Explore the Festival
San Francisco Performances
Our vision for San Francisco Performances has always been to build community through transformative experiences, offering access to world-class performances, and giving international artists space and support for innovation. Now in our 44th season, we remain committed to presenting remarkable live performances and providing opportunities for audiences—from those who attend our concerts, to public school students who encounter the performing arts for the very first time -- to engage personally with artists and gain a deeper understanding of their work. We nurture unique relationships with today’s leading artists and connect them with our community to create a warm and captivating arts experience.
*Programming and artists subject to change, please refer to the participating organization’s calendar listing for the most up-to-date program.
Friday November 10th, 7:30PMBuy TicketsBuy Tickets
San Francisco Performances Presents the Dublin Guitar Quartet
A rare foursome devoted to contemporary work, the Dublin Guitar Quartet (Brian Bolger, Chien Buggle, Pat Brunnock, Tomas O’Durcain) has piloted an impressive list of premieres, new work and original arrangements from compositional giants. The Quartet makes its SF Performances debut with this concert. “The Dublin Guitar Quartet has carved a place for itself in the world of classical music.”-- Philip Glass
STRING QUARTET NO. 2, COMPANY
PIANO ETUDES NO. 2, 9, 16 AND 20
STRING QUARTET NO. 3, MISHIMA
BOOK OF LEAVES
TITAN (2018, NEW ARRANGEMENT)
Described as a "quartet with a difference" by the Irish Times, the Dublin Guitar Quartet is the first classical guitar quartet entirely devoted to new music. Since its formation at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, DGQ has worked to expand the limited repertoire by commissioning new works and adapting modern masterpieces from outside of the guitar repertoire.
With the help of eight and eleven-string guitars, the quartet has created an original catalogue of arrangements by composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt, and György Ligeti. The DGQ's work has attracted the attention of some of the world's leading composers. In April 2015, the quartet performed alongside the Grammy award-winning LA Guitar Quartet, Conspirare, and Texas Guitar Quartet in a premiere of "How Little You Are" for three guitar quartets and choir by Nico Muhly in Austin, Texas. In 2019, DGQ performed their own reduction of this work in a US tour in collaboration with the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth.
The DGQ has performed at prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall in London, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and many leading venues in the US, including the Philips Collection in Washington, Celebrity Series Boston, Symphony Space, Yale University, and Lincoln Center. They are also developing the electric side of the guitar quartet repertoire with works like "Nagoya Guitars" and "Electric Counterpoint" by Steve Reich, along with a commission for an electric guitar quartet, "Amplified," by Michael Gordon.
Composer Marc Mellits is one of the leading American composers of his generation. His music is frequently performed in renowned venues across the globe, from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to prestigious music festivals in Europe and the US. Mellits' music is known for its eclectic combination of driving rhythms, soaring lyricism, and colorful orchestrations. He began composing at a very early age and went on to study at the Eastman School of Music, Yale School of Music, Cornell University, and Tanglewood.
Mellits' music has been played by major ensembles worldwide and he has been commissioned by groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Holland), Duo Assad, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Eliot Fisk, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Debussy Quartet, and Third Coast Percussion, among others. Additionally, Mellits' music has been performed, toured, and recorded by members of various renowned symphony orchestras and ensembles.
In the world of film, Mellits has composed numerous scores, including the PBS mini-series "Beyond The Light Switch," which won a 2012 Dupont-Columbia award. His music can be found on various CDs, including those from Cantaloupe, CRI/Emergency Music, Santa Fe New Music, Innova, and Dacia Music. Currently, he holds the position of Associate Professor of music at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Tuesday November 14th, 7:30PMBuy TicketsBuy Tickets
San Francisco Performances Presents Sir Stephen Hough
Hough’s astonishing career can be traced over three decades of SF Performances recitals, witnessing his thoughtful selection of music, emotional resonance, and a style full of joy and wit. In this program, he also performs his own recent composition, Partita.
PIANO SONATA NO. 5, OP. 53
3 PETRARCH SONNETS
Named by The Economist as one of Twenty Living Polymaths, Sir Stephen Hough combines a distinguished career and a longstanding international following as a pianist with those of a composer and writer. The first classical pianist to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honors 2014 and was awarded a Knighthood for Services to Music in the Queen’s Birthday honors 2022.
In the 2022–23 season, Hough performed over 90 concerts across five continents. Recent and upcoming orchestral highlights include return appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, Orchestre National de France, Vienna Symphony, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio, as well as with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Houston symphonies, and the New York Philharmonic.
In June 2020, he returned to London’s Wigmore Hall to give the UK’s first live classical music concert in a major venue since the nationwide lockdown earlier that year. Recent and upcoming recital highlights include a return to London’s Royal Festival Hall (International Piano Series) and performances at Caramoor and in Paris, Sydney, Atlanta, Toronto, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, and New York City’s 92nd Street Y.
As a composer, Stephen Hough has written for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble, and solo piano. Recent commissions include composing the commissioned work for the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, a piece that was performed by all 30 competitors, and his String Quartet No. 1 "Les Six Recontres" commissioned by the Takacs Quartet.
As a writer, Mr. Hough’s memoir "Enough: Scenes from Childhood" is being published in 2023. It follows his collection of essays "Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More," which won a 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society Award and was named one of the Financial Times’ Book of the Year 2019. Hough’s first novel, "The Final Retreat," was published by Sylph Editions in 2018.
Stephen Hough resides in London and is an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music and at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York.
Wednesday November 15th, 7:30PMBuy TicketsBuy Tickets
San Francisco Performances Presents the Castalian String Quartet
In an ingenious chain of inspirations spanning 220 years, this program -- and the Mark-Anthony Turnage commission featured on it -- mark the 100th anniversary of Janacek’s Kreutzer Sonata quartet. The Castalian String Quartet, known for its strong personality and spirited interpretations, contrasts both works, the old and the new, on this program.
STRING QUARTET NO. 1, KREUTZER SONATA
QUARTET IN F MINOR, OP. 80
Since its formation in 2011, the London-based Castalian String Quartet (Sini Simonen, violin; Daniel Roberts, violin; Ruth Gibson, viola; Steffan Morris, cello) has distinguished itself as one of the most dynamic, sophisticated young string quartets performing today. Appointed the inaugural Hans Keller String Quartet in Residence at the Oxford University Faculty of Music in 2021, they are also the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2019 Young Artists Award.
The Quartet is gaining international acclaim, having performed at esteemed venues worldwide, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonic, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Paris Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, Montreal’s Salle Bourgie, Carnegie Hall, and the Spoleto USA Festival. They have collaborated with living composers like Mark-Anthony Turnage, Charlotte Bray, and Edmund Finnis, premiering their works.
The Castalian Quartet, whose name derives from the Castalian Spring in the ancient city of Delphi, studied at the Hannover University of Music, Drama, and Media. Their awards include Third Prize at the 2016 Banff Quartet Competition and First Prize at the 2015 Lyon Chamber Music Competition.
As for Mark-Anthony Turnage, he rose to prominence in the 1980s as a British composer with an eclectic and diverse range of influences, ranging from Stravinsky, Britten, and Henze to jazz, rock, and R&B. His successful operas, such as "Greek" and "Anna Nicole," showcase his technical and dramatic assurance, while his extensive catalogue of music for orchestra reflects a fusion of personal and political influences, making his music a full immersion in the everyday nature of things. Turnage's career has been supported by figures like Sir Simon Rattle, who invited him to become composer-in-residence at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1989, and continued to program and commission his works as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic.