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From Ancient Chants to Modern Keys: Best Classical Music This Month

New Century Chamber Orchestra Kicks Off Its Tour 

Most twenty-year olds pick up a bottle of tequila on their birthday. New Century Chamber Orchestra picks up bows and suitcases before hopping on a plane to the East Coast to play Rossini and Mendelssohn. But first, the local orchestra is hitting Herbst Theater for their 20th Anniversary concert. Playing Rossini’s Sonata in G Major, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat Major, the fearless chamber orchestra pulls out all the stops to celebrate two decades in business. 

November 5. Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Avenue. Tickets are $35-59 at 415-392-4400.

Russian Pianist Alexander Melnikov 

Renowned Russian artist Alexander Melnikov makes his San Francisco debut this month, fresh from recent recording triumph. His performance of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues has won several awards - think BBC Music Magazine Award and unpronounceable but impressive sounding Dutch honors. Considered the pinnacle of modern piano music, the Preludes and Fugues will be played in their entirety, a rare occurence. So if you’re a fan of Shostakovich, this is your lucky day. 

November 12. San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street. Tickets are $35-60 at 415-392-2545 or sfperformances.org. 

Ancient Music of Euouae

Renaissance and Gregorian chanting gets more air space than it has since 1642* (*this may not be strictly true) with San Francisco's new choral ensemble. Last year’s sold-out concert placed Euouae at the forefront of medieval music, with fresh interpretations of the ancient sounds. It’s remarkably haunting stuff, born of a time long before the iPod when the only music you heard came from a choir of voices filling the cathedral walls. 

November 18. Old First Presbyterian Church, 1751 Sacramento Street. Tickets are $17 at oldfirstconcerts.org.