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.
Daniel Glover, piano; Mack McCray, piano; Dmitry Rachmanov, piano; Brent Smith, piano
Alexander Scriabin Piano Sonata No. 4 in F-sharp major, Op. 30; Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53; Poems, Op. 32; Fantasy, Op. 28; Poème Tragique, Op. 34; Poème Satanique, Op. 36; and more.
An outstanding group of local and international pianists presents four concerts in tribute to one of the most intriguing and original of all composers of piano music, Alexander Scriabin. 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 two presents works in transition from his early to middle periods, and the beginnings of his late style with the Sonatas 4 and 5, as well as Poems, Op. 32, Fantasy, Op. 28, Poème Tragique, Poème Satanique, selections from Etudes, Opus 8, and other works. The Festival continues August 14, and August 16.
B3LLA Piano Trio
The Complete Beethoven Piano Trios-part two
Nathanael Bartley, violin; Eric Gaenslen, 'cello; Mimi Lee, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven Clarinet Trio in B-flat major, Op.11; Piano Trio in C minor, Op.1, No. 3; and Piano Trio in D major, Op.70, No. 1 “The Ghost”
The masterful Beethoven Piano Trios have entertained audiences worldwide for centuries. What makes these works so mesmerizing? B3LLA explores these trios with fresh eyes and impassioned personal interpretations and presents them to you. They put the works in context historically and find ways to make the works relevant to our lives today. The emotions evoked in these inspired works have clearly spoken to humanity – join B3LLA as they continue the tradition and breathe bits of their own hearts and souls into them. For more information please visit bpt3.org.
Bill Kalinkos, clarinet; Kyle Bruckmann, oboe; David Wegehaupt, saxophone; Jeff Anderle, bass clarinet; Dana Jessen, bassoon
Ryan Brown Pinched
Erik Deluca 3 Songs, 3 Interludes
Marc Mellits Splinter
Ned McGowan Wood Burn
Jordan Glenn My Bike
Splinter Reeds is the Bay Area’s first reed quintet, comprising five innovative musicians with a shared passion for new music. The ensemble is committed to presenting top tier performances of today’s best contemporary composition, showcasing the vast possibilities of the reed quintet with an emphasis on commissioning new works, collaborating with fellow musicians and artists, and educating the next generation of musicians and music enthusiasts. The sum of their wide ranges of experience—in settings including free jazz, improvisation, electronic music, pop, punk and metal as well as classical—has also enabled them to rapidly zero in on a specific and unique aesthetic identity. Splinter Reeds will present five pieces of new music by living composers in a program that combines post-minimalism, heavy metal, songwriting, and improvisation. For more information please visit splinterreeds.com.
José López & William Wellborn
José R. López, piano; William Wellborn, piano
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, trans. Alkan Motet from Thamos, King in Egypt and Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466
Charles Valentin Alkan Don Juan Fantaisie, Op. 26 and 3 Petites Fantaisies
José Comellas Nocturne and Sonata Brillante
This program features two rarely heard transcriptions by Charles Valentin Alkan (1813–1888) of Mozart’s works: the Motet from the incidental music to Thamos, King in Egypt and the Piano Concerto in D minor K. 466, which, along with Beethoven’s C minor Concerto, Op. 37, was a favored item in the repertoire of pianists during the Romantic movement due to its underlying pathos. Alkan’s original cadenzas for the outer movements provide a unique commentary and evidence his peculiar humor. William Wellborn and José López, respective Presidents of American Liszt Society chapters in the Bay area and South Florida, join hands in Alkan’s four-handed Don Juan Fantaisie, Op. 26, which uses the famous aria Finch’ han dal vino from Mozart’s Don Giovanni as a finale. The program proceeds with two works by the Cuban-born, Spanish Romantic composer José Comellas (1842-1888): a Nocturne and his Sonata Brillante. Comellas, European-trained in the Leipzig Conservatory under Ignaz Moscheles, lived several years of his short life in Baltimore, USA as a teacher and appears to have ignored completely the nationalistic tendencies of his Cuban contemporaries in his extant works. The program concludes with the rarely played 3 Petites Fantaisies by Alkan. For more information please visit joselopezpiano.com and williamwellborn.com.
Parvulescu, Nicholeris, Liu, & Chang
Florin Parvulescu, violin; Diane Nicholeris, violin; Yun Jie Liu, viola; Jerry Chang, 'cello
Ludwig van Beethoven Duett mit obligaten Augenglasern in E-flat major, “Eyeglass Duo”, WoO32; String Trio in C minor, Op. 9, No. 3; and String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131
Well known Bay Area artists present a program of chamber music by Beethoven spanning his creative life from his early years to a late quartet. Duett mit obligaten Augenglasern in E flat major, “Eyeglass Duo”, WoO32 is thought to have been a gesture of friendship for aristocrat and amateur ‘cellist Baron Nikolaus Zmeskall von Domanowecz. The moniker, given by Beethoven himself, may have its origin in jest around the fact that both men needed eyeglasses while playing. The String trio in C minor, Op. 9, No. 3 comes from a similar early time period as the duo but is a serious, full scale mature work; its intensity foreshadows his later dramatic writing. The String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131 is the last of his experimental quartets and is likely chronologically his final completed quartet. By Beethoven’s own admission his favorite, many consider it to be the apotheosis of his late period style.
A Piano Party for Terry Riley at 80
Sarah Cahill, piano
New works composed in celebration of Terry Riley's eightieth birthday by Samuel Carl Adams, Pauline Oliveros, Gyan Riley, Evan Ziporyn, Christine Southworth, Danny Clay, Dylan Mattingly, Luciano Chessa, Elena Ruehr, and Keeril Makan.
June 24, 2015 is the eightieth birthday year of composer-pianist Terry Riley, who has had a profound influence on generations of composers and musicians. A Piano Party for Terry Riley at 80 pays tribute to Riley’s enduring impact with the premieres of new solo piano pieces written in honor of his eightieth birthday by composers ranging in age from 25 to 82, combined with some of Riley’s own dazzling piano compositions. Sarah Cahill has worked closely with Terry Riley since 1997, when she commissioned his four-hand piece Cinco de Mayo for an all-piano festival at Cal Performances celebrating Henry Cowell’s hundredth birthday. She commissioned four more four-hand pieces from Riley, toured with him in Edinburgh and Glasgow, performed in his 70th birthday concert at Royce Hall at UCLA, and commissioned a solo piece, Be Kind to One Another, which NPR listed on its 100 Best Songs of 2013, and MSNBC included on its Top Ten Political Songs of 2013. For more information please visit sarahcahill.com.
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 the concert series with 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
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.
Gojogo and Amir & Omid Zoufonoun
Sarah Jo Zaharako, violin; Eric Perney, bass; Roger Riedlbauer, guitars; Elias Reitz, percussion; Omid Zoufonoun, guitar; Amir Zoufonoun, vocals
image, from left: Gojogo (photo by Peter Varshavsky), Amir & Omid Zoufonoun
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. Amir and Omid Zoufonoun will perform nine iconic Persian songs from Morgh-e Sahar to Emshab Shabhe Mahtaabre, imagined for classical guitar and solo voice by Omid Zoufonoun. Performed with brother and vocalist Amir Zoufonoun, The Persian Songbook Project renders the original Persian vocal inflections and rich poetry with haunting harmonies and subtle shades of color.
Resonance Jazz Ensemble
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
Description coming soon.
sfSound and Special Guests
In memoriam 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.