Usually, when this site discusses multiple events on the same day, it is to let readers know that they will have to make one or more hard choices. However, there will be two significant events on the evening of the first Friday of next month; and those with the stamina to do so may decide to take in both of them. Those who do so will provide themselves with an evening of two distinctively different approaches to making music.
The first of those approaches will come from the fifth subscription concert in the 35th season of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. The ensemble will be led by Nicholas McGegan, who, as most readers probably know by now, just celebrated his 30th anniversary as Philharmonia Baroque’s Music Director. The title of the March concert is Explore Baroque Europe. It will be based on music performed in Venice (Giuseppe Tartini), Versailles (Jean-Philippe Rameau), Dresden (Jan Dismas Zelenka and Johann David Heinichen), and London (Thomas Arne). These selections will feature solos, duets, and other small ensembles among the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra players. Violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock will be featured as soloist in one of Tartini’s D major violin concertos.
The San Francisco performance of this concert will take place at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street) at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 4. Ticket prices are $25, $49, $71, $92, and $105. There is an event page for this concert on the Philharmonia Baroque Web site, as well as a Web page for purchasing tickets from City Box Office. City Box Office may also be reached by telephone at 415-392-4400.
That same evening will see the launch of the new performing arts series PIVOT by San Francisco Performances (SFP). The subtitle for the series is “New Adventures in the Performing Arts;” and it will involve four programs in the month of March that will take place in American Conservatory Theater’s new Strand Theater on Market Street and at the SFJAZZ Center. Since the first performance will begin at 11 p.m., those with sufficient energy may wish to hot-foot it from Herbst to the Strand to take in two decidedly different genres of music. However, they should be forewarned that the program will begin with a pre-performance event at 10 p.m.
Only one piece of music will be performed, the third string quartet by Georg Friedrich Haas, given the title “In iij. Noct.” This is an hour-long composition that requires the each of the four performers to play in a different corner of the performance space. Because the room will be in total darkness, all the performers will need to play from memory. The ensemble on this occasion will be the JACK Quartet, consisting of violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland. This will be the first time this group has performed under SFP auspices. The pre-performance talk will be hosted by David Harrington, first violinist of the Kronos Quartet, one of the groups with which the members of JACK have studied.
The first PIVOT concert will thus also take place on Friday, March 4. The pre-performance talk will begin at 10 p.m. Themed drinks related to the presentation will be sold. There will be a brief test of the total darkness experience before the performance itself begins at 11 p.m. The venue will be the Toni Rembe Theater in the Strand Theater at 1127 Market Street, on the south side of the block between Seventh and Eighth Streets. The capacity of this space is 283 seats, so space is limited. All tickets are $25 for general admission. Tickets may be purchased from SFP by telephone at 415-392-2545. In addition, tickets may be purchased online from a City Box Office event page. The remaining scheduled PIVOT events are as follows:
Friday, March 11: The Kronos Quartet will give a concert with Los Angeles-based “pop polymath” composer and performer Jherek Bischoff. The members of Kronos are violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist Sunny Yang. This concert will take place in the 120-seat black box Rueff Room of the Strand Theater. There will be two performances beginning at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., respectively.
Wednesday, March 16: SFP Jazz Artist-in-Residence and trumpeter Sean Jones will present a program entitled At the Black Hawk. This will be a recreation of the live recordings made in 1961 by Miles Davis at the Black Hawk jazz club, which used to be a major performance venue in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Jones’ rhythm section will be the members of the Oakland Future Trio. This concert will also take place in the Rueff Room. There will again be two performances, this time beginning at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively.
Monday, March 28: The final program will feature the quartet of percussionists that call themselves Third Coast Percussion. The members are David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Marin, and Sean Connors. The featured work on their program will be Glenn Kotche’s “Wild Sound;” and they will begin with Steve Reich’s “Music for Pieces of Wood.” This is the one event that will take place in the Miner Auditorium of the SFJAZZ Center, located at 201 Franklin Street on the northwest corner of Fell Street. There will be only one performance at 8 p.m.
Tickets for all concerts will be $25 for general admission. Tickets for all events may be purchased in advance through City Box Office. The home page for the PIVOT series has hyperlinks to each of the City Box Office Web pages for individual concerts. There is no subscription rate for this series.