The first weekend in November will not be anywhere near as busy as the last weekend in October, but many are still likely to find themselves facing choices to be made. Basically, this is a weekend during which things get more complicated as it advances from Friday to Sunday. Specifics are as follows:
Friday, November 6, 8 p.m., Old First Church: As of this writing, there is only one event to note on Friday evening. That will be the return of One Great City to the Old First Concerts series at Old First Church. This is the duo of guitarist Timothy Sherren and soprano Alexandra Iranfar (who also plays guitar). Earlier this year, they performed two world premieres of compositions written for them at the Center for New Music in a program called Impulses; and their last Old First Concerts appearance took place a little over a year ago. The title of next month’s concert is Excursions, and it will feature the world premiere of a new song cycle by Eric Choate. They will also perform music by their mentor Sérgio Assad, as well as twentieth-century composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. They will also perform an arrangement of keyboard music by Domenico Scarlatti.
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 6, at 8 p.m. General admission is $18 with a special $15 rate for seniors and a $5 charge for full-time students. 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.
Saturday, November 7, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: Saturday will see the eighth annual Día de los Muertos (day of the dead) Community Concert in Davies Symphony Hall. This continues to be a major community outreach event for the San Francisco Symphony (SFS); and, as was the case last year, the conductor will be Donato Cabrera. Circulo Cultral will also return to begin the concert with a procession into the hall while SFS performs the procession music from Eugenio Touissaint’s suite Día de los Muertos. The program will also feature the symphonic debut of Oaxacan singer and songwriter Lila Downes, whose selections will be arranged by Arturo Rodriguez.
This year the concert will be given both an afternoon and an evening performance. The afternoon concert will begin at 2 p.m., and the music will begin at 8 p.m. in the evening. However, as always, the Davies lobby will open one hour before the music starts to host the usual wide variety of family-friendly activities. Ticket prices range from $20 to $90; and tickets for both performances may be purchased through a single event page on the SFS Web site. Those aged seventeen and under will be charged half price with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tickets may also be purchased at the Davies Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street or by calling 415-864-6000.
This year there will also be four VIP Brunch packages, which include premium concert seating at the 2 p.m. performance and a variety of other benefits. Each package has one price for adults and another for each accompanying child. The packages are Friend ($250 and $75 for children), Patron ($325 and $95 for children), Benefactor ($500 and $95 for children), and Heritage ($1000 and $95 for children). These packages have their own event page with hyperlinks for purchase at each level, along with the amount of the expenditure that is tax-deductible. These packages are being managed by the Volunteer Council, which can be reached by telephone at 415-503-5500.
Saturday, November 7, 7 p.m., Mission Dolores Basilica: That same evening Artistic Director Ragnar Bohlin will open the second season of his 24-voice professional choir Cappella SF. The concert will take place in collaboration with Food & Water Watch, an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to making healthy food and clean water available to all people. That group is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, and the title of the concert will be Songs for the Earth: Music and Reflections on Protecting Nature. The program will feature the world premiere of two “Madrigals for the Seasons” by composer-in-residence David Conte. Other composers to be included on the program will be Claudio Monteverdi, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Veljo Tormis, Jan Sandström, David Wikander, Eric Whitacre, and Frank Ticheli.
Mission Dolores Basilica is located at 3321 16th Street. Ticket prices are $55 for VIP seating, $35 for general admission, and $15 for students with identification. A reception will follow the performance. Tickets will be sold at the door and may be purchased in advance online from an Eventbrite event page.
Sunday, November 8, 3 p.m., San Francisco State University: This will be the next free concert in the Morrison Artists Series of the College of Liberal and Creative Arts. The performers will be the San Francisco Debut of the London-based Fidelio Trio of violinist Darragh Morgan, cellist Adi Tal, and pianist Mary Dullea. Their program will feature the second piano trio by British composer Judith Weir, as will as the second piano trio of Camille Saint-Saëns. The second half of the program will be devoted to Eduard Steuermann’s piano trio arrangement of Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 4 “Verklärte Nacht.”
As always, this concert will be held in the McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts Building. The entrance to the campus is on the northwest corner of 19th Avenue and Holloway Street. There will also be a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m. Tickets are free; but, because of demand, reservations are highly recommended. Reservations may be made online through a Vendini event page with a two-ticket limit for each reservation. The musicians will also conduct a two-hour master class in the Knuth Recital Hall (also in the Creative Arts Building) beginning at noon on Monday, November 9.
Sunday, November 8, 7 p.m., Congregation Ner Tamid: This will be the next recital by the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco (CMSSF), consisting of violinists Natasha Makhijani and Jory Fankuchen, violist Clio Tilton, and cellist Samsun van Loon. They will perform with baritone Ben Kazez as guest artist, with whom they have prepared a performance of Samuel Barber’s Opus 3, “Dover Beach.” They will also perform a selection of songs by Franz Schubert arranged for string quartet accompaniment. For the second half of the program, CMSSF will perform Schubert’s D. 804 quartet in A minor, known as the “Rosamunde” after the theme of the second Andante movement.
Congregation Ner Tamid is located at 1250 Quintara Street at 22nd Avenue. No tickets are required. However, a donation of between $15 and $20 is highly recommended.
Sunday, November 8, 7 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: At the same time the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, will make a return visit to Davies for a single performance. Mehta has chosen to begin with Josef Bardanashvili’s “A Journey to the End of the Millennium.” The remainder of the program will be more familiar, Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse” concluding the first half, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 55 (“Eroica”) symphony in E-flat major filling the second. Ticket prices range from $58 to $195. Like other Davies tickets, they may be purchased through an event page on the SFS Web site.
Sunday, November 8, 7:30 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: That evening will also see the next concert in the Dynamite Guitars series of the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts. Chinese guitarist Liying Zhu will be making her San Francisco debut. Zhu was just announced as the First Prize winner at the Koblenz Competition, and she will appear as this season’s D’Addario Performance Series guitarist. Her program has not yet been announced.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. All tickets will be sold for $35. They may be purchased in advance online from a City Box Office event page.