25 February 2019

Museum Monday 2019/8

detail of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Miniato by Bicci di Lorenzo at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco

I love that the Baptist has covered his austere hair-shirt with a gold-trimmed pink robe. Miniato was an early Florentine martyr.

22 February 2019

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

Custom Made Theater presents the Bay Area premiere of Bess Wohl's American Hero, directed by Allie Moss, from 7 March to 6 April. I saw Wohl's Small Mouth Sounds at the Strand Theater last year and enjoyed it very much.

Cutting Ball Theater stages Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde in the Eric Bentley translation, directed by Ariel Craft, from 14 March to 14 April. Two actors are performing all the parts, so add that layer to the drama's roundelay.

The African-American Shakespeare Company presents Leslie Lee's Black Eagles, about the famous Tuskegee Airmen, directed by L Peter Callender, from 16 to 31 March at the Marines' Memorial Theater.

At the SHN Golden Gate Theatre from 19 March to 14 April you can see the Lincoln Center Theater production of Falsettos, the musical by William Finn and James Lapine.

The Curran Theater presents The Jungle by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, from 26 March to 19 May; it's an immersive play about a refugee camp in Calais.

Helen, an adaptation of Euripides by Ellen McLaughlin directed by Shannon R Davis, plays at Theater of Yugen from 28 March to 27 April.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents a concert version of Handel's Tamerlano on 9 and 10 March; the performances are free but reservations are recommended.

Paul Flight leads Chora Nova in A Gilbert & Sullivan Evening on 16 March at First Congregational in Berkeley.

The Wagner Society of Northern California presents a special showing of Birgit Nilsson: A League of Her Own, a documentary on the late great Wagnerian by Thomas Voigt and Wolfgang Wunderlich, on 23 March at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco.

Smetana's The Two Widows gets the Pocket Opera treatment on 24 March at the Hillside Club in Berkeley and 31 March at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

Opera Parallèle stages the world premiere of Today It Rains, a new chamber opera about Georgia O'Keeffe with music by Laura Kaminsky and libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed; Brian Staufenbiel directs and Nicole Paiement conducts. You can experience the results from 28 to 31 March at Z Space.


The San Francisco Conservatory of Music will present soprano Deborah Voigt and pianist Steven Bailey in recital on 11 March, though the program has not been listed. The concert is free but reservations are recommended.

SF Jazz presents singer-guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood and vocalist Jewlia Eisenberg as Book of J, their duo project, on 17 March.

Arlo Guthrie and his daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie visit Freight & Salvage in Berkeley from 22 to 24 March.

Lieder Alive! presents baritone Eugene Villanueva and pianist Peter Grünberg performing Brahms, Strauss, and Tosti on 24 March at the Noe Valley Ministry.

Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe and the San Francisco Girls Chorus have two programs this month: Modern Masters on 3 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, when they will perform works by David Lang, John Zorn, Steve Reich, Fred Frith (a Chorus commission and world premiere), Kaija Saariaho, Lisa Bielawa, and Vaughan Williams (the latter two pieces also feature contralto Kirsten Sollek); and a joint concert with the Copenhagen Girls Chorus on 22 March at Herbst Theater, for which the program has not yet been announced.

Sacred & Profane performs American Landscapes, a concert of traditional American music from Amish folk songs and African-American spirituals to excerpts from Paul Chihara's Folksong Mass, on 8 March at St Francis Lutheran in San Francisco, 9 March at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley, and 10 March at First Presbyterian in Alameda.

The San Francisco Choral Artists perform outdoorsy nature songs by Britten, Schumann, Delius, Ligeti, and others on 9 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 10 March at St Mark's Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 17 March at St Paul's Episcopal in Oakland.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo visits Freight & Salvage in Berkeley for three performances on 9 - 10 March.

Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in The All-Night Vigil by Rachmaninoff on 1 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 2 March at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 3 March at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley.

Chanticleer presents Spacious Skies, a celebration of American music; 16 and 21 March are the San Francisco performance dates.

Christian Reif leads the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and some of the Adler Fellows in music from Le Nozze di Figaro, Debussy's Ibéria, and Bizet's L'Arlésienne Suite No 2 on 3 March (matinee) at Davies Hall.

Mikhail Pletnev leads the Russian National Orchestra, presented by the San Francisco Symphony on 3 March at Davies Hall, in an all-Rachmaninoff program, featuring Vocalise, Symphonic Dances, and the Piano Concerto 2 with soloist George Li.

Urs Leonhardt Steiner leads the Golden Gate Symphony in the Tchaikovsky 5 and the Schumann Cello Concerto (with soloist Angeline Kiang) on 10 March at Herbst Theater.

SF Jazz presents Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester, re-creating Weimar Berlin in Davies Hall on 12 March.

Cal Performances hosts Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra of London at Zellerbach Hall for three different programs: on 15 March you can hear Sibelius's The Oceanides, Salonen's own Cello Concerto with soloist Truls Mørk, and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra; on 16 March you can hear Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) and the Bruckner 7; and on 17 March (matinee) you can hear Stravinsky's Firebird (complete) along with the world premiere of Dreamers, a Cal Performances co-commission, with music by Jimmy López, libretto by Nilo Cruz, soprano soloist Ana María Martínez and local chamber chorus Volti,

Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in David Conte's A Copland Portrait, Copland's Our Town, Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto (with soloist Alec Holcomb), and Florence Price's Symphony No 1 in E minor in the Taube Atrium Auditorium on 16 March. There's been a recent resurgence of interest in Price and this is a good chance to hear one of her works live.

François-Xavier Roth leads the San Francisco Symphony in Schumann's Manfred Overture, Liszt's Piano Concerto No 1 (with soloist Cédric Tiberghien), and the Brahms 2 on 7 - 9 March.

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, the Mozart Violin Concert No 3 (with soloist Christian Tetzlaff) and the Sibelius 2 on 14 - 17 March.

Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony on 22 March at the Paramount Theater in I Raise Up My Voice, featuring Banner, Jessie Montgomery's variation of and comment on the Star-Spangled Banner, Louise Farrenc's Symphony No 3 from 1847, and Bernstein's Songfest, featuring some of the Adler Fellows. I think Bernstein is now the most exhaustingly overprogrammed composer around, which is too bad as the rest of this program looks so enticing.

The Berkeley Symphony, led by Guest Conductor Christopher Rountree, plays the Dvořák 9, From the New World, Duke Ellington's Black, Brown, and Beige (with the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble), and Gubaidulina's Concerto for Two Orchestras, on 24 March in Zellerbach Hall.

New Century Chamber Orchestra, led by Concertmaster Daniel Hope, plays music written under repressive regimes, featuring works by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Krasa, and Schulhoff (his Double Concerto for Violin, Piano, and Orchestra, featuring Hope and pianist Vanessa Perez) on 21 March at First Congregational in Berkeley, 22 March at the Oshman Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, 23 March at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 24 March at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael.

SF Jazz presents Red Baraat and Vidya Vox celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of spring (famous for its liberal use of colored powders thrown on celebrants, though I have no idea if that will happen at this performance), on 30 March.

Chamber Music
The Telegraph Quartet performs works by Weinberg and Beethoven at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 2 March; the concert is free but reservations are recommended.

Cal Performances presents the Takács Quartet at Hertz Hall on 3 March, playing works by Haydn, Bartók, and Mendelssohn.

The San Francisco Symphony chamber musicians have two performances this month, both of them matinees on 10 March: there will be piano trios by Mozart, Schubert, and Smetana at the Legion of Honor and works by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and Timothy Higgins at Davies Hall.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents two programs at Herbst Theater with the Pacifica Quartet: a talk on Shostakovich on 15 March, featuring String Quartets 1, 2, and 8, as well as excerpts from other works; and a concert on 16 March featuring works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Shulamit Ran.

Early / Baroque Music
I'm not sure whether to put this here or under Modern / Contemporary Music, but mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and countertenor Daniel Moody are visiting Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque to sing Handel, Purcell, Carolyn Shaw, and Arvo Pärt on 6 March at Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, 8 March at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 9 - 10 March at First Congregational in Berkeley.

The Cantata Collective performs BWV 125 and BWV 78 with alto Robin Bier and tenor Michael Jankosky and the Pacific Boychoir, led by Andrew Brown, on 17 March at St Mary Magdalene in Berkeley.

Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in the St Matthew Passion (with soloists Guy Cutting, William Sharp, Hélène Brunet, Katelyn Aungst, Agnes Vojtko, Nicholas Burns, Steven Brennfleck, Matthew Hill, and Jesse Blumberg) on 22 March at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 23 March at First Congregational in Berkeley, 24 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 25 March at Davis Community Church in Davis.

You can hear Bach's other passion setting, the St John, on 30 March at the San Francisco Symphony, when Ragnar Bohlin leads soloists Ross Hauck (tenor), Michele Kennedy (soprano), Silvie Jensen (alto), Michael Jankosky (tenor), Clayton Moser (baritone), Matthew Peterson (baritone), and Mitchelle Jones (baritone), the Symphony Chorus, and baroque ensemble Voices of Music.

Speaking of Voices of Music, this month they are also presenting As Steals the Morn, a program of instrumental and vocal music by Bach and Handel, featuring singers Amanda Forsythe and Thomas Cooley along with Emi Ferguson on baroque flute and Marc Schachman on baroque oboe; you can hear the results 28 March at All Saints Episcopal in Palo Alto, 29 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 31 March at St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble plays works by Rebecca Clarke, Tina Tallon, Elainie Lillios, Peter van Zandt, and David Conte; the Clarke is from 1919 but the Tallon, Lillios, and van Zandt pieces are world premieres. The concerts are 3 March at the Berkeley Hillside Club and 4 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The Eco Ensemble returns to Hertz Hall under the auspices of Cal Performances on 2 March to play a program of mostly US or world premieres by Sivan Eldar, Carmine Cella, Amadeus Reguceraraw, and Matthew Schumaker.

Cal Performances presents pianist Nicolas Hodges, violinist Jennifer Koh, and cellist Anssi Karttunen playing works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Betsy Jolas, Kaija Saariaho, and Magnus Lindberg at Hertz Hall on 10 March.

Nomad Session offers the premiere of Ocho Bendiciones, a new piece by Nicolas Benavides (his second piece for them, after last year's beautiful Cool Grey City) on 15 March at the Noe Valley Ministry.

The Tenth Annual Hot Air Music Festival is scheduled for 17 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; as usual it will be a full day of free concerts but I have no other information as of this posting.

This year's Other Minds Festival explores the microtonal work of Ivan Wyschnegradsky; the first concert will take place 23 March at the Taube Atrium Theater and will feature the Arditti Quartet playing works by Wyschenegradsky and Georg Friedrich Haas. (The other Festival concerts will take place in June.)

Old First Concerts presents the Mobius Trio on 29 March; the classical guitar trio will perform three world premieres, by Ryan Brown, Ian Dicke, and the Trio themselves.

Bard Music West offers Games and Revolutions, a program featuring music by Danny Clay and Gabriella Smith, on 28 March at the Center for New Music in San Francisco, 29 March at the Fireside Room of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, and 30 March at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

As always, check  the calendar at the Center for New Music, which is updated frequently; some things that jump out at me from the current listings for March are: Kurt Rohde's Farewell Tour Part 2, featuring many new works for viola and electronics, on 1 March; Latitudes, by Ashley Bellouin and Gabriel Mindel Saloman on 8 March; the Looney / Mezzacapa / Nordeson Trio on 9 March; piano duo Zwischenspiel (Rachel Breen and Kelsey Walsh) playing Philip Glass and David Lang and pairing them with photography and video, on 10 March; guitarist David Tanenbaum's seven world premieres on 15 March; pianist Clare Longendyke playing music by Vivian Fung, Brent Miller, Mason Bates, Elinor Armer, and Michael Gilbertson on 24 March; and the Friction Quartet playing Abaciscus by Geoffrey Gordon and the premieres of two quartet commissions, Two Hearts by Sarang Kim and El Correcaminos (The Roadrunner) by Nick Benavides, on 29 March.

Keyboards & Strings
Old First Concerts offers its annual Chopin birthday concert on 3 March; Kenneth Kenner will play mostly Chopin, of course, as well as a few pieces by Paderewski.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Connie Shih at Herbst Theater on 3 March, playing works by Clara and Robert Schumann, Vítězslava Kaprálová and Bohuslav Martinů, and Augusta Holmès and César Franck (the program's theme is love relationships between composers). Isserlist will also be giving a master class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 4 March.

San Francisco Performances presents cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist/composer Vijay Iyer playing works by Iyer, Zakir Hussein, John McLaughlin, JS Bach, Ravi Shankar, Billy Strayhorn, and others at Herbst Theater on 9 March.

The San Francisco Symphony presents violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter with pianist Lambert Orkis in recital at Davies Hall on 10 March, when they will play works by Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and Poulenc.

San Francisco Performances presents pianist Benjamin Grosvenor at Herbst Theater on 13 March, playing works by Schumann, Janáček. Prokofiev, and Bellini (via Liszt).

On 28 March at Herbst Theater, Garrick Ohlsson continues his multi-concert exploration of the complete piano works of Johannes Brahms for San Francisco Performances.

The San Francisco Symphony presents pianist Marc-André Hamelin in recital at Davies Hall on 31 March, when he will play music by Bach, Schumann, Weissenberg, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Chopin.

Chamber Music San Francisco presents pianist Nikolay Khozyainov at Herbst Theater on 31 March, performing pieces by Debussy, Stravinsky, and Chopin.

British/Bangladeshi dancer Akram Khan comes to Cal Performances on 2 - 3 March to perform his solo work Xenos, which combines the myth of Prometheus with the story of an Indian soldier fighting in the British Army in the First World War. Khan is planning to retire as a performer after Xenos. Be advised that this solo dance work is taking place in cavernous Zellerbach Hall.

The San Francisco Ballet has three programs in March: Sleeping Beauty (music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa) returns from 9 to 17 March; Program 5, Lyric Voices, runs from 27 March to 7 April and consists of Your Flesh Shall Be a Great Poem (music by Chris Garneau, choreography by Trey McIntyre), Bound To (music by Keaton Henson, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon), and the world premiere of ". . . two united in a single soul . . ." (music by Handel and Daria Novo with countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and choreography by Yuri Possokhov); and Program 6, Space Between, runs from 29 March to 9 April and consists of Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes (music by Aaron Copland, choreography by Justin Peck), a world premiere from choreographer Liam Scarlett (no other details available at this time), and Björk Ballet (music by, perhaps obviously, Björk Gudmundsdottir, as well as Alejandro Ghersi, and Sjón, with choreography by Arthur Pita).

There's a cinematic cornucopia starting up this month at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive: Afterimage: Ulrike Ottinger runs from 1 March to 7 April; Painters Painting runs from 1 March to 28 April; the African Film Festival runs from 2 March to 10 May; Delphine Seyrig: Resistant Muse runs from 8 March to 27 April; In Focus: Hirokazu Kore-eda runs from 13 March to 24 April; Remembering Nelson Pereira dos Santos runs from 15 March to 8 May; and the GLAS Animation Festival runs 23 - 24 March. (It's probably something obvious, but I have no idea what GLAS stands for and I didn't see it spelled out during my admittedly cursory look at their website; the festival looks interesting though.)

Friday Photo 2019/8

along the Embarcadero, San Francisco, August 2018

18 February 2019

11 February 2019

Museum Monday 2019/6

Nell Gwynn in the Guise of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, by Sir Peter Lely and Workshop, from the Berkeley Art Museum's recent exhibit Old Masters in a New Light: Rediscovering the European Collection. Catherine of Alexandra, shown here with her traditional attributes, the wheel on which she was tortured to death and a martyr's palm, was one of the most popular virgin saints of the early Church. Nell Gwynn was a Restoration actress and the long-time mistress of King Charles II.

04 February 2019