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
November 3, 2009

The high school selection process has begun for next fall with a flurry of open houses, fairs, school visits, and application forms. When the dust settles, some 5,260 eighth-graders in San Francisco will choose a public school in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) for their high school experience. Kids who are talented and serious about getting the best musical education they can, do have a few excellent options. But most other high schools are struggling to find scarce resources for arts education and to meet the changing interests and needs of their students.

More »
Feature Article
October 27, 2009

A perfect evening at the Symphony or a dazzling night at the Opera might begin with a new outfit, a trip to the barber, and, once you’re properly outfitted, dinner out. Whether having hors d’oeuvres and cocktails with friends, or a fine meal at a restaurant near the concert hall, you can be sure that many of your fellow diners are headed for the same enjoyable evening that you are. But once you’ve soared on the golden wings of Puccini or Mahler, you might find yourself unceremoniously dropped into the less than majestic scene of San Francisco’s Civic Center after 11 p.m.

More »
Feature Article
October 21, 2009

It is with great curiosity and a little trepidation that I approach my first “Chant Camp,” presented by the singers of Anonymous 4 and Stanford University on, Monday, October 19. After all, although I’m a trained musician, I don’t really fit the category of “experienced amateur and professional singers who want to know more about the nuts and bolts of Western plainchant,” their announcement asked for.

More »
Feature Article
October 20, 2009

Berkeley-raised conductor J. Karla Lemon, who conducted a host of local and national new music ensembles and orchestras between teaching gigs at Stanford University and other institutions, died peacefully at her Oakland home on October 15. The cause of death was a massive and catastrophic stroke endured during open-heart surgery for correction of a congenital heart condition.

More »
Feature Article
October 20, 2009

On Nov. 6, 2002, a conductor named Osmo Vänskä made his first appearance with the San Francisco Symphony. At that time, few Bay Area music lovers had heard of the Finnish maestro, who had just been named music director-designate of the Minnesota Orchestra. But his San Francisco debut made a big impression. Conducting Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 and, with the late pianist Alicia de Larrocha, Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D major and Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain, Vänskä drew dynamic performances from the orchestra.

More »
Feature Article
October 13, 2009

It was an accident.

I remember the day my daughter Sofia came home from the nursery school she attended and told me that her teacher played a guitar during song time.“I want to play guitar,” she said. She was 4. I didn’t listen.

During the next two years, Sofia regularly asked her mother and me for a guitar. Finally, when she was 6, her grandmother gave her a guitar that Christmas. It wasn’t really a musical instrument, but it was made of wood, had strings, and sounded like a guitar.

More »
Kids & Families Feature
October 6, 2009

All kinds of instrumental combinations occur in classical music, though chamber music is by far the most diverse, in terms of instrumentation and variety. If you’ve shunned this area, you’re missing out on much of the world’s greatest music, since many composers have poured their finest concepts into chamber music, especially the string quartet.

It’s the purity of chamber music that attracts composers. 

The small size of the ensemble (often only three or four players), the intimacy of the music-making, means you can hear every element clearly, which is not always true of

More »
Feature Article
October 6, 2009

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and the National Arts Journalism Program presented a first-of-its-kind virtual National Summit on Arts Journalism last Friday, October 2, 2009 at the Annenberg Auditorium on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles.

More »
Feature Article
October 6, 2009

“We feel that a performance of an opera shown in movie theaters,” said Giovanni Cozzi, managing partner of Emerging Pictures, a distributor of opera movies from Europe, “is a new art form.” And it is. Advances in digitalized computer technology, as well as camera placement and movement used in the videography of opera, have synthesized live performance and film into the opera-movie, in a way that may have been impossible only a few years ago.

More »
Feature Article
September 29, 2009

Last November, as the economy came crashing down, San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley stepped onstage before a matinee performance of La bohème and told the audience how the company was coping with the money crunch. Because the endowment had lost value and contributions could shrink, patrons would see “fewer and less elaborate productions” next season, said Gockley, who vowed nevertheless to maintain the highest artistic standards.

More »

Pages