Music Director Benjamin Simon and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra round out their Mainstage season with ‘Crossover,’ concerts featuring a guest string quartet, and a program that stretches from Mozart to Britney Spears. The Catalyst Quartet joins them for Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, and some jazzier repertoire.

There’s more information at the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra website.

“We have a bit of a three-ring circus here for our fourth Mainstage,” says Simon. “The wonderful young Catalyst Quartet, which came out of the Sphinx Organization in Detroit. I happen to know their second violinist, Karla Donehew [Perez], who was at the Crowden School as a young kid, she was amazing back then, she’s done wonderful things.” He began programming the concert with the Elgar work specifically written for quartet and string orchestra. “And I thought, as long as we have that on the program, let’s start with Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, which is another one of my favorite pieces.” The quartet will also play a tango by Astor Piazzolla, as well as Paquito D’Rivera’s Wapango. In keeping with the crossover theme, Simon sought works from Evan Price, the jazz violinist and composer whose concerto for jazz violin they premiered a few seasons ago. The SFCO will play an arrangement of his tune called Felipe. There’s also a world premiere of three pieces by violist Darcy Rindt – part of a set called Deadly Sins, which cover wrath, sloth and lust – as well as her arrangement for string orchestra of Britney Spears’ song “Toxic.” Simon also will have the full group play a Mozart quartet: “And then, to link it all together, and I know it’s a bit of a tenuous link, but I am setting out to prove that Mozart invented jazz with the final movement of his last quartet, K590, which has some wonderful cross-rhythms and syncopations, and it’s actually very jazzy… Mozart definitely has some jazz elements in the string quartet, and we’ll be playing it with the orchestra, so it’s string orchestra, string quartet, a couple pieces of Darcy and Evan Price, Elgar on the bookends, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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