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.
Holiday Guitar Ensemble Concert
Lawrence Ferrara, guitar; Joan Nagano, piano
Come and hear Lawrence Ferrara, soloist and ensemble director for the annual Holiday Guitar Ensemble Concert. The program will bring cheer and delight to the holiday season and new year. Mr. Ferrara will perform with pianist Joan Nagano. Together they will play Bach's Trio Sonata No. 1, BWV 525, Vivaldi's Guitar Concerto, and the festive and delightful Fantasia para un Gentilhombre, by Joaquín Rodrigo. You will also hear lively solo works by Astor Piazzolla and Dusan Bogdanovic, and Egberto Gismonti.
Music from the Carpathian Bow
Cookie Segelstein, violin & scordatura violin; Joshua Horowitz, chromatic button accordion & tsimbl (cimbalom); Stuart Brotman, basy (bass 'cello)
Veretski Pass, founded in 2002 by Cookie Segelstein, takes it’s name from this mountain pass in the Carpathians, through which the emigrating Jews settled in Transcarpathia, first reaching the town of Mukachevo, or Munkacs. It was also the inital point of entry of the Magyar tribes into Europe in 896 A.D. led by Prince Árpád. Cookie's father was born in Nizhniye Veretski at the base of this pass, her mother in Munkacs, and much of the music for tonight’s program comes from this region. With traditional instruments of this area, violin, bayan (button accordion), tilinca (Carpathian overtone flute), and basy (‘cello), Veretski Pass plays a mix of Jewish instrumental music of pre-WWII Eastern Europe, or klezmer music, along with traditional melodies from Ukraine, Carpathian-Ruthenia, Bessarabia and Rumania. In a true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, typical suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia, Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania, Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia, and haunting Rebetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated into original compositions. Much of this rare music has been gleaned from field recordings gathered by the musicians in numerous trips throughout Europe, as well as from family members. For more information about Veretski Pass, please visit veretskipass.com.
Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir
With Joyful Ring—A Candlelight Concert
Robert Geary, Artistic Director
Experience ethereal world melodies, premieres of new choral masterpieces, and festive holiday songs sung by the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir's most experienced performing groups. This concert is perfect for families and choral newcomers looking for an uplifting holiday musical experience. For more information please visit piedmontchoirs.org.
Holiday Celebration in Song
Level IV of the Chorus School–San Francisco Girls Chorus
Elizabeth Avakian, conductor
A program of carols and music celebrating the season, including sing-alongs! For 36 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. Following a phenomenal 30th anniversary season that included featured performances at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, a New York debut at Lincoln Center and unprecedented ticket sales, the San Francisco Girls Chorus has furthered its status as an internationally celebrated professional choral ensemble. Founded in 1978, the San Francisco Girls Chorus has become a regional center for choral music education and performance for girls and young women ages 5‐18. With rehearsals in San Francisco and Berkeley, 400 singers from all nine Bay Area counties participate in this internationally recognized program, deemed “a model in the country for training girls’ voices” by the California Arts Council. The organization consists of a professional level performance, recording and touring ensemble, the four‐level Chorus School training program, and a Preparatory Chorus for 5‐7 year olds. Chorus School Level IV is comprised of 52 singers, ages 11-15, and is the most advanced ensemble in the Girls Chorus’ four-level Chorus School. The group performs frequently at holiday tree-lighting ceremonies, conventions, civic celebrations, and fundraisers. Highlights include performances with the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera, as well as at the Super Bowl, the World Cup, mayors’ inaugurations, and for Senator Dianne Feinstein. For more information please visit sfgirlschorus.org.
Ragazzi Boys Chorus
Joyce Keil, Artistic Director; Kent Jue, Avanti Chorus Director; Jesse Buddington, Young Men's Ensemble Associate Director; Dr. Ihang Lin, accompanist; Othello Jefferson, accompanist
Ragazzi Boys Chorus is delighted to present Wintersong. Take some time out of your busy Holiday schedule to explore the beauty of music written for our coldest season. Spanning the range from sparkling and clear, to rich and complex, the vocal beauty and artistry of Ragazzi’s singers will warm your heart. Classics of choral literature will be featured, including pieces by John Rutter and Harold Darke. Ragazzi’s treble voices will perform Edward Elgar’s The Snow, accompanied by string continuo. Patrons will be invited to sing along with favorite carols, and will be treated to Allegri’s Misereri for double choir. Ragazzi will also present the Norwegian Eatnemen Vuelie, heard in the popular movie Frozen. For more information please visit ragazzi.org.
Christmas in a Celtic Land
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. Celebrating the music of co-founder Margie Butler's father, Golden Bough will present songs from their new CD along with Irish favorites and more. The new CD, Songs My Father Sang, is a collection of songs Margie learned at her father's knee. Bill Butler was a successful and accomplished Irish tenor. His career spanned 5 decades and he had a big influence on Margie. She got her love of Irish music and culture from him. 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 web-site at www.goldenboughmusic.com
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 program features 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. For more information please visit kitka.org.
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