Having done my best to account for the alternatives during the second weekend in November, I would now like to get the jump on the following weekend. This is likely to be a more manageable weekend, since Saturday will be the one day of overlapping events. However, for the benefit of those who wish (or need) to plan out the weekend as a whole, I shall also include the Friday and Sunday activities, which are definitely worthy of attention.
Once again the Ives Quartet (violinists Bettina Mussumeli and Susan Freier, violist Jodi Levitz, and cellist Stephen Harrison) will be presenting the San Francisco performances of their 2014–2015 season at Old First Church as part of the Old First Concerts series of recitals. Their first program is entitled New World Music, and the featured work will be a less familiar example of music that Antonín Dvořák composed in conjunction with the time he spent in the United States. This will be his Opus 97 quintet in E-flat major for two violins, two violas, and cello (his third), yet another Dvořák composition to be called the “American.” The second viola part will be take by special guest artist Jenny Douglass. The first half of the program will feature two examples of twentieth-century American compositions, Quincy Porter’s ninth string quartet and string quartet arrangements of three of William Bolcom’s ragtime compositions, “Poltergeist,” “Graceful Ghost,” and “Incineratorag.”
Old First Concerts events take place in the Old First Church at 1751 Sacramento Street (on the southeast corner of Van Ness Avenue). This recital will be held on Friday, November 14, at 8 p.m. General admission is $25 with a special $20 rate for seniors and a $10 charge for full-time students. Children twelve and under will be admitted free of charge. Tickets may be purchased through the Performances page on the Old First Concerts Web site. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-474-1608.
The following evening will mark the beginning of the San Francisco Performances (SFP) Guitar Series, presented in conjunction with the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts. The performers will be the Beijing Guitar Duo of Meng Su and Yameng Wang, currently SFP Artists-in-Residence. As in the past, they will present a program that combines original compositions will skillfully conceived arrangements. One of those arrangements, that of Claude Debussy’s four-movement Petite Suite for four hands on one piano, is by Su. In addition both Su and Wang will perform a few works composed for solo guitar. Su’s selections will be three pieces by Francisco Tárrega, while Wang will play two pieces by Agustín Barrios.
This concert will take place on Saturday, November 15, at 7:30 p.m.. The venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at 1111 O’Farrell Street (just off the southwest corner of Franklin Street). Tickets are on sale for $45 for reserved seating and for $30 for general admission to the balcony. Tickets may be purchased through a City Box Office event page, which shows a floor plan and indicates availability in the two sections. Further information is available by calling SFP at 415-392-2545.
Because this is the first concert in the Guitar Series, full subscription tickets are still available for purchase. The five-concert Guitar Series has its own Web page from which they may be ordered. The Premium price is $210, and subscriptions are also selling for $200 and $125.
November 15 also marks the first San Francisco performance of the ninth season of Clerestory. The title of the program is Luminous Night, and it will feature the world premiere of three new songs by Eric Banks on poems by Herman Melville. Also, to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas on October 27, 1914, the program will also include John Corigliano’s setting of Thomas’ poem “Fern Hill” in its 1999 version for mezzo, chorus, and chamber orchestra. Other composers to be included on the program will be Shawn Crouch, Ola Gjeilo, and Eric Whitacre; and the chamber orchestra for this occasion will be the Magik*Magik Orchestra. The entire concert will run just over an hour with no intermission.
This concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 15, in the Kanbar Performing Arts Center, located at 44 Page Street. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. They may be purchased in advance through an Eventbrite event page.
There will be two further performances in San Francisco in the Clerestory season. The first of these will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 27. The title of the program is Love and the Knight. It will be a belated celebration of Valentine’s Day with a musical homage to the medieval King Charlemagne. The title of the final program will be Songbook, and it will survey some of the most popular songs from twentieth-century film, musical theater, and radio. This program will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 31. The Clerestory home page has hyperlinks for further information, including details about tickets, for both of these concerts.
Those in search of more adventurous programming may wish to head down into the Mission for a fundraising event at Viracocha. Viracocha is “a community-operated retail space;” and, in the past, I have written about performances given on the shop floor on Wednesday afternoons by house pianist Joe Lasqo. However, Viracocha also has a “new and improved” downstairs performing area, which will be the venue for a two-set gig.
The first set will feature a group calling itself The View from Bernal Hill, consisting of Schuyler Karr on upright bass, Nahuel Bronzini on guitar, and Camille Mai on piano. Mai is also vocalist for songs of her own composition, and Bronzini was responsible for production of the group’s first EP, We Are No Beautiful Children (four tracks). For the Viracocha performance the trio will be joined by a string quartet formed at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and additional vocalists.
The second set will present vocalist and guitarist Madeline Tasquin leading a trio whose other members are Paul Sounder on bass and Chris Lauf on drums. Tasquin is currently working on her first full album, which is expected to be released this coming spring. In her own words, “her songs dip from jazz-tinged folk to odd-meter soul, to twisted pop ballad and delicately dark fairy-tale.”
Viracocha is located in the Mission at 998 Valencia Street at the northwest corner of 21st Street. The concert on Saturday, November 15, is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and should last for about three hours. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $25.
Finally, the second concert in the 22nd season of Noe Valley Chamber Music will take place the next day on Sunday afternoon. This will be a recital by the three guitarists of the Mobius Trio: Robert Nance, Mason Fish, and Matthew Holmes-Linder. The program will present recent works by Dan Becker (“Last Light”) Belinda Reynolds (“Edges”), Danny Clay (“a place that inhabits us”), and Sergio Assad (“Kindergarten”). The program will also include an arrangement of Maurice Ravel’s F major string quartet, whose second movement is heavily disposed towards plucked strings.
This recital will take place at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell Street (just off the southwest corner of Franklin Street), on Sunday, November 16, at 4 p.m. There will again be a pre-concert talk for ticket-holders starting at 3:15 p.m. General admission is $25 with a $20 rate for students and seniors. Admission is free for children aged twelve or less. Also, there is a discounted rate of $20 for adults and $10 for students if tickets are purchased online in advance at a Brown Paper Tickets event page.