Left Coast Chamber Ensemble
Left Coast Chamber Ensemble: Kurt Rohde, Jerome Simas, Leighton Fong, Nikki Einfeld, Anna Presler, Stacey Pelinka, Michel Taddei, Eric Zivian, Phyllis Kamrin, Tanya Tomkins | Credit: Bonnie Rae Mills

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble is turning 30, returning to all-live performances after the last two years’ difficulties, and adding to its leadership. Artistic Director Anna Presler told SF Classical Voice:

“Matilda Hofman, Left Coast’s conductor, is now sharing the artistic director job with me at Left Coast. In addition to having remarkable musical skills and knowledge, she is such a genuinely kind person. I’m exceedingly happy about having her as company in this venture.

Matilda Hofman
Conductor Matilda Hofman now shares the duties of artistic director

“Our managing director, Christina Ge, is also relatively new. She joined us last year and helped us steer through a million pandemic revisions and cancellations. It is great to have her on the team for what will be, we hope, a year when we can produce a season without having to deal with so many curveballs. She is a Bay Area native and a Cal grad with a background in law, business, and music. She is also a champion knitter and fits right in at LCCE.

“This spring, pianist Allegra Chapman became our newest musician member, teaming up with Eric Zivian for all our keyboard adventures, including next season’s ‘Wild Music.’ For this program, in January 2023, Eric and Allegra will play Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in the piano four hands version.”

The new season maintains Left Coast Chamber Ensemble’s tradition of presenting concerts with innovative combinations of old and new music. The programming features nine world premieres, including a bass quintet by Sky Macklay, a flute concerto by Josiah Catalan, and new chamber operas by Anthony R. Green and Kurt Rohde.

Older works from Brahms to Olivier Messiaen are presented alongside pieces by contemporary composers, including Carlos Simon, Nina Shekhar, and T.J. Anderson.

The season opens with “Up Next!” Sept. 18–19, featuring young composers, including 2020 Left Coast Composition Contest winner Sarah Westwood.

Sounds Divine,” Oct. 23–24, captures and translates sacred experiences into music with Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi, Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel, and works by T.J. Anderson, Errollyn Wallen, Maurice Ravel, Gabriel Fauré, and more.

With “Wild Music,” Jan. 29–30, 2023, nature beckons in the darkness of winter. On the program: Leoš Janáček’s On an Overgrown Path and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, alongside four new companion works commissioned by Left Coast.

Stacey Pelinka
Flutist Stacey Pelinka | Credit: Zach Miley

Tenderhooks and 4:30 Movie are featured on an opera program, April 29–30, 2023, two works by Anthony R. Green and Left Coast founder Kurt Rohde. The operas deal with “dating, technology, cancer, mortality, and grief, all intertwined by an underlying theme of love.”

Left Coast’s 30th season culminates with “Starry Night,” June 4–5, 2023, as composers connect across night-filled landscapes: Josiah Catalan’s Night of the South Winds, featuring Left Coast flutist Stacey Pelinka, will have its world premiere, alongside Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and works by Nina Shekhar and Martin Rokeach.

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble will also open SFJAZZ’s 2022–2023 family matinee series with a concert on Sept. 10, as Left Coast musicians and storyteller Susan Strauss reprise magical stories with chamber music, including Chris Castro’s Birds of Fortune and Coyote Goes to the Sky.

As to the ensemble’s stability, Presler says: “I believe no players have left Left Coast since, I don’t know, about the early 2000s, when Stacey and Jerry replaced the clarinetist and flutist, who left for orchestra jobs in Utah.

“The stability of the membership is something I enjoy about playing in the group. We have added folks in the past two decades in order to have our own percussionist, a singer, another pianist, and a conductor.”