Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Old First Concerts
1751 Sacramento St.
San Francisco CA 94109  

Old First Concerts, established in 1970 as a year-round concert series, continues to present an astonishing array of programs performed by outstanding musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Old First Concerts has a distinctive niche within the local musical community with a solid history of creating and programming an incubator space for emerging and established musicians and ensembles of all genres. The musical content (our curatorial mission) is artist-driven on every level, with no restrictions placed on the musicians' artistic vision.

The concert season is developed by Director Kathy Barr Kathy Barrin conjunction with Program Associate Rick Bahto and an Artist Advisory Board of musicians from throughout the region, representing a variety of disciplines. Musicians and ensembles propose an evening-length program, which is considered and evaluated. The result of this approach is a series that features diverse and often unconventional repertoire that ranges from classical recital and chamber performances to blues, folk, avant-garde, and jazz, as well as multicultural and world music. The series presents numerous World, US and regional premieres each year, often by emerging or mid-career Bay Area composers. Please visit our Performance Archives to explore past performances.

Artists perform in an acoustically and aesthetically appealing setting, seating approximately 450 people, with a backdrop of vividly-colored stained glass windows, and an entranceway featuring an elaborately hand painted ceiling. The venue is an ideal median between the larger local performance and recital halls, and the smaller community centers and clubs. Pianists have developed a deep fondness for performing on Old First Concerts' excellent New York Steinway (circa 1980).

Upcoming Events:
Friday, June 22 2018 8:00 PM

Agnieszka Peszko, violin; Natalie Raney, cello; Rachel Kim, piano

Chen Yi Tunes from My Home
Kaija Saariaho Light & Matter
Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 67

Curium: the 96th element in the periodic table named after the pioneering female scientist, Marie Curie. Founded in the summer of 2017, the women of Curium piano trio specialize in performing the music of female composers along with traditional piano trio repertoire. They are committed to bringing creative and diverse programming to their audiences and have brought together a community of people with their representation of diversity and women.

The program will feature two rarely heard piano trios by women from different parts of the world. Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho wrote her piano trio, Light and Matter, while watching the changing lights and colors of Morningside Park from her window in New York. The piece emanates light kinetic energy with its uniquely luminous, sometimes weightless sounds, while other parts feature dramatic gestures, rapid exchanges between instruments, and slow chordal passages within an ever-spinning texture. Chinese composer Chen Yi’s piano trio, Tunes from My Home, incorporates three traditional Cantonese tunes, as well as Cantonese instrumental techniques and sonorities within the work. Dr. Chen Yi frequently transcends cultural boundaries by blending Chinese and Western traditions in her music. Finishing the program will be the dark and richly emotional Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 by Dmitri Shostakovich. Known as one of Shostakovich’s most haunting works, an eerie melody for muted cello, played entirely in harmonics, sets the somber mood of this music. At times driving, solemn, scintillating and grotesque, it is a measure of Shostakovich the artist that he could transform his anguish into music of such power and beauty.  More...