Vernon Salon Series

Vernon Salon Series

I am excited to curate the Vernon Salon Series, a monthly series whose mission is to provide musicians and other artists a friendly platform to present and discuss new works for an enthusiastic and supportive audience. Founded in January of 2016, it has provided a wonderful setting for artists to meet friends and test out new programs and ideas. Alongside many incredible musicians, other artists who have presented their work have hailed from the fields of visual art, literature, musicology, viticulture, illustration, dance and others.

Please contact me if you are interested in performing on the series or would like to be added to the monthly invitation email list.

Upcoming 2021 Shows

December 3 at 7 PM PST: Flutist Victoria “Tori” Hauk, originally from San Diego, has been performing and teaching in the Bay Area since 2013. She can be seen performing with Avenue Winds, Siroko Duo, Areon Flutes, and various Bay Area orchestras. She maintains a full private teaching studio and teaches at San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College Division. She is the winner of the University of Arizona President’s Concerto Competition and Arizona Flute Society Competition, as well as an award winner of the Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego and MTNA Southwest Regional Competition. Tori most recently studied under Tim Day at SFCM.

The YouTube live link is HERE.

Tori writes: This program comes out of a time spent in reflection and hibernation. As a musician, I welcomed the time to refresh my view on performance and also struggled with my identity outside of being a performing musician. Each piece contributed, and is contributing, to the healing and growth I’ve experienced as not just a musician, but more simply, a human. The program features pieces by living composers Tan Mizi, Ahmed Al Abaca, and Allison Loggins-Hull among others.

Past Shows

2021

November 12 at 7:30 PST: Pianist Emily Tian and saxophonist Claire Phillips will each share a few works, including pieces by Chick Corea, Tigran Hamasyan, Oliver Nelson, Bill Dobbins and William Grant Still. The YouTube LIVE link can be found HERE.

Emily Tian is a Bay Area pianist and educator. She is known for her fine playing and diverse repertoire.  Emily earned her Advanced Study Diploma at the Stuttgart Music Conservatory and her Master’s Degree at California State East Bay University. She collaborates regularly with emerging and established composers and musicians. She is part of the ARc duET with Bay Area pianist Anne Rainwater,  all while maintaining a full-time position as the piano program director and music department co-chair at Oakland School for the Arts.

Claire Phillips is an active, Oakland-based saxophonist, composer and educator. With a BA in Music and an MA in Composition, she has been performing, recording, composing and teaching in France, England and the US in a variety of ensembles ranging from duo to big band, contemporary classical and jazz, to Klezmer and Balkan music.

October 8 at 7:30 PM PDT: Founded in 2015, Sl(e)ight Ensemble is a group of composer/performers focused on the realization of new music in the San Francisco Bay Area. Featuring Erika Oba (flute), Stephanie Neumann (saxophones), and Jacob Lane (piano), their upcoming 2021-2022 program, Of California Ecology, will feature compositions inspired by nature in California, and will include new works by Julie Herndon, ensemble members, and the winner of their 2020 call for scores, Kian Ravaei. The ensemble’s performances have included concerts at The Center for New Music (S.F.), The Simm Series (S.F.), Octopus Literary Salon (Oakland), and The Musical Offering (Berkeley) and have featured collaborations with artists such as composer Stephen Parris, violinist Mia Bella D’Augelli, cellist Devon Thrumston, and composer/visual artist Jessie Austin.

The archived link from the live show can be found HERE.

September 24 at 7 PM PDT
Violinist Caitlin McSherry and pianist Anne Rainwater present an evening of Romantic violin and piano duos, featuring works by Amy Beach, Fritz Kriesler, Henryk Wieniawski and others. The YouTube link can be found HERE.

Caitlin McSherry is an enthusiastic performer and teacher of the violin’s many styles. Having grown up as a fiddle player in Idaho, she is now a professional violinist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Caitlin is Principal Second Violinist for the Fresno Philharmonic, and a rotating Concertmaster for the conductorless chamber orchestra, One Found Sound. She also regularly plays with the Marin, Stockton, and Monterey Symphonies, Opera San Jose, and many other ensembles in California.

May 14 at 7 PM PDT
Nicola Waldron is a writer whose recent work focuses on linking word to practices of mindfulness and deep consciousness. She’ll read some poems and short prose pieces from her latest manuscript. Pour yourself a cup of tea, and find a comfortable, quiet space to listen along. You can join Nicola’s newsletter “Postcards from Within” at https://floweringhedgehog.substack.com/ and read her essays, poems, and reviews at various venues on the web.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

April 16 at 7 PM PDT
California composer Anne Hege presents new works, composed for her tape machine, a live-looping instrument, created to accompany artist book Water, Calling by book artist Camden Richards and printmaker Deborah Sibony. Anne will weave together live and pre-recorded excerpts of the soundtrack with an online preview of the book. Through a live conversation with collaborator Camden Richards, they will discuss the power of water in its beautiful and complex interplay in our lives.

Storytelling is at the center of Camden M. Richards’ work, and as a trained graphic designer, design and typography figure heavily into her methods and artistic processes. She makes a variety of artist books, fine prints, cards, and other letterpress printed ephemera, all of which engage others to connect in a deeper way with themselves and their community. Liminal Press + Bindery is the studio of Camden M. Richards, located in the Bay Area of Northern California.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

March 26 at 7 PM PDT
Bay Area-based pianist Anne Rainwater played some short and sweet piano solos that touched upon humor, childhood, and memory via the composers Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Prokofiev, Aaron Copland, George Walker, Domenico Scarlatti and David Lang.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

POSTPONED DUE TO ILLNESS –  February 26
Praised by the New York Times for her “crystalline performances, gestural expressiveness, and careful attention to color”, and by the Boston Globe for her “effortless incisiveness”, award-winning Canadian pianist Katherine Dowling performs across North America and Europe as a soloist and in all manner of chamber configurations. She is familiar to audiences through close associations with the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the Orlando Festival, the Tanglewood Music Centre, the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, the Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and she can be heard on CBC, Radio-Canada, BBC, National Radio 4 (Holland), and the Etcetera label. She credits her teacher Gil Kalish as the major influence in her musical life. She will present two pieces of old songs reimagined for a new world: Arcana by Rudolf Escher (1944) and Fantasia Baetica by de Falla (1919). www.katherinedowling.com

January 15 at 7 PM PST
New York-based composer Jude Traxler performed the second set of songs from his one-act, post-apocalyptic opera, CPU, playing songs of love and loss with a not-so-subtle hint of nihilistic narcissism. For more information on Jude’s work, visit his website.

The YouTube Live link is archived HERE.

2020

December 4th at 7 PM PST
New York-based composer and performer Jude Traxler will present a solo set of song selections from his opera, CPU. For more information on Jude’s work, visit his website.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

November 13th at 7 PST
Constance Koo, an Oakland-based harpist, presented a unique program including Baroque transcriptions for the harp. For more information about Constance, visit her website.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

October 23rd at 7 PDT
Writer Lindsay Merbaum read from her forthcoming feminist horror novel The Gold Persimmon and showed us her recipe for the Gold Persimmon, a signature cocktail named for the book’s deliciously mysterious hotel, featuring hibiscus, bourbon, mezcal, and Earl Grey. Follow her on Instagram @pickyourpotions.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

September 25th at 7 PM PDT

Tenor Alex Taite shared a portion of his one-man show focusing on the development of the Negro Spiritual, its evolution within, and its influence on American music. For more information, visit Alex’s website.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

August 28th at 7 PM PDT

Violinist Dan Flanagan and pianist Miles Graber presented short violin and piano pieces by August birthday composers, including Claude Debussy, Lili Boulanger, Georges Enescu, Amy Beach, Albert Spalding, Dan Flanagan, Fritz Gearhart, and Clarence Cameron White. Dan is also performed on Albert Spalding’s violin, one of the composers on the set! For more information, visit Dan’s and Miles’s websites at https://www.danflanaganviolin.com/ and http://www.milesgraber.com/bio

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

May 29 at 7 PM PDT
Coming to you again live on YouTube, flutist Jessie Nucho will be presenting a solo set on bass flute, alto flute, and C flute! Composers include Cornelius Boots, C.P.E. Bach, Emma Logan, Shiva Feshareki, Katherine Hoover, and Julie Barwick.

The YouTube link is archived HERE.

May 8 at 7 PM PDT
The Vernon Salon Series presented its first live stream show! In coordination with musicians Lewis Patzner, Ariel Wang, Corey Mike, Glenda Bates, Derek Sup, and Jacob Hansen-Joseph, Anne Rainwater hosted an an evening of solo works over Facebook and YouTube live on Friday, May 8th at 8 PM.

Missed the show? You can always watch it HERE at the archived link on YouTube.

January
Trombonist Will Lang visited from New York and played a solo set, featuring composers Reiko Füting, Jason Eckardt, Anne Hege, Alex Temple, Arvo Pärt, and several pieces he wrote himself.

2019

December
David Lang is one of the most meticulous composers on the contemporary music scene. As self-effacing as it can be, his music is full of puzzles and intellectual nuance. His major piano cycle Memory Pieces was written to commemorate friends of his who left this world earlier than they should have. Pianist Simon Karakulidi is an omnivorous pianist, born in Russia but educated in the United States. Simon believes that the well-being of “art music” is possible only if musicians explore the issues that have defined both current and past aesthetics alike. As a winner of many mainstream international piano competitions, Simon strives to bring as many contemporary American masterpieces to the spotlight as he can.

November
It’s the third annual Bring Your Favorite Artwork Salon! We’ll share music, books, poetry, videos, and more.

September
Local musicians Steve Heckman (saxophone) and Matt Clark (piano) performed compositions by Thelonious Monk, Leonard Bernstein, Harold Arlen, plus original compositions. They have recorded multiple albums together and have over 20 years experience of playing together as well.

August
Pianist Anne Rainwater and mixed-media artist Victoria Welling present their performance art piece Unladylike. Drawing from elements of ritual, the “cult of domesticity,” and societal expectations of women, both of the past and present, Anne and Victoria invite viewers to explore their own beliefs about women and their roles in private and public spheres. See below for some video highlights.

June
Folias Duo presented a program of all original classical music for flute and guitar influenced by Argentine tango, Astor Piazzolla, and South American folk. Having worked together for over ten years, this husband and wife duo of flutist Carmen Maret and guitarist Andrew Bergeron continue to break new ground as performers and composers with a list of over 40 self-published compositions on the Folias Music site. Folias’ five critically-acclaimed albums on the Blue Griffin Recording label show their versatility as musicians.

May
Michael Jones is a percussionist based in San Diego whose work focuses on experimental music and the avant garde. He is particularly interested in the concepts of beauty, natural listening, and community. The Basketweave Elegies (2018) is a new work for vibraphone by composer Peter Garland, based on the sculptures of the late San Francisco-based artist Ruth Asawa. 

April
Oakland-based Robert Nance presented Inwards, a set of pieces for solo electric guitar heavily reliant on improvisation and inner reflection. The core idea was initially conceived as an exercise to eschew self-criticism while composing. In these very meditative works, audiences will be encouraged with explore their own relationship with listening as a form of self-reflection.

March
Zwischenspiel, a German word meaning both interplay and interlude, is a meditative program, features new and old music paired with photographs from 2 continents. Zwischenspiel features pianists Rachel Breen and Kelsey Walsh, both Bay Area natives, who have found a new home in Germany.  Breen and Walsh are graduates of Juilliard and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and both maintain a full performance and teaching schedule in Hannover and Berlin, respectively. Works included on the program are J.S. Bach’s Contrapunctus 1 (from The Art Of The Fugue) and David Lang’s Orpheus Over and Under.

February
d’PaJo is an eclectic ensemble that focuses on their mutual love and appreciation for a myriad of musical styles – gypsy jazz, jazz standards, great American songbook, and any other music that speaks to them. As a collective, they have performed internationally on more than two continents and in a dozen countries, in settings ranging from intimate house concerts to venues such as Yoshi’s, Grace Cathedral and Davies Symphony Hall. Guitarist Patrick Anseth and Violinist Justin Ouellet have been active in both the California & New England music scenes. They are current faculty members at the renowned Oakland School for the Arts: Patrick is the director of the Jazz Guitar program, and Justin is the Co-Director of Chamber Music & Orchestral Studies. Listen to one of their live performances here.

January
San Francisco harpist Meredith Clark performed a set of solo works by harpist and composer Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961). Salzedo transformed the way composers write for and think about the harp through his large solo harp repertoire and his development of notation system for extended techniques that has been widely adopted. He also worked with famed dancer Vaslav Nijinsky to develop his own method of playing. Meredith keeps a busy schedule playing with orchestras all across the Bay Area as well as playing chamber music and recording for video games and films. She is the Principal Harpist of the Oakland Symphony and part of the Joshua Trio (soprano, cello and harp).

2018

December
CD release party and holiday gathering! I’ll be officially unveiling my Goldberg Variations CD. Please come and join the celebration!

November
It was the second annual Bring Your Favorite Artwork Salon! We shared music, books, poetry, videos, and more.

October
Trio Étrange (Corey Mike – violin, Lewis Patzner – cello, and Anne Rainwater – piano) performed the early Brahms Piano Trio, Op. 8, as well as a movement from a new trio composed by Lewis Patzner.

September
San Francisco vocalist Melinda Becker and pianist Anne Rainwater performed Voy Solo – 20th Century Poetic Narratives, a song set that spans different cultures and languages, including Cuatro Canciones Andinas by Gabriela Lena Frank, Trois Chansons de Bilitis by Claude Debussy, and the Hermit Songs by Samuel Barber.

August
Vocalist/composer Anne Hege and trombonist/composer Jen Baker performed works created from their inaugural MAMA residency that explore the connection between listening, movement, improvisation, and instrument building. Using extended techniques and new technologies, Anne and Jen presented new works for voice, trombone, tape machine (analog live looper), and smartphones. They also discussed their compositions and strategies for supporting creativity and artistic excellence while parenting young children.

June
Oakland-based pianist Kate Campbell played some solo works by Molly Joyce, Caroline Shaw, David Lang, LJ White, and Don Byron.

May
Oakland-based pianist Emily Tian performed works by Leslie La Barre and Nikolai Kapustin.

April
San Francisco-based Siroko Duo (Victoria Hauk and Jessie Nucho, both on flute) performed works by Jane Rigler, Izabel Austin, Nadine Dyskant-Miller, Alexandre Lunsqui, and Brett Austin Eastman.

March
The Tiny Lady Trio (Sophie Huet – clarinet, Erin Wang – cello, and Elena Akopova – piano) performed Beethoven and Muczynski.

February
Boston-based ensemble Transient Canvas (bass clarinet and marimba) presented some exciting new works as part of their California tour, featuring Joseph M. Colombo, Lainie Fefferman, Keith Kirchoff, Emily Koh, Crystal Pascucci, and Matthew Welch.

2017

December
Renegade Duo is Jon Mendle, guitarist and Melinda Becker, mezzo soprano. Utilizing both historical and modern instruments, they performed a contemporary set by California-based composer Gary Eister, obscure songs by 19th century guitar composers Salvador Castro de Gistau and Karl Eulenstein, and a set by John Dowland.
 

November
The first annual Bring Your Favorite Artwork month! Guests brought any work of art they personally enjoyed, and we had a lively sharing session followed by a discussion.

October
In collaboration with Phonochrome, musicians Elizabeth Talbert (flute) and Sophie Huet (clarinet) presented a timely, musical exploration of artistic and literary censorship. The show featured music inspired by banned literature, including Unsuk Chin’s Advice from a Caterpillar (from Alice in Wonderland), and music from banned composers, including J.S. Bach, whose works were censored during China’s Cultural Revolution.

September
The fabulous contemporary flute trio Areon Flutes performed pieces they commissioned from composers Ryan Rey, Julie Barwick, Elainie Lillios, and Dan Becker.

June
It was Music Trivia Night at the Vernon Salon Series, hosted by the inimitable Ben Zucker!

May
Cellist Helen Newby performed some new pieces from her solo album that featured commissions
by David Bird, Danny Clay, Adam Hirsh, Kurt Isaacson, and Haley Shaw. Composer Ben Zucker presented a lecture-performance realizing his conceptual topography score that incorporates text, graphics, notations, and performance.

April
Local East Bay musicians Amy Zanrosso and Alisa Rose played Prokofiev’s First Violin and Piano sonata. Afterwards, artist Victoria Welling continued our discussion from February about women in the arts.

March
Vernon Street resident and cellist/composer Lewis Patzner performed originals and transcriptions for solo cello. Lewis is a local freelancer who plays in a variety of groups including the Town Quartet, Musical Art Quintet, Cosa Nostra Strings, Devotionals, and Judgement Day.

February
Flutist Jessie Nucho performed two solo works with electronics and fixed media by Kaija Saariaho and Eve Beglarian, and writer Lindsay Merbaum gave a talk about her experiences as a writer and literature critic.

January
We heard from pianist James Stone, violist/composer Scott Rubin, and butoh dancer Shoshanna Greene. See below for a video!

 

2016

December
We heard from the [Switch~Ensemble], who performed works by Ben Isaacs, Chris Chandler, Max Murray, Matt Sargent, and Anthony Pateras.

November
Local musicians Mark Clifford and Crystal Pascucci performed some original duo pieces together, and Mark also spoke about how he personally addresses the unique challenges of composing for various types of ensembles and how he gives performers room to be improvisers within the context of pieces that are specifically notated.


October
Presentations this month included a performance of Ligeti’s Musica Ricercata by pianist Allegra Chapman and a talk by Little Opera’s founder, Erin Bregman.

September
Composer Jason Thorpe Buchanan and wine industry expert Jose Coronado gave talks on their work.

August
We heard from composer/guitarist Dr. Matthew Hough and vocalist/music theorist Meg Wilhoite, performing original compositions by Matthew.

July
Dr. Stephanie Patterson, a bassoonist who teaches at Columbus State University in Georgia, performed a set, followed by a presentation by guitarist Robert Nance also presented a talk about composer Kevin Volans.

June
We heard from contemporary pianist Andy Costello and Beckett scholar Dr. Emily Zubernis.

May
Caitlin McSherry, Monika Warchol, and Anne Rainwater performed horn trios by Johannes Brahms and Eric Ewazen, followed by John Cage’s Living Room Music and presentation by local composer Danny Clay.

April
Liason Ensemble performed a Baroque set and Rachana Vajjhala, a musicologist from UC Berkeley who specializes in French ballet, spoke about Debussy’s Jeux.

March
Performers this month included guitarist Matt Linder, followed by Doug Machiz, Jessie Nucho, and Anne Rainwater performing George Crumb’s Voice of the Whale. Local illustrator Emily Dove Barton also read us her new book Wendell the Narwhal.

February
We heard the music of Robert Nance performed by Kevin Rogers, Abigail Nance, and the composer himself. We also heard poet Roy Doughty read some of his recent writings.

January
We heard from Mara Plotkin on bass clarinet and saw a collection of works by local mixed media artist Victoria Welling.