San Francisco's Home for Great Concerts since 1970

Concert program for Old First Concerts 50th Anniversary Gala

Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 2 pm

Download a copy of the program here.

A note from Thomas Culp – President, Board of Directors

I love, admire and support Old First Concerts because it presents the musicians and music of my community at a modest cost, and encourages audience support for the musical arts by presenting new and developing artists in performance, bringing them to the attention of the public as well as the music community.

Many artists have received their first critical notices after performing at O1C, which has been instrumental in bringing performers and management together as well as additional engagements both locally and nationally. Established musicians enjoy the freedom to choose their repertoire, a choice that is not available to them as members of an orchestra.

In addition, Old First Concerts provides audiences with a diverse repertoire of high-quality music ranging from classical and avant-garde to world music. Old First Concerts has been critically recognized for innovative programming variety and outreach. Our audiences are loyal and knowledgeable. Performers notice and respond to the quality of listening.

Old First Center for the Arts was founded in 1970 by John Bodo, an amateur cellist and the pastor of Old First Presbyterian Church. Originally the Series was administered by Old First Presbyterian church and since 1983 Old First Concerts has been an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.

Artistic background

Old First Concerts has collaborated with the San Francisco Symphony’s New and Unusual Series (renamed Wet Ink), San Francisco Opera’s Schwabacher Debut Recital Series, Yefim Maizel’s Opera Academy of California, John Parr’s series Basically British featuring SF Opera Alder Fellows, and San Francisco Conservatory’s BluePrint Series of new music and Honors concerts. Old First Concerts has co-commissioned with the San Francisco Arts Commission and Chamber Music America. Notable performers have included oboist Heinz Holliger, bassist Ray Brown, sarodist Ali Akbar Khan, husband wife duo Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill, kotoist Kazue Sawai, piano/organist Terry Riley, guitarist David Tanenbaum, pianists including Dennis Russell Davies, Clive Swansbourne, Joel Fan, and Jeffrey Kahane, and quartets including the Coull, Lark, and Kronos.

True to our mission composers including Elliot Carter, Ellen Zwilich, Ernst Bacon, Lou Harrison, Sir Michael Tippett, George Benjamin, George Tsontakis, Charles Wuorinen, Charles Shere, Jorge Liderman, John Cage,  Ned Rorem, Kirke Mecham, Peter Schickele, Roger Nixon, Robert Sierra, Christian Wolff, Aaron Jay Kernis, Elinor Armer, Pablo Ortiz, John Marvin, Ursula Mamlok, Hyo-shin Na, Paul Chihara, Andrew Imbrie, David Conte, Joel Wallach, Chen Yi, John Harbison, and Terry Riley have all introduced performances of their works on our stage.

While we focus on supporting Bay Area musicians at all stage of their careers, we are always happy to host musicians of exceptional caliber from outside the area to provide our audiences with the best in contemporary chamber music. Recent performers from beyond the Bay area include: M. Lamar, Thorwald Jørgensen, Will Chow, Club Glee, José López, The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Jason Stoll, Grant Ferris, Duo AMA, Naama Liany, Utsav Lal, Eric Liu, Robert Stallman, Holes in the Floor, Bin Huang, Yu&I Duo, Uppsala Cathedral Choir, Enrico Pompili, Ksenia Nosikova, Paul Yeager, Kevin Kenner, Ivan Ilic, Tao Lin, Alfonso Alberti, Zephyr Ensemble, Zodiac Trio, and Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton.

In addition to all of the performers in today’s program, who make regular appearances on our series, we want to celebrate some of the other local performers who we are proud to have had perform on our stage many times over the years, including Temirzhan Yerzhanov, Empyrean Ensemble, Laurel Ensemble, Adesso, Piedmont Children’s Choirs, Wooden Fish Ensemble, Eos Ensemble, KITKA, Arjun Verma, Thomas Schultz, Volti, Kay Stern & Joan Nagano, Ives String Quartet (now Ives Collective), Voci, SF Piano Quartet, Sqwonk, SF Guitar Quartet, Clerestory, Sarn Oliver, Melodiya, Amos Yang, Jupiter Chamber Players, Heidi Melton, The Living Earth Show, Luciano Chessa, Mobius Trio, Miles Graber, Tom Rose, Sven Olbash, San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, Schola Cantorum, Melody of China, sfSound Group, Ali Paris, Shana & Avi Downes, Empyrean Ensemble, Shoko Hikage, and so, so many others.

Community support

As a community organization, Old First Concerts is encouraged by the financial support that we have received through Concert Memberships, individual donations and funding from:

San Francisco Grants for the Arts
William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation
San Francisco Arts Commission- Cultural Equity Grant
Crescent Porter Hale Foundation
California Arts Council
Chamber Music America
Stanley Ibler, Jr. Fund for Music
The Zellerbach Family Fund
California Lawyers for the Arts
Bernard Osher Foundation
Bank of America Community Fund
National Endowment for the Arts

Artist’s Advisory Committee

Old First Concerts is delighted to recognize the following artists who have served on a Advisory Committee over our history: Dan Becker, Donna Bruno, Lawrence Ferrara, Daniel Glover, Mike Greensill, Corey Jamason, Esther Landau, Jodi Levitz, Mack McCray, Ron McFarland, Emil Miland, Bettina Mussumeli, Hyo-shin Na, Joan Nagano, John Parr, Elizabeth Prior, Stephen Prutsman, and Victor Romasevich.


Matthew Wolka, Old First Concerts Director – Welcome

William Wellborn, piano
            Impromptu in A major, Op. 7, No. 2 by Jan Václav Voříšek
            Impromptu in E-flat Major D. 899 #3 by Franz Schubert

James Armstrong, piano
            Sanctuary by James Armstrong

Robert Schwartz, piano
            La leggierezza from Three Concert Etudes (S.144) by Franz Liszt

John Ferguson, piano
            Molto vivace from Symphony No. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven (arr. Franz Liszt)
our #1 video on YouTube – over 460,000 views!

Hadley McCarroll, piano
            Hymne from Serenade in la by Igor Stravinsky
            Midsummer Nocturne by Aaron Copland

Thomas Culp – Old First Concerts Board President – Remarks

Daniel Glover, piano
            Polonaise in C, Op. 89 by Ludwig van Beethoven

Gwendolyn Mok, piano
            Fantasy on Melodies of Beethoven by Carl Czerny

Christopher Burt – Old First Concerts Board Vice President – Remarks


NEW MUSIC at Old First Concerts

Friction Quartet
Doug Machiz,
cello; Otis Harriel, violin; Kevin Rogers, violin; Lucia Kobza, viola
             Short and Reflectaphor a from Family Group with Aliens by Piers Hellawell

Sarah Cahill, piano
            She Dances Naked Under Palm Trees by Theresa Wong

Eva-Maria Zimmermann & Keisuke Nakagoshi,
piano four-hands
            Tupan and Davul by Erberk Eryılmaz

Del Sol String Quartet
Sam Weiser & Benjamin Kreith,
violins; Charlton Lee, viola; Kathryn Bates, cello
            Borne (excerpt) by Rajna Swaminathan

Ensemble for These Times – Margaret Halbig, piano
            Twilight Mazurka by Alden Jenks

Thomas Culp – Old First Concerts Board President


CHAMBER MUSIC at Old First Concerts

Holes in the Floor
Eunghee Cho, Jonathan Butler, Joy Yanai, Yejin Hong,
            Clair de lune by Claude Debussy (arr. Blaise Dejardin)

Ensemble ARI – Jean Ahn, director

martha & monica
Hadley McCarroll,
piano & Monica Scott, cello
            Con moto – Adagio from Pohádka by Leoš Janáček

SF SOTA – Ava Soifer

Winnie Nieh, soprano & Paul Dab, piano
            Simple Gifts Shaker song attr. Elder Joseph Brackett, arr. Aaron Copland


WORLD MUSIC/JAZZ at Old First Concerts

Cascada de Flores
Arwen Lawrence & Jorge Liceaga, 
voice, dance & guitars

Lawrence Ferrara, guitar
            Sunburst by Andrew York

Henry Plotnick, piano

Cornelius Boots, shakuhachi
            Underground Sun by Cornelius Boots

Shira Cion,

Matt Wolka, Old First Concerts Director – Thanks so much for being part of Old First Concerts during the past 50 years and we look forward with hope to the future!

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.