30 December 2019

27 December 2019

fun stuff I may or may not get to: January 2020

Here we are, at the start of a new year but roughly half-way through the performance season (though of course it's pretty much year-round by now). Anyone interested in classical music, and I assume that would include anyone who reads these previews, is aware that 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, and though it hasn't exactly been difficult to find performances of his music, the scheduling is really ramping up for the anniversary year, to such an extent that I created a new Beethoven category, featuring concerts that are either all-Ludwig or feature his works as the main attraction. Personally I'm always happy to hear his ever-revolutionary work, but it's also good to remember that one of the best ways to honor such an artist is to be open to the new forms of beauty being created in our own day by those following his heaven-searching path. Happy new year to all!

On 12 January, in conjunction with the exhibit Strange, running at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive until 19 January, the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley presents Guillaume Apollinaire's The Mammaries of Tiresias (opera-goers will recognize the title from Poulenc's setting of the play).

ACT presents Will Eno's Wakey, Wakey, directed by Anne Kauffman and starring Tony Hale, from 23 January to 16 February at the Geary Theater.

Cutting Ball Theater presents Ways to Leave a Body, a theatrical collaboration written by Alexa Derman and Roxie Perkins and directed by Maya Herbsman and Allie Moss, from 23 January to 9 February.

Tiny Beautiful Things, directed by Bill English and based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, comes to San Francisco Playhouse 28 January through 7 March.

Aurora Theater has the west coast premiere of Lucy Kirkwood's The Children, directed by Barbara Damashek, from 31 January through 1 March.

Nicholas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque in Christopher Alden's production of Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with soloists Lauren Snouffer (soprano, as Aci), Anthony Roth Costanzo (countertenor, as Galatea), and Davóne Tines (bass-baritone, as Polifemo), and that's at the ODC Theater from 24 - 26 and 28 - 31 January and 1 February; there's is also an opening night "gala" on 22 January at the Wilsey Center for Opera.

West Edge Opera and Earplay present this year's edition of Snapshot, their sampler series of operas currently being composed, on 31 January at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley (right by the Ashby BART station) and 1 February at the Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco, where you can hear scenes from Gilberto (music by Nicolas Lell Benavides, libretto by Marella Marin Koch), Eighteen Melodies for Hujia (music and text translation by Joan Huang), El Canguro (music by Peter Michael von der Nahmer, libretto by Cynthia Lewis Ferrell), and Moon, Bride, Dogs (music by Ryan Suleiman, libretto by Cristina Fries).

Some celebrated singers are coming to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music: soprano Deborah Voigt gives a master class on 10 January; soprano Patricia Racette gives one on 17 January; and mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer gives a recital on 20 January (program not yet announced) as part of the Faculty Artist Series. All these programs are free but reservations are recommended.

From 9 to 12 January mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and Bass-baritone Ryan McKinny will join Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony for Thomas's Rilke Songs, songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Ravels' La Valse, and Berlioz's Overture to Benvenuto Cellini

The Berkeley Symphony and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music present a Concerto Competition winners concert on 18 January at the Conservatory, when Martin West will lead Eclipse by Collin Whitfield (winner of SFCM's Highsmith Competition), Sieben fruhe Lieder by Alban Berg with soloist Bryana Marrero (winner of the Voice Concerto Competition), and Béla Bartók's Viola Concerto Sz 120 with soloist Chuxuejie Zhang (winner of the Viola Concerto Competition).

Cal Performances presents the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Pinchas Zukerman, in Zellerbach Hall on 26 January, when they will perform Beethoven's Overture to Egmont, the Tchaikovsky 5, and Mozart's Violin Concerto 5, the Turkish (with Zukerman doubling as soloist).

Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt returns to the San Francisco Symphony on 30 - 31 January and 2 February to lead the Brahms 3 and the Berwald 1.

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony on 16 - 18 January in the Beethoven Piano Concerto 2 (with soloist Emanuel Ax), Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, the Berg Three Pieces for Orchestra, and the west coast premiere of Julia Wolfe's Fountain of Youth (a Symphony co-commission).

Presented by San Francisco Performances, the Alexander String Quartet, along with "host-lecturer" Robert Greenberg, continues their Saturday-morning traversal of the Beethoven string quartets on 25 January with No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1 and No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2.

Violinist and conductor Daniel Hope leads the New Century Chamber Orchestra, with guest artists pianist Simone Dinnerstein and cellist Lynn Harrell, in two all-Beethoven programs: on 24 January you can hear the Cello Sonata No. 5 in D Major, Op. 102 No.2, the Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 (the Kreutzer), and the Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1 No. 1; and on 25 January the Triple Concerto and the First Symphony (both those programs are at the Presidio Theater in San Francisco; the 25 January program can also be heard on 23 January at First Congregational in Berkeley).

The Ives Collective plays Beethoven's String Quintet in C major and a chamber ensemble arrangement of the Piano Concerto 4 for Old First Concerts on 26 January.

The San Francisco Symphony presents violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist Lambert Orkis playing Violin Sonatas 4, 5 (Spring), and 9 (Kreutzer) in Davies Hall on 26 January. Then on 27 January, again in Davies Hall, the Symphony will present Mutter along with violinist Ye-Eun Choi, violist Vladimir Babeshko, and cellist Daniel Müller-Schott playing the String Trio in C minor, Opus 9, no.3; the String Quartet in E-flat major, Opus 74 (the Harp), and the String Trio in E-flat major, Opus 3.

On 23 - 25 January, Dima Slobodeniouk leads the San Francisco Symphony in Jörg Widmann's Con brio, the Sibelius Violin Concerto (with soloist Sergey Khachatryan), and the Beethoven 7.

Lina Gonzalez-Granados conducts the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra on 31 January in Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez (with soloist Alec Holcomb, winner of the Guitar Concerto Competition), Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, and the Beethoven 6, the Pastoral.

Early / Baroque Music
The San Francisco Early Music Society presents Les Voix Humaines performing Dowland's Lachrimae on 10 January at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 11 January at St John's Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 12 January at Church of the Advent in San Francisco.

Alexander Lingas leads Cappella Romana in the music of "ninth-century nun, poet, and hymnographer Kassianë", further described on their website as "Byzantium’s most formidable and prolific female composer" – sounds intriguing! You can experience her music on 18 January at St Ignatius in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Early Music Society gives us An Austen Afternoon with soprano Rita Lilly, narrator Nick Jones, and fortepianist Derek Tam performing excerpts from Austen's novels and pieces she and her family might have played or sung, and that's 19 January at Rendon Hall at the California Jazz Conservatory on Addison Street in Berkeley.

Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen joins Jeffrey Thomas and the American Bach Soloists in Orphean Enchantments, a concert featuring Vivaldi's Stabat Mater as well as works by Bach, JC Bach, Hoffmann, Buxtehude, and Muffat; you can hear them 24 January at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 25 January at First Congregational in Berkeley, 26 January at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 27 January at Davis Community Church in Davis.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players celebrate the Merce Cunningham centennial as well as his long partnership with John Cage with Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra, to which Antoine Hunter, founder of the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival, will perform the original choreography; the program will also include works by Gloria Justen, David Coll, Henry Cowell, and Anna Clyne, and you can experience it all 17 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Other Minds presents The Nature of Music, featuring layered recordings of natural sounds by OM Executive and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian, on 19 January at the Goldman Theater in the David Brower Center in Berkeley.

The Friction Quartet will be at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 30 January for their latest concert of commissioned premieres; this one will feature Nicole Lizée's Juxtapossession and Mario Godoy's Attention Economy, along with a new string quartet arrangement of Lizée's Criterion Collection (yes, that is a reference to the celebrated film purveyors) and Lake by Eric Deluca.

Here are some things on the Center for New Music's January calendar that jump out at me: the Nomad Trio and Amendola & Greenlief Duo on 7 January; Feedback: In Response with composer Brett Austin Eastman and flutist Jessie Nucho on 18 January; D Riley Nicholson's Resurrection of Everyday People concert & album release on 19 January; the Quince Ensemble in a Woody Guthrie-inspired concert on 24 January; and Ensemble for These Times with Blooming Flowers: Music by Women Composers, featuring the world premiere of Weiwei Miao's Blooming Flowers, Full Moon, on 25 January.

Chamber Music
On 12 January Old First Concerts presents the Ramey Piano Trio (Florin Parvulescu on violin, David Goldblatt on cello, and Samantha Cho on piano) playing works by Germaine Tailleferre, Haydn, and Schubert.

Beethoven isn't the only one with a birthday this year, and Freight & Salvage in Berkeley is here to remind you of that important fact: on 13 January Ben Simon and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra celebrate Mozart's birthday (actual birthday: 27 January) with two of his quintets (Horn and Viola) and from 24 through 26 January F&S hosts the Django Reinhardt Birthday Festival (actual birthday 23 January) and you can get a pass for all three days or individual tickets for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

On 24 January at Old First Concerts you can hear Chordless (soprano Sara LeMesh and pianist Allegra Chapman) with special guest soprano Kate McKinney, performing the world premiere of a new song cycle by Benjamin Pesetsky, along with works by Aaron Copland, Messiaen, Barbara Strozzi, Ives, Tadeusz Baird, and Andrzej Panufnik and Igor Stravinsky.

San Francisco Performances presents String Theory, the latest permutation of its annual PIVOT Festival, at Herbst Theater from 23 to 26 January, with the following impressive and enticing line-up: 23 January, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and violinist Stefan Jackiw play works by Bach, Viktor Kalabis, CPE Bach, and Walter Piston; 24 January, violinist Jennifer Koh, pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, and percussionist/composer Tyshawn Sorey perform works by Bach and Andrew Norman as well as Iyer and Sorey; 25 January, vocalist Theo Bleckmann, pianist Dan Tepfer, and the Telegraph Quartet perform Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile, mostly from the Berlin cabaret period; 26 January, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and cellist Jay Campbell play pieces ranging from 11th Century works by that beloved composer, Anonymous, as well as Gibbons and Machaut, to Ravel, Xenakis, and Ligeti.

Keyboards & Strings
The San Francisco Symphony presents organist Jens Korndörfer in recital on 5 January in Davies Hall, playing works by Reger, Bach, Thalben-Ball, Foote, Pamela Decker (a west coast premiere), Dupré, Valery Aubertin, and Guilmant.

On 15 January San Francisco Performances revives its Salon Series, now at the Education Studio at the War Memorial Veterans Building, with pianist Edward Simon in an all-Mompou program.

Pianist Anyssa Neumann explores contrapuntal traditions from the baroque to the present day, including preludes and transcriptions by Bach, Busoni, Pärt, Chopin, Dallapiccola, and Liszt, for Old First Concerts on 31 January.

San Francisco Ballet opens its season with Cinderella, with music by Prokofiev, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, and puppetry from Basil Twist, from 21 January to 2 February.

Visual Arts
The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive opens Brave Warriors and Fantastic Tales: The World According to Yoshitoshi on 15 January; the show runs until 31 May.

The small sculptures of Ron Nagle are featured in Ron Nagle: Handsome Drifter, running at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive from 15 January to 14 June.

Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment, including works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Asian Art Museum's own collection, opens at the Asian on 17 January; I'm looking forward to the show, but even if you aren't, I urge you to read the promo on the website, which is, quite frankly, utterly bizarre, promising as it does not just that you will see interesting and beautiful things or learn something new about the world but that you will receive a life-altering spiritual uplift. I think this speaks to the role of Asian religions, particularly Buddhism, and most particularly Himalayan Buddhism, in the American cultural imagination; I mean, I can't imagine a museum presenting a show of, say, altarpieces from Renaissance Florence and promising us that we will leave the show filled with a new-found and permanent sense of the peace that comes from understanding Christ's redemptive love. (If I end up emerging from this exhibit with the advertised spiritual awakening, I promise to update everyone.)

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive offers some Limited Engagements & Special Screenings, and it's a bit of a grab-bag but none the worse for that; every one of these films is worth seeing.

Next Door to Darkness: The Films of David Lynch runs at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive from 10 January to 29 February.

Just as 2018 was the Ingmar Bergman centennial, 2020 will mark a century since Fellini's birth, and the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive will mark the occasion in the best way possible, by showing his movies; the series starts on 16 January.

Friday Photo 2019/52

Tanforan Mall, San Bruno California, November 2019

20 December 2019

16 December 2019

Museum Monday 2019/50

the annunciation to the shepherds, a detail from the anonymous Retable and Frontal of the Life of Christ and the Virgin Made for Pedro López de Ayala, painted in Spain in 1396, now in the Art Institute of Chicago

13 December 2019

09 December 2019

Museum Monday 2019/49

Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room stencil, by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, now in the Art Institute of Chicago

06 December 2019

02 December 2019

29 November 2019

Friday Photo 2019/48

on Market Street, San Francisco, November 2019

(I don't know what this building used to be, but currently it's a Walgreen's)

27 November 2019

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

It's the end of another calendar year, but the mid-point for the performing arts calendar, though as usual in December most of the interesting items are jammed into the first week or ten days and then we're off to Sugarplum land. As usual I have omitted many of the more familiar holiday productions, on the grounds that if going to Nutcracker or Christmas Carol is your unalterable tradition then you already know when and where it's happening. As ever, thanks and gratitude to anyone who visits here and health, peace, and happiness in the new year.

42nd Street Moon revives Scrooge in Love, the story of what happens after the famous visitation from three ghosts, from 4 to 22 December at the Gateway Theater. The show is directed by Dyan McBride, with music by Larry Grossman, lyrics by Kellen Blair, and book by Duane Poole.

For a non-traditional take on the beloved tale, go to Theatre of Yugen's revival of A Noh Christmas Carol, directed by Nick Ishimaru, running from 6 to 29 December.

New Conservatory Theater revives Head Over Heels, the musical based on Sir Philip Sidney's The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with songs by the Go-Go's, directed by Ed Decker, from 6 December to 12 January 2020.

Shotgun Players continues its season of something offbeat for the holidays with Caryl Churchill's Vinegar Tom, directed by Ariel Craft with original music by Diana Lawrence, from 6 December to 5 January 2020.

Berkeley Rep has the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Becky Nurse of Salem, directed by Anne Kauffman, from 12 December to 26 January 2020.

Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Christmas comes to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on 14 December.

The African-American Shakespeare Company revives its popular holiday show, Cinderella, directed by Sherri Young; you can catch it at Herbst Theater from 20 to 22 December.

The Future Is Now, the annual finale for the latest SF Opera Adler Fellows, will take place on 6 December.

San Francisco Performances presents awesome mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton with pianist Kathleen Kelly in a recital featuring works by Elinor Remick Warren, Lili Boulanger, Amy Beach, Nadia Boulanger, Haydn, Libby Larsen, Ravel, Duparc, and Richard Strauss on 11 December in Herbst Theater.

Broadway star Sutton Foster will help you get through New Year's Eve in a special concert at the Geary Theater, presented by Feinstein's at the Nikko.

Sacred & Profane offers Winterlude: Songs of Sleep and Repose, with pieces ranging from the English Renaissance to contemporary composers like Lera Auerbach and Jack Curtis Dubowsky, on 7 December at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley and 8 December at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Chanticleer offers its annual and beloved Christmas concerts at a wide variety of venues throughout the Bay Area from 10 to 23 December.

Old First Concerts ramps up the holiday choral offerings this month: Women's vocal collective Musae visits on 6 December to wander through The Bleak Midwinter, a program featuring contemporary works by Eric Barnum and Carson Cooman along with traditional carols; the Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco sings carols by candlelight on 15 December, in a program that includes works by Hildegard von Bingen, Arvo Pärt, Maurice Duruflé, and others; and Kitka sings Wintersongs on 22 December.

Ragazzi Boys Chorus presents Stories of Our Immigrant Heritage (with a holiday-season slant) at Old First Concerts on 8 December.

On 16 December at Davies Hall, Valérie Sainte-Agathe leads the San Francisco Girls Chorus, with Bridget Kibbey on harp, Clerestory, and The Living Earth Show  in A Ceremony of Carols, a seasonal celebration that includes not only the eponymous Britten work but also songs and settings by Thomas Adès, Ysaÿe Maria Barnwell, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Robert Johnson, as well as traditional carols.

Early / Baroque Music
The Cantata Collective continues its series of free performances, this time of BWV 93 and BWV 85, on 1 December at St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley. Soloists are soprano Tonia D'Amelio, alto Heidi Waterman, tenor Derek Chester, and bass Harrison Hintzsche.

Nicholas McGegan leads the forces of Philharmonia Baroque in Handel's Judas Maccabeus, with tenor Nicholas Phan, and you can hear the results on 5 December at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, on 6 December at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, and 7 - 8 December at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Bob Geary leads the San Francisco Choral Society in an all-Bach concert, featuring the Magnificat and the second half of the Christmas Oratorio, on 6 December at St Ignatius in San Francisco.

Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in their annual performances (11 - 13 December) of Messiah at Grace Cathedral; this year the soloists are soprano Hélène Brunet, mezzo-soprano Rebecca Powers, tenor Steven Brennfleck, and baritone Hadleigh Adams. ABS returns to Herbst Theater on New Year's Eve with a baroque program featuring mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit and baritone Hadleigh Adams.

The California Bach Society, led by Paul Flight, performs its annual concert of baroque music from North and South America on 13 December at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 14 December at St Mark's Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 15 December at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Ragnar Bohlin leads the San Francisco Symphony in Messiah on 13 - 14 December, with soloists Lauren Snouffer (soprano), Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (countertenor), Ben Bliss (tenor), and Adam Lau (Bass).

The San Francisco Early Music Society brings the Academy of Ancient Music to First Congregational in Berkeley on 13 December, to play pieces by Clarke, Handel, Corelli, Tonelli, Handel and Purcell.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Eighth Blackbird visits Cal Performances on 14 December in Zellerbach Playhouse with a program (including five Bay Area premieres) of music by Nina Shekhar, Viet Cuong, Fjóla Evans, Hollly Harrison, Andy Akiho, Jonathan Bailey Holland, and Pamela Z.

Hank Dutt, violist of the Kronos Quartet, makes a solo appearance at Old First Concerts on 14 December in a contemporary program including works by Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Leonid Desyatnikov, Toru Takemitsu, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Hanna Kulenty, and the west coast premiere of John Harbison's Sonata for Viola and Piano (with pianist Hadley McCarroll, and we are told Harbison will be in attendance).

Organist Jonathan Dimmock gives his annual performance of Messiaen's La Nativité du Seigneur at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland on 17 December; admission is free but donations are accepted.

The Center for New Music as usual has a calendar full of interesting things; some items that catch my eye in the current month are: Mark Helias and Ben Goldberg offering an evening of "schemes, diatribes, unholy postmortems, and fractured analysis" for bass and clarinet on 5 December; the world premiere of Larry Polansky's five songs for kate and vanessa along with works by Henry Cowell, Mark Applebaum, Salina Fisher, and Terry Longshore on 11 December; Global Arts Bridges: Inception Part II on 14 December; acoustic guitarist Charlie Rauh on 15 December; and The Unquiet Grave (Randall Krieger, guitar and vocals; Elise Ebbinghaus vocals/bodhrán) along with Roberto Granados (guitar and ukulele) on 20 December.

On 13 December Joseph Young leads the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra in the Tchaikovsky 1, Julia Perry's A Short Piece for Small Orchestra, and Visions of a Flaxen Sea by Nicholas Denton-Protsack, 2019 winner of SFCM's Highsmith Competition.

One Found Sound plays music by Poulenc, Janáček, and Stravinsky on 14 December at Monument SF (140 9th Street).

Daniel Stewart conducts the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with narrator Dulce Sloan on 15 December in Davies Hall.

New Century Chamber Orchestra offers Christmas with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter on 18 December at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, 19 December at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 20 December at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Chamber Music
The San Francisco Symphony offers two chamber music concerts this month; weirdly, and this is not the first time this has happened, they are on the same day at the same time, though in different locations so there goes your Charles-Ivesian mash-up. At the Gunn Theater in the Legion of Honor you can hear Debussy, Poulenc, and Fauré, and in the vast reaches of Davies Hall you can hear Ravel, Bottesini, Loeffler, and Muczynski.

San Francisco Performances presents the Brentano Quartet at Herbst Theater on 4 December, when they will play works by Mozart, Respighi, and the Schoenberg String Quartet 2 with soprano soloist Dawn Upshaw.

Cal Performances presents cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason (brother and sister) in a program of Beethoven, Lutosławski , Barber, and Rachmaninoff in the unfortunate venue of cavernous Zellerbach Hall on 4 December.

Cal Performances presents the Takács Quartet playing the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók over two concerts, 7 and 8 December, in Hertz Hall.

Golden Bough celebrates 40 years of celebrating the winter solstice at Old First Concerts on 21 December.

Keyboards & Strings
San Francisco Performances presents guitarist Xuefei Yang on 7 December at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, where she will play works by Debussy, de Falla, Rodrigo, Lui & Mao, Xu Chan Jun, Wang Jian Zhong, Yi Chen, Albéniz, Granados, Ricardo, and Peña.

Old First Concerts presents guitarists Lawrence Ferrara and Matthew Grasso with singer Tatyana Hall in a holiday concert ranging from Dowland, Vivaldi, and Handel to Tchaikovsky on 7 December.

On December 15 in Hertz Hall Jonathan Biss continues his season-long, seven-concert traversal for Cal Performances of the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven.

7 December is this year's Day of Silents for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival; once again the Castro Theater will host a wide-ranging display of early cinema (all with live musical accompaniment), from shorts by Alice Guy-Blaché to grand romantic spectacles like Phantom of the Opera (though if I could only see one of these films, I'd go for Lubitsch's witty The Marriage Circle).

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive starts the series Agnès Varda: An Irresistible Force on 20 December with her final film, Varda by Agnès; the series runs until 28 February 2020.

On 28 December the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive presents The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Lotte Reiniger's enchanting silhouette film fantasia from 1926 on some tales from The Arabian Nights, with Judith Rosenberg accompanying on piano; I believe it is currently considered the world's earliest, or at least earliest surviving, feature-length animated film. If you've never seen it, or even if you have, give yourself a year-end treat.

18 November 2019

Museum Monday 2019/46

Cow Suckling a Calf, from Madhya or Uttar Pradesh in India, now in the Art Institute of Chicago – occasionally I'm really struck by the age of an object in a museum, as I was this time when I read on the label that this sandstone sculpture is dated to "about" the 9th century

11 November 2019

Museum Monday 2019/45

a tin-glazed earthenware dish from about 1880, designed by William Frend De Morgan and made by William De Morgan pottery in Chelsea, London: at the Art Institute of Chicago

04 November 2019

28 October 2019

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

It seems unsuitable to categorize Surrealism, so I'm sticking this here: Seek refuge from, contemplate, or challenge the strange times we live in with Inside the Magnetic Fields: Surrealism at 100, an exploration sponsored by City Lights Bookstore running from 5 through 24 November in Berkeley and San Francisco; find out more here.

This year the Tenth Annual SF Olympians Festival expands its reach to Celtic mythology with You've Got Gaul from 6 to 23 November at the Exit Stage Left; this year's festival includes 38 plays (from shorts to evening-length) by 36 writers.

Hayward's Douglass Morrisson Theatre presents the Jerry Herman musical Hello Dolly, directed by Sue Ellen Nelsen, from 7 to 24 November. Then on 30 November you can get a jump on your holiday theater-going with The Jewelry Box: A Genuine Christmas Story, a solo show by Brian Copeland about being a six-year-old in Oakland in the 1970s trying to buy his mother the perfect Christmas gift.

Aurora Theater presents the Bay Area premiere of Bull in a China Shop by Bryna Turner, directed by Dawn Monique Williams, from 8 November to 8 December; the play is based on letters by Mary Woolley, who became president of Mount Holyoke in 1901, as she tried to promote real education for the young women at the college while maintaining her long-term partnership with teacher Jeannette Marks.

As part of Full, their series of events scheduled around the full moon, the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive on 12 November offers Noh and Kunqu Opera, programmed by Graeme Vanderstoel, in which Jubilith Moore and Sabrina Hou will perform excerpts exploring women's roles in respectively the Japanese Noh and Chinese Kunqu traditions.

Custom Made Theater presents Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9, directed by Allie Moss, from 15 November to 15 December.

The Ubuntu Theater Project presents Mahabharata, Geetha Reddy's new one-person (in this case, J Jha) exploration of the ancient and massive Indian epic, from 15 November to 8 December.

Theatre of Yugen presents two Kyogen plays, The Snail (Kagyu) and The Thundergod (Kaminari), directed by Lluis Valls, on 16 and 17 November.

San Francisco Playhouse starts the holiday season early with Groundhog Day the Musical (music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, book by Danny Rubin, directed by Susi Damilano with music direction by Dave Dobrusky) from 20 November through 18 January.

Simon Williams will lecture on The French Wagnerians to the Wagner Society of Northern California at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco on 2 November.

At San Francisco Opera, Nicola Luisotti returns to conduct Puccini's Manon Lescaut, with Lianna Haroutounian and Brian Jagde, from 8 to 26 November, and Christopher Franklin conducts Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel, with Sasha Cooke and Heidi Stober, from 15 November to 7 December.

Simone Young visits the San Francisco Symphony from 14 to 16 November to lead Act 1 of Die Walküre, with soprano Emily Magee, tenor Stuart Skelton, and Bass Ain Anger; the program also includes Richard Strauss's moving Metamorphosen.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents Mozart's The Impresario and the Prologue to Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, directed by Heather Mathews and conducted by Curt Pajer, on 21 - 22 November; performances are free but reservations are recommended.

Ars Minerva, the invaluable local group headed by Céline Ricci dedicated to reviving forgotten operas of the baroque, returns from 22 to 24 November at the ODC Theater with Domenico Freschi's Ermelinda, last heard in 1680. Ars Minerva productions are generally a highlight of the season, so I've been eagerly awaiting this for months.

Lieder Alive! presents soprano Esther Rayo and pianist Peter Grünberg performing works by Korngold, Wolf, Obradors, Montsalvatge, Granadoes, and De Falla at the Noe Valley Ministry on 10 November.

Soprano Deborah Voigt offers a Master Class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 15 November.

Writer David Sedaris returns to Zellerbach Hall courtesy of Cal Performances on 9 November.

City Arts & Lectures has some interesting speakers lined up this month, all at the Sydney Goldstein Theater: novelists André Aciman and Andrew Sean Greer are in conversation with Steven Winn on 6 November; comedian and newscaster Mo Rocca is in conversation with Adam Savage on 18 November, and poet and novelist Ben Lerner is in conversation with Maggie Nelson on 21 November.

Ensemble Basiani returns to First Congregational in Berkeley for Cal Performances on 15 November to perform the traditional and ancient polyphony of Georgia (the one by the Black Sea, not the one in the American South).

Ragnar Bohlin leads his Cappella SF ensemble in French music, including works by Josquin, Debussy, Poulenc, Couperin, Duruflé, Fauré, and Messiaen, on 23 November at the Church of Santa Maria in Orinda (where they will be joined by guest chorus WomenSing) and 24 November at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco.

Paul Flight leads Chora Nova in Handel's Dettingen Te Deum, Dettingen Anthem, and Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened on 23 November at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Guest Conductor Norman Gamboa leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in Barber's Essay No 1, Kyle Kindred's Flute Concerto (with soloist Linda Watkins), and Manuel de Falla's Three-Cornered Hat on 9 November at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Urs Leonhardt Steiner leads the Golden Gate Symphony in the world premiere of Richard Aldag's Symphony 1, along with Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture and the Beethoven 9 (with soprano Chelsea Hollow, mezzo-soprano Silvie Jensen, tenor William Wiggins, bass Igor Vieira, and bass Ryan Bradford) on 10 November at Herbst Theater in San Francisco and 17 November at Benicia Clock Tower in Benicia.

Jeannette Sorrell conducts Philharmonia Baroque in a program of Mozart and Grétry on 13 November at Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, 15 November at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 16 - 17 November at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony in Notes from Korea on 15 November at the Paramount Theater, featuring Fauré's Pavane in F sharp minor, Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor (with soloist ChangYong Shin), Texu Kim by Dub-Sanjo, The Woven Silk for haegeum and orchestra by Jean Ahn (with Soo Yeon Lyuh on haegeum), and Blow, Fly, Pop!! by Texu Kim.

The Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, led by Omid Zoufonoun, appears at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts on 17 November playing the Brahms Hungarian Dances 5 and 6, Beethoven's Coriolan Overture, Chabrier's España: Rhapsody for Orchestra, John Adams's The Chairman Dances (Foxtrot for Orchestra), Anatol Liadov's The Enchanted Lake, and Sibelius's Finlandia.

At the San Francisco Symphony from 22 to 24 November, Manfred Honeck leads the orchestra in the Bruckner 4, the Romantic, as well as the Mozart Piano Concerto 22 with soloist Leif Ove Andsnes

Chamber Music
The San Francisco Symphony Chamber Players perform works by Mozart, Shostakovich, and Beethoven in Davies Hall on 3 November.

Quinteto La Moderna, dedicated to traditional Cuban charanga music, will play at Old First Concerts on 8 November.

One Found Sound plays Beethoven's Septet in E-flat Major, Op. 20, at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco on 9 November.

The Danish String Quartet return to Hertz Hall and Cal Performances on 10 November with a program including works by Bach, Beethoven, and Schnittke.

On November 10 at Old First Concerts you can hear Ali Paris on the qanun along with assorted friends exploring Arabic and flamenco music.

Old First Concerts presents the Circadian String Quartet on 15 November with guest Hamid Taghavi on the santour; together they will play works by Sahba Aminikia, Reza Vali, David Ryther, and newly commissioned works by Hamid Taghavi and Amin Assadi.

Cal Performances presents cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han at Hertz Hall on 24 November in a program of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, and Franck.

Keyboards & Strings
Old First Concerts with the Helia Music Collective presents violinist Robert Simonds playing contemporary works for solo violin by Missy Mazzoli, Molly Joyce, Alexis Bacon, Sylvia Mancuso, Patricia Van Ness, Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer, TJ Cole, Cindy Cox, and Melody Eötvös on 1 November.

The San Francisco Symphony presents the excellent young violinist Ray Chen, joined by pianist Julio Elizalde, in Davies Hall on 3 November, when they will play works by Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel.

Pianist Utsav Lal will play his own compositions, which draw on western classical and jazz traditions as well as north Indian ragas, for Old First Concerts on 3 November.

The San Francisco Symphony presents pianist Chick Corea in Davies Hall on 10 November for a performance of his solo work From Mozart to Monk.

Modern / Contemporary Music
There's a new new-music ensemble in town! Wild Rumpus and Composers Inc have joined together as Ninth Planet New Music, and their inaugural concert on 2 November at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music will feature works by Eve Beglarian, Jenny Olivia Johnson, Ursula Kwong-Brown, Kaija Saariaho, and Dan VanHassel.

The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble continues its season with Air from Other Planets, featuring Mozart's "Dissonance" Quartet, Schoenberg's String Quartet #2, and world premieres from John Schott and Jamie Leigh Sampson; and that's 2 November at the Berkeley Hillside Club and 4 November at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. (The Ensemble is also performing a free preview on 9 November of their upcoming concert of contemporary music as ensemble-in-residence at the 2nd Wunsch New Music Festival; see the listing below under the Center for New Music.)

The calendar for the Center for New Music is frequently updated, so remember to check it frequently; some things that catch my eye in the current listing for this month are: pianist Kathleen Supové on 2 November, presented by Common Sense Composers' Collective and featuring world and California premieres from Belinda Reynolds, Dan Becker, and Randall Woolf, as well as works by John King and Supové herself; Ensemble PHASE performing new music on traditional Korean instruments on 4 November; The Marrow, led by Oud player Gordon Grdina, bringing together "Arabic Maqam and Persian Dastgah with western improvised music" on 5 November; PGLRG performs BarbedWire and Map Score (Saint Petersburg) (I have no idea what this is, but it sounds wild) on 6 November; the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble on 9 November performing music by Mei-Fang Lin, Jennifer Higdon, Kurt Rohde, Sheila Silver, Christopher Stark, and Melinda Wagner as a preview of their upcoming ensemble-in-residence concert at the 2nd Wunsch New Music Festival; Soundwave guest curator Christo Oropeza presenting Nochtlaca: Todos, todos, todos, with vocalist San Cha, instrument inventor Guillermo Galindo, and drag queen Persia on 14 November; the Wooden Fish Ensemble with special guest Yuki Endo on shinobue playing new music by Hyo-Shin Na, as well as traditional Japanese and Korean folk songs on 16 November; and pianist Nicholas Phillips on 22 November playing #45Miniatures, a collection of short musical responses by over 50 composers to various loathsome aspects of our despicable current President.

The Joshua Redman Quartet (with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson) plays the SF Jazz Center from 14 to 17 November.

Early / Baroque Music
This could also go under Modern / Contemporary Music, as fabulous countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork are splitting the program for their 3 November recital at Hertz Hall for Cal Performances between Michael Nyman and Henry Purcell.

The Cantata Collective continues its series of free performances of the Bach cantatas, this time featuring BWV 55 and BWV 22, with soprano Morgan Balfour, alto Paul Flight, tenor Kyle Stegall, and bass Ben Kazez; in addition to a 3 November performance at their usual venue, St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley, there is a 2 November outing at All Saints Episcopal in Palo Alto.

Ton Koopman comes to the San Francisco Symphony from 7 to 9 November to lead them in Rebel's Chaos from Les Élémens, the Haydn 100 (the Military), and Bach's Orchestral Suite 4 and his Violin Concerto 1 (the latter with soloist Alexander Barantschik).

Simone Dinnerstein leads the New Century Chamber Orchestra in an all-Bach program on 7 November at First Congregational in Berkeley, 8 November at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, 9 November at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 10 November at the Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael.

Nicholas McGegan leads the Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players and members of Juilliard415 in music by Bach, Vivaldi, and Rameau on 10 November at the ODC Theater in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents Tres Hermanicas and Aquila in a joint concert titled Roses & Almonds, combining Sephardic music and medieval Cantigas; you can hear the results 22 November at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 23 November at St John's Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 24 November at Church of the Advent in San Francisco.

Visual Arts
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983 opens at the de Young Museum on 9 November and runs until 15 March 2020.

Over at the Legion of HonorCurious & Wonderful: Selections from the Achenbach Vault, including many rarely exhibited prints, opens on 16 November and runs until 15 March 2020.

Surrealist Sylvia Fein has a solo show at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive starting on 13 November and running until 1 March 2020.

The Asian Art Museum opens two exhibits towards the end of the month: Lost at Sea: Art Recovered from Shipwrecks opens 26 November and runs until 22 March 2020, and twentieth-century Chinese painter Chang Dai-Chien will receive a solo show for his 120th birth year – Chang Dai-Chien: Painting from Heart to Hand will open 26 November and run until 26 April 2020.

Farruquito dances flamenco at Zellerbach Hall on 4 November, thanks to Cal Performances.

Those colorful tumblers The Peking Acrobats return to Cal Performances from 29 November to 1 December.

On 2 and 10 November the Roxie will be showing the 25th anniversary 4K restoration of Béla Tarr's 7+ hour Sátántangó, based on the novel by László Krasznahorkai, (There will be two intermissions.)

At the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, Peter Bagrov will be hosting a lecture / screening series on Soviet Silent Cinema from 6 to 10 November. And in conjunction with their current exhibit Strange, BAM / PFA is presenting Strange: Surrealist Tendencies in Cinema from 6 to 10 November.

And we'll close out the listing with more surrealism: head to the Roxie on 23 November for A Bundle of  Buñuel; the bundle includes Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) from 1929, L'Age d'Or (The Golden Age) from 1930, and Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan (Land Without Bread) from 1933.

Museum Monday 2019/43

detail of Head of Medusa by Peter Paul Rubens (possibly with Frans Snyders), seen at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco as part of the Early Rubens exhibit

21 October 2019

Museum Monday 2019/42

detail of The Last Judgment by "Unknown Tyrolean Master" from around 1500 at the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

18 October 2019

Friday Photo 2019/42

statue of Juan Marichal outside the ballpark of the San Francisco Giants, September 2019

11 October 2019

07 October 2019

Museum Monday 2019/40

two views of a Loïe Fuller lamp designed by François Raoul Larche in the exhibit Strange at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive

04 October 2019

30 September 2019

Museum Monday 2019/39

a maiolica plate from mid-16th century Urbino depicting the expulsion of Adam & Eve from Paradise, from the Legion of Honor in San Francisco

24 September 2019

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

Theater of Yugen starts the spooky season off early with Puppets & Poe: Devised Defiance, directed by Shannon R Davis, which combines several of Poe's poems and short stories using puppetry and traditional Japanese theater techniques; you can check it out from 3 October to 2 November.

Z Space presents its second annual Problematic Play Festival on 2 and 4 October, when you can hear readings of the new comedies Three Fat Sisters by Morgan Gould and Mediocre Heterosexual Sex by Madison Wetzell.

The Ubuntu Theater Project presents Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, directed by company Artistic Director Michael Socrates Moran, from 4 to 27 October at the FLAX Building in Oakland (just a short walk from the 12th Street BART Station).

On 5 October the Douglas Morrisson Theatre in Hayward presents Brian Copeland's The Waiting Period: Laughter in the Darkness, a solo show about his struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide.

San Francisco Playhouse presents The Daughters, a look at the past 60 years of lesbian history in San Francisco, written by Patricia Cotter and directed by Jessica Holt, from 9 October to 2 November; performances will be at the Creativity Theater at Yerba Buena, as SF Playhouse's mainstage will be occupied by Clare Barron's Dance Nation until 9 November.

The African-American Shakespeare Company opens its season with Othello, directed by Carl Jordan and starring L Peter Callender, at the Marines' Memorial Theater from 12 to 27 October.

Shotgun Players presents Elevada, written by Sheila Callaghan and directed by Susannah Martin, from 17 October to 17 November.

JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the two-part sequel to her beloved series of novels, opens at the Curran Theater on 23 October.

Ray of Light celebrates Halloween with its fifth annual revival of Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show, this time with new sets, choreography, and direction (though as of this typing I don't see a director listed on the website), running 23 October through 2 November at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco.

ACT presents Kate Attwell's Test Match, a time-travel drama about cricket, directed by Pam MacKinnon, from 24 October to 8 December at the Strand Theater.

Ars Minerva Artistic Director and mezzo-soprano Céline Ricci will be joined by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, soprano Aurélie Veruni, and harpsichordist Kelly Savage on 5 October at the 906 World Cultural Center (at 906 Broadway in San Francisco) for an evening of music and spoken texts exploring legendary and heroic women of the Mediterranean (women like Cleopatra, Dido, or Ottavia, and music by Monteverdi, Cavalli, Handel, Pietro-Andrea Ziani, and Giovanni Porta).

San Francisco Opera presents the Mozart / da Ponte Le Nozze di Figaro from 11 October to 1 November, and I am delighted that this is a new production, since I loathed the old one.

For some introductory thoughts on one of the fall season's upcoming productions, head to the Wagner Society of Northern California meeting at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on 19 October to hear Brad Wade on the topic What do Hansel and Gretel have to do with Siegmund and Sieglinde?

Cal Performances presents Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar on 3 October at Zellerbach Hall.

Choir! Choir! Choir! comes to Freight & Salvage on 17 October, and you, the audience member, are the choir and will be taught/led in performance – this sounds like potentially a lot of fun for someone who isn't me.

The San Francisco Girls Chorus opens its season on 19 October at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, with conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe and soprano and guest curator Nell Snaidas exploring Latin American baroque music and poetry, and in particular the celebrated Mexican nun and poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Huun-Huur-Tu, a quartet of Tuvan throat singers, bring their ancient but ever-new music to Freight & Salvage on 1 October.

Soprano Renée Fleming with pianist Richard Bado returns to Zellerbach Hall on 5 October for a Cal Performances recital that will include works by Schubert, Hahn, Delibes, Liszt, Kevin Puts, Bernard Herrmann, Franz Lehár, André Previn, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Adam Guettel.

Lieder Alive! presents tenor Pene Pati (recent, and universally praised, star of SF Opera's Roméo et Juliette) and pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg on 6 October in a program featuring Tosti and Strauss.

The SF Jazz Center presents Lila Downs  and her celebration of the Día de los Muertos (with the participation of the Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and the Mariachi Feminil-Flores Mexicanas) at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on 12 October.

Tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist-composer Brad Mehldau will perform Schumann's Dichterliebe and a new song cycle by Mehldau, The Folly of Desire, at the SF Jazz Center on 15 October.

Jazz singer Clairdee performs a program called The Thrill Is You on 19 October at the Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley.

On 20 October Old First Concerts presents mezzo-soprano Naama Liany with guitarist Robert Miller in Una Folía, a program about "wild passion and an impossible love" featuring music by Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Federico García Lorca, Joaquín Rodrigo, and Xavier Montsalvatge.

San Francisco Performances presents the eagerly awaited return of baritone Christian Gerhaher with pianist Gerold Huber in an all-Mahler program; that's 22 October at Herbst Theater.

SHN presents An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson on 14 October at Davies Hall; each ticket includes a copy of Tyson's new book, Letters from an Astrophysicist, redeemable at the talk.

Novelist Zadie Smith visits City Arts & Lectures on 16 October.

It's guest conductor month at the San Francisco Symphony: from 3 to 5 October, Marek Janowski conducts Hindemith's Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with soloist María Dueñas, and the Mozart 41, the Jupiter; from 17 to 19 October, Cristian Măcelaru leads Lili Boulanger's D'un matin de printemps, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (in the orchestration by Ravel), and the world premiere of SFS commission Losing Earth by Adam Schoenberg, featuring percussionist Jacob Nissly; and from 24 to 26 October Karina Canellakis conducts the Prokofiev Piano Concerto 1 with soloist Alexander Gavrylyuk and the Shostakovich 7, Leningrad.

Edwin Outwater leads the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra in Linda Catlin Smith's Wilderness, the Shostakovich 5, and Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini (with piano soloist Jung-eun Kim) on 18 October.

Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan opens the season at the Paramount Theater on 18 October with a program titled Hot as Hell / Cool Jazz; the infernal heat in the first half is supplied by the Prologue to Boito's Mefistofele, featuring bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum, the Oakland Symphony Chorus led by Lynne Morrow, and the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir led by Eric Tuan; the cool jazz comes after intermission courtesy of an imposing selection of music new and old from trumpeter Josiah Woodson and pianist/composer Taylor Eigsti.

At the Berkeley Symphony, new music director Joseph Young opens the season at Zellerbach Hall on 24 October with the late Olly Wilson's Shango Memory (Shango is the Yoruban deity of thunder and lightning), the Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major with soloist Conrad Tao, and the Beethoven 5.

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra will play Emilie Mayer's Faust Overture, along with a lecture-performance of the Beethoven 5, on 25 October at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, 26 October at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, and 27 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

OcTUBAfest comes to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 6 October; the program is free (no reservations required).

Old First Concerts presents The Ives Collective on 13 October, playing works by Zoltán Kodály, Erich Korngold, and Peteris Vasks.

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, led by concertmaster Robin Sharp, plays piano quartets by Mozart and Fauré at Freight & Salvage on 14 October.

San Francisco Performances presents the Z.E.N. Trio playing Schubert, Brahms, and Shostakovich at Herbst Theater on 18 October (the Trio's name refers not only to the Japanese concept of Zen but to the players's names: pianist Zhang Zuo, violinist Esther Yoo, and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan).

Starting 19 October and continuing for six other Saturday mornings into May, San Francisco Performances presents the Alexander String Quartet and musicologist Robert Greenberg in a lecture / performance series exploring the Beethoven string quartets.

San Francisco Performances presents the Calidore String Quartet, playing works by Haydn, Caroline Shaw, and Beethoven, at Herbst Theater on 21 October.

The San Francisco Symphony Chamber Players perform works by Bach and Schubert at the Legion of Honor's Gunn Theater on 20 October (matinee).

The Telegraph Quartet will performs works by Haydn, Berg, and Britten on 23 October at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; admission is free but reservations are recommended.

Strings & Keyboards
The SF Jazz Center presents pianist Kenny Barron, joined by pianist Benny Green and guitarist Miles Okazaki, celebrating Thelonius Monk at Herbst Theater on 10 October, which would have been the jazz legend's 102nd birthday.

Jonathan Biss continues his series of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas for Cal Performances at Hertz Hall on 12 and 13 October.

San Francisco Performances presents guitarist Manuel Barrueco at Herbst Theater on 13 October, playing works by Luis de Narváez, Héctor Angulo, Ignacio Cervantes, Julián Orbón, Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, and Francisco Tárrega.

Pianist Neil Rutman visits Old First Concerts on 18 October to play music by Orlando Gibbons, Chopin, Lou Harrison, Frederic Rzewski, Fauré, and Ravel.

Organist Paul Jacobs gives a solo recital of Bach, Mozart, Ives, and Vierne on 20 October at Davies Hall (presented by the San Francisco Symphony).

Pianist Lang Lang returns to Davies Hall on 21 October (one night only), when he will join the San Francisco Symphony led by Ion Marin in the Beethoven Piano Concerto 2; also on the program are Glinka's Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila and the Tchaikovsky 4.

Pianist Martin Katz, one of the celebrated accompanists of our time, will offer a master class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 25 October; admission is free but reservations are recommended.

Under the auspices of San Francisco Performances, guitarist Jason Vieaux will play works by Scarlatti, Giuliani, Bach, Frank Martin, Barrios, Jobin, Ellington, and José Luis Merlín at Herbst Theater on 26 October.

I don't usually list "galas" but it looks as if there's an actual concert attached to this one, so here goes: San Francisco Performances presents pianist Richard Goode playing Janáček, Chopin, and Debussy at Herbst Theater on 29 October.

Early / Baroque Music
Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in its season opener, Bach's Magnificat and Zelenka's Missa Divi Xaverii, on 4 October at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 5 October at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 6 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music celebrates the 400th birthday of Barbara Strozzi with a concert of her vocal music on 26 October; the concert is free but reservations are recommended.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Left Coast Chamber Ensemble opens its season with Changing and Unchanging Things, a concert exploring the intersection between Japanese and western art music (the title comes from the Asian Art Museum's upcoming exhibit about Noguchi and Hasegawa, two visual artists who also played in that liminal field). You can hear the world premiere of Karen Tanaka's chamber piece Wind Whisperer, Debussy's Sonata for flute, viola, and harp, Dai Fujikura's Neo, and the world premiere of Hiroya Miura's Sharaku Unframed, a "micro opera" about the 18th century woodblock artist, on 5 October at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and 6 October at the Berkeley Hillside Club.

InterMusic SF presents the 12th Annual San Francisco Music Day on 6 October, from noon to 7:30, when you can wander among 32 different ensembles performing in the four performance spaces of the Veterans Building (adjacent to the Opera House, and the four spaces are: Herbst Theater, the Green Room, the Atrium Theater, and the Education Studio).

Ensemble for These Times performs Dracula Rising: Ghosts of Hollywood Past on 12 October at the Berkeley Piano Club; the program consists of chamber works and movie arrangements by Polish refugee composers of the 1930s and 1940s as well as Korngold and Castelnuove-Tedesco as well as contemporary works by David Garner, Lennie Moore, and Polish film composer Wojciech Kilar.

Pianist Sarah Cahill will be joined by Gamelan Sari Raras in a performance of the late great Lou Harrison's Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan on 13 October at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive; there are two performances, at 5:30 and 7:30; Gamelan Sari Raras will also perform traditional Javanese music (the performance will be repeated on 8 November at Hertz Hall, when the Javanese music performed by the ensemble will be modern rather than traditional).

Nicolas McGegan's farewell season at the head of Philharmonia Baroque kicks off with a world premiere by Caroline Shaw, The Listeners, a reflection on Carl Sagan's "Golden Record" and humanity's general interest in recording itself for what looks like an increasingly unlikely posterity; also on the program are Handel's Eternal Source of Light Divine and his Suite from Terpsichore; in addition to the orchestra and the chorus led by Bruce Lamott, the soloists are soprano Arwen Myers, contralto Avery Amereau, countertenor Reginald Mobley, and bass-baritone Dashon Burton, and you can hear it all on 17 October at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, 18 October at First United Methodist in Palo Alto, and 19 and 20 October at First Congregational in Berkeley.

Bard Music West explores the world of Polish modernist Grażyna Bacewicz in three concerts over over two days (18 - 19 October) at Noe Valley Ministry.

Old First Concerts presents Orphic Percussion, in a program that includes four world premieres, on 25 October.

The Wooden Fish Ensemble celebrates the music (and birthday) of Hyo-Shin Na at Old First Concerts on 27 October with a concert that includes four world premieres.

Don't forget to check the constantly updated calendar for the Center for New Music; here are some things that strike me for this month in the current listings: Fay Victor and Myra Melford with a free-flowing words and music evening on 3 October; Burton Greene playing solo piano as well as the Dunkelman/Ackley/Fluke-Mogul Trio on 4 October: Slow Wave: New Music for Viola, Clarinet, and Piano on 5 October; the Friction Quartet with bass clarinetist Bruce Belton playing the Bay Area premieres of new quintets by Marc Mellits, Sebastián Tozzola, and Michael Torke on 17 October; Jesse Perlstein and Shinya Sugimoto along with Glenda Bates and Oboetronics on 25 October; and Neil Rolnick's Journey's End, a work for computer and piano inspired by his late wife's struggle with cancer, performed by Kathleen Supové, on 26 October.

Jazz &c
Madeleine Peyroux sings at Freight & Salvage on 3 October.

The Seventh Annual San Francisco International Boogie-Woogie Festival will take place at the SF Jazz Center on 20 October.

The SF Jazz Center presents the flamenco sounds of the Paco de Lucía Project on 23 October at Herbst Theater.

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet will regale you with Cajun music at Freight & Salvage on 24 October.

The Vijay Iyer Trio plays the SF Jazz Center on 26 October.

The Myra Melford Platform at Cal Performances presents the David Virelles Trio featuring Marcus Gilmore and Rashaan Carter, and Spider Web, a piece by Nicole Mitchell and Josh Kun involving spoken word, electronics, musical instruments, and movement, at Hertz Hall on 27 October.

The UC-Berkeley Jazz Ensembles will hold their fall concert at Freight & Salvage on 29 October.

Visual Arts
Starting on 2 October and running until 2 February at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, you can see the first US exhibit focusing on Sakaki Hyakusen, the founder of the Nanga school of Japanese painting. By the way, if you haven't been to BAM/PFA lately, check them out! Located an easy block or two from the downtown Berkeley BART station, they offer more consistently interesting and surprising exhibits than any other museum I know of in this area.

The Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley hosts Object Lessons, an exhibit featuring Egyptian artifacts ancient and modern, including items from the Tebtunis Papyri Collection, from 11 October to May 2020.

James Tissot: Fashion and Faith, a rare look at the late-nineteenth-century painter (born in France but also active in England) opens at the Legion of Honor on 12 October and runs until 9 February 2020

There are a couple of interesting exhibits opening this month at the Oakland Museum¡El Movimiento Vivo! Chicano Roots of El Día de los Muertos, exploring the activist roots of the local celebration of El Día de los Muertos, opens on 16 October; and No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, which is self-explanatory, opens on 12 October.

Tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Jason Moran create their second commissioned score for a world premiere at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, which will also feature a light installation designed by Jim Campell, and that runs at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from 1 to 6 October.

ODC/Dance and Volti revive KT Nelson's Path of Miracles, their very popular dance version of Joby Talbot's score, at the newly renovated Presidio Theater on 11 October (be aware that the theater is difficult to access without a car).

Renowned butoh troupe Sankai Juku visits Zellerbach Hall for Cal Performances on 12 and 13 October with Meguri: Teeming Sea, Tranquil Land, a work directed, choreographed, and designed
by Ushio Amagatsu.

Cal Performances presents dance troupe Hālau O Kekuhi performing traditional Hawaiian dances in honor of Pele, goddess of fire and volcanoes, at Zellerbach Hall on 20 October.

Dance/movement group MOMIX returns to Cal Performances and Zellerbach Hall on 26 - 27 October, with a sampler of movements from some of their more popular shows.

Cal Performances kicks it up old school with the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra (under artistic director Valery Gergiev) in La Bayadère at Zellerbach Hall from 30 October to 3 November.

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive launches some interesting film series this month:
David Thomson puts four films of the British New Wave into their cultural context, and that runs from 2 to 23 October; the Mill Valley Film Festival camps out in Berkeley, with various films scheduled from 5 to 12 October (of particular interest is Varda by Agnès on 12 October, in which the late filmmaker reviews her career); and the opportunity, beginning 3 October and scheduled through 16 November, to see new restorations of works starring or directed by Zheng Junli, dating from the early 1930s to the Cultural Revolution.

The SF Jazz Center presents Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi on 10 October, accompanied by GoGo Penguin in a live performance of their own original score.

On October 19 at the newly renovated Presidio Theater in San Francisco you can see the Silent Film Festival's latest restoration, Jane's Declaration of Independence, a 1915 two-reeler (that's about 30 to 40 minutes) that is the earliest surviving theatrical release actually filmed at the Presidio.

Face of a Stranger, a restored feature from 1977 by filmmaker and musician David Michalak inspired by German Expressionism and the silent films of the 1920s, plays at the Center for New Music in San Francisco on 23 October with a newly recorded score by Thollem McDonas; the showing is preceded by a short set from Bruce Ackley.

The SF Jazz Center celebrates Halloween with a special showing at Grace Cathedral of the 1920 John Barrymore Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, accompanied by organist Dorothy Papadakos. Let the holidays begin!