Affordable, high-quality, cultural and music programs in San Francisco; classical music, chamber music, opera, broadway, piano, jazz, theater

2020 Vocal Series

Adam Flowers, tenor and Paul McWilliams, piano: Beethoven2020 Project

Date: Saturday February 22, 7:30 p.m.

Adam Flowers has performed principal tenor roles in opera houses throughout North America, Hawaii, and Japan. In July 2006 he completed a five-year artist-in-residency for Opera San Jose, performing over 32 roles. He is currently a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus and the tenor section leader at San Francisco’s St. Ignatius Church Choir. Adam is a certified Music Together™ teacher, teaching music to infants and toddlers in Marin County and San Francisco. He is a teaching artist for Pacific Actors & Singers Workshop, the San Francisco Opera Guild’s Book To Bravo and Opera A La Carte educational programs with students in the 5th-12th grades. He is a voice student of Sheri Greenawald and Deborah Benedict.

John Smalley (baritone) and Janis Mercer (piano)

Schoenberg and his Students:  Music by Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Eisler, Ullmann and Wellesz

Date: Friday March 20, 7:30 p.m.

John Smalley, baritone, is a native of San Francisco. He received his B.A. in Classics from Santa Clara University and holds an M.A. and M.Phil. in Historical Musicology from Columbia University in New York, where he taught for six years.  He has lectured and performed as soloist throughout the Bay Area, including Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, numerous Bach cantatas, and Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together. He was awarded a prestigious 2009 Shenson Performing Arts Fellowship.

Janis Mercer is an American composer/pianist living in San Francisco. Her musical activities as composer, and pianist are closely interwoven. Her compositions range in size from 8-piece chamber ensemble to digitally realized fixed electronics; utilize timbres from voice to drum set; and employ styles from 12-tone technique to structured improvisation, microtonality to field recordings.  Ms. Mercer holds artist residencies at Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts, Ragdale, Centrum, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods.

American Voices3 – Ensemble LudeCanta

Date: Saturday March 28, 7:30 p.m.

Ensemble LudeCanta is an ever-changing consortium of musicians committed to presenting new and rarely-performed chamber works.

Amy Likar, piccolo, flute, and alto flute
Lori Hennessy, cello
Linli Wang, piano
Nicholas Chase, composer and electronics
C.A. Jordan, soprano & artistic director

Praised by San Francisco Classical Voice as a “strikingly appealing, outstanding, accomplished performer,” and by Performing Arts Monterey Bay as a ”gifted vocal artist who sings with an unfettered authority…”, Soprano Carolyne Anne Jordan has sung roles with West Edge Opera, Mission City Opera, Open Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, and Goat Hall Productions, showcasing her versatility in roles by Britten, Mozart, and Puccini, among others. Miss Jordan has also performed with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, BASOTI program, the West Coast Opera Workshop, and the Opera Scenes Program at Holy Names College. Equally in demand as a concert artist, she has performed in such far-flung locations as Yosemite National Park and Antigua, Guatemala.

Fantastic Landscape: Benji Kaplan and Rita Figueiredo transfix with bright, nuanced portraits of a hidden Brazil

Date: Saturday September 12, 7:30 p.m

Benji & Rita: Brazilian music has a keen ability to tie the magical and surreal with the grounded and historical. New York-based composer Benji Kaplan and Brazilian singer and songwriter Rita Figueiredo pick up that vibrating, multicolored thread and weave it into fantastical new portraits of Brazil and New York on Benji & Rita (release: May 10, 2019), their album-length debut as a duo.

Cinematic and refined, Benji & Rita channels the scents and sounds, the flora and fauna of the couple’s homelands, drawing on everything from samba and baião, to waltzes and pop catchiness, much as Brazilian popular composers have over the last five decades.

Olson/De Cari Duo

Date: Saturday October 3, 7:30 p.m.

The Olson/De Cari Duo, a husband-and-wife ensemble, is dedicated to expanding the repertoire for classical guitar and voice, deriving inspiration from their eclectic backgrounds in both science and the arts.

The Duo’s unique approach to song performance draws on Gioia’s expertise as both a classical singer and a theatre artist, and John’s diverse musical background and affinity for ensemble performance. Their innovative repertoire includes many pieces written for them, including compositions from their Science/Music Commissioning Project, which seeks to celebrate the science-informed worldview and illuminate the human side of science through song.

NYlon Review described their performance as “superb . . . served up with style and elegance,” and the Science Friday Initiative noted that “the Olson/De Cari Duo straddle science and art gloriously.”

Their new CD, Eve’s Diary, released in Fall 2018, features new compositions and arrangements commissioned by the Duo, including song cycles by David Leisner and Frank Wallace, arrangements of Jobim songs by João Luiz, and arrangements of theatre songs by Clarice Assad.

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