Nicholas PhanTenor
Gabriel KahanePiano

Nicholas Phan & Gabriel Kahane

Sunday, July 18, 2021 | 2pm

Herbst TheatreVenue InformationSan Francisco

$65/$55/$45

About This Performance

This concert orbits the world premiere of Gabriel Kahane’s Final Privacy Song, a setting of a new text which finds its author—the acclaimed poet Matthew Zapruder—grappling with our ever-shifting relationships to nature and technology. Tracing these themes from present to past and back again, the program juxtaposes Kahane's music with a selection of Schubert songs: prophetic miniatures that chronicle the earth's beauty, its divinity, and the sublime terror—found in nature—that brings us closer to an understanding of the human condition.

Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Described by the Boston Globe as “one of the world’s most remarkable singers,” American tenor Nicholas Phan is increasingly recognized as an artist of distinction. An artist with an incredibly diverse repertoire that spans nearly 500 years of music, he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies. Phan is also an avid recitalist and a passionate advocate for art song and vocal chamber music; in 2010, Phan co-founded Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC), an organization devoted to promoting this underserved repertoire.

A celebrated recording artist, Phan’s most recent album, Clairières, a recording of songs by Lili and Nadia Boulanger, was nominated for the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. His album, Gods and Monsters, was nominated for the same award in 2017. Phan’s growing discography also includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony, as well as the world premiere recording Elliott Carter’s A Sunbeam’s Architecture.

Sought after as a curator and programmer, in addition to his work as artistic director of CAIC, Phan has also created programs for broadcast on WFMT and WQXR, and served as guest curator for projects with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Laguna Beach Music Festival, Apollo’s Fire, and San Francisco Performances, where he served as the vocal artist-in-residence from 2014–2018. Phan’s programs often examine themes of identity, highlight unfairly underrepresented voices from history, and strive to underline the relevance of music from all periods to the currents of the present day.

Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work increasingly exists at the intersection of art and social practice. Hailed as “one of the finest songwriters of the day” by The New Yorker, he is known to haunt basement rock clubs and august concert halls alike, where you’ll likely find him in the green room, double-fisting coffee and a book.

He has released four albums as a singer-songwriter, including, most recently, the intimate Book of Travelers (Nonesuch Records), which Rolling Stone called “a stunning portrait of a singular moment in America.” As a composer, he has been commissioned by many of America’s leading arts institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Public Theater, which in 2012 presented his musical February House.

In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere in Portland of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form, a work that explores inequality in America through the lens of housing issues. The piece was released as an album in March of 2020 and is scheduled for performance by half a dozen other American orchestras in the coming years.

Kahane’s discography also includes 2014’s The Ambassador, which received an acclaimed staging at BAM, directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Tiffany; an album of chamber music, The Fiction Issue, with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and vocalist/composer Shara Nova; a recording with The Knights of his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest; as well as the original cast album for February House.

A frequent collaborator across a range of musical communities, Gabriel has worked with an array of artists including Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, Caroline Shaw, and Chris Thile. After nearly two decades in Brooklyn, Kahane relocated with his family to Portland, Oregon, in March of 2020. Their freakishly self-possessed cat, Roscoe Greebletron Jones III, when not under investigation for securities fraud, continues his fruitless attempts to monetize his Instagram account.

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