Saturday, November 30, 2019

Oliver Knussen at the LA Phil

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

Two concerts are coming up at the LA Phil featuring the music of the late composer and conductor Oliver Knussen. We don't seem to get much of his music up here, alas. I have plans the next couple of weekends and honestly I can't face getting on a plane just now, so I cannot, dammit, attend. If you're near LA, though, you might want to check these out, especially since both are conducted by the great Susanna Mälkki and feature the fabulous Leila Josefowicz:

Friday, December 6, at 8PM
Saturday, December 7, at 2PM
Sunday, December 8, at 2PM

Susanna Mälkki, conductor
Leila Josefowicz, violin

KNUSSEN Flourish with Fireworks (except Friday)
KNUSSEN Violin Concerto
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

The late Oliver Knussen, acclaimed as composer and conductor, had a long connection with the LA Phil. His Violin Concerto is, by turns, intensely dramatic, lyrical, somber and skittish, and – as expected from a skilled conductor – it’s masterfully orchestrated. Thrilling to this day, Beethoven’s “Eroica” is one of the most revolutionary works in Western music, expanding the Classical symphony in almost every way imaginable.

[Yeah, okay, I wouldn't mind hearing Mälkki conduct the Eroica, but that's not the draw here.]

Tuesday, December 10, at 8PM

Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group
Susanna Mälkki, conductor
Leila Josefowicz, violin
John Novacek, piano

Co-curated by Susanna Mälkki and Leila Josefowicz

Colin MATTHEWS Hidden Variables
KNUSSEN Reflection
Helen GRIME A Cold Spring
Huw WATKINS Piano Quartet
KNUSSEN Ophelia Dances Book 1
KNUSSEN Two Organa
HARVEY Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco

To honor the memory of the LA Phil’s talented and beloved colleague Oliver Knussen, Mälkki and Josefowicz have programmed three of his remarkable creations and surrounded them with chamber-sized music by his friends, colleagues, and students. Come celebrate a musical life. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller, sometime opera director, sometime writer, sometime doctor, has died, age 85, of Alzheimer's disease. The NY Times has an obituary, which is extremely interesting.

I don't believe that I've seen any of his productions, which I regret, but I blogged about some of his pronouncements, of which there were many.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

What I Did with My November Vacation

Interior of the Coliseum, London*

I went to London and saw four (4) operas on the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice. You can read my review at SFCV.

In retrospect, I'm mildly surprised that they didn't do one of the 17th c. Orpheus operas, for which they would likely have swapped out The Mask of Orpheus. The night I saw Mask, the stalls (orchestra section) appeared to be sold out. No idea what was happening upstairs, because the circulation space at the Coliseum is not great, and the intermissions were short.

Hiring Daniel Lismore was probably a smart move in terms of ticket sales. He is famous, or maybe I mean notorious, and surely drew in audience members from the fashion world. Also, it took me a while to figure out the person in the stalls whom I thought was cosplaying the opera was, in fact, Daniel Lismore. He was dressed something like the photo on this page. (If you are using a screen reader: photo shows a person in a red hat. The person has large artificial eyelashes, has a face powdered white, and is wearing red lipstick. The person has a red veil on, covering from the sides of the face back; you can't see the person's ears or hair. There's also some irregular gold mesh falling out of the hat and down the person's face to their chin, also covering the veil from the hat to the jawline on the sides of the face. The person's head is in an upside down orange bowl.)

I'm seriously curious about the fate of the 400,000 crystals that went into the costumes for Mask. Will this production ever be brought up again, at ENO or elsewhere? Surely no US company will be interested; if they were to stage a Birtwistle opera, it would likely be Gawain or The Minotaur. (But personal to US opera companies: Yan-Tan-Tethera is the real entry-level Birtwistle.) I'm also curious, as noted in the review, about how ENO funded Mask.

Other things I'm curious about:

  • Why major US opera companies don't do Orpheus in the Underworld, which has delightful music and can be very, very funny.
  • Why I found this Gluck Orpheus and Eurydice so much more rewarding than West Edge Opera's production this past summer. Tentatively, the conducting was way better. Also, this was the Berlioz edition, although since WEO had a mezzo Orpheus, they might have been using that too.
  • Why Glass's Orphée isn't done more often. I'm very sorry I didn't get to see it twice.

More of the interior of the Coliseum

Why, yes, ENO does invite you to photograph the interior, and also film or photograph curtain calls. They also put sweet messages to audience members on the title screen before the show and during intermissions. "Happy anniversary, dearest!" Etc.

Cast Change Announcement, Met Queen of Spades

From the Met:
Yusif Eyvazov will sing Hermann in the performances of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades on November 29 and December 2 and 5, replacing Aleksandrs Antonenko, who has withdrawn due to illness. As previously announced, Eyvazov is also singing the role on December 8, 14, and 21. Kristian Benedikt will perform the role on December 18.

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingle-ing

The Solano Winds Community Concert Band has a concert on December 6. Here are the details:
The Solano Winds Community Concert Band will be “Celebrating America’s Heritage” on December 6 at the Downtown Theatre in Fairfield. Tickets are $17 per person; $13 for seniors and students. 
The brass and percussion herald the beginning of the concert with Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copeland. The four minute piece presents a moving salute to the everyday man in our society.  
The Winds follow up with Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Henry J. Wood. He wrote the medley of British sea songs in 1905 to mark the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
The toe tapping and smiles are amplified with Malcom Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances. Composed early in 1957, and dedicated to the BBC Light Music Festival.   
In 1891, at the age of seventeen, Charles Ives composed Variations on “America” for organ, based on the old national hymn, known overseas as “God Save the Queen. He played with the variations by filling them with  misplaced fanfares and tongue-in-cheek solemnity.  
The Pathfinder of Panama March, a contribution from John Philip Sousa, commemorates the opening of the Panama Canal.  
While the first half of the concert has us tapping our toes and giggling at clever melodic jokes, the second half of the evening has us singing along with Blues for Santa Arranged by Robert W. Smith.  
President of Solano Winds, Ron Garrison brings the wonder of the season with ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Garrison draws a verbal picture of the magic of the season.Sammy Nestico jazzes up Good King Wenceslas of old and literally gives the carol an upbeat feel with Good Swing Wenceslas 
The concert closes with Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the clip clop and whinny of the horse pulling the sleigh punctuated with the crack of the horse whip.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Museum Mondays

Various Della Robbia ceramics
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
November, 2019

I've seen many many Della Robia ceramics, in Italy and in museums outside Italy. I've had my moments of wondering whether the family's artistic output was the kitsch of the era, but I definitely don't know enough to say one way or the other. Regardless, they are gorgeous and I'd be happy to have some on the walls of my home, providing that the home was a nice palazzo. They'd look very out of place in my little craftsman bungalow.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Wexford Festival 2020

The annual festival is doing three operas I've never heard of next year! Also scheduled, a concert by Lisette Oropesa and some concerts based on Shakespeare operas.

Ein Wintermärchen
by Karl Goldmark
An opera in 3 acts. Sung in German
Performance Dates: 20, 23, 26, 29 October 2020
O'Reilly Theatre, The National Opera House.
Conductor: Markus Bosch
Director: Dmitry Bertman,
Set & Costume Designer: Astrid Janson
Le Songe d’une nuit d’été
by Ambroise Thomas
An opera in 3 acts. Sung in French.
Performance Dates: 21, 24, 27 October and 1November 2020
O'Reilly Theatre, The National Opera House
Conductor: Guillaume Tourniaire
Director: Walter Le Moli
Set Designer: Tiziano Santi
Costume Designer: Gabriele Mayer
by Alfredo Catalani
An opera in 3 acts.  Sung in Italian.
Performance Dates: 22, 25, 28, 31 October 2020
O'Reilly Theatre, The National Opera House
Conductor: Francesco Cilluffo
Director: Julia Burbach
Set & Costume Designer: Cécile Trémoliers

This Week in Lazy Programming

The Tanglewood 2020 season will have a number of events and concerts in honor of the Isaac Stern centenary. I suppose the same can be expected at Carnegie Hall, considering Stern's role in saving that great landmark. "One of the 20th century's most significant artists" could describe literally hundreds of singers, instrumentalists, conductors, and composers. I'm just not sure how special Stern's relationship with the BSO and Tanglewood is; here's what the press release says:
Stern’s relationship with the BSO began in January 1948, when he made debut with the orchestra performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with Serge Koussevitzky conducting. He made his Tanglewood debut that summer and continued to perform regularly at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood for nearly 50 years. The BSO’s weekend of performances is the culmination of a season-long celebration of the centennial of Mr. Stern’s birth.
Here's what Tanglewood will have for Stern:

2020 Tanglewood season celebrates the 100th anniversary of Isaac Stern’s birth, July 24-26, with several of the world’s most acclaimed violinists, and other prominent musicians, performing works closely associated with Mr. Stern’s 65-year career as one of the 20th century’s most significant artists

 Andris Nelsons-led program with Augustin Hadelich performing Beethoven’s Romance No. 1 and Dutilleux’s L’Arbre des songes (7/24)
 Midori performing Bernstein’s Serenade (7/25)
• Violinists Joshua Bell, Vadim Gluzman, Pamela Frank, and Nancy Zhou, cellists Steven Isserlis and Jian Wang, and pianist Jeremy Denk featured in program conducted by Stern’s sons—David and Michael Stern—to include Bach’s Concerto in D minor for two violin and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (7/26)
 Tanglewood annual gala dinner on July 24 to celebrate Isaac Stern centennial
 Tanglewood Learning Institute programming to mark Isaac Stern centennial with special activities throughout the weekend (click here for details)

Thomas Adès is running the contemporary music festival, from August 6 to 10, and here's what's on offer: American premiere by Andrew Haig and works by Joanna Baille, Derek Bermel, Harrison Birtwistle, Osvaldo Golijov, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Nicholas Maw, Per Nørgård, Andrew Norman, Kaija Saariaho, Sean Shepherd, Mark Simpson, Linda Catlin Smith, Judith Weir, and Du Yun, as well as Mr. Adès, with performances by Tanglewood Music Center Fellows and special guests.
I'm counting five women among the seventeen composers listed. Could be better.

There's more in the press release, but these are the couple of things that jumped out at me.

Travels with Lisa

St. Pancras Hotel, London
November, 2019

I have been on the road waaaaay too much in the last couple of years. Hoping to be home more next year, but of course the 2020-21 opera seasons haven't been announced yet.....

1. NYC, February/March, 2018. A week that was supposed to be all vacation. Instead, I worked four of the five weekdays, giving me three days of vacation only. Elektra, Parsifal, Semiramide.

2. Portland, May, 2018 - Write the Docs tech writing conference.

3. Santa Fe, July, 2018. Ariadne auf Naxos and Doctor Atomic.

4. Los Angeles, November, 2018. The Tempest, LA Phil (disappointing) and Satyagraha, LA Opera (sublime)

5. Paris, October, 2018. Vacation with my partner! Les Huguenots, Tristan und Isolde, Bérénice.

6. Paris, February, 2019. Vacation alone, just one week. Concert at Versailles; concert at Philharmonie; Rusalka, Les Troyens, Il primo omicidio

7. Chicago, March, 2019. American Judo & Jujitsu Federation annual convention.

8. Los Angeles, June, 2019. The Central Park Five and Atlas.

9. Santa Fe, August, 2019. The Thirteenth Child (disappointing) and Jenufa (fantastic).

10. Boston/NYC, October, 2019. Work, but I did see the BSO in Boston and the Dover Quartet plus Emmanuel Ax in NYC.

11. London, November, 2019. Vacation, alone, just one week, five operas and one concert.

In 2020, there's a good chance of a week in Boston on business and I know I'm going to Santa Fe for Tristan and Rusalka. Other than that.....maybe Ojai, although it's on a difficult weekend in June.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday Photo

Southwark London at dusk
On the left, The Shard, on the right, the George
London, November, 2019

The Shard is a comparatively recent super-tall skyscraper. Construction started in 2009, and it's the tallest building in London and the UK. For the moment, it's also the tallest building in the EU. It's 95 stories high and has a viewing platform that I should have gone up to the day I took this photo.

The George is the last surviving coaching inn in London. The present building dates to 1673, when it was rebuilt following a fire. The previous building had stood on that spot for at least 150 years prior to 1673. A short distance away is the former site of the Talbott Inn, previous the Tabard Inn, which had a similar history: built in the 14th century, burned in the fire of 1673, rebuilt and survived well into the 19th century. The Tabard was the inn from which Chaucer's pilgrims departed for Canterbury.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Adler Fellows Concert, December 6, 2019

2019 San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows (Photo: Cheshire Isaacs/San Francisco Opera)

The annual year-end Adler Fellows concert is coming up in about two weeks, and as always it's varied and interesting. Eun Sun Kim conducts; she was fabulous in June's Rusalka, so it's likely to be very well conducted.

Here's the program; the missing detail is that tickets will cost $30-65. This concert does tend to sell out, so buy soon.

(I will admit it: I am faintly dubious at a countertenor in Berlioz, as wonderful as Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is. I once heard a countertenor in the Brahms Four Serious Songs, and that did not work at all.)

Friday, December 6, 2019 at 7:30 P.M.
Herbst Theatre, Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

Featuring the 2019 Adler Fellows:
Mary Evelyn Hangley and Natalie Image, sopranos
Ashley Dixon and Simone McIntosh, mezzo-sopranos
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor
SeokJong BaekZhengyi BaiChristopher Colmenero and Christopher Oglesby, tenors
Christian Pursell, bass-baritone
Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad, pianist/apprentice coach
César Cañón, pianist/apprentice coach

Eun Sun Kim, conductor
San Francisco Opera Orchestra

Kseniia Polstiankina BarradCésar Cañón, Alessandra CattaniJohn ChurchwellPeter GrunbergRobert MolliconePatricia Kristof Moy, and Tamara Sanikidze, musical preparation


Program subject to change.

Overture from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide
San Francisco Opera Orchestra

“Mes amis, écoutez l’histoire” from Adolphe Adam’s Le Postillon de Lonjumeau
Zhengyi Bai as Chappelou

“Al mio piè, perchè?... Di qual amor, di quant’ardor” from Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo
Mary Evelyn Hangley as Elisabetta
Christopher Colmenero as Don Carlo

“Quando avran fine omai… Padre, germani, addio” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Idomeneo
Natalie Image as Ilia

Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad, harpsichord

“Dopo notte” from George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante
Ashley Dixon as Ariodante

Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad, harpsichord

“Recondita armonia” from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca
SeokJong Baek as Cavaradossi

“Son stanco, ingiusti numi… Deggio morire, o stelle” from George Frideric Handel’s Siroe
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Siroe
César Cañón, harpsichord

Vaudémont’s Romance from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta
Christopher Oglesby as Vaudémont

“Qual furor ti trasporta?… Quest’improvviso tremito” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Lucio Silla
Simone McIntosh as Cecilio
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Lucio Cinna
César Cañón, harpsichord

“Aleko’s Cavatina” from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Aleko
Christian Pursell as Aleko

Tatiana’s Letter Scene from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Mary Evelyn Hangley as Tatiana

“Une dame de haut parage” from Gioachino Rossini’s Le Comte Ory
Simone McIntosh as Isolier

Zhengyi Bai as Count Ory

“Toi qui m’es apparue” from Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon
Ashley Dixon as Cendrillon

Christopher Oglesby as Prince Charming

“È la solita storia del pastore” from Francesco Cilea’s L’Arlesiana
SeokJong Baek as Federico

“Le spectre de la rose” from Hector Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Été
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen

“Ah, tout est bien fini… O souverain, o juge, o père” from Jules Massenet’s Le Cid
Christopher Colmenero as Rodrigue

“Je comprends que la belle aime la militaire… Enfant chéri des dames des grisettes” from Ambroise Thomas’s Le Caïd
Christian Pursell as Michel

“Par le rang… Salut à la France” from Gaetano Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment
Natalie Image as Marie

Adler Fellows as soldiers

Yuval Sharon at Long Beach Opera

The news came out in July that the 2020 season would be longtime Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek's last at Long Beach Opera. A press release this morning brings the welcome news that the 2021 season, which will be announced in April, 2020, will be "curated" by Yuval Sharon of The Industry, who has also directed at the LA Phil, Bayreuth, and other organizations.

I've managed to miss everything at The Industry, but I saw his production of Meredith Monk's Atlas at the LA Phil this past June, and it was glorious. Good hire, Long Beach Opera.

Here's the press release:

Long Beach Opera announces Yuval Sharon
to serve as company’s Interim Artistic Advisor 
for 2021 Season, to be announced this spring
2020 season proceeds as announced, final under Andreas Mitisek

Long Beach CA. November 21, 2019 — Long Beach Opera announces Yuval Sharon will serve as the company’s Interim Artistic Advisor, who will work together with LBO leadership to plan LBO’s 2021 season.  Sharon will curate the 2021 season, including selecting the operas, productions, and artistic teams. He will also participate as director for one of the season productions.

Long Beach Opera will announce its 2021 season in April 2020. Sharon will continue his work as Artistic Director for his company, The Industry, while concurrently serving as LBO’s Interim Artistic Advisor.

Since announcing that longtime Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek will depart at the end of 2020, Long Beach Opera has commenced the search for the next Artistic Director of the 41-year-old company, which is known for producing innovative productions of new and rarely performed works.

While this search is in process, Sharon will provide artistic curation for the bridge season. Sharon will work with board leadership, including Board Chair Robert Braun, and Executive Director Jennifer Rivera.

Sharon was described by The New York Times as “opera’s disrupter in residence,” and has been creating an unconventional body of work that seeks to expand the operatic form. He founded and serves as Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles, an acclaimed company devoted to new and experimental opera that has brought opera into moving vehicles, operating train stations, and various “non-spaces” such as warehouses, parking lots, and escalator corridors.

Sharon recently completed a three-year residency at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and was honored with a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship. Major recent productions include an original setting of War of the Worlds,and a staging of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Gustavo Dudamel at the LA Phil, Lohengrin for the Bayreuth Festival, and The Magic Flute for the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden.

Long Beach Opera Board Chair Robert Braun said, “We at LBO are very excited to have the opportunity to work with Yuval, as we all deeply admire his work not only in Southern California but internationally, as a director and as an opera visionary. We feel he is the perfect person to continue Long Beach Opera’s mission to engage people with provocative, meaningful experiences that challenge, connect, and inspire for this bridge season, where we will seek to define the next chapter of LBO’s future.”

Executive Director Jennifer Rivera noted, “This is an exciting moment for LBO, and also for me personally, as Yuval and I both began our careers together at New York City Opera in the early 2000s. Ever since those days I have admired Yuval’s ability to creatively change the face of opera in America with his truly innovative artistic sensibilities, and I am so thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with him, and help fulfill his vision for a full season at LBO.”

Yuval Sharon said, “When I founded The Industry here in 2010, I knew I was building off a culture of innovation in the LA region that Long Beach Opera played a significant role in shaping. LBO’s 40-year history has opened up so many possibilities for artists in Southern California. I see my assignment as Interim Artistic Advisor as a chance to honor that history, and it offers me another opportunity to deepen my commitment to the audiences and artists in Southern California.”

Long Beach Opera’s current season, the final under outgoing General & Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek, begins January 12, 2020 with a new version of Henry Purcell’s King Arthur, followed by the Los Angeles premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse in March, The American premiere of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Gavin Bryars in May, and finally, a revival of Frida by Robert Xavier Rodriguez in June.

For more information please visit

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Orchestra Fantasy Camp

Here's a fun event, coming up in June. Note that you must apply by February 17, 2020, and that there are fees: $25 to apply, $500 (urk) to attend. There are "limited financial aid awards available."

That's a lot of money for a weekend of coaching and playing. SF Early Music Society's summer workshops are a week long and last year ran around $700 or so for the tuition only. I was thinking of suggesting something for choristers involving a difficult work - Les Noces, for example - but I would not participate in a two-day workshop for $500.

Anyway, details:

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music Launches Its First-Ever Orchestra Fantasy Camp-An Immersive Weekend of Symphonic Music-Making for Adult Amateur Musicians-in Partnership with Amateur Music Network and the San Francisco Symphony
Orchestra Fantasy Camp at SFCM gives 100 adult amateur musicians an opportunity to participate in rehearsals and coaching sessions with Conductor Edwin Outwater and musician mentors from the San Francisco Symphony and SFCM's faculty

Orchestra Fantasy Camp takes place June 13 & 14, 2020, culminating in a concert performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade led by Edwin Outwater at SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall.

Amateur musicians can apply now at this link;
all applications are due by February 17, 2020

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, in partnership with Amateur Musicians Networkand the San Francisco Symphony, launches its first-ever Orchestra Fantasy Camp in 2020, a new immersive performance opportunity for adult amateur musicians. The Orchestra Fantasy Camp at SFCM-Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14, 2020-brings together 100 adult amateur musicians for an intensive weekend of symphonic music-making, culminating in a free public performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, led by Edwin Outwater, on Sunday, June 14, at 3:00 PM in Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall at SFCM. 

In addition to rehearsing with Mr. Outwater, the participants will work closely throughout the weekend with a team of coaches from the San Francisco Symphony and SFCM's faculty, giving amateur musicians an opportunity to engage one-on-one and in small group settings with some of the country's top professional classical musicians. The professional coaches will also perform alongside the amateur musicians during the Sunday concert. 

"I can't wait to coach the first Orchestra Fantasy Camp at SFCM," said Jerome Simas, a faculty member at SFCM and bass clarinetist for the San Francisco Symphony who will be one of 13 Orchestra Fantasy Camp mentors next June. "It is really exciting to see the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Amateur Music Network come together to give amateur musicians this extraordinary opportunity. As an artist-coach, I am looking forward to bringing my experience as a music educator and passion as a performer to the Bay Area's community of adult amateur musicians."

The Orchestra Fantasy Camp is a new initiative of SFCM's Continuing Education division, which provides lifelong learning experiences for adults seeking community, personal enrichment, and professional development in music. Michael Roest, Associate Dean and Executive Director of SFCM's Continuing Education division, said, "Continuing Education at SFCM is expanding beyond the traditional classroom setting and offering larger, more immersive learning experiences for amateur musicians. Few opportunities exist out there for amateurs to come together."

"Music-making inspires joy, creativity, and connection to each other and to the world we share," said Mark Hanson, CEO of the San Francisco Symphony. "We are excited to partner with our colleagues at AMN and SFCM to offer more opportunities for Bay Area musicians to create and share their love for music."

Lolly Lewis, Founder and Director of Amateur Music Network said, "I've been dreaming about an Orchestra Fantasy Camp for years. A weekend retreat for concentrated symphonic music-making with other dedicated amateurs, and a chance to connect with San Francisco Symphony players and SFCM faculty is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I know the musicians won't forget." 

How to Apply
Musicians 18 and over from all locations and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. All applicants must complete an online application and submit a four- to six-minute video demonstrating their current level of proficiency. The video should include a portion of one solo work (etude, sonata, concerto, etc.) and an excerpt from Scheherazade available here. There's a non-refundable $25 fee to apply. 

The deadline for applications is February 17, 2020. All musicians who are selected to participate will be invited to sign up online and pay the $500 registration fee. A limited number of financial aid awards are available, including special grants for SFUSD music teachers. Click here for further information.

Orchestra Fantasy Camp Dates & Schedule
Saturday, June 13, 2020 from 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Sunday, June 14, 2020 from 9:00 AM-4:30 PM
The camp schedule will include full orchestra rehearsals, small and large group sectionals with orchestra mentors, all leading up to a public performance with members of the San Francisco Symphony in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall at SFCM.
For a detailed schedule, please visit the Orchestra Fantasy Camp resource page.

Ojai 2020

The preliminary schedule for the Ojai Music Festival has been published. This is the 74th edition; it'll be held June 11 to 14, 2020, in Ojai. Chad Smith is the Artistic Director (though we know he is moving on from this post) and Matthias Pintscher is Music Director.

The schedule is fantastic, and maybe this will be the year I get there, although June, 2020, will be a bear, between SF Opera's summer season, MTT's last weeks as music director of SFS, and, as usual, Pride Weekend making Civic Center all but impassable at the end of June. That is, I will have to reschedule some performances and it won't be easy.

Ojai Preview Concert at Noon to Midnight
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Ensemble intercontemporain
Olga NEUWIRTH  Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie


Ojai Presbyterian Church

Ara Guzelimian, Ojai Talks
Matthias Pintscher and guests

Libbey Bowl

Matthias Pintscher, conductor

Ensemble intercontemporain
Della Miles, vocalist

Unsuk CHIN  Gougalon (Scenes from a Street Theater)
Matthias PINTSCHER  BereshitOlga NEUWIRTH  Eleanor Suite (US Premiere)


Zalk Theatre
Calder Quartet
Olga NEUWIRTH  In the realms of the unreal
SCHUBERT  String Quartet in G major, D.887

Libbey Bowl
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Ensemble intercontemporain
Day 1 Chaya 
CZERNOWIN  on the Face of the DeepDay 2 Marko NIKODIJEVIC  Dies secundus
Day 3 Franck BEDROSSIAN  Vayehi erev vayehi bokerDay 4 Anna THORVALDSDOTTIR  Illumine, pour octuor àDay 5 Joan MAGRANÉ FIGUERA  Marines i boscatges i
Day 6 Stefano GERVASONI  Eufaunique
Day 7 Mark ANDRE  riss 1
Day 8 Toshio HOSAKAWA  The Flood (EIC/Ojai co-commission)/(World Premiere)

Libbey Bowl
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Ensemble intercontemporainDimitri Vassilakis, piano
LA Phil New Music Group
Calder Quartet

MENDELSSOHN  String Octet, Op. 20
Matthias PINTSCHER  Nur (West Coast Premiere)
Steve REICH  Tehillim


Zalk Theatre
Calder Quartet
Members of Ensemble intercontemporain
CAGE  String Quartet in Four Parts
Matthias PINTSCHER  UrielIVES  String Quartet No. 2

Libbey Bowl
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Ensemble intercontemporain
Hidéki Nagano, piano 

LIGETI  Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
BACH  Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049
Olga NEUWIRTH  Aello – ballet mécanomorphe
Libbey Bowl

Matthias Pintscher, conductor

Ensemble intercontemporain
Members of the LA Phil
MOZART  Gran Partita
BOULEZ  sur Incises


Libbey Bowl 
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Ensemble intercontemporain
Calder Quartet
Matthias PINTSCHER  4° quartetto darchi Ritratto di Gesualdo
GESUALDO  Arrangement by Sciarrino
BACH  Selection from The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080
BOULEZ  Mémoriale       
Libbey Bowl

Matthias Pintscher
Ensemble intercontemporain
Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano
Andrew Staples, tenor

OctandreZAPPA  The Perfect StrangerMAHLER  Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Glenn Cortese)
Libbey Bowl
Calder Quartet and other guest artists

Free Community Concert for Ojai with the music of Angélica Negrón, Gabriela Ortiz, Copland,
and Stravinsky

Programs and artists are subject to change. For updated schedule, visit

Monday, November 18, 2019

Opera at SF Conservatory - This Weekend!

Yet another of the riches on offer this coming weekend: San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents two performances of Mozart's The Impressario and the Prolog to Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. Here are the details:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- SFCM Opera will present two performances of Mozart's The Impresario and Strauss' prologue to Ariadne auf Naxos at Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall. The production will be directed by Heather Mathews and conducted by Curt Pajer.
The Impresario and Ariadne auf Naxos are both tongue-in-cheek musical comedies exploring the behind-the-scenes happenings at the opera. Mozart's playful one-act singspiel, The Impresario, deals with the rivalry between two prima donnas vying for top billing in at an opera company, while the prelude to Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos sees a comedy troupe and a high-brow opera company being reluctantly forced to perform simultaneously at a dinner party.

SFCM Opera Presents
Mozart's The Impresario and Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos (Prologue)

Heather Matthews, director
Curt Pajer, conductor

San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall

Free, reservations recommended

San Francisco Conservatory of Music
50 Oak Street
San Francisco, CA 94102