By Jessica Hilo
San Francisco Symphony musicians return to a more palatable world of symphonic performance with a family-friendly concert featuring Dvořák's "New World" Symphony. The composer wrote "New World," his ninth symphony, during a visit to America in the 1890s; and, indeed, the piece captures the chaos and creation of the Gilded Age. "New World" is a collage of multinational voices including those from the composer's Bohemian background, African-American spirituals, and Native American music.
Re: our integration with machines, Jaron Lanier is one of the Big Idea Guys. He was talking virtual reality back when it was more like virtual virtual reality. Fascinated by how the Internet affects everything from business to consciousness to business-consciousness, Lanier is also known around the way as a maestro of rare and eclectic instruments; according to an SF Weekly story from February 2012, he has maybe hundreds in his house -- more than he can count, anyway.
By Sam PrestianniOne-of-a-kind string ensemble Kronos Quartet celebrates the global infusion of San Francisco culture in Listen Local, a program of dynamic new works by the city's top composers, including Nathaniel Stookey, Dan Becker, Stephen Prutsman, and notably, Pamela Z, a fearless vocalist and electronics explorer whose piece "And the Movement of the Tongue" promises to be a highlight of this extraordinary homegrown show.
For a portion of the population, "church and organ" are synonymous with "church and God." The Lord didn't compose His entrance on the kazoo, did He? Now consider, for a moment, what powerhouse emotions might be summoned if the instrument and the space were devoted to another purpose. We've entered the province of Dorothy Papadakos, the altogether remarkable organist who performs two feats of virtuoso accompaniment of silent masterworks Saturday night.
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Laurie Rubin is an internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano who took her perfect pitch on the road at just 12 years old, but for many years, she couldn't get an opera director to cast her; they all feared a mid-performance tumble off the stage. Born blind, the singer-turned-author learned to ski and make jewelry, attended Yale, came out, and co-founded a performing arts school.