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.
Gwendolyn Mok & friends
Program Two: Music and the spoken word at a time of war
Diane Nicholeris, violin; Jay Liu, viola; David Goldblatt, cello; Gwendolyn Mok, piano; Robert Hass, poet; Yun Chu, violin
Robert Hass will be joining Pianist Gwendolyn Mok and members of the San Francisco Symphony in a performance of Schoenberg's Ode to Napoleon. Poet Robert Hass will also offer selections of poetry about war and conflict. The concert will also feature Ravel's Trio in a minor written during WWI when Ravel himself served as an ambulance driver. Join us in this unforgettable concert, marrying music with the spoken word.
Kenneth Renshaw & Audrey Vardanega
Johannes Brahms: The Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Kenneth Renshaw, violin; Audrey Vardanega, piano
Violinist Kenneth Renshaw and pianist Audrey Vardanega celebrate the three violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms, composed between 1878 and 1888. In these masterpieces, Brahms showcases the combined power of the violin and the piano through the demanding virtuosity of each sonata and the intense lyricism in both instrumental parts. Kenneth Renshaw and Audrey Vardanega began playing together when they were middle-schoolers at The Crowden School in Berkeley. Since then, Renshaw and Vardanega have performed to critical acclaim in venues all over the world such as the Louvre Museum in Paris, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, and the Hangzhou Grand Theater. They have each studied and collaborated in performance with some of the world’s foremost musicians including violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pamela Frank, pianists Seymour Lipkin and Richard Goode, and violist Kim Kashkashian.
Le Due Muse
An Evening of Johannes Brahms
Sarah Hong, cello; Makiko Ooka, piano; Special Guest Fumino Ando, violin
Brahms A selection of art songs
Brahms Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 28
Brahms Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8
Le Due Muse is a cello and piano duo team formed by the Bay Area cellist Sarah Hong and her long time duo partner, Japanese pianist Makiko Ooka. with violinist, Fumino Ando from the Oregon Symphony. They return to Old First Concerts to share the Johannes Brahms’ beautiful arts songs and early chamber music masterpieces. Brahms composed his first piano trio in B major, Op. 8 in 1854 when he was only 21 years old. Later he revised the piece in 1891, when Brahms was around 58. His extensive revisions to the B major work make it a striking hybrid of his early and mature styles. Join us for unforgettable program, An Evening of Brahms. For more information, please visit cellistsarahhong.com.
The Village Road Trio and RossoRose Duo, with Beth Vandervennet
Folk Inspired Classical Music
Daniel Fabricant, bass; Rob Reich, accordion; Alisa Rose, violin; Amy Zanrosso, piano; Beth Vandervennet, cello
Alisa Rose Fiddle Caprices and Pizzicato Pieces
Dmitri Shostakovich Four Preludes for Piano and Violin, Op. 34
Antonín Dvořák Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, ‘Dumky’, Op. 90, B. 166
A program of classical music inspired by the folk dances of Romania, the fiddle tunes of America, and the lamenting Dumkas of the Ukraine. Join us to hear RossoRose play folk music with their classical instrumentation, and the Village Road Trio reimagine classical music with their folkloric instrumentation for a program of spirited and expressive music!
Basically British XV
John Parr, piano; Peter Grunberg, piano
Peter Warlock Capriol Suite for Piano Duet
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Andante and Variations, Op. 83
Sir William Walton excerpts from Façade for Piano Duet
Music by Constant Lambert, Arnold Bax, and John Field
A recital of British music and music with British connections for two pianists on one piano by two former Heads of Music Staff at San Francisco Opera, including music from the early nineteenth century and moving on to the golden age of British Music. Before the invention of the gramophone, the piano duet provided a way of having orchestral music in the home for amateur as well as professional pianists and many arrangements were made both by composers themselves as well as others, in addition to original music for the medium. The Irish-composer pianist and composer John Field moved to London where he studied with Muzio Clementi – he was particularly well-known for his solo piano music and was highly respected by Chopin, Schumann and Liszt. The younger Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was also an important figure in the London musical scene at the beginning of the nineteenth century as composer, conductor and pianist. The composer and poet Philip Heseltine adopted the pseudonym Peter Warlock as a composer. Though mainly known for his songs, his delightful pastische of Elizabethan music, the Capriol Suite, exists both for piano duet as well as its better-know version for String Orchestra. William Walton's brilliant Façade for small instrumental ensemble and speaker spurned orchestral, piano duet and song arrangements of many of the numbers. Arnold Bax was married to the pianist Harriet Cohen, for whom he wrote all his piano music. Percy Grainger and Constant Lambert provide the remaining lighter-hearted music in the program.
Erik Jekabson's Vista Nonet
Erik Jekabson, trumpet; Becca Burrington, vocals; Alexis Jenson, vocals; Alisa Rose, violin; Matt Renzi, woodwinds; Dillon Vado, vibraphone; Jeffrey Burr, guitar; Jeff Denson, bass; Alan Hall, drums
Original compositions by trumpeter Erik Jekabson featuring his nonet of Becca Burrington and Alexis Jenson on vocals, Alisa Rose on violin, Matt Renzi on woodwinds, Dillon Vado on vibes, Jeffrey Burr on guitar, Jeff Denson on bass and Alan Hall on drums. Jekabson is a freelance trumpet player, composer, arranger and educator who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is equally busy playing and composing for different bands, leading his own groups and teaching a wide variety of students. Vista Nonet will perform his jazz-influenced chamber music, including the poetry of Frank O'Hara and Elizabeth Bishop set to music.
performs J. S. Bach and Tashi Wada
Charles Curtis, cello
J. S. Bach Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 (ca. 1720)
Tashi Wada untitled (2016) World Premiere
Luigi Dallapiccola Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio (1945)
This program centers around a new piece for solo cello by composer Tashi Wada, written expressly for Charles Curtis, which broadens their ongoing work together around harmony and tuning, while working outwards from the physical makeup, or body, of the cello. The cello suites of J. S. Bach offer not only an "absolute music" of pure tonal relations and implied harmony, but also a very conscious mapping of the instrumental resources of the cello. They can be seen as a manifesto declaring the arrival of what was at the time a relatively new instrument. Bach's intricate tailoring of thematic and contrapuntal material to the lay-out and native resonances of the instrument suggest a kind of "inside-out" process, even a kind of compositional empiricism. Dallapiccola's Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio does much the same thing, but in 1945, some 200 years after Bach. The tonal language is now that of Alban Berg, and the piece was composed in close collaboration with Dallapiccola's friend, the Catalan cellist Gaspar Cassado. Cellist Charles Curtis has created a new body of work for solo cello through his collaborations with composers La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, Alvin Lucier, Éliane Radigue, Christian Wolff, Alison Knowles and Tashi Wada, and filmmakers Raha Raissnia and Jeff Perkins. Rarely-heard works of Terry Jennings, Morton Feldman and Richard Maxfield have also been signposts in Curtis's performing life. Trained at Juilliard with Leonard Rose and Harvey Shapiro, Curtis received the Piatigorsky Prize of the New York Cello Society. Since 2000 Curtis has been Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego. He is a former member of King Missile. Tashi Wada grew up in New York and lives in Los Angeles. His compositions use apparently simple structures and carefully calibrated tuning systems to generate rich and unanticipated perceptual effects. Wada presents his music often in collaboration with other artists including Charles Curtis and Stephan Mathieu, in addition to performing regularly with his father Yoshi Wada.