Take Note SFCM

SF-Shanghai Festival Returns to 50 Oak
The San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival was born in Shanghai in 2011, the result of a five-year sister school agreement with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music to take turns hosting annual events. Stemming from the longstanding sister city affiliation between Shanghai and San Francisco, the festival also reflects a natural affinity between the two schools. In 1981, the first Shanghai Conservatory students arrived in San Francisco to study at the Conservatory's former campus on Ortega Street; today, more San Francisco Conservatory students hail from the Shanghai Conservatory than from any other institution. And like SFCM, the Shanghai Conservatory established the first chamber music program of its kind in China.

Junhao Liu  
Empty Mountain Fantasia by Junhao Liu performed by SFCM students at the 2013 festival in Shanghai 
Next week's performances feature works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn. But the festival's collaborative spirit is best manifested in four world premieres commissioned from faculty and students at both conservatories, each to be performed by an ensemble from the composer's sister school. String trios by students Kenji Oh in San Francisco and Minzuo Lu from Shanghai will receive their first public performances while faculty composer David Garner '79 and Guohui Ye, dean of the Shanghai Conservatory composition department, are each contributing a string quartet.

David Garner
David Garner 
Garner says his piece is an homage to the composers and performers who have contributed to the festival, including the Shanghai faculty Han Quartet who will perform its premiere. He calls the work a "synthesis of serial technique with modern neo-tonality" that begins with a twelve tone row and goes on to develop "a true 'pan-Pacific' flavor, with elements of American concert music, Latin America and China all combined." (Garner also manages to embed the Chinese folksong Kangding qingge into the serial framework.) Other premieres reach back more than a millennium to recreate sonorities from the Tang dynasty and span art forms to tap the same energetic impulses that infuse Chinese calligraphy.

The Han Quartet will preview Garner's work and other festival premieres at a Composers Workshop on Thursday, March 13 at 11 a.m. All four composers will be on hand to share their sources of inspiration and insight with the public and to answer questions. On Tuesday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. the Han Quartet conducts a free and public master class. Prior to Thursday's opening concert, a private reception for donors, patrons and community leaders is planned in partnership with the Asia Society and the Asian Art Museum. Museum Director Dr. Jay Xu is among several speakers who will offer remarks. 

For more information and tickets to the San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival, visit the festival webpage .

Take Note: Conservatory News and Events, March 5, 2014