02 February 2015

fun stuff I may or may not get to: February 2015

Baroque Music
Philharmonia Baroque presents some Bach cousins (along with some Telemann) on 4 and 6 - 8 February (as usual they perform in various venues depending on the day, so check here for more information on that as well as for tickets). On the program are Johann Ludwig Bach's Trauermusik (Mourning Music) and Johann Christoph Bach's cantata Herr, wende dich und sei mir gnädig (Lord, have mercy upon me) and a sinfonia from Telemann's Schwanengesang. Nicholas McGegan conducts and the soloists are soprano Sherezade Panthaki, countertenor Clifton Massey, tenor Brian Thorsett, and baritone Jeffrey Fields, along with the Philharmonia Chorale led by Bruce Lamott.

American Bach Soloists perform the St Matthew Passion on 27 - 28 February and 1 - 2 March. This is self-recommending. Check here for more information.

Opera Parallèle revives Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, which had its world premiere here in 2000. This company's work is always worth experiencing; you can check out what they do here from 20 - 22 February at the Yerba Buena Center. More information here.

West Edge Opera presents Rossini's Zelmira in concert, with piano accompaniment. This is the first in a series of three rarities they are performing this way, with two performances each: a Sunday matinee at Rossmoor and then a weeknight performance at Freight & Salvage. You can hear Zelmira in Walnut Creek on 15 February and in Berkeley on 17 February. More information here.

Joana Carneiro conducts the Berkeley Symphony in Ravel's Mother Goose Suite, the Brahms 4, and the world premiere of the orchestral version of Jake Heggie's Camille Claudel: Into the Fire, featuring marvelous mezzo Sasha Cooke. That's 26 February; more information here.

The Oakland East Bay Symphony presents a far-ranging program conducted by Bryan Nies: Samuel Barber's Symphony No 1, the world premiere of Begejstring (Excitement), by jazz violinist Mads Tolling, with the composer himself as soloist, and Haydn's Mass in Time of War, featuring Adler Fellows Julie Adams, Zanda Svede, Chong Wang, and Anthony Michael Reed as soloists. That's 20 February in the beautiful Paramount Theater in Oakland; more information here.

There's quite a lot going on at the San Francisco Symphony this month:

Herbert Blomstedt leads the orchestra in the Sibelius 2 and the Mozart Piano Concerto No 19, with the distinguished Peter Serkin as soloist (I used to hear his father play, back in the day . . . now I feel even older than I actually am); that's on 13 - 14 February; he then leads them in an all-Brahms concert on 19 - 21 February, and the big item here is the German Requiem with soprano Ruth Ziesak and baritone Christian Gerhaher, whose magnificent recital last September (presented by San Francisco Performances) immediately made this a concert of intense interest. There are further Brahmsian doings 26 - 28 February and March 1, when Michael Tilson Thomas leads the band in the Violin Concerto, along with the Schumann 1, Spring, and The Light That Fills the World by John Luther Adams. The violinist for the Brahms is Anne-Sophie Mutter for the February dates and Ye-Eun Choi on 1 March.

If you're craving more Brahms, as you well might be, you can hear his Piano Concerto No 1 with soloist Hélène Grimaud when the San Francisco Symphony presents the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for two nights, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The first night, 15 February, features the Brahms and the Tchaikovsky 5; the second night, 16 February, features the Ravel Piano Concerto and Ma Mère l'Oye along with the Prokofiev 5. That gives you two chances this month to hear the Mother Goose Suite live (the Berkeley Symphony is the other one).

Cappella SF performs works by Conrad Susa and David Conte on 6 February at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. More information may be found here.

San Francisco Performances presents cellist Alisa Weilerstein in a program of Golijov, Bach, and Kodály on 14 February at St Mark's Lutheran; details here. (This program is different from the one originally announced, in case you think your memory is playing tricks on you.)

Cutting Ball Theater presents Antigone by Sophocles in a new translation by Daniel Sullivan, directed by Paige Rogers, using music and movement techniques inspired by the company's residency last summer at the Grotowski Institute in Poland. I saw an early version of this last year as part of the company's Hidden Classics reading series, and it was already very impressive – this is one I'm really looking forward to. That's 19 February to 22 March; more information here.

New/Contemporary Music
Cal Performances presents Clarice Assad on piano – the program has not been announced but I'm guessing she'll perform her own compositions? Also, this is in a new venue: the University Club, which apparently is part of the revamped Memorial Stadium. Panoramic views of the Bay Area are promised. Sounds like an adventure. That's 21 February; more information here.

Cal Performances, in association with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, presents the third of the four Project TenFourteen concerts, featuring ten world premieres (in the 2014 season, to explain the second number). This one will be on 22 February in Hertz Hall and will feature music by Berio, Nono, San Martin, and Ueno (the latter two are the premieres). More information may be found here.

The Center for New Music always has a full calendar of interesting offerings – check it all out here.

Cal Performances presents Peter Nero on piano with Michael Barnett on bass and Katherine Strohmaier on vocals in an evening of Gershwin; that's 8 February in Zellerbach; more information here.

At the SF Jazz Center, you can catch (among other acts) the Paris Combo on 19 - 20 February; Kurt Elling on 21 - 22 February; and Taj Mahal on 26 - 28 February and 1 March. You can check out their entire schedule here.

Chamber Music
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents the Pacifica Quartet in a program of Shostakovich, Dohnanyi, and Mendelssohn on 12 February; more information here. The quartet is also giving a master class on 10 February, starting at 4:30; more information on that here.

The Jarring Sounds perform "A Prelude to Valentine's Day" featuring songs of love by Monteverdi, Purcell, Frank Wallace, Michael Karmon, and others. That's at Seventh Avenue Performances; more information may be found here.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianist Khatia Buniatishvili in a program of Dvorak, Grieg, and Franck on 15 February and the Casals Quartet in their San Francisco debut, playing Mozart, Ravel, and Brahms, on 28 February. More information on those concerts here.

Visual Arts
The Asian Art Museum has two intriguing related exhibits opening on 20 February (and both closing 10 May): The Printer's Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection (ukiyo-e, or "pictures of the floating [ephemeral] world," are woodblock prints) and Seduction: Japan's Floating World, which will include paintings and fabrics as well as woodblock prints (which I cannot get enough of, actually) to explore life in the Yoshiwara, the famous pleasure district of Edo (present-day Tokyo). More information on those here.

The 48th California Annual International Antiquarian Book Fair will take place 6 - 8 February at the Oakland Marriott City Center, which is right by the 12th Street BART station. More information here.

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