Book ahead if a classical music fix is part of your autumn or holiday ritual. In addition to places in the South Bay from last season, the city has a wide variety of options, some fresh and some traditional, but always uplifting. In addition to the ticketed events below, at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m., a recital attracting a free-will offering takes place, often featuring a visiting international organist. At the Legion of Honor, Saturday and Sunday organ recitals normally take place at 4 p.m., included with museum admission.
Date: Nov. 14, 2014
Founded in 2009, Bella Piano Trio consists of Mimi Lee on piano, Eric Gaenslen on cello and Nathanael Bartley on violin. They “create an intimate environment that invites audiences to become part of the musical conversation while covering a repertoire of Romantic and 20th century era composers.” In the new Friday night admission-free Presidio Sessions curated by San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, the trio that performed on opening weekend in October is back to the newly restored Presidio Officers’ Club, hosting the group in a free recital of chamber music open to the public.
Date: Nov. 17, 2014
The 400-strong student body plus faculty put on approximately 500 complimentary performances each academic year, to which the public is invited to attend. Voice faculty chair, mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook sings Robert Schumann’s mid-19th century piece “Frauenliebe und leben, Op. 42″ and the contemporary Jake Heggie’s “The Deepest Desire,” accompanied by Keisuke Nakagoshi (’06) at the piano and Elizabeth Lowry (’11) on flute.
Date: Nov. 23, 2014
Mentored by talented master musicians, San Francisco’s pre-professional orchestral training program for approximately 100 Bay Area youth ages 12 through 21 has been identifying talent without requiring tuition. The youth orchestra presents a performance (see website for further program details) at Davies Hall with ticket prices beginning at $15 for general admission. It’s a wonderful opportunity to support the 30-year-old outreach program while enjoying a top-caliber performance space.
Date: Dec. 13, 14, 15, 20 and 21, 2014
One of America’s few male choirs is in residence at Grace Cathedral, especially splendid during the holiday season. Highlights of the Christmas program includes favorite hymns and carols such as “And the Glory of the Lord” from Handel’s “Messiah”; Leo Sowerby’s “Love Came Down at Christmas”; and Giovanni Gabrieli’s 16th century masterpiece, “O Magnum Mysterium.” Benjamin Bachmann, conductor, and Paul Meier at the Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ lead the performance. Ticket holders are welcome to arrive an hour early for an expert talk called “Inside Music.”
Date: Dec. 18-20, 2014
Internationally acclaimed Baroque specialist Jane Glover returns to conduct soloists and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus in Handel’s “Messiah.” This favorite of the season features some of the best known refrains in Western music, including the famous “Hallelujah” chorus. Marking 41 years, the highly acclaimed group of 31 professionals and 120 volunteer members has performed internationally and recorded Grammy-winning albums. Ticket holders are welcome to arrive an hour early for a free “Inside Music” talk with an expert.