The 40th Season of San Francisco Performances launches later this month, celebrating the anniversary with many of the same concert series and artists that have been a staple of their history… but also finding new pairings and contexts in which to present them to audiences. Executive Director Melanie Smith gives a preview of the season, which opens with one of those pairings on the 27th of September (pianists Natasha Paremski and Alfredo Rodriguez).

There’s more information about the full lineup of the season at San Francisco Performances’ website.

“It seems like a moment where we can say, OK, we’re a mature organization now – what’s next?” Smith says. “It was really an important time to take a look back, because we have such a rich history with so many wonderful artists. But also to take a peek forward, kind of on that pivot point.” The challenge of celebrating a big, round-numbered anniversary led her to friends of SFP. “I started by asking a couple of artists who I just love because I think they’re such great thinkers as well as musicians to consider collaborating. So I asked the pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin to think about collaborating with the British tenor Mark Padmore.  Marc-Andre will do a solo recital, and Mark Padmore will do a special project with some local Baroque musicians, which is really exciting. And then they will come together to perform [Schubert’s song cycle] Winterreise.” That collaboration also features in their PIVOT series, which returns in January, bringing together “renegade harpsichordist” Mahan Esfahani and violinist Stefan Jackiw; violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja will perform with Jack Quartet cellist Jay Campbell; and violinist Jennifer Koh teams with a pair of MacArthur fellows, jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, and percussionist and composer Tyshawn Sorey. “Jenny calls this project ‘Limitless’ because she wants to blur the boundaries between where the performer starts and the composer ends. And so they’re kind of changing places throughout that project.” But there’s also a full roster of more traditional concerts: “Chamber music, so that’s pretty much a string quartet or small ensemble series. Vocal series, we’re still really committed to the art of song. Piano recital, Soloist, great virtuosi artists, also Classical Guitar. That’s another thing that really makes us unique among presenters in this landscape.” And in the upcoming 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth, there will be celebrations by the Alexander String Quartet, playing all 16 of his quartets, and an all-Beethoven program from Sir Andras Schiff in March at Herbst Theatre.