San Francisco's Home for Great Concerts since 1970

John Ferguson – August 9, 2013

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824, is the crowning work of his life as a composer, and it dominated the imagination of every nineteenth-century composer who followed in its shadow. Its four movements traverse the entire range of human emotion: power and grandeur, tragedy, tranquility, spirituality, and, in the choral finale, utter transcendence of human fallibility in the achievement of universal brotherhood. Franz Liszt, perhaps the greatest piano virtuoso of all time, transcribed all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies for solo piano. The transcription of the ninth, completed in 1864. is a true tour de force of Liszt’s amazing ability to adapt the structure, color, and effect of an orchestral work to a piano arrangement, miraculously preserving the power and impact of the original. John Fergusons performances have been praised for their “proselytizing zeal, along with fleet fingers, power, and fine dynamic control” (Boston Globe) and “impressive qualities of pianistic brilliance, strength, intellect and sensitivity”(Sacramento Bee). Ferguson has performed solo recitals in major cities throughout the US, including concert series and festivals in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, and Providence. His programs feature some of the most difficult and epic works in the keyboard literature, including Beethovens “Hammerklavier” Sonata, Bach’s Art of Fugue, and Rzewskis The People United Will Never be Defeated. Ferguson’s performances have also included music from the Renaissance and Middle Ages, a wide range of contemporary music, including his own compositions, and transcriptions from the Romantic era. He earned his Doctorate from Indiana University where he studied with Edward Auer and Menahem Pressler. Ferguson also holds a degree in Violin, and teaches strings and conducts a Youth Orchestra in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Old First Concerts has volunteer opportunities available!

Our concerts rely on the generosity of volunteers to assist with simple tasks like:


distributing programs

box office

set-up and clean-up

Scheduling is flexible — you choose when to work! We especially need helping hands for our Friday and Saturday night performances.

An excellent opportunity for students, seniors, or anyone who possesses a love for music!

If you’d like to consider volunteering with Old First Concerts, please contact for more information.