The Berkeley Symphony continues its impressive and invaluable commitment to major orchestral works by living composers by featuring Asyla by Thomas Adès along with the Tchaikovsky 6 (the Pathètique) on 15 January in Zellerbach Hall; more information here.
The Oakland East Bay Symphony, led by Michael Morgan, performs Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F Major with soloist Richard Glazier and the Shostakovich 8 on 23 January at the Paramount; more information here.
The San Francisco Symphony serves up some twentieth-century treats on 16 - 18 January: the Grand Pianola Music by John Adams – conducted by Adams himself! – along with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting The Soldier's Tale by Stravinsky, with Elvis Costello and Malcolm McDowell as speakers and Orli Shaham and Marc-André Hamelin on piano. More information here. And then on 21 - 23 January, Michael Tilson Thomas leads the orchestra in the west coast premiere of Cynthia Lee Wong's Carnival Fever, along with Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra and pianist Yefin Bronfman in the Brahms Piano Concerto No 2; more information here.
American Bach Soloists presents Handel's wonderful pastoral Acis and Galatea, along with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No 4, on 23 - 26 January. It's a different venue each day, so check here for that and other information.
The Lamplighters present Bernstein's Candide (the only thing by him that I would pay to hear). The San Francisco performances are at the Yerba Buena Center on 30 and 31 January and 1 February; later in February there are performances in Walnut Creek and Mountain View. Check here for more information.
In conjunction with its performances next month of Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Opera Parallèle presents a panel discussion on 21 January at Temple Emanu-El (on Lake Street; the #1 California runs a block or two away) featuring selections from the opera and a discussion of art and social justice, featuring temple cantor Roslyn Barak, composer Jake Heggie, singers Frederica von Stade, Catherine Cook, and Nicolle Foland, and Sister Helen Prejean herself. Tickets and more information are available here.
San Francisco Performances presents jazz pianist Marcus Roberts at the Jazz Center on 17 January, playing a program ranging from W C Handy and Sigmund Romberg to Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and himself; details here.
As part of Michael Tilson Thomas's 70th birthday extravaganza on 15 January at the San Francisco Symphony, he will be joined by Emanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, Marc-André Hamelin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Yuja Wang in Liszt's Hexameron for Six Pianos and Orchestra. That part of the concert will be conducted by Teddy Abrams (Tilson Thomas takes over the conducting for the rest of the evening). You can get tickets here on the Symphony's website, which oddly only lists the Liszt, so for further details on the program I refer you to this entry on Lisa Hirsch's blog Iron Tongue of Midnight.
San Francisco Performances presents composer-pianist Lera Auerbach in a program of her own works; she will be joined by violinist Daniel Hope and cellist Joshua Roman in her transcription for trio of Prokofiev's flute sonata. It's always very special to hear composers performing their own music. This concert will be 20 January at the Jazz Center; details here.
Cal Performances presents the Kronos Quartet, joined by Wu Man on pipa, in works by Riley, Volans, and Little, on 18 January; details here.
Cal Performances and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players present the second Project TenFourteen concert on 25 January with pianist Nicholas Hodges, featuring works by Zubel, Birtwistle, and Du Yun; details here.
As usual the Center for New Music has an abundance of enticements; a few things that jump out at me from their schedule are Jen Shyu's Solo Rites: Seven Breaths on 23 January, the New Year Koto concert on 25 January, and the Del Sol String Quartet on 29 January. Check out the full schedule here.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music hosts the first annual New Music Gathering, a three-day conference/music festival on 15 - 17 January. The schedule is here though for more information on the evening performances you might want to check the Conservatory's performance calendar. The first evening features flutist Claire Chase as well as David Coll, Eve Beglarian, Rachel Beetz and Jennifer Bewerse, and Blarvuster; the second evening features pianist Sarah Cahill along with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Volti, and Wild Rumpus; the third evening features Till by Turning, Incendiary Cycle, and Transient Canvas. UPDATE: See the comment below from Sarah Cahill for some further information on the Friday night performance.
Cal Performances presents violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Mozart, Weinberg, and Schubert on 13 January; details here.
Cal Performances presents tenor Matthew Polenzani and pianist Julius Drake in a program of Beethoven, Liszt, Ravel, Satie, and Barber, on 31 January; details here.
ACT presents Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink, directed by Carey Perloff, from 14 January to 8 February; more information here.
Custom Made Theatre presents Sarah Ruhl's Late: A Cowboy Song, directed by Ariel Craft, from 10 January to 1 February; details here.
Shotgun Players has extended its excellent production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, directed by Susannah Martin, to 25 January.
The San Francisco Ballet opens its (non-Nutcracker) season with Program 1 featuring Balanchine's Serenade, Possokhov's RAkU, and Caniparoli's Lambarena, 27 January - 7 February and Giselle, 29 January - 10 February.