As the new year begins, The City's symphony and ballet companies are at their mid-winter busiest, while San Francisco Opera prepares its summer season, which starts in June. Yet other organizations are offering a rich mix of attractive events. Here are but a few of the programs well worth attention:
S.F. Tape Music Festival
Presented by sfSoundSeries, the festival offers four concerts by 32 local and international composers (including Brian Eno, Conlon Nancarrow, Frank Zappa and Pierre Boulez) during which performers shape the sound live over a 24-loudspeaker system, while the audience seated in darkness.
8 p.m. Jan. 9-11, $10-$15. Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St., S.F., (415) 444-3595, www.sfsound.org/tape
The Bay Area quintet – a string quartet with the addition of clarinet – performs works by Mozart, Peter Josheff, and “Citizen 13660-Vignettes,” a world-premiere piece by Chad Cannon. 8 p.m. Jan. 16, $5-$20. Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St. S.F., (415) 474-1608, www.oldfirstconcerts.org
Auerbach plays Auerbach
The composer of the score for “The Little Mermaid” ballet, operas and chamber music also is a distinguished poet, pianist and multimedia artist. San Francisco Performances presents the artist, along with violinist Daniel Hope and cellist Joshua Roman, in a program of her works.
7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, $40-$65. SFJAZZ Center, 201 Franklin St., S.F., (415) 392-2545, www.sfperformances.org
‘Dead Man Walking’ preview
In preparation for Opera Parallèle's production of Jake Heggie's “Dead Man Walking,” the company and Congregation Emanu-El preview the capital punishment-themed work with a conversation with Sister Helen Prejean (on whose 1993 memoir the opera is based) and discussion of the confluence of art and social justice.
7 p.m. Jan. 21, free, reservations required. Temple Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., S.F. www.opdmw.brownpapertickets.com
The unique barbershop quartet has been called a “band without instruments.” The singers mix with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra in a free family concert aimed at introducing classical music to “listeners aged 3 to 103.”
2 p.m. Jan. 24, free. Calvary Presbyterian Church, 2515 Fillmore St., S.F., (415) 692-3367, www.thesfco.org
Cellist Emil Miland
The musician – who has many musician friends from years of playing in opera and ballet orchestras – brings some some along for a Noe Valley Chamber Music concert, with highlights likely includely Noel Coward’s “3 Song Coward Cabaret and Liam Wade’s world premiere “Full Fathom Five” featuring soprano Ann Moss.
4 p.m. Jan. 25, $20-$25. Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez St., S.F., (415) 648-5236, www.nvcm.org
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
In a rare stage appearance, Bill T. Jones narrates 70 (one-minute) vignettes his dancers perform in “Story/Time,” a multidisciplinary work of personal stories drawn from his life or passed down to him.
7:30 p.m. Jan. 30, $30-$75. Memorial Auditorium, 551 Serra Mall, Stanford University, (650) 724-2464, www.live.stanford.edu
Taking a break from cultivating Gilbert & Sullivan, Lamplighters is preparing a production of Leonard Bernstein's funny and brilliant musical of Voltaire's “Candide,” about the improbable adventures of an innocent shlemiel. The music sparkles with songs such as “Glitter and Be Gay” and “Make Our Garden Grow.”
Jan. 30-Feb. 1, $20-$59. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., S.F., (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org; performances also are Feb. 21-22 at Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View
Emerson String Quartet
The group, which has won nine Grammys in three decades of recording while concertizing around the world, returns to Stanford to perform two of Beethoven's late string quartets, the 1825 No. 12 in E-flat major and the 1826 Grosse Fuge Op. 133 in B-flat major.
7:30 p.m. Feb. 5, $30-$75. Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford University, (650) 724-2464, www.live.stanford.edu
Kyle Abraham’s ‘Abraham.In.Motion’
The New York-based choreographer’s acclaimed “Pavement,” a contemporary dance piece described as a “powerful portrait of urban life consumed by gang and police violence,” gets its Bay Area premiere.
8 p.m. Feb. 19-21, $30-$25. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F., (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org