THE 2019 SEASON IN SAN FRANCISCO

CALEFAX

Sun, Feb. 10, 2019 at 3 pm

CASALS QUARTET

Sat, Feb. 23, 2010 at 8 pm

STEVEN ISSERLIS, cello

Sun, March 3, 2019 at 3 pm

PACIFICA QUARTET lec/dem

Fri, March 15, 2019 at 8 pm

PACIFICA QUARTET performance

Sat, March 16, 2019 at 8 pm

NIKOLAY KHOZYAINOV, piano

Sun, March 31, 2019 at 3 pm

NELSON GOERNER, piano

Sun, April 14, 2019 at 3 pm

MISCHA MAISKY, cello

Sat, May 4, 2019 at 8 pm

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC STRING QUARTET

Thurs, May 9, 2019 at 8 pm

BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS

Sun, May 12, 2019 at 3 pm

ALEXANDRA SOUMM, violin

Sun, May 19, 2019 at 3 pm

All performances will be at Herbst Theatre

Click HERE to purchase subscription packages to our 2019 season in San Francisco.

Packages of 4 concerts minimum are now available. The Early Bird Full Series is only $350 ($32 per event).

Single tickets will be available Jan. 1, 2019.

Iconic Cellist Mischa Maisky

Iconic Cellist Mischa Maisky NY Philharmonic String Quartet The 'Fiery' Steven Isserlis The Vibrant Pacifica Quartet
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CALEFAX

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2019 at 3 PM

LOCATELLI Introduzione Teatrale

WILMS Rondo

GESUALDO Four Madrigals
DEBUSSY Children's Corner
BACH Goldberg Variations

Oliver Boekhoorn, oboe
Ivar Berix, clarinet
Raaf Hekkema, alto saxophone
Jelte Althuis, bass clarinet
Alban Wesly, bassoon

A sound like no other! Calefax is a pioneering wind group from Amsterdam, famed throughout Europe.

These free-spirited virtuosos have not only invented their own ensemble but transcribe their own wide-ranging repertoire, commission new works, and always thrill their audiences.

A classical ensemble with a pop mentality, Calefax has a uniquely varied repertoire ranging from the year 1100 to the present day, and is open to the influences of world music, jazz and improvisation as a result of countless international tours and collaborations with all kinds of artists from various disciplines, including pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Liza Ferschtman as well as many other musicians, vocalists, choreographers and visual artists.

Calefax has released 19 CDs under the renowned German MDG label and its own RIOJA Records label. All the recordings have earned critical acclaim from the international press. The mezzo-soprano Cora Burggraaf can be heard on the CD entitled The Roaring Twenties,while the On the Spot CD features the trumpeter Eric Vloeimans, who transports Calefax into the world of jazz and improvisation. Their latest CD, entitled Romantic Kaleidoscope, was released in October 2015, packaged within the anniversary book Calefax en de Caleidoscoop, written by the radio presenter Lex Bohlmeijer and published by Cossee.

Calefax has won many major music prizes, including the 1997 Philip Morris Arts Prize, the 2001 Kersjes van de Groenekan Prize and the 2005 VSCD Classical Music Award. In 2012 Calefax received the German Junge Ohren Prize for the family musical show The Music Factory, a co-production with the Dutch theatre company Oorkaan.

The group has given concerts in virtually every country in Europe, as well as touring Russia, China, India, Turkey, Japan, South Africa, Brazil and the United States, performing at major venues such as Wigmore Hall, the Oriental Arts Centre (Shanghai) and Lincoln Center. In January 2013 Calefax had the honour of accompanying the former Dutch Queen Beatrix on her final two state visits, to Brunei and Singapore.

ARTIST'S WEBSITE

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CASALS QUARTET

SATURDAY, FEB. 23, 2019 at 8 PM

HAYDN Quartet in C Major, Op. 33 No. 3 "The Bird"

MENDELSSOHN Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
BEETHOVEN Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131

Their warm, full-toned playing was immaculate and poetic throughout

—The Independent (London)

Vera Martinez, violin
Abel Tomàs, violin
Jonathan Brown, viola
Arau Tomàs, cello

Since winning First Prizes at the London and Brahms-Hamburg competitions, Cuarteto Casals has been a repeated guest at the world’s most prestigious concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Musikverein Vienna, Philharmonie Cologne, Cité de la Musique Paris, Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Philharmonie in Berlin, among many others throughout Europe, North America and Japan.

As happens in many quartets, the two violinists alternate playing first.However, one interesting facet to the Casals' performance is that the ensemble's approach, and very character, changes dramatically depending on who is leading for a given work!See the videos on left to see what we mean...

The quartet has compiled a substantial discography with the Harmonia Mundi label, including to date 9 CD’s, with repertoire ranging from lesser known Spanish composers Arriaga and Toldrá to Viennese classics Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Brahms, through 20th Century greats Bartok, Kurtag and Ligeti. Following its critically acclaimed performances of Schubert's fifteen string quartets last season, Cuarteto Casals will record the cycle live for DVD in atL'Auditori in Barcelona, where it is quartet in residence.

“A sonic signature entirely its own,” raved the New York Times, describing Cuarteto Casals’ distinctive range of expression. A prize from the prestigious Burletti-Buitoni Trust in London enabled the quartet to purchase a matching set of Classical period bows which it uses for works from Purcell through Schubert, refining its ability to distinguish between diverse musical styles. In addition, the quartet has been profoundly influenced by its work with living composers, especially György Kurtag, and has given the world premiere of quartets written by leading Spanish composers.

In recognition of Cuarteto Casals’ unique position as the first Spanish string quartet with a truly international profile, the quartet has been honored with the Premio Nacional de Música as well as the Premi Ciutat Barcelona. The quartet has accompanied the King of Spain on diplomatic visits and performed on the peerless collection of decorated Stradivarius instruments in the Royal Palace in Madrid.

Cuarteto Casals often appears on television and radio throughout Europe and North America and is Quartet in Residence at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona, where all four members reside and teach.

ARTIST''S WEBSITE

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STEVEN ISSERLIS, cello
CONNIE SHIH, piano

SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2019 at 3 PM

"Composers & Their Muses"
read Mr. Isserlis' comments HERE

CLARA SCHUMANN   3 Romances Op. 22

ROBERT SCHUMANN   Fantasiestücke Op. 73

VÍTĚZSLAVA KAPRÁLOV   Ritournelle Op. 25

BOHUSLAV MARTINŮ  Cello Sonata No. 1

AUGUSTA HOLMÈS   Récitatif et chant

CÉSAR FRANCK Sonata in A Major


 

“Fiery dexterity and swashbuckling vivacity”

—New York Times

Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a uniquely varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. He appears with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras; and gives recitals every season in major musical centres. As a chamber musician, he has curated concert series for such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall, 92nd St Y and the Salzburg Festival. Unusually, he also directs chamber orchestras from the cello.

He has a strong interest in historical performance, working with many period-instrument orchestras and giving recitals with harpsichord and fortepiano. He is also a keen exponent of contemporary music and has premiered many new works, including John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil, Thomas Adès’s Lieux retrouvés, and Gyorgy Kurtag’s ‘For Steven’.

Steven’s award-winning discography includes Bach’s Cello Suites for Hyperion (Gramophone’s Instrumental Album of the Year); Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano with Robert Levin; and the Elgar and Walton concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra/Paavo Jarvi. His latest recordings include the Brahms Double Concerto with Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and – as director and soloist - concertos by Haydn and CPE Bach, with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Forthcoming recordings include a special First World War-inspired disc with Connie Shih, including pieces performed on a travel cello which was played in the trenches.

Since 1997 he has been Artistic Director of the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He also enjoys playing for children, and has created three musical stories, with the composer Anne Dudley. His two books for children, published by Faber's, have been translated into many languages; and his latest book, a commentary on Schumann’s famous Advice for Young Musicians, has recently been published by Faber’s.

The recipient of many awards, Steven Isserlis’ honours include a CBE in recognition of his services to music, the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau, and the Piatigorsky Prize in the USA. In 2017, he was awarded the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award, the Wigmore Hall Gold Medal, and the Walter Willson Cobbett Medal for Services to Chamber Music.

He gives most of his concerts on the Marquis de Corberon (Nelsova) Stradivarius of 1726, kindly loaned to him by the Royal Academy of Music.

ARTIST''S WEBSITE

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PACIFICA QUARTET

LEC/DEM: FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019 at 8 PM
CONCERT: SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2019 at 8 PM

LEC/DEM Fri, March 15

"Shostakovich Walks the Tightrope"

 

CONCERT Sat, March 16

BEETHOVEN Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 18 No. 6

SHULAMIT RAN Quartet No. 3
MENDELSSOHN Quartet in D Major, Op. 44 No. 1

 

Paul Phillips

“They play with clarity and dark intensity, superbly sustained”

—The Times (London)

Simin Ganatra, violin
Austin Hartman, violin
Guy Ben-Ziony, viola
Brandon Vamos, cello

Known for its virtuosity and exuberant performance style, the Pacifica Quartet is recognized as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. Named the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in March 2012, the Pacifica was previously the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. In 2017, the Pacifica Quartet was appointed to lead the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Formed in 1994, the grouip quickly won the Naumburg competition and other prestigious awards. In 2002 the ensemble was appointed to Lincoln Center’s CMS Two, and in 2006 was not only awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, but was featured on the cover of Gramophone and heralded as one of “five new quartets you should know about” (the only American quartet on the list). In 2009 the Quartet was named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America.

Recent seasons have included performances with guitarist Sharon Isbin; the complete Beethoven cycle for the University at Buffalo’s renowned Slee Cycle; a return to New York’s 92nd Street Y; the culmination of a two-season residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; tours with Johannes Moser, Jörg Widmann, and Marc-André Hamelin; and the debut of a new cello quintet by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe.

The Pacifica Quartet is a preeminent interpreter of string quartet cycles. Having given acclaimed performances of the complete Carter cycle in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Houston; the Mendelssohn cycle in Napa, Australia, New York, and Pittsburgh; and the Beethoven cycle in New York, Denver, St. Paul, Chicago, Napa, and Tokyo, the Quartet presented the monumental Shostakovich cycle in Chicago, New York, Montreal and at Wigmore Hall.

In 2008 the Quartet won a Grammy for its recording of Carter’s quartets on the Naxos label. Cedille Records recently released the third of four volumes comprising the entire Shostakovich cycle to rave reviews. Recent projects include recording Leo Ornstein’s rarely-heard piano quintet with Marc-André Hamelin, the Brahms piano quintet with the legendary Menahem Pressler, and the Brahms and Mozart clarinet quintets with the NY Philharmonic’s principal clarinetist, Anthony McGill.

The members of the Pacifica Quartet live in Bloomington, IN, where they serve as quartet-in-residence and full-time faculty members at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Prior to their appointment, the Quartet was on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana from 2003 to 2012, and also served as resident performing artist at the University of Chicago for seventeen years.

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION: "SHOSTAKOVICH WALKS THE TIGHTROPE"

The program's theme is the balance the composer had to strike between his art and his survival in the USSR under Stalin.For the lecture/demonstration on March 15, the quartet will collaborate with distinguished conductor Paul Phillips..Mr. Phillips, director of orchestral studies at Stanford, has had a varied career including conducting stints with Frankfurt Opera, Dallas Symphony, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Salta (Argentina), Paul Taylor Dance Company and the San Francisco Symphony.  For nine years at Brown University, Phillips taught a course about Shostakovich’s relationship to the Soviet state.

ARTIST WEBSITE

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NIKOLAY KHOZYAINOV, piano

SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2019 at 3 PM

DEBUSSY Suite Bergamasque

STRAVINSKY Three Movements from Petrushka
STRAVINSKY/KHOZYAINOV "Danse Sacrale" from Rite of Spring
CHOPIN Berceuse
CHOPIN Sonata No. 3 in B minor

His playing was remarkable for its clarity, transparency of sound and the finesse of expressive detail.”

—The Sydney Morning Herald

Nikolay Khozyainov, a phenomenal artist born in 1992 in Blagoveshchensk, Russia (3,500 miles east of Moscow) is one of the most promising pianists of his generation, showing musical integrity and a maturity beyond his years.

He was the winner of the 1st Prize at the Dublin International Piano Competition in May 2012 and 2nd Prize at the 2012 Sydney International Competition.Although the youngest finalist in Sydney, he was given awards there for the best performance of a work by Liszt and Schubert, best concerto performance, best virtuoso performance and the People`s Choice Prize.

Mr. Khozyainov began playing piano of his own accord when he was just 5 years old. From 1999 to 2010 he studied at the Central Musical School of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, and since 2005 has been studying with Mikhail Voskresensky.

Nikolay Khozyainov is the winner of numerous awards in international piano competitions, including the 1st prize and special prize for the best performance of the Rondo-Capriccioso in E major Op.14 by Felix Mendelssohn at the International Piano Competition "Virtuosi per musica di pianoforte"(Czech Republic, 2003), 1st Prize at the IX International Carl Filtsch Piano Competition (Romania, 2004), 1st Prize at the International Piano Competition A. Scriabin in Paris (2008), 2nd prize and special award for the best performance of the musical miniature in the 6th Moscow International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition for young pianists in Moscow, special prize "for the best performance of miniatures" (2008).

Nikolay Khozyainov was the youngest finalist of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (October 2010). His interpretations of Chopin and his unique musicality made an enormous impression on the audience and music lovers, and were appreciated by critics, from whom he garnered excellent reviews. Directly after the competition, the pianist was invited to give recitals in Zelazowa Wola, the place of Chopin`s birth, and in Chopin`s Museum in Warsaw.

Mr. Khozyainov has performed in recital and with orchestras in Russia, Belorus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Malaysia, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, France, USA and Japan. He has appeared with such orchestras as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. His first CD was released on CD Accord label in 2011 (distributed worldwide by Naxos and available on the Naxos website) featuring works by Chopin and Liszt. The disc was recorded at the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall. In 2012 the Chopin Institute in Warsaw issued Nikolay`s CD recorded live during the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (October 2010).

In October 2012 a CD recorded for JVC Viktor company was released in Japan.

In recent seasons Nikolay Khozyainov performed in Japan, the USA (including his Carnegie Hall debut), Mexico, throughout Austria, Germany, Poland and France and he made his London debut in Wigmore Hall.

ARTIST'S WEBSITE

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San Francisco Debut

NELSON GOERNER, piano

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2019 at 3 PM

BRAHMS Klavierstücke, Op. 119

BEETHOVEN Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata”

CHOPIN Etudes, Op. 25


"Goerner combines lucid intellectuality, undeniable depth and the technical ease to express his ideas"

—Ambito Financiero (Buenos Aires)

A heartfelt yet meticulous artist, Nelson Goerner has performed with such orchestras as the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Deutsche Symphonie Orchestra of Berlin under Andrew Davis, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra under Mark Elder, the Suisse Romande with Neemi Jarvi and Raphael Fruhbeck de Burgos, the Orchestra of the 18th Century with Frans Bruggen, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo under Fabio Luisi. Festival appearances include the Salzburg Festival, La Roque d'Anthéron, La Grange de Meslay, Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein and Verbier, as well as the BBC Proms.

In the 2013-14 season, Nelson Goerner was awarded an Artist Portrait series at Wigmore Hall, for which he gave four recitals. His 2014-15 season included recitals in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Montpellier, Geneva, Reykjavik, Vancouver, Washington DC, Minneapolis and Buenos Aires.

A keen chamber musician, Nelson Goerner has collaborated with artists such as Martha Argerich, Janine Jansen, Steven Isserlis and Gary Hoffman.

Mr. Goerner enjoys a long association with the Chopin Institute in Warsaw, where he is a member of the artistic advisory committee, and for whom he recently made recordings on pianos by Pleyel and Erard dating from 1848 and 1849; his recording of the Ballades and Nocturnes earned a Diapason d'Or.

His discography includes recordings of Chopin, Rachmaninov, Liszt and Busoni, and a DVD of repertoire by Beethoven and Chopin in a live performance from the Verbier Festival. His Chopin recording on the Wigmore Hall Live label was Instrumental Choice of the Month in BBC Music Magazine, and his recording of Debussy for the Outhere/ZigZag Territoires label was awarded the Diapason d'Or of the Year 2013. Nelson Goerner's recent Schumann recording was BBC Music Magazine's Recording of the Month in March 2015, and his next recording project will feature repertoire by Beethoven.

Born in San Pedro, Argentina, in 1969, Nelson Goerner has established himself as one of the foremost pianists of his generation. He was awarded First Prize in the Franz Liszt Competition in Buenos Aires in 1986, which led to a scholarship to work with Maria Tipo at the Geneva Conservatoire, and in 1990 he won the First Prize at the Geneva Competition.

Mr Goerner lives in Switzerland with his wife and young son. He is professor of piano at the High School of Music in Geneva.

ARTIST'S WEBSITE

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MISCHA MAISKY, cello
with LILY MAISKY, piano

SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2019 at 8 PM

PROGRAM TO BE ANNOUNCED

Maisky’s playing combines poetry and exquisite delicacy with great temperament and brilliant technique.

Mstislav Rostropovich

Mischa Maisky has the distinction of being the only cellist in the world to have studied with both Mstislav Rostropovich and Gregor Piatigorsky.  Born in Latvia, educated in Russia after his repatriation to Israel, Mischa Maisky has been enthusiastically received in London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, New York and Tokyo, along with the rest of the major music centres.

He considers himself to be a citizen of the world: "I’m playing an Italian cello, with French and German bows, Austrian and German strings, my daughter was born in France, my oldest son in Belgium, the middle one in Italy and the youngest one in Switzerland, I’m driving a Japanese car, wear a Swiss watch, an Indian necklace and I feel at home everywhere where people appreciate and enjoy classical music."

As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, during the last 25 years he has made well over 30 recordings with such orchestras as Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orpheus, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and others.

One of the highlights of his career was the year 2000 - it was mainly devoted to a worldwide Bach tour which included over 100 concerts! In order to express his deep admiration for this great composer, Mischa Maisky has recorded Bach's solo suites for the third time.

His recordings have enjoyed worldwide critical acclaim and have been awarded the prestigious Record Academy Prize in Tokyo five times, the Echo Deutscher Schallplattenpreis three times, Grand Prix du Disque in Paris and Diapason d’Or of the Year as well as the coveted Grammy nominations.

Truly a world-class musician and regular guest at most major International Festivals, he has collaborated with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev and Gustavo Dudamel and his partnerships have included artists as Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu, Nelson Freire, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Peter Serkin, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov, Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin and Janine Jansen to name just a few.

ARTIST'S WEBSITE

Lily Maisky was born in Paris, moving to Brussels soon after. She began playing the piano at the age of four, with Lyl Tiempo, also studying with Hagit Kerbel, Ilana Davids and Alan Weiss. Lily was a pupil at the “Purcell School of Music” from 2001 until 2005 where she also studied jazz piano. She has received master classes and musical advice from renowned artists including Martha Argerich, Dmitri Bashkirov, Joseph Kalichstein, Pavel Gililov and Vitalij Margulis to name a few.

 

Concert appearances have taken her throughout Europe as well as the Far East, and she has been invited to many of the great festivals such as the Verbier Festival,

Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, the Edinburgh Festival, Miyazaki Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bergamo-Brescia, the Beijing Piano Festival, the Franz Liszt festival in Austria, Julian Rachlin and Friends in Dubrovnik, Rencontres de Bel Air in France, Gstaad Festival, the Schlesswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Berlin Festival as well as the English Chamber Orchestra Music Cruise. Lily has performed concertos under the batons of maestros Leonard Slatkin, Thomas Sanderling, Gerd Albrecht, Daniel Raiskin, Alberto Veronesi, Jack Martin Händler and Charles Olivieri Munroe, amongst others. She has also performed solo and ensemble works in such prestigious venues as the Royal Festival Hall in London, Vienna’s Musikverein and Concerthaus, Munich’s Prinzregentheatre, Hamburg’s Leiszhalle, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Venezia's La Fenice, Bonn's BeethovenHalle, Tokyo's Suntory Hall, Rome's Teatro Olimpico, Moscow Conservatory, Saint Petersburg Philarmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Seoul’s Performing Arts Center, Athens Megaron and Buckingham Palace among many others.

 

Lily features on several Deutsche Grammophon and EMI recording releases, and has been frequently broadcast on European and Asian radio and television. Her latest release is for Avanti Classics with Grammy Award winning Violinist Philippe Quint. She has a predilection for chamber music and forms a regular duo with Mischa Maisky, as well as the Maisky trio with her brother. She has also performed with such artists as Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen, Dora Schwarzberg, Renaud Capuçon, Chantal Juillet, Sergey Krylov, Martha Argerich, Nicholas Angelich, Frank Braley, Gérard Caussé as well as Alissa Margulis, Hrachya Avanesyan, Geza Hosszu-Legocky, Boris Andrianov, Isztvan Vardai, Alexander Mogilevsky, Orfeo Mandozzi, Alena Baeva, Boris Brovstyn and the Szymanowski Quartet.

 

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San Francisco Debut

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC STRING QUARTET

THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2019 at 8 PM

HAYDN Quartet in D minor, Op. 76, No.2

SHOSTAKOVICH Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major
BRAHMS Quartet in A minor, Op. 51 No 2

 

 

Although the ensemble was officially launched only in 2017, these artists have collaborated for many years:  We are delighted to be introducing this excellent group to the Bay Area.

The New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises four Principal musicians from the Orchestra: Concertmaster Frank Huang; Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples; Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps; and Principal Cello Carter Brey. The group was formed in January 2017, during the Philharmonic's 175th anniversary season, made its debut as the solo ensemble in John Adams's Absolute Jest in New York in March 2017, and reprised that work on the Orchestra's European tour. All four members are multiple prize winners, have appeared as concerto soloists with the Philharmonic and orchestras around the world, and have appeared frequently in the Philharmonic's chamber music series.

Frank Huang has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and Caramoor and frequently participates in Musicians from Marlboro's tours. Before joining the Houston Symphony as concertmaster in 2010, Frank Huang held the position of first violinist of the Grammy Award-winning Ying Quartet. 

Sheryl Staples has performed chamber music in London, Paris, Berlin, Beijing and Hong Kong, has toured Mexico, Brazil, and Chile, and has appeared at such festivals as La Jolla, Boston Chamber Music Society, Salt Bay Chamberfest, and the chamber music festivals of Santa Fe, Mainly Mozart, Seattle, Aspen, Sarasota and Martha's Vineyard.

Cynthia Phelps performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and with such festivals as Santa Fe, La Jolla, Seattle, Chamber Music Northwest, and Bridgehampton. She has appeared with the Guarneri, Tokyo, Orion, American, Brentano, and Prague Quartets as well as the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. She is a founding member of the chamber group Les Amies. 

Carter Brey has made regular appearances with the Tokyo and Emerson string quartets as well as The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at festivals such as Spoleto (both in the United States and Italy), and the Santa Fe and La Jolla Chamber Music festivals. He and pianist Christopher O'Riley recorded Le Grand Tango: Music of Latin America, a disc of compositions from South America and Mexico released on Helicon Records.

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BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS

SUNDAY, MAY 12, 2019 at 3 PM

The program will include at least one Brandenburg Concerto.

Few musical works are as beloved as the six "Brandenburg" Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach. These six works display a lighter side of Bach's imperishable genius. Yet they came into being as an unexpected gift. That's what happened in 1721 when Bach presented the Margrave of Brandenburg with a bound manuscript containing six lively concertos for chamber orchestra, works based on an Italian Concerto Grosso style. The Margrave never thanked Bach for his work--or paid him. There's no way he could have known that this gift--later named the Brandenburg Concertos--would become a benchmark of Baroque music and still have the power to move people almost three centuries later.

The Concertos are a highlight of one of the happiest and most productive periods in Bach's life. At the time he wrote them, Bach was the Kapellmeister--the music director--in the small town of Coethen, where he was composing music for the court. Since the Margrave of Brandenburg seems to have ignored Bach's gift of concertos, it's likely that Bach himself presided over the first performances at home in Coethen. They didn't have a name then; that didn't come until 150 years later, when Bach's biographer Philipp Spitta called them "Brandenburg" Concertos for the very first time, and the name stuck.

Each of the six concertos requires a different combination of instruments as well as some highly skilled soloists. The Margrave had his own small court orchestra in Berlin, but it was a group of mostly mediocre players. All the evidence suggests that these virtuosic Brandenburg concertos perfectly matched the talents of the musicians on hand in Coethen. So how did a provincial town get so many excellent musicians? Just before Johann Sebastian arrived in Coethen in 1717, a new king inherited the throne in Prussia. Friedrich Wilhelm I became known as the "Soldier King" because he was interested in the military strength of his kingdom, not in refined artistic pursuits. One of his first royal acts was to disband the prestigious Berlin court orchestra. That threw many musicians out of work, and as luck would have it, seven of the best ones were snatched up to work in Coethen by its music-loving Prince Leopold. That's why Bach found such a rich music scene when he started to work there. It gave him the luxury of writing for virtuosos and they let him push the boundaries of his creativity. Concerto No. 2, for example, has the trumpeter play high flourishes. No. 4 allows the solo violin to soar.

Even though he himself didn't call them the "Brandenburgs," Bach still thought of them as a set. What he did was compile them from short instrumental sinfonias and concerto movements he had already written. Then he re-worked the old music, often re-writing and elaborating where he saw fit.

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San Francisco Debut

ALEXANDRA SOUMM, violin
XIAYIN WANG, piano

SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2019 at 3 PM

STRAVINSKY Divertimento

GRIEG Violin Sonata No. 2

SAINT-SAENS Havanaise
BARTOK Romanian Dances

TCHAIKOVSKY Meditation

GERSHWIN "Porgy and Bess" Suite
RAVEL Tzigane

 


" Lush tone, technical aplomb and abundant personality

—Baltimore Sun

French/Russian violinist Alexandra Soumm has performed with such leading orchestras as the Royal, BBC, London, and Hungarian National Philharmonics, as well as the Baltimore, Galicia, RTÉ National, Danish National, Trondheim, NHK, Tokyo Metropolitan, Tokyo and Munich Symphonies. She has worked with such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Neeme Järvi, Osmo Vänska, Leonard Slatkin and Marin Alsop.She has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

In the 2017-2018 season, Ms Soumm performed with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner Orchester Linz, the BBC Scottish Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. She performs regularly with Orchestre National de Bordeaux, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, and Orchestre National de Montpellier.

She has given recitals at the Louvre, Bozar, and Wigmore Hall. She has also appeared at Verbier and many other festivals.

Ms Soumm won the Eurovision Competition in 2004. She was a member of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artist roster 2010-12, during which time she worked with most of the BBC ensembles. She maintained her connection with the UK through her position as a London Music Masters awardee from 2012-2015.

Also a skilled writer, Alexandra Soumm ’s poem “Cercle” was set in 2015 for soprano and voice by composer Eric Tanguy. Composer Christoph Ehrenfellner dedicated his second Violin Concerto and one of his string quartets to Alexandra Soumm

In 2008 her debut recording (of concertos by Bruch and Paganini) was released on the Claves label. Le Monde de la Musique described her interpretation as “displaying a passionate and lyrical personality.” Her second disc, of Grieg’s violin sonatas, was released in 2010.

Born in Moscow, she began studying the violin at age five and gave her first concert two years later. She later moved to Vienna to study with renowned pedagogue Boris Kuschnir.

Now based in Paris, she, co-founded the non-profit organization Esperanz’Arts in 2012, a collaborative of more than 60 artists performing in schools, homeless shelters, prisons and hospitals. In January 2013, Alexandra was named Godmother of the newly established El Sistema France. She is very involved with the Seiji Ozawa International Academy in Switzerland and has been taking part in the project for the past 10 years. Passionate for teaching and communicating her artistry, Alexandra has given masterclasses in the United States, Venezuela, Brazil, Japan, Israel and Belgium. 

ARTIST'S WEBSITE