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SFCM’s Fall 2023 Season Brings New Music and Innovative Collaborations

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Prominent artist residencies and guest conductors, first-of-their-kind collaborations with musicians represented by Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt, and notable student performances make for a thrilling fall season; 90% of concerts are free and open to the public!

August 3, 2023 by Mark Taylor

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is announcing its fall 2023 concert series, which includes multiple artist residencies, visiting guest artists, and faculty and student concerts, comprising a season of hundreds of live performances. More than 90% of these events will be free and open to the public.

Many of this season’s concerts showcase projects developed and performed in close collaboration between leading artists and students, including several prominent artists represented on the rosters of Askonas Holt and Opus 3 Artists, the management companies acquired in recent years by SFCM. 

Such projects include SFCM pre-college alumna Lara Downes—who is a best-selling recording artist for the Pentatone label (owned by SFCM), and a presenter on Classical KDFC and National Public Radio—will come to SFCM for a performance and radical new recording project with students in celebration of the centennial of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. In addition, multifaceted pianist Inon Barnatan and world-renowned tenor Ian Bostridge, each of who will be on campus as an artist-in-residence.

Additional highlights:
  • Known for creating a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity and expression, Sérgio Assad will come to SFCM for residency in late October where he will deliver a public masterclass and private coaching to students. Assad is a member of the Opus 3 Artist roster and was honored at SFCM in fall 2022 with a birthday celebration and concert. 
  • For opera and musical theatre fans, SFCM will present a double bill in November that showcases lush, romantic Italian lyricism at its finest. Pietro Mascagni's Zanetto, a two-character gem about a chance encounter, and Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, the macabre comedic masterpiece full of lessons about the failings of human nature, will be directed by faculty members Heather Mathews (Stage Director) and Curt Pajer (Music Director and conductor).
  • SFCM’s popular “Chamber Music Tuesday” concert series returns this fall with several exciting guest artists, including the alumni string group L'Arc Trio and the Esmé Quartet, which will feature its newest member, SFCM String and Piano Chamber Music Chair Dimitri Murrath. Each event is presented in collaboration with SFCM alumni, faculty, and students.
  • SFCM also welcomes back its Faculty Artist Series of performances throughout the fall. They will feature Chair of the woodwinds department clarinetist Jeff Anderle, Executive Director of the Roots, Jazz, and American Music program saxophonist Jason Hainsworth, Composition instructor and pianist, David Garner, and Professor of tuba Jeffrey Anderson.
  • In addition to multiple full performances by the SFCM orchestra, led by SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater, SFCM will welcome SFCM pre-college alumna Vinay Parameswaran as a guest conductor this December. Internationally recognized for his energetic presence, imaginative programming and compelling musicianship, Parameswaran will develop and lead a performance with SFCM musicians. Parameswaran is also a graduate of SFCM's Pre-College program.

SFCM presents over 500 performances a year, including solo recitals by students, faculty, and guest artists, and small ensemble concerts. Music fans are invited to attend these concerts and others, which are held at the new Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts and in the acoustically-exacting halls at the Ann Getty Center for Education. Both are located steps from City Hall and near the bustling Hayes Valley commercial corridor, home to the Davies Symphony Hall, War Memorial Opera House, and the SFJazz Center.

In addition to the Uccello Lounge found inside the Bowes Center, home to innovative pre- and post-concert dining options, select SFCM concerts will offer food and drink concessions. 

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Calendar listings are below. Some events require ticketing. Patrons can reserve tickets online using SFCM’s website. Please see SFCM’s performance calendar for a complete concert schedule and to register for attendance. Details and programs are subject to change.

SFCM Orchestra Concert with Edwin Outwater
Edwin Outwater

Saturday, September 23rd, 7:30 PM
Isabel Tannenbaum, viola

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
Ann Getty Center for Education

Anna Clyne: Masquerade
William Walton: Viola Concerto
Mikhail Glinka: Kamarinskaya
Dimtri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1

Edwin Outwater and the SFCM Orchestra kick off the season with a multigenerational and eclectic program of music inspired by dance, pleasure gardens, viola virtuosity and the pressures of graduating. Masquerade evokes the experience of London’s pleasure gardens and the music of English country dance and song. Isabel Tannenbaum won the school’s concerto competition by channeling the virtuosity required in Walton’s Viola Concerto. Glinka’s Kamarinskaya was the first orchestral work to be based on Russian folk songs, and Shostakovich wrote his first symphony to graduate, at the age of 19, only for the piece to make him an international teenage star.

About Edwin Outwater

New Music Ensemble Concert With Nicole Paiement

Friday, September 29th, 7:30 PM
Clayton Luckadoo, clarinet  

Sol Joseph Recital Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
Ann Getty Center for Education

Jocelyn Morlock: Lacrimosa
Clayton Luckadoo: Phenomenologies 
Jay Cruz: Hermes
Kaija Saariaho: Terrestre
David Garner: Cello Capriccio

Director Nicole Paiement and the New Music Ensemble celebrate the works of composers at SFCM, while honoring two groundbreaking composers we lost in the last year. Luckadoo (‘23) wanted to perform a new clarinet concerto and decided to take matters into his own hands when he wrote Phenomenologies. Jay Cruz (‘23) represents composers from SFCM’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program. SFCM composition faculty David Garner’s Cello Capriccio incorporates his compositional system of “Tonal Serialism.” Kaija Saariaho and Jocelyn Morlock were both deeply influential artists and NME’s performance of their works are in their honor.

RJAM Side-by-side Concert with SFJAZZ Thelonious Monk Festival
RJAM students play side by side with SFJAZZ

Friday, October 13th, 7:30 PM

Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA

SFCM is proud to partner with SFJAZZ in performances featuring students from the Roots, Jazz and American Music (RJAM) program with RJAM faculty. The stellar faculty cast includes the SFJAZZ Collective's Warren Wolf, David Sanchez, Edward Simon, and Matt Brewer, along with luminaries Joshua Redman, Carmen Bradford, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Matt Wilson, and many others. The performance takes place at the SFJAZZ Center as part of the organization’s Thelonious Monk Festival; tickets can be purchased through the SFJAZZ box office.

About RJAM 

Chamber Music Tuesday with Inon Barnatan
inon barnatan

Tuesday, October 17th, 7:30 PM

Barbro Osher Recital Hall, 200 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 
Ute and William K. Bowes Jr. Center for Performing Arts

Amy Beach: Piano Quintet in F-sharp Minor
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Trio in E-flat Major

One of the most admired pianists of his generation, Inon Barnatan performs as guest artist with SFCM students in the opening concert of the Chamber Music Tuesday series. Soloist, curator and collaborator, Barnatan has soloed with major orchestras both in the U.S. and abroad, and is a regular collaborator with renown artists such as Renée Fleming and Alisa Weilerstein. Barnatan is also Music Director of the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest and is on the rosters of both Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt, and is a Pentatone recording artist. His week-long residency will also include working with piano students in a masterclass.

About Inon Barnatan 

Ian Bostridge Residency and Masterclass
ian bostridge headshot

Friday, October 20th, 7:30 PM

Barbro Osher Recital Hall, 200 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 
Ute and William K. Bowes Jr. Center for Performing Arts

Acclaimed artist and author Ian Bostridge comes to SFCM for a residency with the voice department. Voice students will have the rare opportunity to work one-on-one with the renowned tenor in private coachings, and the residency will conclude with a public presentation of a masterclass and lecture focused on Franz Schubert's Winterreise, moderated by SFCM Voice Department Chair Catherine Cook. The masterclass is in partnership with San Francisco Performances, where Bostridge will perform the entire Schubert cycle the next evening. Bostridge is on the rosters of both Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt, and is a Pentatone recording artist.

About Ian Bostridge

SFCM Orchestra performance with Edwin Outwater 
Lara Downes Headhsot

Saturday, October 21st, 7:30 PM
Lara Downes, piano

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
Ann Getty Center for Education

Jameson Caps: Ruminations (World Premiere) 
Gershwin, arr. Edmar Colón: Rhapsody In Blue
Mason Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology

Acclaimed San Francisco pianist, KDFC Resident Artist and SFCM Pre-College alumna Lara Downes will perform a new arrangement of George Gershwin's iconic piece by Edmar Colón. Colón's reimagining of the piece honors America's legacy of immigration, and is especially reflective for Downes, whose grandfather immigrated from Jamaica to Harlem in 1924. A recording of the new arrangement, with SFCM musicians conducted by Music Director Edwin Outwater will be released on Pentatone in 2024 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Rhapsody in Blue. The concert also features the world premiere of a new work by SFCM student Jameson Caps, whose piece won the 2022 Highsmith Composition Competition, as well as SFCM faculty Mason Bates’ piece that he describes as “a kind of psychedelic Carnival of the Animals.”

About Lara Downes 

SFCM Baroque Ensemble
5 Baroque Performers perform on period instruments

Sunday, October 29, 2:00 PM
Corey Jamason and Elisabeth Reed, directors

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
Ann Getty Center for Education

Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Strings in D Minor, “Madrigalesco”
George Philipp Telemann: Suite in D Minor
Tomaso Albinoni: Sinfonias in G Major and D Major
Christoph Graupner: Overture Suite in G Major

The conductor-less and period-instrument chamber orchestra performs music of the 18th century. Directed and coached by Corey Jamason and Elisabeth Reed, the ensemble continues to perform brilliant and virtuosic music for baroque orchestra, with students from both the Orchestra and Historical Performance programs.

About Historical Performance

Chamber Music Tuesday with SFCM alumni L'Arc Trio
L'arc Trio with their instruments

Tuesday, November 7th, 2023, 7:30 PM
In partnership with the CA Biennial Festival

Barbro Osher Recital Hall, 200 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 
Ute and William K. Bowes Jr. Center for Performing Arts

Jonathan Bingham (EBCP '21): Pareidolia for String Quartet (2022)
Vivian Fung: Ominous Machine for Piano Trio (World Premiere)
Ernest Bloch: Piano Quintet No. 1

In partnership with the California Festival and its statewide celebration of new music, this Chamber Music Tuesday features two new and exciting works by Bay Area composers Jonathan Bingham and Vivian Fung, as well as one of Ernest Bloch's greatest chamber music works. Alumni ensemble L'Arc Trio returns to SFCM in a collaborative performance  with students of this dynamic program. JUNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung’s piano trio Ominous Machine was written for the L’Arc Trio and the performance will be a world premiere. Emerging Black Composers Project winner Jonathan Bingham wrote his string quartet Pareidolia in 2022 for the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.

About Jonathan Bingham 

Wind Ensemble with Brad Hogarth
the woodwind section during a performance

Friday, November 10th, 7:30 PM
Brass Over Bridges, brass quintet

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
Ann Getty Center for Education

Andrea Tarrodi: Serenade in Seven Colours
Kurt Weill: A Little Threepenny Opera Music
Darius Milhaud: Creation of the World
Stefan Cwik: Transfigurations arranged for Wind Ensemble (Premiere) 

Featuring the SFCM woodwind, brass and percussion students, and conducted by Brad Hogarth, the concert will also include guest brass quintet Brass Over Bridges joining the ensemble in a premiere performance of Transfigurations. Originally written for brass quintet and orchestra by SFCM faculty Stefan Cwik, Cwik rearranged the work specifically for the SFCM Wind Ensemble. The performance of the piece will also include projections of artwork by Mexican artist Eduardo Rodriguez Calzado. 

About Brad Hogarth

SFCM Fall Opera
three performers on stage during a performance

Thursday, November 16th 7:30 PM and Friday, November 17th, 7:30 PM
Heather Matthews, stage director
Curt Pajer, music director and conductor

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
Ann Getty Center for Education

Pietro Mascagni: Zanetto
Giacomo Puccini: Gianni Schicchi

The Opera Program is thrilled to present a double bill of one-act operas, with the captivating journey through Pietro Mascagni's masterful Zanetto and Giacomo Puccini's classic Gianni Schicchi. Zanetto explores themes of longing, desire, and self-discovery and tells the story of Silvia, a renowned courtesan, who encounters the gentle and naïve Zanetto. As their encounter unfolds, they navigate a profound connection that challenges their perceptions of love and identity, with music that showcases romantic Italian lyricism. The macabre comedy Gianni Schicchi delves into the failings of human nature through a tale of family, greed, and love. This comedic gem follows the mischievous Gianni Schicci as he masterminds an audacious plan to outsmart a scheming family and secure his inheritance. Both operas are performed by students from the SFCM Opera program for two evenings.

About Opera and Musical Theatre

Chamber Music Tuesday with Esmé Quartet
esme quartet with their instruments

Tuesday, December 5th, 7:30 PM

Barbro Osher Recital Hall, 200 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 
Ute and William K. Bowes Jr. Center for Performing Arts

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: String Quartet in D Major
Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsy: String Sextet in D minor “Souvenir de Florence”

International award-winning Esmé Quartet welcomes its newest member, violist and SFCM String and Piano Chamber Music Chair Dimitri Murrath, for a collaborative performance with SFCM Chamber Music students. In just the last year, Esmé has performed in London’s Wigmore Hall, Stuttgart’s Liederhalle and the Teatro Vittoria in Turin, as well as various venues in South Korea. The Quartet was also featured as soloists with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of John Adams' Absolute Jest

About Esmé Quartet

SFCM Orchestra Concert and guest conductor Vinay Parameswaran
Vinay Parameswaran conducting expressively

Saturday, December 9th, 7:30 PM
Jeff Anderle, bass clarinet

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
Ann Getty Center for Education

Gioachino Rossini: Semiramide Overture
Mary Kouyoumdjian: Walking With Ghosts
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”

The SFCM Orchestra performs its final concert of the season with one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors on the podium today, Vinay Parameswaran. Originally from the Bay Area, Parameswaran recently served as the Associate Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Nashville Symphony, and has made debuts as conductor with the Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago Symphonies, among many others. Parameswaran conducts the overture to Rossini’s Semiramide opera, the last the composer wrote in Italy, as well as Beethoven’s “Heroic” symphony that revolutionized the form during a transformative period for the composer. The concert also features SFCM faculty Jeff Anderle in a performance of a bass clarinet concerto that was written for and premiered by Anderle.

About Vinay Parameswaran
About Jeff Anderle