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

Press Reviews


  • January 2022: Sunset Music and Arts: January 2022 – review by Stephen Smoliar



  • January 2020: Sunset Music and Arts’ 2020 Project to Celebrate Beethoven’s Sweet 250th. Reporter Judith Kahn reviews the 2020 in an article for the Sunset Beacon.
    • “The program is a creation of Mathew Chacko, who is very excited about the 2020 season’s focus on Beethoven, presenting more than 25 works by the composer including the rarely performed oratorio, Christus am Ölberge (in English, Christ on the Mount of Olives), Op. 85.”
  • November 2019: Sunset Music and Arts: January–February, 2020 – Stephen Smoliar reviews the first three months of Sunset Music and Arts’ 2020 Season.


At the comfortably welcoming Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, on a spring evening, Selamé intoned the start of his concert with the resonant chimes of An Malvina, by short-lived 19th Century composer Johann Kaspar Mertz, and in the guitarist’s hands, this piece was rendered timeless and borderless, somehow evoking the loveliness of folk music from Selamé’s native Chile.

Click here to read the full article.

Last night at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in the Sunset district, Sunset Music and Arts presented a delightfully fascinating program entitled Early Music Meets New. The performers were the members of the Liaison Ensemble early music group, mezzo Melinda Becker, harpsichordist Susie Fong, cellist Hallie Marshall-Pridham, and Tatiana Senderowicz on theorbo. Their repertoire included songs by two seventeenth-century women, Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi. However, most of the program was devoted to the “new” portion of the title, presenting four recent compositions for Liaison’s instruments. These pieces were created under the auspices of the Helia Music Collective, co-founded by composers Julie Barwick and Emma Logan, who contributed two of the works on the program. The other two were written by Emily Koh and Lily Chen.

Once again Sunset Music and Arts has organized its season around the calendar year, meaning that the fifth season will get under away around the middle of this coming January.

Once again Sunset Music and Arts will have a Jazz Series as part of its 2019 season. This time it is being called the Jazz/World Music Series, and it will actually begin with an overlap with the Vocal Series.


… there will also be two Vocal Series recitals. The first of these will be by mezzo Nicole Takesono, who will be accompanied by pianist Kevin Korth. Takesono has selected songs by four composers, Reynaldo Hahn, Hugo Wolf, Manuel de Falla, and Kurt Weill, for her program.

This should also be a good time to alert those interested in the genre that the second Vocal Series recital will be given by Vanessa Langer, accompanied at the piano by Vera Breheda. Langer used to live here and was an active member of several groups committed to the performance of recent music. However, she moved to Milan (in Italy) following a sort-of “farewell recital” at the Center for New Music in May of last year. Her program for Sunset Music and Arts will feature cabaret songs by Arnold Schoenberg, reflecting a lighter side of that composer’s character that many would assume he never had. She will also perform songs by Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Yesterday this site announced that Sunset Music and Arts would introduce a new concert series focused on young artists. This has been labeled the 2018 Community Series and much of it will involve a collaborative relationship with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI). Founded by Sylvia Anderson, this was a highly imaginative summer training program that I was following with great enthusiasm until it dropped off of my radar following the summer of 2013. I was therefore delighted to learn that BASOTI had resurfaced with its Phoenix Recital Symposium, which began this past October and will offer a series of five recitals during the first six months of 2018.

Readers may recall that Sunset Music and Arts organizes its season around the calendar year, rather than the more conventional fall-spring-summer ordering. Now in its fourth season, programming has grown to accommodate six concert series, one of which is focused on young artists. This year’s season will begin with the Chamber/Ensemble Series, which will offer seven concerts, two of which will feature piano quartet performances, the somewhat less conventional gathering of violin, viola, cello, and piano; and there will be one program with the more familiar piano trio genre. Two of the recitals will present solo instruments (violin and flute) with piano accompaniment; and there will also be a duo recital for violin and cello. The remaining program will present the pre-Classical repertoire.


Would you like to take on an impossible challenge? Organize a season of chamber music in a church or any venue for starters, then up the ante by inviting, engaging, and featuring major musicians. Oh, and charge as low admission as possible — or even less.

SFCV is revisiting Sunset Music & Arts at Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco. There, Mathew Chacko and Sally Porter Munro are co-directors of a concert season that’s going into overdrive during the next month. Chacko is also organist and music director for the church, Munro doubles as choir director — and both have “day jobs,” he with Wells Fargo, she with the San Francisco Opera Chorus and as an Alexander Technique instructor. They founded the music program three years ago, and have kept admission to the concerts to $15 (seniors and students) and $20 (general).

Next month Sunset Music | Arts will launch the last of the five concert series planned for its 2017 season. The title of this series is East Meets West. There will be three programs, each of which, in its own way, will feature musicians who uniquely meld music from Western and Eastern classical traditions to produce new compositions and approaches to performance.

Sunday, April 23, will be another day that will require serious listeners to make a considered choice.  …

7 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Incarnation: This evening will also mark the beginning of the Sunset Music | Arts 2017 Choral Series. The first recital will present the Masterworks Serenade Chamber Choir, led by Director Bryan Baker. The program will be based on settings of a diverse selection of poems. This will include Morten Lauridsen’s choral setting of James Agee’s poem “Sure On This Shining Night’ and Eric Whitacre’s witty take on Ogden Nash’s “Animal Crackers.” There will also be Patrick Hawes’ setting of his brother’s poem “Prayer to a Guardian Angel” and Imant Raminsh’s setting of Pablo Neruda’s “In the night we will go in,” scored for cello, piano, and choir. On the lighter side the program will also include spirituals and arrangements of songs by George Gershwin.

Saturday, April 1, 7:30 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Incarnation: This will be the third concert in the 2017 Chamber/Ensemble Series produced by Sunset Music | Arts. While these tend to be relatively traditional offerings, this particular event is definitely on the adventurous side. It will feature the members of the San Francisco Guitar Quartet, Mark Simons, David Dueñas, Patrick O’Connell, and Jon Mendle; and the program will include pieces written for the group by Christopher Gainey and Garry Eister. They are also planning to perform compositions by Paul Dresher and Phillip Houghton.

Churches have been a mainstay of music for millennia, and in the Bay Area there is evidence of that all around, with some truly impressive concert schedules among them. One of the leading organizations – just across Golden Gate Park from my own Richmond District “musical neighborhood” – is a champion in the Sunset District, Incarnation Episcopal Church. On 29th Avenue, between Moraga and Noriega, the church’s Sunset Music & Arts program runs a plethora of concerts, including instrumental and vocal series, chamber music and ensemble, choral music, and opera.

  • December, 2016:  ‘Two Fascinating Series will Begin on the Same Day Next Month‘ by Stephen Smoliar

    Several years ago during the month of December, I wrote about the idea of a concert subscription being a seasonal “gift that keeps on giving.” It turns out that several concert series will be getting under way next month. … January 21 will also mark the beginning of the Instrumental Series in the 2017 season of Sunset Music | Arts. This is only that institution’s third season; but it has grown to accommodate five separate concert series, the first of these being the Instrumental Series.

  • December 2016:  ‘The Sunset Music | Arts 2017 Chamber/Ensemble Series‘ by Stephen Smoliar

    Exactly one week after Sunset Music | Arts launches the Instrumental Series for its 2017 season (whose specifics were reported yesterday), the Chamber/Ensemble Series will get under way. This is the longest of the five series planned for 2017, and it will consist of six concerts.



  • September 2015: ‘Soprano Paula Wilder-Gaubert will give next month’s Sunset Music | Arts recital,’ by Stephen Smoliar, SF Examiner Classical Music reporter
  • July 2015: ‘Sunset Music | Arts celebrates its first anniversary with a gala concert,’ by Stephen Smoliar, SF Examiner Classical Music reporter
  • March 2015: ‘March will end with two string quartets at opposite sides of the city,’ by Stephen Smoliar, SF Examiner Classical Music reporter
  • February 2015: In Supervisor Katy Tang’s (San Francisco District 4 Supervisor) February 2015 Newsletter, Ms. Tang refers to Sunset Music | Arts as “a cultural gem right here in the Sunset District.”  February Newsletter (Chinese version)

Sunset Music | Arts is a cultural gem right here in the Sunset District. Launched in 2014, Sunset Music | Arts provides high-quality, affordable music and arts programs to residents of all ages in the Sunset District. Thanks to the generosity of Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Sunset Music | Arts is able to make these wonderful concerts and programs available to our community in a beautiful and acoustically-pleasing space.


  • 12/24/14 “Sunset Music | Arts announces its 2015 Winter/Spring Season” by Stephen Smoliar, SF Examiner Classical Music reporter
  • 08/14/14 “The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation announces a new concert series” by Stephen Smoliar, SF Examiner Classical Music reporter
  • 10/2014 “Sunset Church Celebrates 100th Anniversary with Gala”, article by James King, in the October 2014 issue of the Sunset Beacon.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Church of the Incarnation welcomed members of the congregation, opera enthusiasts and neighbors to its centennial celebration. The singers Elisabeth Rom Lucio, Sally Porter Munro, Norman De Vol, and Frederick Matthews accompanied by pianist Bryan Baker, performed a medley of 13 famous opera songs and show-tunes for the crowd. … The venue, a medium-sized church on 29th Avenue between Noriega and Moraga streets, was packed for the event. The acoustics were excellent and the performers did not disappoint.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: