Post Date: 08/02/2022

One of the nation’s leading organizations for the advancement of early music, the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS), has announced its 2022–23 season featuring some of the most exciting early music practitioners from here and abroad in six wide-ranging programs. The season runs from September 30 through April 23, with concerts presented in Palo Alto, Berkeley, and San Francisco.

Sept. 30–Oct. 2: Alkemie
Nov. 4–6: New Esterházy Quartet
Dec. 2–4: Calextone
Jan. 6–8: Melody of China
Mar. 3–5: Archetti & Dance Through Time Apr. 22–23 (Special Event): Pacific MusicWorks

Encounter two very different sides of fifteenth-century France with Alkemie (“Like a Woman: Finding the Feminine,” Sept. 30–Oct. 2) and Calextone (“Januario,” Dec. 2–4). Escape the familiar with New Esterházy Quartet‘s program of non-European and female composers (“Out of the Canon’s Range,” Nov. 4–6) and Melody of China‘s survey of another side of the globe (“Songs of the Dragon,” Jan. 6–8). Explore the union of rhythm and dance with Archetti & Dance Through Time (“Forbidden Lust…,” Mar. 3–5). And finally, exult in a lavish production of Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo—the first great opera—in a star-studded production from Pacific MusicWorks (Apr. 22–23).

In addition to our main stage concerts, SFEMS will present several Sanctuary Salon concerts, specially curated events featuring the best local practitioners of historically informed performance.

Building upon its popular digital offerings, SFEMS will also continue to present “Snapshots,” a concurrent digital season featuring exclusive online-only content from this year’s artists.

Individual tickets for SFEMS’ 2022–23 season are $20–$65, with discounts for patrons 35 and under, SFEMS members, and season subscribers. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit sfems.org/concerts or call 510-528-1725. Detailed information about concert times and venues follows below.

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The season kicks off with Brooklyn-based ensemble Alkemie, who explores the other side of courtly love in their SFEMS debut. Featuring 15th-century Medieval French songs from a female or non-gendered poetic perspective, Like a Woman includes readings by the court writer Christine de Pizan (1364–c. 1430), tracing her proto-feminist poetic legacy in works by Gilles de Binchois, Gualterius Libert, and the ever-intriguing Anonymous.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/723053596

November 4–6 / NEW ESTERHAZY QUARTET

Familiar faces present as-yet-unfamiliar music in this fascinating program! The New Esterházy Quartet—the Bay Area’s beloved period string quartet—will guide us

September 30–October 2 / ALKEMIE

through a program that reinvents the Classical “canon.” Dive into works from the brilliant Italian violinist Maddalena Laura Lombardini; the swashbuckling Guadeloupean Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges; the Brazilian priest José Maurício Nunes Garcia; as well as compositions by Fanny Mendelssohn and Florence Price. In this journey, the quartet will be joined by a voice familiar to many: UCLA musicology professor Elisabeth Le Guin, who was active in the Bay Area for many years as a period cellist, will provide commentary to enrich our understanding.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/723742080

December 2–4 / CALEXTONE

It’s never too soon to ring in the new year! The merry revelers of Calextone present works by Guillaume Dufay, Antoine Busnois, Jacob Obrecht, Baude Cordier, and also from the original Carmina Burana, as we party like it’s 1423.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/723746283

January 6–8 / MELODY OF CHINA

Travel across the Pacific Ocean in this intriguing survey of Chinese traditional music with Melody of China ( ), described in the The San Francisco Chronicle as “innovative and dazzling.” Founded in 1993 and dedicated to promoting Chinese music in the Bay Area and beyond through scintillating concerts and educational outreach, Melody of China will delight SFEMS audiences using traditional Chinese instruments— hammered dulcimers, zithers, fiddles, lutes, mouth organs, and bamboo flutes—and historically informed techniques to showcase the remarkable diversity of Chinese musical traditions. Celebrate the new year again, this time in lunar fashion!

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/722741893

March 3-5 / ARCHETTI BAROQUE STRINGS & DANCE THROUGH TIME

What is forbidden is often the most desirable. The dances and rhythms of its New World colonies created a sensation in the Spanish courts, and were eventually banned for their perceived lasciviousness. In this captivating collaboration, Dance Through Time and Archetti Baroque Strings trace the saga of dances such as the chaconna, zarabanda, and folias from their indigenous beginnings to the courts of France and beyond, featuring music from Diego Ortiz, Gaspar Sanz, Tarquinio Merula, Antonio Vivaldi, Marin Marais, and Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/727851179

April 22-23 / PACIFIC MUSICWORKS (Special Event)

Our season comes to a grand finale with Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo! Seattle-based ensemble Pacific MusicWorks heads down the coast to present a star-studded concert version of the world’s first great opera, directed by Boston Early Music Festival co- director Stephen Stubbs in two acclaimed venues: San Francisco’s iconic Grace Cathedral and Berkeley’s First Congregational Church, beloved by audiences as the Bay Area’s early music sanctuary. Revel in the power of the ancient legend where music dared to overcome death.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/725840891

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO EARLY MUSIC SOCIETY

Founded in 1975, SFEMS is one of the nation’s leading organizations for the advancement of historically informed performance of early music. Through its concert series, publications, outreach activities, affiliate support and educational programs SFEMS encourages the development of amateurs, supports professionals, and increases public involvement and participation in early music. SFEMS is the presenter of the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition of early music.

Among the hundreds of ensembles and solo artists SFEMS has supported over four- plus decades are many whose national or regional debuts occurred under its auspices: Anonymous 4, Benjamin Bagby, Frans Brüggen, Concerto Palatino, Fretwork, Laurette Goldberg, Hilliard Ensemble, John Holloway, Emma Kirkby & Anthony Rooley, Wieland Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt, PAN, Joshua Rifkin, Jordi Savall, Max van Egmond and Vox Luminis, to name a few.

FACT SHEET

WHO:

Alkemie

Tracy Cowart, voice, bray and Romanesque harps, percussion; David McCormick, vielle; Elena Mullins, voice, bray harp, percussion; Sian Ricketts, voice, douçaines, recorders; Niccolo Seligmann, vielles, gittern, scheitholt, psaltery, percussion

PROGRAM:

Like a Woman: Finding the Feminine in Medieval France

WHEN & WHERE:

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 8:00PM | PALO ALTO

First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 7:30PM | BERKELEY

First Church Berkeley UCC (First Congregational) 2345 Channing Way

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2, 4:00PM | SAN FRANCISCO

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street

WHO:

New Esterházy Quartet

Kati Kyme and Lisa Weiss, violins; Anthony Martin, viola; William Skeen, cello; with Elisabeth Le Guin, commentary

PROGRAM:

Out of the Canon’s Range—Music by the Marginalized

WHEN & WHERE:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 8:00PM | PALO ALTO

First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 7:30PM | BERKELEY

First Church Berkeley UCC (First Congregational) 2345 Channing Way

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 4:00PM | SAN FRANCISCO

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street

WHO:

Calextone

Letitia Berlin, recorder, douçaine, psaltery, voice; Frances Blaker, recorder; Shira Kammen, vielle, harp, voice; Allison Zelles Lloyd, voice, harp

PROGRAM:

Januario—Music for the New Year

WHEN & WHERE:

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 8:00PM | PALO ALTO

First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3, 7:30PM | BERKELEY

First Church Berkeley UCC (First Congregational) 2345 Channing Way

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 4:00PM | SAN FRANCISCO

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street

WHO:

Melody of China

Yangqin Zhao, yangqin; Gangqin Zhao, guzheng;  Shenshen Zhang, pipa; Wanpeng Guo, sheng; Xiaofeng Zhang, erhu; Xian Lu, dizi

PROGRAM:

Songs of the Dragon

WHEN & WHERE:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 8:00PM | PALO ALTO

First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 7:30PM | BERKELEY

First Church Berkeley UCC (First Congregational) 2345 Channing Way

SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 4:00PM | SAN FRANCISCO

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street

WHO:

Archetti & Dance Through Time

Carla Moore and Alicia Yang, violins; Elisabeth Reed, bass viol and cello; John Lenti, theorbo and guitar; Jen Meller and Carlos Venturo, Baroque dancers

PROGRAM:

Forbidden Lust and Passion in the Court

WHEN & WHERE:

FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 8:00PM | PALO ALTO

First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 7:30PM | BERKELEY

First Church Berkeley UCC (First Congregational) 2345 Channing Way

SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 4:00PM | SAN FRANCISCO

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street

WHO:

Pacific MusicWorks

CAST

Colin Balzer, Tess Altiveros, Danielle Reutter-Harrah, Jonathan Woody, Dashon Burton, Maya Kherani, Aaron Sheehan, Jason McStoots

INSTRUMENTALISTS

Stephen Stubbs, director; Tekla Cunningham, leader; Adam LaMotte, violin; David Morris, viola da gamba & lirone; Todd Larsen, bass; Maxine Eilander, harp; Charles Weaver, lute; Henry Lebedinsky, organ, harpsichord, & regal; Kris Kwapis, trumpet; Alexandra Opsahl, cornetto; Kiri Tollaksen, cornetto & recorder; Greg Ingles, Erik Schmalz, and Mack Ramsey, trombones; Mark Goodenberger, percussion

PROGRAM:

L’Orfeo (Concert Production)

WHEN & WHERE:

SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 3:30PM | SAN FRANCISCO

Grace Cathedral 1100 California Street

SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 3:30PM | BERKELEY

First Church Berkeley UCC (First Congregational) 2345 Channing Way

TICKETS:

Individual tickets: $20–$70

Memberships and subscriptions for three or more concerts are available with discounts up to 25%.

Tickets may be purchased online at sfems.org or by phone at 510-528-1725. The box office may also be reached by email at tickets@sfems.org.

Media Contact: Heidi L. Waterman, communications@sfems.org

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