Vocal Series

What’s inside a song’s story and behind an engaging, emotional performance can be the true art of any great singer. This season’s vocal artists excel at achieving a direct, visceral connection with audiences through captivating performances of song-stories and a deep understanding of their meaning and relevance. Read more…

Composers inherently understand the intimate power of songs and the unique bond they create between singer and listener. For their part, audiences see themselves in songs perhaps more than any other form; they give voice to thoughts and inspire self-reflection. For all these reasons, San Francisco Performances remains an international champion of the art of the song recital, one of the nation’s few remaining presenters to celebrate the world’s great singers and songs, both old and new.

Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard will pay homage to Leonard Bernstein, who was a pivotal force in translating and transforming the European song cycle and oratorio tradition into an American idiom that can be related to by all. “[Isabel] Leonard is a true treasure…immensely talented and charismatic…already one of the world’s leading artists though still relatively early in her career.” —New York Classical Review

Dawn Upshaw, Gil Kalish and So Percussion perform a program focusing on the expansive limits of song, including the Bay Area premiere of a new work by young American Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw and George Crumb’s Winds of Destiny. Both ground-breaking composers expanded vocal techniques and forms to create a dynamic space between traditional European classical vocal music, and the worlds of avant-garde or pop music.

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee’s program explores the range of songs from the unbridled Romanticism of Schumann’s beloved Dichterliebe cycle to the Bay Area premiere of a new work by rising star composer Tyshawn Sorey.

The music of Europe’s Belle Epoque, the early 20th-century era of optimism, peace and prosperity, inspires tenor Nicholas Phan’s evening of music by Chausson, Hahn, Debussy and others. Show less…


You can create a Make-Your-Own-Series by choosing four or more performances from our entire season. Make-Your-Own Series are not available online—please call (415) 677-0325.