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.
Basically British XIV
Kindra Scharich, mezzo-soprano; Paul Yarborough, viola; John Parr, piano
image, from left: Kindra Scharich, John Parr
John Dowland Flow my Tears and If my Complaints
Benjamin Britten Lacrymae for Viola and Piano
Frank Bridge Pensiero and Allegro Appassionata for Viola and Piano; Three Songs for medium voice, viola and piano
Edward Elgar Skizze; In Smyrna; Sea Pictures
Johannes Brahms Two songs for voice, viola, and piano
This program continues the Basically British series, which John Parr presented at Old First Concerts from 2003 through 2011. The aim was to explore the flowering of British music which began at the end of the nineteenth century with the emergence of the first great British composer since Henry Purcell, Sir Edward Elgar, and continued into the twentieth century with Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett, and a host of “minor” masters, all writing with beauty, mastery of technique, and an identifiable “national” style. This program illustrates two major threads of this repertoire. The earlier—through the German Romantic Masters, Brahms and Wagner, to Elgar, who took their musical language and mastery of composition, while developing it into something quite unique which came to portray the England of his time. On the other hand, Benjamin Britten, taught at the early age of 13 (!) by the composer, conductor and viola player Frank Bridge, took the mastery of orchestral and compositional technique he learned from his teacher, but largely ignored the German Romantic Style and went back to the music of Henry Purcell as an inspiration, combining it with his own prodigious invention and incorporating the bi-tonal and pentatonic aspects which Balinese music inspired in him in his visit to the Island in the forties. Bridge was a fine viola player, being a member of the English String quartet from 1906–1915, and Britten was an amateur player (as well as a very fine pianist, of course). Parr is joined by Paul Yarborough, violist of the Alexander Quartet, and the fine mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, in this program.
Album Preview Concert
Ann Moss, soprano; Emil Miland, 'cello; Steven Bailey, piano; Special Guest Mads Tolling, violin; Special Guest Jake Heggie, piano
image, from left: Steven Bailey, Ann Moss, Emil Miland, Mads Tolling, Jake Heggie
Liam Wade Full Fathom Five (2014)
Jake Heggie From 'The Book of Nightmares' (2012); Newer Every Day: Songs for Kiri (2014); My True Love Hath My Heart (1996); and Coward/Cabaret for ‘cello and piano (1996)
Plus new arrangements of beloved songs by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and more!
Join us at Old First Concerts for a unique chance to preview the repertoire on Love Life, the sophomore album from soprano Ann Moss, just days before the artists make their way to Skywalker Sound to lay down the tracks! Slated for release in November 2015, Love Life features contemporary chamber music for voice, ‘cello and piano, as well as creative arrangements of beloved songs by artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Lennon and McCartney, and more. Providing an intimate view into Moss's relationships to family, love and home, Love Life will be engineered and produced by multi-GRAMMY® award-winner Leslie Ann Jones. Ms. Moss is joined in the studio by the spectacular duo of ‘cellist Emil Miland and pianist Steven Bailey, as well as an array of special guests including multi-GRAMMY® award winning violinist Mads Tolling, San Francisco based GRAMMY® award winning ensemble Chanticleer, and renowned composer-pianist Jake Heggie. This concert program features songs and song cycles which will appear on Love Life, as well as a few added musical treats.
Le Due Muse
The Romantic Impressions for 'Cello & Piano
Sarah Hong, 'cello; Makiko Ooka, piano
Frédéric Chopin Introduction and Polonaise Brilliante in C major, Op. 3 and Sonata in G minor, Op. 65
César Franck Sonata in A major for ‘cello and piano
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. They return to Old First Concerts to share the most romantic and passionate ‘cello and piano works by Chopin and Franck. This unique program combines the works in which two of the Romantic era’s greatest composers expressed their deepest emotions through the medium of ‘cello and piano. The program begins with the Introduction and Polonaise Brilliante, which was one of Chopin’s first published work, followed by ‘Cello Sonata in G minor, his only duo sonata and the last published work. It reflects the story of him trying break up with George Sand, and the encroaching illnesses that would take his life in only a few short years. It is one of the masterpieces of the era, and the first of the great Romantic ‘cello sonatas. The final piece of the program is a very expressive and soulful ‘Cello Sonata by Franck which is more widely known as a violin sonata. This piece is filled with beauty, excitement, imagination, poignancy, and drama. For more information please visit cellistsarahhong.com.
Erik Jekabson's String-tet
plays the music of Duke Ellington
Erik Jekabson, trumpet; Michael Zilber, saxophones; Mads Tolling, violin; Charith Premawardhana, viola; John Wiitala, bass; Dillon Vado, vibraphone; Smith Dobson, drums; Special Guest Adam Shulman, piano
Join us for an evening where you'll hear a different take on Duke Ellington's music. Erik Jekabson's critically acclaimed String-tet is joined by pianist Adam Shulman as they play brand new arrangements of familiar and some not-so-familiar Ellington compositions. The combination of the String-tets' violin, viola, trumpet, sax, bass, drums and vibes with Adam’s creative and masterful piano playing shouldn't be missed.
Hannah Addario-Berry, 'cello
Zoltán Kodály Sonata for Solo ‘Cello, Op. 8 (1915)
World premieres of commissioned companion works by composers Alisa Rose, Eric KM Clark, Brent Miller, and Lisa Renée Coons
Please join us for a pre-concert talk with Hannah Addario-Berry at 7:30 pm.
One hundred years ago, Zoltán Kodály composed his Sonata for Solo ‘Cello, one of the most significant works written for the instrument since Bach’s suites. In celebration of this centenary, ‘cellist Hannah Addario-Berry has created a program that showcases the 1915 sonata alongside companion works created a century later by the dynamic young composers Lisa Renée Coons, Brent Miller, Eric KM Clark, and Alisa Rose. The program will be presented in a solo concert tour around the United States and Canada. As a soloist and chamber musician, ‘cellist Hannah Addario-Berry has focused her career on contemporary music, collaborating with emerging composers as well as some of the most respected senior composers of our time. In 2006 she performed the American premiere of Brian Cherney's ‘cello concerto Apparitions, as part of the Blueprint New Music series in San Francisco. Later, as a member of the renowned Del Sol String Quartet, Hannah collaborated with Wu Man and Tan Dun in a performance of Mr. Tan's Ghost Opera with the Santa Fe Opera.
John Boyajy, piano; Daniel Glover, piano; Tien Hsieh, piano; Dmitry Rachmanov, piano; Brent Smith, piano; Brett Waxdeck, piano
An outstanding group of local and international pianists concludes their tribute to one of the most intriguing and original of all composers of piano music, Alexander Scriabin, with two concerts. These concerts commemorate the 100th anniversary of Scriabin's death and present his entire sonata cycle by date of composition in order to show the extraordinary development of Scriabin's compositional style. Program three presents the Piano Sonatas No.’s 6, 7 (White Mass), & 9 (Black Mass), as well as a mixture of early and late works which often display Scriabin’s reverence for the music of his idol, Chopin. These include the 24 Preludes, Op. 11, selected etudes, and shorter works.
Chris Haight, piano; Dmitry Rachmanov, piano; Brent Smith, piano; Brett Waxdeck, piano; Owen Zhou, piano
An outstanding group of local and international pianists concludes their tribute to one of the most intriguing and original of all composers of piano music, Alexander Scriabin, with two concerts. These concerts commemorate the 100th anniversary of Scriabin's death and present his entire sonata cycle by date of composition in order to show the extraordinary development of Scriabin's compositional style. Program four presents the Piano Sonatas No.’s 8 & 10, Five Preludes, Op. 74, Vers la flamme, and other short works.
Asleep Under Waves
Sarah Jo Zaharako, violin; Eric Perney, bass; Roger Riedlbauer, guitars; Elias Reitz, percussion
photo by Peter Varshavsky
Gojogo is an unusual quartet that combines the Western sounds of classical and jazz with the rhythmic traditions of India. Founded in 2003, they are dedicated to creating innovative music that is accessible and captivating. Gojogo performs original music composed collaboratively by the four performers, each drawing upon a different musical tradition and training. Compositions feature improvisation over structured forms, creating opportunities for spontaneity and a medium to present each unique instrument. They will perform pieces from the 2014 release Asleep Under Waves, a set of pieces inspired by the history of the Bay Area coastal military installations. Please note that Amir & Omid Zoufonoun will no longer be performing as part of this event.
Resonance Jazz Ensemble
Tempos of Summer
Nancy Bien, 'cello; Ted Burik, bass; Greg German, drums; Georgianna Krieger, saxophones; Michelle Mastin, viola; Stephen McQuarry, piano & leader; Michèle Walther, violin; Laura Austin Wiley, vocals
Resonance Jazz, a unique octet, performs a fusion of jazz, classical, and experimental music genres playing works by composers Chick Corea, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and Gershwin. In this special concert for Old First Concerts they will be premiering original compositions by band members Michele Walter, Laura Wiley, Georgianna Krieger and Steve McQuarry. Empty Rockets by Georgianna Krieger is a whimsical calypso tune about the triumph of peace over conflict. Contingency Plans by Laura Austin Wiley was inspired by Wayne Shorter's popular jazz tune, Footprints. Laura comments: “It’s a modal tune about what we do when the plans in life don't work out the way they are supposed to. It's about resilience, growth and recovery.” Valentines Walz by Michèle Walther was written on Valentine's Day for her husband Ronnie, which she describes as a “piece with a playful character, like my husband's”. Bandleader Stephen McQuarry introduces his new jazz originals and arrangements of tunes with summer’s spirited and languorous tempos for this concert.
sfSound and Special Guests
Celebrating Stefano Scodanibbio
sfSound; Luciano Chessa, dan bau; Tom Dambly Trumpet Quartet; Del Sol String Quartet; Benjamin Kreith, violin; Lisa Mezzacappa, bass; Scott Walton, bass
image, from left: sfSound (photo by Lenny Gonzalez), Stefano Scodanibbio (photo by Alfredo Tabocchini)
Stefano Scodanibbio Avvicinamenti (2007); My New Address (1986/1988); Mas lugares (on Monteverdi's Madrigali) (2003); Plaza (2001)
Luciano Chessa COHIBA (2015)
Lisa Mezzacappa & Scott Walton Omaggio (2015)
In 2008 Old First Concerts, in conjunction with the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco and sfSound, hosted an outstanding and memorable concert of music by the composer and contemporary contrabass virtuoso Stefano Scodanibbio. Scodanibbio passed away in 2012 at the age of 55, after a battle with a form of motor neurone disease. Dedicated to his memory, sfSound and the Italian Cultural Institute present a concert of Scodanibbio's compositions and new work by local musicians created especially for this occasion. Stefano Scodanibbio's name has been permanently linked to the contemporary renaissance of the double bass, creating new techniques extending the colors and range of the double bass never thought possible on this instrument. Over his career, he performed dozens of works written especially for him in major festivals throughout the world by composers such as Berio, Bussotti, Donatoni, Estrada, Ferneyhough, Frith, Globokar, Sciarrino, and Xenakis. He was also a frequent collaborator with Terry Riley, with whom he released Lazy Afternoon Among The Crocodiles. Active as a composer, his catalogue consists of more than 50 works principally written for strings—two of his best works are represented on this concert, performed by the Del Sol String Quartet and violin soloist, Benjamin Kreith. The 2008 concert featured Scodanibbio leading sfSound in the improvisational work, Avvicinamenti, which has been specially reconstructed for this event.
Mike Greensill & Friends
Swing that Music
Mike Greensill, piano; Wesla Whitfield, surprise guest vocalist
Mike Greensill's love of jazz and the American Songbook are combined in a concert of swinging jazz and soaring melody, this year featuring especially the songs of Jerome Kern and Richard Rodgers. Join Mike and some of his favorite musicians, along with spouse and world famous vocalist Wesla Whitfield, for an afternoon of delicious music making.
Melanie Keller, flute; Adrienne Malley, oboe; Ginger Kroft, clarinet; Daniel Wood, horn; Charles Moehnke, bassoon
Avenue Winds presents an international program delving into the intricate and passionate woodwind quintets of Danish composer, Carl Nielsen, as well as Romanian composer, György Ligeti. The ensemble will also perform Jean Francaix's Quatuor à vents as well as additional selections featuring local San Francisco Bay Area composers. Avenue Winds engages audiences of all ages with dynamic chamber music performances featuring new works by local San Francisco Bay Area composers as well as the classics of the woodwind quintet repertoire. Performing with artistry and virtuosity, this engaging woodwind quintet has performed in recital at numerous venues, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of San Francisco, Berkeley Chamber Performances, Manteca Kindred Arts, Del Valle Fine Arts, Trinity Chamber Series, Music on the Hill, and Old First Concerts. Avenue Winds maintains a special interest and enthusiasm for 20th and 21st century works and actively seeks out collaborations with contemporary composers as part of the LoCAL Living Music Project.
Thalea String Quartet
Christopher Whitley, violin; Kumiko Sakamoto, violin; Luis Bellorin, viola; Bridget Pasker, 'cello
Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet in F major, Op. 18, No. 1
Anton Webern Langsamer Satz
Paul Hindemith String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22
The San Francisco Conservatory’s new quartet-in-residence, the Thalea String Quartet, presents a recital of works by European masters of the string quartet repertoire. The program begins with Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 18, No. 1, one of his earliest string quartet works. Written while the young composer was still very much under the influence of Joseph Haydn, the piece is unmistakably Beethoven, filled with the youthful impetuosity and the groundbreaking spirit that came to define his later work for string quartet. Following the Beethoven is another early work, this time by a giant of the Second Viennese School, Anton Webern. Written before Webern adopted the serial techniques of Schoenberg, Langsamer Satz is a dramatic and emotionally charged work, filled with lyricism and rich textures. The final work on the program is Paul Hindemith’s String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22 a piece that blends romanticism, modernism and jazz while taking the listener through a journey of emotional extremes.
Liana Bérubé with Jeffrey LaDeur
Liana Bérubé, violin; Jeffrey LaDeur, piano
Béla Bartók Second Rhapsody (Folk Dances) for violin and piano
Johannes Brahms Sonata No. 3 in D minor for violin and piano, Op. 108
Antonín Dvorák Romance for violin and piano, Op. 11
Joseph Joachim Romance for violin and piano
Maurice Ravel Tzigane
Familiar to Bay Area audiences from her performances with the Delphi Trio, violinist Liana Bérubé presents a rare recital program in collaboration with her husband and trio colleague, Jeffrey LaDeur. The program explores a wide variety of music from and inspired by Hungary and Bohemia, ranging from the hearty peasant dances of Bartók's Second Rhapsody to the intense lyricism of Brahms' Sonata in D minor, Op. 108; and from the intimate warmth of Romances by Dvorák and Joachim to Ravel's fiery and spirited Romani-inspired Tzigane. Performing regularly at venues all over the US and Canada, Liana and Jeff are delighted to come "home" to Old First Concerts to present an evening of energetic, openly emotional, and satisfying music.
The Troika Ensemble
Lawrence London, clarinet; Victor Romasevich, viola & violin; Arkadi Serper, piano
W. A. Mozart Trio, K. 498, ‘Kegelstatt’
Béla Bartók Contrasts
Iosif Andriasov Concertino, Op. 27
Max Bruch Eight Pieces for viola, clarinet, and piano, Op. 83 (selections)
Robert Schumann Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132
The Troika Ensemble presents a concert of Classical, Romantic and 20th Century masterpieces. The program includes Mozart's Trio, K. 498, ‘Kegelstatt’, for viola, clarinet and piano. It is the singular work in Mozart's catalog for this combination of instruments and is ranked among his highest achievements in chamber music. The other centerpiece of the program is Bartók's Contrasts, three movements of poetic, bravura virtuosity for clarinet, violin and piano, that was commissioned by jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman. It is the last work Bartók wrote before fleeing to the United States from German-occupied Hungary in 1938. Also on the program is Iosif Andriasov's Concertino, Op. 27 for clarinet and piano. A work of pure beauty and satirical commentary by one of the brightest stars of Soviet music in the post-World War II era. From the 19th century is four selections from Eight Pieces for viola, clarinet and piano, Op. 83 by Max Bruch: mellifluous, lyrical expressions of late Romanticism in the style of Schumann and Brahms. Accompanying this set of pieces is a movement from Robert Schumann's Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132, one of his last compositions, a work of great charm and profound expression. The Troika Ensemble consists of Victor Romasevich on violin, viola and piano, Arkadi Serper on piano, and Larry London on clarinet. Mr. Romasevich is a long-standing member of the San Francisco Symphony and a well-known soloist and chamber musician. Distinguished pianist, chamber musician, composer and teacher, Arkadi Serper is one of the most versatile and important of Bay Area musicians. He teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory and the Crowden School. Larry London, clarinetist, has played chamber music extensively in the Bay Area for 40 years. He is also a composer and teacher.