Theo BleckmannVocalist
Telegraph Quartet

Theo Bleckmann & Telegraph Quartet

Eric Chin, violin
Joseph Maile, violin
Pei-Ling Lin, viola
Jeremiah Shaw, cello

Gary Versace, piano/accordion/melodica

Saturday, January 25, 2020 | 7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information
San Francisco

$60/$50/$45

Program

Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile by KURT WEILL, HANNS EISLER, KRAFTWERK, CHARLES IVES, RICHARD STRAUSS, CARL LOEWE, FRIEDRICH HOLLAENDER, MISCHA SPOLIANSKY, THEO MAKEBEN, RICHARD RODGERS and others

Performance Sponsors

Susan S. Blake, Individual Sponsor

About This Performance

Category-defying German composer/vocalist Theo Bleckmann joins the adventurous Telegraph Quartet in an evening of Berlin cabaret songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile. “Theo Bleckmann sounds like he can sing anything.” (Boston Globe)

Performer Biographies

Grammy nominated jazz singer and new music composer Theo Bleckmann’s diverse recorded work includes albums of Las Vegas standards, Weimar art songs, and popular “bar songs” (all with pianist Fumio Yasuda); a recording of newly-arranged songs by Charles Ives (with jazz/rock collective Kneebody); and his acclaimed Hello Earth—The Music of Kate Bush. Bleckmann has most recently appeared as a special guest on recordings by Ambrose Akinmusire for Blue Note Records and Julia Hülsmann’s trio for ECM Records. In January 2017, ECM released Bleckmann’s recording with his new Elegy Quintet, produced by legendary label head and founder, Manfred Eicher. Bleckmann has collaborated with musicians, artists, actors and composers, including Ambrose Akinmusire, Laurie Anderson, Uri Caine, Philip Glass, Ann Hamilton, John Hollenbeck, Sheila Jordan, Phil Kline, David Lang, Kirk Nurock, Frances MacDormand, Ben Monder, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and, most prominently, Meredith Monk, with whom Bleckmann worked as a core ensemble member for over fifteen years. He has been interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and appeared on the David Letterman show with Laurie Anderson. In 2015, Bleckmann premiered a new work for the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and in 2016 he brought new work to the New York Philharmonic Biennial and the LA Philharmonic. Bleckmann has consistently appeared in the top-five spots in the DownBeat Critics’ Polls for Best Male Vocalist, and top-ten spots in their Readers’ Polls, and his work on Phil Kline’s Out Cold helped place that production on WQXR's Operavore “Best Opera of 2012”. In 2010, Bleckmann received the prestigious JAZZ ECHO award from the Deutsche Phono-Akademie in his native Germany.

The Telegraph Quartet was formed in 2013 with an equal passion for the standard chamber music repertoire as well as contemporary and non-standard repertoire, alike. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2017 as “…an incredibly valuable addition to the cultural landscape” and “powerfully adept…with a combination of brilliance and subtlety,” the Telegraph Quartet was most recently awarded the prestigious 2016 Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Award. Past prizes include the Grand Prize at the 2014 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. The Quartet has since gone on to perform in concert halls, music festivals, and academic institutions from Los Angeles and New York to Italy and Taiwan, including Carnegie Hall, San Francisco’s Herbst Recital Hall and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Chamber Masters Series and at festivals including the Chautauqua Institute, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and the Emilia Romagna Festival. In 2016, the Quartet was invited as one of a handful of emerging professional string quartets from around the world to perform in Paris, France at the Biennale de quatuors à cordes, a showcase for major concert presenters of Europe and Asia taking place at the Philharmonie de Paris.

The Telegraph Quartet gave its first Carnegie Hall appearance in Weill Recital Hall in 2015 along with violinist Ian Swensen and pianist Jeff LaDeur and the Quartet will return to Carnegie Hall in 2018 for its Naumburg Award Recital featuring the world premiere of Robert Sirota’s third string quartet. Notable collaborations have included projects with cellist Norman Fischer, pianist Simone Dinnerstein and the Henschel Quartett. A fervent champion of contemporary and 20th century repertoire, the Telegraph Quartet has co-commissioned John Harbison’s String Quartet No. 6, which is scheduled for its West Coast premiere in the fall of 2017 at San Francisco State University’s Morrison Artist Series. In 2017 the Quartet plans to release its debut album featuring works by Anton Webern, Benjamin Britten, and Leon Kirchner.

Beyond the concert stage, the Telegraph Quartet seeks to spread its music through education and audience engagement. During the 2017–18 Season, the Quartet will be travelling to communities and schools in Maine with Yellow Barn’s Music Haul, a mobile performance stage that brings music literally outside of the concert hall to communities across the U.S. The Quartet has given master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Collegiate and Pre-College Divisions, through the Morrison Artist Series at San Francisco State University and abroad at the Taipei National University of the Arts and National Taiwan Normal University. Members of the Quartet hold teaching positions in chamber music and private instruction at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s College and Pre-College programs. The Quartet has also worked in collaboration with the American luthier Douglas Cox, who created a set of instruments specifically to be performed together as a balanced quartet, featuring a performance and open-forum presentation of these instruments at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

While the Telegraph Quartet is indebted to numerous mentors and teachers, our primary musical guidance and support has come from Mark Sokol, Bonnie Hampton, and Ian Swensen, of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Telegraph Quartet is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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