Pianist Jonathan Biss will return to SFP with another multi-concert project

Jonathan Biss

One of the more interesting series of concerts that was presented during the 2012–2013 season of San Francisco Performances (SFP) was a project that grew out of a conversation that SFP Founder Ruth Felt and pianist Jonathan Biss. The result was Schumann: Under the Influence, an imaginative approach to programming a series of four concerts to explore the life and works of Robert Schumann and the influencing forces behind his creativity. The concerts cut across three of the four series that SFP offered as subscription options: Piano, Chamber, and Vocal.

Biss will return to SFP for the 2016–2017 season with another such offering similarly structured. This time the title will be Late Style. It will bridge the same subscription series; but the scope will be much broader, extending from the daring dissonances of Carlo Gesualdo near the end of his life in the early seventeenth century to the still-active Hungarian composer György Kurtág, who turned 90 this past February. The idea behind Biss’ title is that he wanted to single out for attention composers that moved in surprising directions during the last years of their lives.

Kurtág will be a major focus of Biss’ Piano Series recital on Saturday, February 11, with excerpts from Volume VII of his Játékok (games) series, which was composed in 2003. (Volume VIII has compositions for two pianos and for four hands on a single keyboard.) The earlier composers on the program will be Schumann, Frédéric Chopin, and Johannes Brahms. The final concert (Friday, March 17) will then be a Vocal Series recital with tenor Mark Padmore consisting entirely of music by Franz Schubert.
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