Sun, Feb. 9, 2014 at 3 pm


Sat, Feb. 22, 2014 at 8 pm


Sat, March 8, 2013 at 8 pm


Sat, March 22, 2014 at 8 pm


Sun, April 6, 2014 at 3 pm


Sat, April 12, 2014 at 8 pm

OLGA KERN, piano

Sat, April 26, 2014 at 8 pm


Sun, May 11, 2014 at 3 pm


Sun, May 25, 2014 at 3 pm

All performances are at Marines' Memorial Theatre


View a pdf of the 2015 season HERE.

Create your own mini-series for 2014 HERE

Single tickets for 2014 are now available.  Please click on links in listings, or call 415-392-4400.

Khatia Buniatishvili's recital debut!

Khatia Buniatishvili's recital debut! Don't miss the Vogler Quartet The charismatic Olga Kern returns Violin wizard James Ehnes


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2014 at 3 PM

BEETHOVEN Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11

GODARD Berceuse de Jocelyn


BRAHMS Trio in C Major, Op. 87



“It was the sizzle of the musical ensemble that seduced listeners”

—The Los Angeles Times

Erika Nickrenz, piano
Sara Parkins, violin
Sara Sant'Ambrogio, cello

The most sought-after trio in the world, the Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio thrills audiences with its flawless technical virtuosity, irresistible enthusiasm and sensual elegance. Whether playing the great standards of the piano trio repertoire or daring contemporary works, the three young women who make up this celebrated ensemble electrify the concert stage with their passionate performances. The New York Times writes, “They play chamber music for the concert hall. There is an edge of the seat intensity to every note they produce”. The Trio won the prestigious Naumburg Award, resulting in a highly successful Lincoln Center debut and has since toured the United States, Europe, and Asia. While maintaining their demanding concert schedule, the Eroica Trio has released eight critically lauded recordings for Angel/EMI Classics Records, garnering multiple Grammy® nominations.

The unique history of the players of the Eroica Trio goes all of the way back to their childhoods. Their first connection was made when cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio and pianist Erika Nickrenz were just 12 years old. Sara’s father, John Sant’Ambrogio, then principal cellist of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, was being recorded by Erika’s mother, Grammy Award winning record producer Joanna Nickrenz. This working relationship led to Erika joining Sara at her family’s music camp in the Berkshire Mountains, Red Fox, where Erika studied piano with Sara’s grandmother, Isabelle Sant’Ambrogio, a renowned pianist and pedagogue.

The trio’s musical connection continued when, a few years later, Sara decided to strike out on her own and attend renowned music camp Meadowmount. There she met, played and became fast friends with violinist Sara Parkins. After playing together that summer, Sant’Ambrogio was invited to finish High School at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and Parkins was accepted to attend Juilliard Pre-College where she met and started playing with Erika. Later, Parkins decided to join Sant’Ambrogio at Curtis where they happily renewed their personal and musical friendship. After a year as roommates and musical collaborators, Sant’Ambrogio was invited to attend Juilliard where she resumed playing with Erika.

A few years later, Sara Parkins and Erika Nickrenz reunited at the Tanglewood Music Festival. That same year the Eroica Trio was formed at the Juilliard School. This intricate web of early connections helped forge a lifelong bond between the three women of the Eroica Trio. Their deeply personal, passionate music-making and uncanny ensemble and chemistry onstage have thrilled audiences world wide.

The Eroica Trio performs the Beethoven Triple Concerto more frequently than any other trio in the world, having appeared with renowned symphonies such as Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Nashville, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Houston, New Jersey and Seattle. In addition, The Trio has performed the work abroad with Orquesta Sinfonica de Euskadi in Spain, Haydn Orchestra in Italy, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Budapest Symphony in Germany, and on multiple tours in the United States with the Cincinnati Symphony as well as with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, culminating in a Lincoln Center performance. The Eroica Trio’s recording of the Beethoven Triple with the Prague Chamber Orchestra was so successful it landed this piece on Billboards Top 20 for the first time in recording history. The Trio appeared on the German television program "Klassich!" performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Munich Symphony, which was aired throughout Europe. This season, they toured North America with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Fabio Luisi, culminating in a performance on the “Great Performers at Lincoln Center” series in Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.


ESCHER QUARTET San Francisco Debut


MOZART String Quartet in G Major, K. 387

DUTILLEUX String Quartet "Ainsi la nuit"

DVORAK String Quartet in C Major, Op. 61



“One of the top quartets before the public today”

—The Washington Post

The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its individual sound, inspired artistic decisions and unique cohesiveness. Championed by members of the Emerson String Quartet, the group were proud to be BBC New Generation Artists for 2010-2012. Having completed a three-year residency as artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's “CMS Two” programme, the ensemble has already performed at prestigious venues and festivals around the world including Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd Street Y and Symphony Space in New York, Kennedy Center, the Louvre, Ravinia and Caramoor Festivals, Music@Menlo, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Wigmore Hall, the City of London Festival and a tour of China including Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Within months of its inception in 2005, the Escher String Quartet was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be the quartet-in-residence at each artist's summer festival: The Young Artists Programme at Canada's National Arts Centre and The Perlman Chamber Music Program on Shelter Island, NY. The Eschers have since collaborated with artists such as Andrés Diaz, Lawrence Dutton, Kurt Elling, David Finckel, Leon Fleisher, Vadim Gluzman, Benjamin Grosvenor, Wu Han, Gary Hoffman, Joseph Kalichstein, David Shifrin, Joseph Silverstein, and Pinchas Zukerman. In August 2012 the Quartet gave their BBC Proms debut, performing Hugh Wood's 4th String Quartet.

In 2012-2013 the Quartet completed their final BBC New Generation Artists recording project in London, as well as returning to the Wigmore Hall following their successful debut there in February 2012. They continued their relationship with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, curating and performing a series of concerts celebrating the 100th anniversary of Britten's birth. Other highlights of that season included the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Buffalo Chamber Music Society, the prestigious Agence de concerts et spectacles Cecilia in Geneva, their Austrian debut in Eisenstadt, and concerts at several UK festivals including Paxton and Gregynog.

2012-2013 releases include the complete Zemlinsky Quartets on Naxos. Their previous recordings include ‘Stony Brook Soundings' Vol. 1 (Bridge Records), which features the quartet in the premiere recordings of five new works. Other recordings include the Amy Beach Piano Quintet with Anne-Marie McDermott for the CMS Studio Recordings label.

The Escher String Quartet takes its name from Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher and draws inspiration from the artist's method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.


James Ehnes, violin and Orion Weiss, piano


SATURDAY, March 8, 2014 at 8 PM


GRIEG Sonata No. 2 in G Major

BRAHMS Sonatensatz

SCHUBERT Fantasy in C Major


“No collection of virtuoso showpieces demands greater technical prowess than Paganini's 24 Caprices. Yet James Ehnes, whose artistry suggests that in Paganini's age he would have enjoyed similar stature to the great man, succeeds impressively in being more than merely thrilling…this is not simply a high-wire act. It's playing of phenomenal control, allied to musicianship of the highest order.”


—The Times (London)

Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world's great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors.


In the 2012-2013 season James performs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Australia and New Zealand. Season highlights include the Brahms Concerto with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra at New York's Avery Fisher Hall, a tour to the far north of Canada with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, a solo violin recital at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival, and return engagements with the Philharmonia, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and San Francisco, St. Louis, Toronto, Gothenburg and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras. An avid chamber musician, Ehnes will tour with his string quartet, the Ehnes Quartet, and lead the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the Artistic Director.


James Ehnes has an extensive discography of over 25 recordings featuring music ranging from J.S. Bach to John Adams. Recent projects include three CDs of the music of Béla Bartók as well as a recording of Tchaikovsky's complete works for violin and his ballet The Sleeping Beauty. Upcoming releases include concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone, and 6 Juno Awards.


James Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, and at age nine became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and from 1993 to 1997 at The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation. Mr. Ehnes first gained national recognition in 1987 as winner of the Grand Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Competition. The following year he won the First Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Festival, the youngest musician ever to do so. At age 13, he made his major orchestral solo debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

He has won numerous awards and prizes, including the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award, the Canada Council for the Arts' Virginia Parker Prize, and a 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant. In October 2005, James was honoured by Brandon University with a Doctor of Music degree (honoris causa) and in July 2007 he became the youngest person ever elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada. On July 1st 2010 the Governor General of Canada appointed James a Member of the Order of Canada.

James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his wife and daughter.



DMITRI ALEXEEV, piano San Francisco RECITAL Debut

SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014 at 8 PM

SCHUMANN Arabeske, Op. 18

SCHUMANN Sonata No. 1, Op. 11

WAGNER/LISZT Pilgrims' Chorus from “Tannhauser”

WAGNER/LISZT Isolde's Liebestod from “Tristan und Isolde”

SCHUBER/LISZT Der Mueller und der Bach



CHOPIN/LISZT Five Polish Songs

CHOPIN Mazurkas, Op. 24 # 3 & Op. 7 # 3

CHOPIN Polonaise op.53 “Heroique”



"This great poet of the piano warmed his brilliantly articulated playing with a ripe, ringing core to each note."

—The Times (London)

Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev is one of the world's most highly regarded artists. His critically praised recitals on the world's leading concert stages and his concert appearances with the most prestigious orchestras have secured his position as one of "the most remarkable pianists of the day" (Daily Telegraph).

He has performed with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, the five London orchestras, Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic and the Munich Bavarian Radio Orchestra. He has worked with conductors such as Ashkenazy, Boulez, Bychkov, Dorati, Gergiev, Giulini, Jansons, Muti, Pappano, Rozhdestvensky, Salonen, Temirkanov, Tilson Thomas and the late Klaus Tennstedt to name just a few.

Alexeev was born in Moscow and began to play the piano at the age of five. One year later his talent took him to the Moscow Central Music School and then to the Moscow Conservatoire, where his professor was the eminent Soviet pianist Dmitri Bashkirov. Whilst pursuing graduate studies, he participated in several international competitions, capturing top honours at the 1969 Marguerite Long Competition in Paris, at the 1970 George Enescu Competition in Bucharest, and at the 1974 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1975 he was unanimously awarded first prize at the Leeds International Competition in England.

Highlights of recent seasons have included several performances at the Leeds International Recital Series, of which Alexeev was Artistic Director during 2009, a return to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Gatti, concerts with the Helsingborg Symphony, KBS (Korea) Symphony and St. Petersburg Philharmonic orchestras and a recital tour of Canada and North America.

Alexeev has made many fine recordings for EMI, BMG, Virgin Classics, Hyperion and Russian labels. His discs include piano concertos by Schumann, Grieg, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Scriabin, Medtner and solo works by Brahms, Schumann, Chopin and Liszt. Following his Virgin Classics recording of the complete Rachmaninov Preludes, which won the Edison Award in the Netherlands, BBC Music Magazine said: "He is a pianist at once aristocratic, grand and confessionally poetic. This is an inspiring disc."


SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 2014 at 3 PM

SCHUBERT Quartettsatz

BEETHOVEN Quartet in D Major, Op. 18 No. 3

SCHULHOFF Quartet No. 1

SCHUBERT Quartet in A minor "Rosamunde"



“Every once in a while, a performance puts all others in perspective and reminds one that in great music there is always more to be revealed.  The Vogler Quartet offered such a performance”

—The Washington Post

Tim Vogler, violine
Frank Reinecke, violin
Stefan Fehlandt, viola
Stephan Forck, violoncello

The Vogler Quartet, still featuring its four original members, was founded in 1985. In the 28 years since its foundation, it has secured a place for itself among the top chamber music ensembles, thanks to its great individual and joint musicianship, and has been a guest on nearly all the world‘s major concert platforms. It was the quartet‘s sensational success at the 1986 string quartet competition in Evian, France, where they won several prizes, that set the four musicians on the path to a great international career.

The Vogler Quartet‘s repertoire covers both the classical literature for string quartet from Haydn to Bartók and the Second Viennese School, as well as lesser-known and brand-new works, giving them an unusual range. Modern compositions have been written for them by Ian Wilson, Gerald Barry, Frank Michael Beyer, Jörg Widmann, Mauricio Kagel, Erhard Grosskopf and others.

The Quartet‘s versatility and openness is also reflected in their regular cooperation with other well-known musicians, where their spectrum ranges from a quintet featuring a piano, clarinet, viola or cello, to works scored for an octet. One example is the CD they released in 2008 together with the clarinettist Chen Halevi and the pianist Jascha Nemtsov with works of the "New Jewish School", another one the glamorous cooperation with Ute Lemper in 2012.

In the next few years, the Vogler Quartet will be adding to their already extensive discography a complete recording of the Dvorak quartets, the first double album was released in September 2012 on cpo.

The Vogler Quartet has a number of regular commitments: they have their own recital series at the Konzerthaus Berlin, they appear at the annual festival "Music in Drumcliffe" in the Irish town Sligo, and are responsible for the artistic direction of the "Kammermusiktage Homburg/Saar". In addition, they help run the children‘s music festival in Kassel, which has won several prizes, and do a good deal of teaching work in master classes and workshops for professional quartets both in Europe and overseas.

From 2007 to 2012 the members of the Vogler Quartet were appointed professors for chamber music at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule as successors to the Melos Quartet.



SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014 at 8 PM

LISZT Sonata in B minor

RAVEL La Valse

CHOPIN Sonata No. 2




“In Davies Hall, her debut here, she astonished with fingers of steel, exquisite sense of the music, melting lyricism with sentimentality - and the whole, which was greater than its parts.”

—San Francisco Classical Voice

Born on 21 June 1987 in Tbilisi, Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and her elder sister Gvantsa were introduced to the piano at an early age by their mother, an enthusiastic music lover. Playing four handed remains one of the sisters' favourite activities.

Khatia's extraordinary talent was recognized when she was very young. Aged six, she gave her début performance as soloist with an orchestra, and was subsequently invited to give guest performances in Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Russia, Israel and the USA.

Khatia prefers not to be regarded as a child prodigy: virtuosity for its own sake does not appeal to her. Above all, she embraces pianists from earlier generations such as Rachmaninoff, Richter and Gould. She admires her “favourite pianist”, Martha Argerich, for her uniqueness and, as a consequence, does not view Argerich as someone she should try to emulate. And since she regards herself as “wholly a person of the 20th century”, Khatia does not identify so much with pianists of today.

Khatia's warm, sometimes sorrowful playing may reflect a close proximity to Georgian folk-music, which, she attests, has greatly influenced her musicality. Critics emphasize that her playing has an aura of elegant solitude and even melancholy, which she does not feel to be a negative attribute. “The piano is the blackest instrument,” she says, a “symbol of musical solitude”, which even a pianist must become accustomed to. “I have to be psychologically strong and forget the hall if I want to share it with the audience.”

During her studies at Tbilisi's State Conservatoire, Khatia won a special prize at the Horowitz International Competition for Young Pianists in Kiev in 2003 as well as first prize at the Foundation to Assist Young Georgian Musicians competition set up by Elisabeth Leonskaya.  At the 2003 Piano Competition in Tbilisi, she became acquainted with Oleg Maisenberg, who persuaded her to transfer to Vienna's University of Music and Performing Arts. Winner of the Bronze Medal at the 12th Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition in 2008, she was also distinguished as the Best Performer of a Chopin piece and as Audience Favourite.

Khatia Buniatishvili has given critically acclaimed solo recitals and chamber music concerts at such renowned venues as London's Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and the Musikverein in Vienna. In 2008 she made her US concert début at Carnegie Hall (Zankel Hall), performing Chopin's Second Piano Concerto.

A BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for 2009-2011, Khatia regularly collaborates with BBC orchestras. In 2010 she receiveda Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and has been nominated by Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus as a Rising Star for the 2011/2012 season.

In 2011 Khatia Buniatishvili made her recording debut with a Liszt recital on Sony Classical, following now with her first recording accompanied with orchestra for a Chopin album.

Highlights of the 2012/13 season included a tour with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, a tour of Japan and Europe with the Kremerata Baltica, a tour with the Basel Chamber Orchestra under Krystian Järvi and a tour of the United States including a series of concerts with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski. She also can be seen at her appearances with the Philharmonia under Paavo Järvi, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra della Scala, Milan,under Gianandrea Noseda, the Orchestre de Paris under Andrey Boreyko to name only the most important. Furthermore recitals will also take her to Singapore, Tokyo, Barcelona, Paris, London, Baden-Baden among others.

Khatia Buniatishvili speaks five languages fluently and lives in Paris.



SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2014 at 8 PM

MENDELSSOHN Variations Serieuses





“You can't buy it, you can't teach it.  But Kern's got it!”

—D Magazine

Now recognized as one of her generation's great pianists, Olga Kern's career began one decade ago with her award winning gold-medal performance at the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001. Her second catapulting triumph came in New York City on May 4, 2004, with a highly acclaimed New York City recital debut at Carnegie's Zankel Hall. In an unprecedented turn of events, Olga gave a second recital eight days later in Isaac Stern Auditorium at the invitation of Carnegie Hall.

Ms. Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of five. Winner of the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition when she was seventeen, she is a laureate of eleven international competitions and has toured throughout her native Russia, Europe, and the United States, as well as in Japan, South Africa, and South Korea. The recipient of an honorary scholarship from the President of Russia in 1996, she is a member of Russia's International Academy of Arts. She began her formal training with acclaimed teacher Evgeny Timakin at the Moscow Central School and continued with Professor Sergei Dorensky at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she was also a postgraduate student. She also studied with Professor Boris Petrushansky at the acclaimed Accademia Pianistica Incontri col Maestro in Imola, Italy.

Ms. Kern's performance career has brought her to the many of the world's most important venues, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Symphony Hall in Osaka, Salzburger Festspielhaus, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Châtelet in Paris; she has appeared as soloist with the Kirov Orchestra, the Bolshoi Theater, the Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony, Russian National, China Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic, La Scala Philharmonic, Torino Symphony, and Cape Town Symphony Orchestras. She has also collaborated with the most prominent conductors in the world today, including Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Manfred Honeck, Vladimir Spivakov, Yuri Termirkanov, Pinchas Zukerman, and James Conlon.

In addition to performing, Ms. Kern devotes her time to the support and education of developing musicians. In 2012, the artist and her brother, Vladimir Kern co-founded the "Aspiration" foundation whose objective is to provide financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world.

With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking young Russian pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. In the 2012-2013 season Olga performed with the Symphonies of Nashville, Pittsburgh, Detroit and San Diego and will present recital programs in St. Louis, Dallas, and Scottsdale, Arizona and at Lincoln Center in New York City as a part of the Cherry Orchard Festival. In 2013, in a celebration of Rachmaninoff's 140th year, Olga Kern will perform all four Piano Concerti and the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini in collaboration with Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National De Lyon. Ms. Kern has also performed this special program in South Africa, in Warsaw and in Arizona. Other upcoming European appearances include performances with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, orchestras in Germany and Poland and recitals in Italy.

In the 2011-2012 season Olga performed with the Baltimore, Houston, Saint Louis, Colorado and Phoenix Symphonies, the Sacramento Philharmonic and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. In February of 2012 Olga made an extensive recital tour of North America with violinist Vladimir Spivakov, their first chamber music collaboration outside of Europe. Summer 2011 appearances included her debut at Aspen Music Festival, a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and recitals with La Jolla Music Society and Bear Valley Music Festival

Her 2010-2011 season included opening week with the Colorado Symphony and closing week with the Detroit Symphony, as well as subscription weeks with Nashville, St. Louis and Pittsburgh Symphonies. She also presented recitals at Longwood Gardens, Sanibel and Winter Park Music Festivals, Drake University and at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. At Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall she performed Chopin's Piano Concerto No.1 for the composer's 200th Anniversary Celebration. In April 2011, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and The Van Cliburn Foundation undertook a special co- presentation of Olga Kern in celebration of her tremendous success of the last ten years.

Other past seasons in North America have seen Olga perform with the symphonies of Nashville, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, and Vancouver. She has presented recital programs in the most esteemed concert halls and alongside artists such as soprano Kathleen Battle at Carnegie Hall and soprano Renee Fleming at Kennedy Center. Olga has toured North America with National Philharmonic of Russia and the world renowned Moscow Virtuosi, both led by conductor Vladimir Spivakov.

Ms. Kern has an extensive world wide reputation. Recent European appearances have included a tour of Austria and Switzerland with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Maestro Antoni Wit, a tour of Germany with the Czech Philharmonic and Maestro Zdenek Maçal, performances with the orchestras Acadamy of La Scala in Bad Kissingen and Copenhagen and Lyon, and recitals in Milan, Hamburg and Luxembourg. She made her London debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006 followed by her Proms debut in 2008. Ms. Kern has performed recently with the Orquestra de S?o Paulo the Seoul Philharmonic and in Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, and Israel. In June of 2002, Olga Kern made an extensive tour of South Africa where she returned to tour again in February of 2005 with her brother, Vladimir Kern, conducting. Ms. Kern was the Artistic Director of the Cape Town Festival in South Africa from 2005 until 2010 and returns there annually.

Ms. Kern's festival appearances include the Interlochen Festival, Bravo! Vail Festival, and the Festival Casals in Puerto Rico in 2007. She has been a recent guest artist at several international music festivals, including the Klavier Ruhr and Kissinger Sommer festivals in Germany, the Radio-France Montpellier and Casadesus festivals in France, the Ohrid Festival in Macedonia, and the Busoni Festival in Italy.

Ms. Kern's discography includes Harmonia Mundi recordings of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman (2003), a Rachmaninoff recording of Corelli Variations and other transcriptions (2004), a recital disk with works by Rachmaninoff and Balakirev (2005), Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit (2006), Brahms Variations (2007) and a 2010 release of Chopin Piano Sonatas No. 2 and 3 (2010). She was also featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge. Most recently, SONY released a recording of Ms. Kern performing the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Violoncello and Piano with cellist Sol Gabetta.



SUNDAY, MAY 11, 2014 at 3 PM

BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 2

TORELLI Trumpet Concerto in D Major

BACH Concerto for Violin and Oboe

VIVALDI Concerto for 4 Violins in E minor

Carla Moore, Jolie von Einem, David Wilson, and Alicia Yang, violins

Anthony Martin, viola   

Elisabeth Reed, violoncello

John Dornenburg, violone   

Yuko Tanaka, harpsichord

with guests:

Judith Linsenberg, recorder   

Debra Nagy, Baroque oboe  

John Thiessen, Baroque trumpet  

Few musical works are as beloved as the six "Brandenburg" Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach. These six works display a lighter side of Bach's imperishable genius. Yet they came into being as an unexpected gift. That's what happened in 1721 when Bach presented the Margrave of Brandenburg with a bound manuscript containing six lively concertos for chamber orchestra, works based on an Italian Concerto Grosso style. The Margrave never thanked Bach for his work--or paid him. There's no way he could have known that this gift--later named the Brandenburg Concertos--would become a benchmark of Baroque music and still have the power to move people almost three centuries later.

The Concertos are a highlight of one of the happiest and most productive periods in Bach's life. At the time he wrote them, Bach was the Kapellmeister--the music director--in the small town of Coethen, where he was composing music for the court. Since the Margrave of Brandenburg seems to have ignored Bach's gift of concertos, it's likely that Bach himself presided over the first performances at home in Coethen. They didn't have a name then; that didn't come until 150 years later, when Bach's biographer Philipp Spitta called them "Brandenburg" Concertos for the very first time, and the name stuck.

Each of the six concertos requires a different combination of instruments as well as some highly skilled soloists. The Margrave had his own small court orchestra in Berlin, but it was a group of mostly mediocre players. All the evidence suggests that these virtuosic Brandenburg concertos perfectly matched the talents of the musicians on hand in Coethen. So how did a provincial town get so many excellent musicians? Just before Johann Sebastian arrived in Coethen in 1717, a new king inherited the throne in Prussia. Friedrich Wilhelm I became known as the "Soldier King" because he was interested in the military strength of his kingdom, not in refined artistic pursuits. One of his first royal acts was to disband the prestigious Berlin court orchestra. That threw many musicians out of work, and as luck would have it, seven of the best ones were snatched up to work in Coethen by its music-loving Prince Leopold. That's why Bach found such a rich music scene when he started to work there. It gave him the luxury of writing for virtuosos and they let him push the boundraries of his creativity. Concerto No. 2, for example, has the trumpeter play high flourishes. No. 4 allows the solo violin to soar.

Even though he himself didn't call them the "Brandenburgs," Bach still thought of them as a set. What he did was compile them from short instrumental sinfonias and concerto movements he had already written. Then he re-worked the old music, often re-writing and elaborating where he saw fit.

Our program (performed by the dazzling ensemble Archetti, on period instruments) will include Brandenburg No. 2, festooned with its delightfully stratospheric trumpet solos. The authentic valveless Baroque trumpet requires a specialized virtuoso; therefore we have engaged John Thiessen from New York City, the top player in the USA, as well as a much-in-demand Baroque oboist from Cincinatti, Debra Nay.




SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2014 at 3 PM

BEETHOVEN Sonata for Piano and Cello No. 2 in G minor, Op. 5

BEETHOVEN Sonata for Piano and Cello No. 4 in C Major, Op. 102 No. 1

BEETHOVEN Bagatelles for solo piano, Op. 119

BEETHOVEN Sonata for Piano and Cello No. 3 in A Major, Op. 69

This program will be performed on historically accurate Beethoven-era instruments.


Tanya Tomkins, a virtuoso on both the Baroque and modern cello, is equally at home playing a Bach cello suite in an intimate house concert or anchoring the cello section as principal cellist of the internationally renowned Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra on concert stages around the world. NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands) describes her as “a cellist with a very special and unusual intensity,” and the Cleveland Plain Dealer calls her “a performer who combines an intense dramatic fire with Apollonian poise.”

Tomkins studied in the Netherlands with renowned cellist and early music specialist Anner Bylsma. She received her Soloist Diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music at The Hague. Living in Europe for 14 years, she immersed herself in the study of early music and particularly music of the Baroque period. She founded the Trio d'Amsterdam, which toured extensively throughout Europe and subsequently made its New York debut at the Frick Collection.

In 2001 Tomkins won the Erwin Bodky Competition for early music soloists in Boston; she was the first cellist to be awarded the prize. As a performer of Baroque music, Tomkins has appeared as soloist with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Mozart Festival in San Luis Obispo, California, the Berkeley Early Music Festival and the Boston Early Music Festival.

Immersion in early music was not Tomkins's exclusive focus, however, and, like her teacher Bylsma, she did not neglect the repertoire for the modern cello. She became equally fluent in this music and as a modern cellist has appeared in recitals and in chamber music performances to critical acclaim throughout Europe, Israel, and the United States. She has performed at major concert halls, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Recital Hall, San Francisco Performances, Da Camera Houston and Los Angeles, New York City's Lincoln Center as part of the “Great Performances” series, and the 92nd Street Y for the “Meet the Virtuoso” series, also in New York City. Music festival appearances include the Moab Music Festival in Moab, Utah and Music in the Vineyards in Napa, California, and the Umeå Chamber Music Festival in Umeå, Sweden.

As part of the Zivian-Tomkins Duo, Tomkins collaborates with pianist and fortepianist Eric Zivian on both modern and original instruments, and she is also a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio with English Baroque violinist Monica Huggett.

Ms. Tomkins enjoys speaking during her Bach Suites performances. In the last two years she did this at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, “Le Poisson Rouge” in New York and for the Vancouver Early Music Society. She encourages the audience to ask questions about the Bach Suites and the Baroque cello.

She is also an avid teacher, giving master classes at Yale, Juilliard, San Francisco Conservatory, and she runs an Apprentice Program, furthering the careers of young chamber musicians as part of the non-profit organization, Benvenue House Music.



Eric Zivian was born in Michigan and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where he attended the Royal Conservatory of Music. After receiving his diploma there, he left at age fifteen to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a bachelor of music. He received graduate degrees from The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. Mr. Zivian studied piano with Gary Graffman and Peter Serkin, and composition with Ned Rorem, Jacob Druckman, and Martin Bresnick. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center both as a performer and as a composer.

Mr. Zivian has given solo recitals in Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He has performed concertos with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Santa Rosa Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra. Since 2000, he has performed extensively on original instruments, playing fortepiano in the Zivian-Tomkins Duo as well as part of the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio. Mr. Zivian is also a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and has performed numerous times with the Empyrean Ensemble and Earplay. He is a frequent guest artist on the San Francisco Conservatory's faculty chamber music series and has also appeared several times in San Francisco Symphony chamber music concerts. Mr. Zivian's compositions have been performed widely in the United States and in Japan. He was awarded an ASCAP Jacob Druckman Memorial Commission to compose an orchestral work, Three Character Pieces, which was premiered by the Seattle Symphony in 1998.