San Francisco International Piano Festival Announces Third Season
The third annual San Francisco International Piano Festival will present 14 concerts in 11 Bay Area venues, from August 15 to 25, featuring works of more than 25 composers covering nearly three centuries of music.
The festival is produced by the New Piano Collective, founded in 2016 by Bay Area pianist, Jeffrey LaDeur. This year's festival will present the full complement of New Piano Collective artists performing a wide range of solo piano works along with instrumental and vocal chamber music.
Joining the pianists of the New Piano Collective for this year's festival will be soprano Kayleen Sanchez, mezzo soprano Kindra Scharich, violinist Eka Gogichashvili, the Alexander String Quartet, and Scott Pingel, principal bass of the San Francisco Symphony.
"This year's festival is an extension and crystallization of our mission to integrate the identity of the artists with the programming, combining old and new works, celebrating the piano in all its incarnations," said LaDeur, who serves as the festival's executive and artistic director. "Each concert venue offers a unique experience to the listener, and it is my hope that all in our audience feel welcome to access this incredible music in a way that is authentic and meaningful for them."
Presenting partnerships include Old First Concerts, Berkeley Freight and Salvage, the Empress Theatre in Vallejo, and Noontime Concerts at its established venue in Old St. Mary's Church and now, for the first time, at the San Francisco Mint.
Overview and highlights
The festival begins Thursday, August 15, with an opening concert and champagne reception at Piedmont Center for the Arts. In addition to performances of Schubert, Schumann, Grieg, Ravel and Bernstein by Bobby Mitchell, Paul Sanchez and Kayleen Sanchez, and Jeffrey LaDeur, the event will include a preview of the entire festival and an opportunity to meet many of the festival artists.
On Friday, August 16, at Berkeley Freight and Salvage, Bobby Mitchell will perform the US premiere of Frederich Rzewski's Songs of Insurrection (2016) which draws from protest songs of many cultures. Mitchell is one of the leading exponents of Rzewski's music and has championed such works as Ruins (2015), War Songs (2008) and the iconic 36 variations on The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (1975) which was presented at the inaugural San Francisco International Piano Festival in 2017.
Old First Concerts will feature a special 10 p.m. candlelight performance, Saturday, August 17, of David Gordon's Mysteria Incarnationis written in 2015. Violinist Eka Gogichashvili will join pianist Paul Sanchez and soprano Kayleen Sanchez for the performance which calls for two grand pianos, one of which is prepared, an upright piano of unequal temperament, percussion, singing glasses, and more. Gordon draws on selections of fourth-century poet Ephram the Syrian's Hymns on the Nativity which will be sung in Syriac.
On Sunday, August 18, Albert Kim performs a recital of Schumann, Philippe Manoury, Charles Koechlin, and more at the historic San Francisco Mint, co-presented with Noontime Concerts.
Pianists Igor Lipinski and Jeffrey LaDeur will present a special evening of music, magic, storytelling and comedy at Berkeley Freight and Salvage, Wednesday, August 21. Lipinski's international reputation as a magician earned him praise from Penn and Teller, and LaDeur's unique combination of artistry and wit are on display in his Concert Confidential which premiered at the 2018 San Francisco International Festival to great acclaim.
Johnandrew Slominski and Eunmi Ko perform Thursday, August 22, at Vallejo's historic Empress Theatre. Slominski's elegant pianism will shine in Mozart's dramatic Sonata in A Minor K.310 and Brahms' exquisite Piano Pieces Op.118. In stark contrast, Eunmi Ko will present two contemporary works inspired by the cosmos: David Liptak's Constellations and George Crumb's Makrokosmos Book II. Mr. Crumb celebrates his 90th birthday this year and has long been one of the most beloved and influential composers of our time. Ko's hypnotic performance at the Empress in 2018 led to her return engagement by popular demand.
The San Francisco International Piano Festival begins its closing weekend Friday, August 23, with an intimate afternoon concert at the Legion of Honor's enchanting Gunn Theater. In addition to solo piano works by Chopin and Liszt, founder and artistic director Jeffrey LaDeur will be joined by renowned mezzo soprano Kindra Scharich in Faure's glorious song cycle La Bonne Chanson op.61. Albert Kim, fellow New Piano Collective artist and festival favorite, joins the program for Schubert's Variations on an original Theme D.813 for piano duet.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music's Concert Hall will be the setting Saturday, August 24, for an extraordinary evening of Beethoven transformed by Liszt. Beethoven's universally beloved 9th Symphony op.125 will be performed by Bobby Mitchell in a stunning transcription for solo piano by Liszt. The finale will include vocal soloists and choral ensemble.
The festival will conclude on Sunday, August 25, with a grand Festival Finale at Herbst Theater, honoring the life of Thomas C. LaDeur, father of founder and artistic director Jeffrey LaDeur. This memorial concert will feature LaDeur with the Alexander String Quartet, mezzo soprano Kindra Scharich, and principal bass of the San Francisco Symphony, Scott Pingel. Special guests Daria Rabotkina and Albert Kim will perform Ravel's disarmingly poignant Mother Goose Suite for piano four hands, and LaDeur will perform concerti by Mozart and Beethoven, joined by Ms. Scharich in Mozart's unique concert aria "Ch'io my scordi di te" K.505 for mezzo soprano, piano, and strings.
In addition to those mentioned, NPC pianists Daria Rabotkina, Jiyang Chen and Owen Zhou will perform at festival concerts.
The San Francisco International Piano Festival is committed to offering affordable ticket prices and creating accessibility for as many as possible. To that end, two FREE events are co-presented with Noontime Concerts on August 18 at Old St. Mary's and August 20 at the San Francisco Mint. Ticket prices range depending on depending on venue and co-presenting organization. Two free events are co-presented with Noontime Concerts on August 20 at Old St. Mary's and at the San Francisco Mint on August 18. Most events offer discounts for students, seniors and those new to classical music in addition to FREE tickets for those 18 and under. All events and links to ticketing can be found at sfpiano.org.