31 December 2018

Museum Monday

a detail of The Absinthe Drinkers (Les déclassés) by Jean-François Raffaëlli in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

& a happy new year to all

26 December 2018

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

It is now Boxing Day, or St Stephen's, and perhaps you like good King Wenceslas are looking out: if so, here are some possible destinations for your miraculous feet in this first month of the newest year:

Shotgun Players has Stoppard's Arcadia running on the main stage until 27 January, and you can catch Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, adapted by Emily Mann and directed by Jeffrey Lo, on 14 - 15 January as part of the Champagne Reading Series.

The touring company of Come from Away, by Irene Sankoff and David Hein and directed by Christopher Ashley, comes to the Golden Gate Theater from 8 January to 3 February as part of the Best of Broadway series.

San Francisco Playhouse presents King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody, from 22 January to 2 March.

ACT revives Edward Albee's Seascape, directed by Pam MacKinnon, from 23 January to 17 February.

Berkeley Rep revives Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, from 24 January to 10 March.

Aurora Theater presents Strindberg's Creditors, in a new version by David Greig, from 25 January to 24 February.

Brian Copeland's Not a Genuine Black Man plays one night (25 January) at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre in Hayward.

The San Francisco Symphony concert that is jumping out this month is of course the return of Esa-Pekka Salonen in his new role as Music-Director Designate, conducting works by Sibelius, Richard Strauss, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir on 18 - 20 January. Signing Salonen, who left his dazzling tenure at the LA Phil in order to spend more time composing, was an amazing coup, and an encouraging sign from an orchestra that often seems in full flight from modern much less contemporary music. There isn't much to be done at this point with acoustically uneven Davies Hall and its haute-1970s Marriott decor (though maybe they could at least make the seats less physically uncomfortable), but there is much to be done with the programming, which has seemed stuck in a groove for quite a while now. I blame the Symphony's awful audience for a lot of this (same goes for the Opera, which is also overly conservative in its programming). I've had the feeling that Tilson Thomas would have been more adventurous but the San Francisco audiences mostly want the appearance of adventure, not anything that might actually be new and therefore unsettling. Well, it's good to start a new year with some hope, even if we won't see the solid shape of things until at least the season after next.

There are other concerts of interest at the San Francisco Symphony this month: Jaap van Zweden conducts Mozart's Oboe Concerto (Eugene Izotov, soloist) and the Bruckner 5 from 11 to 13 January [UPDATE: Izotov on the oboe has been switched for Carey Bell in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622]; Christian Reif conducts Richard Strauss's Don Juan, the Prokofiev 5, and Andrew Norman's new Cello Concerto (a Symphony co-commission, with soloist Johannes Moser) from 24 to 26 January; and Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt returns to conduct the Beethoven 6, the Pastoral, and the Mendelssohn 3, the Scottish, on 31 January and 1 - 2 February.

Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony, joined by soprano Shawnette Sulker for the vocal pieces, in an enticing program called To Belong Here: Notes from the African Diaspora, featuring music by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges; Antonio Carlos Gomes; William Grant Still; Florence Price; and Duke Ellington. That's 25 January at the Paramount Theater in Oakland.

Guest Conductor Jonathon Heyward leads the Berkeley Symphony in Britten's Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Hannah Kendall's Disillusioned Dreamer (a world premiere), and Bernstein's Symphony No 2 for Piano and Orchestra, the Age of Anxiety (soloist Andrew Tyson) in Zellerbach Hall on 31 January.

Chamber Music
On 6 January the Circadian String Quartet visits Old First Concerts to perform Songs of Death and Rebirth, featuring Schubert (Death & the Maiden), Shostakovich, and original interludes inspired by Rumi from quartet violinist David Rhyther.

Voices of Music plays a wide-ranging program (western and non-western instruments, from the fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries, from America, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ireland, Bulgaria, Quebec, Scotland, and Slovenia, and a new work by Hanneke van Proosdij) of music by women, and you can hear it 25 January at All Saints Episcopal in Palo Alto, 26 January at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 27 January at St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley.

The Persephone Ensemble plays works by Fauré, Chausson, and Elinor Armer on 25 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the concert is free but reservations are recommended.

The Ives Collective visits Old First Concerts on 27 January to perform Bach (as arranged by Mozart), Schumann, and a world premiere by Kamyar Mohajer.

San Francisco Performances presents tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Paul Lewis performing Brahms, Mahler, and Schumann on 13 January in Herbst Theater (please note that the concert starts at 7:00, instead of SFP's usual 7:30).

Soprano Patricia Racette will be giving a master class on 18 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The Martha Redbone Roots Project visits Freight & Salvage in Berkeley to sing William Blake on 23 January.

San Francisco Performances's annual PIVOT series concentrates on politically motivated art this time around; see under Keyboards & Strings for pianist Ran Dank on 24 January; the other artists involved are vocalists: Paula West sings the Bob Dylan songbook at two performances on 25 January, composer-pianist-singer Gabriel Kahane performs his Book of Travelers on 26 January, and bass-baritone Dashon Burton, joined by pianist Lindsay Garritson, perform an intriguing and wide-ranging set of protest songs on 27 January. All performances are in Herbst Theater this year and I am very glad to report that SFP has done the considerate thing and is using reserved seating for this series.

The Wagner Society of Northern California presents Claudia Stevens, among other things the librettist of the forthcoming Howards End, America, giving a talk on Wagner in the novels of E M Forster, on 19 January at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco.

Poet Laureate Tracy K Smith will be in conversation at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco on 30 January.

If you don't want to let the holidays go just yet, you can go hear Cappella Romana performing traditional Ukrainian carols for Christmas and Epiphany on 5 January at St Ignatius in San Francisco.

Early / Baroque Music
The San Francisco Early Music Society presents the Ars Lyrica Houston Chamber Players in a program exploring the extravagant styles of the German baroque as displayed in works by Bach, Buxtehude, and Biber, as well as August Kerzinger, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, and Johann Jakob Walther; and that's 11 January at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 12 January at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley, and 13 January at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Pianist Inon Barnatan and the Calidore Quartet come to San Francisco Performances with an all-Bach program, focusing on excerpts from The Art of the Fugue; that's 29 January at Herbst Theater.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Other Minds presents an evening of Anne Guthrie's music (involving voice, glass harmonica, oboe, French horns, amplified guitar, and electronics) at the David Brower Center in Berkeley on 10 January.

On 13 January Old First Concerts explores the music of the late Julius Eastman in a concert arranged by composer Luciano Chessa, featuring Chessa on piano and vocals along with pianists Sarah Cahill, Regina Myers, and Chris Brown, baritone Kevin Baum, and bass Richard Mix.

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble presents The Sound of Nature, a program inspired by the natural world as portrayed in Bach, Crumb, Evan Hause, and a world premiere by Clarice Assad, on 14 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and 19 January at Hertz Hall on the Berkeley campus.

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players' concert on 18 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music starts with a song by Charles Ives, which leads to Ted Hearne's "The Cage" Variations, along with works by Ingram Marshall, Molly Joyce, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Timo Andres; the evening begins with a free dress rehearsal of the Hearne, followed by a conversation with him, before the ticketed concert. Sounds enticing, but apparently auto-tuning is involved somewhere so take that into consideration.

Quantopia: The Evolution of the Internet, a multi-media piece on information technology composed by Paul D Miller (DJ Spooky) with visual design by Greg Niemeyer, performed by DJ Spooky, the San Francisco Girls Chorus led by Valérie Saint-Agathe, and Classical Revolution, is at the Yerba Buena Center on 25 January.

For glimpses of the operatic future, look to West Edge Opera's Snapshot program, featuring four excerpts from works-in-progress; there are performances on 19 January at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall in Berkeley and 20 January at the Taube Atrium Theater at Civic Center in San Francisco.

The Kronos Quartet and Cal Performances team up to present some new works from their Fifty for the Future commissions; this time around the composers involved are Misato Mochizuki, Mario Galeano Toro, Soo Yeon Lyuh, and guest artists include student ensembles from Berkeley High, the Oakland School for the Arts, and the Crowden School, and you can hear the results on 25 January in Zellerbach Hall.

On 25 January Old First Concerts presents Firesong (a fluid group consisting for this concert of soprano Vanessa Langer, pianist Allegra Chapman, flutist Elizabeth Talbert, and composer/sound artist David Coll) playing works by Olivier Messiaen, George Crumb, Takashi Toshimatsu, and David Coll (a world premiere).

Clarinetist Jeff Anderle and the Delphi Trio play Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time and other works at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 28 January; the concert is free but reservations are recommended.

As always, check the calendar at the Center for New Music, which is updated frequently; some things on view as I type this that jump out at me are: Yinsho: Dangerous Animals on 24 January and Ensemble for Our Times on 26 January.

Keyboards & Strings
The San Francisco Symphony presents an evening of klezmer music with Itzhak Perlman on 14 January in Davies Hall.

Cal Performances presents cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han playing Beethoven, Brahms, and Mendelssohn at Hertz Hall on 20 January.

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes plays Schumann, Bartók, and Janáček at Davies Hall on 22 January, presented by the San Francisco Symphony.

Pianist Ran Dank plays Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated on 24 January at Herbst Theater as part of San Francisco Performances's PIVOT series, which focuses this time on politically oriented art.

Cal Performances presents violinist Nicola Benedetti and pianist Alexei Grynyuk playing Bach, Prokofiev, Wynton Marsalis (the west coast premiere of Fiddle Dance Suite) and Richard Strauss on 27 January in Zellerbach Hall.

The San Francisco Symphony presents violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Enrico Pace at Davies Hall on 27 January, playing works by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Bartók, and Enescu.

The Wayne Shorter Quartet plays the SF Jazz Center from 3 to 6 January.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet plays the SF Jazz Center from 17 to 20 January.

In connection with the Get Dancin' exhibit at BAM / PFA (see Visual Arts below), Berkeley Ballet Theater dances in the galleries on 11 January and Hālau O Keikialiʻi performs traditional Hawaiian dance on 20 January.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago visits Cal Performances with two programs at Zellerbach Hall on 18 and 20 January (Program A) and 19 January (Program B).

The San Francisco Ballet opens its post-Nutcracker season with Don Quixote (music by Minkus, choreography by Alexander Gorsky after Marius Petipa with staging and additional choreography by Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov), running from 25 January to 3 February. In this case familiarity with the source material is neither necessary nor particularly desirable.

Visual Arts
The Gauguin show is still running at the de Young Museum, but  there are some interesting-looking new exhibits opening this month: starting 16 January and running until 14 April, MOAD (the Museum of the African Diaspora) has Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem, which includes nearly a century's worth of work by artists of African descent, and starting 9 January and running until 31 March BAM / PFA (the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive) has Get Dancin': Selections from the Collection, featuring prints, drawings, and photographs celebrating dance, as well as a solo exhibit of the Shinto-influenced sculpture of Masako Miki, which also opens 9 January but runs until 28 April.

A couple of terrific film series are running BAM / PFA: Fritz Lang & German Expressionism is scheduled from 7 December 2018 to 23 February and Japanese Film Classics from the BAM/PFA Collection runs from 12 December 2018 to 27 January. Every film in both series is worth seeing, so get going!

25 December 2018

Merry Everything

This lovely Tintoretto is from the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the painter's birth.

Merry Christmas or whatever else you celebrate. Let us all go in peace in the new year.

24 December 2018

Museum Monday

I saw this Edward Burne-Jones watercolor, The Nativity, as part of the special exhibit Truth & Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites & the Old Masters at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

04 December 2018

fun stuff I may or may not get to: December 2018

This round-up was nearing completion when my Internet problems set in, and though my access has been restored (and will soon be improved, I am assured), it wasn't in quite enough time for me to finish this before the first of the month. I'm going to go ahead and post it now, not quite completed, as most of the interesting events are crowded early in the month (and sadly some have already passed), which is typical of Decembers, which are mostly given over to Nutcrackers and Messiahs and the pretense that this drought-stricken land on the edge of the Pacific Ocean is seasonally and magically a land of sleigh rides and fir trees and snow falling gently, gently, so gently, over our sorry years. Merry whatever you celebrate, and peace on earth, good-will to all!

You can hear Chanticleer's Christmas program at many Bay Area venues from 10 to 23 December. Old First Concerts has a whole month's worth of holiday-themed (or -tinged) concerts: guitarist Lawrence Ferrara and cellist Shiqi Li play festive and wintry music on 7 December; Ragazzi Boys Chorus sings For the Beauty of the Earth on 9 December; Golden Bough plays Celtic songs for Christmas and the solstice on 14 December; Kitka sings eastern European seasonal songs on 21 December; and pianist Sandra Wright Shen plays a Christmas-centered program ranging from Bach and Liszt to Messiaen and Crumb on 23 December.

Guest Conductor Derek Tam leads the San Francisco Renaissance Voices in Christmas motets and carols from medieval times up to a wet-ink work by local composer Kyle Hovatter at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in San Francisco on 10 December; the concert is free but you'll need to make a reservation here or by calling 415/564-2324.

Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony in its annual holiday concert, Let Us Break Bread Together, on 16 December at the Paramount.

If you're looking for an interesting twist on an old favorite, Theater of Yugen presents A Noh Christmas Carol from 7 to 30 December.

The African-American Shakespeare Company presents the holiday treat Cinderella, written by company members and directed by Mark Allan Davis, from 21 to 23 December at Herbst Theater.

As mentioned last month, Ars Minerva is reviving Giovanni Porta's Ifigenia in Aulide at the ODC Theater on 30 November and 1 December.

San Francisco Opera's annual Adler Fellows concert, The Future Is Now, will take place on 8 December at Herbst Theater.

Opera Parallèle presents Rachel Portman's The Little Prince at the Marines' Memorial Theatre in San Francisco on 7 - 9 December, with Nicole Paiement conducting and staging by Brian Staufenbiel.

One Found Sound plays works by Reena Esmail, Frank Martin, and Mozart on 7 December at Heron Arts in San Francisco.

Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in Prokofiev's Peter & the Wolf (with narrator Richard Dreyfuss) on 9 December at Davies Hall.

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra explores the Viennese classical school with works by Haydn (the Overture to L'isola disabitata), Mozart (three concert arias performed by soprano Christina Brandes), and Beethoven (the Triple Concerto); you can hear the results on 30 December at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, 31 December at Hertz Hall in Berkeley, or 1 January 2019 at First United Methodist in Palo Alto.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Other Minds presents Gloria Cheng and Terry Riley playing The Heaven Ladder and other piano works by Riley at the YBCA Forum on 5 December.

Early / Baroque Music
Guest conductor Patrick Dupré Quigley leads Philharmonia Baroque in a program meant to show both the fancy Italianate side of Bach and his more severe Lutheran demeanor; in addition to two Bach cantatas, there are choral works by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, and Purcell (the magnificent Frost Scene from King Arthur). The soloists are soprano Margot Rood, countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Steven Soph, and baritone Steven Eddy, along with the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale. Performances are 5 December at Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, 7 December at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 8 - 9 December at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Guest Conductor Don Scott Carpenter leads the San Francisco Renaissance Voices in La Pastorela (The Shepherd's Story), a traditional Mexican version of the Nativity story told from the point of view of the shepherds. The group will also perform Cristóbal de Morales's Missa Queramus cum pastoribus (Mass of the Quaking Shepherds); that's 15 December at the Hillside Club in Berkeley and 16 December at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in San Francisco.

American Bach Soloists has a special concert on New Year's Eve (wisely beginning at 4:00 PM; they know their audience); Jeffrey Thomas leads countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and soprano Mary Wilson in a program of operatic arias as well as instrumental pieces by Handel and Gluck.

Jeffrey Thomas leads American Bach Soloists in its annual performances of Messiah at Grace Cathedral on 12 - 14 December, with soloists Mary Wilson (soprano), Eric Jurenas (countertenor), Aaron Sheehan (tenor), and Jesse Blumberg (bass).

Jane Glover conducts the San Francisco Symphony's Messiah on 14 - 15 December, with soloists Ying Fang (soprano), Elizabeth DeShong (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Joshua Hopkins (baritone).

Urs Leonhardt Steiner leads the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a sing-along Messiah on 10 December at Herbst Theater; soloists are Yi Triplett (soprano), Chrystal Philippi (alto), William Wiggins (tenor), Kittinant Chinsamran (bass), and Franklin Beau Davis and Stephen Harris (trumpets). There are also pub-crawl versions of the concert on 16 December at the Southern Pacific Brewing Company and 17 December at the Homestead.

Chamber Music
The San Francisco Symphony (in chamber group formation) has two concerts this month: Mozart and Brahms at the Gunn Theater up at the Legion of Honor on 2 December and Mozart, Beethoven, and Taneyev at Davies Hall on 16 December.

San Francisco Performances presents the Telegraph Quartet in works by Schulhoff, Dvořák, and Weinberg on 9 December at Herbst Theater.

Keyboards & Strings
Cal Performances presents pianist Shai Wosner in an all-Schubert recital on 2 December at Hertz Hall.

The San Francisco Symphony presents pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and cellist Gautier Capuçon playing Debussy, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff at Davies Hall on 2 December.

San Francisco Performances presents violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and pianist Polina Leschenko in works by Bartó, Poulenc, Enescu, and Ravel on 12 December at Herbst Theater.

Cal Peformances presents Pavel Zuštiak and his Palissimo Company in the west coast premiere of Custodians of Beauty from 7 to 9 December at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Visual Arts
Ink, Paper, Silk: One Hundred Years of Collecting Japanese Art opens at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive on 12 December and runs until 14 April 2019.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival has its annual Day of Silents at the Castro Theater on 1 December, featuring six films with live musical accompaniment.

29 November 2018


I have been having major issues with Internet access, and I've been trying for nearly a month to get AT&T to resolve them; regular posting will resume soon, I hope. Thanks for checking in.

16 November 2018

Friday Photo 2018/46

a detail of Douglas Tilden's The Football Players on the UC-Berkeley campus: the 121st Big Game vs Stanford is tomorrow

OK, here's an update: the Big Game is postponed to 1 December because of the terrible air quality here in the Bay Area, due to the wild fires

12 November 2018

02 November 2018

29 October 2018

26 October 2018

24 October 2018

fun stuff I may or may not get to: November 2018

Maybe it's because of a calendar quirk that leaves a whole week of November after Thanksgiving, or maybe it's just part of a seasonal spread that's been going on for a while, but there's more Christmas stuff on this list than I recall from previous Novembers. 'Tis the season, ready or not!

The Champagne Staged Reading Series at Shotgun Players presents The Secretaries by the Five Lesbian Brothers (Maureen Angelos, Lisa Kron, Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, and Peg Healey), directed by Brady Brophy-Hilton, on 5 and 6 November.

ACT's MFA program presents Sheridan's The School for Scandal, adapted and directed by Christine Adaire, from 8 to 17 November at The Rueff at the Strand Theater – I have no idea what The Rueff is, but the Strand is a nice theater, conveniently located right by the Civic Center BART station. I am delighted to see that all performances start at 7:00; the parent company, which I think is the only major Bay Area theater that still starts every evening performance at 8:00, might take note. (I should mention there is one performance each run that starts earlier, due to an audience talk-back that follows the play, and of course you can flee that like a sensible person.)

Cutting Ball Theater brings back its Variety Pack from 8 to 18 November; no word yet on what different performances will be available for sampling.

Custom Made Theatre revives In the Heights, the musical Lin-Manual Miranda wrote before you-know-what. The book is by Quiara Alegría Hudes and the show is directed by Nikki Meñez and it runs from 8 November to 15 December.

The Douglas Morrisson Theatre in Hayward presents Dracula, adapted by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston from Bram Stoker's novel, from 15 November to 2 December.

The Curran Theater presents Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce from 21 November to 1 December.

42nd Street Moon revives Dames at Sea, with book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller and music by Jim Wise, directed and choreographed by Nicole Helfer and with music direction by Dave Dobrusky, from 28 November to 16 December.

The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Avenue Q (music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and book by Jeff Whitty), directed by Jay Manley with musical direction by Mark Dietrich, from 30 November to 6 January 2019.

The Ubuntu Theater Project presents Conference of the Birds, adapted by Sholeh Wolpé from the famous Sufi poem and directed by Giulio Perrone, from 30 November to 16 December at the Brooklyn Preserve at 1433 12th Avenue in Oakland (and please note this is 12th Avenue, not 12th Street as in the 12th Street BART station).

Shotgun Players presents Tom Stoppard's Arcadia (at last I get to see it!), directed by Patrick Dooley, from 30 November to 6 January 2019.

If you are anywhere near Washington DC on 3 November, do not miss Michael Hersch's On the Threshold of Winter. I saw this amazingly powerful piece last January in Salt Lake City. It is worth traveling for.

If you are near a movie theater that shows the Met livecasts, you can catch Marnie, Nico Muhly's new opera (which stars the wonderful Isabel Leonard and Christopher Maltman), on 10 November.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents two evening performances of Poulenc's surrealist opera Les Mamelles de Tirésias on 15 and 16 November; performances are free but reservations are recommended.

San Francisco Opera closes out its fall season with It's a Wonderful Life (libretto by Gene Scheer and music by Jake Heggie), which had its world premiere in Houston in 2016. There are nine performances, running into December.

The Wagner Society of Northern California presents Stanford professor Thomas Grey discussing Wagner's theories of Gesamtkunstwerk versus his actual practices; that's 17 November at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco.

Ars Minerva returns with its fourth annual revival of a hitherto forgotten baroque opera; this time it's Giovanni Porta's Ifigenia in Aulide, and if past productions are anything to go by this is sure to be one of the year's highlights. The Bay Area is very lucky to have Céline Ricci, who founded and leads the group, unearthing these treasures for us. She is also staging this production and singing Achille; the rest of the fine cast includes Aura Veruni (Ifigenia), Nikola Printz (Agamennone), Shawnette Sulker (Clitennestra), Cara Gabrielson (Elisena), Kevin Gino (Ulisse), Matheus Coura (Teucro), and Spencer Dodd (Arcade); Derek Tam conducts. You can experience the results on 30 November and 1 December at the ODC Theater in the Mission; you can also hear an abridged concert version on 9 November at First Congregational in Berkeley.

San Francisco Performances presents baritone Christopher Maltman in a program of animal-centered songs, including works by Poulenc, Schumann, Ravel, Reger, Chabrier, the aptly named Wolf, and Flanders & Swann; that's 13 November at Herbst Theater.

You can start the holiday parties early when Pink Martini joins the San Francisco Symphony on 27 and 28 November.

San Francisco Performances presents Luciana Souza, joined by Chico Pinheiro on guitar and Scott Colley on string bass, in a program featuring texts by Emily Dickinson and Leonard Cohen set to music by Souza, along with works by Brazilian composers Hermeto Pascoal and Milton Nascimento, on 30 November at Herbst Theater.

Laurie Anderson is in residence at the SF Jazz Center from 28 November to 2 December; I find the SF Jazz website clunky, but you should be able to see the range of concerts if you click here and explore.

There are some interesting choral works on offer this month, but I've listed them under different categories: check out Volti under Modern / Contemporary Music and Cappella SF and Chora Nova under Early / Baroque Music.

Early / Baroque Music
Jordi Savall explores the influence of enslaved Africans on the musical life of Europe and the Americas in a wide-ranging program called The Routes of Slavery: Memories of Slavery (1444–1888) on 3 November in Zellerbach Hall, presented by Cal Performances.

Nicholas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque in a mostly Vivaldi program, with some Corelli and Geminiani added in, on 7 November at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, 9 November at Herbst Theater, and 10 - 11 November at First Congregational in Berkeley. In an innovation which I hope spreads far and wide, the usual pre-concert talk is replaced by a Prelude Recital featuring the evening's guest artists, forty-five minutes before each concert. The recital program includes Handel, Vivaldi, and Telemann.

The Messiahs are starting early this year: you can hear Paul Flight lead Chora Nova in this justly beloved work on 18 November at First Congregational in Berkeley.

The Cantata Collective continues its series of free concerts exploring the cantatas of JS Bach on 25 November, when soprano Sherezade Panthaki and baritone Paul Max Tipton perform BWV 57 and 58 at St Mary Magdalen at 2005 Berryman Street in Berkeley.

Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in five centuries of Italian Christmas music on 30 November at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 1 December at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 2 December at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley.

Robert Geary leads the San Francisco Choral Society in Part 1 of Bach's Christmas Oratorio on 30 November and 1 December at St Ignatius in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents Ragnar Bohlin and his excellent choral group, Cappella SF, in works by Schütz, Josquin, Couperin, and Allegri on 30 November at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 1 December at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley, and 2 December at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

And be sure to check out Ars Minerva's latest revival of a forgotten baroque opera (this time it's Porta's Ifigenia in Aulide), listed under Operatic.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Cal Performances presents pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich playing works by Bartók, Ravel, Birtwistle, and Messiaen; the Birtwistle is a new work co-commissioned by Cal Performances and written especially for Aimard and Stefanovich. You can hear them at Zellerbach Hall on 1 November.

Volti joins the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble for a program featuring works by Benjamin Britten, Addie Camsuzou (world premiere), Laurie San Martin (world premiere), and Gregory Spears (west coast premiere) on 18 November at the Berkeley Hillside Club and 19 November at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

As always, check the full schedule of the Center for New Music, as new events are added all the time; this month's schedule is a little heavy on electric guitars/electronica for my taste, but as they say YMMV. Some things that jumps out at me are: Oboetronics II with Glenda Bates and Brandon Labadie on 2 November; Enhakē's Beyond Messiaen: 21st Century works for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano on 9 November; the Long Tone Choir: Autumn on 11 November; Duos and Trios with Scott R Looney, Joseph Noble, and Kjell Nordeson on 16 November; Martin Azevedo & Planarian Collective with Dennis Aman in Disassembling the Clocks on 18 November; and pianist Clara Yang exploring works old and new by Debussy, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Phil Young on 19 November.

Myra Melford and and her quintet, Snowy Egret, come to the SF Jazz Center on 2 - 3 November.

Violinist Regina Carter, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and trumpeter Eddie Henderson join pianist Kenny Barron at the SF Jazz Center on 8 - 11 November.

Smith Dobson and his band play material from Thelonious Monk's Underground on 15 November at the SF Jazz Center.

Dorado Schmitt and the Django All-Stars perform Django Rheinhardt-style music at the SF Jazz Center on 23 - 25 November.

Guest Concertmaster Anthony Marwood leads the New Century Chamber Orchestra in Sally Beamish's Seavaigers, Peteris Vasks's Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra: Distant Light, and Dvořák's Serenade for Strings; you can hear the music 1 November at First Congregational in Berkeley, 2 November at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, 3 November at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and 4 November at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael.

Daniel Barenboim brings his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to Zellerbach Hall, where they will play the Tchaikovsky 5 and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote, on 10 November under the auspices of Cal Performances.

Jakub Hrůša conducts the San Francisco Symphony in Bartók's Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin, the Borodin 2, and the Shostakovich Violin Concerto 1 (soloist Karen Gomyo) from 8 to 10 November.

Urs Leonhadt Steiner leads the Golden Gate Symphony in Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (arranged for harp with Ricardo Rasura as soloist), the Beethoven Piano Concerto 5, the Emperor, with soloist Allison Lovejoy, and the Beethoven 5; there's also the world premiere of Chaconne by resident composer Michael Kimbell, and that's all on 10 November at Herbst Theater.

Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in the Dvořák 7 on 11 November (matinee); and you can hear more – in fact, the mostly the same – Dvořák that night when Semyon Bychkov leads the Czech Philharmonic in the Dvořák 7 and the Cello Concerto (soloist Alisa Weilerstein).

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in the Beethoven 3, the Eroica, and his own From the Diary of Anne Frank (with narrator Isabel Leonard) from 15 to 18 November.

Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony (along with the Oakland Symphony Chorus led by Lynne Morrow and the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus led by William Sauerland) in a program memorializing the Ghost Ship Fire of 2016. After Bernstein's Take Care of This House from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (with soprano Patricia Westley) comes the premiere of Richard Marriott's Ghost Ship Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (with soloist Matthew Linaman) and then Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem with soprano Westley and baritone Richard Sims. You can hear it all at the Paramount Theater on 16 November.

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in the Beethoven 9, the Choral, with soloists Susanna Phillips (soprano), Kelley O'Connor (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Davóne Tines (bass-baritone); the program also includes Berg's Sieben frühe Lieder (Seven Early Songs) (presumably Susanna Phillips is the soloist, though it's not clear from the Symphony's website). You can hear the results from 23 to 25 November.

Chamber Music
The Persephone Chamber Ensemble comes to Old First Concerts on 4 November, performing the world premiere of Elinor Armer's Noctures for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano Quartet along with two works by Brahms.

The Telegraph Quartet performs works by Schulhoff, Dvořák , and Enescu on 9 November at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the concert is free but reservations are recommended.

Old First Concerts presents Strobe on 9 November, playing the world premiere of Water Colors by Alexis Alrich, the San Francisco premire of Vincent Russo's Visions and Visitations, and works by Schubert and Britten.

Joined by an ensemble of musicians and dancers in performing traditional music of the Mediterranean, Ali Paris sings and plays the Qanun, a 76-string middle eastern zither dating back to the 14th century, on 11 November at Old First Concerts.

San Francisco Performances presents quartet Brooklyn Rider at Herbst Theater on 16 November, where they will play Beethoven's Quartet #15, Op 132, along with new responses to it by Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts, and Caroline Shaw.

Pianist Pascal Le Boeuf is joined by the Friction Quartet to perform Le Boeuf's Ritual Being on 30 November at the SF Jazz Center.

The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, well known in these parts for their work with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, comes to Old First Concerts on 30 November to perform works related to the early days of cinema.

Wind Octet Nomad Sessions opens its second season on 30 November at the Noe Valley Ministry with a program featuring works by Eric Whitacre, Gustav Holst, George Gershwin, and a premiere by Emily Shisko.

Keyboards & Strings
San Francisco Performances presents pianist Igor Levit examining Romantic-era versions of earlier composers, featuring works by Brahms (adapting Bach), Busoni (again, after Bach), Schumann, Wagner as transcribed by Liszt, and Liszt as transcribed by Busoni; that's 1 November at Herbst Theater.

San Francisco Performances presents guitarist Paul Galbraith with cellist Antonio Meneses (formerly of the Beaux Arts Trio), playing works by Haydn (arranged by Galbraith), Schubert, Clovis Pereira, Radamés Gnatalli, and Andre Mehmari, on 3 November at Herbst Theater.

Awesome violinist Hilary Hahn plays a solo recital in Davies Hall on 4 November, presented by the San Francisco Symphony.

The 7th Annual California Banjo Extravaganza (with Bill Evans, Ned Luberecki & Christ Coole and Their All-Star Band (John Reischman, Chad Manning, Jim Nunally, and Sharon Gilchrist)) is at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on 10 November.

Old First Concerts presents pianist José López on 18 November in a program featuring Schubert, Liszt, and Nicolás Ruíz Espadero.

Pianist Gilbert Kalish gives a free master class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 29 November.

See also the Aimard & Stefanovich recital at Cal Performances listed under Modern / Contemporary Music.

Cal Performances presents modern dance group Compagnie Käfig in Pixel on 16 - 17 November in Zellerbach Hall.

Visual Arts
East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection opens at the Legion of Honor on 3 November and runs until 24 February 2019.

Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein, exploring the influence of 20th century science on its contemporary artists, opens at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive on 7 November and runs until 3 March 2019.

Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World opens at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on 10 November and runs until 24 February 2019.

You can explore Brassaï's photographs of Paris between the wars at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 17 November to 18 February 2019.

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey opens at the de Young Museum on 17 November and runs until 7 April 2019.

You can explore the works of radical French filmmaker Jean Vigo at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive from 2 to 23 November.

On 3 November Theatre of Yugen is showing Noh Men: The Spirit of Noh, a documentary on Noh masks by Jeffrey Dym.

The 5th Annual Urban Film Fest will be held from 11 to 18 November; on 11 November at the Roxie Theater you can see a short film directed by Mischa Hedges about the 21 January 2017 Women's March – the film features my friend Angela Washington and her daughter Maya, and Angela will be taking part in a panel discussion following the film.

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive explores the works of contemporary Romanian filmmaker Corneliu Porumboiu from 8 to 16 November; Porumboiu will appear in person at many of the films.

15 October 2018

Museum Monday 2018/42

Many years ago, when I lived in Boston, this twelfth-century statue of Mary and the infant Jesus from Lombardy, by an unidentified artist, was one of my favorite objects in the Museum of Fine Arts, and I'll admit that it's partly because when I first saw it my immediate thought was that Mary looked a little homelier than usual – and then I saw the look of love between the two, the trusting love on the child's face and the sorrowing love on the mother's, and it just pierced my heart (especially as I contrasted my initial shallow reaction with the emotional depths of these limestone figures), and after that I always went to visit this statue when I went to the Museum, which was pretty often. When I went back to Boston for a visit in June of 2017, after a very long absence, I headed straight to the MFA and was very disappointed not to find my statue in the medieval galleries, where it had always been. Eventually I found it again in an unexpected gallery, in a special exhibit dedicated to a particular curator, whose name I unfortunately did not write down. The theme of the small show was objects he had acquired and his interest in the body, which is why the background here is Oskar Kokoschka's Two Nudes (Lovers), a portrait of himself with Alma Mahler. I liked the juxtaposition of my statue with the different kind of love (one that also has sorrow in it) passing between Oskar and Alma.

08 October 2018

Museum Monday 2018/41

Frank Duveneck, Study for "Guard of the Harem" at the de Young Museum in San Francisco (although, weirdly, I cannot find it on their website)

28 September 2018

Friday Photo 2018/39

detail of the reproduction of Laocoön and His Sons outside of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, San Francisco

25 September 2018

fun stuff I may or may not get to: October 2018

There's certainly plenty of fresh stuff to choose from this month, but keep in mind that many of the plays listed last month are running into October.

The annual SF Olympians Festival runs from 3 to 20 October at the Exit Stage Left; Roman Holiday is this year's theme, with readings of 27 all-new full-length or one-act plays by 28 writers exploring the gods and legends of ancient Rome.

42nd Street Moon revive's 1979's Best Little Whorehouse in Texas by Carol Hall, Larry King, and Peter Masterson, directed and choreographed by Christina Lazo and with music direction by Dave Dubrusky; it runs from 3 to 21 October at the Gateway Theater on Jackson Street in San Francisco.

Theatre of Yugen and Five on a Match present Seen / By Everyone, directed by Nick Ishimaru and written by Matt Cohen, Amir Darvish, Meg MacCary, Enormvs Munoz, and Jen Taher; the text explores death and grieving in a relentlessly digitizing world and is entirely made up of social media "found texts" – I find grieving on Facebook a bit bizarre so this an intriguing concept. The show runs 5 - 21 October at Noh Space in San Francisco.

Cal Performances presents the Schaubühne Berlin production of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, as adapted by Florian Borchmeyer and directed by Thomas Ostermeier, in Zellerbach Hall from 12 to 13 October. The Cal Performances's website mentions the production's "controversial handling of the play's climactic scene" and then adds "(no spoilers here!)" – OK, there will be spoilers here, so stop reading this paragraph if that's important to you. I suspected what this meant was some kind of audience participation shenanigans, and according to this article in the Guardian I was correct. Proceed at your own risk. I  think this is a difficult play to bring off, not because the characters are one-dimensional, as Ostermeier claims in the article, but because the polluted-water controversy isn't really what the play is about: it's a psychological portrait, penetrating and often very unflattering, of the type of person who will stand up to his money-driven, short-sighted society. (This is why Shotgun Player's updated adaptation of a few years ago, the title of which I can't remember, didn't work – it was rewritten with a woman as the lead, and I think the playwright just didn't want to be as critical of a woman as Ibsen was of his protagonist.) Ibsen does also tend to write "well-made" plays of a sort that can seem a little too tightly calculated for our theatrical tastes. I suspect I will take a pass on this one, though I am curious about it.

Shotgun Players presents Women Laughing Alone With Salad by Sheila Callaghan, directed by Susannah Martin, at the Ashby Stage from 12 October to 11 November.

Cal Performances presents the Bay Area premiere of Barber Shop Chronicles by Inua Ellams, directed by Bijan Sheibani and designed by Rae Smith, in Zellerbach Hall from 26 to 28 October. The play looks at the barbershop as a social space for black men, giving us conversations in various barbershops in London and Africa over one day (and not to be confused with the American films that have the same subject).

New Conservatory Theatre Center in partnership with the Museum of the African Diaspora presents the regional premiere of Cardboard Piano by Hansol Jung, directed by Tom Bruett, exploring the relationship between two girls in war-torn Uganda. The show runs from 26 October to 2 December.

For the fourth year in a row, Ray of Light Theater puts on a Halloween-week revival (25 October to 3 November, to be precise) of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Opera presents nine performances of Puccini's Tosca, and I'm sure we're all grateful to have this rare opportunity to hear a live performance of this little-known gem of verismo. They are also presenting five performances of Strauss's Arabella, which I saw once before and (to my great surprise, as I generally like Strauss) I hated the opera so much I feel compelled to give it another chance. Besides, Heidi Stober is in it and I like her.

The Wagner Society of Northern California presents Judith Cabaud discussing Isolde's Dream, her biography of Mathilde Wesendonck, on 13 October at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco.

Cal Performances presents Aida Cuevas with Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán in A Tribute to Juan Gabriel at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on 6 October.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents ragtime songs from early Broadway on 7 October; the concert is free but reservations are recommended.

On 10 October soprano Christine Brandes and pianist Eric Moe present Sappho's Garden – Debussy's Trois Chansons de Bilitis, Schoenberg's Das Buch der hängenden Gärten, and selections from Moe's Tough Songs – as part of the UC-Berkeley Music Department's noon concert series at Herz Hall.

San Francisco Opera presents Plácido Domingo, with guests Ana María Martínez, Arturo Chacón-Cruz, and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Jordi Bernàcer, on 21 October (matinee). They will be performing "popular arias and duets" – it sounds pretty lightweight to me, but Domingo is one of the great singers of our time and at this point in his career he can do lightweight if he wants to, as far as I'm concerned. It looks as if tickets are only available by calling 415/864-3330; the Opera website also notes that they reserve "the right to cancel or not accept an order for any prudent reason" so be warned if you are among the imprudent.

Cal Performances presents the Soweto Gospel Choir at the Paramount in Oakland on 13 October.

Tenor Nicholas Phan joins Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe and the San Francisco Girls Chorus in a celebration of Nadia Boulanger and her pupils, with music by Boulanger and her sister Lili, David Conte, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Samuel Barber, Louise Talma, and Leonard Bernstein, and that's 18 October at Herbst Theater.

Ming Luke leads the Berkeley Symphony in Shostakovich's Festive Overture, Jennifer Higdon's Violin Concerto (with soloist Benjamin Beilman), Anna Clyne's Night Ferry (with an accompanying video from the Fisher Family Art Lab at BAM / PFA), and Ravel's La Valse, on 4 October at Zellerbach Hall. As this is the season opener, and presumably there's some sort of celebration afterwards, the start time is 7:00 PM, a sensible measure (the start time, not the celebration) the Symphony might consider implementing for all their upcoming performances.

Nicolas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque in an all-Mozart program, featuring the Litaniae Lauretanae, Exsultate, jubilate, and the Mass No 15 in C major, the "Coronation", with soloists Camille Ortiz (soprano), Meg Bragle (mezzo-soprano), James Reese (tenor), and Dashon Burton (bass-baritone) and with the Philharmonia Chorale led by Bruce Lamott. That's 3 October at Bing Concert Hall in Palo Alto, 4 October at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, 5 October at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 6 - 7 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony in the Shostakovich 5, the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 2 with soloist Stewart Goodyear, and some Bernstein dances from On the Town on 12 October at the Paramount Theater, and sweet Jesus on Sunday morning will the Bernstein Centennial Year ever end? It feels as if it's been going on for its own century. I realize my failure to love Bernstein outside of Candide says more about me than about his artistry, but . . . could we please just stop? Please?

James Ross leads the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra in Lutosławski's Symphonic Variations, the Barber Second Essay for Orchestra, and the Brahms 1 on 19 and 20 October.

The San Francisco Symphony presents Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra (with Denis Matsuey as solo pianist) in two programs at Davies Hall: on 21 October you can hear an all-Stravinsky program and on 22 October you can hear Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and the Mahler 5.

It looks as if the San Francisco Symphony is not repeating Christian Reif's Octoberfest concert of last year, which is too bad as it was a lot of fun. Here's what they are doing, instead of giving us tasty beer and songs from The Student Prince: Manfred Honeck conducts Prokofiev's Sinfonia concertante (with cello soloist Truls Mørk) and the Dvořák 8 on 11 - 13 October. Pablo Heras-Casado conducts Ravel's Alborado del gracioso, the Bartók Piano Concerto 3 with soloist Javier Perianes, Debussy's Ibéria from Images pour orchestre, and Ravel's Boléro on 18 - 20 October. The Symphony continues its silly website habit of referring to a concert by the most widely known (and usually least interesting) piece on the program, so for them this is Pablo Heras-Casado Conducts Boléro, I guess in the hope that the vague memory of Bo Derek shaking her white-girl cornrows will fill those seats, which is what they get for cultivating an audience that thinks Bartók is way too much to handle (they hasten to assure us that the Piano Concerto 3 is "melodious" lest terror of the non-melodic modern causes us to strangle ourselves in our frenzied pearl-clutching). Later in the month there's an even more misleading heading, when we're told that the SF Symphony Plays Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, when what they're playing is the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier; that concert also features the world premiere of the Symphony co-commission Suite from Silent Night by Kevin Puts, along with Anna Clyne's Masquerade and Lalo's Symphonie espagnole with solo violinist Ray Chen. This is probably as close as the SF Symphony is going to get to a new-music concert and Chen is always worth hearing. Cristian Măcelaru conducts and that's 25 - 27 October.

Early / Baroque Music
San Francisco Performances presents singers from TENET Vocal Artists along with instrumental group Quicksilver, led by violinist Robert Mealy, at St Mark's Lutheran on 12 October in a program featuring Monteverdi and other 17th century Italian Baroque music.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents El Mundo, directed by guitarist and lutenist Richard Savino, in an exploration of early music from Castile and Castilian-influenced areas from Naples to Peru; that's 12 October at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 13 October at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley, and 14 October at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in Brandenburg Concertos 1 and 3 as well as Bach's Hunting Cantata BWV 208 on 19 October at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 20 October at First Congregational in Berkeley, 21 October at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 22 October at Davis Community Church in Davis.

Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in Cantata 198 and the Missa Brevis in A Major on 19 October at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 20 October at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 21 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

San Francisco Performances presents violinist Daniel Hope "and friends" (the friends are Simos Papanas on violin, Nicola Mosca on violoncello, Emanuele Forni on luthe, Naoki Kitaya on cembalo, and Michael Metzler on percussion) in a program exploring the sound world of the violin and the baroque concept of the "air"; that's 27 October at Herbst Theater.

San Francisco Performances presents cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras at Herbst Theater in an epic one-day (that day would be 28 October), two-concert traversal of all the Bach solo suites for cello.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Cal Performances presents Max Richter and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble performing music from Richter's The Blue Notebooks, composed in response to the invasion of Iraq, and Infra, inspired by Eliot's The Waste Land; that's 5 October at Zellerbach Hall.

The Stenberg / Cahill Duo, featuring Kate Stenberg on violin and Sarah Cahill on piano and primarily dedicated to the American experimental music tradition, plays Old First Concerts on 12 October, with works by Aaron Gervais, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kaija Saariaho, Linda Catlin Smith, Henry Cowell, and Grażyna Bacewicz.

Ensemble for These Times (soprano Nanette McGuinness and cellist Anne Lerner-Wright, with guest pianist Xin Zhao) play music by Emigres & Exiles – composers who fled fascist Europe and went to Hollywood to compose for the movies – including Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Arnold Schoenberg, André Previn, Ernst Toch, Erich Korngold, Miklos Rozsa, Eric Zeisl, Franz Waxman, Kurt Weill, and David Garner. You can hear them on 19 October at 405 Shrader; I have not been to this venue but it is apparently tiny and you need to RSVP first, so check 405shrader.com for instructions on how to do that – or you could go to the performance on 20 October at the Berkeley Piano Club.

Eric Dudley, the new Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, gets their season off to a great start with a celebration of the late Elliott Carter on 20 October at the Taube Atrium Theater, featuring three works by Carter (A 6 Letter Letter from 1996, Changes from 1983, and Penthode from 1985), along with new works from Sabrina Schroeder and Tobin Chodos inspired by Carter. As is usual with SFCMP, the festivities start early with an open rehearsal and a composer talk hosted by Dudley before the actual concert starts at 7:30. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that more groups need to program Carter's music. Think of how much better off we would be if all the Berstein pieces from the past year had been Carter pieces instead!

The Vinifera Trio plays Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time (with a video presentation on the background and composition of the piece, famously written in a prison camp during WWII), along with selections from his Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jésus, at Old First Concerts on 26 October.

The International Contemporary Ensemble performs works by Seth Cluett and Anna Thorvaldsdottir on 26 October at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the concert is free but reservations are recommended. This performance is in conjunction with the Rubin Institute of Music Criticism, and if you're interested in their programs you can check out their schedule here or you can read Lisa Hirsch's entry here.

And as always check the Center for New Music's calendar, as it gets updated frequently. Some things coming up this month: the final concert of Animals & Giraffes' year-long residency on 4 October; Curium playing music by Jennifer Higdon, Kaija Saariaho, and Clara Schumann on 6 October; pianist Thomas Schultz playing Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated as well as music by Hyo-Shin Na on 7 October; Keepsakes for Contraforte and Contrabass Flute on 13 October; Hidejiro Honjoh playing shamisen music old and new on 14 October; Pamela Z, Donald Swearingen, and Eric Lyon improvising on 15 October; guitarist Nicolas Deuson and singer Jonathan Pilkington on 18 October; early music group the Liaison Ensemble with new music group Helia Music Collective performing works by Barbara Strozzi, Francesca Caccini, Emily Koh, Lily Chen, Julie Barwick, and Emma Logan on 27 October; and pianist Mari Kawamura playing works by François Couperin, Joey Bourdeau, Anthony Vine, and Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh on 28 October.

There is as usual a lot going on at the SF Jazz Center: the Chick Corea Trio plays from 4 to 7 October; the Sons of Kemet play on 10 October; there's a Thelonious Monk birthday concert, also on 10 October; from 11 to 14 October there's a "new trumpet" festival featuring concerts by Adam O'Farrill, the Erik Jekabson Sextet, Keyon Harrold, and the Marquis Hill Blacktet; the Pérez, Cohen, Potter Quintet (with Larry Grenadier and Nate Smith) plays on 14 October; the "Keyed Up" festival from 18 to 21 October features performances from Kev Choice, Cameron Graves, Christian Sands, and Tigran Hamasyan; and the 6th Annual San Francisco International Boogie-Woogie Festival is on 28 October.

Chamber Music
The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble opens its season with an eclectic concert featuring music from Charles Peck (their 2018 Composition Contest winner), Jon Deak, Mario Davidovsky, Jonathan Favero (world premiere), Sheila Silver, Olly Wilson, Alfred Bachelet, Benjamin Britten, and Vincenzo Bellini, and that's on 6 October at the Berkeley Hillside Club and 8 October at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

San Francisco Performances presents the Dover Quartet in a program of works by non-American composers (Britten, Bartók, and Dvořák) begun in or inspired by America; you can hear the results on 7 October at Herbst Theater.

Old First Concerts presents the San Francisco debut of Dyad, a violin (Niv Ashkenazi) and bassoon (Leah Kohn) duo, performing works by Ernest Bloch, Reena Esmail, Niccolò Paganini, Rachel Epperly, and Gernot Wolfgang, on 7 October.

Cal Performances presents the Jerusalem Quartet, joined by violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth, in a program of sextets by Strauss, Schoenberg, and Tchaikovsky, at First Congregational Church on 13 October.

The Ives Collective performs works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Peter Schikele on 14 October at Old First Concerts.

Musicians from the San Francisco Symphony have two chamber music recitals this month: oddly both are 2:00 matinees on 28 October, though in different locations (which I guess is obvious, but an Ivesian mash-up might be an interesting experiment!). Violinist Alexander Barantschik, cellist Peter Wyrick, and pianist Anton Nel perform an all-Beethoven program at the Gunn Theater at the Legion of Honor, and at Davies Hall you can hear Penderecki, Colgrass, and Franck.

There isn't a lot of Halloween-themed stuff on this list, but here's something: pianists Inara Morgenstern and Victoria Neve, joined by vocalist Ariela Morgenstern, perform George Crumb Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik along with seasonally spooky four-hand piano works by Gounod, Reineke, Dukas, Schumann, Alfredo Casella, and Toby Twining at Old First Concerts on 28 October.

Strings & Keyboards & Percussion
Cal Performances presents tabla virtuoso Sandeep Das and the HUM Ensemble (Syrian oud master Issam Rafea, Indian vocalist and sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan, and sitar player Rajib Karmakar) on 7 October in Hertz Hall in an exploration of the ancient music of India and Syria.

Pianist Leon Fleisher gives a Master Class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 7 October; the event is free but reservations are recommended.

Under the auspices of San Francisco Performances, guitarists Sharon Isbin and Romero Lubambo perform works by Isaias Savio, Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Antonio Lauro, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Augstin Barrios Mangoré, Andrew York, Gentil Montaña, and Joaquin Rodrigo on 13 October at Herbst Theater.

The San Francisco Symphony presents Evgeny Kissin in a solo piano recital, featuring Beethoven (the Hammerklavier, no less) and Rachmaninoff, on 14 October at Davies Hall.

Flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo plays the SF Jazz Center from 11 to 14 October.

Fuzjko Hemming plays Chopin, Debussy, and Liszt on 19 October at Herbst Theater.

The San Francisco Symphony presents Olivier Latry in a solo recital on the Davies Hall organ, featuring music by Couperin, Lully, Bach, Franck, Brahms, Schumann, Liszt, and Latry himself, on 21 October.

San Francisco Performances presents pianist Seong-Jin Cho playing Bach, Schubert, Chopin, and Mussorgsky on 22 October at Herbst Theater.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet and the Kronos Quartet collaborate on a celebration of the Ballet's 35th Anniversary, including a world premiere along with favorite revivals; that's 5 - 7 and 11 - 14 October at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Cal Performances presents Sasha Waltz's Körper (Bodies) in Zellerbach Hall on 20 and 21 October.

Visual Arts
Boundless: Contemporary Tibetan Artists at Home and Abroad runs from 3 October to 26 May 2019 at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive.

You can explore The World of Charles & Ray Eames at the Oakland Museum of California from 13 October through 17 February 2019.

You have until 28 October to see René Magritte: The Fifth Season at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Also at SFMOMA, Wayne Thiebaud will appear in conversation with curator Janet Bishop on 11 October in conjunction with a new exhibit of works by Thiebaud or chosen by him from the museum's collections.

SFMOMA is running a Satyajit Ray festival from 4 to 21 October.

There are, as always, some interesting film series at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive: Chinese Cinema Classics runs from 5 to 14 October and Afterimage: Agnieszka Holland runs from 25 to 28 October.

The SF Jazz Center presents the Lon Chaney silent Hunchback of Notre Dame at architecturally appropriate Grace Cathedral on 27 October, accompanied by Dorothy Papadakos on the organ.