SF Early Music Society Look Back, Go Forward

Opera song


Quicksilver Baroque performs on January 14 | Credit: Jan Gates

The Bay Area Early Music Community Booster is celebrating its 45th season with a return to live music featuring a stellar lineup of baroque and early music specialists. In a season it describes as “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” the San Francisco Early Music Society features six ensembles in a series of concerts, special events, and a simultaneous digital season titled “Snapshots.”

Four concerts will be mobile parties, with live performances in San Francisco, Berkeley and Palo Alto on consecutive nights. Both special events are overnight deals only. Each of the concerts will be videotaped and featured in the Snapshots series, which also includes interviews, bonus tracks and other exclusive previews of the artists and their music.

Speaking about the upcoming season, Executive Director Derek Tam said SFCV, “As you would expect, we are delighted to welcome customers back for live performances! From rising stars like Tabea Debus and Profeti della Quinta, to beloved local bands like The Paris Quartet and Agave Baroque, as well as national luminaries like Quicksilver and Aulos Ensemble, this is a season that promises to be enchanting.

“We are particularly keen to develop our virtual offerings with ‘snapshots’. During the acute phase of the pandemic, our community has expanded nationally and internationally, and our digital season is an easy and affordable way to whet your appetite for early music. “

Here’s a look at the upcoming events. Follow the links for details on individual programs, locations, times and tickets. Series subscriptions are available on the SFEMS season webpage.

Profeti della Quinta is at Grace Cathedral on January 29

October 22-24: The Paris Quartet

The inaugural concert presents the famous Bay Area ensemble exploring the evolution of the trio into a quartet through the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, François Couperin, Georg Philipp Telemann and Jean-Philippe Rameau.

December 3-5: Ensemble Aulos with Julianne Baird

Soprano Julianne Baird joins the five members of Aulos in a Christmas-themed program of favorites from the 16th to 18th centuries in Aulos’ own transcriptions. These include the Christmas Cantata by Alessandro Scarlatti, French Christmases, musettes and rigaudons by François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau, etc. This festive concert marks a farewell for the Aulos, who announced his retirement following this season.

January 14 (special event): Quicksilver Baroque

Described as ‘early music rock stars’, Quicksilver Baroque kicks off the new year with 17th century music in Vienna, featuring the ‘sumptuous and emotionally extravagant’ music of Antonio Bertali, Johann Joseph Fux, Johann Caspar Kerll, Giovanni Legrenzi, Johann Rosenmüller, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and Romanus Weichlein. One night only.

January 29 (special event): Profeti della Quinta

Switzerland-based Profeti della Quinta makes his Bay Area debut with a concert tracing the evolution of the madrigal from the highly expressive polyphony of Cipriano de Rore to the experimental, and at times downright bizarre, styles of Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Carlo Gesualdo and Scipio Lacorcia. The concert will also feature “revolutionary” madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi, which shaped the incoming Baroque era and laid the groundwork for the musical dramas and early operas that would soon follow. One night only.

February 25-27: Baroque Agave

In “Bach: All in the Family,” local favorites explore the rich heritage produced by the Bach family over two centuries, “from French orchestral suites, to a lively Italian concerto, to hearty, stylish music. German “.

April 8-10: Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel

Recorder virtuoso Tabea Debus and lute magician Alon Sariel pursue the mystery of music that lingers in the ear long after hearing it in a concert titled “Ode to an Earworm”. They will explore the phenomenon through the eminently hummable airs of George Frideric Handel, Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Purcell, John Dowland, Claudio Monteverdi, etc.

Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel