Left Coast Chamber Ensemble
Left Coast Chamber Ensemble hosts "Clarinet Party" on April 10. | Credit: Bonnie Rae Mills

It wasn’t so long ago that the performing arts world was completely shut down. Even in January, with the omicron virus wave slowly ebbing, presenters were cautious about reopening. We still don’t know whether the variants in circulation now will cause another crest, but even small organizations are pressing ahead while they can. And audiences are bravely venturing forth to hear them. Just because we can’t cover them all (this year) doesn’t mean we don’t want you to know about them. From the SFCV calendar and mail, here are a few upcoming concerts from the smaller organizations that you might want to know about.

Ensemble For These Times
Ensemble for These Times

Ensemble for These Times (E4TT): “Dark Universe/ Mysterious Spaces” (April 9, Chi Cha Ming Recital Hall, SF Conservatory of Music, Bowes Center and also online, 7:30)

Artistic Executive Director Nanette MacGuiness (also a soprano on the program) has put together a concert featuring six world premieres, mostly by young composers, turning on the subject of scientific explorations, and containing a multimedia element produced with collaboration from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Technology and Applied Composition (TAC). E4TT’s co-founder David Garner is on the bill with Four Vectors, and Vivian Fung will premiere Shimmer for percussion.

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble: “Clarinet Party” (April 10, Hillside Club, Berkeley, 7:30; and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St., 7:30)

Jerome Simas (bass clarinet, SF Symphony) is joined by guests Jeff Anderle, a founding member of the ensembles Sqwonk and Splinter Reeds, and Carey Bell (principal clarinet, SF Symphony) for Mozart’s Divertimento for 3 Basset Horns and an arrangement by Anderle of the song Zoetrope. David Garner’s new clarinet work receives its world premiere and the music of Olly Wilson, Jesse Montgomery, and Sebastián Tozzola is also featured.

Beth Schenck
Beth Schenk | Credit: Dyanne Cano

Jazz in the Neighborhood/ Musical Traditions: West Oakland Sessions/ Creative Music Series (Paul Dresher Ensemble Studio, Oakland 4 p.m.)

As local jazz correspondent Andrew Gilbert pointed out in Oaklandside, this jazz series featuring avant-garde and free jazz musicians of the first rank. On April 10, Positive Knowledge, a trio consisting of bass clarineist/ saxophonist Oluyemi Thomas and poet/ vocalist Ijeoma Thomas, with drummer Donald Robinson play a set, followed, on April 24 by House of Fearn, featuring the “transporting” saxophonist Beth Schenk, with Jenny Scheinman, violin, Matt Wrobel, guitar, and John Wood on piano.

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players: Art House Series: “Image & Memory” (April 21, The Lab, 2948 16th St, S.F., 7:00)

SFCMP started out performing in museum and gallery spaces and this season they are revisiting the idea with a new art house series. This is an intimate concert, featuring only Susan Freier, violin and Stephen Harrison, cello, with the music and the art forming a multisensory experience. Lots of great, small-scale music on the program, including Augusta Read Thomas’s Silent Moon, Gabriela Lena Frank’s Suite Mestiza (2017), Julia Adolphe’s Smile Softly, Softly Smile (2021), Sofia Gubaidulina’s Rejoice! Freue dich! (1981), Libby Larsen’s Scudding (1980), and, somewhat unexpectedly, Erwin Schulhoff’s Duo (1925).

Telegraph Quartet

Telegraph Quartet at 405 Shrader (April 22 and 23, 7 p.m.)

As good as the Telegraph Quartet is, S.F. residents may not know of it or the tiny concert series named for its address. Tickets are hard to come by at this venue, and never at the door, so make a reservation. The quartet will be playing two concerts there, the first featuring Grażyna Bacewiczs Quartet No. 4 and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132, and the second consisting of String Quartet No. 6 by John HarbisonFive Folksongs in Counterpoint by Florence Price, and the String Quartet in F Major by Maurice Ravel. The Telegraph are award winners and seeing them up close promises to be special.

Mills College Music Department and Center for Contemporary Music, “Music in the Fault Zone: Experimental Music at Mills, 1939 to the Present” (April 21-24, Music Building and Lisser Hall, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.)

When Mills College decided to shutter itself to undergraduate education last year, a tradition of fostering new and unexpected music was put in jeopardy. This series of concerts aims to celebrate that tradition over four days. It begins with a look at Pauline Oliveros and her music, by her partner Ione; Nicole Paiement conducting Darius Milhaud’s La création du monde and L’homme et son désir, Sarah Cahill and Kate Steinberg performing the world premiere of Roscoe Mitchell’s Cards in 3D Colors, and Steed Cowart conducting Mitchell’s Distant Radio Transmission and Sustain and Run. The festival goes on to cover a lot of ground, ending with the William Winant Percussion Ensemble (April 24, 8 p.m.) playing John Cage/Lou Harrison’s Double Music, Lou Harrison’s Solo to Anthony Cirone, and a work by Steed Cowart. 

NB: This article originally misnamed the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players as the Chamber Music Players. We regret the error.