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October's Classical Music Roundup: Takacs Quartet, Joshua Bell at SF Symphony and New Spectrum Ensemble

Takacs Quartet

Takacs Quartet, one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles, takes the San Francisco stage for the first time in more than 20 years. As does Geraldine Walther, who defected from the San Francisco Symphony five years ago to join Takacs Quartet (as a twenty-nine year veteran, she was probably ready for a change of scenery) (not to imply the SF Symphony scenery isn’t a pleasure to behold). Applying their legendary technical skill and musical magnetism to Haydn, Beethoven, and Bartók (a bow to the ensemble’s Hungarian roots), this Grammy- winning group is a one night only offer.
October 9. Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave. Tickets are $35-60 at 415-392-2545 or sfperformances.org.
 
New Spectrum Ensemble: Music and the Sound of Nature
 
Passionate about bridging the gap between classical and contemporary music, New Spectrum Ensemble is devoted to engaging the audience via performer perspective and conversation in between pieces. In other words, they won’t let you fall asleep. Exploring nature as it’s reflected in musical expression, the concert features composers like Schubert, Schoenberg, and generational contemporaries, including several Bay Area natives. It should also feature fresh insight into classical works, making you ever more savvy about all things instrumental.
 
October 16. First Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin Street. Tickets are $7-15 at thenewspectrum.com.
 
San Francisco Symphony with Joshua Bell
 
Superstar of the classical world, violinist Joshua Bell joins the San Francisco Symphony - with acclaimed conductor James Conlon at the helm - in an homage to the Romantic Masters. Featuring Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1., this absorbing and possibly even enthralling program also includes Wagner and Dvorak. It’s always fun to toss in press quotes, especially when they’re as effusive as those inspired by Joshua Bell: “Joshua Bell plays like a god.” (John Corigliano) “The most celebrated American-born violinist of the modern era.” (Elle) Not to mention my personal favorite,Hot, young, and single, Joshua Bell makes classical music sexy.” (USA Today)
 
October 21-24. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue. Tickets are $15-155 at 415-864-6000.