February's Classical Music Offerings


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.

February 5 at 8 p.m. Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St. Tickets are $14-17 at (415) 474-1608.

Zodiac Trio: Blending a somewhat unusual trio of instruments - clarinet, violin, and piano - the Zodiac Trio is an up-and-coming young ensemble remarkable for both its light touch and "rare intensity" (via France's La Tribune). Featuring pieces by contemporary composers like Philip Glass, Paul Schoenfield, and Peter Schickele, this concert will focus on American chamber music and its roots in jazz, blues, and klezmer. Musical melting pot, ahoy.

February 7 at 4 p.m. Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St. Tickets are $14-17 at (415) 474-1608

Beethoven's Eroica: According to the Telegraph, Beethoven fans are the cleverest. (Beyonce fans - not so much.) So check out the San Francisco Symphony's performance of Eroica to claim your allegiance with the clever. Conducted by San Francisco Symphony Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, Eroica is a landmark in musical history. For the record, it's entirely possible to be a Beethoven fan and a Beyonce fan. Just sayin'.

February 18-20 at 2 & 8 p.m. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness. Tickets are $15-145 at (415) 864-6000.

Kronos Quartet: If you're fresh from a viewing of the sartorial disasters and big wins at the Grammys, this would be a good month to hear the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet at Theater Artaud. Continuing their 30-year odyssey to recreate the standard repertoire for a classical quartet, the show features Jon Rose's Music from 4 Fences which premiered at the Sydney Opera House last year. Playing on four specially-constructed fences, the quartet's new stage setup helps create an eclectic and unique sound. Paired with visual design by Willie Williams, of U2 tour designer fame, it's a unique evening of classical music. Unless you happen to find a violinist sitting on a fence somewhere, but it won't be the same.

Febraury 24-27 at 8 p.m. Theatre Artaud, 450 Florida St. Tickets are $20-25 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/96706.

Cypress Quartet: Walk into any symphony hall and you can expect to be greeted by a sea of gray heads. Classical music lost its grip on the younger generation somewhere, so hooking the ears of the current crop of whippersnappers has become the musical holy grail. Cypress Quartet, an innovative local group that does the whole record-CDs-tour-nationally thing, aims to help chamber music stay relevant for today's media-saturated audience. This performance - a piece commissioned from Boston composer Elena Reuhr - bridges that gap by investigating how literature (specifically, Ann Patchett's Bel Canto) can influence music. Literature as music seems to be the latest trendy hybrid.

February 26 at 8 p.m. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave. Tickets are $20-40 at www.cityboxoffice.com or (415) 392-4400.

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