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Sundays @ Four Chamber Music Series

Crowden presents chamber music to the public with Sundays @ Four, our series of low-cost, informal concerts featuring distinguished chamber musicians. Artists speak about each work and share their personal observations and inspirations in these intimate concerts, then mingle with the audience in receptions after the performance.

Ticket Information

  • In advance (Brown Paper Tickets): $22.50 general admission, $18 seniors and students 18 and up(with ID), FREE for children under 18 (limit 3 per purchase)
  • At the door: $25 general admission, $20 seniors and students 18 and up (with ID), FREE for children under 18


Crowden’s 200-seat Jacqueline and Peter Hoefer Auditorium features state-of-the-art acoustic architecture from Berkeley’s Meyer Sound. Seating is not assigned. Our Box Office opens half an hour before a concert’s scheduled time. Crowden is wheel-chair accessible and just two blocks from N. Berkeley BART.

2013-2014 Sundays @ Four chamber music concerts

October 6

Sundays @ Four: Baumer String Quartet

October 6
Meet-the-Artists Reception
Grand Opening of the Jacqueline and Peter Hoefer Auditorium

Baumer String Quartet

Crowden’s 30th anniversary season begins with the grand opening of the newly renovated Jacqueline and Peter Hoefer Auditorium.

Composed of three Crowden School graduates, the Baumer String Quartet is quickly distinguishing itself among audiences and critics for technical finesse, warmth of expression, and cutting edge performances. Founded in 2003, the Baumer SQ won the Silver Medal at the 2005 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and 2nd Prize at the 2005 Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition.

Baumer SQ members frequently perform with the Jupiter Players in New York City, the Dallas Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic, and are resident artists at the University of Puget Sound and the University of South Florida School of Music. They also serve as artist faculty at Crowden’s Summer Chamber Music Workshop. The quartet has worked closely with members of the Cleveland, Alban Berg, Vogler, Emerson, Takacs, Cavani, Borromeo, Brentano, Orion, St. Lawrence, and Juilliard String Quartets, as well as Isaac Stern in the “Stern Encounters” master class series.

Guest musicians: Jory Fankuchen, viola, Eugene Sor, cello

Program: Beethoven String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Opus 18, No. 1; Bartók String Quartet No. 1 in A minor; Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence


Sundays @ Four: Bonnie Hampton & Friends

January 19
Meet-the-Artists Reception

Bonnie HamptonCellist Bonnie Hampton leads an active music life as a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. A founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Francesco Trio, she has also performed as part of the Hampton-Schwartz Duo with her late husband, pianist Nathan Schwartz. Her solo debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra was followed by appearances with orchestras nationally performing the entire standard repertoire and many of the 20th century cello concertos. She has been involved in performances of new music since the beginning of her career. Her contemporary recordings include CDs representing American works, often commissioned and premiered by the Trio and Duo. Ms. Hampton’s chamber music guest appearances have included performances with the Juilliard, Guarneri, Cleveland, Mendelssohn, Alexander, Budapest, and Griller String Quartets, and concert tours have take her to Europe and Asia. She has performed in many of the major halls in the United States, including Davies Hall and the Opera House in San Francisco, Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, and many chamber music venues throughout the world. A student of Pablo Casals, she participated for many years in the Casals and Marlboro festivals. She has performed at many festivals including Chamber Music West, Seattle, Ravinia, Santa Fe, Kneisel Hall, and the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival. Her early studies were with Margaret Rowell, the Griller String Quartet, and Zara Nelsova. Her Francesco Trio Residencies have included Grinnell College, Stanford University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she taught for thirty years. Ms. Hampton was awarded an “Excellence in Teaching Award” from SFCM as well as the “Eva Janzer Award” from Indiana University. Ms. Hampton has also taught at Mills College, and the University of California, Berkeley. She is a past president of Chamber Music America. She was a member of the Juilliard Cello and Chamber Music Faculty from 2003-2012. Ms. Hampton, a good friend of Crowden’s founder, Anne Crowden, was an early supporter and guest coach at Crowden, and continues to visit as often as possible. “…artistic responsibility of a rare inspiring kind.” San Francisco Chronicle “…a highly expressive cellist.” New York Times

Guest musicians: Crowden faculty members Jeff LaDeur, Cathy Allen, Liana Berube, Isaac Melamed, and Monica Scott; Joseph Maile and Pei Ling Lin

Program: Beethoven Sonata for Piano with Horn or Violoncello, Op. 17; Debussy Cello Sonata in D minor; Wallingford Riegger Introduction and Fugue for Four Cellos; Brahms Piano Quintet in F Major, Op. 34


Sundays @ Four: Kenneth Renshaw & Arkadi Serper

March 23
Meet-the-Artists Reception

Kenneth Renshaw

A native of San Francisco, 20-year-old violinist Kenneth Renshaw is quickly gaining an international reputation as one of the most exciting violinists of his generation. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Europe, North America, South America and Asia, including the Lithuanian National Orchestra, the China Philharmonic, the China NCPA Orchestra, the Jenaer Philharmonie, the Staatskapelle Weimar, the California Symphony, the American Philharmonic, and the Orchestra de Festival de Ushuaia. He has given sold-out recitals at some of Europe’s most noteworthy festivals including the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele. He has performed live on national radio stations including Germany’s Mitteldeutsch Rundfunk, Argentina’s Clasica Nationale Radio Publica, and the United States’ NPR (National Public Radio). His performances have garnered critical acclaim from major news sources, including Strad and Strings magazines, the San Francisco Chronicle, several newspapers in Germany, and various online publications.

2012, Kenneth was awarded First Prize in the Senior Category of the 2012 Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition (Beijing) as well as the EMCY prize for the best Semifinal Recital. In 2010 he received First Prize, the Mozart Concerto Prize, and the Sonata Prize at the 6th Louis Spohr International Violin Competition in Weimar, Germany. Other awards include First Prizes in the 2009 Los Angeles Philharmonic Competition, the 2011 Stewart Brady Strings Competition, and the Mondavi Center for the Arts Chamber Music Competition – as a member of the Soleil Piano Trio. He was also the recipient of the 2012 Avanti Award, California’s 2012 Sunny Brown Memorial Award, and a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award from National Public Radio’s From the Top in 2009.
Kenneth was concertmaster of the internationally acclaimed San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2008 to 2010. His performance of the Sibelius violin concerto in Davies Hall, as the 2010 winner of the orchestra's concerto competition, was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "vivid and eloquent...a pure-toned and self assured rendition." Kenneth has played with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Simon Rattle, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, Charles Dutoit, Hugh Wolff, Jorge Uliarte, Donato Cabrera, and Benjamin Shwartz. He has collaborated in performances with other esteemed musicians, including violinist Itzhak Perlman and flutist Sir James Galway.

Kenneth currently studies with Professor Donald Weilerstein on full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He previously studied with San Francisco-based violin pedagogue Li Lin, and with Itzhak Perlman at the Perlman Music Program from 2009-2012. He has been invited to participate in the Perlman Music Program’s Residencies in Sarasota (Florida) and Stowe (Vermont), Music@Menlo’s International Chamber Music Festival (2007, 2008), and the 2013 Kronberg Academy Violin Masterclasses. He has played in masterclasses for Ana Chumachenco, Midori Goto, Yo-Yo Ma, the Takacs and Emerson String Quartets, Robert Mann, Sylvia Rosenberg, and baroque violinist John Holloway. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division, the San Francisco Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, and The Crowden School. He has been generously loaned violins from Bein&Fushi/The Stradivarius Society of Chicago, Reuning&Sons of Boston, Christophe Landon Rare Violins, and the Maestro Foundation of Southern California.

Pianist, composer, and teacher Arkadi Serper has served on Crowden’s faculty for more than 20 years. He is a member of the Scorpio Duo with fellow Crowden faculty pianist Miles Graber. In 2012, San Francisco Classical Voice named Arkadi as one of three honorees of the first ever Bay Area Music Educator Award.

Program: J.S. Bach Sonata No. 2 in A minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1003; Prokofiev Sonata No.1 in F minor for Violin and Piano; Schubert Sonata in A Major, D. 574; Tchaikovsky Valse Scherzo, Op. 34


Sundays @ Four: Alexander String Quartet

May 11
Meet-the-Artists Reception

Alexander String Quartet

The Alexander String Quartet has performed in the major music capitals of five continents, securing its standing among the world’s premiere ensembles over three decades. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Shostakovich, the Quartet has also established itself as an important advocate of new music through over 25 commissions and numerous premiere performances. The Alexander String Quartet is a major artistic presence in its home base of San Francisco, serving there as directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at the School of Music and Dance in the College of Arts and Humanities at San Francisco State University and Ensemble in Residence of San Francisco Performances.

The Alexander String Quartet’s annual calendar of concerts includes engagements at major halls throughout North America and Europe. The quartet has appeared at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City; Jordan Hall in Boston; the Library of Congress and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington; and chamber music societies and universities across the North American continent. Recent overseas tours have brought them to the U.K., the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Greece, the Republic of Georgia, Argentina, and the Philippines. The many distinguished artists to collaborate with the Alexander String Quartet include pianists Menahem Pressler, Gary Graffman, Roger Woodward, Jeremy Menuhin, Jon Nakamatsu, and Joyce Yang; clarinetists Eli Eban, Charles Neidich, Joan Enric Lluna, and Richard Stolzman; cellists Lynn Harrell, Sadao Harada, and David Requiro; violist Toby Appel; soprano Elly Ameling; and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Among the quartet’s more unusual collaborations has been numerous performances of Eddie Sauter’s seminal Third Stream work, Focus, in collaboration with Branford Marsalis, David Sánchez, and Andrew Speight.

Over the past decade the Alexander String Quartet has added considerably to its distinguished and wide-ranging discography. Currently recording exclusively for the FoghornClassics label, the Alexander’s most recent release (June 2009) is a complete Beethoven cycle. Music Web International has described the performances on this new Beethoven set as “uncompromising in their power, intensity and spiritual depth,” while Strings Magazine described the set as “a landmark journey through the greatest of all quartet cycles.” The FoghornClassics label released a three-CD set (Homage) of the Mozart quartets dedicated to Haydn in 2004. Foghorn released a six-CD album (Fragments) of the complete Shostakovich quartets in 2006 and 2007, and a recording of the complete quartets of Pulitzer prize-winning San Francisco composer, Wayne Peterson, was released in the spring of 2008. BMG Classics released the quartet’s first recording of Beethoven cycle on its Arte Nova label to tremendous critical acclaim in 1999.

The Alexander String Quartet was formed in New York City in 1981 and the following year became the first string quartet to win the Concert Artists Guild Competition. In 1985, the quartet captured international attention as the first American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition, receiving both the jury’s highest award and the Audience Prize. In May of 1995, Allegheny College awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees to the members of the quartet in recognition of their unique contribution to the arts. Honorary degrees were conferred on the ensemble by St. Lawrence University in May 2000.

Guest musicians: Jory Fankuchen, viola, Eugene Sor, cello

Program: Mozart String Quartet No. 21 in D Major, K. 575 “The Violet,” Bartók String Quartet No. 3, Brahms Sextet in B-Flat Major, Op. 18