Look below to find a list of our upcoming concerts. You can also learn more about the artists by clicking on their names and following the links to their bios and websites.
To respect our artists and patrons, we do not permit infants or toddlers to attend our performances.
The Farallon Quintet
Natalie Parker, clarinet; Dan Flanagan, violin; Matthew Oshida, violin; Elizabeth Prior, viola; Jonah Kim, 'cello
W. A Mozart Allegro in B-flat, KAnh. 91 (516c)
Peter Josheff Verse - Chorus Variations; Ground Hog Day
Bernard Herrmann Souvenirs de Voyage
Chad Cannon Citizen 13660 – Vignettes Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University
Jean Françaix Quintet for Clarinet and Strings
The Farallon Quintet, founded in the summer of 2012, is a dynamic Bay Area ensemble and the only professional chamber music group focused exclusively on the clarinet quintet—string quartet plus clarinet—repertoire. In addition to playing the classics, the quintet seeks to perform rarely heard works, innovative arrangements, as well as new music by living composers. The Farallon Quintet received a grant from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music to record and release its debut album and was recently awarded a Barlow Grant to commission young composer Chad Cannon's first clarinet quintet. The ensemble is made up of leading Bay Area musicians who are currently principal players in such orchestras as the San Francisco Ballet, Santa Rosa Symphony, Marin Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Fremont Symphony, Modesto Symphony, and the Sacramento Philharmonic. The group takes its name from the Farallon Islands, located right off the coast of San Francisco. In addition to being a landmark location close to where the players live and work, its meaning—“pillar” or “steep rock” in Spanish—indicates the group’s vision to become an important “pillar” or “rock” in classical music by building awareness around the lesser known yet musically significant clarinet quintet repertoire. The Farallon Islands also represent the group’s inspiration which is founded in the simplicity and beauty of nature. In fact, the group is known to intersperse rehearsals with hikes in the mountains and road trips—all with the intent to discover the natural beauties of Northern California.
Carmen Lemoine, flute; Adrienne Malley, oboe; Jeannie Psomas, clarinets; Yueh Chou, bassoon; Special Guest Mack McCray, piano; Special Guest Jeff Anderle, clarinets
Amilcare Ponchielli Quartetto for four winds
Paul Hindemith Kleine Kammermusik
Chick Corea Trio for flute, bassoon, and piano
David Hart Woodwind Quintet (newly commissioned piece)
Leoš Janáček Mládí
Woodwind ensemble Frequency 49 delves into the idea of “play” in a program of classic woodwind repertoire by Paul Hindemith (Kleine Kammermusik) and Leoš Janáček (Mládí), humorous jaunts into the realm of opera buffa by Amilcare Ponchielli and jazz-flavored “tunes” by the great Chick Corea and Bay Area jazz arranger and composer David Hart. San Francisco world-class pianist Mack McCray and clarinetist Jeff Anderle join F49 in discovering a sense of free play and improvisation through the language of written music. From Stephen Nachmanovitch’s book Free Play: “There is an old Sanskrit word, Lila, which means play. Richer than our word, it means … the play of creation and destruction and recreation …. Lila is both delight and enjoyment of this moment. Lila may be the simplest thing there is—but as we grow and experience the complexities of life, it may also be the most difficult and hard won achievement imaginable, and its coming to fruition is a kind of homecoming to our true selves.” F49 is dedicated to broadening awareness of compelling woodwind repertoire new and true through performances of highest artistry. Featuring flexible instrumentation, the group explores the interdependent relationship between color and sound unique to this combination of instruments. Dare to listen to a different side of chamber music.
José López & William Wellborn
José R. López, piano; William Wellborn, piano
The January 25th program features two rarely heard transcriptions by Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) of Mozart’s works: the Motet from the incidental music to Thamos, King in Egypt and the Piano Concerto in D minor K. 466, which, along with Beethoven’s C minor Concerto, Op. 37, was a favored item in the repertoire of pianists during the Romantic movement due to its underlying pathos. Alkan’s original cadenzas for the outer movements provide a unique commentary and evidence his peculiar humor. William Wellborn and José López, respective Presidents of American Liszt Society chapters in the Bay Area and South Florida, join hands in Alkan’s four-handed Don Juan Fantaisie Op. 26, which uses the famous aria Finch’ han dal vino from Mozart’s Don Giovanni as a finale. The program proceeds with two works by the Cuban-born, Spanish Romantic composer José Comellas (1842-1888): a Nocturne and his Sonate Brillante. Comellas, European-trained in the Leipzig Conservatory under Ignaz Moscheles, lived several years of his short life in Baltimore, USA as a teacher and appears to have ignored completely the nationalistic tendencies of his Cuban contemporaries in his extant works. The program closes with two works by Liszt from different compositional periods.
B3LLA Piano Trio
Nathanael Bartley, violin; Eric Gaenslen, 'cello; Mimi Lee, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Trio No. 2 in G major, Op. 1, No. 2; Piano Trio No. 7 in B-flat major, Op. 92, ‘Archduke’
The masterful Beethoven Piano Trios have entertained audiences worldwide for centuries. What makes these works so mesmerizing? B3LLA explores these trios with fresh eyes and impassioned personal interpretations and presents them to you. They put the works in context historically and find ways to make the works relevant to our lives today. The emotions evoked in these inspired works have clearly spoken to humanity – join B3LLA as they continue the tradition and breathe bits of their own hearts and souls into them.
martha & monica
O1C Artists-in-residence present: Turns of Centuries, program three
Hadley McCarroll, piano; Monica Scott, 'cello
Thomas Adès Lieux retrouvés (2009)
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata for ‘Cello and Piano, Op. 102/1 (1815) and Sonata for ‘Cello and Piano, Op. 5/1 (1796)
Claude Debussy Sonata (1915)
'Cello/piano duo martha & monica is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Old First Concerts as part of a 3-concert residency entitled Turns of Centuries. Each concert features pieces from the 19th-21st centuries for cello and piano, including a newly commissioned work. Author Sylvia Brownrigg will moderate a pre-concert talk that helps examine the music through the lens of art, literature and politics in an open discussion with the duo in front of the audience, which then segues into the musical program. By addressing questions such as “at the beginning of each new century, are we glancing back or looking forward?” and "What influences composers from century to century?” the duo has been afforded a valuable opportunity to delve more deeply into the cultural context of each work, and to find fascinating links between modern day and times past, and composers of our time and the masters. martha & monica has also been able to reach out to a new audience, hopefully expanding the Old First Concerts audience at the same time.
The Telegraph Quartet
Joseph Maile, violin; Eric Chin, violin; Pei-Ling Lin, viola; Jeremiah Shaw, 'cello
Benjamin Britten Three Divertimenti for String Quartet (1938)
Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2, "Rasumovsky"
Antonín Dvorák String Quartet No. 14 in A-flat major, Op. 105
Join the award-winning Telegraph Quartet for their Old First Concerts debut in an evening of music by Britten, Beethoven, and Dvorák featuring works that alternately represent the spring, summer and autumn of each composer’s life. The Telegraph Quartet is the recipient of the 2014 Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and they will be touring the U.S. and abroad, from Maine to Italy, in their second season. Very active in the Bay Area chamber music scene, the Telegraph Quartet is one of the resident ensembles of the Presidio Sessions sponsored by San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and frequent Guest Artist Ensemble for San Francisco Conservatory’s Chamber Music Masters Series. Presenting a selection of diverse yet equally bold offerings, Telegraph will begin with three brilliantly fresh vignettes by Benjamin Britten, the Three Divertimenti, refitted by the composer from an unfinished string quartet of his youth. Second on the program is Beethoven’s middle “Rasumovsky” quartet, Op. 59 No. 2, varyingly tumultuous and triumphant and written during Beethoven’s ambitious middle period. Rounding out the program is Antonín Dvorák’s final String Quartet No. 14, Op. 105, a late work of warmth, nostalgia, and folksy jocularity written towards the end of Dvorák’s life. For more information about the Telegraph Quartet and their musical offerings please visit telegraphquartet.com or visit our Facebook page.
Chopin Birthday Gala
Every year the Chopin Foundation celebrates Chopin's birthday with a concert, and this year's program will include some of Chopin's greatest masterworks including all four of the Ballades, Polonaise-Fantaisie, Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante, the second scherzo, as well as excerpts from the preludes, nocturnes, and mazurkas. Performers include Daniel Glover, Gwendolyn Mok, Robert Schwartz, Nancy Lee Harper, Heidi Hau, Corey McVicar, Hanson Tam, William Wellborn, Mack McCray, and others.
Melodiya Chamber Ensemble
Sergey Rakitchenkov, viola; Arkady Serper, piano
Sergey Rakitchenkov is the Associate Principal of the Viola Section in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. He has performed chamber music in the Bay Area and in Europe for 26 years. His latest appearances include solo performances at the Rachmaninov Hall in Moscow, the Musical Academy in Bergamo, a solo performance with the Bratislava Chamber Orchestra at the music festival in Gosau in Austria, and a series of concerts in Germany. He has a long history of collaboration with longtime friend and musical partner Arkady Serper-pianist, composer, and professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Crowden School. Arkady has had many appearances as accompanist and as a soloist in concerts all over Europe. They will perform works by J. S. Bach, W. F. Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Bartók, Smirnov and Enesco.
Bettina Mussumeli, violin; Susan Freier, violin; Jodi Levitz, viola; Stephen Harrison, 'cello
Joseph Haydn Two movements for String Quartet in D minor, Op. 103
George Rochberg String Quartet No. 6, selections
Franz Schubert String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D. 887
His health failing, Haydn formally announced his compositional farewell with these two movements intended for a full-length quartet. While George Rochberg’s 6th quartet is not his last, the two movements excerpted here may be his final reflections on Pachelbel’s Canon and Schubert’s final quartet, which closes this program. The Ives Quartet has established a reputation for passion, precision, and provocative programming, winning accolades for playing that shows both super-refinement and visceral, rock-and-roll intensity. Inspired by the passionate, artistic commitment and unique temperament of American composer Charles Ives (1874–1954), the quartet has attracted critical enthusiasm for its “practice of reveling in the unfamiliar,” championing an eclectic repertoire that combines established masterworks with under-appreciated gems, neglected scores of early-twentieth-century America, and specially commissioned new pieces.
Robert Nance, guitar; Mason Fish, guitar; Matthew Holmes-Linder, guitar
Sergio Assad Kindergarten (2014)
Anthony Porter needle-play (2010)
Dan Becker Last Light (2012)
Danny Clay a place that inhabits us (2011)
Belinda Reynolds Edges (2013)
Sahba Aminikia Persian Dances for Guitar Trio (2010)
In their San Francisco concert program, captivating young guitar ensemble Mobius Trio joins forces with six of the Bay Area’s brightest composers to present a vibrant evening of virtuosic new music for classical guitar trio. From the twisted jazzy licks of Brazilian guitar legend Sergio Assad to the socially-conscious neo-Persian stylings of Sahba Aminikia, this nuanced treasury offers a taste of the stunning beauty and substantial variety currently evident in the contemporary work coming out of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Kliment Krylovskiy, clarinet; Vanessa Mollard, violin; Riko Higuma, piano
Andrew List Klezmer Fantazye (written for the Zodiac Trio)
Astor Piazzolla (arr. Riko Higuma) Muerte de Angel and Milonga
Gian Carlo Menotti Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano
Stephen Chatman Trio
Traditional, arr. Kliment Krylovskiy Saint James Infirmary
Béla Bartók Contrasts
Widely-acclaimed Zodiac Trio, an award-winning ensemble that has forged a path on the internationally chamber music scene usually reserved for the more traditional ensembles, presents an unconventional and electrifying program. From Klezmer to Tango to New Orleans Jazz, this all-encompassing tour-de-force program will culminate with one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century: Béla Bartók’s Contrasts.
Robert Schwartz, piano
Mozart Sonata in B-flat major, K. 570
Mendelssohn Songs Without Words, selections
Brahms Sonata in F minor, Op. 5
San Francisco pianist Robert Schwartz brings us a program of classical and romantic Germanic works. The evening begins with Mozart's late masterpiece, Sonata in B-flat K. 570, a piece of operatic breadth, in which the composer moves effortlessly between heroism and intimacy, tragedy and rustic humor. Schwartz also presents six selections from Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, a collection of piano pieces that proclaim Mendelssohn's remarkable affinity for the voice as much as his mastery of the piano. Brahms' epic Sonata No. 3 in F minor closes the program. This sprawling symphonic work impelled Robert Schumann to proclaim the twenty-year-old Brahms "a genius" throughout Europe. Schwartz enjoys an international career along with his frequent local appearances. He has most recently performed and given master classes in Rosario, Argentina, Southern France, Beijing and Vienna. Local appearances include the Music Academy of the West, Carmel Music Society and The Steinway Society. Critics have praised Schwartz for his "intense poetic passion" and his "remarkable insights." His varied repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary avant-garde music. He recorded a recital of French music for the Vif label and a CD of Albéniz's Iberia will soon be released. Schwartz teaches currently at Mills College in Oakland and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as maintaining an extensive private studio in San Francisco.
Junior Bach Festival
The program will showcase some of the finest young musicians in Northern California perform magnificent compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Since 1953 the Junior Bach Festival's annual public concerts have drawn audiences from all over Northern California to hear some of the area's brightest young musicians perform masterpieces by the baroque era composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Recognizing that the intensive study and performance of Bach's compositions is an essential part of every musician's training, the nonprofit Junior Bach Festival Association holds annual workshops, professionally adjudicated auditions, and performances for young musicians. Those students who pass their auditions are invited to perform in concerts held around the date of Bach’s birthday, March 21. The performers at Old First Concerts will have distinguished themselves in their auditions by demonstrating their technical, intellectual, stylistic, and emotional mastery of Bach’s complex and dazzling music. The concert will showcase a variety of soloists and ensembles that play with youthful intensity and joy!
Solenn Séguillon, violin; Anne Suda, 'cello; Sophie Xuefei Zhang, piano
Praised for their “dexterity and breathtaking perfection” by French critics and for their “emotionally compelling and masterful execution” by the San Francisco Examiner.com, San Francisco-based Aleron Trio draws audiences with their unique energy and commitment to performing. Representing three continents—Europe, North America and Asia—the international ensemble is committed to exploring each of its member’s cultural backgrounds and musical heritages during their Old First Concerts Residency. In this second concert of the series they they will present the work of American composers, with performances of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio, Charles Ives’s Piano Trio, and work by Mark O’Connor, whose music combines elements of folk, classical, and jazz idioms. Aleron Trio is a fiscally sponsored affiliate of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. For more information please visit alerontrio.com.