Regular readers of this site are probably familiar with cellist Robert Howard. He plays in a variety of ensembles of different sizes, most recently for the Philharmonia Baroque Saint Cecelia concert. However, he also performs frequently as recitalist in series such as Noontime Concerts™ and Old First Concerts. Recently, he has begun to open up his home just off Alamo Square as a venue for house concerts. For this purpose he has created a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called Concerts by the Square, which has its own Web site.
Programs for these concerts last about 60 minutes. Each program is presented along with a discussion of the works being performed. The audience can then engage in informal conversation with the performers over food and drink. Four of these concerts have been planned for the third season of this series during the first half of next year. All performances will be on Sundays beginning at 5:30 p.m. Details are as follows:
January 10: Howard will play in a trio with GRAMMY-nominated violinist Adam Lamotte and pianist Janet Coleman (who happen to be husband and wife). The program will feature the first (in D major) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 70 piano trios, known as the “Ghost” for the spooky sonorities of its second movement. In spite of that somewhat sinister reputation, this trio provides some excellent examples of Beethoven’s capacity for wit.
February 28: Howard’s piano trio program will be followed by a string trio program. He will be joined by violinist Owen Dalby, the newest member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and violist Meena Bhasin (another husband-and-wife couple). They will perform the string trio composed by Gideon Klein, one of the organizers of cultural life at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Less than two weeks after completing his trio, he was departed to Auschwitz and then to Fürstengrube, where he died in January of 1945. The program will also include the serenade for string trio by Ernő Dohnányi.
March 27: Howard’s guests will be the ZOFO Duet of pianists Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmermann. They will play selections from their album ZOFORBIT: A Space Odyssey, released last year on Sono Luminus. These will include David Lang’s “Gravity” and selections from Urmas Sisak’s Opus 24 sonata, Gustav Holst’s The Planets, and the fourth volume of George Crumb’s Makrokosmos.
April 17: Howard will give a recital accompanied by New York-based pianist Jiyang Chen. The featured work will be Frédéric Chopin’s Opus 65 cello sonata in G minor. He will probably also play one of the sonatas by Johannes Brahms but has not yet announced which one.
Because this is a house concert, seating is very limited. All seats must be reserved in advance. There is a single Web page for making reservations for both the entire series and individual concerts. Reservation requires a donation, which is $250 for the series and $80 for each individual concert. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Specific information about the concert venue is provided once the reservation has been processed.