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.
Hamburg's Musical Brothel
How can you not want to hear something called Hamburg's Musical Brothel? Exactly. Sure, the word brothel implies gilt, dusty red curtains and, well, hookers - most of which will probably be lacking - but the music will be superb. Hamburg was a mecca of late 17th- to early 18th-century music and home to composers like Reincken (flamboyant organist of Hamburg's largest church and friend of the young Bach), Butehude, Theile, and Pachelbel (Canon in D is the song playing at every second wedding you've attended). Come hear pieces from Hamburg's hopping music scene, circa 1721.
Most Holy Redeemer Church, January 9 at 2 p.m. and January 10 at 5 p.m. Tickets $15-20 at (510) 528-1685.
New Music by Composer George Benjamin with the San Francisco Symphony
George Benjamin is one of those aggravatingly talented people whose debut at the tender young age of 20 landed him a solid spot in the world of classical music. Older, but just as talented and more accomplished, this English composer's music is colorful and enthralling. The San Francisco Symphony will play two of his new pieces.
Davies Symphony Hall, January 9-10 at 8 p.m. Tickets $15-130 at (415) 864-6000
Yo-Yo Ma with Members of the San Francisco Symphony
Everyone's heard of Yo-Yo Ma, even if it's thanks to an old episode of The West Wing. The celebrated cellist will perform Brahms's Concerto for Violin and Cello and Shostakovich's Cello Concerto with members of the San Francisco Symphony. The lavish harmonies of Brahms will take you back to the Romantic era when women fainted at the sight of composers like Liszt (the Ringo Starr of the day) and Shostakovich takes you back to 1966 when Ringo Starr was the Ringo Starr of the day and the cello was slightly less faint-worthy. But feel free to faint all you like - the man can do some amazing things with those strings.
Davies Symphony Hall, January 20-23, 8:00 PM. Tickets: $15-130 at (415) 864-6000.
Adam Tendler spent a year living out of his car and presenting free lecture-recitals of modern American music in all fifty states, a feat made even more impressive by his complete lack of outside funding. A celebrated pianist, Tendler's compositions are as bold as his willingness to clock unpaid time in every state of the union for a classical music outreach initiative. But you won't be hearing those, because he's performing sonatas and interludes by John Cage.
Old First Church, January 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets $14-17 at (415) 474-1608.