Curious Flights was founded by Artistic Director Brenden Guy in 2013 as a concert series designed specifically to uncover and present new and rarely-performed works in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first season featured the West Coast premiere of Benjamin Britten’s “Movements for a Clarinet Concerto” (in a realization for concert performance by Colin Matthews) as part of the celebration of that composer’s 100th birthday. That season consisted of three programs, each organized around its own innovative theme.
Next month will see the launch of the second Curious Flights season. This time the season will consist of four concerts. It will feature the world premiere of a commissioned work for clarinet and electronics by British composer Simon Dobson, who will come to San Francisco for a week-long residency. It will also include the world premiere of a commissioned work by Bay Area composer Noah Luna, which will be performed in collaboration with the San Francisco Wind Ensemble. One program will be a solo recital by British violinist Madeleine Mitchell, and the final program of the season will present the West Coast premiere of Marc Blitzstein’s “The Airborne Symphony.” Further details of each of the four concerts are as follows:
Saturday, August 29, 8 p.m., An English Portrait: As the title suggests, this program will present a cross-section of both instrumental and vocal works by English composers. The composers to be included will be John Ireland, Herbert Howells, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Gerald Finzi, and Arnold Bax. Soloists will include Guy on clarinet, performing with a string quartet consisting of members of One Found Sound, soprano Julie Adams, and pianists Daniel Glover and Keisuke Nakagoshi performing as a duo. This concert will take place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) at 50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station.
Wednesday, November 11, 7 p.m., Recital Masters: This will be Mitchell’s violin recital. Her accompanist will be pianist Ian Scarfe. She has prepared a “transatlantic” program, juxtaposing English and American composers. The English composers will be Frank Bridge, Michael Nyman, William Alwyn, and Howells. The Americans will include John Cage, Ned Rorem, and Aaron Copland. In addition, Mitchell has prepared an arrangement of George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” for violin, clarinet, and piano. Guy will perform this with Mitchell and Scarfe to conclude the program. This concert will take place at The Century Club of California, located at 1355 Franklin Street.
Saturday, March 19, 8 p.m., Transatlantic Crossings: This will be the concert held in conjunction with Dobson’s residency. His works, including his world premiere commission, will be featured on the program, as will be the new composition by Luna. There will also be a guest appearance by The Living Earth Show to perform the first of Samuel Adams’ “Tension Study” composition;” and the Curious Flights Chamber Ensemble will give a performance of Mason Bates’ “Red River.” This concert will take place at SFCM.
Saturday, May 28, 8 p.m., The Age of Flight: This is the concert that will feature the Blitzstein premiere. Alasdair Neale will conduct the Curious Flights Symphony Orchestra and the Curious Flights Festival Chorus. The soloists will be tenor Brian Thorsett and baritone Efraín Solís. The Chorus will also perform Samuel Barber’s “A stopwatch and an Ordnance Map.” Thorsett will also sing in a suite from Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s The Constant Nymph in an arrangement by Noah Luna, who will also conduct the Curious Flights Chamber Ensemble. This concert will take place at SFCM.
Tickets for all concerts are now on sale. Single tickets range in price from $20 to $50. The CONCERTS Web page on the Curious Flights Web site has hyperlinks to the Brown Paper Tickets event pages for each of these four programs.