Past Seasons: 2010-2011

Silent Night, Noisy Night

Fly with us from 17th century Spain, through England, Latvia, Romania, Sweden, and Haiti to 21st century North America for both joyous celebration and quiet contemplation of this holiday.

The Reviews Are In: Best Christmas Concert Ever!
It debuted last weekend in Palo Alto and SF to rave reviews and a standing ovation. “Absolutely the best Christmas concert I have ever been to, bar none! The diversity of music and styles and sounds you created were just amazing and beautiful! I am so glad I came tonight!” &mdash from a first-time SFCA concert goer. “I have been to a lot of your concerts, and this was one of the best I’ve ever heard – the range of music, the programming, everything!” — from a long-time SFCA concert goer.

Some favorites include a gorgeous arrangement of Silent Night, a surprisingly simple but magical processional called Evergreen, the beautiful Swedish carol Jul, Jul, a mysterious and powerful song from New Zealand’s Maori tradition, a thrilling Gaudete (Rejoice!), Latvian and Romanian songs, and some Early Music too. Mostly unaccompanied, but a bit of guitar, cello, drumming, and bells make SFCA “Noisy.”

Includes works of Early Music composers Byrd and Nanino;  contemporary works by Desamours, Jansons, Joubert, Karai, Lemacher, Nordqvist, Paynter, Pilkington, Pinkham, Sametz, Vald, and Willan; and 2 world premieres — from 2010 Composer-In-Residence Richard Feliciano and Australian Composer-Not-in-Residence Stephen Leek.


Sat, Dec 4, 2010; 8 PM

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
600 Colorado Ave, Palo Alto

San Francisco

Sun, Dec 5, 2010; 4 PM

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
1111 O’Farrell St, San Francisco


Sat, Dec 11, 2010; 8 PM

Montgomery Chapel
Bolinas Ave. at Richmond, San Anselmo

East Bay

Sun, Dec 12, 2010; 4 PM

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
114 Montecito Ave, Oakland

With Strings Attached: SFCA meets The Alexander String Quartet

The Choral Artists and the renowned Alexander String Quartet, two of the Bay Area’s beloved and wide-ranging chamber ensembles, come together for the first time in a landmark program of new compositions for chamber choir and string quartet. Together, they explore the rich sonic and emotional palette of this unusual musical configuration in rarely performed classics and new works by important contemporary composers.

Major new commissioned works by North American Composers Paul Seiko Chihara, Michael Gandolfi, and Veronika Krausas are paired with the romantic outpourings of Brahms Quartets Opus 92 — in a lush new transcription for choir and string quartet — and Beethoven’s tender Elegischer Gesang. A “Meet the Composers panel” 45 minutes before each concert offers the audience insight into the creative processes behind the three major new works.

Canadian composer Veronika Krausas pays tribute to San Francisco in language of the birds, a swirling and “slightly demented” musical riff on Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poetic portrait of San Francisco, with sounds ranging from atmospheric evocations of nature to whimsical depictions of birds. Paul Chihara draws on the sumptuous poetry of Paul Verlaine in his plush setting of the poet’s famous night song, Clair de lune, and Michael Gandolfi draws on two image-rich poems of Amy Lowell in Winter Light. Brahms’ intensely personal Quartets move from the intimate to cosmic questions of life and art, while Beethoven’s rarely-performed elegy depicts a spiritual homecoming. The program is rounded out with a cappella works by Composer-In-Residence Richard Feliciano (Dawn, a world premiere) and favorites by Composer-Not-in-Residence Stephen Leek and past Composer-Not-in-Residence Christopher Marshall; plus transcriptions for string quartet only of Brahms Intermezzo in A major, Op. 118, No. 2 and Ballade in D major, Op. 10, No. 2.

About the Composers:
– Paul Chihara, b 1938; Composition Professor in the Music for Film department at UCLA. His music crosses boundaries: 12-tone/tonal, Asian/American, Academic/Hollywood, instrumental/choral/ballet. “I was one person working in the movies and another person writing for the concert stage. Now I seem to be the same person.”

– Michael Gandolfi, b 1956; Chair Composition Department at the New England Conservatory. The Atlanta School of Composition says of his work: “tuneful, tonal and inspired by world and popular music.” For more info, explore Garden of Cosmic Speculation, QED: Engaging Richard Feynman, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

– Veronika Krausas, b 1963; Assistant Professor in the Composition Department at Thornton School, University of Southern California. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) writes that “her works, whose organic, lyrical sense of storytelling are supported by a rigid formal elegance, give her audiences a sense that nature’s frozen objects are springing to life.”

– Richard Felciano, b 1930; SFCA Composer-In-Residence, is Professor Emeritus in Composition at the UC Berkeley Department of Music. SFCA has performed serveral of his works.

– Stephen Leek, b 1959; SFCA Composer-Not-in-Residence, is a well-known Australian composer. His stunning new work for SFCA’s December 2010 concerts earned a mid-concert standing ovation!

– SFCA’s 2010 Composer-Not-in-Residence, New Zealander Christopher Marshall wowed audiences last season with his moving tale of a would-be migrant adrift at sea. It’s back by popular demand.

San Francisco

Sat, May 7, 2011; 8 PM

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
1111 O’Farrell St, San Francisco

East Bay

Sat, May 14, 2011; 8 PM

St. Paul’s Episcopal ChuSt. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Oaklandrch
114 Montecito Ave, Oakland


Sun, May 15, 2011; 4 PM

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
600 Colorado Ave, Palo Alto

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