ACT presents Pinter's The Birthday Party, directed by Carey Perloff, from 10 January to 4 February.
The Aurora Theatre presents Shaw's Widowers' Houses, directed by Joy Carlin, from 26 January to 25 February.
The San Francisco Symphony presents Bernstein's Candide from 18 to 21 January, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.
Cal Performances presents the Peking Acrobats for three performances on 27 - 28 January.
The San Francisco Early Music Society presents a concert to ring in the new year with Vajra Voices, joined by Shira Kammen on vielle and harp and Kit Higginson on recorder and psaltery, playing music they describe as luscious and florid – sounds like a delightful way to fend off the winter chills, assuming we actually get some by then. You can hear the program on 5 January at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 6 January at St John's Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 7 January at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.
Modern / Contemporary Music
Lieder Alive! presents new works by Kurt Erickson, Luna Pearl Woolf, and Mark Carlson, performed by soprano Heidi Moss Erickson, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, and pianists Ronny Michael Greenberg and Kurt Erickson, on 14 January at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players present works by Don Byron, Ryan Brown, Vivian Fung, Meredith Monk, Frederic Rzewski, and John Zorn, and the great Meredith Monk will be there in person, both to perform and to discuss her works. The concert takes place 19 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; at 4:00 there is a rehearsal of Fung's piece, followed by a conversation among Fung and Brown facilitated by incoming Artistic Director Eric Dudley. That part is free and open to the public. For ticket buyers there is a 6:30 conversation among Dudley and the players, followed by the concert (the conversation with Monk is part of the concert) and a post-concert reception.
Meredith Monk will also be conducting an afternoon workshop and lecture at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 18 January.
On 20 January the Center for New Music hosts a concert in honor of composer Libby Larsen, featuring pianist Paul Dab, soprano Anne Hepburn Smith, violist Justine Preston, and clarinetist James Pytko. As always, check out the Center's calendar, as new events are frequently added.
On 27 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music the ZOFO Duet (pianists Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi) performs a new Pictures at an Exhibition, featuring music by Samuel Carl Adams, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Sahba Aminikia, Avner Dorman, Cécile Marti, Lei Liang, Pawel Mykietyn, Kenji Oh, Keyla Orozco, Pablo Ortiz, Gabriel Prokofiev, Jonathan Russell, Gilles Silvestrini, Carl Vine, and I Wayan Gde Yudane. Each composer has chosen a painting as the basis of his or her piece, and the painting will be projected while the piece is played during the concert.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents a Faculty Centennial Concert, featuring works by Elinor Armer, Shinji Eshima, David Garner, and Conrad Sousa, on 28 January; the concert is free and does not require reservations or tickets.
Trumpeter Chris Botti appears at the SF Jazz Center from 9 to 14 January.
Vijay Iyer has a four-night residency (18 - 21 January) at the SF Jazz Center.
Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in performances of Beethoven's Leonore 3, Mozart's Piano Concerto 14, Schoenberg's Piano Concerto (Emanuel Ax is the soloist for both the Mozart and the Schoenberg), and Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, and that's 11 - 13 January at Davies Hall.
New Century Chamber Orchestra celebrates Mozart's birthday with an all-Mozart program, with concert master Daniel Hope as the violin soloist and pianists Menahem Pressler (only on 27 January, which is the actual birthday) and Sebastian Knauer (all the other dates); you can hear them on 25 January at First Congregational in Berkeley, 26 January at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, 27 January at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 28 January at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center.
The San Francisco Symphony presents the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in two programs,
Anthony McGill, chief clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, joins the touring Musicians from Marlboro – violinists Emilie-Anne Gendron and David McCarroll, violist Daniel Kim, and cellist Marcy Rosen – in a program featuring works by Beethoven, Penderecki, and Brahms, presented by Cal Performances on 28 January in Hertz Hall.
Mezzo-soprano Ilana Walder-Biesanz and pianist Daniel Alley give a recital titled Trousers and Tragediennes, which covers a lot of the mezzo repertory, at the Center for New Music on 27 January.
San Francisco Performances presents Stephen Hough playing Debussy, Schumann, and Beethoven at Herbst Theater on 18 January.
San Francisco Performances has two pianists in their PIVOT series: Sarah Cahill, along with Kate Stenberg, the Alexander String Quartet, and the William Winant Percussion Group, will perform works by Lou Harrison on 24 January at the Strand Theater; and on 26 January, also at the Strand, composer/pianist Timo Andres will play music by himself, Caroline Shaw, Christopher Cerrone, and Eric Shanfield. Please note that, for some reason beyond my understanding, the PIVOT concerts don't start until 8:30 PM and the seating is general admission, so be warned before you buy tickets.
The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive presents a film series, running from 17 January to 25 April, exploring Sergei Eisenstein in the context of his contemporaries.
Savion Glover appears at the SF Jazz Center with drummer Marcus Gilmore (4 - 5 January) and drummer Jack DeJohnette (6 - 7 January).
San Francisco Performances has two dance group in their PIVOT series: LA Dance Project at the Strand Theater on 23 January and the Joe Goode Performance Group, also at the Strand, on 27 January. Unfortunately and inexplicably, as with all the PIVOT performances the start time is 8:30 PM, even on work nights, and the seating is general admission, so bear that in mind before buying tickets.
The San Francisco Ballet opens its season with The Sleeping Beauty (music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa), which runs at the Opera House from 23 January to 4 February.