Celebrating Michael Tilson Thomas’s 20th season, the San Francisco Symphony celebrates throughout September and beyond with an impressive lineup of concerts, including Ravel & Stravinsky (Sept. 5–6) and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony (Sept. 18–21). October brings two Rachmaninoff programs with Garrick Ohlsson (Oct. 10–12) and a violin program (Oct. 15 & 17–18). Also scheduled is Copeland’s Appalachian Spring (Oct. 22–24); and MTT conducts Mahler 7 (Oct. 29–Nov. 1). In November, violinist Gil Shaham (Nov. 6–9) joins the symphony before it embarks on its national tour (415-864-6000, sfsymphony.org).
No fall season would be complete without our beloved San Francisco Opera, whose season opens with Bellini’s Norma (Sept. 5–30), which shares the month with Floyd’s Susannah (Sept. 6–21). October brings Verdi’s A Masked Ball (Oct. 4–22); Handel’s Partenope (Oct. 15–30); and Puccini’s Tosca (Oct. 23–Nov. 8). Rossini’s Cinderella (Nov. 9–26) and Puccini’s La Bohème (Nov. 14–Dec. 7) round out the year (415-864-3330, sfopera.org).
The New Century Chamber Orchestra stages a repeat performance of the company’s biggest hit featuring composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel and Schedrin’s Carmen suite for strings and percussion, written for a balletic version of Bizet’s opera (Sept. 10–14) to open its season (415-392-4400, ncco.org).
Singing in a choral music tradition, the male a capella group Chanticleer opens their season with The Gypsy in My Soul (Sept. 19–28), which explores the influence of the gypsy culture in music and celebrates wanderlust, curiosity, nostalgia, and reverence for the natural world from the Renaissance to today (415-392-4400, chanticleer.org).
Moving on to jazz, the SF Jazz Center opens Sept. 11 with a sold-out performance of Eliane Alias, who also performs Sept. 13–14. Paula West (Sept. 11–14) will offer a loving tribute to the pioneering jazz vocalist and actress Ethel Waters. More season headliners include The Cookers (Sept. 26); the Joshua Redman Trio (Oct. 2–4); Dennis Perrier (Oct. 18) with a tribute to Dinah Washington; and the second annual San Francisco Boogie Woogie Festival (Nov. 9) for the fall season lineup (866-920-5299, sfjazz.org).
The Monterey Jazz Festival (Sept. 19–21), the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, celebrates its 57th season with some 50 jazz greats, including Michael Feinstein, Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, and Cecile McLorin Savant (Sept. 19); Booker T. Jones, Davina and the Vagabonds, and Aaron Diehl Quartet (Sept. 20); Eric Harland, Marcus Miller, Charles Lloyd Quartet (Sept. 21). Performances take place in the arena or throughout the festival grounds (831-373-3366, montereyjazzfestival.org).
Cal Performances at UC Berkeley presents Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Mavis Staples (Oct. 30) and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (Nov. 16) in their fall programming (510-642-9988,
The San Francisco Electronic Music Festival (Sept. 11–14) at the Exploratorium features laptop-generated sound, analog synthesizers, and amplified found objects combined with performance art and improv (415-528-4444, exploratorium.edu).
A fall staple, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Oct. 3–5) is back for its 14th year in Golden Gate Park and is sure to promise its typical spectacular lineup, which was not available at press time (hardlystrictlybluegrass.com).
The Warfield will feature some oldies but goodies with Pink Floyd (Sept. 22); King Crimson (Oct. 3–4); and Cheap Trick (Nov. 22) for the fall season (415-345-0900, thewarfieldtheatre.com). The Fillmore features Tribal Seeds (Sept. 5–9); The Airborne Toxic Event (Sept. 18–20); Patty Griffin with John Fullbright (Oct. 30), and Citizen Cope: Clarence Greenwood Recordings 10th Anniversary Tour (Nov. 4–5) among many others (800-745-3000, thefillmore.com).
On the lineup at the popular Treasure Island Music Festival (Oct. 18–19) is Outkast, Massive Attack, Zedd, Alt-J, Janell Monae, The New Pornographers, Washed Out, and a host of others (treasureislandfestival.com).
Over at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre, the Avett Brothers & Brandi Carli1e (Sept. 13) and New Zealand’s teen sensation Lourde (Oct. 2) share the fall bill (510-642-9988, thegreektheatreberkeley.com).
It’s a Linda lineup at Feinstein’s at the Nikko, with Linda Edar (Sept. 4–6), Linda Lavin (Sept. 18–19), and Linda Kosut (Oct. 15) highlighting the fall performances (415-394-1111, hotelnikko.com/feinsteins).
ASIAN ART MUESUM
Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Oct. 24), which features more than 200 objects ranging from one-million-year-old stone tools to 17th-century gilded doors from the Ka’ba, Islam’s holiest sanctuary uncovered in the past 40 years and transforming our understanding of the region (415-581-5000, asianart.org).
FINE ARTS MUSEUMS OF SAN FRANCISCO
On display at the de Young Museum is Celebrating the Spectrum: Highlights from the Anderson Collection (Sept. 13–Apr. 5), which opens in conjunction with the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. The exhibition includes works from Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Josef Albers and more, and focuses on the use of color in printmaking (415-750-3636, famsf.org).
Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House (Oct. 18–Jan. 18): Downton Abbey fans are sure to flock to this show at the Legion of Honor that re-creates some of the interiors of the 18th century home of England’s first prime minister, along with other rarely exhibited treasures and furniture (415-750-3600, legionofhonor. famsf.org).
S.F. MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
SFMOMA has temporarily moved — everywhere. Under construction but not forgotten, the museum’s collection continues to make appearances in the Bay Area. At the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Vienna-based artist Markus Schinwald (Sept. 9–Dec. 13) presents his first major museum commission in the United States. His installation is an architectural invention that changes the size, shape, and overall feel of 19th century paintings and sculptures in surprising ways. Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California (Sept. 20–Apr. 12) shows up at the Oakland Museum of California, where the exhibition combines works from both museums to tell the stories of four creative Bay Area communities from the 1930s to the 1990s and includes works from Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko, Richard Deibenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud, Barry McGee, and more (415-357-4000, sfmoma.org).
Opening at the Artist’s Gallery in Fort Mason is works by Willard Dixon, Chiyomi Longo, and Anthony Delgado (Sept. 6–Oct. 23), which will display the landscape oil paintings on panels by Dixon, abstract paintings on panels using mixed media by Longo, and Delgado’s photographs of holy days (415-441-4777,
This area’s long tradition of live performances continues and this season gets off to a vibrant start with exciting productions. Fort Mason’s Magic Theatre opens its 2014–15 season with the new comedy Bad Jews (Sept. 9–Oct. 5), which pits religious and secular relatives as they battle it out Old Testament-style over what it means to be “chosen.” Naomi Wallace’s I and Silence (Oct. 9–Nov. 23) about two women in 1950s segregated America wraps up the fall season (415-441-8822, magictheatre.org).
The American Conservatory Theatre opens its new season with the delightful Old Hats (Sept. 10–Oct. 5) featuring the artistry of Bill Erwin and David Shiner and combining magic, slapstick, and hilarity with inventive technology and original music. Also scheduled is Testament (Oct. 29–Nov. 23) by Colm Toibin about a mother who believes fanatics have taken her son (415-749-2228, www.act-sf.org).
After a successful production of last season’s Bauer, which plays in New York this fall, San Francisco Playhouse opens with Aaron Loeb’s compelling and dark comedy suspense thriller Ideation (Sept. 23–Nov. 8). The company closes 2014 with the perfectly entertaining Promises, Promises (Nov. 22–Jan. 10), a musical comedy classic based on Neil Simon’s book with music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David (415-677-9596, sfplayhouse.org).
The ambitious 42nd Street Moon Theatre, which produces only American classical musicals, starts their lineup with the only collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim, Do I Hear a Waltz (Oct. 1–29), set in 1960s Venice, and continues with English flappers afoot in the French Riviera in the farce The Boy Friend (Oct. 29–Nov. 16) followed by Cole Porter’s farce Something for the Boys (Nov. 26–Dec. 14), filled with World War II spirit and quirky characters to close their fall season (415-255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org).
Across the bay at the Berkeley Rep, An Evening with Meow Meow (Sept. 5–Oct. 19) opens the season with a cabaret-style show featuring the international award-winning singing sensation. Party People (Oct. 17–Nov. 16) mixes live video, hip-hop, jazz, rock, gospel, blues, Latin rhythms, and spoken word to tell the story of the 1960s activists the Black Panthers and Young Lords. And last but least, Tony and Oscar nominee Kathleen Turner stars in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins (Nov. 21–Jan. 14), portraying the sassy, quick-witted political journalist and author (510-647-2900, berkeleyrep.org).
The Smuin Ballet kicks off their 21st season with six performances at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater. Their Untamed (Oct. 3–Sept. 26) dance series features Serenade for Strings set to Tchaikovsky; the evocative Objects of Curiosity; and Michael Smuin’s sinister Latin saga Frankie & Johnny, dedicated to dancer/choreographer Gene Kelley (415-912-1899, smuinballet.org).
Fort Mason Center with Mark Foehringer Dance Project (Sept. 13) present Dances of the Sacred and Profane, inspired by the music and art of the Impressionist period. Six performances are scheduled at the Cowell Theater (800-838-3006, mfdpsf.org).
At Cal Performances, you’ll find their usual varied and prolific programming with dance performances by Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble (Sept. 25), the Australian Ballet performing Swan Lake (Oct. 16–19), and Sasha Waltz & Guests (Oct. 24–25) performing a program set to Schubert’s Impromptus (510-642-9988, calperformances.org).