Donne Virtuose - Music By Remarkable Women
Turns out women wrote classical music too. (RIGHT? Come on, I can't be the only who wants to throw a geek parade with french horns over this.) Featuring female composers who bucked social restrictions to write arias and instrumental sonatas, the program is performed by soprano Jennifer Ellis Kampani and violinists Rob Diggins and Jolianne von Einem. Composers in question are: Francesca Caccini from the Medici Court, Venetian intellectual Barbara Strozzi, Isabella Leonarda from a Novarese convent, and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre of the Parisian aristocracy. There probably won't be a parade. (BUT THERE SHOULD BE.)
You can check 7x7's concert roll on the right-hand side of the homepage for concerts of the rock, pop and dance varieties, but for the more classical-music inclined, here's our roundup what we're anticipating to be the best performances of the month.
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Masters at classical guitar genre-bending (their repertoire jumps from Bach to bluegrass to samba to African drum circle), the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet plays Herbst Theatre next weekend. Known on Youtube for its deconstructed version of Pachelbel’s Canon (check it out here), the group has been together for thirty years, playing inventive, critically acclaimed music around the world.
Edgar Meyer is a musician whose chops have been called transcendent and unrivaled and it’s possible yours truly pulls CDs off the rack and exclaims, “Ooh, Edgar Meyer!” before spending entirely too much money at Amoeba.A musical master of everything from the mandolin to the viola de gamba, Meyer plucks the double bass from quivering obscurity and propels it into the spotlight. Called “the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument” by The New Yorker, Meyer is generally hailed as the best bassist alive.
Bach tossed in every available orchestral instrument when he composed the Brandenburg Concertos, a canny move that was labeled daring by his contemporaries and possibly cemented his status as the James Dean of Baroque. The following two hundred years mellowed the Brandenburg Concertos into beloved classics - and the newly minted string ensemble Archetti's eloquent performance is just in time for Mother's Day. Assuming your mom is into rebellion, 18th Century-style.
May 9-10, 3 p.m. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness. Tickets are $32-42 at (415) 392-4400.
Bobby McFerrin: You probably recognize Bobby McFerrin and his irrepressible grin from "Don't Worry Be Happy" (and you're probably cringing at the memory of the two baggy neon-hued t-shirts you were wearing at the time). But he's not just an '80s hit - Bobby McFerrin joined the noble ranks of Those Who Alter Music History when his nimble vocal chords blasted through what used to be considered the boundaries of the human voice. Sounding in turn like a saxophone, an operatic soprano, or an avian chorus, Mr. McFerrin often performs alone onstage, singing multiple parts in a capella and providing rhythm with his voice or his body.
Lisa Bielawa's Kafka Songs
Described by The New York Times as "ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart", Lisa Bielawa's music often draws from literary inspirations - this time from the more introspective of Franz Kafka's writings. Seven songs for violin and vocals (all performed by Carla Kihlstedt) comprise the aptly named Kafka Songs, in a program that also includes selections from Jürg Frey and Chou Wen-chung.
Jewish Community Center, 3200 California Street. March 4. Info at www.jccsf.org.
Sarah Chang in Recital
Quarteto Vivace Brasil: Young hipsters of the male persuasion tend to refer to Brazil as "that place with the hot girls" - with an occasional reference to tango (where there are also hot girls). But in addition to the women and the rainforests, Brazil also has some stunning classical music, namely, Quarteto Vivace Brasil. The quartet features some of Brazil's best musicians - two guitarists, a percussionist, and a flautist - who play with an energy that makes Brazilian sambas and Argentinian tangos pop. Their premiere U.S. tour will also feature selections by Handel, Bizet, and American ragtime. No word on how hot the musicians are, but once they start to play, you'll probably stop caring.
By performing chamber music in bars and cafes, Classical Revolution aims to alter people's perception of classical music; namely, that it's inaccessible and the bastion of gray-haired octogenarians. By playing in venues of the young and hip, local artists of varying pedigree - students or recent grads of top conservatories and accomplished non-professional musicians - help thread classical music through San Francisco's nightlife. Proving that classical music is still relevant, no matter what Lady GaGa might tell you.
Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St. every Sunday night. For information, visit www.classicalrevolution.org.
October in our fair city is definitely a-buzz. Last week, San Francisco swayed to the sounds of the renown Bluegrass Festival. This weekend, it's President's Cup golf tourney and the Blue Angels.
But with the season’s lengthening shadows and rain on the horizon, doesn’t a night at home listening to great music sound divine?