Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bark Cat Bark

Out of the blue, I got email from composer/songwriter Josh Todd, who works under the name Bark Cat Bark, suggesting I take a look at his MySpace site. Charmed by the idea of a barking cat, I did, and rather liked his music. He describes it on the site as classical/folk/French pop, and that's as good a description as anything I can come up with. It's more folk/pop than classical, but I also hear elements coming from minimalism.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Albums from the Past

I was tagged by Alex Wellsung, and though I'm not going to tag anyone else, I'll go with this one. If you read this and want to post your own, excellent. Here's what Alex quoted:
Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. When you finish, tag 15 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you're it.
Changed your life is too big, but sucked in for months, days, whatever, so that you remember where and when you heard them....okay.

1. Mozart, "Madamina," Ezio Pinza
2. Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, Karajan
3. Stravinsky, Petrouchka, Dorati?
4. Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
5. Holly Near, Fire in the Rain
Beethoven, Missa Solemnis
7. Enya, Watermark
8. Verdi, "Ritorna vincitor!", Eva Turner
9. Wagner, Tristan und Isolde, Boehm
10. Beethoven, "Harp" Quartet, op. 74
11. Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Horenstein/Wild
12. Villancicos y Danzas Criollas, Hesperion XXI

Hmm, only 12. Maybe I'll think of more. Some of my obsessive listening is too far in the past for me to remember!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Coming Up

  • Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman, in a new adaptation by David Scott Marley, at Berkeley Opera, playing on Feb. 28 (8 p.m.), March 4 (7:30 p.m.), March 6 (8 p.m.), and March 8 (2 p.m.) at the Julia Morgan Theater on College Avenue.
  • Other Minds Festival, March 5 - 7 at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco.
  • California Bach Society performs music of Biber and Steffani, March 13 to 15, in SF, Palo Alto, and Berkeley.
  • Chant Camp! Really! A day of chant practice with Susan Hellauer and Marsha Genensky of Anonymous 4, sponsored by San Francisco Renaissance Voices, on Saturday, April 18, at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, SF. $60 for the day. The announcement says that "topics covered in the workshop include: singing from original notation; medieval Vespers hymns; Frankish tropes and sequences; Hungarian plainchant; Hildegard of Bingen; chant for St. James from the magnificent Codex Calixtinus; prayer tones; the Marian antiphons of Compline; and plenty of group singing to solidify what you learn." Um, wow.

Friday, February 20, 2009


One of these things is not like the others:
  • Mendelssohn (Felix), String Quartets. Cherubini Quartet, EMI. Good, sharp performances with plenty of momentum. Also, a bargain. I paid $21 for the three-CD set.
  • Mendelssohn, Italian Symphony, Overture and incidental music from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mackerras/Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Veritas. Ask me when I've heard them on my stereo; I've heard the set on phones and in the car.
  • Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto & some other stuff. Daniel Hope, Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
  • Ninon Vallin, recital, Preiser. Just put it on. "Casta Diva:" no. Not for her. "L'altra notte" is fine, but I'm waiting for her to get to French music, which was her strong suit.


Found in Paul Goldberger's article on the renovated (and vastly improved) Alice Tully Hall, at Lincoln Center:
Previously, once you found the door, you entered a cramped vestibule and then walked down several steps to a low-ceilinged, carpeted lobby that felt like a basement.
That puts me in mind of the box-office area at Davies. I like entryways to have some sense of grandeur. Davies has this, but in the orchestra-level lobby, which is one floor up from the box office, which is a cramped, mean, low-ceilinged space that makes me want to run away.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Found in a New Yorker article:
My dad would stand there grimly tapping in his PIN number while I hung onto his arm and begged him to stop.

Big Surprise

Domingo wins the first Birgit Nilsson Prize. It's just like the Opera News Awards or those newish national opera awards: they're all awarded to famous people who don't need more fame, money, or awards.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thirteenth Part

Everybody, but everybody, who attended liked it more than I did:
Patrick did too, but he hasn't blogged it yet.

Moral of the story: sometimes it's better to stay home and wish you'd gone.

Feeding the Hungry

The Times has a story today about who is using food banks this year. If you can, donate to your local food bank. Feeding America has information on which food bank that might be.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Music in Too Many Parts

Last year, when San Francisco Performances announced their 2008-09 season, I asked for help in figuring out what to do about the planned performance of Philip Glass's Music in Twelve Parts. I ultimately purchased tickets, on the grounds that I would very likely not have another chance to hear the whole thing at one go, plus, I could always leave.

The performance was this past Monday night. I can't tell you what the encore was, because I only made it through part 9. Srsly, I hope there wasn't an encore.

Under different circumstances, I might have made it all the way through. I felt run down at the beginning of the weekend and still do. I reviewed a concert Saturday morning, and that night made a 2 a.m. trip to the ER with my mother (she's fine; it was nothing serious).

I had two problems with the Glass: amplification and sheer boredom. The piece was too fucking loud and the volume, which varied somewhat through the evening, eventually became intolerable. It's just not possible for me to fully enjoy or get lost in a concert when I'm worried about damage to my hearing.

I can't help but thinking that the amplification contributed to the boredom. Amplification flattens music by equalizing all voices; details disappear and you lose directionality. And amplification flattens how people listen because they simply don't pay attention the way they must to unamplified music.

In the case of Music in Twelve Parts, the engineers or producers or Glass himself balanced the amplification so that the keyboards completely dominated the ensemble. You could barely hear vocalist Lisa Biewala or the three wind players. Presumably this was an aesthetic decision, but I believe strongly that it was a bad decision.

But more on the boredom: jeez, what a repetitious piece. I know, I know, this could have been predicted - I did predict it, after all - but I was surprised to re-read the comment from last May and see the high opinions people have of Music in Twelve Parts. People! The newer Glass works I heard in 2007 were so much better.

Yes, Music in Twelve Parts was hugely radical for its time; yes, it's the Glass aesthetic and he is committed to it; yes, yes, yes, but I have to exercise some critical judgment here.

In the end, I wondered if the very formal concert hall presentation was a mistake. I see no way for the keyboard players to survive if acoustic instruments were used, but perhaps the amplification would have been saner in a small venue. Because of some kind of miscalculation about how many people would pick up their tickets at will call, the tiny Davies box office lobby was mobbed before the performance and many people were seated late. I think the piece is well suited for some kind of experiment that Greg Sandow would like. It would be intolerable for, say, Carter or Beethoven or, of course, Feldman: take out the seats, put down cushions, and let people come and go and talk all they want.

For that matter, you could turn the space into an opium den for the duration. That's probably the perfect state in which to hear this piece.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Paris Opera Vault

The Times has published its second article in the last few months on a bunch of recordings that were in recently-opened time capsule-like vaults at the Paris Opera. The article leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Were those really wax platters inside, not metal masters or shellac pressings?
  • This business about the cleanup, digitizing, etc.: all of the recordings were and are commercially available. They were not made especially for the Paris Opera vault.
  • The author appears unaware that Ernestine Schumann-Heink was one of the great stars of her time, including at the Met, where she sang 282 performances between 1898 and 1932. She was also a radio star; my mother remembers hearing her on radio during the 1920s and 30s.

Music in Twelve Parts

The encore was Feldman's Second String Quartet.

Mendelssohn, Fanny & Felix

Reviewing the Alexander Quartet, S.F. Performances, February 14, 2009.

Where "No New Taxes" Gets You

The State of California is on the brink of a fiscal collapse. Thanks, Howard Jarvis!

Monday, February 16, 2009


I received email the other day about a newish service called rVibe-Live that streams concerts live over the internet. They're also accumulating a nice archive. I was alerted to two chamber music concerts at Bargemusic, the Brooklyn series that takes place on a barge moored in the East River. You have to create an account, and I'm mildly confused that the email talks about buying tickets, while the web site says "free and easy." Maybe creating the account is free and you pay for individual concerts.

I have not tried it out; if you do, please let me know how it goes. The next streamed Bargemusic program is this Saturday, February 21, at 8 p.m. EDT, String Trio in NYC.

Upcoming Concerts

I have notices of all sorts of interesting programs coming up:
  • San Francisco Symphony still has tickets available for the Masur/Bruckner, Gubaidulina program this week.
  • Paul Dresher Sensemble and the amazing Steven Schick, Schick Machine, Stanford Lively Arts, March 7, 8 p.m., Dinkelspiel, Stanford, $34-$38 for nonstudents.
  • Clerestory, Ye Sacred Muses: Music of the Chapel Royal. March 7, 8 p.m., St. Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley, March 8, 5 p.m., St. Mark's Lutheran, San Francisco. $17 in advance, $20/10 at the door.
  • Kitka, International Women's Day concert, St. John's Presbyterian, Berkeley, 4 p.m., $20/10.
  • S. F. Bach Choir, Bach cantatas, motets, March 21, 8 p.m., March 22, 4 p.m., Cavalry Presbyterian, S.F. Advance $28/$24 ($15 Student), Door $35/$30 ($20 Student).
That first weekend in March - what to do?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

David Scott Marley on KALW

I hear that Bay Area librettist David Scott Marley will be on KALW 91.7 today at 1 p.m., discussing his adaptation of Tales of Hoffman, which Berkeley Opera will be performing from February 28 to March 8.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Still More on the Rose Art Museum

More email from Jehuda Reinharz this morning. This time, there's some backpedaling and some bullshit. I quote directly:
The initial statements regarding this decision did not accurately reflect the Board’s decision authorizing the administration to conduct “an orderly sale or other disposition of works from the university’s collection.” The statements gave the misleading impression that we were selling the entire collection immediately, which is not true. The University may have the option, subject to applicable legal requirements and procedures, to sell some artworks if necessary. The Museum will remain open, but in accordance with the Board’s vote, it will be more fully integrated into the University’s central educational mission. A faculty committee is expected to make recommendations on this issue shortly.
To paraphrase: we screwed up our original announcement. To take this apart a bit:
  • "The University may have the option, subject to applicable legal requirements and procedures, to sell some artworks if necessary" means "we'll sell what we can when the lawyers get done looking at the documents."
  • "The Museum will remain open, but in accordance with the Board’s vote, it will be more fully integrated into the University’s central educational mission" means "The Rose won't be a museum any more."
There are some details about other places the University has made cuts, but no specific numbers about the budget, the past and future size of the endowment, no admission that it's a raid, etc., etc. I'm sure you can hear me banging the table from wherever it is you're sitting.

Monday, February 09, 2009

But Seriously...

...I know I ribbed him, but Tommasini is in fact giving thoughtful answers to good questions. He waves the banner for unusual and neglected operas, talks about the problems inherent in reviewing the first performance in an opera's run, discusses why a reviewer has to be aware of the humans on stage.

Go Get Him

Anthony Tommasini is answering questions from the public this week. Sample questions:
  • When are you going to stop calling people who want technical proficiency in fioritura "purists"?
  • Are you planning to replace "hunky," "strapping," and "dusky" with other descriptive terms?
  • Are you thinking of seriously looking into ticket sales and finances at the various institutions in NYC?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Guarneri Quartet

I'm not all that familiar with the work of the Guarneri Quartet. I heard them only once, in the early 1980s, and all I remember is they sounded annoyed and out of sorts. On record, I have their Beethoven cycle, which is well-played and very middle-of-the-road, not quite the thing for someone who likes extreme Beethoven.

However, they've been a fixture on the scene for decades and are now in their last season of performances, having announced their retirement at the end of 2009. Sony has made a number of albums that appeared only on LP available digitally, meaning these are recordings that were long, long out of print. They're being distributed by Sony as downloads (available at iTunes and Amazon, for example) and at ArkivMusic as CDs. You can find these albums on a special page at Arkiv. The sets include works by Bartok, Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and others; very tasty repertory. In addition, the Guarneri is releasing a new recording, called The Hungarian Album, which features works of Dohnanyi and Kodaly. That is also delicious.

My only question: are they recording the big Octet William Bolcom wrote for them and the Johannes Quartet?? That would be a fitting capstone to a long career.

[Corrections posted Monday, Feb. 9]

Friday, February 06, 2009

More About the Rose Art Museum

The New York Times web site has a bunch of letters from Brandeis students and alumni. Dennis Slavin, one of the correspondents, was a music student at Brandeis around when I was there.

The Rose web site has lots of information. Their own Board was not informed that closure of the museum was under consideration until the University BOD told them it was happening. You can sign a petition they link to, and join a mailing list.

Here's the letter I sent to Jehuda Reinharz and various other people:

Judah Reinharz, President of Brandeis University
Allen Alter, President of the Brandeis University Alumni Association
cc: Peter French, Jacob Bockelmann, Nancy Winship
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453

Re: Rose Art Museum Closure

Dear President Reinharz and Mr. Alter:

Last week, I received email from both of you about the Board of Trustees' decision to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its collection. I am extremely disturbed by this for several reasons.

First, it's wrong to close the museum, which would require dispersing its collection, a strong and important one. These works of art may never be seen in public again or be available for study, if they are sold into private hands. How many donors would have given art to the Rose without an assurance that the works had a home in perpetuity?

Second, the University has been anything but transparent in making this decision and in providing information about why it's necessary. According to the NY Times, the director of the Rose, Michael Rush, heard about the possibility only after the decision was made. In other words, he never got to respond before being presented with a fait accompli.

Please re-read the letters you sent. There are no numbers, no specifics about the financial problems Brandeis is facing, such as current and future shortfalls, the exact shrinkage in the endowment, etc. There is nothing about the alternatives that were considered or why they were rejected in favor of this extremely drastic step. There is nothing in your communications reflecting the fact that the Rose has its own endowment and that Brandeis would take it over upon closing the Rose. And Michael Rush reports that the Rose is financially self-sustaining. The latter two points are especially disturbing: it is apparent that Brandeis is making a raid on the Rose and its free-standing endowment.

Further, President Reinharz's letter includes the outrageous statement that "Board members stressed that the museum decision will not alter the university's commitment to the arts and the teaching of the arts." Closing the Rose and selling its collections are in and of themselves changes in the university's commitment to the arts.

Here's a relevant story. Many years ago, the instructors of the martial arts school where I studied decided, without consulting the students, to close the school. They didn't succeed, because we, the students, bought the equipment and recruited our own instructors. Had there been more transparency in the teachers' process, much angst could have been avoided.

Brandeis is in a similar situation now. By failing to consult the greater community, you lost the opportunity to draw on our collective wisdom (and bank accounts). The university's standing and reputation are suffering greatly from the decision to close the Rose. I urge you to take the following steps to correct the errors you have made:
  • Release to the public all financial information the Board of Trustees used to make this decision. This shouldn't violate confidentiality,considering that as a nonprofit institution, you must publicly disclose a great deal of financial data annually.
  • Release to the public information about the Board's decision-making process and alternative considered.
  • Call upon the Brandeis community and ask for ideas about how to fundraise the money Brandeis needs to maintain its programs,
    including the Rose, at their current levels. I expect you would find many individuals, including myself, willing to increase their donations for the next several years, for example.
  • Reverse the decision, which is so damaging to the University and its reputation.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this letter.

Upcoming: Volti in Concert

The splendid Bay Area new music choir is performing in a couple of weeks:


Robert Geary, Artistic Director
30th Anniversary Season

Friday, February 27, 2009 - 8 pm
Berkeley: St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way

Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 8 pm
San Francisco: St. Gregory of Nyssa, 500 De Haro Street

Tickets: General - $25 in advance/$30 at the door
Seniors - $18 in advance/$22 at the door
Student rush - $10 at the door only, subject to

Call 415.771.3352 or visit
for tickets and info


Eric Moe The Crowds Cheered As Gloom Galloped Away
World Premiere, VOLTI commission

Mark Winges The Assembling Landscape
World Premiere, VOLTI commission

Ruby Fulton The Ballad of James Parry
World Premiere, VOLTI commission
Winner of Volti’s young composer competition, Choral Arts Laboratory

Frank Ferko Two Hildegard Motets

Elliott Gyger Dancing in the Wind (World Premiere of
Movement III)
With the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir
Co-Commissioned by Volti and the Piedmont Choirs, 2007

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

SF Early Music Society Workshop

The San Francisco Early Music Society is putting on a one-day workshop in Polish music of 1540 to 1640, for singers, viol and recorder players "and other soft instruments." (No shawms or sackbuts, I suppose.) It's this Saturday, February 7, from loosely 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in Oakland, at Zion Lutheran Church, 5201 Park Blvd. Full details here.

Pacific Collegium in the Motets of J.S. Bach

This should be very good; Pacific Collegium in the complete J.S. Bach motets.

Saturday February 21, 2009, 8:00 P.M.

St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, 500 De Haro Street , San Francisco , CA 94107 (415) 255-8100

Sunday February 22, 2009, 4:00 P.M.

St. Paul 's Episcopal Church, 114 Montecito Avenue , Oakland , CA 94610 (510) 834-4314

Admission: $40 preferred seating, $25 general admission, $20 for seniors, $10 for students and music professionals. Tickets are available online (presumably at ), or can be purchased at the door 30 minutes in advance of each concert.

Recovered Voices

The OREL Foundation has a new web site devoted to information about composers whose music was suppressed during the Nazi era. There are biographies, photos, essays, a discussion board, and, possibly best of all, a worldwide performance calendar.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


  • Brahms, Piano Sonata no. 3 and Variations on a Theme of Handel, Bruno Leonardo Gelber on Denon. Gelber is one of the great unknown pianists of his generation, which is the generation of Argerich, Barenboim, Goode, and Kovacevich. These performances are tremendous, I can't think of any other word. Splendid musicianship and pianism, beautiful playing all around.
  • Busoni and His Legacy, Arbiter 105. Performances by the legendary pianist & composer Ferruccio Busoni and his students Rosamond Ley and Egon Petri. Again, tremendous playing, and I cannot tell you how much I love Liszt's Totentanz in a partial, previously unpublished performance by Petri.


YouTube channels for:

Any other Bay Area groups have their own channels? There are lots of individual videos for the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Kronos, and Philharmonia Baroque...

End of an Era

The Oscar Wilde Bookshop in New York City is closing at the end of March, after 41 years of selling books and magazines of interest to the GLBT communities. It's yet another victim of the current economic crisis, of the mainstreaming of gay and lesbian culture, and surely also of the big-boxing and on-lining of book-selling.


Boy wonder Felix Mendelssohn turns 200 today. Celebrate by taking in a masterpiece live or on the net:
In the comments is a link to a story about the "rediscovery" of 300 unpublished works by Mendelssohn. Thanks, Joseph!

And don't miss Matthew Guerrieri's take on the great composer.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Politics and Health Care

A few items from the Times:
  • Frank Rich sticks it to the obstructionist Republicans but good. I add to what he says that President Obama has an approval rating right now of 80%. That means a lot of people who voted for John McCain approve of his performance and want him to succeed. The Republicans could get with the program - saving the country - and start offering real ideas, considering that they have prided themselves on being the party of ideas for quite a while. (Of course, the ideas were 1. tax cuts. 2. tax cuts 3. tax cuts, if you get my drift.)
  • Why we need national single-payer health care: to help small businesses. Well, that's not the only reason.
  • Paul Krugman notes that the Bush tax cuts will cost the U.S. Treasury $2 trillion. Gosh, that could go a long way to help fix things right now, eh?

Rose Art Museum

I'm a graduate of Brandeis University. I was surprised last week to get email from President Jehuda Reinharz informing me - and everybody other alum on the university mailing list - that the Board of Trustees had decided to close the Rose Art Museum and sell off its thousands of 20th century artworks. A couple of days later, I received email from the current president of the Alumni Association defending the decision. I was assured that the Board of Trustees had been pained to make this decision, and that the academic senate had previously voted to support the Board in whatever decisions it made. Yeah, yeah. The phrase "self-serving" did cross my mind as I read both email messages.

There's been outrage throughout the art world. The Boston Globe had an article up almost immediately and has had a couple more since (use the search box at to find them all). The Times had a news story last week, and also an editorial in today's paper. ArtsJournal has a Q&A with Michael Rush, the Rose's director.

Times art critic Roberta Smith closes her article, published yesterday, with this zinger:
The message out of Brandeis University last week — to its own students and to the world — was that when the going gets tough, none of this matters. Art is dispensable.
You bet. I've got an outraged letter of my own going to Brandeis in tomorrow's mail.


Every opera company directory has repertory preferences, and so does every opera company music director. Some clear patterns emerge from looking at the last few San Francisco Opera general directors:
  • Lotfi Mansouri: Donizetti, Russian opera (Ruslan and the Prokofiev operas); quite a bit of Britten; several weak and mostly forgettable commissions (Harvey Milk, Dangerous Liaisons, Streetcar, Dead Man Walking)
  • Pamela Rosenberg: Handel and Janacek; Donizetti limited to a Lucia revival (I think....); only one commission, but it was a doozy, John Adams's Doctor Atomic
  • David Gockley, to the extent that one can tell so far: lots and lots of Italian opera, mostly mainstream, from what he said at the press conference last week; a range of commissions of varying degrees of potential.
Over the last 17 years, we also got a lot of German opera, owing to the presence of Donald Runnicles. Italian opera hasn't been all that well served, with weakish voices in most of the Verdi that's been presented. I hope Gockley will do some early Verdi - you know, the stuff before Rigoletto? There are a few stageworthy pieces there, including Il Corsaro and Ernani. Oh, and Nabucco, but that was done recently.

I would love to hear some Respighi and late Mascagni, but I asked and at the moment they're not looking at those composers. I just hope we will continue to have a varied repertory, including Handel, Janacek, and Britten.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Cheap Tickets

Alex Ross has written a New Yorker article about seeing great music on the cheap. A few years ago, I wrote an article on why ticket prices are high; it concluded with some suggestions about how to stretch your concert dollar (note that some of the prices cited below have very likely changed since 2006):
It's easy to see a lot of great classical music in the Bay Area without spending a lot of money, however. In general, you will be able to hear the music well from the lower-priced seats in the house, so it's reasonable to economize by buying less-expensive tickets. There are many excellent choruses (amateur, semi-pro, and professional) whose concerts cost no more than $20 to $30 per seat for general admission. Most organizations make discounts available for seniors and students. Same-day rush seats are available from many organizations, too. San Francisco Opera has $15 rushes for students, $30 for seniors and military personnel, plus $10 to $15 for standing-room tickets. Berkeley Opera offers side seats for $16 [2009: might be $18] one hour before the performance. San Francisco Symphony's center terrace seats are sold for $15 to $20 two hours before the performance; additionally, student rushes may be available for $20. (Call the organization's box office the day of the performance to ask about the availability of rush tickets.)

Some organizations simply feature low prices: For example, Old First Church in San Francisco offers a well-programmed series, Old First Concerts, featuring excellent local and visiting musicians for the bargain price of $15 general admission and $12 seniors/students. University and conservatory music departments often have inexpensive or free concerts given by faculty members and students.
I will reiterate that Old First is about the best bargain in town for great chamber and contemporary music. Right up there with Old First would come programs at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where the immensely talented faculty and students are on glorious display, conveniently located in Civic Center down the street from the opera and SFS. Stanford, Cal State East Bay (former Hayward), Mills College, San Francisco State, and UC Berekeley all have good music departments that put on good concerts. Don't forget San Francisco Symphony's current sale (all seats $25 or $55 through Monday, Feb. 2) or their Wednesday morning open rehearsals. Watch for organ recitals, at venues such as Grace Cathedral, and for the concert series at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian and St. Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco; the parallels in the East Bay might be St. John's on College and St. Mark's on Bancroft.