Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa has announced an ambitious and ingenious program exploring the serious fun of modern and contemporary music to conclude the 2014–2015 season of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC). Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe will conduct, and the performance will feature a guest appearance by composer Carla Kihlstedt, who will perform as both violinist and vocalist. She will be the soloist in the premiere of her new work “Hold my own.” Bielawa’s music will also be included with the performance of the “Opening: Forest” section from her opera Vireo.
Kihlstedt will also perform violin for two other pieces on the program, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s “Viatonten Valsi” and John Adams’ “Desert Chorus.” The program will also include two works by William Schuman, “Requiescat” and “To Thy Love.” Other composers to be included will be Lou Harrison (selections from his Mass for Saint Cecilia’s Day), Meredith Monk (“Panda Chant”), and John Cage (his “Living Room Music,” composed in 1940 for voice and percussion provided by everyday objects). There will also be an homage to The Andrews Sisters with performances of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Beat Me Daddy.”
This is the program that SFGC will take on their tour of Estonia, Finland, and Sweden, which will begin shortly after the concert. It has been given the title American Vanguard, and it was conceived to serve an “ambassadorial” function. Rather than dwelling on any specific example of “American style,” it provides a broad view of the different approaches to invention taken by a set of composers selected to be representative of our “national diversity.” In this respect the inclusion of Rautavaara is more than a “goodwill gesture” to one of the host countries, since, after completing his studies at the Sibelius Academy, he went to New York to study at the Juilliard School on scholarship. His teachers while in our country included Vincent Persichetti, Roger Sessions, and Aaron Copland.
The performance of American Vanguard will take place in the Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at 50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. It will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 5. Reserved seats are $36. General admission seating will be $26, with an $18 charge for students. Tickets may be purchased online through a City Box Office event page. They may also be purchased by phone at 415-392-4400 or by visiting City Box Office in person at 180 Redwood Street, Suite 100. Business hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.