The California Symphony has treated the tunefully inclined to artful performances of both new music and classical classics for nearly a quarter of a century. Audiences for the March 6 concert, "In the Spotlight," will witness the skilled batonery of guest conductor George Cleve as he leads the world-premiere performance of Bay Area composer Cindy Cox's most recent work. With a unique voice noted for its tunings, harmonies, and textural colorations, Cox's piece will showcase regional orchestral musicians, such as flutist Monica Daniel-Barker, clarinetist Jerome Simas, and violist Marcel Gemperli. The evening will also include selections from Chaminade's Flute Concertino, Bruch's Concerto for Clarinet and Viola, and Dvořák's Symphony no. 7, generally considered the luckiest of all Dvořák's symphonies.
Peninsula Symphony, founded in 1949 with the goal of enriching communities with affordable musical productions, grew from a grassroots ensemble to a 90-plus-member orchestra of well-trained local musicians. Music Director Mitchell Sardou Klein leads the ensemble with a steady baton, a sharp ear, and the stamina to carry on through the inevitable triple encore.
Because the ticket is a G-Pass, Groupon customers can use it to enter the venue directly; they will not need to redeem their Groupon at will call.
• For $36, you get a seat in section 201–203 or 213–230 (a $54.20 value before fees, or up to a $71.50 value online, including all ticketing fees). • For $56, you get a seat in section 113–120 (a $94.20 value before fees, or up to a $112.90 value online, including all ticketing fees).
Quartet San Francisco is a vibrantly nontraditional ensemble, and will play two pieces that celebrate the welcome inspirations of jazz, tango, and spring, all within glorious acoustic and architectural environs. San Jose Chamber Orchestra’s venerable conductor Barbara Day Turner, known for her innovative programming, wields the baton as the bestringed foursome delivers Anica Galindo’s "Trinitas III" and Henry Mollicone’s "Fantasía Para Cuerdas." Violin co-conspirators Jeremy Cohen and Alisa Rose, viola repeat offender Keith Lawrence, and stealthy cellist Gianna Abondolo are deft crossover artists as well as Grammy nominees, having played in a multiplicity of genres and performed in strikingly diverse venues around the country.
For the 26th year, Mannheim Steamroller ushers in the holidays with its annual Christmas tour, as two classically trained troupes of musicians travel cross-country to energize audiences with seasonal spirit. Captained by industry trailblazer Chip Davis since the mid-1980s, the ensemble's modern re-workings of adored Christmas jingles were originally met with widespread skepticism from record distributors, retail stores, and indecisive shopping-mall Santas. Today, with more than 27 million albums sold, Mannheim Steamroller's unconventional electronic tempo continues to breathe new life into classics such as "Joy to the World," "Deck the Halls," and "The First Noel." Adding to an already stuffed career stocking, the band has also collaborated with musical icons such as Johnny Mathis, Olivia Newton-John, and jazz legend Paul Winter.
Founded in 1926, the Stockton Symphony has plucked at audience's heartstrings for the best part of a century. First on the evening's program is Mozart's overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, a brisk curtain-raiser that combines lively percussion with swooping strings. Next up is the Symphony No. 38 in D Major, a work renowned both for its elegant restraint and its emotional appeal, much like a dolphin in an Abraham Lincoln costume. The finale, Mozart's Requiem, is universally considered one of essential works of classical music. For its performance, the Stockton Symphony welcomes to the stage the Stockton Chorale and soprano Anja Strauss, whom San Francisco Classical Voice has called, "explosive."
Viva la Musica!’s eclectic assembly of volunteer singers flawlessly fuses the choral-orchestral genre with folk songs, gospel, and multicultural numbers. This December, the troupe celebrates its 11th annual holiday concert, reaching deep into its repertoire to dazzle listeners with an aural collage more inspirational than a self-help book penned by a state bird. Director Shulamit Hoffmann leads the spirited squad of singers who, backed by a brass ensemble, traverse musical history, covering hymns from 16th-century Venetian antiphonies all the way up to modern-day genres such as contemporary American jazz. At 3:30 p.m. before the concert starts, Hoffmann will discuss details and historic information on the show's works and musical notes at no additional charge. Adding to the festive airs and flocks of gift-wrapped quarter notes, the performance will also include a rendition of John Rutter’s fiery anthem, Gloria. St. Peter's has free parking.
The original members of the Lafayette String Quartet, who are artists-in-residence at the University of Victoria, B.C., continue their 25th year of euphonious musicianship with a majestic performance at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Throughout the evening, the all-female foursome will traverse the fiery notes of Beethoven, Mozart, and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" before igniting the auditorium with a spirited rendition of Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade. The Fremont Symphony Orchestra—which boasts 48 seasons' worth of classical-music performances—presents the evening inside the 405-seat G. Craig Jackson Theatre, where a specially engineered setup allows acoustics to sprout and unfurl as fully-grown audible bouquets.
Founded as an auxiliary to the San Jose Orchestra, the Youth Symphony functioned as training ground for young musicians for five decades before the 2001 demise of its parent organization. But the youth organization endured. The San Jose Youth Symphony incorporated as an independent non-profit, providing musical education to hundreds of local kids. Now comprising eight groups of varying sizes and experience levels, the organization stages dozens of concerts each year, as well as a biennial international tour that gives advanced ensemble members the chance to travel to exotic locales and learn which countries have the fluffiest hotel towels.
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses celebrates more than 25 years of stirring virtual adventure and memorable soundtracks with live orchestral renditions of the videogame franchise's lush aural landscapes. Arranged by music director Chad Seiter, the concert's four-movement symphony regales ears with Nintendo composer Koji Kondo's original music that spans 15 Zelda games, recalling moments of Link conquering dungeons, running through forests, and struggling to decide what color of tunic to wear. Conductor Eimear Noone leads the full chorus and symphony with the same skills that earned her the opportunity to orchestrate the soundtrack to World of Warcraft and conduct the musical score of Starcraft II: Wind of Liberty.
The Midwest Rock-n-Roll Express smuggles arena legends Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Ted Nugent into the great outdoors of the Greek Theatre with an inestimable cargo of sing-along classics. Styx has sparked the third rail since 1972 with prog-rock sensationalism, bolstering lighter-fluid epics such as "Come Sail Away" and "Babe" with complex riffs from crystalline synthesizers intertwined with power-chord crescendos and noodling from guitar giant Tommy Shaw. With founding frontman and falsetto specialist Kevin Cronin at the helm, fellow Prairie State juggernaut REO Speedwagon fills the stage with passionate chartbusters that made waterbed salesmen rich, from romantic ballads such as “Keep On Loving You" to the spurned-lover kiss-off "Take It on the Run." Kicking off the show, "Motor City Madman" and expert game hunter Ted Nugent revs his buzzsaw guitar through classics such as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold," all while protecting the audience from wild boars.
American Philharmonic Sonoma County's ensemble of 60–75 volunteer musicians whisk audiences around the globe and through time during "The Grand Tour." Freelance violinist, composer, and conductor Evan
Craves pilots a romance-heavy program that showcases his amazing ability to keep tempo and swat mosquitoes at the same time. The virtuosic hands of young Russian pianist and Rachmaninoff specialist Elena Ulyanova hold down the 24 variations of the composer's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Berlioz's first voyage to Italy inspired the dashing Le Corsaire, and Manuel de Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat traipses through a comic tale of seduction in Andalusia. After the program, guests can dance to the songs stuck in their heads around the Wells Fargo Center's formidable collection of outdoor sculptures.