Summer is a quiet time for classical music around here, what with most of the regions chamber music organizations touring or taking a break. Besides the San Francisco Symphonys Summer in the City Festival, local fans dont have many options beyond driving three hours to Bear Valley or hopping on a plane to Ravinia or Tanglewood. For those of us planning to stick around in the coming weeks, the American Bach Soloists SummerFest is a summer classical music festival right here in San Francisco. Since its establishment in the late 1990s, the event has blossomed into a three-city affair, offering an assortment of informal recitals, concerts, talks, and picnic suppers. The S.F. portion, held in the stunning German Baroque-style environment of St. Marks Lutheran Church, is divided into three programs featuring works by big-gun composers. The first evening (July 15) focuses on the Baroque period. Presenting compositions by J. S. Bach, Corelli, Telemann and Vivaldi, the event kicks off with a family concert aimed at introducing kids to the eras repertoire. The July 16 program opens with a talk by ABS music director Jeffrey Thomas, and is Classical era-centric, offering music by Haydn, Mozart, and C. P. E. Bach (J. S.s son). The series ends on July 17 with a soiree of Romantic compositions by Beethoven, Schubert, and Mendelssohn and a presentation by ABS principal string player, Steve Lehning.
July 15-17, 6 p.m., 2008