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:
Sunday, October 1 2017 4:00 PM
Pola Baytelman

Works by Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Mendelssohn, Milhaud, Schoenfield, and Albéniz.

Pola Baytelman, piano

Heitor Villa-Lobos selections from Bachianas brasileiras No. 4 and Ciclo brasileiro
Alberto Ginastera Milonga and Danzas Argentinas
Felix Mendelssohn Variations Sérieuses, Op. 54
Darius Milhaud selections from Saudades do Brasil, Op. 67
Paul Schoenfield Six Impressions on Hassidic Melodies
Isaac Albéniz selections from Iberia

Acclaimed for her artistry, Clavier when reviewing Pola Baytelman’s recording of Albéniz’s Iberia states: “In her hands, every bit the equal to De Larrocha’s, music jumps to life so vividly as to convey the essence of Spanish culture.” The Times Union of Albany, NY, describes her as “…a formidable pianist, quite the equal of performances by keyboard wizards who go by last name only: Horowitz, Pollini, Ashkenazy” and the Boston Globe says:“…intelligent, multifaceted playing.” Born in Chile, Baytelman made her debut with the Chilean Symphony Orchestra at the age of 17 and has since performed with numerous orchestras, in the US and abroad. Pola Baytelman is an active recitalist with a broad repertory that spans from the 18th to the 21st century. She has toured extensively in China, Europe, Hong Kong, Chile, India and across the United States. Her performances have been broadcast on radio and television in Australia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic and the United States. Pola Baytelman is Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Skidmore College, in upstate New York. Highly respected as an artist and educator, she has taught master classes in mainland China, England, Hong Kong and throughout the US. She is a sought-after judge for international competitions in both Europe and US as well as presenter-recitalist in conferences in the US and abroad. In addition to her groundbreaking CD of the work of the brilliant Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz (Elan), Baytelman has released three additional recordings: From Chile to Cuba and Celebration of the New (Albany Records) and a recording of Robert Schumann’s Humoreske (2002 Centaur), which was listed by American Record Guide as one of the top three performances of the classic work. (Photo by Phil Scalia).  More...