19 July 2019

01 July 2019

Museum Monday 2019/26

Angel by Peter Paul Rubens; normally found in the Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan, I saw it as part of the Early Rubens exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco

28 June 2019

fun stuff I may or may not get to: July 2019

Cal Shakes in Orinda presents Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan (translated by Wendy Arons and adapted by Tony Kushner), directed by Eric Ting, from 3 to 21 July.

Shotgun Players presents Kill Move Paradise by James Ijames, directed by Darryl V Jones, from 5 July to 4 August at the Ashby Stage. In their Champagne Staged Reading Series, they present Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric, adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs and directed by Elizabeth Carter, on 29 - 30 July.

The African-American Shakespeare Company presents Macbeth, in the "modern verse translation" prepared by Migdalia Cruz for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, from 13 to 28 July at the Taube Atrium Theater.

San Francisco Opera's Merola Young Artists Program kicks off its public events with the Schwabacher Summer Concert on 11 and 13 July at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, when the young artists will perform scenes (staged by Jose Maria Condemi, with the orchestra led by Craig Kier) from Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Trovatore, Faust, Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman), and La Rondine.

Festival Opera presents Carlisle Floyd's Susanna, directed by Mark Foehringer and conducted by Bryan Nies, with Shana Blake Hill (Susannah), Alex Boyer (Sam Polk), Philip Skinner (the Reverend Olin Blitch), Robert Norman (Little Bat McLean), and Eugene Brancoveanu (Elder McLean) at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek on 12 and 14 July.

Pocket Opera presents their version of Rossini's Barber of Seville, with stage direction by Elly Lichenstein and music direction by Mary Chun, and a cast including Igor Vieira, Maya Kherani, and Sergio Gonzalez, on 14 July at the Hillside Club in Berkeley, 21 July at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, and 28 July at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

Patti Lupone appears at Davies Hall with members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus on 12 July (the concert is sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony but they will not be playing; no word currently on who the accompanist(s) will be).

Leslie Odom Jr appears with the San Francisco Symphony (conducted by Damon Gupton) at Davies Hall on 20 - 21 July; no word yet on the program.

Soprano Chelsea Hollow and pianist Sophie Xuefei Zhang come to Old First Concerts on 26 July with Voice for the Voiceless: Women, a program of world premieres (by Zhang, Margaret Martin, and Niloufar Nourbankhsh) and selected twentieth century art and cabaret songs exploring the lives of women.

Sweet Honey in the Rock visits Freight & Salvage on 24 July.

The San Francisco Symphony has a few concerts of interest: Brett Mitchell conducts the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (with soloist Blake Pouliot) along with Berlioz's Hungarian March from the Damnation of Faust and the Symphonie fantastique on 18 July and Nimrod David Pfeffer leads an all-Beethoven concert – the Egmont Overture, the Piano Concerto 5, the Emperor (with soloist Rodolfo Leone), and the Fifth Symphony – on 25 July.

Chamber Music
The Midsummer Mozart Festival opens on 11 July at Freight & Salvage with a piano recital by Daniel Glover (joined after intermission by special guest pianist Thomas Hansen) and continues through 14 July with events at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco as well as San Jose and Sonoma; check the full schedule here.

Strings & Keyboards
You can get a preview of Bard Music West's upcoming (October) Grazyna Bacewicz festival when pianist Allegra Chapman comes to Old First Concerts on 28 July to explore music by Bacewicz in relation to pieces by Maria Szymanowska, Thomas Adès, Beethoven, Chopin, and Agata Zubel.

Columbian jazz group Monsieur Periné visits the SF Jazz Center from 11 to 14 July.

Tod Dickow joins Charged Particles at Old First Concerts on 12 July to perform Coltrane's A Love Supreme.

StringQuake comes to Old First Concerts on 14 July.

SonoMusette celebrates Bastille Day (14 July) French jazz-style at Freight & Salvage.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Check out the Center for New Music's complete calendar here; it is updated frequently, but some things that catch my eye this month are: Panoramic Dissonances with Laetitia Sonami, John Davis, and Heejin Jang, on 6 July; Jon Raskin performing Steve Lacy's Practitioners Book W saxophone solos on 11 July; and Sameer Gupta on 19 July.

The 41st Annual Ethnic Dance Festival takes place 6 - 7 and 13 - 14 July (in association with Cal Performances) at Zellerbach Hall.

Visual Arts
At the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, Meditation in Motion: Zen Calligraphy from the Stuart Katz Collection opens on 17 July and runs until 20 October. You can also see the Zen-inspired art of Helen Mirra and Sean Thackrey in No Horizon, a show opening 3 July and running until 25 August.

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival runs from 18 July to 4 August; they have a very full schedule (and if their website has the same set-up as last year's, you're best off just downloading the brochure and leafing through it that way), but two things that jump out at me are Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles (about the musical Fiddler on the Roof) and What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (about the late movie critic for The New Yorker).

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive is starting some enticing film series this month: celebrate 75 years of Jean-Pierre Léaud starting with Truffaut's 400 Blows on 4 July; explore the work of women cinematographers with View Finders, with films scheduled from 12 July to 21 November; and check out Against Authority: The Cinema of Masaki Kobayashi, starting 20 July with films scheduled to 18 August.

SFMOMA has an interesting series coming up in their Modern Cinema series: Haunted! Gothic Tales by Women begins on 18 July with the mother of them all, Frankenstein, and ends on 31 August with Rebecca, exploring some interesting byways in between (To Kill a Mockingbird as gothic fiction? maybe I'll finally watch it!)

Friday Photo 2019/26

San Francisco, May 2019

24 June 2019

Museum Monday 2019/25

Man Ray, Le Chevalier Rouge (The Red Knight) at the Kreeger Museum in Washington DC (architecture by Philip Johnson)

21 June 2019

16 June 2019

Hungry man is an angry man

His heart astir he pushed in the door of the Burton restaurant. Stink gripped his trembling breath : pungent meatjuice, slop of greens. See the animals feed.

Men, men, men.

Perched on high stools by the bar, hats shoved back, at the tables calling for more bread no charge, swilling, wolfing gobfuls of sloppy food, their eyes bulging, wiping wetted moustaches. A pallid suetfaced young man polished his tumbler knife fork and spoon with his napkin. New set of microbes. A man with an infant's saucestained napkin tucked round him shoveled gurgling soup down his gullet. A man spitting back on his plate : halfmasticated gristle: no teeth to chewchewchew it. Chump chomp from the grill. Bolting to get it over. Sad booser's eyes. Bitten off more than he can chew. Am I like that? See ourselves as others see us. Hungry man is an angry man. Working tooth and jaw. Don't! O! A bone! That last pagan king of Ireland Cormac in the schoolpoem choked himself at Sletty southward of the Boyne. Wonder what he was eating. Something galoptious. Saint Patrick converted him to Christianity. Couldn't swallow it all however.

– Roast beef and cabbage.

– One stew.

Smells of men. His gorge rose. Spaton sawdust, sweetish warmish cigarette smoke, reek of plug, spilt beer, men's beery piss, the stale of ferment.

Couldn't eat a morsel here. Fellow sharpening knife and fork, to eat all before him, old chap picking his tootles. Slight spasm, full, chewing the cud. Before and after. Grace after meals. Look on this picture then on that. Scoffing up stewgravy with sopping sippets of bread. Lick it off the plate, man! Get out of this.

Once more a very happy Bloomsday to my mountain flowers.

10 June 2019

Museum Monday 2019/23

detail of Procris & the Unicorn from Bernardino Luini's fresco cycle Story of Cephalus & Procris in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (this is the only Italian Renaissance fresco series in the United States)

07 June 2019

31 May 2019

Friday Photo 2019/22

the Washington Monument from the steps of the National Gallery of Art, April 2019

28 May 2019

fun stuff I may or may not get to: June 2019

Cutting Ball Theater closes its 20th anniversary season by reprising Ionesco's The Bald Soprano, translated and directed by Cutting Ball co-founder Rob Melrose and starring the other co-founder, Paige Rogers; the show runs from 5 to 16 June.

Shotgun Players, as part of their Champagne Reading Series, and Campo Santo co-present Before & Over, a new play by Star Finch, directed by Sean San Jose on 10 - 11 June at the Ashby Stage.

Custom Made Theatre presents Sondheim's Passion (book by James Lapine), directed by Stuart Bousel with music direction by Brian Allan Hobbs, from 20 June to 20 July.

Aurora Theater presents the Bay Area premiere of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, directed by Nancy Carlin, from 21 June to 21 July.

San Francisco Playhouse closes its season with Kander & Ebb's Cabaret, directed by Susi Damilano, with music direction by Dave Dobrusky and choreography by Nicole Helfer, from 26 June to 14 September.

On 1 and 2 June at Z Space in San Francisco, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble presents the world premieres of two chamber operas inspired by women artists: From the Field (music by Christopher Stark, libretto by Megan Stark) centers on photographer Dorothea Lange and her work documenting Dust Bowl migrants. and Artemisia (music by Laura Schwendinger, libretto by Ginger Strand) explores the life of the Italian baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

The Wagner Society of Northern California presents Metropolitan Opera radio broadcaster Will Berger on 1 June at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, speaking on Technology, Opera, and Wagner.

The San Francisco Opera closes out its season with three productions: Bizet's Carmen, staged by Francesca Zambello and conducted by James Gaffigan, featuring J'Nai Bridges, Matthew Polenzani, Anita Hartig, and Kyle Ketelsen, runs from 5 to 29 June; Handel's Orlando, staged by Harry Fehr and conducted by Christopher Moulds, featuring Sasha Cooke, Heidi Stober, Christina Gansch, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, and Christian Van Horn, runs from 9 to 27 June; and Dvořák's Rusalka, staged by David McVicar and conducted by Eun Sun Kim, featuring Rachel Willis‐Sørensen, Brandon Jovanovich, Kristinn Sigmundsson, Jamie Barton, Sarah Cambidge, Laura Krumm, Philip Horst, and Andrew Manea, runs from 16 to 28 June.

Pocket Opera presents its version of Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, staged by Phil Lowery with music direction by Frank Johnson, on 2 June at the Hillside Club in Berkeley, 9 June at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and 16 June at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.

The San Francisco Symphony ends its seasons with a semi-staged (by James Bonas) production of Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and starring mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard; the originally announced companion piece, Britten's Noye's Fludde, has been cancelled and the replacement is currently listed as that old favorite, TBD. You can experience it all on 27 and 29 - 30 June. (Be aware that the matinee on the 30th coincides with the Gay Pride Parade and transportation will be difficult.)

I really wish they were doing something other than the overly familiar Carmina Burana, but if you are of a mind to hear that piece you probably can't do much better than the excellent forces scheduled for 4 June at Davies Hall, when Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus (and the Ragazzi Boys Chorus) along with soloists Nikki Einfeld (soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Hadleigh Adams (baritone).

The International Orange Chorale of San Francisco (IOCSF) gives us Re-Set: New Takes on Old Texts featuring the world premiere of Te puse collares by Composer-in-Residence Robin Estrada as well as pieces from composers including Ola Gjeilo, Frank LaRocca, James MacMillan, Frank Martin, Brian Schmidt, Urmas Sisask, Nicholas Weininger, Eric Whitacre, and David Wikander, and that's 8 June at Christ Church East Bay in Berkeley and 15 June at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco; the concerts are free and you can RSVP on the group's website.

Chanticleer explores Sacred Ground throughout the greater Bay Area from 8 to 16 June.

The San Francisco Girls Chorus, led by Valérie Sainte-Agathe, is joined by singer Mahsa Vahdat and harpist Bridget Kibbey in visionary works, including the world premieres of SFGC commissions by Richard Danielpour and Reena Esmail along with works by Mahsa Vahdat herself, Eric Banks, Tord Gustavsen, Hildegard von Bingen, Frank Ferko, and Sarah Kirkland Snider; that's 8 June at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco and 9 June at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Lieder Alive presents soprano Heidi Moss Erickson and pianist John Parr in an all-Richard Strauss program at the Noe Valley Ministry on 30 June.

On 8 June at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in Elfrida Andrée's Prelude to Fritiofs Saga, Shawn Krichner's Brokeback Mountain Suite (with the composer as the featured pianist), and the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique.

At the San Francisco Symphony, conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong leads the ballet music from Mozart's Idomeneo as well as his piano concerto 24 (with soloist David Fray), Verdi's overture to I vespri siciliani, and Elgar's In the South (Alassio) on 6 - 8 June; Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the Mahler 9 on 13 - 16 June; and then Tilson Thomas returns 20 - 22 June to conduct his own Street Song for Symphonic Brass, the San Francisco premiere of Steve Reich's Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (a Symphony co-commission), and the Prokofiev Piano Concerto 2 (with soloist Yefim Bronfman).

Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Youth Symphony on 16 June in Davies Hall; this final concert of their season features Prelude 1 from Three American Preludes by Detley Glanert, selections from the Mahler 1, and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with soloist Karen Gomyo.

Chamber Music
Musicians from the San Francisco Symphony play chamber works by Schubert, Bruch, and Gaubert on 2 June and unfortunately it's in the unwieldy barn that is Davies Hall.

Ensemble Illume plays Mozart, Brahms, and Saariaho for Old First Concerts on 7 June.

Keyboards & Strings
The San Francisco Symphony presents organist Christopher Houlihan in recital on 9 June at Davies Hall, playing works b y Buxtehude, Schumann, Bach, Saint-Saëns, and Franck.

Old First Concerts presents cello (Amos Yang) and bass (Charles Chandler) duo 2LOW on 9 June, performing a world premiere by Andrès Martin and Shinji Eshima's reworking of the Bach Cello Suite 2.

Le Due Muse (cellist Sarah Hong and pianist Makiko Ooka), joined by violinist Heeguen Song, present an all-Schubert program at Old First Concerts on 21 June.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The Other Minds Festival continues with two noteworthy (yes, it's a pun) concerts: The Pressure, an evening-length multimedia work on themes from German Expressionist horror films with music by Brian Baumbusch and words by Paul Baumbusch on 15 June at the YBCA Theater and then, on 16 June at YBCA, the continued exploration of the microtonal compositions of Ivan Wyschnegradsky – previously we heard the Arditti play his string quartets, and now we get to hear his piano works.

Old First Concerts presents The Musical Art Quintet on 30 June, performing works by Duke Ellington, Ariel Ramirez, and Michel Camilo, as well as Kanta Judezmo, an oratorio by Quintet bassist Sascha Jacobsen (featuring mezzo-soprano Melinda Becker and librettist Bobby Coleman as narrator) that explores the Sephardic diaspora.

The summer solstice is 21 June, which means the annual Garden of Memory event will take place at the Columbarium in the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, featuring an abundance of local new music luminaries.

And as always, check the calendar at the Center for New Music frequently, as concerts are added all the time; some things that catch my eye in the current June listings are: Sl(e)ight Ensemble, along with visual artist Jessie Austin, performing the program Angles of Times, featuring new works with alternate methods of notating time, on 7 June; bass-baritone Jóhann Schram Reed and pianist Taylor Chan performing the world premiere of Patricia Wallinga's setting of Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, along with works by David Conte and other modern American art songs, on 8 June; the CD release concert for pianist Nadia Shpachenko's new recording The Poetry of Places, including five SF premieres by Amy Beth Kirsten, Hannah Lash, James Matheson, Harold Meltzer, and Jack Van Zandt, along with two world premieres and two west coast premieres from Paul Chihara, Thea Musgrave, José Serebrier, and Lewis Spratlan, on 18 June; and pianist Ju-Ping Song playing new works by Lois Vierk, Nicole Lizée, Rahilia Hasanova, and Kate Moore, on 28 June.

The Golden Circle Sextet, led by composer / vibraphonist Dan Neville and composer / flutist Rebecca Kleinmann, bring their Afro-Cuban-inflected jazz to Old First Concerts on 23 June.

There are some terrific film series starting at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive this month: Julio Bracho and Mexican Cinema's Golden Age starts on 7 June;  Looking Again at Orson Welles starts on 9 June; and Fritz Lang's America starts on 21 June.

Visual Arts
I've always wished the Asian Art Museum would show more woodblock prints, so despite my feeling that tattoos are tediously ubiquitous these days I'm looking forward to Tattoos in Japanese Prints, running from 31 May to 18 August. The Museum has also re-opened its renovated third floor, featuring Masterpieces in Context.

27 May 2019

24 May 2019

20 May 2019

Museum Monday 2019/20

detail of St George & the Dragon by Tintoretto, usually in the National Gallery in London but seen as part of the show Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery in Washington DC

13 May 2019

Museum Monday 2019/19

detail of Water Lilies (1914 - 1915) by Claude Monet; normally found at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon but seen at the de Young Museum in San Francisco as part of the exhibit Monet: The Late Years

06 May 2019

Museum Monday 2019/18

a detail of Two Children by Paul Gauguin, painted around 1889 in Paris or Brittany; seen at the de Young Museum in San Francisco as part of the exhibit Paul Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey but usually found at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen

This child looks seriously uneasy. The second time I went to this exhibit a man next to me said, "That child is on a bad acid trip."

29 April 2019

Museum Monday 2019/17

detail of Saint Jerome in the Wilderness by Agostino Carracci, seen in the exhibit Old Masters in a New Light at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive

24 April 2019

fun stuff I may or may not get to: May 2019

The Silk Road Ensemble returns to Zellerbach Hall on 3 May with Heroes Take Their Stands; created by Ahmad Sadri, with music directors Colin Jacobsen and Kayhan Kalhor, this Cal Performances co-commission is an exploration through music, movement, video, and animation of five heroic figures from different times and cultures.

Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony in Bernstein's West Side Story on 10 May at the Paramount Theater.

Custom Made Theater presents Aaron Posner's Life Sucks, described as "sort of adapted" from Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, directed by Brian Katz, from 2 May to 1 June.

Polish troupe Song of the Goat Theatre comes to Cal Performances on 11 - 12 May performing Songs of Lear, an adaptation of King Lear directed by Grzegorz Bral with music by Jean-Claude Acquaviva and Maciej Rychly in Zellerbach Playhouse. Be forewarned that the photos on the website suggest the performers are all amplified.

Shotgun Players presents Kings, written by Sarah Burgess and directed by Joanie McBrien, from 16 May to 16 June.

Ubuntu Theater Project presents Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, directed by Susannah Martin, from 17 May to 9 June; performances will be at the FLAX Building at 1501 Martin Luther King Jr Way in Oakland (walking distance to both the 12th and 19th Street BART stations).

Ray of Light Theater presents American Psycho (music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik, book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, directed by Jason Hoover with music director Ben Prince and choreographer Leslie Waggoner), from 17 May to 8 June at the Victoria Theater.

Cal Shakes in Orinda opens its season with Shakespeare's beloved A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Tyne Rafaeli; in case you're wondering, Midsummer Night is 24 June, the feast of St John the Baptist, so sadly you will not be able to attend the show on the actual day. as the play runs from 22 May to 16 June.

ACT presents Ionesco's Rhinoceros, translated by Derek Prouse and directed by Frank Galati, from 29 May to 23 June.

There are some operatic events scheduled this month at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music: on 2 and 3 May you can see Later the Same Evening, inspired by five Edward Hopper paintings, with music by John Musto, libretto by Mark Campbell, conducted by Curt Pajer and directed by Heather Mathews (performances are free but reservations are recommended); and on 23 May Music of Remembrance presents their new commissioned piece, The Parting, with music by Tom Cipullo and libretto by David Mason, centered on the last evening the Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti and his wife Fanni spend before the Nazis send them to the camps. The evening also includes music by three Hungarian composers who were killed by the Nazis: Laszlo Weinger, Sandor Vandor, and Sandor Kuti.

The Wagner Society of Northern California holds its annual celebration of The Master's birthday at St Mark's Lutheran on 25 May (the actual date is 22 May) with a concert by Steven Bailey and Mai-Linh Pham of music by Wagner adapted for piano; a reception will follow.

San Francisco Performances presents soprano Deborah Voigt and pianist Steven Bailey performing Lerner & Loewe, Zemlinsky, Grieg, Mahler, and Cole Porter on 2 May at Herbst Theater.

Lila Downs will be at the SF Jazz Center from 16 to 19 May.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Thomas Dunford, playing works by Dowland, Purcell, and Handel, on 19 May at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Festival Opera presents baritone (and Festival Artistic Director) Zachary Gordin and pianist (and Festival Principal Conductor) Bryan Nies in a recital of songs by Schumann, Reynaldo Hahn, Vaughan Williams, and Jake Heggie, on 28 May at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek (this theater is BART-accessible).

Cappella Romana presents Venice in the East, an exploration of the music of Renaissance-era Crete, on 11 May at St Ignatius in San Francisco.

Clerestory sings American popular songs (back from when they were good) and folk songs on 11 May at Holy Innocents Episcopal in San Francisco and on 12 May at the David Brower Center in Berkeley.

Sacred & Profane celebrates contemporary women composers, including Alice Parker, Libby Larsen, Gabriela Lena Frank, Ysäye Barnwell, Carol Barnett, Tina Andersson, Alissa Firsova, Caroline Mallonée, and Karin Rehnqvist, on 18 May at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco and on 19 May at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley.

Chora Nova, led by Paul Flight, sings Poulenc's Gloria and the Saint-Saëns Requiem on 25 May at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Early / Baroque Music
Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in Brandenburgs 2, 4, 5, and 6 on 3 May at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 4 May at First Congregational in Berkeley, 5 May at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 6 May at Davis Community Church in Davis.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents Antic Faces, a new group recreating the Elizabethan mixed consort, performing works by Dowland, Byrd, Morley, Phillips, Allison and Coperario, on 10 May at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 11 May at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley, and 12 May at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Chamber Music SF presents the Archetti Baroque String Ensemble at Herbst Theater on 12 May, when they will play works by Bach, Purcell, Telemann, and Hellendaal.

Cal Performances presents Orlando di Lasso's Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of Saint Peter), conducted by Grant Gershon and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale in a staging by Peter Sellars, on 17 May in Zellerbach Hall.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players do their part in the on-going Julius Eastman revival with two different programs at the SF Jazz Center, featuring music by Eastman and music inspired by him: on 10 May you can hear Eastman's Stay on It along with a west coast premiere by LJ White and world premieres by Sidney Corbett and Fernanda Aoki Navarro; on 11 May you can hear Eastman's Gay Guerrilla along with world premieres from Adam Strawbridge, Wyatt Cannon, and Myra Melford.

On 20 May at Herbst Theater Earplay performs a new work (and Earplay commission) by Kyle Hovatter, along with the west coast premiere of Xinyan Li's The Dunhuang Lovers, Tristan Murail's Treize Couleurs du soleil couchant, and Olly Wilson's Piano Trio.

On 31 May Wild Rumpus along with puppeteer Niki Ulehla, will perform scenes from the Russian folktale Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga, with music composed by David Coll, Christopher Pratorius, and Yunxiang Gao, at a location yet to be announced.

Wind octet Nomad Session ends its season at the Noe Valley Ministry on 31 May with a program that includes the premiere of Figure Eight by Mario Godoy.

Here's the monthly reminder to check the calendar of the Center for New Music, as it is frequently updated. Some things listed so far that jump out at me: Tongue Depressor & the Matsumoto/Sonnet Duo on 2 May; the showcase for Innova Recordings on 5 May featuring, among others, Volti, the Friction Quartet, and Pamela Z; Icelandic-American cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir performing pieces by four contemporary Icelandic composers on 17 May; Beth Custer's Drawdown on 18 May; and the Black Cedar Trio premiering three commissioned pieces by Javier Contreras, Andre Gueziec, and Victoria Malawey on 30 May.

The Afro-Cuban All-Stars with Juan de Marco visit the SF Jazz Center from 2 to 5 May.

On 10 May Old First Concerts presents pianist and composer Jon Jang and the Jon Jangtet with guest artist poet Genny Lim performing the world premiere of A Chinaman's Chance, A Choy's Chance! (celebrating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad and honoring the Chinese immigrants who helped build it) along with his Yank Sing Work Song and The Butterfly Lover's Song.

The Marcus Shelby Orchestra will be at the SF Jazz Center from 23 to 26 May.

On 2 May in Zellerbach Hall, Guest Conductor Christian Reif leads the Berkeley Symphony in Bizet's Carmen Suite #1, Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier Suite, Dances from Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès, and This Midnight Hour by Anna Clyne (the latter two with the ODC dance company, choreographed by KT Nelson).

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán plays Davies Hall on 5 May.

Guest artists the Marcus Roberts Trio join Concertmaster Daniel Hope and the New Century Chamber Orchestra in an all-American program featuring works by Bernstein, along with Barber's Adagio for Strings, Copland's Old American Folk Songs, and Gershwin's Song Suite for Violin and Orchestra (the latter two arranged by Paul Bateman). You can hear the program on 9 May at First Congregational in Berkeley, 10 May at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, 11 May at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and 12 May at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael.

The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, led by Christian Reif, plays the Mahler 1 on 19 May at Davies Hall.

There are concerts of interest at Davies Hall, as the San Francisco Symphony starts the slide into the home stretch: Marek Janowski conducts Mendelssohn's Ruy Blas Overture, the Bruch Violin Concerto 1 with soloist James Ehnes, and Wagner's Overture and Venusberg Music from Tannhäuser plus the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde on 2 to 4 May; Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Ligeti's Piano Concerto with soloist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, along with Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn, Nocturnes, and La Mer, on 9 to 11 May; MTT returns the next week, 16 to 18 May, to lead the Mahler 7; then the highly praised Krzysztof Urbański arrives from 23 to 25 May to conduct the Elgar Violin Concerto with soloist Vilde Frang, along with an Overture by Grażyna Bacewicz and the Mendelssohn 4, the Italian; then Juraj Valčuha leads us into June with the Shostakovich 8 and the Bach Violin Concerto 2 with Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik as soloist.

Chamber Music
The Mellon International Chamber Players (violinist Stephanie Zyzak, cellist Eunghee Cho, and pianist Roger Xia) perform works by Pēteris Vasks, Brhams, and Dvořák on 3 May at Old First Concerts.

Chamber Music SF presents cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Lily Maisky at Herbst Theater on 4 May, when they will play works by Marcello, Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich.

Old First Concerts presents the Ives Collective performing string sextets by Frank Bridge and Brahms on 5 May.

Chamber Music SF presents the San Francisco debut of the New York Philharmonic String Quartet at Herbst Theater on 9 May, when they will play works by Haydn, Shostakovich, and Brahms.

San Francisco Symphony players Alexander Barantschik (violin), Peter Wyrick (cello), and Anton Nel (piano) play works by Hummel, Ravel, and Schumann on 12 May at Gunn Theater (in the Legion of Honor).

The Bell-Isserlis-Denk Trio (Joshua Bell on violin, Steven Isserlis on cello, and Jeremy Denk on piano) perform works by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel in Davies Hall on 12 May.

Keyboards & Strings
Cal Performances presents violinist Michael Barenboim playing works by Tartini, Sciarrino, Paganini, and Berio on 5 May in Zellerbach Hall.

Pianists Sarah Cahill and Regina Myers come to Old First Concerts on 17 May with a music on the theme of social justice, including works by Elinor Armer, Ruby Fulton, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, and a premiere by Sharmi Basu.

Old First Concerts presents pianist Jason Stoll on 19 May, performing works by Mompou, Chopin, Earl Wild, Richard Rodgers via Andy Villemez (Fantasy on Themes from the Sound of Music), Nikolai Kapustin and Gershwin.

Chamber Music SF presents the San Francisco debut of violinist Alexandra Soumm on 19 May, when she will join with pianist Xiayin Wang at Herbst Theater to play music by Stravinsky, Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Bartók, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, and Ravel.

San Francisco Performances presents the San Francisco debut of pianist Francesco Piemontesi on 21 May at Herbst Theater, where he will play works by Bach, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff.

Pianist Audrey Vardanega plays Beethoven and Brahms for Old First Concerts on 31 May.

San Francisco Performances and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts co-present Dorrance Dance in ETM: Double Down from 9 to 11 May at the YBCA Theater.

Cal Performances presents the US premiere of Eifman Ballet's The Pygmalion Effect, with choreography by Boris Eifman to music by Johann Strauss Jr, from 31 May to 2 June at Zellerbach Hall.

The San Francisco Ballet closes its seasons with a revival of Shostakovich Trilogy (music by, no surprise, Shostakovich and choreography by Alexander Ratmansky) from 7 to 12 May.

ODC Dance hosts the 2019 Walking Distance Dance Festival from 12 to 19 May.

Visual Arts
Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again opens 19 May at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and runs until 2 September.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival runs from 1 to 5 May at the lovely period-appropriate Castro Theater, and I assume that it will as usual be a highlight of the year. And they seem to an unusually large number of rarities (meaning ones I've never seen) this year. See you in balcony – just kidding, I sit up close in the movie theater as well.

22 April 2019

Museum Monday 2019/16

detail of Two Scenes from the Passion of Christ: The Flagellation and the Crowning of Thorns by the Master of Cappenberg in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

01 April 2019

Whan That Aprille Day 2019

A lyric for the annual celebration of ancient, archaic, and "dead" languages (the Middle English is in roman type and my "translation" is interleaved in italics):

I have a young suster
I have a young sister
Fer beyonden the see;
Far beyond the sea;
Many be the drowries
Many are the love-tokens
That she sente me.
That she sent me.

She sente me the cherye
She sent me a cherry
Withouten ony ston,
Without any stone (pit),
And so she ded the dove
And so she did the dove
Withouten ony bon.
Without any bone.

Sche sente me the brer
She sent me a briar
Withouten ony rinde;
Without any bark;
Sche bad me love my lemman
She bade me love my sweetheart
Withoute longing.
Without longing.

How shuld ony cherye
How could any cherry
Be withoute ston?
Be without a stone (pit)?
And how shuld ony dove
How could any dove
Ben withoute bon?
Be without bones?

How shuld ony brer
How could any briar
Ben withoute rinde?
Be without bark?
How shuld I love min lemman
How could I love my sweetheart
Without longing?
Without longing?

Whan the cherye was a flour,
When the cherry was a flower,
Than hadde it non ston;
Then had it no stone (pit);
Whan the dove was an ey,
When the dove was an egg,
Than hadde it non bon.
Then had it no bones.

Whan the brer was onbred,
When the briar was a sprout,
Than hadde it non rind;
Then had it no bark;
Whan the maiden hath that she loveth,
When the maiden has what she loves,
She is without longing.
She is without longing.

I was taught a version of this riddle song back when schoolchildren had music lessons; it's interesting to see how long it's been around in a very similar form – our fruit was also a cherry (still referred to as one of the stone fruits, that is, fruit with a pit or kernel in the center), but I think the boneless bird in our version was a chicken (I'm sure some clever or misguided child would these days offer "chicken tenders" as an answer). In the song I learned, it was the lover who was asking us the riddles; here it is, perhaps oddly, the lover's sister, who is for some reason far beyond the sea – is she at home, or is he? Is he a soldier, a pilgrim, a knight? Is she a pilgrim? I think we can rule out "nun in a convent" though . . . maybe not; after all, as Chaucer's Prioress tells us, Amor Vincit Omnia, or Love Conquers All. The mysterious love-tokens are explained, but not why this young woman is sending them to her brother; perhaps the clue is in the final lines: When the maiden hath that she loveth, / She is without longing: in other words, your sweetheart also wants you, so go ahead and . . . you know. In the springtime tradition of carpe diem poems, grab the cherry blossom before it falls, the dove (the traditional symbol of faithful love) before it hatches and flies away, the briar before it gets large and thorny, and the lover while he or she is willing.

I'm pretty pleased that I also worked two Latin tags into this! I took this lyric from the Norton Critical Edition of Middle English Lyrics, edited by Richard L Hoffman and Maxwell S Luria. The translation they give for rind is unborn, but this version offers bark, which I think makes more sense.

Museum Monday 2019/13

inadvertent self-portrait with a detail of Dance in a Madhouse, a 1917 lithograph by George Bellows, as part of the Get Dancin' exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive

25 March 2019

fun stuff I may or may not get to: April 2019

It's time for one of my occasional warnings about BART, our on-going slow-motion disaster of a transit system. Starting in February, BART, which has apparently neglected basic repairs for decades, changed its schedule to accommodate retrofitting on the transbay tube. This change involved starting their weekday schedule an hour later than usual (and still ending shortly after midnight); what they did not announce, or played down, was that they are now running shorter trains during commute hours, with even longer waits between trains at night, and (at least on some lines) a radical curtailment of direct service on Sunday between the east bay and San Francisco. Most of these changes seem to hit mainly the Warm Springs - Richmond line (the one you'd take to get to downtown Oakland or Berkeley); it's long been obvious that this line, which services mostly the historically lower-income, mostly black or Latino neighborhoods of Fruitvale, Oakland, and Richmond, receives poorer service than the lines going to wealthier and whiter suburbs like Orinda or Moraga. I have no idea why shorter trains are necessary for retrofitting; it's been obvious for decades that BART needs to run full-length trains and run them more often, and instead, inexplicably, they run shorter trains with longer wait times. Commute hour trains have become dangerously crowded. Given how overheated the cars are at the best of times, I'm sure people are going to start getting sick and/or violent on them. We already have frequent delays for "medical emergencies" and though I assume this is a euphemism for "dealing with a crazy drug-addicted homeless person" the trend will no doubt spread to the rest of the population. Speaking of the homeless, it's become popular to blame them for the current state of BART, and BART does nothing to discourage this feeling, but if all the homeless disappeared tomorrow we'd still have to deal with BART's long-neglected infrastructure, its failure to make obvious improvements, or any improvements at all, its outmoded station design, its bone-headed management . . . . Even the problems the homeless are frequently blamed for – fare evasion, noisy and disruptive behavior, trashing the trains and stations – can easily be seen in many other riders, of all demographics. Amidst this latest fiasco, BART is preparing to request yet another fare hike (on top of the one scheduled anyway for next January), even though service has steadily declined for years despite all the money they've already been given. If you contact them to complain they send you some boilerplate PR nonsense about "checking 'Know Before You Go'" but checking their website is useless if all it's telling you is that there will be a series of too-short trains too far apart when you need to get to work or back home. I am stunned once again by the incompetence, stupidity, callousness, and cynicism displayed by BART management. So how does all this affect our possible aesthetic adventures below? Basically, if it's a burden to get to a venue, things on the "that might be interesting to check out" list drop to the "too much of an ordeal" list. (And to make a point that should be more obvious than it apparently is: driving or taking Uber are not really good alternatives, as the already horrible Bay Area traffic gets even worse when people avoid public transit.) Decent public transit is vital to our survival, not only in a world poisoned by environmental degradation but in a society where people need to learn to live together respectfully. Too bad our local transit offers such a dire reflection of our actual social state.

The Berkeley Playhouse presents the Steven Schwartz musical Pippin from 5 April to 5 May.

The Exit Theater offers Nigga-Roo, an examination of racism, blackface, and American life by Dazié Grego-Sykes, from 5 to 27 April.

The New Conservatory Theater Center presents The Gentleman Caller, imagining a night shared by Tennessee Williams and William Inge, by Philip Dawkins and directed by Arturo Catricala, from 5 April to 5 May.

Aurora Theater presents Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Josh Costello, from 12 April to 12 May.

42nd Street Moon revives 110 in the Shade, with music by Harvey Schmidt, lyrics by Tom Jones (not the singer; this is the duo that wrote The Fantasticks), and book by N Richard Nash, directed by Josh Marx, from 24 April to 12 May at the Gateway Theater in San Francisco.

Speaking of The Fantasticks, you can see it at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (directed by Michael Mohammed, with music director Michael Horsley) on 12 and 13 April; the performances are free but reservations are recommended.

Shotgun Players and TheatreFirst present Far, Far Better Things, a modern-day twist on A Tale of Two Cities (as the title might tell you, if you remember the second-most famous line in the novel), written by Geetha Reddy and directed by Katja Rivera, from 26 April to 19 May at the Live Oak Theater in Berkeley.

SHN/Best of Broadway presents David Payne in An Evening with CS Lewis from 25 to 28 April at the Marines' Memorial Theater in San Francisco.

Cal Performances presents the Théâtre National de Bretagne in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, directed by Arthur Nauzyciel, at Zellerbach Hall from 26 to 28 April; despite the French provenance of the troupe, the performance is apparently in English.

Shotgun Players presents the first in this season's Champagne Staged Reading Series, Charles Francis Chan Jr's Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, written by Lloyd Suh and directed by Michelle Talgarow, on 29 - 30 April.

The Ubuntu Theater Project, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, and Marin Theatre combine to present August Wilson's autobiographical one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned, directed by Margo Hall and starring Steven Anthony Jones, from 30 April to 5 May at the Rothwell Center Theater at Mills College in Oakland.

Barbara Heroux directs the Lamplighters in Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury, along with the Lamplighter's spoof sequel, Trial by Jury Duty, on 21 March at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 29 March at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek, and 6 - 7 April (both performances are matinees) at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by Curt Pajer and directed by Jose Maria Condemi, on 5 and 7 (matinee) April.

The Wagner Society of Northern California has Jeff McMillan speaking on Parsifalmania: The early history of Wagner's final opera in America on 6 April at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco. As part of the presentation we may get to hear excerpts from Marston's forthcoming release of the 1938 Met Parsifal broadcast, featuring Melchior and Flagstad.

Pocket Opera presents Puccini's La Rondine on 28 April at the Hillside Club in Berkeley and 5 May at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Opera's Schwabacher Recital Series ends its season with two recitals this month in the Taube Atrium Theater: on 3 April soprano Mary Evelyn Hangley, tenor Christopher Oglesby, and pianist Mark Morash perform works by Schubert, Britten, Richard Strauss, Dvořák, Ives, Fauré, and unspecified Italians who wrote duets; and on 24 April soprano Hangley, mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon, tenor Zhengyi Bai, and bass-baritone Christian Pursell join pianist Martin Katz to perform works by Hugo Wolf, Barber, and Brahms.

Lieder Alive! also hosts two recitals this month, both at the Noe Valley Ministry: on 7 April you can hear bass Kirk Eichelberger and pianist Simona Snitkovskaya performing Veronika Krausas's Kandinsky Lieder as well as Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death; and on 28 April you can hear mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur performing Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte and Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben and his Fantasie Opus 17.

Mariza, the "Queen of Fado", plays the SF Jazz Center from 12 to 14 April. At some point I should actually go hear some fado, but honestly I feel I've spent enough of my life listening to the lamentations of the Portuguese.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents the Choir of New College Oxford on 8 April at Grace Cathedral in a program of works by Palestrina, Victoria, Josquin des Prez, Francisco Guerrero, Walter Lamb, Nicholas Ludford, John Taverner, John Sheppard, and Thomas Tallis.

Lynne Morrow leads the Oakland Symphony Chorus's spring concert on 13 April at the First Congregational Church of Oakland; the program features African-American spirituals and a newly commissioned Mass for Freedom by Michael T Roberts inspired by them.

Bob Geary leads the San Francisco Choral Society in Rossini's Petite Messe Solonnelle at Calvary Presbyterian on 27 and 28 April.

Early / Baroque Music
Philharmonia Baroque gives us the gift of Handel's Saul: Nicolas McGegan leads the orchestra and the Philharmonia Chorale (Bruce Lamott, director), along with soloists soprano Sherezade Panthaki, soprano Yulia Van Doren, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, tenor Aaron Sheehan, tenor Jonathan Smucker, baritone Daniel Okulitch, and bass-baritone Christian Pursell, and this is clearly not to be missed. You can hear it 6 - 7 April at First Congregational in Berkeley, 12 April at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 13 April at First United Methodist in Palo Alto. And while we're talking about Philharmonia Baroque, I have to say they have a pretty spectacular season lined up for McGegan's farewell year.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents Ensemble Caprice performing music by Bach, Falconiero, Schmelzer, and Vivaldi under the rubric Lovestories: Great Composers and Their Loved Ones on 12 April at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 13 April at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley, and 14 April at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco. (Lovestories is spelled thus on the website.)

Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in works by two seventeenth-century Italians who worked in Vienna; you can hear madrigals by Giovanni Valentini, a student of Gabrieli, and the US premiere of Antonio Bertali's Missa Redemptoris; and that's 26 April at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 27 April at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 28 April at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley.

The Cantata Collective concludes its season with BWVs 62 and 72 with soprano Christine Brandes, alto William Sauerland, tenor Kyle Stegall, and bass Nikolas Nackley on 28 April at St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley.

Modern / Contemporary Music
San Francisco Performances presents Third Coast Percussion, playing new works by Philip Glass, Devonté Hines, and the ensemble itself, at Herbst Theater on 3 April.

Cal Performances brings Sō Percussion to Hertz Hall on 7 April, when they will perform west coast premieres of music by Vijay Iyer, Jason Treuting, Dan Trueman, and Donnacha Dennehy, as well as works by Caroline Shaw and a new work by Suzanne Farrin.

Ensemble for These Times brings The Film Noir Project to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 6 April, where they will perform commissioned world premieres by David Garner, Lennie Moore, Aleksandra Vrebalov, and Polina Nazaykinskaya, along with new works by Stacy Garrop, Justin Merritt, and David Garner.

Earplay has its second concert of the season on 8 April at the Taube Atrium Theater, where you can hear world premieres by Yu-Hsin Chang and Claire Jordan, a US premiere by Carola Bauckholt, a US and also a west coast premiere by Tristan Murail, and the 2018 Earplay Aird prize winner by A J McCaffrey.

As always, keep an eye on the Center for New Music's calendar, as it is frequently updated; and as always, here is a list of some things this month that catch my eye: horn player Nicolee Kuester and cellist Eric Moore are joined by pianist Jenny Hunt in new music by Dongryul Lee, Serio Cote, Morton Feldman, and Alvin Lucier (the first two commissioned by Kuester and Moore) on 4 April; a new music sampler from the 113 collective on 8 April; a lecture-recital from Amr Selim on 11 April demonstrating traditional Arabic music on the French horn; a salon-style evening of music by Patricia Wallinga on 12 April; Summits, a song cycle by Daniel Corral based on texts from "summit registers" (notebooks found at the tops of many mountain trails in which hikers can write their thoughts) on 13 April; the Amaranth Quartet on 14 April; contemporary piano music performed by Sakurako Kanemitsu on 20 April; Meredith Maloney using the inside as well as outside of the piano on 23 April (presented by Arab.Amp); the Galax Quartet playing music from 1607 to 2007 on 26 April; and Elinor Frey performing new music for baroque cello on 28 April.

At the San Francisco Symphony you can hear Andrey Boreyko conduct Zemlinsky's Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid) along with the Brahms Piano Concerto 2 with soloist Emanuel Ax on 11 - 12 and 14 April; Simone Young conduct Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade along with Ravel's Pavane pour une infant défunte (Pavane for a dead princess) and his Piano Concerto with soloist Louis Lortie on 18 - 20 April; and James Gaffigan conduct Wagner's Good Friday music from Parsifal, the Beethoven Piano Concerto 4 with soloist Hélène Grimaud, the Mozart 31, Paris, and the Barber 1, and that's on 25 - 27 April.

Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra in the Tchaikovsky 4, Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, and the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 5 in F Major Op 103, The Egyptian, with soloist Jinzhao Xu on 23 April.

Goran Bregović and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra play their Balkan music at the SF Jazz Center from 25 to 28 April.

Chamber Music
San Francisco Performances presents the Elias Quartet playing works by Sally Beamish, Benjamin Britten, and Robert Schumann at Herbst Theater on 1 April.

Old First Concerts hosts pianist Audrey Vardanega along with violinist Hannah Tarley and cellist Monica Scott in works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Janáček on 12 April.

Old First Concerts presents its tenth Annual Birthday Tribute to Maestro Ali Akbar Khan with two concerts (an afternoon and an evening session; you may buy tickets to either or both) on 13 April celebrating the late master of traditional Indian music.

San Francisco Performances presents the Tetzlaff-Tetzlaff-Vogt Trio playing works by Mozart, Shostakovich, and Dvořák on 27 April at Herbst Theater.

The San Francisco Symphony chamber ensemble will play works by Spohr, Brahms, and Fauré in Davies Hall on 28 April.

Old First Concerts presents the Meráki Quartet on 26 April, playing pieces inspired by folk music from composers Debussy, Bartók, and Preben Antonsen.

Keyboards & Strings
Old First Concerts presents violinist Patrick Galvin (along with pianist Jungeun Kim and other unnamed guests) on 5 April in a program featuring Schubert, Bach, and the world premiere of Axel Herrera's The Road of the Pilgrim.

The San Francisco Symphony hosts a recital by violinist Midori and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet on 7 April at Davies Hall.

Pianists Bobby Mitchell and Jeffrey LaDeur play mostly Schumann for Old First Concerts on 7 April.

San Francisco Performances presents Piotr Anderszewski performing Beethoven (the Diabelli Variations) and Bach at Herbst Theater on 13 April. UPDATE: Anderszewski has cancelled his American tour due to complications from the flu; instead, SFP will present the San Francisco recital debut of Alexandre Tharaud; he will play Bach's Goldberg Variations, still in Herbst Theater, but the performance date is now 23 April.

Old First Concerts presents pianist Hadley McCarroll on 14 April in works by Bach, Helmut Lachenmann, Elliott Carter, and Debussy, along with world premieres by Monica Scott and Matt Ingalls.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents pianist Nelson Goerner playing Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, and Chopin at Herbst Theater on 14 April.

Cal Performances presents violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Akira Eguchi at Zellerbach Hall, playing Kreisler, Scott Wheeler, Avner Dorman, Bach, and Franck, on 29 April.

Cal Performances presents the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour at Zellerbach Hall on 3 April, with music director Christian Sands and singer Cécile McLorin Salvant.

The Havana Cuba All-Stars return to the Paramount Theater in Oakland on 13 April under the auspices of Cal Performances.

The Sasha Berliner Quartet comes to the SF Jazz Center on 26 April.

On 28 April Freight & Salvage in Berkeley presents Mary Lou's Apartment, an all-women big band inspired by the lives and legacies of Mary Lou Williams and Melba Liston.

San Francisco Performances presents Rosie Kay Dance at the Atrium Theater on 11 - 13 April, performing 5 Soldiers, which examines the body in wartime.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has its annual residency at Cal Performances from 9 to 14 April, when they will be performing four different programs in Zellerbach Hall.

The Alonzo King Lines Ballet presents a world premiere collaboration with Vietnamese musician Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, along with a revival of 2016's Art Songs, from 12 to 21 April at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Ballet revives The Little Mermaid (score by Lera Auerbach and choreography by John Neumeier) from 9 to 28 April; I gather the show is controversial but I really loved it when I saw it a few years ago. It is a complex and adult take on Andersen's famous story and his life – in other words, don't go in expect a live romp through the Disney film (which I also enjoy, but it's a very different thing).

Visual Arts
The Legion of Honor justifies my membership renewal by hosting Early Rubens, opening 6 April and running until 8 September. I am very excited about this one.

The Oakland Museum of California presents Queer California: Untold Stories from 13 April to 11 August.