Though there are fewer big presenters in the South Bay, you don't have to trek north to find great artists playing seriously entertaining music. Here are a few best bets in the San Jose-Palo Alto area.
Canin returns to the New Century Chamber Orchestra
The NCCO's founding music director and former San Francisco Symphony concertmaster, Stuart Canin, returns to the stage to play Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in D Minor (that's the other Mendelssohn violin concerto). Also on the program: Bartók's crisp and enjoyable Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Rodion Shchedrin's utterly wacky and delightful re-orchestration of music from Bizet's Carmen, also for strings and percussion. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg leads from the first chair.
Sept. 22, 8 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley, Sept. 23, 8 p.m., First United Methodist Church; Sept. 24, 8 p.m., Herbst Theatre, San Francisco; Sept. 25, 5 pm, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, San Rafael, $29-$49, (415) 392-4400.
More information: Carmen Revisited
Polivnick and Amram at Symphony Silicon Valley
The symphony orchestra in San José kicks off its season with the return of Paul Polivnick, one of its most acclaimed conductors, and David Amram's jazz-influenced Triple Concerto, which Polivnick successfully led here in 2005. Also on the program: Holst's colorful The Planets, a popular work new to the SSV repertoire.
Oct. 1, 8 p.m.; Oct. 2, 2:30 p.m., California Theatre, San José, $39-$75, (408) 286-2600.
More information: Symphony Silicon Valley
Inon Barnatan at Menlo
[email protected]'s winter series begins with a concert preferring the subtle over the flashy. Pianist Inon Barnatan gives a solo recital of mostly dark-hued music by Schubert, Debussy, Ravel, and contemporary British composers Ronald Stevenson (his fantasy on Britten's Peter Grimes) and Thomas Adès.
Oct. 2, 4 p.m., Menlo-Atherton Center for the Performing Arts, Atherton, $20-$50, (650) 331-0202.
More information: Music at Menlo Winter Series
Golijov premiere by the St. Lawrence Quartet
The South Bay's major premiere of the season is a new work by the leading Argentinian-born composer Osvaldo Golijov, performed by the St. Lawrence String Quartet in the Stanford Lively Arts series. It's paired with Schubert's last, glorious quartet, in G Major, and Haydn's Op. 76, No. 2.
Oct. 23, 2:30 p.m., Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford, $10-$50, (650) 725-2787.
More information: Sundays With the St. Lawrence
Cypress Quartet and Gary Hoffman
The Cypress String Quartet is bringing in renowned cellist Gary Hoffman to help them play Schubert's masterpiece, the String Quintet in C Major. The Cypress foursome will also perform Beethoven's Op. 95, and Hoffman will display the suite for solo cello by Gaspar Cassadó, a pupil of the great Pablo Casals. Part of the San Jose Chamber Music Society series.
Oct. 23, 7 p.m., Le Petit Trianon, San José, $27-$42, (408) 286-5111.
More information:San Jose Chamber Music
Voiceless Wagner in Redwood City
Do you secretly prefer Wagner's The Nibelung's Ring without singers, but would like something longer than the traditional concert chunks? The Redwood Symphony offers Lorin Maazel's "symphonic synthesis" of the whole Ring cycle: It's like an hour-long Richard Strauss tone poem, except it's by Wagner. Also on the program: Rachmaninov's almost equally epic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, with pianist Daniel Glover. Eric Kujawsky conducts.
Nov. 19, 8 p.m., Cañada College Theatre, Redwood City, $10-$25, (650) 366-6872.
More information: Redwood Symphony
String Quintets at Kohl Mansion
Most string quintets, other than Schubert's, don't get played often. The San Francisco Symphony Chamber Musicians have the personnel to do it. They will perform Mozart's K. 516 in G Minor and Mendelssohn's Op. 87 in B-flat Major, two of the finest chamber works by these great composers, in the hall of Kohl Mansion, a small space made for great chamber performances.
Dec. 18, 7 p.m., Kohl Mansion, Burlingame, $15-$45, (650) 762-1130.
More information: Music at Kohl