Front Row: 2020 Online Concert Series

While we can’t be together to enjoy beautiful live music right now, we hope you will join us to listen to some memorable concerts from the past, as well as new recordings of artists and programs coming up in the future. As we come to the end of our 40th anniversary year, let’s celebrate our history while looking forward to continuing to do what we do best—bringing great artists and audiences together for transformative, live arts experiences.

Pavel Haas Quartet | Sunday, April 3, 2011
Pavel Haas Quartet

While we had looked forward to the return of the Pavel Haas Quartet, in partnership with pianist Boris Giltburg, this past March, we must now look ahead to their return in a future season. Since their formation in 2002, the PHQ has become one of Europe’s most exciting and beloved chamber ensembles. We’re delighted to be able to offer this archival recording of their San Francisco Performances debut concert from 2011.

—Melanie Smith

Download the original program notes for this concert

Veronika Jarůšková, violin
Eva Karová, violin
Pavel Nikl, viola
Peter Jarůšek, cello

Schulhoff Quartet No. 1
 Presto con fuoco
 Allegretto con moto e con malinconia grotesca
 Allegro giocoso alla slovacca
 Andante molto sostenuto
Debussy Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
 Animé et très décidé
 Assez vif et bien rhythmé
 Andantino doucement expressif
 Très modéré; Très mouvementé et avec passion
Haas Quartet No. 2, Op. 7
“From the Monkey Mountains”

 Landscape (Andante)
 Coach, Coachman and Horse (Andante)
 The Moon and I (Largo e misterioso)
 Wild Night (Vivace e con fuoco)

Original performance was made possible in part through the generous support of James and Kathleen Leak.

Richard Goode, piano | Friday, January 22, 2010
Richard Goode

We were delighted to welcome legendary pianist Richard Goode as guest artist for our 40th season gala last fall. It was a great way to begin this season, and to celebrate our milestone year. Here’s a recording from another great evening with him, a few years back. We look forward to sharing in his artistry again, in person, in the future.

—Melanie Smith

Download the original program notes for this concert
Bach The Well Tempered Clavier, Book II
 Prelude and Fugue in F-sharp minor, BWV 883
 Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 884
Haydn Piano Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI:21
 Finale: Presto
  Piano Sonata in C minor, Hob. XVI:20
 Andante con moto
 Finale: Allegro
  Piano Sonata in G Major, Hob. XVI:40
 Allegretto e innocente
Schumann Kreisleriana, Op. 16
 Ausserst bewegt
 Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch
 Sehr aufgeregt
 Sehr langsam
 Sehr lebhaft
 Sehr langsam
 Sehr rasch
 Schnell und spielend

Original performance was a Shenson Piano Series performance made possible by Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation and was sponsored by Concert Partners: Anonymous, in memory of Peter F. Ostwald, M.D.; David and Judith Preves Anderson; the Rev. Richard Fabian; Dr. Daniel J. Fourrier Jr.; Ellen Friedman; Frederick D. Hammer; Mr. James Hayward; Kim and Judith Maxell; and Robert and Adelle Rosenzweig.

Alexander String Quartet and Eli Eban, clarinet | Mozart String Quintet

Frederick Lifsitz, Sandy Wilson and Eli Eban introduce this week’s Front Row Concert featuring the Alexander String Quartet/Eli Eban recording of Mozart’s Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, KV 581. We will also be featuring their recording of Brahm’s Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 in a future Front Row concert. The Alexander String Quartet will be appearing in our upcoming season with Robert Greenberg for our Saturday Morning Series and in a special Beethoven Marathon of 2 performances in December.

The Alexander String Quartet has been Ensemble-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances for 25 years. We are honored to be able to present them in a variety of concerts each year. Their final performance of this season was scheduled for Saturday, May 16, and we had hoped to have a special toast to them, with all of you, to celebrate the Quartet and their ongoing relationship with SFP. But since we can't do that right now, we're thrilled to offer this preview of their upcoming CD, featuring the clarinet quintets of Mozart (this week) and Brahms (in a future installment of Front Row), with clarinetist Eli Eban. I hope you will enjoy this beautiful new recording, in anticipation of its public release in August.

—Melanie Smith

Download the program notes for this recording

Zakarias Grafilo, violin
Frederick Lifsitz, violin
Paul Yarbrough, viola
Sandy Wilson, cello
Eli Eban, clarinet

Mozart Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, KV 581
  Menuetto—Trio I—Trio II
  Allegretto con Variazioni

Recorded at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Belvedere, CA on June 10–14, 2019

Tracks from the upcoming Foghorn Classics release: Brahms & Mozart Clarinet Quintets

Jerusalem Quartet | YouTube Playlist

Violist Ori Kam of the Jerusalem Quartet introduces this week’s Front Row Concert of Jerusalem Quartet video performances.

We were looking forward to presenting the Jerusalem Quartet for the first time this past March, and now plans are being made to reschedule that concert for next season. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy this special video performance by the quartet, in anticipation of their return sometime next fall.

—Melanie Smith


Alexander Pavlovsky, violin
Sergei Bresler, violin
Ori Kam, viola
Kyril Zlotnikov, cello

Mozart String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K. 421
  Allegro moderato
  Menuetto and Trio.Allegretto
  Allegretto ma non troppo

Recorded at the Scubertiade Hohenems
Shostakovich String Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73
  Moderato con moto
  Allegro non troppo
  Adagio (attacca)

Recorded at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2013)
Brahms String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51
  Romanze, Poco adagio
  Allegretto molto moderatro e comodo

Recorded at Concert Hall of the Marlinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg (2013)
Debussy String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
  Andantino, doucement expressif

Recorded at the Scubertiade Hohenems
Dubravka Tomšič, piano | Saturday, April 26, 2008
Dubravka Tomšič

We are honored to share this archival concert recording of Dubravka Tomšič, from 2008. She was the only protégé of the legendary Artur Rubinstein, who considered her “a perfect and marvelous pianist.” While not widely known in this country, Ms. Tomšič’s regal demeanor and virtuosity, combined with passion and subtlety, make her truly one of the great artists of our time.

—Melanie Smith

Download the original program notes for this concert
Please note that the Brahms Intermezzo in A Major, Opus 118, No. 2 listed in the program notes is not included in this recording for technical reasons.
Wolfgang Amadeus
Adagio in B minor, K. 540
Domenico Scarlatti Sonata in C Major, K. 159
Sonata in C minor, K. 11
Sonata in G Major, K. 125
Sonata in D Major, K. 29
Serge Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op.28
 Allegro tempestoso; Moderato; Allegro tempestoso
Alojz Srebotnjak Macedonian Dances
 Allegro vivace
 Allegro rustico
Johannes Brahms Intermezzo in A minor, Op. 118, No. 1
Intermezzo in E-flat minor, Op. 118, No. 6
Rhapsody in E-flat Major, Op. 119, No. 4
van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata”
 Allegro assai
 Andanate con moto
 Allegro ma non troppo
Frédéric Chopin Waltz No. 7 in C-Sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2
Waltz No. 6 in D-Flat Major, Op. 64, No. 1
SF Performances’ 25th Anniversary Album | 2004–05

President Melanie Smith introduces our special Front Row Concert celebrating our 40th Anniversary.



RUTH A. FELT Remarks
Frédéric Chopin Étude in A-Flat Op. 25, No. 1
Bagatelle, Op. 5
LUCIA POPP, soprano and HERMANN PREY, baritone
Hugo Wolf From Italienisches Liederbuch:
“Auch kleine Dinge”
“Du denks mit einem Fadchen”
“Und wilst du deinen Liebsten”
“Ein Stanchen Euch zu bringen”
“Benedeit die selge Mutter”
“Ich Hab in Penna Einen Liebsten wohen”
Thelonius Monk Round Midnight
Jerome Kern All the Things You Are
Billy Taylor It’s a Grand Night for Swinging
Various I Can Tell the World
The Battle of Jericho
John Dowland Come again: Sweet love doth now invite
Can she excuse my wrongs
Edvard Grieg Violin Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 45
Heitor Villa-Lobos Étude No. 11
Dmitri Shostakovich String Quartet No. 12 in D-flat Major, Op. 133
LANG LANG, piano
Frédéric Chopin Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58
Sérgio and Odair Assad | Sunday, November 20, 2005
Sérgio and Odair Assad

The Spanish and Latin American program played by Sérgio and Odair Assad for this performance showcases what these brothers do best—combine their individual virtuosity with a remarkable unity of soul and feeling. Following in the tradition and legacy of the late great Andrés Segovia, the Assads are truly classical guitar super heroes.

SF Performances looks forward to presenting the Assad brothers once again on January 30, 2021. Until then, I hope you enjoy this memorable concert from their 2005 visit to the Herbst Theatre.

—Melanie Smith

Download the original program notes for this concert
Please note that there were some changes announced from the stage so some of the details in the PDF file are incorrect.
Issac Albéniz Cordoba from Cantos de Espana
Joaquín Rodrigo Tonadilla para dos guitarras
 Allegro ma non troppo
 Minueto Pomposo
 Allegro vivace
Sérgio Assad Tahhiyya li Ossoulina
Astor Piazzolla Invierno Porteño from Las cuatro estaciones porteñas
Zita from Suite Troileana (Announced from Stage)
Jacob Bittencourt Noites Cariocas
Clarice Assad Valsas do Rio
 I. Arcos da Lapa
 II. Laranjeiras
 III. Central do Brasil
Egberto Gismonti Two Works
 Agua e Vinho
 Sete Aneis
Roland Dyens Hillerod from Côtè Nord
Leo Brouwer Danzas concertantes
 Molto vivace

Original performance was presented in association with the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Trio Mediaeval | Sunday, March 25, 2007
Trio Mediaeval

I was very fortunate to be present at the debut concert of Trio Mediaeval for San Francisco Performances back in 2005, For someone who loves vocal music and early music, the extraordinary clarity of this ensemble took my breath away. And as Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle said about them, “To hear the group’s note-perfect counterpoint is to be astonished at what the human voice is capable of.”

SF Performances looks forward to presenting Trio Mediaeval once again on March 6, 2021. Until then I hope you enjoy this memorable concert from one of the group’s previous visits to the Herbst Theatre.

—Melanie Smith

Download the original program notes for this concert
Please note that there were some changes announced from the stage so some of the details in the PDF file are incorrect. The program listing below reflects the recording accurately.
St. Godric
of Finchale

Arr. Trio
Three medieval songs
Sainte Marië Viërgenë
Crist and Sainte Marië
Sainte Nicholas, Godes Druth
England, 13th C.
Three-voice conductus:
Flos Regalis
Beata Viscera
Quem Trina Polluit
Italy, 13th C.
Laude Novella
Solo: Torunn Østrem Ossum
Sungji Hong
(b. 1973)
Kyrie from ”Missa Lumen de Lumine” (2002)*
Italy, 13th C.
Benedicti e llaudati
Solo: Linn Andrea Fuglseth
Gavin Bryars
(b. 1943)
Ave regina gloriosa (Lauda VII) (2003)*
Sungji Hong
(b. 1973)
Agnus Dei from ”Missa Lumen de Lumine” (2002)*
England, 13th C.
Three-voice conductus:
Salve Mater misericordie
Salve Virgo Virginum
England, 13th C.
Two-voice motet with drone
Dou way Robyn/Sancta Mater
Italy, 13th C.
Venite a Laudare
Solo: Anna Maria Friman
Andrew Smith
(b. 1970)
Quam Pulchera es (2006)*
Regina caeli (2002)*
Ave maris stella (2004)*
Italy, 13th C.
Oi me lasso
Traditional Vestfold
Arr. Tone Krohn
Den elskte Jerusalem
Arr. Linn Andrea
Eg veit i himmerik ei borg
Traditional Telemark
Arr. Linn Andrea
Nu solen går ned
Arr. Tiriltunga
Eg aktar inkje

* Written for Trio Mediaeval

Original performance was made possible in part throught the generous support of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Marc-André Hamelin | Saturday, April 29, 2006
Marc-André Hamelin

To kick off our Front Row Concert Series, we're featuring perennial piano favorite Marc-André Hamelin from a concert in April 2006 playing a program of Schubert, Vladigerov, Wagner, Verdi and Bellini.

Download the original program notes for this concert
Franz Schubert Piano Sonata in A Major, K.664
Allegro moderato
Pantcho Vladigerov Sonatine Concertante, Opus 28
Con moto
Animato giocoso
Richard Wagner—
Franz Liszt
Isoldens Liebestod: Schlußszene aus Tristan und Isolde
Giuseppe Verdi—
Franz Liszt
Ernani: Paraphrase de concert
Vincenzo Bellini—
Franz Liszt
Reminiscences de Norma
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These archival recordings were not created with the intent of public viewing and therefore do not meet typical quality standards for broadcast/streaming.