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.
Bettina Mussumeli, Corey McVicar, and Jennifer Culp
Bettina Mussumeli, violin; Corey McVicar, piano; Jennifer Culp, cello
Ludwig van Beethoven Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50
César Franck Sonata in A major for violin and piano
Johannes Brahms Piano Trio No. 2 in C major, Op. 87
Three prominent Bay Area musicians come together for a program of chamber works by Brahms, Franck, and Beethoven. Bettina Mussumeli is well-known to Bay Area audiences as the former first violinist of the Ives Quartet, from 2005¬–2015, and has also served as co-concertmaster and soloist with the Italian chamber group I Solisti Veneti, and guest concertmaster with the Orchestra Toscanini of Parma, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Orchestra del Teatro di Cagliari, and the Orchestra della Fenice. Jennifer Culp has been an active chamber musician for the past 35 years, including seven years with the Kronos Quartet, and has also been cellist with the Dunsmuir Piano Quartet, Empyrean Ensemble, Philadelphia String Quartet, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Pianist Corey McVicar has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia, both with orchestras and chamber ensembles as well as in solo recital. The Sydney Morning Herald has described him as a “truly poetic and exhilarating” pianist.
The Annual Chopin Birthday Concert
Ning An, piano
Frédéric Chopin Ballades No.’s 1-4; Nocturne Op. 55, No. 2
Franz Liszt Sonata in B minor
Co-presented with the San Francisco Chapter of the Chopin Foundation
Ning An is that rare pianist—a musician who “combines flawless technique and mastery of the instrument with an expressive power that is fueled by profound and insightful understanding” (New York Concert Review). His top prizes from the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Cleveland International, William Kapell, and the National Chopin Piano competitions led to performances on three continents at prestigious venues such as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Salle Verdi (Milan), and the Great Hall of the People (Beijing). He has been invited to perform at numerous festivals including the International Chopin Festival in Duszinski, Poland, the Gina Bachauer Piano Festival in Salt Lake City, New Hampshire’s Monadnock Music Festival, the Bourglinster Festival in Luxembourg, and the Interlaken Music Festival in Switzerland. A passionate chamber musician as well as soloist, Mr. An has performed with such ensembles as the Ysaÿe, Daedalus, and Takács Quartets, and with such instrumentalists as James Buswell, Paul Neubauer, Andres Diaz and James Ehnes.
New Music for a New Sound
Kris Palmer, flute; Nancy Kim, cello; Steve Lin, guitar
Klaus Hinrich Stahmer Debussyana (1983)
Chinary Ung Luminous Spirals (1997)
Durwynne Hsieh Miscellaneous Music (2015) commissioned by Black Cedar
Garrett Shatzer Of Emblems (2014) commissioned by Black Cedar
Nathan Kolosko Hungarian Trio (2012)
Black Cedar is the winner of a 2014 Musical Grant from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and the only ensemble entirely devoted to creating, discovering, and re-imagining chamber music for flute, cello, and guitar. They commissioned Of Emblems by Garrett Shatzer in 2014 and Miscellaneous Music by Durwynne Hsieh in 2015. Their 2016 commission, Songs of New Peoples by Mark Fish, will be premiered next fall. Black Cedar has also brought Cambodian composer Chinary Ung’s rarely performed Luminous Spirals (1997) and New Zealand composer Ross Carey’s Te Whanganui-a-Tara (1994) to West Coast audiences. They have performed David Smith’s At A Busy Intersection (2013), transformed by the composer from its original piano trio version especially for Black Cedar’s unique sonorities. And, their debut album will be released in May 2016 featuring their recent commissions, plus Nathan Kolosko’s previously unrecorded Hungarian Trio (2012), and Klaus Hinrich Stahmer’s Debussyana (1983), which has been unavailable in recorded form for almost thirty years. Since their founding just two years ago, Black Cedar has made over thirty appearances throughout Northern California, and they have performed live on KALW 91.7 FM in San Francisco, KKUP 91.5 FM in San Jose, and KWMR 90.5 FM in Marin County. blackcedar.biz
Péter Tóth, piano
Franz Schubert Impromptu in C minor, Op. 90
Johannes Brahms Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21, No. 1
Franz Liszt Mephisto Walz No. 1 and excerpts from Années de pèlerinage, première année: Suisse, including No. 1 Chapelle de Guillaume Tell, No. 2 Au lac de Wallenstadt, No. 3 Pastorale, No. 5 Orage, No. 6 Vallée d’Obermann
Béla Bartók Suite for Piano, Op. 14
Péter Tóth made his debut at Old First Concerts in 2007, returning to the series in 2012 with a program of Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms and Liszt. We are delighted to have him perform for us again. Through the years Péter has rapidly become known as one of the most significant Liszt interpreters of his generation. He made his first CD recording in 2005, an all-Liszt program released by Stockfisch Records, and in 2006 his recording Liszt Late Piano Works won the Grand Prix International Liszt du Disque award of the Budapest Liszt Society. Péter has a long list of awards and top prices from prestigious international competitions, starting back in 1999 when he won the Florestano Rossomandi International Piano competition in Bovino, Italy. A year later he won the Franz Liszt International Piano competition in Weimar, Germany, after which he made a highly praised debut at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw resulting in frequent re-engagements in the Netherlands. In 2001 he won the Franz Liszt International Piano competition in Budapest. In 2010 he won top honors in two categories of the Franz Liszt International Piano and Voice Competition in Los Angeles, as well as the Grand Prize. In 2013 he was first prize winner oft he American Paderewski Piano Competition. He has recently earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at the University of Texas in Austin. His scholarly activities have included the investigation of the progressive harmonic language of Franz Liszt’s piano music. His scientific work, Symmetrical Pitch Constructions in the Piano Works of Franz Liszt is to be published in the Spring of 2016. For more information please visit petertothpianist.com.
Alex Roitman, bandoneon; Amy Zanrosso, piano; Michèle Walther, violin; Richard Duke, acoustic bass; Claudio Ortega, voice
Tangonero brings the intensity and passion of Argentine Tango to the concert hall. Four musicians and a vocalist take the audience through the broad scope of tango in this exciting performance. Tangonero will perform Argentine tango—music that fuses intense passion with quiet tenderness, alternating percussive rhythms with nostalgic melodies—from traditional Tango to Golden Age to Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Nuevo. Tangonero was founded in 2008 in San Francisco. The group was soon a regular fixture in the Northern California tango scene, performing classic tangos at milongas all over the Bay Area. They released their first album La Yumba in 2009, and their second album Mala Junta in September 2015. Tangonero has performed at many of the premiere tango venues on the West Coast. The band has also written, produced and performed three stage shows in collaboration with Argentine vocalist Claudio Ortega as well as with dancers. In the summer of 2012 Tangonero toured the East coast, performing in Boston, Washington DC, and New York City where they shared the stage with the phenomenal tango bassist and Grammy Nominee Pablo Aslan. For more information please visit tangonero.com
One Found Sound
Francis Poulenc Sextuor
Virgil Thomson Sonata da Chiesa
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Serenade No. 12 for winds in C minor
One Found Sound is a conductorless, collaborative, chamber orchestra on a mission to break down the barriers of the classical music stigma; to bring it back to its glory days of boisterous audiences and the thrill of discovering something new with each note. Deconstructing the typical hierarchical structure of the classic orchestral model, the artistic vision of One Found Sound is placed collaboratively in the hands of its members. Our performances invite the audience to feel the same tension and release, happiness and sorrow, struggle and triumph as those of us performing. This program features the woodwind quintet OFSQ, formed from some of the core members of One Found Sound. They will be joined by their colleagues to present an eclectic program of favorites new and old. Having made their Old First debut alongside Aleron Trio in March of 2015, One Found Sound returns to Old First Concerts to present an in depth exploration of music for winds and brass. We invite listeners to join us on this exotic sonic journey through the music of Poulenc, Thomson, and Mozart. This music is strange, beautiful, profound, and joyous and we can't wait to share it with you! For more information please visit onefoundsound.org
Junior Bach Festival
Young Meets Old: a Junior Bach Performance
Now in its 63rd year, the Junior Bach Festival is a highly regarded local institution that presents a popular, annual concert series in venues throughout the Bay Area around the time of Bach’s birthday (March 21). The most musically compelling and technically polished young Festival performers are carefully selected through professionally judged auditions. The audition process itself can be a valuable learning experience for any developing musician. By preparing for a Junior Bach audition, students learn how to practice in a productive manner, discover memorization techniques, study elements of performance practice, and above all, have the opportunity to explore with their music teacher the genius of Bach’s compositional language. The Festival also supports the study and appreciation of Bach’s music through an annual Workshop. With the audience, Bach experts examine topics such as baroque style, ornamentation, or ensemble playing. In recent years, the Festival has collaborated with local music organizations to offer students an opportunity during the Workshop to try out a period keyboard, stringed instrument, or wind instrument like those from Bach’s time. Throughout the years, many Junior Bach alumni have pursued musical careers both internationally and locally as soloists, chamber musicians, orchestral performers, respected teachers, musicologists, music librarians, and arts managers. Festival enthusiasts hope that Junior Bach has contributed to their musical development, and applaud their success. Additional information about the Junior Bach Festival may be found on the Organization’s website, juniorbach.org.