As most of our readers and members know, SFEMS curates not one but three separate concert series: our regular weekend season, showcasing major national and international artists of the early music world; the biennial Berkeley Festival and Exhibition; and our informal series of Sunday afternoon concerts at the California Jazz Conservatory (CJC), in downtown Berkeley. SFEMS and the CJC established this series a number of years ago, originally to explore and celebrate the improvisational kinship of the two genres of jazz and early music. The series will present five concerts this year, featuring SFEMS Affiliate and member ensembles, some of whom also appear on our other series.
The season opens Sunday, September 30, with Coro Ciconia, who will be “Damning with Feints and Praise.” Directed by Asher Davison, the medieval chamber choir will present an exploration of (mostly) secular works—the last four motets and three chansons from Rémède de Fortune by the great French poet Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300–1377)—plus four great works by the choir’s namesake Johannes Ciconia (1370–1412), and a pair of one-hit wonders: the I senti of Jacopo, and Andrieu’s déploration of Machaut.
On November 18, Ensemble Ignacio (Katherine Heater, harpsichord; Anthony Martin, violin & viola; and David Morris, cello) will explore “The Unknown Boccherini” in a program of sonatas and keyboard trios by the Mediterranean Master. The series resumes January 20, 2019, with Vajra Voices, directed by Karen Clark, and guest Shira Kammen, vielle and medieval harp, who will present medieval & Renaissance song by women, from Hildegard von Bingen to Leonore d’Este. On February 17, Ensemble Bizarria (Lindsey Strand-Polyak, violin; and Alexa Haynes-Pilon, cello) will channel “I virtuosi di Modena,” in a program of rare gems by Cima, Uccellini and others from the d’Este court under Dukes Alfonso IV and Francesco II. The series concludes on with a “Bach Birthday Celebration” on March 31, as MUSA (Lindsay McIntosh, baroque oboe; Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo, baroque violin; Gretchen Claassen, baroque cello; and Derek Tam, harpsichord) performs works by Johan Sebastian Bach and his two eldest sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel.
The CJC offers a casual and intimate environment where the audience can enjoy a light meal and sip a glass of wine or a cup of coffee while enjoying the concert. All concerts begin at 4:30 pm at the California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley. Tickets are $20 (general admission) and go on sale for each concert approximately one month in advance. Their box office can be reached at 510-845-5373 or www.cjc.edu/concerts.