Courtesy PhotoBrenden Guy is a musician and creator of “Curious Flights

Courtesy PhotoBrenden Guy is a musician and creator of “Curious Flights

Curious Flights launches inaugural season

American composer and music critic Virgil Thomson once described “the 50 pieces” of concert life, snidely commenting on classical repertoire too often repeated in performance. Yet that isn’t the case with “Curious Flights,” a new Bay Area concert series devoted to less familiar musical works.

“The fantastic composers we all know and love are well taken care of, but the possibilities of the unknown, of equally exciting and unique music, are limitless,” says Brenden Guy, artistic director and creator of “Curious Flights,” which presents the second concert of its inaugural season today with an all-Britten program.

Guy, a British clarinetist and alumnus of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, established the organization to assist his fellow musicians; money earned from ticket sales will go to a conservatory fund designed to benefit international musicians studying in the U.S.

“International students are faced with issues of student work visas, loans — the U.K. does not offer any student loans to graduates studying abroad — volatile exchange rates, etc.,” Guy says. “I can categorically say that I would not be here now if it were not for assistance from the conservatory and the kindness of their supporters, something that San Francisco has in abundance.”

Guy is among the soloists in Tuesday’s concert, which celebrates the centenary of British composer Benjamin Britten and includes the local premiere of “Movements for a Clarinet Concerto” led by Alasdair Neale, music director of the Marin Symphony.

The piece has an interesting history. Originally intended for Benny Goodman, it went unfinished because it was impounded by U.S. Customs in 1941. In 2007, English composer Colin Matthews re-orchestrated and added to the work, using Britten’s sketches from the period to create a representational concerto.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the ‘Curious Flights’ concert, not least because I have the opportunity to introduce a West Coast audience to some exciting and newly minted Britten,” Neale says. “The fact that the concert’s proceeds will benefit international musicians studying in the U.S. resonates with me personally, having been in that situation 30 years ago myself.”

Tuesday’s program also features “Movement for Wind Sextet” performed by Valinor Winds, and “Phantasy in F Minor for String Quintet” featuring the Friction Quartet and soloist Jason Pyszkowski on viola. Britten’s Canticle III, Op. 55, “Still Falls the Rain,” features tenor Brian Thorsett, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra principal horn player Kevin Rivard and pianist Ulysses Loken.


A Britten Celebration
Presented by ‘Curious Flights’

  • Where: S.F. Conservatory, 50 Oak St., S.F.
  • When: 8 p.m. today
  • Tickets: $10 to $15
  • Contact: (415) 640-3165,

artsCurious FlightsentertainmentmusicPop Music & Jazz

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Psilocybin magic mushrooms (Shutterstock)
‘Magic mushrooms’ moving into the mainstream

Efforts to decriminalize psychedelics could follow several different paths

Those who stick around San Francisco on long holiday weekends can enjoy a slower pace, uncrowded streets and beloved institutions like cable cars. <ins>(Kevin Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
These empty San Francisco streets: A holiday dream

We’re here because we can be, and because we have nowhere else to be

The 2020 Census has concluded taking responses sooner than expected. (Courtesy photo)
What does California have to lose if undocumented immigrants are excluded from the census?

By Kim Bojórquez The Sacramento Bee If The U.S. Supreme Court rules… Continue reading

It’s disheartening to see that Bill Graham Civic’s marquee isn’t announcing upcoming concerts. (Screenshot/Bill Graham Civic Twitter)
A cruise through The City with the ghosts of rides past

I take my time and don’t even mind the occasional traffic jams

Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale — both the 2020 edition and vintage brews — are for sale. (Courtesy photo)
Holiday Gift Guide: Give a present, support a local business

Friends and loved ones will delight in S.F.-made wares

Most Read