummate skill behind the concerto’s structure.

Indeed, it is only when one gets away from the recordings and experiences the immediacy of a concert performance that one can begin to recognize many of the subtleties the composer has engaged. As a lover of chamber music, I have particular affection for the duo work that couples the concerto soloist with the concertmaster (Jeremy Constant). This is music in the final movement that soars even higher than the solo cadenza passage for the Adagio ma non troppo (second) movement. On the orchestral side Urbański stationed two trumpeters in the uppermost tier for the “farewell fanfare” that emerges near the concerto’s conclusion.

As was the case with his first program, Urbański conducted the concerto without a score. Not only the soloist but also every member of the ensemble had his full attention for every single measure of this piece. His approach to rhetoric enabled even the first-time listener to appreciate just how extensive was the emotional palette upon which Dvořák drew to shape each of the composition’s three movements. At the same time, those who can no longer count the number of times they have listened to this concerto could appreciate the in-the-moment freshness that was so firmly under the command of both conductor and soloist. It is hard to imagine a past occasion when Dvořák was better served.

As might be expected, Roman returned to play an encore. He dedicated it to all of the victims of the many fires in the northern counties. His intention was to summon up a more meditative spirit in the wake of Dvořák at his most impassioned. He achieved his goal through a movingly expressive account of the Sarabande movement from Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1007 solo cello suite in G major. Bach may have written this music for pedagogical purposes, but last night it was there to help heal many wounded souls. Roman knew exactly how to let the music speak for itself, which is just what the occasion required.

However, the first half of the evening proved to be a tough act for the second half to follow. Urbański followed the intermission with a vigorous account of the overture Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed for his K. 620 opera The Magic Flute. While his attentiveness to detail was as keen as it had been for the Dvořák concerto, he was a bit too blustering for what amounts to a light-hearted fairy-tale cooked up for suburban entertainment. Nevertheless, one could still appreciate the wit behind the music, which made for a refreshing contrast.

More problematic was the major work on the second half, the three-movement composition that Witold Lutosławski called “Concerto for Orchestra.” The title was clearly inspired by Béla Bartók, as was the composer’s intention to give voice to the full diversity of instruments found in the symphony orchestra. However, while Bartók had designed five well-crafted structural frameworks, each of which situated those instruments in different contexts, Lutosławski’s structures came across as somewhat arbitrary; and, in the last of the piece’s three movements, they were downright lumbering. Those more familiar with the folk sources upon which the composer drew for his thematic material may have found it easier to orient themselves. However, even when working with similar folk sources, Bartók always knew how to keep his rhetoric in the concert hall. In disappointing contrast, last night’s performance suggested that thoughts of convincing rhetoric did not occupy much of Lutosławski’s attention.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

San Francisco Conservatory of Music: November 2017

It is with a certain amount of relief that I find myself ready to start presenting heads-up articles about activities in November. Checking my records, I see that I am doing so only a few days later than I did last month. As I did at that time, I shall begin by summarizing some of the key events taking place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). All of them will be free, but some will require reservations. The SFCM building is located at 50 Oak Street, between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni Station. Readers are encouraged to consult the Performance Calendar Web page at the SFCM Web site for the most up-to-date information about any of these offerings. Here is a chronological listing of events likely to be of interest to serious and attentive listeners:

Wednesday, November 1, 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall: This will be the first of three Faculty Artist Series recitals to be offered in the month of November. The soloist will be Dimitri Murrath, who is the new Co-Chair of the String and Piano Chamber Music program. He will be accompanied by pianist Hyeyeon Park. His one solo selection will be the passacaglia in G minor that concludes the Rosary Sonatas collection by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. Both of the sonatas for viola and piano will come from that transitional period from the end of the nineteenth century into the beginning of the twentieth. Murrath will begin with the F minor sonata by Joannes Brahms, the first of his two Opus 120 sonatas, which were originally composed for clarinet and piano. He will then conclude with the sonata that Rebecca Clarke composed in 1919. Murrath prepared this program to celebrate his new album release, and a reception will follow the performance. Reservations will be required, which may be made online through a Google Forms Web page.

Saturday, November 4, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 5, 2 p.m., Concert Hall: Eric Dudley, Conductor of the Conservatory Orchestra, has prepared a program entitled New Music for Chamber Orchestra. However, the sense of “novelty” has multiple connotations and reaches back almost 100 years. The oldest work on the program is a set of four pieces that Ernest Bloch called “episodes;” and, completed in 1926. This set was one of his first compositions after he assumed the directorship of SFCM in 1925. Similarly “Common Tones in Simple Time” was composed by John Adams in 1979 during the time when he was teaching at SFCM. The remaining work on the program will be Julia Wolfe’s “The Vermeer Room,”, which was composed in 1989 and given its first performance by the San Francisco Symphony.

Tuesday, November 7, 7:30 p.m., Concert Hall: SFCM will host a Community Concert organized by the Kronos Quartet in collaboration with both SFCM students and the San Francisco Unified School District. The program will draw heavily upon the results of Kronos’ Under 30 Project, a major commissioning and residency program to provide a platform for composers under the age of 30. Performances will be not only by Kronos but also by the Lowell Quartet, the SOTA Chamber Orchestra, the Lowell Orchestra, and a full orchestra in which Kronos members will perform with both SFUSD students and SFCM students. Reservations will be required, which may be made online through a Google Forms Web page.

Saturday, November 11, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 12, 2 p.m., Concert Hall: Corey Jamason, Chair of Historical Keyboards and Co-Director of the Baroque Ensemble, will bring his Theatre Comique group, which he co-directs with Eric Davis, to SFCM, where they will perform with members of the SFCM Orchestra. Readers may recall that Theatre Comique will be presenting a program of music from the time of the California Gold Rush as part of the all-day symposium on October 28, organized by San Francisco Opera in preparation for the premiere of Adams’ latest opera, Girls of the Golden West. The SFCM program will present both orchestral and vocal music by Victor Herbert and Jerome Kern, including selections from Kern’s Very Good Eddie, which will be performed in its entirety the following weekend. Soprano Erica Schuller, mezzo Katherine Growdon, and tenor Brian Thorsett will join forces with SFCM voice students. Reservations will be required, and there are separate Google Forms Web pages for the Saturday and Sunday performances.

Saturday, November 18, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 19, 4 p.m., Recital Hall: Michael Mohammed, Director of the Musical Theatre Workshop, will present a staging of Very Good Eddie in its entirety, working with Music Director Lauren Mayer.

Sunday, November 19, 2 p.m., Recital Hall: The second Faculty Artist Series recital of the month will be performed by violist Jonathan Vinocour. Program details have not yet been announced. Reservations will be required and may be made through a Google Forms Web page.

Thursday, November 30, 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall: The final Faculty Artist Series concert of the month will be presented by pianist Jon Nakamatsu. Clarinetist Jon Manasse will be Nakamatsu’s special guest. Program details have not yet been announced. Reservations will be required and may be made through a Google Forms Web page.

Adam Shulman Launches SFP’s 2017–18 Salon Season

courtesy of San Francisco Performances

According to my archives, last night was my third encounter with jazz pianist Adam Shulman (pictured above) at the Hotel Rex presenting a one-hour Salon series recital for San Francisco Performances (SFP). At my first encounter, which was in April of 2014, he led a trio with John Wiitala on bass and Smith Dobson on drums to wind up that season’s Salon programming. The following November Shulman returned to accompany trumpeter Sean Jones, who was giving his first performance in his new capacity as jazz Artist-in-Residence.

Last night Shulman returned to the Rex for another trio gig. Wiitala was again on bass, but this time the third member was Lyle Link playing alto saxophone and taking one tune on soprano saxophone. The program sheet described the event as “an evening of the Great American Songbook.” However, allowing for all of the impressive and extensive improvisation work, an hour was barely enough time for only six numbers; and half of them were by Shulman himself.

This was far from a problem. Shulman is as imaginative in coming up with tunes as he is in improvising on them, and the other trio members had no trouble working with his material. He also disclosed what I found to be a throughly engaging approach to invention.

Reader’s may recall my having written about Frank Tirro’s “silent theme” thesis, according to which many bebop “originals” were products of elaborate embellishments of older favorite tunes. (The best-known example is probably Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology,” whose “silent tune” is “How High the Moon.”) Listening to Shulman’s own pieces, it struck me that he, too, was drawing on older favorites. However, rather than “disguising” them with thick embellishment, he would simply pick up the incipit, tweak the tempo, and then point it in an entirely new direction. Thus, when listening to Link play the first statement of the tune for Shulman’s “Full Tilt,” one could almost think that he had started to play John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and then decided to play something else. The wide descending intervals were still there, but they bounced around to a more eccentric beat and almost immediately staked out new territory.

Another possible source was even more surprising. Shulman wrote “Katy” for his girlfriend (or so he said). This left me wondering if she was a dancer, because, in this case, the incipit seemed to come from the “Flowers” waltz music that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed for the second act of the ballet The Nutcracker. Needless to say, any resemblance to Tchaikovsky was held off at football-field length; but the incipit spoke for itself as Shulman guided it off into another field.

Link took out his soprano saxophone for “The Peacocks,” a piece by Jimmy Rowles that was first recorded by Stan Getz on an album of the same name. Link clearly had his own approach to conveying bird-like connotations, although those who really know their Maurice Ravel scores will probably always find it hard to shake the haunting quality of the bird’s call that must be summoned up by a soprano vocalist. Rowles took the “middle ground” of the three “songbook” composers, much younger than Cole Porter and slightly older than George Shearing. Shulman opened with a Porter rarity, “Dream Dancing;” and it is always fun to encounter an unfamiliar piece by a familiar composer.

At the other end the program concluded with Shearing’s “Conception.” This was also the title of the Prestige album that Miles Davis released after having recorded Birth of the Cool. Shearing’s piece was one of the tracks. Shulman’s decision to close with it reminded jazz lovers of just how broad Shearing had been in the music he created and how amenable his tunes have been to adventurous interpretations by others.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Last Weekend in October will be Another Busy One

Yesterday it was observed that making choices for the final weekend of this month will actually begin on the preceding Thursday. Indeed, that article even noted the first two options for both Friday and Saturday, those being the weekend performances by the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of visiting conductor Osmo Vänskä. However, those concerts will have a lot of competition, as will be seen from the following:

Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO) will launch its Main Stage concert series for its 64th season with a program entitled Strings Attached. The entire program will be devoted to the SFCO string section conducted by Music Director Ben Simon. Concertmaster Robin Sharp will be the featured soloist in a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1042 violin concerto in E major, and the second half of the program will be devoted to Béla Bartók’s three-movement divertimento for strings. The program will open with Franz Schubert’s D. 703 in C minor. Generally known as the “Quartettsatz,” this is a single Allegro assai movement that demands both intense energy and meticulous precision from a string quartet. Achieving the same result from a string ensemble will be quite a challenge, but Simon seems to rise to the occasions for such challenges.

Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. As is always the case, there is no admission charge for all SFCO Main Stage concerts. The doors will open at 6:45 p.m. for general admission on a first-come-first-served basis. Supporting members will receive priority seating and priority entrance at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: This will be a two-set evening. The first set will be presented by the vocal duo Kilbanes, both of whose members also play an instrument. Kate Kilbane plays electric bass along with Dan Moses’ piano work. They will be previewing the forthcoming release of a recording of their rock opera Weightless, which will be their way of paving the way for Halloween.

The second set will be a performance by the Vox Angelica Trio, whose members are Jodi Hitzhusen, Meena Malik, and Aristides Rivas. Hitzhusen and Malik are the vocalists, and Rivas accompanies on cello. In addition all three members play percussion instruments. Their repertoire combines the Western classical traditions with a wide diversity of folk music from different cultural sources.

The Red Poppy is located in the Mission at 2698 Folsom Street. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Because the Poppy is a small space, it is almost always a good idea to be there when the doors open. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25, and tickets will be sold only at the door.

Friday, October 27, 8 p.m., McKenna Theatre: The Morrison Artists Series, presented by the College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University (SFSU), will continue its 2017–2018 season with a concert by the Bay Area’s own Telegraph Quartet. The program will feature John Harbison’s sixth quartet, composed last year and co-commissioned by Telegraph. The second half will be devoted to Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 7, his first published string quartet written in 1905. The program will also include Hugo Wolf’s 1887 “Italian Serenade.”

The McKenna Theatre is in the Creative Arts Building at SFSU, a short walk from the SFSU Muni stop at the corner of 19th Avenue and Holloway Avenue. Tickets are free but advance registration is highly desirable. Reservations may be made through the event page for this concert. As usual, there will be a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., which will be a conversation between Harbison and Richard Festinger, Artistic Director of the concert series. Also as usual, the four members of the quartet will give a collective Master Class at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 20 (another event to take in consideration for this coming weekend). This two-hour session will take place in Knuth Hall, also in the Creative Arts Building, and will be open to the general public at no charge and with no requirements for tickets.

Friday, October 27, 8 p.m., Monument SF: Appropriate to the season, the One Found Sound chamber orchestra will open its fifth anniversary season with a program entitled Monster Masquerade. While SFCCO will be exploring the possibilities of the string section, One Found Sound will explore the “guises” afforded by a broader palette of instruments. Thus, the focus will be on the wind section (abetted by a bass) in a performance of Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 44 serenade. The program will conclude with Igor Stravinsky’s “Danses concertantes,” which was set to two different ballets by George Balanchine. The program will begin with the six-voice fugue from Bach’s BWV 1079, The Musical Offering, in an arrangement by Anton Webern, which experiments with assigning individual notes to different instruments.

Monument SF is located in SoMa at 140 Ninth Street. General admission will be $25 with a VIP rate of $45 for preferred seating. Tickets may be purchased through a window on the Concerts Web page of the One Found Sound Web site. This Web page also has a window for purchasing “Silver” tickets to all three concerts in the season. The remaining two concerts will also begin at 8 p.m. on December 8 and February 9, respectively. They will take place at Heron Arts, which is also in SoMa. Finally, those who follow this ensemble may wish to save the date for their annual gala, which will take place in the spring on April 27.

Saturday, October 28, 9 a.m., Taube Atrium Theater: Yes, you read the time correctly! San Francisco Opera (SFO) has organized a day-long multidisciplinary symposium by way of preparation for the world premiere of John Adams’ latest opera, Girls of the Golden West, which will take place on November 21. The event will be organized as three panel discussions and a vocal recital. The schedule for these four sessions will be as follows:
  1. 9:30–10:45, Girls of the Golden West, The Opera: SFO Dramaturg Kip Cranna will moderate a discussion with both Adams and Peter Sellars, who will direct the opera’s premiere performance and has also written the libretto.
  2. 11–12:15, Dame Shirley and Life during the California Gold Rush: One of Sellars’ primary sources is a collection of letters by Louise Clappe, whose husband was the doctor for one of the California mining camps during the Gold Rush. These letters were collected and published under the pen name “Dame Shirley.” The collection has been published at least three times, and their most recent editor, Marlene Smith-Baranzini will be on hand to discuss Clappe’s work. She will be joined by one of the chroniclers of Gold Rush history, Gary Kamiya. The discussion will again be moderated by Cranna.
  3. 1:30–3, Women, Culture and Politics in the Gold Fields: This discussion will explore the Gold Rush from a variety of perspectives, including the experiences of both women and immigrants; the discussants will be geographer and historian Mark McLaughlin, historian Christoper O’Sullivan, and writer Mary Volmer.
  4. 3:15–4, A Musical History of the Gold Rush: This will be a performance by Theatre Comique, whose co-directors are Corey Jamason and Eric Davis. Selections will be presented by tenor James Hogan and baritone Radames Gil. Jamason will accompany at the piano.
The Taube Atrium Theater is part of the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, which is located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. General admission will be $45 for the entire day. Tickets may be purchased in advance through an event page on the SFO Web site. Because the seating area is steeply raked, those who purchase tickets online have the ability to request wheelchair accessibility.

Saturday, October 28, 7:30 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: The Poppy will follow its “Halloween programming” with an evening recognizing the Day of the Dead. The program will be prepared by Bay Area rhythm all-star Javier Navarrette, who is calling the evening A Musical Tribute to the Ancestors. He will lead an all-percussion ensemble in an evening of personal songs and music originating from both Afro-Cuban and Afro-Mexicano traditions. The other members of the group are Sergio Duran, Jessie Webber, Alison Hammond, Monica Fimbrez, and Kevin Repp. Hammond will also dance, and Fimbrez plays string instruments. Everyone in the group will participate as a vocalist. Doors will again open at 7 p.m.; and early arrival is again encouraged. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20, and tickets will be sold only at the door.

Sunday, October 29, 2 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: This will be the opening concert in the 2017–18 Davies Symphony Hall Chamber Music series, which features performances by members of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and their colleagues. The most ambitious selection will be “Black Angels,” a string quartet by George Crumb that requires all performers to do much more than play their instruments. Those performers will be violinists Sarn Oliver and Yun Chu, violist David Gaudry, and cellist David Goldblatt. A more conventional approach to music for strings will be found during the second half of the program with Dvořák’s Opus 87 piano quartet in E-flat major. Pianist Sayaka Tanikawa will join violinist Dan Carlson, violist Matthew Young, and cellist Amos Yang. The program will begin with Albert Roussel’s Opus 6 divertimento, composed for piano (Britton Day) and wind quintet (Tim Day on flute, Russ deLuna on oboe, Luis Baez on clarinet, and Rob Weir on bassoon, and Robert Ward on horn).

All tickets for this concert will be sold for $40. Tickets may be purchased online through the event page for this program on the SFS Web site, by calling 415-864-6000, or by visiting the Box Office in Davies Symphony Hall, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will also open two hours before the performance begins. All six concerts in this series take place on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. For those wishing to save the dates in advance, the remaining five concerts will take place on February 4, February 25, April 18, May 6, and June 3.

Sunday, October 29, 4 p.m., de Young Museum: On Wednesday, October 25, Juilliard415, the period instrument ensemble whose members are in the Historical Performance graduate program at the Juilliard School, will perform at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Alice Tully Hall. Their conductor will be Nicholas McGegan; and, following that concert, he will bring those performers to San Francisco, where they will repeat the program in Koret Auditorium. The title of the program will be Le Monde Galant: Around the World in 80 Minutes; and it will feature music inspired by the cultures and peoples of France, Spain, Scotland, the Ottoman Empire, Persia, and China. The featured soloist will be Juilliard violinist Alana Youssefian playing the violin concerto by Antonio Vivaldi entitled “Il Grosso Mogul.” Other composers on the program will include Christoph Willibald Gluck, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Domenico Scarlatti.

The de Young Museum is located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park. All tickets will be $25. Ticket holders may arrive early to enjoy free access to the dynamic exhibit in Wilsey Court, the Café and Terrace with its sculpture garden, and the Hamon Observation Tower. These tickets may be purchased in advance through a Philharmonia Baroque event page. Those wishing to see more of the museum will be able to purchase tickets on site.

Sunday, October 29, 5 p.m., Mission Dolores Basilica: The title of Cappella SF’s fall concert will be Timeless: Music Through Ten Centuries. At one end of that spectrum will be the music of Hildegard of Bingen. At the other end will be a 2012 composition by Composer-in-Residence David Conte entitled “The Kingdom of God.” Conte composed this piece in memory of the school shootings that took place at Sandy Hook. For this performance Cappella SF will be joined by the members of the Young Women’s Choral Projects, whose Artistic and Executive Director is Susan McMane. The entire program will be conducted by Cappella SF Artistic Director Ragnar Bohlin.

Mission Dolores Basilica is located on the southwest corner of Dolores Street and 16th Street. For those planning to drive, free parking will be available in the schoolyard, whose entrance is off of Church Street. General admission will be $40 with an $20 rate for students with identification and all those aged fifteen and under. VIP seating will be available for $55. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an Eventbrite event page.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More Schubert Blasts from the Past

Those who follow this site regularly are probably well aware of my enthusiasm for the recent release on the Profil label of Franz Schubert’s music played by pianist Sviatoslav Richter between 1949 and 1964. That enthusiasm has been further stoked by yet another recording produced by Praga Classics, which will be released this coming Friday. This also involves a pianist from the past, Mieczysław Horszowski; but the performers that dominate the entire album are the members of the Budapest String Quartet. The earliest recording was made in 1934, and all other selections fit into the same time frame of the Richter collection. As is probably expected, this recording is currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com.

The Budapest String Quartet was formed in 1917, the product of four Hungarian musicians who had lost their jobs as a result of World War I. By 1934 through group had already experienced several personnel changes; and it consisted of first violinist Josef Roisman (previously second violinist), second violinist Alexander Schneider, violist István Ipolyi, and cellist Misha Schneider. The one piece recorded at that time (at the Abbey Road Studio in London) was Schubert’s D. 703 in C minor, a single Allegro assai movement known most frequently at the “Quartettsatz” (piece for quartet).

The heart of the two-CD album, however, consists of Schubert’s last three quartets taken from concert recordings made in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress at three concerts in May of 1953. By that time Jac Gorodetzky had become second violin, and Boris Kroyt was playing viola. These quartets were written between February of 1824 and June of 1826, meaning that none of them are “final year” compositions. Nevertheless there is no shortage of strikingly mature imagination in any of them. The most recent of the recordings is the one in which Horszowski participates. This is a 1962 studio recording of the D. 667 (“Trout”) quintet in A major, which also includes Julius Levine on bass.

There is no end to the delights offered up by these recordings. One could not ask for the Library of Congress performances to be more vivid. Yet that sense of urgent immediacy is just as present in the studio recordings. Furthermore, it is perfectly clear that Horszowski fit into the setting of playing with the Budapest as well as a hand fits into a well-tailored glove. D. 667 is at its most delightful in the many different combinations of exchanges that take place among all the players; and, on this recording, the attentive listener can savor every one of those exchanges. The vintage of these recordings may reach back into the better part of the last century; but there is no doubting the freshness that will draw that attentive listener into every well-shaped phrase in all five of the Schubert chamber music selections that have been recorded.

Rust was at Her Best in Her Duo with Edelmann

As was announced about a week ago, members of the San Francisco Munich Trio performed in this afternoon’s installment of the Noontime Concerts series (“San Francisco’s Musical Lunch Break”). Cellist Rebecca Rust performed a suite in G minor for cello and bassoon by Jean-Baptiste Loeillet, joined by bassoonist Friedrich Edelmann. The remainder of the program was then devoted by Edvard Grieg’s Opus 36 cello sonata in A minor, which Rust performed with pianist Laura Magnani.

Loeillet’s suite presented itself as an excellent example of the compatibility of low-register instruments at its best. From a technical point of view, Rust took the “melody” line, while Edelmann’s bassoon work provided the continuo. However, Loeillet’s techniques for blending these two lines gave the impression of an intimate conversation between equals; and both Rust and Edelmann could not have been more attentive to keeping that blend properly balanced. Thus, while each of the four dance movements was relatively brief, there was no denying that each one had its own characteristic approach to establishing musical impact.

Sadly, the attempt to perform the Grieg sonata was far more unfortunate. To be fair, Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the venue for Noontime Concerts, is not consistently amenable to the piano when it is performing with one or more other instruments. Looking back on the many chamber music concerts I have attended there, I would say that the number of duo performances that have floundered on acoustical grounds is about equal to the number that have succeeded.

I would conjecture that success is often due to a familiarity with the idiosyncrasies of both the space and the instrument. Thus, the simplest explanation is that Rust and Magnani never had enough time to work out how Rust could balance with the piano as effectively as she had with the bassoon. To be fair, however, Grieg himself may have been an issue.

After all, his “strong suit” was clearly the piano; and much of the sonata sounded as if he was revisiting thematic material from his first set of his “lyric” pieces (Opus 12) while trying out material for subsequent collections in that series. (The second set was published as Opus 38.) It was hard to resist the impression that the composer had not quite gotten his head around the conventions for sonata form, but it is unclear how much of that was his fault and how much resided with the performers not coming to terms with what Grieg did write.

Finally, there was a problem with “audience relations.” The performance of the entire sonata was punctuated by a trickle of audience exists, which, fortunately, tended to be restricted to the pauses between the movements of the Grieg sonata. Since this concert is a “lunch break,” there seems to be a consensus that things will be done by 1:15 p.m., allowing time for audience members to get back to work. Grieg may have not had very much to say, but he certainly took a lot of time to say it. The concert did not conclude until around 1:30 p.m. To be fair, however, today’s Mass was led by a priest who rarely “goes by the clock;” so things may well have gotten off to a late start. It is hard to plan a program that will satisfy the necessary constraints when the boundaries of those constraints may get moved with out any advance notice.

Choices for October 26, 2017

As we brace ourselves for the next upcoming busy weekend, it is necessary to note it will be preceded by the next busy weekday of choices on October 26. One of the alternatives has already been discussed, which is the return of Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä to the podium of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the SFS debut of violinist Baiba Skride, who will be performing Jean Sibelius’ Opus 47 violin concerto. The good news, for those worrying about conflicts, is that this performance will be at 2 p.m. in Davies Symphony Hall, while the other alternatives for the day will be in the evening. In addition the SFS program will also be performed at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 27, and Saturday, 28 (thus contributing to that forthcoming busy weekend). So those who have now braced themselves for the many choices arising this coming weekend can also start to prepare for choosing between two evening events the following Thursday, October 26, both of which will begin at 7:30 p.m.:

Herbst Theatre: The second program in the San Francisco Performances (SFP) Vocal Series will feature soprano Dawn Upshaw, accompanied at the piano by Gilbert Kalish. She will perform two relatively recent song cycles, both based on American songs of war, peace, hope, death, night, and the sea and one receiving its Bay Area premiere. The latter is Caroline Shaw’s Narrow Sea, which draws upon sources from colonial America, African-American spirituals, and others. Those who had an opportunity to listen to excepts from Shaw’s earlier collection By and By, performed at last week’s installment of PBO SESSIONS, will have had a taste of how she has approached such material in the past.

However, Narrow Sea was actually written as a response to Upshaw’s other selection, George Crumb’s Winds of Destiny, which is the fourth volume in his six-volume American Songbook series. Crumb scored all of the pieces in this collection for accompaniment by both piano and percussion quartet. Thus, for this performance, Upshaw and Kalish will be join by the four members of So Percussion, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting, and Eric Cha-Beach. This group will be making its SFP debut. The program will begin with Bryce Dessner’s 2013 “Music for Wood and Strings,” which was given its world premiere in Carnegie Hall by So Percussion.

The entrance to Herbst is the main entrance to the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, located on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. The venue is excellent for public transportation, since that corner has Muni bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel. Tickets prices are $65 for premium seating in the Orchestra and the front and center of the Dress Circle, $55 for the Side Boxes, the center rear of the Dress Circle, and the remainder of the Orchestra, and $40 for the remainder of the Dress Circle and the Balcony. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a City Box Office event page.

Red Poppy Art House: As fate would have it, a “completely different” approach to American songs will be taking place at exactly the same time in another part of town. The vocalist will be Iranian-American Adrienne Shamszad, who was born in Oakland. Shamszad accompanies herself on guitar and has a solid command of American sources in both folk and soul. She has also traveled extensively throughout Asia, India, and the Middle East; and her approach to traditional Persian songs, particularly those inspired by the mystic poets of Iran, is equally well-grounded. For this performance she will be accompanied by Schuyler Karr on bass and a percussionist, who has not yet been announced.

The Red Poppy is located in the Mission at 2698 Folsom Street. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Because the Poppy is a small space, it is almost always a good idea to be there when the doors open. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20, and tickets will be sold only at the door.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Bleeding Edge: 10/16/2017

Given that this is the week of the busiest weekend of the month (at least thus far), it stands to reason that most of the adventurous activities of this week have already been taken into account. That even goes for a generous number of gigs that will take place prior to that weekend, several of which are taking place on weekdays already singled out as being busy. As always, this article will begin with a list of those events already discussed, which will return to its usual format of chronological order:
October 16: Elliott Sharp at the Canessa Gallery
October 17: Sounding Limits at the Center for New Music (C4NM)
October 18: Skeleton Flower at the Red Poppy Art House (also October 19) and Gordon Grdina’s visit to C4NM
October 19: This week’s gig at the Luggage Store Gallery
October 20: The second concert of the month at Adobe Books
The rest of the weekend: San Francisco Contemporary Music Players begins season; the Bottesini Project at C4NM; Dohee Lee and Raphael Radna at the Poppy; the latest SIMM Series gig from Outsound Presents
With so many choices, it is likely that many will be relieved that there are only a few events to add as follows:

Tuesday, October 17, 8 p.m., El Rio: The latest adventurous programming at El Rio will involve a one-of-a-kind night of three sets of roving, ravishing, electric music. Each set will be a duo performance. EFFT consists of Sarah Palmer and Noah Phillips. Grex is the duo of Karl Evangelista and Rei Scampavia. Finally, For Now is the duo of Zeina Nasr and Alex Vittum.

El Rio is a bar, community space, and garden. The address is 3158 Mission Street near the southwest corner of Cesar Chavez Street. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $5 and $10. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, October 17, 8 p.m., The Hotel Utah Saloon: At exactly the same time in another part of town, a similarly adventurous program will be taking place at the Utah. This one will offer five sets performed by, respectively, The Golden Path, Silk Mother, Tainted Pussy, Brand New Heartache, and Wobbly. The Utah is located in SoMa at 500 Fourth Street on the corner of Bryant Street. Only those aged 21 or older will be admitted. Admission will be $10. There is a hyperlink for advance purchase through Ticketfly; but, as of this writing, it is not working.

Thursday, October 19, 6:45 p.m., Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM): The next concert to be given in conjunction with the current The 613 exhibition will be given by students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Selections will include Steve Reich’s “New York Counterpoint” and Philip Glass’ “Music in Similar Motion.” Other selections have not yet been announced.

The CJM is located in SoMa at 736 Mission Street, just north of Yerba Buena Gardens. The performance is expected to last about one hour. General admission will be $10, with a $5 rate for CJM members. Advance tickets will be required for seating. These may be purchased online through an Eventbrite event page.

Clarinetist Tom Rose Brings a New Trio to O1C

Local clarinetist Tom Rose has been giving chamber music recitals in San Francisco for as long as I have been writing about chamber music (and probably longer than that). He usually performs with pianist Miles Graber, and I have heard him give several trio recitals with a number of different cellists. His latest trio is called The Berkeley Trio; and the cellist is Krisanthy Desby, noted on this site as the founder for Strobe, which adds an oboe to the usual string quartet resources. (The group’s name is a mash-up of the nouns “strings” and “oboe.”) Yesterday afternoon The Berkeley Trio gave a recital in the Old First Concerts (O1C) series at Old First Presbyterian Church.

The program spanned from the late eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth, consisting of four compositions played in chronological order. The earliest of these was also one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s early chamber compositions, his Opus 11 trio in B-flat major, composed in 1797. Beethoven was probably thinking in terms of advancing his career, since the use of woodwinds in chamber music was still regarded as a novelty (probably known best thanks to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart); and, as a result, such music tended to draw audiences.

Like Mozart, Beethoven appreciated the wide range of expressiveness the clarinet could achieve through different registers. He also recognized that, through its sonorities, the instrument could be very assertive, a quality that could be put to use in the service of that exercise of wit that Beethoven had picked up from his teacher, Joseph Haydn. Opus 11 is thus a sunny piece, even in its middle Adagio movement; and that quality was clearly evident in yesterday’s performance.

Nevertheless, the modern clarinet has a tendency to assert itself far more strongly than its eighteenth-century ancestors. As was recently observed, the instruments frequency spectrum has “an edge sharp enough to cut through almost anything.” Fortunately, Rose knew how to keep his sonorities under control and blended excellently with Graber’s short-stick playing. On the other hand Desby does not yet seem to have summoned up sufficient moxie to meet these two players on their agreed-upon levels of dynamics. Given that some of Beethoven’s best writing in this trio was for the cello, the result was a disappointing account, even if it was clearly seeking out its own individual approach to Beethoven’s imaginative rhetoric.

Even so, the Beethoven performance emerged as the high point of the afternoon. His trio was followed by a D minor trio that composer Mikhail Glinka called “Trio Pathètique.” This was scored for clarinet, piano, and either bassoon or cello. The trio was composed in 1832 during the time Glinka spent at the Milan Conservatory studying composition. Milan, of course, is the home of La Scala; so it should be no surprise that Glinka was subjected to generous exposure to the operas of Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti. (To set some historical context, 1831 was the year in which Norma was premiered at La Scala.)

It would probably be unfair to call “Trio Pathètique” a “bel canto” trio; but the clarinet line does an impressive job of capturing vocal qualities. On the other hand it is clear that engaging tunes take priority over the sorts of thematic development that the listener had just encountered in music written when Beethoven was still at journeyman level. As a result the trio is in four relatively short movements, each of which does very little more than just state its themes and then move on to the next movement. The result is somewhat like an opera with all the mood and none of the narrative; but, considering the durations of most of those bel canto operas, Glinka’s brevity can definitely be taken as a virtue.

The intermission was followed by Paul Juon’s four-movement Trio Miniatures suite. Each movement is an arrangement of an earlier solo piano composition, three from the Opus 18 set and the last from the Opus 24 set. Juon scored the arrangements for piano trio but allowed for the replacement of the violin with a clarinet and the replacement of the cello with a viola.

If Glinka’s brevity tended to feel short-sighted, Juon’s was right on the money. His sources dated from the early twentieth century; but, because he had been born in Russia (albeit to Swiss parents), there was a uniqueness to his rhetoric that led Sergei Rachmaninoff to describe him as “the Russian Brahms.” Through yesterday’s performance the attentive listener could appreciate the traditions into which Juon had been born and his own efforts to find his own unique voice within those traditions.

More disappointing was the final selection, Robert Muczynski’s Opus 26 “Fantasy” trio. Each of the four movements was given a highly expressive tempo marking, but the music itself came off feeling as if it was doing little more than ambling. Muczynski was clearly trying to do far more than bring bel canto to chamber music, but his results never really rose to the level of his ambitions. However, if the conclusion of the program was disappointing, one could still leave with some satisfying memories of the efforts of at least two of the previous composers.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

SFGC Begins 2017–2018 Season This Month


In ten days time the 2017–2018 season of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) will get under way. That season will consist of four programs at different venues in San Francisco, along with a collaboration with Opera Parallèle for the three performances of their season-opening production of Rachel Portman’s two-act opera The Little Prince. Two of the programs have been designed to celebrate the 80th birthday of Philip Glass, which took place this past January 31; and the second of those programs will also be performed in Carnegie Hall. Since currently available information about The Little Prince has already been presented on this site, this article will focus on the content of the four remaining programs.

Wednesday, October 25, 7 p.m., Herbst Theatre: The title of the opening concert of the season will be Philip Glass and the Class of ’37; and guest artists will be members of the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE), Music Director and keyboardist Michael Riesman and wind player (flutes and saxophones) Andrew Sterman. The program will include selections from three of Glass’ theater pieces, Einstein on the Beach, The Photographer, and Hydrogen Jukebox, as well as the “Vessels” section from his score for the film Koyaanisqatsi. The remainder of the program will be devoted to the “class of ’37,” other composers born in the 37th year of their respective centuries. These will be Dietrich Buxtehude (1637), Michael Haydn (1737), and Mily Balakirev (1837).

Monday, December 18, 7 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: This will be SFGC’s annual contribution to the series of holiday-themed programs organized by the San Francisco Symphony. The program will include Christmas music from Mexico, Germany, and Ireland, seasonal music from India, Haiti, and Russia, Ladino songs, and the usual sing-along of traditional carols. The program will also include Gustav Holst’s setting of the Ave Maria prayer and Eric Banks’ cycle The Syrian Seasons.

Tuesday, February 20, 7:30 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: SFGC will join forces with PGE for a performance of one of Glass’ earliest pioneering compositions, Music with Changing Parts, which will be presented in conjunction with the Hear Now and Then Series being offered this season by San Francisco Performances (SFP).

Sunday, April 22, 4 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: The title of the program will be Strings Attached; and the strings will be provided by Colin Jacobsen, who will be playing both violin and ukulele. There will be a world premiere performance of the chamber version of Jacobsen’s “If I Were Not Me.” In addition Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa has programmed the “Opening: Forest” section from her television opera Vireo. Other composers on the program will include Theo Bleckmann, André Caplet, Gabriel Kahane, Carla Kihlstedt, Meredith Monk, and Aleksandra Vrebalov.

City Box Office has created a single event page for the sale of both subscriptions and single tickets. The subscription package covers all of the above dates except for the Music with Changing Parts concert, for which tickets will be handled by SFP. Single tickets range in price from $26 to $60 with a discounted rate of $18 for students. City Box Office computes the price of the subscription on the basis of seats selected for each of the three concerts in their respective venues. Those wishing further information may call 415-392-4400.

C4NM Plays with Music and Food

Last night the Center for New Music (C4NM) presented a program entitled The Voice and The Machine, jointly curated by soprano Amy Foote and composers Aaron Gervais and Dennis Aman. All five of the selections were vocal works composed by Laura Steenberge and Isaac Schankler, as well as Gervais and Aman. The vocalists were Foote, mezzo Melinda Becker, tenor David Katz, and bass Sidney Chen, as well as Helen Newby, who sang in one selection and played cello in two others. Gervais also contributed live electronics and conducted one of his own pieces.

The program’s title referred to how each of the pieces performed explored some aspect of how a lifeworld that has become so heavily dominated by technology encroaches upon primal aspects of humanity, such as personal expression through the voice. The world premiere selection on the program provided the most elaborate account of this dialectical opposition and managed to have an inordinate amount of fun in doing so. Aman’s Jelly Choruses is a collection of four four-part settings of poems by Martin Azevedo sung with an obbligato cello part. However, each vocalist is also required to play two Jellyphones, handmade instruments that Aman himself designed and built.

The Jellyphone may be the ne plus ultra instrument for musicians who like to play with their food. The instrument was inspired by an electronic memory game that required repeating longer and longer patterns by tapping on colored buttons on a single surface. As in the game, the buttons light up. However, each triggers a MIDI signal; and colors are provided by placing individual chunks of Jell-O on each button. The performer creates patterns of sound by slapping the different chunks, meaning that each vocalist is responsible for choreographing the patterns for playing two of these instruments through hands getting increasingly messy.

Azevedo’s texts offer a blithely witty account of the erosion of human qualities in an age of technology. Foote served as the protagonist in this account, while the other three vocalists and all eight of the Jellyphone’s emerged as some kind of primal oracle. As the one performer of a “human” instrument, Newby eventually left her post to wander among the vocalists while nibbling at the Jello-O pieces they had been slapping. Whether the protagonist recovered her humanity by the end of the cycle of choruses is left for the listener/viewer to decide. (I have now reached an age at which I associate Jell-O only with hospital procedures.)

Wit pervaded much of the other four selections on the program. It was probably most evident in Schankler’s “Mouthfeel,” a setting of a marketing pitch for Doritos Locos Tacos for tenor solo with the voice processed by electronics. Schankler’s setting alternated between the words themselves and their phonemic elements, the latter summoning up some of the musical qualities of Kurt Schwitter’s “Ursonate.” Similarly, his approach to repetition and permutation of a few key words recalled the poetry of Gertrude Stein.

If Schankler was actually working from a transcript, then his choice was a fortuitious one. It required him to set the couplet:
people knew this idea
was going to be huge
These days, it is almost impossible to hear the adjective “huge” without thinking of Donald Trump. Thus, what probably began as a study in the absurdity of marketing techniques took on a much sharper edge in the context of our immediate present.

Gervais conducted his four-voice setting of a poem by Guillaume de Machaut, “Longuement me suit tenus” (a long time have I held myself back). Curiously, Machaut had his own interests in permutation, evident in this case in his final stanza. However, here, again, Gervais was more occupied with phonemic elements with particular attention to the distinctive pronunciation of French in the fourteenth century. Through the echoing effects of his electronics, Gervais created a sonorous cloud in which the more distinctive shapes of words would come and go. Nevertheless, his overall score was guided by an understanding of the poem that determined how structure would be defined through moments of climax.

“Louis CK am Spinnrade” was Gervais’ weaker contribution to the program. This amounted to a mashup of a song text that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote for the first part of his Faust drama and a recording of a monologue by Louis C.K. about texting while driving. Individual Goethe lines were pulled out of context to fit the monologue and set as a duo for mezzo and cello. While both Becker and Newby rose to the demands of the score, one came away with the feeling that the piece did not have very much to say beyond the oddity of its juxtaposition of sources.

The most fascinating (and probably most serious) work on the program was the first piece, “Lucretius, my Lucretius.” Steenberge set six excerpts from De rerum natura (on the nature of things). This is probably the most forward-looking of the major ancient Roman texts, since it deals with concepts such as the atomic nature of matter, human consciousness, and even the idea of infinity. Indeed, one of the passages that Steenberge set could have been written by Douglas Adams:
With infinite matter available, infinite space, and infinite lack of interference things certainly ought to happen.
“Lucretius, my Lucretius” is an a cappella setting for three female voices. (This was when Newby performed as vocalist.) Steenberge’s score explores an elaborate rhetoric of coming together and coming apart among these three voices. To some extent her composition constitutes a “musical cosmology” that reflects upon Lucretius’ worldview, rather than simply relating it. The composition was not so much a confrontation with the opposition of machine and humanity as much as it was a setting of one of the earliest documents of the human mind at its most systematic (but far from mechanistic).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Left Edge Percussion will Visit C4NM

The final program to be presented at the Center for New Music (C4NM) this month will be Drumming at the Edge. The performers will be the members of Left Edge Percussion. This ensemble is led by Artistic Director Terry Longshore and currently has a residency at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University. The concert will be curated by Jim Santi Owen, who will join the group as a special guest.

The program to be performed is impressive for its historical and stylistic breadth. The past will be represented by both the third of John Cage’s “Construction” compositions and Steve Reich’s “Music for Pieces of Wood.” Much more recent will be “Green Yellow Green Red.” Scored for vibraphones and scratched records and accompanied by a video collage, this piece was composed by Nick Zammuto, who plays with the genre-defying band The Books. Longshore will perform Mark Applebaum’s “Aphasia,” which involves gestures and pre-recorded sounds. Longshore’s own composition will be “Kangaroopak Sardha,” to be played by a hand drum ensemble, which, on this occasion, will include Owen. Similarly, Eugene Novotney composed “Alone or Together” to be played by any number of drummers. Julia Wolfe’s “Dark Full Ride” will also be performed; and the program will conclude with Erik Griswold’s “Strings Attached” for six snare drummers attached to each other and a 10-foot pole in the center of stage by ropes, creating a kinetic sculpture akin to seeing sine-waves shooting from the performers’ sticks.

courtesy of the Center for New Music

This concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24. C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of the Golden Gate Theater, where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission for this concert will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members. Tickets may be purchased in advance through a Vendini event page.

JACK Quartet and Joshua Roman: Pleasures and Difficulties

Last night this season’s Shenson Chamber Series, presented by San Francisco Performances, got under way in Herbst Theatre with the combined forces of cellist Joshua Roman and the JACK Quartet, whose members are violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell. Over the course of the program, Otto and Wulliman shared responsibility for leadership. The entire program was thoroughly contemporary, albeit with one modernist reflection on the seventeenth century. All but one of the selections took advantage of the availability of two cellos.

Indeed, the high point of the evening probably came with John Zorn’s “Ouroboros,” composed for Campbell and scored for only two cellos. As its Wikipedia entry explains, the ouroboros is “an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.” It is easy to imagine such a symbol appealing to Zorn for both its historical roots and its uniqueness of structure. For over 30 years Zorn has worked with a diversity of genres, often involving repetitive structures. In addition, he frequently calls attention to his own short attention span, creating works that unfold as a series of fragments.

In “Ouroboros” Zorn draws upon the two cellos to explore echoing repetition; but his preference for fragments is also evident. Most important is his delight in a rhetoric that comes off as cartoon-like fury, intensely energetic but always with comic undertones. When writing for strings, Zorn emphasizes his intensity through nonstandard techniques, such as bowing practically on top of the bridge (or bowing surfaces that are not supposed to be bowed). Last night Campbell partnered with Roman to give a thoroughly engaging account of Zorn’s fast-and-furious score; and it was probably the most memorable event of the evening.

One reason why some of the other compositions did not register as enduringly, however, may have been due to inadequate materials in the program book. The first two compositions were replete with an abundance of extra-musical references. Ari Streisfeld’s notes for his five-part arrangements of three of the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo made it clear that, while he could not capture the sonorities of five singers, he could still give an account of what they were singing. Anyone wishing to take him at his word, however, would have to had known the madrigal texts from memory, since they were not included as part of the program book. Similarly, Amy Williams’ “Richter Textures,” the only piece for string quartet on the program, consisted of seven short movements, each “inspired by a different painting by German artist Gerhard Richter” (from Williams’ program note). Since the paintings were neither named nor reproduced, it was difficult to establish whether Williams had done justice to her inspiration.

In fairness, however, each of these opening selections on the program was given a reading that both seized and held the attentive listener. Execution involved a judicious combination of traditional technical skills and unique sonorities. Because both pieces were based on building blocks of relatively short duration, none of this music overstayed its welcome. Instead, the attentive listener could enjoy them simply as new approaches to imaginative sonorities for a cello quintet.

More disappointing were the quintets by Jefferson Friedman and Roman himself. Friedman’s program notes described his piece, called simply “Quintet,” as “a deeply personal work,” after which he related it to the grieving process. Sadly, the music was about as clichéd as his lexicon. One could be impressed with the technique displayed by the five players, but beyond those impressions there was little to hold attention.

Roman, on the other hand, tried to take a narrative approach in “Tornado,” which was being given its Bay Area premiere. The narrative is basically a before-during-after account of the attack of a tornado in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, Roman seems to have turned to music such as Aaron Copland’s score for the dance “Appalachian Spring” for his narrative style; and the result never really captured any solid emotional grounding for the narrative.

Thinking of Copland, I was reminded of a couplet (words by Ira Gershwin) from one of his choral pieces:
We’re the younger generation
and the future of the nation.
In the context of the song (written for the film The North Star), those words are being sung by some very obstreperous, if not downright disagreeable, children. Last night left me wondering why the music could not have been more obstreperous. While the execution was consistently satisfying, the pieces being played, for the most part, never really seemed to gel around any strong commitment to music-making.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Even More Choices for the Third Weekend of the Month

Those agonizing over the choices that need to be made for this weekend had better brace themselves for the following weekend! Each of next weekend’s three days will required choosing from a larger number of options. [added 10/16, 4:35 p.m.: Two more options have been added to the list. Fortunately, both of them take place earlier in their respective days.] [added 10/17, 10:40 a.m.: In addition I realized that I should remind readers of my previously reported announcement of the next gig at Adobe Books on Friday, October 20.] Furthermore, that will be a weekend in which six concert series are being launched. Fasten your seat belts:

[added 10/16, 4:35 p.m.:

Friday, October 20, 12:30 p.m., Cadillac Hotel: The next Concerts at the Cadillac will be another classical music offering. The title of the program will be Song and Dance: Music from South America. The selections will be by composers from South America or heavily influences by visits to South American countries. The music will be performed by cellist Jorge Maresch and pianist Lisa Maresch.

Like all Concerts at the Cadillac events, this recital will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will take place on Friday, September 15. The Cadillac Hotel is located at 380 Eddy Street, on the northeast corner of Leavenworth Street. All Concerts at the Cadillac events are presented without charge. The purpose of the series is to provide high-quality music to the residents of the hotel and the Tenderloin District; but all are invited to visit the venue that calls itself “The House of Welcome Since 1907.”]

Friday, October 20, 7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: This will be the first concert in the annual Guitar Series that San Francisco Performances (SFP) presents in partnership with the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts. Guitarist Jason Vieaux will give his debut recital for SFP. He will be joined by Julien Labro alternating between bandoneon and accordion. Labro will also be making his SFP debut.

As might be guessed, the entire program will involve arrangements with different levels of creative contributions. The performance of Astor Piazzolla’s “Esucalo” is the result of a collaborative arrangement by both players. Their duo performance of Pat Metheny’s “Antonia” was arranged by Vieaux, while Labro has prepared arrangements of Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” and the four movements of Radamés Gnattali’s Suite Retratos. They will also play a prelude and a scherzo, which Rossen Balkanski scored for guitar and piano; and Labro will play the piano part on bandoneon.

The entrance to Herbst is the main entrance to the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, located on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. The venue is excellent for public transportation, since that corner has Muni bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel. Tickets prices are $55 for premium seating in the Orchestra and the front and center of the Dress Circle, $45 for the Side Boxes, the center rear of the Dress Circle, and the remainder of the Orchestra, and $35 for the remainder of the Dress Circle and the Balcony. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a City Box Office event page.

Because this is the first concert of a series, subscriptions are still available for $250, $220, and $150. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page. Orders may also be placed by calling the SFP subscriber hotline at 415-677-0325, which is open for receiving calls between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Friday, October 20, 7:30 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: As is the case tonight, the SFP recital will coincide with a gig at the Poppy, which will also involve a guitarist. Gabriel Pirard plays guitar for the French Oak Gypsy Band. He also adds harmony to the melody lines sung by Stella Heath. This quartet will be filled out by Jimmy Inciardi on saxophone and a bass player not yet announced. The group has a repertoire of songs in French, Spanish, Roma, Catalan, Portuguese, Russian, and English; but their primary focus is French music and the French relationship to American jazz.

The Red Poppy is located in the Mission at 2698 Folsom Street. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Because the Poppy is a small space, it is almost always a good idea to be there when the doors open. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20, and tickets will be sold only at the door.

Friday, October 20, 8 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The California Bach Society will begin its 47th season with a program devoted entirely to (who else?) Johann Sebastian Bach. Artistic Director Paul Flight will lead the 30-voice chorus in performances of the BWV 235 Mass setting in G minor and the BWV 21 cantata Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (I had much grief). Instrumental support will be provided by a Baroque orchestra whose string section will be supplemented by oboe, bassoon, trumpet, and timpani.

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at 1111 O'Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Tickets are $35 with discounts for advance purchase, seniors, students, and those under the age of thirty. Tickets may be purchased online through a Web page on the California Bach Society Web site.

Because this will be the first of the four concerts of the 2017–2018 season, subscriptions are still on sale. All concerts will take place on Fridays at 8 p.m. in St. Mark’s. The dates and titles for the remaining concerts are as follows:
  • December 1: Christmas in Poland and the Baltic Countries
  • March 2: German Romantics
  • April 20: Handel in Rome
Summaries for the music to be performed at each of these concerts can be found of the season summary, currently on the group’s home page. Tickets for the entire season will be $95 with a $75 rate for seniors and $35 for students and patrons under the age of 30. Subscriptions may be ordered from the same Web page that supports single ticket orders. Those wishing further information may call 650-485-1097.

Friday, October 20, 8 p.m., Star of the Sea Church: Another genre of choral music will be available at the same time in another part of town. This month the Slavyanka Russian Chorus is giving its second Festival of Russian Choral Music led by Artistic Director Irina Shachneva. This will be the first of two performances in San Francisco, and Slavyanka will be joined by three other choral resources from the Bay Area:
  1. Burlingame: Church of All Russian Saints Choir, Music Director Andrei Roudenko
  2. San Francisco: Holy Virgin Cathedral Pontifical Choir, Music Director Vladimir Krassovsky
  3. Santa Cruz: The Choir of St. Lawrence Orthodox Christian Church, Music Directors Anne Schoepp and Alice Hughes
The program itself will be a broad survey of Russian sacred music from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The Star of the Sea Church is located in the Richmond district at 4420 Geary Boulevard. General admission is priced at $20 with discounted $15 tickets available for students with valid identification. Children under the age of twelve will be admitted at no charge. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.

The title of the second performance in San Francisco will be Russia’s Bach. That title refers to Sergei Taneyev, whose music will account for most of the program. Slavyanka will be joined by the Russian Festival Chorus & Orchestra led by Irina Shachneva and guest conductor Eric Kujawski. Vocal soloists will be soprano Elena Stepanova-Gurevich and countertenor Andrej Nemzer. Donna Stoering will provide piano accompaniment.

This concert will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 22. The venue will be the Mission Dolores Basilica at 3321 16th Street, on the southwest corner of Dolores Street. Ticket prices will be the same, and a separate Brown Paper Tickets event page has been created for advance purchase.

Friday, October 20, 8 p.m., Community Music Center (CMC): In a completely different vein, CMC will host the next installment of Jazz in the Neighborhood. The program has been arranged jointly by bassist Marcus Shelby, who is Director of the CMC Teen Jazz Orchestra, and saxophonist Charlie Gurke, who is Director of the CMC Jazz Ensemble. They will be joined by Max Miller-Loren (a member of the CMC Jazz Improvisation faculty) on trumpet and Adam Shulman on piano.

This performance will be held in the CMC Concert Hall. CMC is located in the Mission at 544 Capp Street, between Mission Street and South Van Ness Avenue and between 20th Street and 21st Street. Tickets will be sold at the door at prices of $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Those wishing further information may call 415-826-2765.

Saturday, October 21, 7 p.m., Center for New Music (C4NM): C4NM will host a visit from the Bottesini Project, a free improvisation ensemble based in Denver. The group was founded by saxophonist Glen Whitehead. The rest of his lineup will consist of Glen Whitehead on trumpet and a rhythm section of Scott Walton on bass, Mark Clifford on vibraphone, and Scott Amendola on drums.

C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of the Golden Gate Theater, where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission for this concert will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members. Tickets may be purchased in advance through a Vendini event page.

Saturday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Taube Atrium Theater: San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP) will kick off its 47th season with two premiere performances. Nicole Mitchell’s “Procession Time” will be given its world premiere by Tod Brody on alto flute, Jeff Anderle on bass clarinet, Stephen Harrison on cello, and Kate Campbell on piano. This will be preceded by the West Coast premiere of “Postlude à l’Épais” by Philippe Leroux. Performers will include Brody (this time on flute), Harrison, and Campbell, as well as Peter Josheff on clarinet and Hrabba Atladottir on violin. The final work on the program will be “Schnee,” scored for a moderately large chamber ensemble by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen.

As usual, background information will be provided by a series of free events earlier in the day. There will be an open dress rehearsal of “Procession Time” at 4 p.m. This will be followed by the next installment in How Music is Made, facilitated by Artistic Director Steven Schick. Schick will engage in conversation with Mitchell for about 50 minutes. Finally, ticket holders will be able to attend a pre-concert discussion between Schick and the SFCMP performers, which will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Taube Atrium Theater is part of the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, which is located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. General admission will be $35, with a $15 rate for students. In addition, SFCMP members will be able to purchase additional tickets at the discounted rate of $28. Tickets may be purchased in advance online from an Eventbrite event page.

This will be the first of the five 2017–18 season concerts that will be led by Schick. Four of those concerts will be presented as a group beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23, and concluding at 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. All events will take place in Z Space, located in NEMIZ (NorthEast Mission Industrial Zone) at 450 Florida Street. The remaining concert will be the next installment of the in the LABORATORY series. It will run from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, located at 50 Oak Street, near the Van Ness Muni station.

Subscriptions for the entire season are still on sale for $170 for general admission and $85 for students. Subscription may be purchased online through a separate Eventbrite event page. SFCMP has created a Web page describe the full scope of subscriber benefits.

Saturday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: Korean percussionist and vocalist Dohee Lee will give a duo performance with multi-instrumentalist Raphael Radna. They will present a seamless integration of sound, dance, singing, and percussion work, which integrates the influences of both Korean roots and postmodern performance styles. As on Friday, doors will open at 7 p.m.; and it is again a good idea to be there when the doors open. Admission will again be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20, and tickets will be sold only at the door.

Saturday October 21, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 22, 2 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM): This will be the performance by the Conservatory Orchestra, whose details were provided in the summary of October activities at SFCM.

[added 10/16, 4:40 p.m.:

Sunday, October 22, 10 a.m., Episcopal Church of the Incarnation: This will mark the beginning of San Francisco Renaissance Voices serving as Artists-in-Residence. They will provide the music for a service celebrating the visit of the Bishop of California, The Right Reverend Marc Handley Andrus. The musical offering will include works composed by Hildegard of Bingen, William Byrd, and Claudio Monteverdi, as well as other selections appropriate for the service itself.

The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation is located at 1750 29th Avenue, about halfway between Moraga Street and Noriega Street. This will be the Sunday morning service. Admission will not be charged. However, contributing the the collection will be appreciated as a sign of respect.]

Sunday, October 22, 2 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: This will be the October installment of the free Monthly Community Rumba, described on this site about a month ago.

Sunday, October 22, 3 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: This will be the first solo organ recital of the season hosted by the San Francisco Symphony. The organist will be Nathan Laube, and he has prepared a program of diverse selections. Bach will be represented with the familiar BWV 582 passacaglia in C minor. Other selections will include a pastorale by Jean Roger-Ducasse, a suite by Maurice Duruflé, and the “Eroïca” sonata by Joseph Jongen. In addition, Laube will play his own transcription of one of Felix Mendelssohn’s most ambitious works for solo piano, his Opus 54 “Variations sérieuses.”

Tickets for this concert will be $28 for the Front Orchestra and Upper Orchestra and the Rear Box and the $38 for the rest of the Orchestra, the Side Boxes, and the Loge. All other sections will be closed. Tickets may be purchased online through the event page for this program on the SFS Web site, by calling 415-864-6000, or by visiting the Box Office in Davies Symphony Hall, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will also open two hours before the performance begins.

Sunday, October 22, 4 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The San Francisco Early Music Society will begin its 2017–18 concert season with a recital by The Aulos Ensemble. Members are Christopher Krueger (flauto traverso and recorder), Marc Schachman (baroque oboe), Linda Quan (baroque violin), Myron Lutzke (baroque cello), and Arthur Haas (harpsichord). The title of their program will be Handel and His World. George Frideric Handel will be the featured composer; and his “world” will consist of selections by Henry Purcell and Georg Philipp Telemann.

Ticket prices range from $50 down to $15. Tickets may be ordered by calling 510-528-1725. They may also be ordered online through an event page that allows selection from a seating chart. Discounts of up to 25% are applicable for memberships and subscriptions for three or more concerts.

San Francisco dates (all on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m., except for the final concert on Friday at 8 p.m), ensembles, and program titles for the remainder of the season are as follows:
  • November 19, Ciaramella: 1517—German Music Before and After the Reformation
  • January 7, Vajra Voices with Shira Kammen and Kit Higginson: Annus Novus: One Yeare Begins—Medieval Poetry, Music & Magic to Ring in the New Year
  • February 4, Agave Baroque: Peace in our Time—Music of the Thirty Years War
  • March 4, Les Délices: Age of Indulgence
  • April 8, Wildcat Viols: The Magnifick Consort of Four Parts—Fantasies, Suites and Sonatas for viol quartet
  • May 4, Hana Blažíková and Bruce Dickey: Breathtaking—A Cornetto and a Voice Entwined
All concerts will take place at St. Mark's except for those in February and March. Those will be held at the Church of the Advent of Christ the King at 261 Fell Street. A Web page has been created that summarizes all subscription options and enables online purchase. The full subscription consists of the first six events of the season, and Breathtaking can be added at a reduced rate as a special event.

Sunday, October 22, 4 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: At exactly the same time, Noe Valley Chamber Music will launch its 25th anniversary (silver) season. The season will begin with a duo recital that brings cellist Angela Lee together with guitarist Marc Teicholz. The major work on the program will be Franz Schubert’s D. 821 “Arpeggione” sonata in A minor. The arpeggione was basically a bowed guitar, and that part will be played by Lee. Göran Söllscher transcribed the piano accompaniment for guitar, and that will probably account for Teicholz’ accompaniment. They will also play an arrangement of the first movement from the fifth of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras compositions. Other composers on the program will include Gnattali, Christoph Schaffarath, and Antônio Carlos Jobim.

The Noe Valley Ministry is located in Noe Valley at 1021 Sanchez Street. Tickets are $30 at the door with a $25 rate for seniors and a $15 rate for students aged thirteen or older. (Those over the age of eighteen will be required to show valid identification as confirmation of full-time status.) Children younger than thirteen will be admitted for free. If purchased in advance through a Brown Paper Tickets event page, general admission will be discounted to $25. Tickets may also be purchased in advance by calling NVCM at 415-648-5236.

All of the season concerts will take place on Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m. Dates and performers are as follows:
  • November 19: Lazuli String Quartet
  • January 21: The Joshua Trio
  • February 15: Brian Thorsett & Friends
  • March 18: Chamber Music Society of San Francisco
  • May 20: Telegraph String Quartet
In addition, the annual benefit concert, featuring the return of Jake Heggie performing with his close friends, will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 22. Another Brown Paper Tickets event page has been created to handle all subscription options. Tickets for the benefit will be $100, and further information will be forthcoming.

Sunday, October 22, 7:30 p.m., Musicians Union Hall: The next concert to be offered by Outsound Presents in the Static Illusion Methodical Madness (SIMM) Series will consist of two sets of inventive composition work. The first set will present Joseph’s Bones, a large instrumental ensemble that specializes in “avant dub.” They will be followed by the Trouble Ensemble, consisting of vocalist Ernest Larkins performing with Mia Bella D’Augelli on violin, Rent Romus and Joshua Marshall on saxophones, Jakob Pek on guitar, Andrew Jamieson on piano, and Tim DeCillis on drums. The Musicians Union Hall, which is located at 116 9th Street, near the corner of Mission Street. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $10 and $15.