San Francisco Performances was founded 37 years ago by Ruth Felt, who built it up from six performances the first year to more than sixty this year. To celebrate her retirement, they’re presenting a Concert of Gratitude this Sunday, with special musical guests who have been long friends of hers: the Alexander String Quartet, Midori and Marc-Andre Hamelin.

There’s more information about the concert at the San Francisco Performances website.

Ruth Felt began her career in presenting arts behind the scenes at UCLA, before coming to San Francisco, where she was Kurt Adler’s assistant at San Francisco Opera. She spent several years becoming familiar with the artists and organizations that would later come and perform for her young organization. She was urged by a pair of neighbors (who happened to be lawyers) to make the plunge and file the paperwork to begin the non-profit. They said to her: “We’re three founding directors, that’s all you need. One thing, Ruth… you have to come up with a name.” She hadn’t thought about that, and said, “Well, San Francisco Performances. It’s where it is and what it is. And we’ll choose something more clever later.” San Francisco Performances’ very first concert in November of 1980 was an Andre Watts recital at the newly-built Davies Symphony Hall, which he gave without charging them a fee.