Vernon Salon Series

Vernon Salon Series

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

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we quickly pivoted to online concerts. We continue to offer hybrid concerts, where people who are unable to attend in person can stream the show live on YouTube. 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 Shows 2024

June 23 at 3 PM PDT

Anne Rainwater will perform a solo piano recital at a beautiful home in the Oakland hills on a Fazioli grand piano. Composers featured include George Gershwin, Julia Perry, Claude Debussy, Ric Louchard (a local Bay Area composer), Scott Wollschleger and Maurice Ravel. This is on Sunday, June 23rd at 3 PM. Since it is at a private home, prepaying for your ticket is encouraged and will reserve your spot, as seating is limited. Tickets are $35 general/$40 at the door (day of). Please email Anne HERE about details regarding pre-paying.

The YouTube Live link is HERE.


Past Shows 2024

May 11th at 7:30 PM PDT

Join us for an evening of solo piano music by Bay Area pianist Sandra Simich. Sandra will play Debussy’s La Cathédrale Engloutie, Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 54, and Brahms’s Op. 116. Sandra Simich is an accomplished classical pianist who regularly performs as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout California and Europe. Spanning various classical music styles — her performances permeate with maturity, passion and poetic expression. Ms. Simich was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where she attended a school for the performing arts and later completed her Conservatory studies, receiving a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance. There she studied closely with Marian Mika, as well as taking classes with Irina Chukovskaya and Slava Gabrielov. She attended graduate school at San Francisco State University, working with Carlo Bussotti. Additionally, she has studied with renowned classical pianist and conductor Stephen Kovacevich.

April 20th at 7:30 PM PDT

The YouTube LIVE link is HERE. Born in Novosibirsk, Russia and raised in Israel, Classical guitarist Yuri Liberzon has been recognized for his impressive technical ability and musicality. Mr. Liberzon has given countless number of concerts across the United States. Notable concerts venues include the 92nd Street Y in New York, Florida State University, Oregon State University, Santa Clara University, Marlow Guitar Series in Maryland, Murov Music College in Novosibirsk, Russia; Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and many others.

Mr. Liberzon has transcribed music of Domenico Scarlatti and Johann Sebastian Bach for guitar. His transcriptions have been published in SoundBoard magazine and are distributed in Europe by Bergmann Edition. In 2000, he came to the United States to study at the Peabody Conservatory with world renown guitarist Manuel Barrueco. Mr. Liberzon has received Bachelor of Music degree and Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory as well as Master of Music degree from Yale University. He was awarded full scholarships from both Peabody and Yale where he studied with two of the world leading guitar masters: Manuel Barrueco and Benjamin Verdery.

March 16th at 4 PM PDT

The YouTube live link is archived HERE. Join us for a special afternoon of adult piano students from the studios of Anne Rainwater, Paul Agricola, and John Metz. At 5 Tower Drive in Mill Valley. Featuring works by Debussy, Beethoven, Chopin, Turina, and more! Tickets: $25 per person, payable in cash or Venmo at the door.

January 20th at 7:30 PM PST

Soprano Julia Bae and pianist Paul Schrage present an evening of vocal works by Schumann, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky. The YouTube LIVE link is HERE.

Korean soprano Julia Bae is an Ohio District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera Competition. Ms. Bae moved to The Bay Area in 2022. In 2023, she made her local debut as Santuzza from Cavalleria Rusticana with Opera on Tap SF. She also performed the role of La Frugola from Puccini’s Il Tabarro in October with Teatro Mistral. Julia graduated from Seoul National University in Voice. She then studied in Italy at Rimini Academia and the US at Indiana University and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Her upcoming in town performance will be a recital withLieder Alive in February 2024.

Conductor and pianist Paul Schrage is Music Director of the Midsummer Mozart Festival and Symphonia Caritas, and is in demand as a guest conductor with both orchestras and opera companies. Recent and upcoming conducting appearances include Don Giovanni in Las Vegas, Il tabarro in San Francisco, concerts with Symphony of the Redwoods, the San Francisco Civic Symphony, and the 50th anniversary season of the MMF in July 2024. As a pianist, he has performed in recital, with orchestras, and in jazz settings across the United States, in Europe, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in such diverse venues as the INSAP Festival in Chicago, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the main square in Warsaw, Casa Huey Barbosa in Rio de Janiero, and with the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste of Kinshasa.

2023

Saturday, November 4th at 7:30 PM PDT

The YouTube LIVE link is archived HERE.
Composer, pianist, and improviser Ric Louchard will be joined by vocalist, composer, and improviser Sarah Grace Graves in an evening of solos, duets, improvisations including the first performance of a new piece for improvising vocalist and pianist by Ric Louchard about Ariadne and Dionysus.

Ric Louchard is a pianist, composer, and improviser. He made four CDs of classical piano solos for children, and was deeply happy and moved to get a letter from a nurse at a preemie ward at a midwestern hospital telling him his first recording, “G’Night Wolfgang”, was being played there regularly for the premature babies in their incubators. Ric’s improvisations tend to be very chromatic and range from spontaneous motivic compositions to noise structures. Ric often tells true and, at times, disarmingly personal stories in his performances. His intimate and conversational stories and compositions combine to represent a blending of rational and irrational strivings for insight.

Sarah Grace Graves venerates the ritual of performance, turning to installation, theater, movement, and raw vocal sound to create a space where both she and the listener can lose themselves. Her performances seamlessly weave together ancient and contemporary music, improvised and orally transmitted music, songs and virtuosic vocal sound that is neither spoken nor sung to express something internal that at the same time transcends the confines of the human body. She is an avid interpreter of the music of Carol Robinson, Giacinto Scelsi, Alvin Curran, and Erin Gee, among many others.

Saturday, October 14th at 7:30 PM PDT

The YouTube LIVE link is archived HERE. Flutist Meerenai Shim is one half of the innovative flute and percussion duo, A/B Duo, and a member of the award-winning contemporary flute ensemble, Areon Flutes. She is also a record producer and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. Find out more about her three solo albums and other recordings at meerenai.com. She will perform a mix of electroacoustic works and acoustic solo flute compositions by living composers, including Flight of the Bleeper Bird for flute and Gameboy by Matthew Joseph Payne, and Vermont Counterpoint by Steve Reich.

Tickets are $10-15 suggested for students and $25-35 sliding scale general. You can reserve a spot by pre-paying via Venmo or simply pay in cash or Venmo at the door. Outdoor seating is also available for those who would prefer. Please contact Anne HERE for more questions about location and ticketing.

Saturday, September 16th at 7:30 PM PDT

The YouTube LIVE link is archived HERE.
Welcome to the start of the Fall 2023 season! We are live in person as well as streaming online. The theme of this month’s Salon is Water and Flow. Poet and painter Roy Doughty presents some of his latest material. He has published three books of poetry and hosted two radio shows on his work. Pianist and host Anne Rainwater presents an entirely water-themed set, including works by Margaret Bonds, Tania Léon, and Claude Debussy. She will also be joined by her ARc duET partner, Emily Tian, for some 4-hands by Camille Saint-Saëns and Chick Corea. Join us for a wonderful start to the season!

Tickets are $10-15 suggested for students (no one is turned away for lack of funds) and $25-35 sliding scale general. You can reserve a spot by pre-paying via Venmo or pay in cash or Venmo at the door. Outdoor seating is also available for those who would prefer. Please contact Anne HERE for more questions about location and ticketing.

March 10th at 7:30 PM PDT

The YouTube LIVE link is archived HERE.
Local Berkeley vocalist and composer Sarah Grace Graves will perform her program Circular Song: an evening of hushed, recursive music, featuring works by Joan La Barbara, Erin Gee, Giacinto Scelsi/Michiko Hirayama, John Cage and herself. Sarah Grace Graves is a singer and composer of experimental music externalizing an internal sensory landscape through wordless sounds and charged silence. From 2020-2022 she studied extended vocal techniques with Nicholas Isherwood at Conservatoire de Montbéliard while conducting an artistic residency at the Fondation des États-Unis in Paris centered around interdisciplinary collaboration with the voice. She is now in the composition PhD program at UC Berkeley.

February 24th at 7:30 PM PST

The YouTube LIVE link is archived HERE.
Mat Muntz is a composer, bassist, and experimental bagpiper. Rooted in jazz improvisation and extending through microtonality, non-Western instrumentation, and experimental performance practice, Mat’s work seeks to imbue the volatile and bizarre with an expressive, human immediacy. His music has been described by The Wire as “rare and rewarding” and by The Guardian as “filled with a wild, distorted energy.”

Since 2018, Mat has pioneered an experimental practice on the obscure and distinctive Croatian bagpipe known as primorski meh. An ongoing exploration of the instrument’s unique intonational, timbral, and technical possibilities is documented in a growing body of solo, ensemble, and electroacoustic music – documented on the recordings meh. (2020), ghostly.ridiculous (2021), The Vex Collection (Carrier Records 2022), and Phantom Islands (Orenda Records 2023). In celebration of the 2/24/23 release of Phantom Islands, Mat will present a program of solo music for primorski meh, featuring new compositions, improvisations, experimental preparations, and deconstructed folk repertoire.

January 20th at 7:30 PST

Pianist Anne Rainwater presents a short program called Winter Reflections: Looking Forward and Back, featuring works by Scott Wollschleger, Wolfang Rihm, and Claude Debussy. This will be followed by a Q & A with 2 former Salon participants: clarinetist Mara Plotkin and composer Matt Hough, who will reflect on how music and their careers have changed since performing on the Salon Series over 5 years ago.

Matthew Hough is a composer, theorist and performer working on new and popular music. His compositions have been described as “unnervingly exacting” (Time Out: New York), “mood music if you’re in a mental home” (Howard Stern) and “awful but also kind of brilliant” (Richard Danielpour) and performed and recorded by groups including the Wet Ink Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Loadbang, the Locrian Chamber Players and Iktus Percussion. Hough’s current work includes concert, electronic and popular music composition and performance, as well as theory and analysis of popular song. He teaches composition and theory at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mara Plotkin enjoys an active career as an orchestral and chamber musician. She performs regularly with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Mara published the two-volume orchestral excerpt book The Ballet Orchestra Clarinetist in 2020 and 2021. With a background in dance and Pilates, Mara has presented her workshop Movement for Musicians to music students and professional musicians alike around the bay area in order to encourage healthy body biomechanics, career longevity, and minimize injury. Mara was a visiting lecturer at University of Wyoming and University of the Pacific in 2016. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Toronto where she studied with Joaquin Valdepeñas. Mara received a Master of Music degree from Mannes College of Music in New York City where she studied with Stephen Williamson and David Krakauer. Mara received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific where she studied with Patricia Shands. She has been working as an agent at Red Oak Realty since 2021 where she focuses on the inner East Bay such as Berkeley and Oakland. When not selling real estate, Mara enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, yoga, and playing clarinet in regional symphony orchestras throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

2022

May 20. The YouTube LIVE link is archived HERE.
Termed, ‘a prominent guitarist,’ by the New York Times, and praised by The Washington Post for his ‘astonishingly florid’ improvisations, David Rogers Fuses classical, jazz, and world music into beautiful, expressive and virtuosic performances. He has been called a ‘modern master’ of the classical guitar’ by 20th Century Guitar, and the Lute Society of America Quarterly has called his technique ‘formidable.’ 

He is an endorsing artist for Aquila Strings (Italy) and his music has been featured in major guitar magazines such as Fingerstyle Guitar and Akustic Gitarre. His performances have been broadcast on American National Public Radio and Bayrische Rundfunk, including both the nationally syndicated Performance Today (live performance/interview in Washington D.C. NPR studio 4A) and Harmonia programs. David has recorded for Dorian, Callisto and Focus  Recordings. He was a musician with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 18 years and taught at Southern Oregon University for 13 years.


April 29
Jessie Nucho’s program is called Day to Night and features a selection of comfort music that progresses from sunrise to evening to deep sleep. Music by Ursula Kwong-Brown, Katherine Hoover, Valerie Coleman, Allison Loggins-Hull, Elainie Lillios, and a world premiere by Anita Chandavarkar.

San Francisco-based flutist Jessie Nucho is passionate about sharing both traditional and contemporary music as a chamber musician, soloist, and educator. She performs regularly with the new music ensembles After Everything and Ninth Planet, where she also serves as Co-Artistic Director. She is a founding member of Siroko Duo, a flute duo dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works in creative spaces. As a soloist, Jessie has performed at San Francisco’s Center for New Music, the Berkeley Arts Festival, the Hot Air Music Festival, and the Legion of Honor. Jessie holds an MM from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Tim Day. Previous instructors include Alberto Almarza and Jeanne Baxtresser at Carnegie Mellon University.


March 25
Violinist Mijung Kim and pianist Anne Rainwater presented a duo program with works by Brahms, Kreisler and others.

A native of Seoul, Korea, Mijung Kim began to study the violin at the age of seven. Michelle holds both her B.M. and M.M. degrees in Orchestral Music from Ewha Women’s University and studied the Professional Studies Diploma Program with Professor Wei He at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was a member of Seoul Youth Orchestra for four years and played at Cheonan Philharmonic Orchestra as a first violin from 2010 through 2017 and at Stockton Symphony from 2019 through 2022. She is also a founding member of the Viva String Quartet. Currently, she is the assistant principal second volin at Berkeley Symphony, a member of California Symphony Orchestra, and a substitute member of San Francisco Ballet.

February 11
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, and award winner of the Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego. Tori most recently studied under Tim Day at SFCM.

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.

2021

November 12. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

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. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.


September 24 .
The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

Caitlin McSherry is an enthusiastic performer and teacher of the violin’s many styles. 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.
The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

April 16. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

March 26. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

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. The YouTube Live link is archived HERE.
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.

2020

December 4. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
Composer and performer Jude Traxler will present a solo set of song selections from his opera, CPU. Jude is an experimental and conceptual artist living in Nashville. Both as a composer and multi-instrumentalist, Jude constantly creates new works that sift a familiar soundscape of pan-diatonic chord progressions through beats that push one’s rhythmic constitution to the brink. With strict structures and rules, chance operations are controlled and every fleeting melody comes out as if clean-distilled from sonic chaos. For more information on Jude’s work, visit his website.

November 13. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
Constance Koo, an Oakland-based harpist, presented a unique program including Baroque transcriptions for the harp. She is an orchestral, chamber, and solo artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Constance performs with a variety of ensembles throughout Northern California including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Livermore Symphony, California Symphony, and is harpist for the vibrant chamber ensemble Trio Organica. During her conservatory training at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Constance played throughout the Midwest with the Youngstown Symphony, Cleveland and Erie Philharmonics, and Richmond (IN) Symphony, and has performed under the direction of conductors including Michael Stern, Leonard Slatkin, and the late Marvin Hamlisch. In addition to live ensemble performance, she has been the recording harpist for film and game scores at Skywalker Ranch Sound, is the preferred harpist for The Fairmont Hotel & Resort San Jose, and is in regular demand for performing at private events.For more information about Constance, visit her website.

October 23. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

Lindsay Merbaum is a queer feminist author and high priestess of home mixology. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, she earned her MFA in Fiction from Brooklyn College, where she was a recipient of the Himan Brown Award. Her award-nominated short fiction has appeared in PANK, Anomalous Press, The Collagist, EpiphanyGargoyle, Day One, Harpur Palate, and Hobart, among others. Her essays and interviews can also be found in Electric Literature, Bustle, Bitch Media, The Rumpus, and more. Lindsay lives in Michigan with her partner and cats and serves as an editor of book reviews at Necessary Fiction.

September 25. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

Alex, as he is called by his friends, is the third generation of a musical family: his grandfather was an accomplished violist, violinist, saxophonist, flutist, music teacher and composer; his uncle is a cellist, keyboard player, songwriter, vocalist and music teacher. No surprise, then, that early in his life, Alex found music to be a perfect way to express creativity and connect with the world. Alex studied music at Pepperdine University where he honed his keyboard, composition, and vocal skills. For more information, visit Alex’s website.

August 28. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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
 

May 29. The YouTube link is archived HERE.
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.

May 8. Missed the show? You can always watch it HERE at the archived link on YouTube.
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.

January 16
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.

 

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.