With many of the concert series announcing their end-of-season events, one might think that June may be somewhat quieter than the first five months of this year. Nevertheless, its first weekend will still involve making choices; and some of them may not be easy. For one thing there is a major event that will fill most of the weekend.
This is the year of the 30th annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition. Run by Mitchell Sardou Klein, who has served as director since 1985, this has become a career-making event for virtuoso string performers between the ages of 15 and 23. As in the past, the competition will be hosted by San Francisco State University. Semifinal performances will take place through most of the day on Saturday. The finalists will perform on Sunday, after which the awards will be presented.
There were 75 entrants from nine countries for this year’s competition. The following eight entrants emerged as semifinalists:
- Ari Evan, 22, cellist. He studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen and attends Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
- Erika Gray, 19, violist. She studies with Roberto Diaz and attends the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
- Oliver Herbert, 17, cellist. He studies with Clive Greensmith and attends the Colburn School Music Academy in Los Angeles.
- Ariel Horowitz, 18, violinist. She studies with Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School in New York.
- Kyung Ah Oh, 22, violinist. She studies with Joan Kwuon and attends the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Isabella Perron, 15, violinist. She studies with William VanderSloot and attends Mount-Royal University Conservatory in Calgary, Alberta.
- Emily Shehi, 16, violinist. She studies with Noah Geller and attends Olathe East High School in Olathe, Kansas.
- Kelly Talim, 19, violinist. She studies with Li Lin and attends Columbia University – The Juilliard School in New York.
As was the case last year, each semifinalist must play an unaccompanied work of Johann Sebastian Bach, movements from notable concertos, and a new commissioned composition. That piece has been prepared for the occasion this year by Paola Prestini. In the final round the artists must perform additional portions of their selected concerto and one major sonata movement.
This year the grand prize is being given in honor of the Chamberlain family. Valued at $13,000, in includes cash and commitments for soloist engagements with the Santa Cruz Symphony and the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, the Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series, Music in the Vineyards (in Napa Valley), and Noontime Concerts™. The Elaine Klein Award goes to second place and is valued at $5,000. It includes an appearance at the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. Third prize is $2,500. Two fourth prizes, of $1,250 each, will be awarded. Each semifinalist not awarded a named prize will receive $750. Awards will also be given for best performance of the commissioned work and the solo Bach.
All events will take place in Knuth Hall in the Creative Arts Building on the campus of San Francisco State University (1600 Holloway Avenue at 19th Avenue). A weekend pass for admission to all events will be $20 if purchased in advance and $25 at the door. The semifinalist performances will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 6. Admission will be $10 for the general public ($8 if purchased in advance), $5 for seniors ($4 if purchased in advance), and free for students. The finalists’ performances will take place between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 7. For this concert admission will be $20 for the general public ($16 if purchased in advance) and $10 for students, youth, and seniors ($8 if purchased in advance). Further information may be obtained at 415-338-2467 or by visiting the Creative Arts Web page for the Klein Competition, which includes a hyperlink for purchasing tickets in advance.
Saturday will also offer the final concert in the current season of the New Esterházy Quartet (violinists Kati Kyme and Lisa Weiss, violist Anthony Martin, and cellist William Skeen). The program is entitled Haydn Cantatas, and it will feature soprano Christine Brandes as guest artist. She will sing two solo cantatas, both about wronged women, Ariadne abandoned on Naxos by Theseus (Hoboken XXVIb/2) and Berenice abandoned by Demetrius (Hoboken XXIVa/10). The program will also include two string quartets, Hoboken III/70 in D major, the second of the three Opus 71 quartets composed for Count Anton Apponyi, and Hoboken III/61 in F minor, known as the “Razor” quartet.
The San Francisco performance of this program will take place on Saturday, June 6, at 4 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the intersection with Franklin Street). Tickets are $25 at the door with discounts for seniors and students with proper identification. Further information is available from the New Esterházy Quartet either from their Web site or by calling 415-520-0611.
Later that evening San Francisco Renaissance Voices (SFRV) will conclude their 2014–15 season with a program entitled Our Favorite Things. This will be a program of favorites selected from the repertoire that the a cappella chorus has built up during its first ten years of performing. While many of the selections will reflect the religious intensity of the Renaissance, such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s “Super flumina Babylonis” (by the waters of Babylon) or the Miserere setting by Gregorio Allegri that inspired Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, some of the works will get more than a little punchy, such as Adriano Banchieri’s madrigal based on animal sounds or Clement Jannequin’s raucous “La Guerre” (war).
This concert will take place on Saturday, June 6, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. They may be purchased online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page and will also be available at the door. Like most of the other concerts in the 2014–15 SFRV season, the performance will take place at the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church (1329 Seventh Avenue, just south of Golden Gate Park and near the Muni N Line stop at the corner of Irving Street and Seventh Avenue).
Half an hour later the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony (BARS) will give its annual Pride Concert. The featured soloist will be pianist Sara Davis Buechner performing Clara Schumann’s piano concerto and a partita for piano and strings by Vítězslava Kaprálová. The program will also include Ethel Smyth’s serenade. The conductor will be Dawn Harms.
This performance will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 6. The venue will be the Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at 50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. Tickets are priced from $15 through $35. The BARS Web site includes an event page from which tickets may be purchased.
The concert will be preceded by a special introductory event to be held at the same venue. This is entitled Crossing the Concourse, and it will be a journey in music and words presented by Buechner. She will illustrated her life story and transgender journey with short piano pieces including one of her own compositions. The event will conclude with a Q&A session.
This talk will take place at 3 p.m. Ticket prices will be $10 through $20. Tickets may be purchased through a separate event page.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon the ZOFO Duet of pianists Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmermann will be making a special appearance at 405 Shrader. The occasion will be a party to celebrate the release, earlier this week of their latest CD, ZOFO Plays Terry Riley. This will involve a short concert of selections from the CD, along with festivities involving rustic food and wine.
405 Shrader is the performance space whose name is its address. It is located at the corner of Shrader Street and Oak Street. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, the music will start at 4 p.m., and the party will begin at 4:40 p.m. The entrance fee of $20 will cover the party, a copy of the CD, and the concert. Couples who need only one CD will be admitted for $35. Anyone who has already bought the album on iTunes will get a $10 discount. Like all events at 405 Shrader, seating is extremely limited, so reservations should be made as soon as possible. Reservations must be made by electronic mail. However, because this is not a 405 Shrader event, they must be made through a ZOFO electronic mail address.
Most readers will probably also know that Sunday, June 7, marks the beginning of the Summer 2015 season of the San Francisco Opera. The full extent of this season will be discussed shortly in a separate article. Watch this space!