In an extraordinary collaboration, San Francisco Performances presents So Percussion, multiple Grammy award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw and legendary pianist Gil Kalish in a program of American songs of war, peace, hope, death, night, and the sea.
Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. Not only has she performed on many an opera stage, but she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music.
Pianist Gilbert Kalish has introduced audiences to a range of modern works that are now considered standards of the repertory. A solo artist who has released over 100 recordings, he is likewise noted for his roles in chamber music ensembles and for his collaborations as accompanist with soprano Dawn Upshaw, cellist Joel Krosnick, and above all, mezzo soprano Jan de Gaetani.
So Percussion, with innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern classics, and an "exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam," has redefined the role of the modern percussion ensemble.
The program will include two works: George Crumb's Winds of Destiny, a sprawling and haunted setting of familiar American folk songs and spirituals such as When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Twelve Gates to the City, and Shenandoah, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw's new work Narrow Sea, written as a response and a companion to Winds of Destiny. Like Crumb, Shaw reaches back into America's history of song, from the energetic shape note and Sacred Harp singers of colonial America, to African American slave spirituals, and many others.