Courtesy photoJohn Santos is among dozens of performers participating in SFMusic Day.

Experience the best of Latin music, both old and new

SFMusic Day this weekend at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music has a special theme: Latin American connections.

Now in its sixth edition, the festival, presented by San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, features three dozen groups playing classic and contemporary music, all for free.

For the first time, the two-day program “will highlight the rich influences and history of Latin American composers and musicians across a range of chamber music including baroque, classical, jazz and experimental,” festival organizer Martha Rodríguez-Salazar says.

“Programming was curated with an ear to the complex and fascinating questions this theme raises — questions encompassing ethnicity, identity, aesthetics, migration and authenticity,” she adds.

A kickoff concert Saturday evening features MUSA, Martha & Monica, Mariachi Nueva Generación Cage-Galindo, the Angela Lee & Marc Teicholz Duo, Conjunto Nuevo Mundo, Cascada de Flores, and John Calloway and Clave Unplugged.

On Sunday, simultaneous 30- minute performances by local artists are scheduled between noon and 7 p.m. in the conservatory’s concert and recital halls and Osher Salon.

Presentations include villancicos from the Mexican Baroque with the Vinaccesi Ensemble, danzones with Orquesta La Moderna Tradición, a fusion of Afro-Cuban and jazz presented by the John Santos Sextet and the Emmy Award-winning ZOFO Duet, playing a piece by Gabriela Lena Frank.

“We want to highlight the wide range of music coming from Latin America, ranging from early California missions to the latest influences and cross-pollination of experimental music happening right now in the Bay Area,” Rodríguez-Salazar says.

A panel discussion at 2 p.m. Sunday and the SFMusic Marketplace — an area where interaction among ensembles, presenters and audiences is encouraged — round out the festivities.

Not all of the music has a Latin theme. The Alexander String Quartet performs Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály's Quartet No. 2 at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

IF YOU GO

SFMusic Day

Where: Conservatory of Music, 50-70 Oak St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: Free

Contact: (415) 864-7326, www.sffcm.orgartsClassical Music & OperaSan Francisco Conservatory of MusicSan Francisco Friends of Chamber MusicSFMusic Day

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