San Francisco's Home for Great Concerts since 1970

Performer Information Page

Welcome to Old First Concerts!

We created this webpage to give performers all the information they need about performing at Old First Concerts.  If you can’t find the answer here, please e-mail Director Matt Wolka ( or phone the office: 415.474.1608 as soon as possible.


Old First Concerts was founded in 1970 by Dr. John Bodo to celebrate the musical diversity in San Francisco and reach out to the local community.  In 1973, Old First Concerts gained international acclaim when Hungarian pianist Ervin Nyiregyhazi presented an dazzling Liszt concert.  Many notable soloists and groups have debuted on our stage and concerts were frequently broadcast on public radio stations.  As the years have passed, Old First Concerts finds itself as a champion of new music, presenting numerous world premieres each year and providing a vital outlet for musicians performing this music.

Beyond the programming, Old First Concerts was founded on the principle that everyone should have access to great music and has always had relatively low ticket prices.  We provide hundreds of ticket vouchers each year to low-income seniors giving them the opportunity to attend concerts for just $5.  We also offer students $5 tickets to help inspire the next generation of music lovers.

Old First Concerts currently presents about 50 concerts per year, broadly grouped into piano solo concerts, chamber music concerts, world music/jazz concerts, and holiday concerts.  We receive generous support from the San Francisco Grants for the Arts as well as several private Foundations. 


The Artist and presenter share responsibility for promoting this concert.  The Artist is required to make a good faith effort to publicize their concert through all means available to them including personal mailing lists, social media, Artist’s website, e-mail blasts, etc.  The presenter will:

  1. Feature the concert prominently on our website.
  2. Ensure the concert is listed widely in Bay Area event listings
  3. Include the concert in bi-monthly e-mails and quarterly brochures distributed to Old First Concerts subscriber lists.
  4. Provide the Artist with printable posters and postcards to publicize the concert.

The quantity and quality of publicity you engage in directly impacts the size of your audience and the amount of money you receive.

Promotional Materials provided by the Artist

The Artist agrees to provide the following information, via e-mail, to both and upon signing their agreement.  This information is used in our brochure, web site, and other promotional efforts:

  1. Exactly how you would like your individual or group name to appear in the billing, including personnel and instruments.
  2. One or two visual images (head shot, group shot, artwork or logo) in digital format (at least 300 dpi and 1,000 pixels on shortest dimension), JPEG or TIF. Link to online materials is acceptable.
  3. One short paragraph of your best promotional copy designed to interest and persuade musically literate people to buy a ticket and attend your performance. Include who you are, what makes you special, what you intend to perform, and why a patron should attend. You should also include notification of any world premieres, west coast premieres, or composers present at your performance.


I. PR for performance with all repertoire decided in advance:

Daniel Glover, piano

Franz Joseph Hayden Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI: 34
Johannes Brahms Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79
Charles Valentin Alkan Festin d’Esope (Aesop’s Feast)
Isaac Albéniz Iberia, Book 2 (Rondena, Almeria, Triana)
Frédéric Chopin Fantasy on Polish Airs, Op. 13

Daniel Glover’s program features both familiar gems of the piano repertoire, as well as piano music that is somewhat less familiar from the 18th through 20th Centuries. Works include Haydn’s buoyant E minor sonata and Brahms’ brooding and emotional Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79. The reclusive and mysterious French composer, Charles Valentin Alkan is represented by his 12th and final etude, Aesop’s Feast, from the cycle known as Etudes in the Minor Keys, Op. 39. Alkan’s has the (perhaps overblown) legendary reputation of composing the “most difficult music ever composed for the piano.” This has kept his music out of the hands of all but the most intrepid and brave pianists. It was rumored that Liszt was so intimidated by Alkan that he wouldn’t play for him. Aesop’s Feast is a set of 25 variations on an original theme, and the orchestral writing amply displays why his contemporaries referred to him as the “Berlioz of the piano.” The work allows the listener’s imagination to run wild, as he hears references to all manner of wild and tamer beasts. Isaac Albéniz’ masterpiece, Iberia, is represented by three of the most popular and enduring works from Book 2 of the cycle, including Triana, a rousing and brilliant musical representation of this lively “Greenwich Village” section of Seville. Chopin’s less often performed Fantasy on Polish Airs was composed for piano and orchestra at the age of 18. This may be the least well known piece from this genre but was a personal favorite of the composer, perhaps in no large part due to the fact that he frequently heard his mother singing one of the popular tunes he utilized in this potpourri.

II. PR for performance with a mix of set and to-be-decided repertoire:

Sarah Cahill

 Sarah Cahill, piano

Luciano Chessa Green Sea (West Coast Premiere)
plus World Premieres by Kyle Hovatter and Ricky Crews

Sarah Cahill, recently called “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by The New York Times and “a brilliant and charismatic advocate for modern and contemporary composers” by Time Out New York, has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, and Ingram Marshall, and she has also premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Julia Wolfe, Toshi Ichiyanagi, George Lewis, Leo Ornstein, and many others. Cahill has researched and recorded music by the important early 20th-century American modernists Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford, and has commissioned a number of new pieces in tribute to their enduring influence. She enjoys working closely with composers, musicologists, and scholars to prepare scores for performance. For this concert she will present a program of recent works by young Bay Area composers, including World Premieres by Kyle Hovatter and Ricky Crews, and the West Coast Premiere of Luciano Chessa’s Green Sea. For more information please visit

III. PR for performance of non-classical works, with full program announced from stage:

Ali Paris

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.

Printed Program Materials

Artist agrees to provide the following information, via e-mail, to both and as soon as available, but definitely no later than 2 weeks (14 days) before your performance:

  1. Concert Information (Program title, Performing personnel, Concert date and time)
  2. Program Information (Composer’s name and dates, Title of piece, Premiere notice)
  3. Program Notes (Composer’s name, Composer’s dates, Title of piece, Notes about piece)
  4. Performers (Artist’s name, Short Artist’s biography)

This information should be included in a single Microsoft Word e-mail attachment. Please do not use tables or tabs to format.  We will edit the program for content and length.  Texts and translations of vocal works may be distributed separately from the printed program. If including texts in multiple languages, please do not format so the texts appear side by side. Instead, provide the full original text followed by the English translation. We will format so that they are printed side by side.  When time permits, we will provide a draft of the edited program copy for your review.  Examples are available from the Old First Concerts office.


The concert stage will be available for set-up, warm-up and rehearsal 2 hours prior to concert start time (6 pm on Fridays and 2 pm on Sundays). Up to 2 hours of additional rehearsal time, may be scheduled in advance, Monday – Friday between 10 am – 4 pm. Weekend and evening rehearsal time is generally not available.  If you need additional set-up or rehearsal time please contact the presenter to set this up at least a week in advance of your concert.

Performance Limitation Clause

Old First Concerts asks performers to carefully consider their options when scheduling other performances within the city of San Francisco during the week immediately preceding and following the date scheduled in item 2.  We completely understand the financial and professional needs of musicians to perform in multiple venues and ask that artists openly discuss scheduling issues with us during the contracting phase.  In our experience, multiple concerts in the same week tend to greatly reduce attendance and the amount of money you will receive for your concert.  In general, it is good practice to:

  • Ensure the other concerts feature repertoire that is significantly different from the program at Old First Concerts.
  • Schedule additional concerts in venues that draw from different geographical regions (e.g. Napa, San Jose, Walnut Creek)
  • Private home concerts, master classes, and other educational outreach events should be seen as an opportunity to promote your concert at Old First Concerts.

If you feel the need to schedule multiple concerts within a week of your Old First Concert, please be sure to discuss this with the Director.

The Performance

We highly recommend choosing programs that last about 1 hour without intermission, or up to 80 minutes with a short intermission.

The house opens 30 minutes before the performance.

The Artist will provide a comp ticket list in advance of the performance, preferably not later than the Thursday before your concert.  Presenter will provide Artist with four (4) complimentary tickets to the performance.  In most cases, Presenter will also provide complimentary admission to members of the press.

The presenter will provide limited free parking for the Artist on the day of the performance in the Old First Parking Garage, 1725 Sacramento Street.

The presenter will provide a House Manager, who will be available before the concert time to assist with lighting and stage setup (chairs, music stands, etc.).  For any special technical requirements (e.g. projection, stage monitors, mixer and p.a., etc.) please discuss these with Old First Concerts at the earliest opportunity.

The presenter will provide a single Green room, large enough to hold 10.  There are no dressing rooms.


Old First Concerts regularly creates an audio/video recording of our concerts for archival and publicity purposes. Please notify the presenter if you do not wish your concert to be recorded.  Videos are uploaded to our private YouTube channel and then submitted to the artist for approval.  Approved videos are made public on our YouTube channel and may also be used for our website or embedded on the artist’s personal website.


The Artist may sell merchandise at the intermission of performances as well as at the conclusion of the performance. All proceeds from merchandise sales are kept by the Artist. The presenter will offer a volunteer to facilitate sales when available, but change/credit card reader/etc. must be provided by the Artist.


Cancellation of concert by the Artist for any reason other than illness or act of God after this contract has been signed will result in a penalty of $100.00 or the total cost of all expenses incurred by Presenter on behalf of the artist, whichever is greater.

Money overview

How much do I get paid?  Except for certain grant-funded concerts (supplied as an addendum to the contract), Old First Concerts compensation is based on ticket sales. 

As of February 1, 2023, our ticket prices are below:

Ticket Type: Price
General Admission $25.00
Student w/valid ID $5.00
Community Ticket $5.00
Kids (12 and under) FREE

On the business day following the concert, we add up all presale, live stream and box office receipts for your concert.  2/3 of the total is paid to artist, 1/3 to Old First Concerts.

Minimum compensation is based on number of performers: 1-$100, 2-$120, 3-$150, 4-$200.

When do I get paid?

Old First Concerts strives to pay our Artists in a timely fashion.  Typically, checks are issued between 4 and 6 weeks after the concert date. In the rare event of a further delay, the presenter will notify the Artist regarding the timeline for compensation.

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.