JOSHUA KOSMAN’S CLASSICAL MUSIC PICK
Ever since the days of Joseph Haydn, composers have looked to the string quartet as a vehicle to put their most private musical thoughts in order. Nearly everyone from Mozart and Beethoven to Ruth Crawford and Elliott Carter has had occasion to explore this flexible and intimate medium.
Now comes composer Vincent Calianno to put it all into perspective. His new work is titled, with a delicious sense of whimsy, “A History of the String Quartet in Its Natural Habitat,” and it is slated for its world premiere in a free concert by the Thalea String Quartet.
Also on the program, which is part of San Francisco State University’s Morrison Artists Series, are quartets by Haydn and Shostakovich – presumably part of the natural history Calianno is intent on outlining.
Thalea String Quartet:
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Free. McKenna Theatre, San Francisco State University. 415-338-2467. http://morrison.sfsu.edu Dec. 2. $75. Gunn Theater, Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave., S.F. www.sfsymphony.org
Decoda Ensemble “Life Circus.” Works by Britten, Barber, Schubert, Prokofiev, others. 7 and 9 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30. $30. At Bing Concert Hall Studio, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford. 650-724-2464. live.stanford.edu. 4 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2 at Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez St., S.F. www.nvcm.org
Disks and Grooves: Exploring Rotary Instruments T.D. Skatchit & Company. Works by Danny Clay. Film screenings with live musical accompaniment. 8 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 29. $10-$12. Center for New Music, 55 Taylor St., S.F. 415-275-2466. www.centerfornewmusic.com
Enrique Arriaga, Concepción Huerta Electronics. 7 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30. $10-$15. Center for New Music, 55 Taylor St., S.F. www.centerfornewmusic.com
Gautier Capuçon, Jean-Yves Thibaudet Cello; piano. Works by Debussy, Brahms, Rachmaninoff. 8 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2. $35-$105. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-864-6000. www.sfsymphony.org
Gilbert Kalish and Friends Piano. Works by John Harbison. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1. Free. S.F. Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St., S.F. 415864-7326. www.sfcm.edu
Grace Cathedral Men of the Choir “Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Songbook Concert.” 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1. Free. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F. 415-7496300. www.gracecathedral.org Harpeggio “20 Harps for the Holidays.” 4 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1. $12-$15. Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave., Los Altos. 408366-8810. www.harpeggio.com/concert.html
Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble “Wintersongs.” 4 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2. $15-$45. St. Bede's Episcopal Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park. www.kitka.org
Laurie Anderson, Eyvind Kang Viola duet; electronics. 7:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30. $40. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F. 415-749-6300. www.sfjazz.org
Marin Symphony Chamber Chorus “Holiday Choral Concert by Candlelight.” With Marin the Marin Girls Chorus. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1; 4 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2. $20-$32. Church of St. Raphael, 1104 Fifth Ave., San Rafael. 415-4798100. www.marinsymphony.org
Morrison Artists Series: Thalea String Quartet Works by Haydn, Shostakovich, Vincent Calianno. 3 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2. Free. Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Bldg., 1600 Holloway Ave., S.F. 415-3382467. lca.sfsu.edu
Nomad Session Wind Octet “The Eight: Crazy Eights.” Works by Emily Shisko, Eric Whitacre, Holst, Gershwin. 8 p.m. Fri., Nov 30. $25. Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez St., S.F. www.nomadsession.org
Noontime Concerts: GoldTorrent Duo Joseph Gold, violin; Jaume Torrent, guitar. Works by Handel, Paganini, others. 12:30 p.m. Tues., Nov. 27. Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, 660 California St., S.F. www.noontimeconcerts.org Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir “Annual Holiday Concert.” 7 p.m. Sat., Dec 1. $17$47. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland. www.paramounttheatre.com Ohlone Wind Orchestra p.m. Sat., Dec. 1. $10-$15. Smith Center, 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont. 510-659-6031. www.ohlonewindorchestra.org Old First Concerts Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. 8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30. $5-$25, under 12 free. Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F. www.oldfirstconcerts.org Ragazzi Boys Chorus “For the Beauty of Earth.” $12-$32. 5 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1 at First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. 3
1 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2 at Messiah Lutheran Church, 1835 Valota Road, Redwood City. 650342-8785. www.ragazzi.org
Ragazzi Continuo “An English Christmas.” $15-$25. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 178 Clinton St., Redwood City. 2 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2. First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto. www.ragazzicontinuo.org
S.F. Bach Choir “Joyeux Noël! A (Mostly) French Candlelight Christmas.” Works by Charpentier, Berlioz, Poulenc, Brian Holmes, others. With Whole Noyse Renaissance Winds; John Walko, organ; Peter Maund, percussion; Steven Bailey, keyboards. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1; 4 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2. $25-$35, under 19 free. Calvary Presbyterian Church, 2151 Fillmore St., S.F. www.sfbach.org
S.F. Opera “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Jake Heggie. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 29 and Sat., Dec. 1. Through Dec. 9. $26-$398. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415864-3330. www.sfopera.com S.F. Opera Chorus Ian Robertson conducts works by Dvorak, Wagner, Beethoven, Handel. Angela Moser, and Mary Finch, soprano; Fabrizio Corona, piano. 7:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30. $35. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-864-3330. www.sfopera.com
S.F. Symphony Pink Martini with the Symphony. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Wed., Nov. 27-28. $70$180. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” film screening. Ted Sperling conducts works by Danny Elfman. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Nov. 30-Dec. 1. and
Raymond Ejiofor and Keon Saghari have performed with the Post:Ballet company.