The Del Sol String Quartet, a highly respected and much beloved champion of new music, was founded in 1992. They will celebrate their twentieth anniversary with Del Sol Days, a five-day festival, at the beginning of next month. Eleven composers will be represented in a series of programs that will offer both world and United States premieres, the San Francisco premiere of a multimedia production created by the Quartet and composer and video artist Chris Jonas, open rehearsals, pre-concert discussions, and a workshop for composition students.
Here is a day-by-day account of festival activities, all of which are open to the general public:
- Tuesday, December 4: Composer Gabriela Lena Frank will lead a workshop at which the Quartet will play works by four student composers. Participants will be selected from leading university music programs across the Bay Area. The workshop will run from 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. The general audience will be invited to participate in a Q&A with both Frank and the Quartet at the end of the session.
- Wednesday, December 5: This day will be devoted to open rehearsals of four newly commissioned pieces. The first session will take place between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Following a break for dinner, there will be a second open rehearsal between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. The works themselves will be performed as the world premieres on the final two days of the festival, so these open rehearsals will provide curious listeners with an early introduction to the music.
- Thursday, December 6: This will be the San Francisco premiere of the Quartet’s joint project with Jonas. They will perform inside a cube of transparent screens on which changing video images will be projected. The title of the work to be performed is “Night;” it is the first “chapter” of an extended series of installations combining multimedia with the performance of music. The title of the series is GARDEN. The production will begin at 8 p.m. Then, at 9:15 p.m., there will be a gala reception for ticketed donors. Tickets for the gala must be purchased separately from those only for the concert, but they will include admission to the concert.
- Friday, December 7: The second concert will feature world premieres by Lembit Beecher and Matt Cmiel and the United States premiere of a work by Kui Dong. The program will also include earlier pieces by Joe Dudell (2000), Frank (2001), and Daniel Ward (2011). ZOFO Duet (pianists Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi) will join the Quartet as guest artists for the performance, which will begin at 8 p.m. There will be a half-hour pre-concert talk with the composers beginning at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, December 8: The final concert will present the remaining two world premieres by Irene Sazer and Dylan Mattingly. The program will also offer the United States premiere of a set of bagatelles by Mason Bates scored for string quartet and electronica. The program will conclude with the sixteenth string quartet by Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe, which includes an obbligato didgeridoo part that will be performed by guest artist Stephen Kent. Again, the concert will begin at 8 p.m., preceded by a half-hour pre-concert talk with the composers at 7 p.m.
All festival events will take place at Z Space (450 Florida Street). Tickets for the concerts are $30 with a $25 rate for seniors and $15 for students. Admission to the open rehearsals will be $10 (but free for those holding concert tickets); and the composition student workshop is free. Admission to the gala reception is $100, and the price includes a ticket to the preceding concert on December 7. Tickets may be purchased online through an event page set up by Brown Paper Tickets, and they will be on sale at the Z Space box office one hour before each event.