Morrison News 2013

CD by Quartet-in-Residence Alexander String Quartet: 'an Unqualified Grand Slam'

December 10, 2013

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION -- If ever an album had “Grammy nominee” written on its front cover, this is it. In this new recording the Alexander String Quartet, in residence since 1989 at the San Francisco State University, touches all the bases in an unqualified Grand Slam. With the precision of the old Juilliard recording, the unassailable projection and boldness of the Emerson, and the heartbreaking delicacy of the Takacs, they capture every memorable moment of these eight quartets with an authority and finesse virtually unmatched. And they do so in sound that is surely the best these quartets have ever gotten.

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Morrison Artists Series: 'Free and Grand'

November 12, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE -- The Morrison Artists Series of the San Francisco State University, free concerts since 1956, has a grand event coming up on Sunday, November 17, at 3pm in the University’s McKenna Theatre: the St. Petersburg String Quartet and pianist Mack McCray perform Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44 (1842), and Cesar Franck’s Piano Quintet in F Minor (1864); the quartet adds Britten’s Three Divertimenti for String Quartet (1936).

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Pianist Joyce Yang Teams Up with AlexanderString Quartet at SF State

November 5, 2013

CONTRA COSTA TIMES -- Also the winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Arthur Rubinstein Prize — both in 2010 — Yang will be joining San Francisco's own Alexander String Quartet, resident artists at San Francisco State University and at San Francisco Performances, in a 1:10pm free recital Friday in Knuth Hall in the Creative Arts Building on campus. The program, a preview of a longer concert the artists will give at Kohl Mansion in Burlingame on Sunday evening, will be entirely devoted to Brahms’ magnificent Piano Quintet in F minor, one of the composer’s most popular chamber works.

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Morrison Artists Series Among Choices for Third Weekend of November

October 29, 2013

EXAMINER.COM -- That same afternoon the Morrison Artists Series of San Francisco State University (SFSU) will host its next free concert. Bay Area pianist Mack McCray will join the members of the St. Petersburg String Quartet for two quintet performances, Robert Schumann’s Opus 44 in E-flat major and César Franck’s 1864 quintet in F minor. The quartet will also perform Benjamin Britten’s set of three divertimenti, composed in 1933 and revised in 1936. This concert will take place in the McKenna Theatre in SF State’s Creative Arts Building at 3pm on Sunday, September 29. The pre-concert talk will begin at 2pm. Admission is free, and further information may be obtained from 415-338-2467 or through the event page on the Creative State website. This web page also has a hyperlink through which tickets may be reserved in advance.

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SF State Offers Free Preview Recital, Master Class with Alexander String Quartet, Yang

October 23, 2013

EXAMINER.COM -- The May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center of the San Francisco State University (SFSU) College of Liberal and Creative Arts will present a free preview event in association with the Music at Kohl Mansion chamber music series. The Alexander String Quartet, quartet-in-residence at SFSU since 1989, will join pianist Joyce Yang in a performance of Johannes Brahms Opus 34 piano quintet in F minor, one of the great masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire. This performance will be presented in Knuth Hall prior to its inclusion in the full program prepared for the Music at Kohl Mansion recital. All five musicians will then lead a master class, also in Knuth Hall, for students from SFSU, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Crowden School of Music, the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and Young Chamber Musicians.

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Bay Area Performance Picks Include Morrison Artists Series Concert

October 17, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Calyx Piano Trio: The ensemble continues the Morrison Artists Series season with music by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and San Francisco composer Richard Festinger. 3 p.m. Sunday. Free. Creative Arts Building, S.F. State University.

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Alexander String Quartet Releases Bartok-Kodaly Album

October 14, 2013

BROADWAY WORLD -- The Alexander String Quartet, now in its 32nd season and among the world’s premier chamber ensembles, releases a monumental new recording pairing the complete string quartets of Hungarian friends and contemporaries, Béla Bartók and Zoltan Kodály, on three CDs. Bartók's six quartets and Kodály’s rarely-recorded two comprise some of the most beautiful, beguiling and ultimately influential string quartet music of the 20th century. The new release on the Foghorn Classics label is available from Allegro Classical today, October 8. Based in San Francisco, the Alexander String Quartet serves as director of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University and is ensemble in residence of San Francisco Performances.

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SF State Celebrates Creative State Opening Day

October 2, 2013

GOLDEN GATE XPRESS -- Highlighted by the Alexander String Quartet and the world premiere of a composition by Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor Wayne Peterson, the University’s vibrant arts programs joined in the first ever Creative State Opening Day showcase on Sunday. Sunday marked the first concert in the Morrison Artists Series for free chamber music for the semester. The opening night was also an opportunity for the school to showcase the work of students from other programs at the University before the general public. “It’s just very exciting to be able to show the diversity of the different parts that we have here at San Francisco State and to be able to share those with the public and the community in general,” said Todd Roehrman, associate dean of the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.

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Eli Eban Fills In at First Morrison Artists Series Chamber Music Concert

September 30, 2013

EXAMINER.COM -- The 58th season of the Morrison Artists Series, held under the auspices of the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center, began yesterday afternoon with its first free concert in the McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts Building on the San Francisco State University (SFSU) campus. The program featured two of the best-known quintets for clarinet and string quartet, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 581 in A major and Johannes Brahms’ Opus 115 in B minor. These were to be performed by guest artist David Shifrin on clarinet, performing with the Alexander String Quartet, the Quartet-in-Residence at SFSU since 1989. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury prevented Shifrin from performing; but the substitution of Eli Eban meant that the program could go ahead as planned.

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Alexander String Quartet Performs at Crane School of Music

September 27, 2013

READ MEDIA -- The Crane School of Music at State University of New York, Potsdam, will host the Alexander String Quartet for a residency Wednesday, October 9. The quartet will present workshops and masterclasses for Crane students during the day, followed by an informal evening concert at 7:30pm in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater. The Alexander String Quartet has performed in the major music capitals of five continents, securing its standing among the world’s premier ensembles over nearly three decades. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart and Shostakovich, the quartet has also established itself as an important advocate of new music through over 25 commissions and numerous premiere performances. The Alexander String Quartet is a major artistic presence in its home base of San Francisco, serving as directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University and Ensemble in Residence of San Francisco Performances.

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Bay Area Weekend Performance Picks Include Morrison Artists Series concert

September 26, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Alexander String Quartet: San Francisco State University’s quartet-in-residence is joined by clarinetist David Shifrin to open the Morrison Artists Series season. The program includes a world premiere by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wayne Peterson, along with music by Mozart and Brahms.

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Music Majors Critiqued by Renowned Clarinetist in Master Class

September 25, 2013

GOLDEN GATE XPRESS -- SF State Music majors, invited to play by their professors, hit the stage last Friday, September 20, for critique from Yale professor and clarinetist David Shifrin for the May T. Morrison Chamber Music Center’s master class with the Alexander String Quartet. “I definitely think the master classes motivate us to definitely strive for more because it’s more than just our normal teachers who hear us every day,” said Ashley Ertz, emphasis in oboe performance. “Now it’s new people who we don’t know and we have to impress them all on our own without personalities or anything.” Shifrin joined the master class after being invited by Sandy Wilson, lecturer at SF State and cellist for the Alexander String Quartet, and Richard Festinger, composer and professor at SF State. The master classes are free to the public and act as a resource for the entire community.

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Creative State Hosts Free Arts Festival

September 25, 2013

GOLDEN GATE XPRESS -- The College of Liberal and Creative Arts will host a free arts festival showcase this Sunday, to open the new season of the SF State Morrison Chamber Music Center. The festival will feature SF State music ensembles and artists in the Creative and Fine Arts Buildings from noon to 5 p.m. Free tickets are required for the Center’s concert and can be obtained through the College’s arts website.

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Morrison Artists Series Begins with Alexander String Quartet, David Shifrin

September 22, 2013

EXAMINER.COM -- The May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center, now in its 58th season, was created to promote and advance the art of chamber music and its appreciation. Its major vehicle is the Morrison Artists Series of free concerts held in the McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts Building on the San Francisco State University (SFSU) campus. Each concert is preceded by an informative pre-concert talk, arranged by Artistic Director Richard Festinger and often involving the performers themselves. The public is also invited to observe the artists lead master classes (also at no charge), which may take place either before or after the concert, depending on the availability of the performers. The first concert of the new season will take place at the end of this month. It will feature a performance by the Alexander String Quartet, SFSU’s quartet-in-residence since 1989.

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Morrison Artists Series to Begin 58th Season at SF State

September 16, 2013

SF STATE NEWS -- The Morrison Artists Series’ 58th season, which kicks off this month, will feature some of the world's leading musical ensembles and two world premiere performances. The series, supported by the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Foundation and held at SF State since 1956, is San Francisco’s longest-running chamber music series. In keeping with the foundation’s goal of developing new audiences for chamber music, all performances are free of charge and open to the public. “One of our most important goals is to develop new audiences for chamber music by making our concerts accessible to all, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Richard Festinger, professor of Music and artistic director of the Morrison Artists Series. “The series’ founder, Edward Hohfeld, especially hoped that by offering free concerts, parents would be able to introduce their children to this wonderful musical tradition.”

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SF State Library, Fine Arts Gallery to Show Rare Works Spanning Centuries

August 29, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Among other gems and oddities in the Archives and Special Collections at the renovated J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University, there’s an exquisitely illuminated page of Gregorian chant on calfskin parchment from the hand of an anonymous 15th century French artisan, as well as the surrealistically collaged images of men and machines, musical scraps and spiderwebs in the 1960 offset lithograph book “O!” by Jess (19233–2004), the reclusive San Francisco artist who didn’t use his last name (Collins). For four years, while the quake-damaged library was rebuilt, these and other rarities were kept in an off-campus art storage facility. The works returned when the library reopened last year, but some will be shown for the first time in years in “The Illuminated Library,” the season opener at SF State’s Fine Arts Gallery. The show should get some traffic September 29, when the arts departments put on their Creative State Opening Day festivities.

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Big-time Headliners at Morrison Artists Series in 2013-14

August 15, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE -- Richard Festinger’s announcement of the 2013–14 Morrison Artists Series at San Francisco State’s McKenna Theatre has some amazing gems, well worth the high-priced tickets. But not to worry: For the 57th year, all concerts are free to the public. Starting with the Alexander String Quartet and clarinetist David Schifrin on September 29, the chamber-music series continues on October 20 with the debut of the Calyx Piano Trio. Three major attractions follow in sequence: the St. Petersburg String Quartet with pianist Mack McCray on November 17; the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet on February 28, 2014 (with a master class at noon); and the Brentano String Quartet with violist Hsin-Yun Huang on April 4. The Dover String Quartet’s San Francisco debut closes the season on May 2.

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Morrison Chamber Music Center Trustee Alisa Won Named Classical Voice Board Chair

July 17, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE -- Early in life, she studied piano, and especially enjoyed playing Chopin, Mozart, and Bach. Growing up “with a diet of instrumental/orchestral music,” she still manages — in addition to an impressive career and raising children — to attend performances, and serve as advisory trustee of the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Foundation, in addition to her current San Francisco Classical Voice position as board secretary, before she assumes the top position on the board. The Morrison Foundation supports the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University. The organization’s public face is the 55-year-old Morrison Artist Series, with some 350 admission-free concerts, attended by more than 100,000.

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Chamber Music, Chamber Orchestra at SF State

April 5, 2013

EXAMINER.COM -- This month there will be a variety of interesting events emerging from the Creative Arts Building on the campus of San Francisco State University, whose entrance is at 1600 Holloway Avenue, on the northwest corner of 19th Avenue. These will involve two chamber music recitals and a preview event for the world premiere of a work composed for the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. All of these events are free (including the performance of that new work in Herbst Theatre), making them all the more worthy of attention in these times when everyone seems to want to talk about austerity.

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Alexander, Holloway String Quartets Perform at Presidential Investiture Ceremony

March 15, 2013

SF STATE NEWS -- Leslie E. Wong was invested March 14 as San Francisco State University’s 13th president, calling on students and faculty in his inaugural address to “own their own minds” and challenge the status quo in order to find new and creative solutions to the world’s most vexing problems. The investiture ceremony was attended by hundreds of members of the campus community as well as university presidents and other distinguished guests from California and beyond. The ceremony also included performances from the Alexander String Quartet, SF State’s longtime quartet-in-residence and the student performers of the Holloway String Quartet.

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Alexander, Holloway string quartets to Perform at Presidential Investiture

March 8, 2013

SF STATE NEWS -- The investiture ceremony itself will begin with a procession of University faculty, deans and distinguished guests, followed by congratulatory remarks from students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Associated Students Inc. President Adenike Hamilton will join President Wong on stage, and student Christa Laosantos will sing the national anthem. Douglas Roberts, trustee emeritus at Northern Michigan University, will provide the keynote address. Following the keynote, California State University Board of Trustees Chair A. Robert Linscheid and CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White will present President Wong with a special medallion representing his symbolic investment with the power and responsibility of the presidency. The Alexander String Quartet, SF State’s longtime quartet-in-residence, will perform along with the student performers of the Holloway String Quartet.

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Arts Performances Help Mark Investiture of President Leslie E. Wong

March 5, 2013

ASIANWEEK -- The Alexander String Quartet, SF State’s longtime quartet-in-residence, will perform along with the student performers of the Holloway String Quartet. Other investiture week activities include: Word for Word performance: “You Know When the Men Are Gone” by Siobhan Fallon, March 12, 7pm.

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Juilliard String Quartet to Perform in Next Morrison Artists Series Concert

February 1, 2013

EXAMINER.COM -- Next month the three concerts in the spring portion of the 57th season of the Morrison Artists Series begin with a truly prestigious offering. This series was created as part of the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University at San Francisco State University (SFSU); and it has become our city’s premiere resource for free chamber music. Next month’s performers will be the Julliard String Quartet, founded in 1946 at the Juilliard School and now consisting of violinists Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, violist Samuel Rhodes and cellist Joel Krosnick.

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Menuhin Chamber Music Festival at SF State

January 16, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- After a three-year hiatus, San Francisco State University’s Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar and Festival, named for the late, great San Francisco-bred violinist, returns February 1-3 with free master classes and performances of instrumental music that was influenced by dance and vocal music. Hence the festival’s theme, the Old Song and Dance.

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San Ramon Teen Selected to Play at SF State's Menuhin Festival

January 7, 2013

SAN RAMON EXPRESS -- Trio Consonare was formed, and within a few short months the three students got big news. They had been chosen to perform in the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festival, which runs January 29 to February 3 at San Francisco State University. The festival attracts high-caliber performers and faculty members from The Juilliard School of Music in New York, as well as from schools in Toronto and London. An undergraduate student trio is far from the festival’s normal stage fare.

“This is an indescribable honor,” Jinshil said. “It is an exceedingly rare privilege and opportunity to be able to attend and learn from some of the greatest masters in the world.”

Danville resident Faithlina, 16, said she first took up cello when her two older siblings inspired her to join them in their musical practice.

”Now I just love the sound of the cello and enjoy the variety and depth of the instrument,” she said.

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Jinshil Yi Among Performers in Menuhin Chamber Music Festival

January 4, 2013

UNIVERSITY PLACE PATCH -- A University Place student at the University of Puget Sound will showcase her talent at one of the most prestigious musical festivals in the country later this month.

Jinshil Yi is a pianist and one of the three members of the Trio Consonare, which will perform at the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festival, January 29 to February 3 in San Francisco.

The festival at San Francisco State University has attracted renown performers and faculty members from The Juilliard School of Music in New York, as well as from schools in Toronto and London.

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