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.
Doug Machiz, cello; Otis Harriel, violin; Taija Warbelow, viola; Kevin Rogers, violin; Special Guest Jodi Levitz, viola; Special Guest Jennifer Culp, cello
Johannes Brahms String Quartet in B-flat major, No. 3, Op. 67
John Halle Spheres (2001, revised 2007)
Arnold Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4
Friction Quartet, whose performances have been called “terribly beautiful” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “stunningly passionate” (Calgary Herald) and “chillingly effective” (San Francisco Examiner), exists to expand the string quartet repertoire and audience for adventurous contemporary music through commissioning composers and performing in underserved schools and communities. Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle) declared that Friction Quartet is “an artist who should be discovered” and described their performance as “high-octane music making … a fine blend of rhythmic ferocity and tonal flair.” Friction is the second place winner of the 2016 Schoenfeld International String Competition Chamber Division in Harbin, China. They recently gave their Carnegie Hall debut as part of the Kronos Quartet Workshop. They also opened for Kronos Quartet at Z Space as part of Kronos’s “Under 30″ series. Last summer, they were Quartet in Residence at the New Music for Strings Festival in Aarhus, Denmark. Friction will return to the Shouse Institute at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival this June. Since forming in 2011, Friction has given 70 world premiere performances and commissioned 32 works for string quartet. Friction received a Chamber Music America grant to commission a piano quintet from Andy Akiho which they debuted in November 2016 with Jenny Q Chai. They have also been awarded grants from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and Zellerbach Family Foundation.
Justin Ouellet & Hillary Nordwell
Justin Ouellet, viola; Hillary Nordwell, piano
Georges Enescu Konzertstück for violin and piano
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonata in F-sharp major, Op. 78
Paul Hindemith Viola Sonata, Op. 11, No. 4
Arvo Pärt Fratres
Having collaborated with some of the world’s leading players including Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, members of the Seoul Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Ballet and Opera Orchestras, as well as members of the Alexander and Hausmann Quartets, Justin Ouellet is quickly garnering a reputation as a top performer of chamber, orchestral and contemporary repertoire. Justin currently serves on the faculty of the Oakland School for the Arts as Co-Director of chamber music and orchestral studies. He is a core member of the new music repertory group CMASH which is committed to establishing and nurturing long-term collaborative relationships between composers and performers. Current collaborations include the commission of new works for viola and piano from Boston-based composer Vartan Aghababian, New York-based composer Nicky Sohn and Houston-based composer John Grimmett. An active chamber musician, Hillary Nordwell is a founding member of the Eusebius Duo and One Art Ensemble, and continues her role as a core collaborator with CMASH. Her solo engagements have included concerto appearances with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, PortAngeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Port Townsend Orchestra. Hillary is regularly featured on many Bay Area concert series including Noontime Concerts, Old First Concerts, 405 Shrader, and the Bing Concert Series at Stanford University Hospital.
Matt Renzi's 'Arm Sized Legging'
Matt Renzi, saxophone, oboe, English horn; Lucy Southern, violin; Helen Newby, cello; John Wiitala, bass; Hamir Atwal, drums
Arm Sized Legging is project consisting of woodwinds (saxophone, oboe, english horn), violin, cello, bass and drums, playing a repertoire of all original compositions. The music explores textures and colors as well as the various sonorities of the strings, woodwinds and drums combined together in a unique way. Although many parts are written out, there is also plenty of room for improvisation and the group makes use of free-form as well as traditional song forms to use as the basis of collective soloing. The addition of the violin and cello to the standard Jazz saxophone trio adds a contemporary classical flavor to the mix. “In 48 minutes of music, Matt Renzi says more than most sax players will say in a lifetime” (Blaine Fallis, All About Jazz).
Anne Rainwater, piano
J. S. Bach Goldberg Variations
Oakland-based pianist Anne Rainwater is a dexterous musician known for her vibrant interpretations of works from J.S. Bach to John Zorn. Recognized for her “boldly assertive rhetoric” (San Francisco Examiner) and “bright golden honeycomb for a brain” (Roy Doughty, poet), she appears as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. Anne has collaborated with and premiered works by Ken Thomson, Stuart Saunders Smith, Nils Vigeland, Brett Dietz, Jude Traxler, and Danny Clay, with whom she works with regularly. She also performs with the contemporary piano ensemble New Keys.
Music Teachers' Association of California, San Francisco
Festival of Russian Music
The San Francisco Branch of the Music Teachers' Association of California presents its students in a gala concert of Russian music. The performers for this event will be chosen by audition in the weeks before the concert, so you will hear some of the most gifted and accomplished music students in the Bay Area. A portion of ticket sales will go toward MTAC-SF Branch programs for students. Please come and witness our musical future while benefiting local music education.
Sheldon Brown, Eb, Bb, bass clarinets; Beth Custer, Bb, A, alto, bass clarinets; Ben Goldberg, Bb, contralto clarinets; Harvey Wainapel, Bb, bass clarinets
Founded in 1989 by Custer, Clarinet Thing has delighted audiences for decades with their original compositions and arrangements of unusual and standard jazz works, all performed on the clarinet family. They've two recordings out on Custer's BC Records label and are presently working on a third. One of Custer's compositions for CT was featured on the William Farley documentary film Plastic Man: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish. Don't miss this rare appearance of this virtuoso ensemble in a stellar setting.
Roy Malan, violin; Roberta Freier, violin; Susan Freier, viola; Stephen Harrison, cello; Elizabeth Schumann, piano; Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano
Ottorino Respighi Il Tramonto
Johannes Brahms Songs for voice, viola, and piano, Op. 91
Johannes Brahms Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60
The Ives Collective presents powerful live music experiences through fresh and informed interpretations of established masterworks and underappreciated gems. With core members and Artistic Co-Directors Susan Freier and Stephen Harrison, the Collective wants to share their joy in bringing together old friends and new in a variety of combinations to perform the widest possible spectrum of chamber music.
Tangonero and Claudio Ortega: a concert of tango music
Michèle Walther, violin; Amy Zanrosso, piano; Richard Duke, bass; Alex Roitman, bandoneon; Claudio Ortega, vocals
With members from Russia, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States, Tangonero is a San Francisco based ensemble dedicated to preserving the tradition of Argentine Tango. From the folk styling of Roberto Grela to the jazz infused grandeur of Astor Piazzolla, their arrangements cover the broad scope of tango history. Overflowing with intense passion, desire and sorrow, their performance captures the fire of the dance and the essence of a culture. The program features tango pieces composed by Pedro Laurenz, Aníbal Troilo, Osvaldo Berlingieri, Horacio Salgán, Alfredo Gobbi, Astor Piazzolla and others. It covers the broad scope of tango history, from traditional dancing repertoire to more modern arrangements and concert pieces, to intimate vocal canciónes featuring singer Claudio Ortega. The tangos are complimented by the waltzes and the milongas, all part of the traditional tango repertoire. Despite the variety of the material, all the tracks are united by the unambiguous tango character.
B3LLA Piano Trio
Mimi Lee, piano; Fred Lifsitz, violin; Eric Gaenslen, cello
Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67
Franz Schubert Piano Trio No. 1 in B-flat major, D. 898, Op. 99
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Trio No. 6 in B-flat major, Op. 92, ‘The Archduke’
B3LLA is devoted to their role as a premiere chamber ensemble fundamentally committed to being professional and responsible artistic members of the community. They have served as the 2014–15 Ensemble-in-Residence with the San Francicso Friends of Chamber Music in the inaugural Presidio Sessions. Their mission is to inspire connections through engaging performances, reflecting shared human experiences and emotions and to motivate people to recognize and cherish the beauty in themselves and in others through powerfully transformative, classic music. B3LLA was founded in 2010 when Mimi experienced the profoundly transformative power of music while battling breast cancer. As a physician, Mimi had embraced and championed wellness—the constant, conscious pursuit of living life mindfully and peacefully. B3LLA seeks to inspire others with that power, through high-quality, live chamber music performance, for anyone open to finding a place of centered peace and calm as an essential part of their mindful journey through life. B3LLA is a Steinway Ensemble. Learn more about B3LLA at BPT3.org.
Ensemble for These Times
Nanette McGuinness, soprano; Dale Tsang, piano; Anne Lerner-Wright, cello
Please join us for a pre-concert talk with composers Christopher Wicks and Alden Jenks at 3:30 pm.
Martyna Kosecka Nepheles US Premiere
Alden Jenks Unrestful Sleep
Molly Joyce One West Coast Premiere
Eden Lonsdale Mosaic US Premiere
Daniel Mehdizadeh Cello Sonata
Stephen Mitton selections from Seven Haikus
Justin Henry Rubin Day That I Have Loved
Grace Xu Schott Capoeira
Alexander Skripko The Child on the Shore from Three Songs of Ursula Le Guin US Premiere
Christopher Wicks If Still Your Orchards Bear, Love Is Strong As Death, and A Song for All Maries West Coast Premiere
Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) returns to Old First Concerts this June for 56x54 #2, E4TT's second Call for Scores program, from which the ensemble received 275 scores by more than 200 composers. The selected composers hail from 11 countries—Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Israel, Poland, Russia, Spain, and the U.S.—and 18 states, and range from emerging composers beginning their undergraduate degrees to veterans in the field, including Pulitzer Prize nominee Joelle Wallach; oboist and former member of the Musical Arts Quintet, Greg Steinke; Emmy-nominated Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom; recently retired Director of the Electronic Music Studio at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Alden Jenks; and 1989 Guggenheim Fellow Juliana Hall. They are a fascinating, talented cross-section of composers, playing instruments ranging from the organ and drums, to the oud and guitar; a number are also singers, poets, or painters. E4TT named the series of Call for Scores programs, 56x54, as they chose 56 works by 54 composers. 56x54 #2 features works by 9 composers from the 2016 Call for Scores, plus the U.S. premiere of Nepheles for solo piano by young Polish composer Martyna Kosecka, which E4TT commissioned and premiered at the Krakow Culture Festival in Poland in 2016. For more information please visit e4tt.org.
Ali Paris Trio
Eastern & Western Music: One Melody... One Story...
Ali Paris, vocals & qanun; Gabriel Navia, guitar; Faisal Zeidan, percussion
Ali Paris, internationally acclaimed vocalist and qanounist, premiers his Trio for Old First Concerts, presenting his own unique music and music from the Middle East, rich in culture. Bridging common grounds with the distinct differences between Middle Eastern and Western Music, Ali captures the innate beauty when both come together. You will find yourself immersed in the rich fabric and texture of an "East meets West" fusion, with the simplicity and timeless message of unity and peace. This performance will highlight the influence of jazz and western sounds in the Middle East, including works by Fairuz and other artists. Ali Paris captivates audiences worldwide with his unique fusion of Middle Eastern and Western music styles highlighted by both technical virtuosity and emotional expression. He has been called “one of the most eclectic and diverse artists” by Alicia Keys, and an “unrivaled unique artist” by Quincy Jones. He accompanies his singing with his instrument, the Qanun, a rare Middle-Eastern 76-string zither that dates back to the 14th century.
Village Road Trio
Alisa Rose, violin; Rob Reich, accordion; Daniel Fabricant, bass
Program will include works by Bartók, Joplin, Rose, Satie, Reich, Dvořák, Guerino, Chopin, and Sarasate.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Village Road Trio is a creative collaboration of composer/performers. Violinist Alisa Rose formed the Village Road Trio in 2012 for a performance at the Russian Consulate with accordionist Rob Reich, and bassist Daniel Fabricant. The Village Road Trio is committed to creating and sharing music that can be understood across musical boundaries to connect to a wide variety of musical communities. As a trio, these stylistically flexible musicians create cohesive programs containing and combining the variety of styles they love into their own unique acoustic chamber music. Our musical explorations have the potential to reach and connect audiences of many ages and backgrounds. For more information please visit arosefiddle.com/villageroadtrio.
Eva-Maria Zimmermann; Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano
Akira Nishimura Samudra Manthan (The Churning of the Ocean Milk) West Coast Premiere
Gustav Holst, arr. Keisuke Nakagoshi The Planets
Since joining forces as the profession duo ZOFO in 2009, internationally acclaimed solo pianists Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi have electrified audiences from Carnegie Hall to Tokyo Japan with their dazzling artistry and outside-the-box thematic programming for piano-four-hands. This Grammy-nominated, prize-winning Steinway Artist Ensemble—one of only a handful of duos worldwide devoted exclusively to piano duets—is blazing a bold new path for four-hands groups by focusing on 20th and 21st century repertoire and by commissioned new works from noted composers each year. This concert will feature the West Coast Premiere of Samudra Manthan (The Churning of the Ocean Milk), a newly commissioned five-movement work by Japanese composer Akira Nishimura. Samudra Manthan is one of the best known episodes in Hindu mythology where gods and demons try to extract the Amrita (drink of immortality) from the ocean. Akira Nishimura's piece is very smartly and beautifully written for piano duet, using the four hands in many different innovative ways. The program also includes The Planets, Gustav Holst's seven-movement orchestral piece arranged for piano duet by Keisuke Nakagoshi. For more information please visit zofoduet.com.