Music Articles

Every week, our writers take an in‐depth look at an artist, program or topic of interest to us. Spend some time with this week's classical music feature, or scroll through the extensive SFCV archive for insights in many music topics.


Feature Article
June 17, 2008

Philadelphia-born bass-baritone Eric Owens returns to San Francisco Opera this month to sing the role of the King of Scotland in Ariodante. Owens originated the role of General Leslie Groves in Doctor Atomic, received rave reviews in the title role of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel directed by Julie Taymor for the Los Angeles Opera, and has been consistently praised for his performances with major symphonies and opera companies throughout the U.S. The Met will hear him next season as General Groves, and as Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

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Feature Article
June 10, 2008

The setting is as monumental as it is humbling. Inside the new Contemporary Jewish Museum’s huge Special Events / Yud Gallery, with its slanted ceiling extending upward to 65 feet at its apex, 36 diamond-shaped windows, and irregularly proportioned walls that converge at unexpected angles, the first phase of John Zorn Presents the Aleph-Bet Sound Project is open for contemplation.

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Feature Article
June 3, 2008

I had to look up the date, but the scene itself is still clear in my mind after so many years. In 1982, Calvin Simmons — about to go on stage to conduct his orchestra, the Oakland Symphony — ended an interview in the wings of the Paramount Theatre by saying, "I am here because of Madi."

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Feature Article
May 27, 2008

Every year, as May turns to June, arts communities recognize the rites of summer with festival concert series. In common with people around the globe, the good burghers of the Bay Area don sunhats and pack picnic baskets as if we were the inhabitants of Richard Wagner’s Nuremburg, descending into the meadow beyond the town walls to celebrate art with the mastersingers.

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Feature Article
May 20, 2008

Lynn Harrell is one vital man. In the middle of an extended phone conversation about his forthcoming S.F. Jazz gig — he plays J.S. Bach’s complete Suites for Solo Cello this Thursday and Friday night in Grace Cathedral — the voice of a child punctuates the proceedings. Hannah, I learn, is going to be four.
“Honey, you have to go over and play with Mommy, because I can’t talk to Jason,” says the patient, ever-buoyant 64-year-old cellist.

“But I’m being quiet,” Hannah softly protests.

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Feature Article
May 13, 2008

It’s fitting that Ruth Ann Swenson should celebrate the 25th anniversary of her operatic debut with a return to San Francisco Opera. The soprano’s illustrious career, which has taken her to opera houses around the world, got its start here with the company she calls “home.”

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Feature Article
May 6, 2008

Leif Ove Andsnes is a pianist with an enormous repertory, ranging from classics to many contemporary composers, so you might presume that performing the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major Op. 83, is just "part of the job." You would be wrong.

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Feature Article
April 29, 2008

Like all great children’s books, The Little Prince has always had something to say to adults. Those who first experienced Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic novella as young readers find themselves returning to it again and again, drawn by the universal themes contained in this magical story of a boy who is lost, found, and transformed by love.

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Feature Article
April 22, 2008

Like all great children’s books, The Little Prince has always had something to say to adults. Those who first experienced Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic novella as young readers find themselves returning to it again and again, drawn by the universal themes contained in this magical story of a boy who is lost, found, and transformed by love.

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Feature Article
April 15, 2008

It’s not that unusual, not anymore, for a ballet company to commission a dance from a modern choreographer. But in the case of Margaret Jenkins, the renowned dancemaker whose eponymous modern company has dwelt cheek-by-jowl with the San Francisco Ballet for the last 38 years, Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s invitation to work with his troupe is something of a landmark moment.

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