Music Director Benjamin Simon programmed the concerts called Strings Attached for the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra in order to let his string players shine. They’ll be performing three movements from the Capriol Suite by Peter Warlock; Bach’s Violin Concerto in E Major, with concertmaster Robin Sharp as soloist; and Bartok’s Divertimento for Strings. They’re the first Mainstage concerts of the season, and as always, are admission free.

There’s more information about the concerts, which are at Herbst Theatre, Palo Alto and Berkeley, at the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra website.

“I like to do one program a year that features strings, just because it’s such a fantastic repertoire,” Simon says. “Last year we featured the strings with Schubert’s Death and the Maiden string quartet. The next big piece on my list was the Bartok Divertimento, and I thought the Bach would be a lovely… I won’t say antidote to the Bartok, but a lovely balance to that.” The Bartok is a piece that he’s played before as a violist, but hadn’t conducted. “Some wonderful weird colors, and Bartok’s imagination, and the folk music that’s embedded in this, and the rhythms, and it’s such a powerful piece.” The Bach is powerful too, in its way. ” It’s… a piece that’s sort of kept me going in the past couple months – It’s been tough politically, and fires, and floods, and earthquakes, and every time I listen to the Bach, I feel better about the world, and better about humanity, and better about things and life. So I’m hoping we’ll be able to do the same thing for our audience this weekend.”