Classical music, dance and theater are plentiful, even as opera’s summer season is yet to come. The San Francisco Symphony’s centennial season and the San Francisco Ballet’s 79th season have much to offer. Meanwhile, scores of other performing arts organizations are vying for patrons’ attention.Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Read More
Arthur Tress was a 23-year-old unknown when he arrived in The City from Coney Island, N.Y., in 1964. He shot some 900 black-and-white photographs on San Francisco streets, capturing civil rights demonstrations, political rallies and everyday scenes. His subjects were both prominent and common people. Dozens of those images, illustrating the social and cultural upheaval of the times, are on view in “Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964,” running through June at the de Young Museum. Read More
The question, “Have you ever heard of an Asian basketball player?” — which sounds ridiculous in these days of Lin-mania — is asked in all seriousness in “No Look Pass.”The documentary, screening Sunday and Wednesday during the 30th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, is the true story of an Asian-American Harvard graduate who makes it big in basketball. While those characteristics describe Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks, they also pertain to Emily Tay. Read More
San Francisco Ballet's new revival of Helgi Tomasson's classical and restrained 1994 "Romeo and Juliet" is fresh and vivid, even to fans who are familiar with the often-presented piece. Through the years, performances of the full-length dance have picked up speed, cohesion and passion. On Tuesday’s opening night at the War Memorial Opera House, dancers in the title roles set the pace, complemented by a wonderful group of soloists and the outstanding corps de ballet. Read More
Only halfway through their centennial season, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony on Monday announced plans for 2012-13.
Notable programs include the Oct. 31 premiere of “Pandora,” a commission by assistant concertmaster Mark Volkert, who joined the orchestra in 1972.
Volkert is the only member of the orchestra who was present when MTT — who, with 17 years on the podium, is the country’s longest-serving music director of a major orchestra — made his debut here 38 years ago. Read More
For those who attended, San Francisco Symphony’s 1996 American Mavericks Festival was remarkable and memorable — particularly how one concert featuring members of the Grateful Dead playing works by Henry Cowell, Edgar Varese, Steve Reich and Lou Harrison reached an audience of Deadheads and veteran symphony subscription holders.Michael Tilson Thomas, who says maverick composers “push boundaries and explore new sounds,” was in his second year as music director when he created the festival, but it has defined his leadership and tenure. Read More
Lou Harrison, one of the most adventurous composers of the 20th century – itself a pioneering era in music – was an inimitably colorful figure on the local scene.His appearance in 1995 at Michael Tilson Thomas’ inaugural concert in Davies Symphony Hall, which featured Harrison's commissioned "Parade for MTT" remains memorable. There he was, with his Kris-Kringle beard, wearing his tent-like red flannel shirt, taking a bow, as MTT introduced him in a speech invoking Richard Wagner. Read More
World-class mandolin players Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg are featured performers in New Century Chamber Orchestra’s upcoming, locally-themed concert series, "Sounds from the Bay Area.”
Onstage Saturday in San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, the program of works by Bay Area composers conducted by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg includes Gordon Getty’s "Four Traditional Pieces"; John Adams’ "Shaker Loops" and Mill Valley jazz violinist Evan Price’s world-premiere "Emergence." Read More
San Francisco Symphony horn player Jonathan Ring is so enamored of brass that in his limited spare time, he acts as a spark plug for a little-known group called the Bay Brass.
“I’ve always loved playing in a brass ensemble, with its huge variety of repertoire. It can be beautiful and subtle at one moment, then be the closest thing to rock ’n’ roll that you can get in the classical world, all in the same piece,” Ring says. Read More
San Francisco composer Mason Bates says he “decided to go big” on his latest work, “Alternative Energy,” a Chicago Symphony Orchestra commission getting its local premiere this week at Davies Symphony Hall under the baton of Riccardo Muti.
Spanning four movements and “hundreds of years,” the work, which Bates calls his “Energy Symphony,” begins in a Midwestern junkyard and travels through more powerful forces of energy to a particle collider and a futuristic Chinese nuclear plant. Read More
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal 1925 novel, “The Great Gatsby,” brilliantly depicts the Roaring ’20s — the flappers, heiresses, millionaires and others trying to find their way through the daze of the age.Reflecting its popularity are plentiful movie versions, made in 1926, 1949 (with Alan Ladd and Betty Field), 1974 (Robert Redford and Mia Farrow) and this year’s upcoming release directed by Baz Luhrmann and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. Read More
Some special guests are appearing with the San Francisco Symphony soon: Former music directors Edo de Waart and Herbert Blomstedt are returning to The City to lead the orchestra during this season’s centennial celebrations.Now 70, de Waart made his début here in 1975, at age 34. He served as the orchestra’s ninth music director from 1977 to 1985, succeeding Seiji Ozawa. Under his leadership, the combined orchestra for the symphony and the San Francisco Opera separated, and in 1980, the symphony moved into a home of its own, the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. Read More
San Francisco Ballet has opened its 2012 season with a brilliant U.S. premiere of John Cranko's revised 1967 "Onegin."
It’s exceptional in that it even surpasses the company's recent all-around excellence. Marvelous principal dancers, a superb corps de ballet, Martin West conducting the ballet orchestra on high-decibel fire – they all came together.
Opening night on Friday might have seemed a splurge, with Vitor Luiz's magnetic Onegin, Maria Kochetkova's lyrical Tatiana, Clara Blanco’s vibrant Olga and Gennadi Nedvigin's stunning Lensky. Read More
With bipartisanship out of favor today, modern audiences likely will be amazed, entertained and instructed by “The Rivalry,” a play about the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas — who were both opponents and friends.
Norman Corwin’s drama, in an L.A. Theatreworks presentation, comes to the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on Sunday in a production directed by Shannon Cochran featuring Robert Parsons as Lincoln and Josh Clark as Douglas. Read More
A ballet gala with substance – what will they think of next?
While such events often mean that patrons with limited attention are served pleasant fluff between fundraising dinners and parties, San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson did something brave, different and wonderful Thursday night: He treated the glittering audience in the War Memorial Opera House to serious, substantial pieces, performed gloriously by a company he has raised to unprecedented artistic heights.
In a self-effacing gesture, Tomasson did not include his own works; at Read More