Look below to find a list of our upcoming concerts. You can also learn more about the artists by clicking on their names and following the links to their bios and websites.
To respect our artists and patrons, we do not permit infants or toddlers to attend our performances.
of the San Francisco Girls Chorus presents Make a Joyful Noise!
The SFGC Alumnae Chorus presents a program that celebrates the traditions of Christmas and their modern reimaginings. Anchored by two modern psalm settings, come and revel in the familiar carols and songs, as well as modern works by René Clausen, David Conte, Rollo Dillworth, Jósef Karai and Claude Debussy. For 35 years, the thrilling sounds of the extraordinarily gifted young women of the San Francisco Girls Chorus have captured the attention and fired the imaginations of audiences worldwide. The San Francisco Girls Chorus Alumnae Chorus comprises graduates of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Chorus School. Now in its seventh season, Alumnae Chorus provides Bay Area audiences with concerts of the highest caliber of women's choral music. For more information about the San Francisco Girls Chorus, visit www.sfgirlschorus.org.
Tickets for this performance can be purchased at the door.
Doors open 30 minutes prior to concert time.
$14.00 Seniors (65 and older)
$5.00 Full Time Students
Children 12 and under are free.
Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir
Robert Geary, Artistic Director; Andrew Brown, conductor; Clifton Massey, conductor; Sue Bohlin, Associate Director
Celebrate the season with the sweet sounds of children singing - the top choirs of the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir dazzle by candlelight, featuring works by Francisco Núñez, Dov Carmel, Pekka Kostiainen, John Reager, Miklós Kocsár, and Z. Randall Stroope. This internationally-acclaimed organization has been offering an outstanding program of choral training and performance since 1982, winning top prizes at prestigious festivals across the world, collaborating with major arts institutions, and offering lessons in creativity, expression, poise and engagement with many cultures. Most recently they swept the choral competition at the International Youth Music Festival in Slovakia with 3 gold medals and the Grand Prix Award for best Overall Choir.
A Celtic Yuletide Celebration
Margie Butler, vocals, Celtic harp, penny-whistle, recorder; Paul Espinoza, vocals, guitar, accordion, octave-mandolin; Kathy Sierra, vocals, violin, viola, recorder
Christmas has long been celebrated as a time for family and friends to gather and share in the joy of the season. Golden Bough’s special Celtic Yuletide Concert at Old First Concerts is the perfect setting to join together in song and celebration and to drive the cold winter away. Old World Carols from England, Ireland and Scotland, along with Celtic songs of Christmas and Winter, provide a festive atmosphere in which the listener is transported to another place and time. No newcomers to the current Celtic trend, Golden Bough has been bringing their Winter Concerts to family audiences far and wide since 1980. These modern-day minstrels have traveled the world over performing their own brand of Celtic music, drawn from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, The Isle of Man, French Brittany and even Galicia (in Spain). An Old World carol states, “Good fortune attend each merry man's friend to do the best that he may, forgetting all wrongs in carol and song to drive the cold winter away.” With that in mind, Golden Bough created a special Yuletide season program for the whole family. With lively instrumental pieces, haunting ballads and humorous sing-alongs, you’ll be hard put to sit still once the fire of Celtic music is flamed by these fine musicians. A splendid time is guaranteed for all! You can find out more about Golden Bough, their recordings, concert schedule and history by visiting their website at www.goldenboughmusic.com.
KITKA Women's Vocal Ensemble
Please note special ticket prices for this concert: General admission $20 advance / $25 at the door; Seniors & full-time students $15 advance / $20 at the door
Wintersongs is Kitka's critically-acclaimed and wildly popular winter holiday program showcasing seasonal music from a wide variety of Eastern European ethnic and spiritual traditions. For countless centuries, people around the world have utilized the power or community singing to infuse warmth, cheer, spirituality, wishes for peace, health, and good fortune into the long, dark, cold and difficult winter season. Eastern Europe's geographic position as a crossroads between Europe and the Orient has produced an astonishingly rich and varied array of seasonal musical rituals. Kitka's 2013 Wintersongs program will feature songs ranging from rousing Slavic folk carols; to lush meditative Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works; to Baltic pagan incantations for the return of the Sun Goddess, to Caucasus Georgian Alilos (hallelujahs); to Yiddish, Sephardic, and Hebrew songs for Chanukah; to Bosnian-Muslim ilahijas (devotional hymns); to rhythmic Balkan Romany ("Gypsy") tunes for the winter festivals of Vasilica and Kurban Bajram. Traditional pieces will be woven together with new folk song arrangements and original compositions by Kitka members and contemporary American and Eastern European composers, all inspired by the customs, beauty, and mystery of wintertime.
The following pre-sale ticket prices are good until Saturday, December 21, 2013 AT 6:00PM. Tickets purchased at the door will be $25.00 for General Admission, $20.00 for Seniors, and $20.00 for Full Time Students.
martha & monica
O1C Artists-in-residence present: Turns of Centuries, program 1
Hadley McCarroll, piano; Monica Scott, 'cello
Please join us for a pre-concert talk at 3:30 pm with the artists and John Zarobell
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata in A major for ‘cello and piano, Op. 69 (1807)
Mario Lavista Tres Danzas Seculares (1994)
Leos Janácek Pohádka (1915)
Wojciech Widłak All My Angers (2013)
Marcin Gumiela La impressione fiorentino (2004)
In this first of three programs as Old First Concerts’ 2014 Artists-in-Residence, acclaimed duo martha & monica performs music for ‘cello and piano from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. John Zarobell (former assistant curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and current Program Chair of European Studies at the University of San Francisco) joins the duo to discuss the music through the lens of art, literature, and politics. At the beginning of each new century, are we glancing back or looking forward? What influences composers from century to century?
Discounts available on orders of tickets for two or more performances in martha & monica’s Turns of Centuries series. For more information please call (415) 474-1608
Stepping Out with SOTA
featuring students from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts
Brad Hogarth, trumpet; Ava Soifer, piano
The “Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts” chamber music program, directed by Ava Soifer, presents a concert by students & faculty. Performing works for mixed ensembles, solo & duo piano, students from the piano, orchestra and band departments come together to create an exciting program including works by Bernstein, Barber, Piazzolla, Ewazen, Arensky, Bruch, Schumann, & Chopin. Performers include distinguished SOTA faculty Brad Hogarth, trumpet & Ava Soifer, piano. SOTA is a public arts High School offering free quality arts and academic education since 1982. Students from the music departments have matriculated to conservatories and music programs across the country including Julliard, Oberlin, New England Conservatory, Curtis, USC, Berklee College of Music, UCLA and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Melodiya Chamber Ensemble
Sergey Rakitchenkov, viola; Arkady Serper, piano
J. N. Hummel Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 5, No. 3
J. S. Bach Romance in F major, Op. 50; Prelude and Gigue from ‘Cello Suite No. 3 (trans. for viola); and Sonata in G minor, BWV 1029
M. Glinka excerpt from unfinished Sonata in D minor
S. Rachmaninoff Preludes No.’s 3 & 4 from Preludes, Op. 23 for piano
R. Schumann Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70
Sergey Rakitchenkov and Arkady Serper are both graduates of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory who began their distinguished careers in the major concert halls of Europe and Russia before immigrating to the United States. Rakitchenkov is a long-standing member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Serper a prominent pianist, composer, and faculty member at the Crowden School. Their performances are well known for a colorful, literate style, as well as an exacting technical precision.
Debussy String Quartet and Friction Commissions
Kevin Rogers, violin; Otis Harriel, violin; Taija Warbelow, viola; Doug Machiz, 'cello
Ian Dicke Unmanned for string quartet and live electronics. West Coast Premiere
Gabriella Smith Inyo West Coast Premiere
Stephen Feigenbaum Strange Dances West Coast Premiere
Debussy String Quartet
Friction Quartet, recipient of the 2012 Berkeley Piano Club Emerging Artist Award, has established a reputation for edgy programming and exhilarating performance of contemporary string quartets. Through artistic collaboration in varied mediums, the commissioning of new works, crossing into non-classical genres, adding movement to performances, and incorporating mixed medias, Friction Quartet creates a progressive and inviting concert atmosphere that attracts audiences of all ages and interests. Community improvement and education are crucial elements to Friction’s work; free public performance and outreach in struggling communities and schools builds and sustains a vibrant culture, while broadening future audiences of classical music. Friction has commissioned new works from Ian Dicke, Gabriella Smith, and Daniel Felsenfeld among many others. Recent events include “A Show of Hands” residency at JCC San Francisco with Garrett-Moulton Dance Company, concerts at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis with Theo Bleckmann and Friction's New York City debut at the Firehouse Space.
Arianna Warsaw-Fan, violin; Meta Weiss, 'cello
Adrien-François Servais Grand Duo de Concert sur deux Airs Nationaux Anglais
Zoltán Kodály Duo for Violin and ‘Cello
Johan Halvorsen Passacaglia in G minor on a theme by George F. Handel
Maurice Ravel Sonata for Violin and ‘Cello
John Philip Sousa arr. Bruce Dukov The Stars and Stripes Forever
Violinist Arianna Warsaw-Fan and cellist Meta Weiss—duoW—burst onto the international music scene when their cutting edge music video, Ghosts and Flowers, went viral on the internet in the fall of 2011. Proclaimed by Nylon Magazine as "a major announcement" and with visuals described by La Scene Musicale as "a mix of Coppola's Marie Antoinette and Bram Stoker's Dracula alongside graffiti and modern cityscapes", the music video transcends the confines of classical music. The duo says: “… classical music is not just a relic of the past. It’s a growing collection of works, all of which express emotions that are just as relevant to our lives today as they were to the lives of listeners in centuries past.” Meta and Arianna have been performing together since they first met ten years ago at the prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. Both recent graduates of the Masters program at Juilliard, Meta and Arianna have both been recognized internationally for their astonishing musicianship and brilliant technique, garnering multiple awards and honors, and receiving recognition in major competitions around the world. The repertoire for tonight’s performance is drawn from their 2013 Sono Luminus Records CD release Entendre.
Magik*Magik plays The Collected
John Kennedy, conductor; Special Guest Eric km Clark, violin; Special Guest Jacquelin Goldgorin, soprano
New works by Lisa Renée Coons, Adam Fong, Denise Gilson, and Brent Miller.
Conductor John Kennedy (Spoleto USA; Santa Clara University) leads the dynamic Magik*Magik Orchestra in the premiere of four new works for chamber orchestra by members of the national composer group The Collected. Dr. Lisa Renée Coons (Western Michigan University), whose two-part ballet for a recent MATA Festival was lauded for its "powerful first impression" by Steve Smith of The New York Times, explores timbral shifts and beating patterns by spatializing the 12-piece ensemble so that the players encircle the audience. Adam Fong (San Francisco, CA) explores "indeterminate counterpoint," further developing his interests in modular structures and forms realized through real-time and situational decisions made by the players themselves. His work reveals influences from his teachers James Tenney, Christian Wolff, and Wadada Leo Smith. Denise Gilson (Socorro, New Mexico) reworks the violin concerto, providing Canadian-born soloist Eric km Clark (California E.A.R. Unit) with an array of sound resources. His structural collaboration with Kennedy and the Magik*Magik players includes amplification and electronic manipulation. Brent Miller (San Francisco, CA) offers a new work featuring soprano soloist Jacqueline Goldgorin (West Bay Opera, Golden Gate Opera, Chelsea Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera).
Old and New Music from the US and Asia
Wooden Fish Ensemble, with Ariose Singers and guests
Thomas Schultz, piano; Shoko Hikage, koto (Japanese zither); Michael McGushin, conductor; Adria Otte, violin; Stan Poplin, double bass; Carolyn Chen, guqin (Chiinese zither); Irene Hermann, piano; Narae Kwon, kayageum (Korean zither)
Hyo-shin Na two World Premieres, the San Francisco Premieres of three choral works: The Debt (2013), Spring of Tears (2012), and Dust of This World (2013), and performances of Pleasures for mixed choir and piano (2011), Listen While You Speak! (2011), Echoes of Harmonious Music (2012) and Chrysanthemum Song (2012)
Christian Wolff Exercise 32 (2011) and Burdocks (1971)
Frederic Rzewski Down by the Riverside (1979)
Frédéric Chopin Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
Also instrumental versions of Japanese and Korean folk songs, and Chinese traditional music
The Wooden Fish Ensemble presents concerts of music and musicians from a variety of cultural and national backgrounds working together in a collaborative way. The Ensemble has presented concerts of traditional music from Asia and new music by a diverse group of composers that includes John Cage, Christian Wolff, Frederic Rzewski, Morton Feldman, Hyo-shin Na and Walter Zimmermann. They have given numerous world premieres.
The Annual Chopin Birthday Concert
Claire Huangci, piano
Co-presented with the San Francisco Chapter of the Chopin Foundation
Every year the Chopin Foundation celebrates Chopin's birthday with a concert by a distinguished pianist. In the past we have welcomed such pianists as Gabriela Montera (who played at President Obama's inauguration), Garrick Ohlsson, Kevin Kenner and many other artists from around the world. This year they present Claire Huangci, one of the most sought-after pianists of her generation. With her technical brilliance, deep musical expression, playful virtuosity and her keen sensibility, she captures her audiences all over the world. A special companion to her musical development has been the music of Frédéric Chopin. Over the years, her special bond with Chopin has deepened even further, having won First Prize at the 2009 International Chopin Competition in Darmstadt, Germany, as well as the First and Special Prize at the 2010 International Chopin Competition in Miami. Thanks to these achievements, Claire Huangci is already regarded as one of the premiere Chopin interpreters of her generation.
Each an Experiment
Bettina Mussumeli, violin; Susan Freier, violin; Jodi Levitz, viola; Stephen Harrison, 'cello
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart String Quartet in E-flat major, K. 428
Henry Cowell String Quartet No. 3, Mosaic
Felix Mendelssohn String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
The searching Mozart, the experimenting Cowell and the grieving Mendelssohn make up the winter program. In emulation of Haydn, Mozart seeks a more complex quartet style while Cowell’s Mosaic is just that—a free-form composition whose movements can be played in any order. Mendelssohn’s last major work before his death, the F minor quartet, is subtitled “Requiem for Fanny” in memory of his beloved sister.
Gianna Abondolo, 'cello; Robert Schwartz, piano
Zoltán Kodály Sonata for ‘Cello and Piano, Op. 4
Arvo Pärt Fratres for ‘Cello and Piano (1977)
Gianna Abondolo Improvisational work for Solo ‘Cello
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata for ‘Cello and Piano in D major, Op. 102, No. 2
Join Bay Area ‘cellist-composer-improviser Gianna Abondolo, with pianist Robert Schwartz, in an afternoon of hauntingly beautiful and inspiring classical and contemporary works for ‘cello and piano. Praised by the Los Angeles Times as “clearly a musician of exceptional talent”, Gianna brings a compelling and fresh approach to her performances. Her programming includes a creative and eclectic array of repertoire for solo ‘cello and with other instrumentalists ranging from classical and contemporary to her own compositions. The Abondolo-Schwartz ‘cello/piano duo has received critical acclaim performing together on numerous occasions. The concert will feature music of Kodály, Pärt, and Beethoven along with one of her own compositions for solo ‘cello.
O1C Artists-in-residence with two brand-new works!
Eva-Maria Zimmermann; Keisuke Nakagoshi, one piano
Kurt Rohde Altromondo, written for ZOFO (2013) World Premiere
Steven Tickmayer Divertimento, written for ZOFO (2013) World Premiere
Jack Body Three Rhythmics (1999) American Premiere
Carl Vine Sonata for piano four hands (2009) West Coast Premiere
Continuing their residency at Old First Concerts ZOFO will give the World Premieres of two brand-new works written for them, Altromondo by Californian composer Kurt Rohde, and Divertimento by Stevan Tickmayer, a composer who was born in former Yugoslavia and now lives in France. Alongside these World Premieres ZOFO will explore amazing music by New Zealand and Australian composers Jack Body and Carl Vine respectively.
Sqwonk bass clarinet duo
with Nonsemble 6 and the Real Vocal String Quartet
Jonathan Russell, bass clarinet; Jeff Anderle, bass clarinet
Sqwonk, the ground-breaking Bay Area bass clarinet duo, eagerly returns to Old First Concerts to celebrate the release of its third album, Sqwonk +. This album grew out of several concerts in recent years in which Sqwonk shared the bill with another Bay Area ensemble, often joining forces with them in a new composition or arrangement. Sqwonk + documents some of these projects, as well as new ones created especially for the recording. On this concert, Sqwonk presents two of its collaborations from the album: a new chamber version of Jonathan Russell’s Bass Clarinet Double Concerto with the young, up-and-coming new music chamber ensemble Nonsemble 6, and Alisa Rose’s Slacker Ridge with the inimitable Real Vocal String Quartet. Filling out the program will be works from Sqwonk’s core repertoire, as well as other performances by Nonsemble 6 and the Real Vocal String Quartet. Sqwonk invites you to join them in celebrating this exciting new album, and the richness and diversity of Bay Area chamber music that it represents.
Portraits of Chopin
Frank Lévy, piano
Frédéric Chopin Variations Brillantes, Op. 12; Impromptu No. 2, Op. 36; Ballade No. 2, Op. 38; Polonaise Op 40, No. 2; Impromptu No. 1, Op. 29; Ballade No. 1, Op. 23; Polonaise Op. 71, No. 2; Impromptu No. 3, Op. 51; Ballade No. 3, Op. 47; Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. posthumous; Impromptu No. 4, Op. 66; and Ballade No. 4, Op. 52
You are cordially invited to take an extraordinary journey into Chopin’s universe through his complete cycles of Ballades and Impromptus. The American critic James Huneker called the Ballades “the odyssey of Chopin’s soul.” This program will explore different facets of Chopin’s genius throughout his life—from the brilliance of his early works to the depth of the late masterpieces. Described by audiences and critics alike as a pianist of rare poetic insight and communicative power, Frank Lévy has a special affinity for the narrative quality of Chopin’s music. Frank Lévy recently moved to the Bay Area from New York City where he had served on the piano faculties of the Juilliard School Pre-College Division and the City University of New York Graduate Center. Frank Lévy will complement the Ballades and Impromptus with other known gems, such as Nocturnes, Polonaises and Variations.
Karen Clark sings Pierrot Lunaire
Karen Clark, contralto; Karen Rosenak, piano; Terrie Baune, violin; Rob Bailis, clarinet; Leslie Chin, flute; Judyaba, 'cello; Will Johnson, lecturer
Alban Berg Vier Stucke for clarinet and piano, Op. 5
Johannes Brahms Op. 94 No’s 3 & 4 and Op. 106 No’s 3 & 4
Alexander Zemlinsky 6 Gesänge (Poems by Maeterlinck), Op. 13
Arnold Schoenberg Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21
Please come early and join us for a pre-concert talk by Professor Emeritus Will Johnson and 7:30pm.
In this evening of chamber music, contralto Karen Clark joins with highly esteemed colleagues for a journey into the spirit, structure, and sprechstimme of Arnold Schoenberg’s masterpiece melodrama, Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21. Karen Clark’s “rich intensity,” and “majestic,” and “hauntingly beautiful” voice have been lauded by major journals, such as, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The first half of the program highlights the influences and friendships between Schoenberg, Johannes Brahms, Alexander Zemlinsky, and Alban Berg and features lieder of Brahms, and Zemlisky, and Berg’s Vier Stucke for clarinet and piano, Op. 5. Please attend the 7:30pm pre-concert lecture presented by Professor Emeritus Will Johnson. You’ll be glad you attended!
Junior Bach Festival
The Junior Bach Festival is dedicated to touching young lives by promoting the study and performance of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Presented annually about the time of Bach's birthday, March 21, the Festival features in concert some of the finest young musical talent in California, chosen by audition.