Sundays @ Four

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.

Tickets: $25 general admission, $20 seniors/students 18+, and free for children under 18.

Catalyst Quartet

March 4, 2018
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Catalyst Quartet

Karla Donehew-Perez, violin*
Jessie Montgomery, violin
Paul Laraia, viola
Karlos Rodriguez, cello

* Karla Donehew-Perez is a Crowden School alum ('99)!

Hailed by the New York Times at their Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished… playing with earthy vigor,” the Catalyst Quartet, prize winners of the Gianni Bergamo Classical Music Award 2012 (Switzerland) is comprised of top laureates and alumni of the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Competition.


      • Barber String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
      • Shaw Valencia
      • Montgomery Strum
      • Glass String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima)
      • Alvarez Metro Chabacano
      • Putz Credo

Join us for a free "Meet-the-Artists" reception following the concert.

About Catalyst Quartet

Hailed by the New York Times at their Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished… playing with earthy vigor,” the Catalyst Quartet, prize winners of the Gianni Bergamo Classical Music Award 2012 (Switzerland) is comprised of top laureates and alumni of the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Competition. Known for “rhythmic energy, polyphonic clarity and tight ensemble-playing”, the quartet has toured domestically and abroad including sold out performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, at Chicago’s Harris Theater, Miami’s New World Center, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. Its first violinist, Karla Donehew-Perez, is a Crowden School alumna whose family still lives in the Bay Area.

The Catalyst Quartet has held concert residencies at institutions such as the University of Washington, University of Michigan, Rice University, Houston’s Society for the Performing Arts, University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, and Pennsylvania State University. International residencies where they perform and give master classes have included the In Harmony project in England, the University of South Africa, and the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Colombia.

The Catalyst Quartet has been invited guest artist at important music festivals such as Mainly Mozart in San Diego, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Sitka Music Festival, Juneau Jazz and Classics, Strings Music Festival, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival. In 2014, they opened the Festival del Sole in Napa with violinist Joshua Bell, and also participated in England’s Aldeburgh Music Foundation’s string quartet residency with two performances at Britten’s Jubilee Hall. Recent seasons have brought international touring in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and expanded U.S. tours in Virginia, Minnesota, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and California. The Catalyst’s New York City presence has included concerts on the cafe series of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, Barge Music, and Schneider Concerts at the New School. In February 2016, they presented six concerts with Grammy award-winning jazz vocalist Cecile Mclorin Salvant at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The Bach/Gould Project – Catalyst Quartet’s debut recording featuring the members’ own arrangement of J.S. Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations paired with Glenn Gould’s seminal string quartet – was released in April 2015 on the Azica label. The quartet is also featured on the release Strum, the string works of composer/violinist Jessie Montgomery. The quartet has performed on numerous television and radio broadcasts including multiple contributions to American Public Media, Performance Today, and has been featured in the Strad and Strings magazines.

Founded by the Sphinx organization, they completed their fifth national tour in October 2015 with the Sphinx Virtuosi as its featured ensemble. The Catalyst Quartet serves as principal faculty for the Sphinx Performance Academy at Oberlin College and Roosevelt University.

The Catalyst Quartet is a Sphinx ensemble and proudly endorses Pirastro Strings.

Alexander String Quartet

November 5, 2017

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Alexander String Quartet

Zakarias Grafilo, violin
Frederick Lifsitz, violin
Paul Yarbrough, viola
Sandy Wilson, cello

Founded in 1981 and a major artistic presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Alexander String Quartet stands among the world's premiere ensembles. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Shostakovich, the quartet's recordings of the Beethoven cycle (twice), and the Bartók and Shostakovich cycles have all won international critical acclaim.


      • Mozart String Quartet in B-flat Major, KV 458 “Hunt”
      • Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110
      • Brahms String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1

Join us for a free "Meet-the-Artists" reception following the concert.

About Alexander String Quartet

Now celebrating its 36th anniversary, the ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET has performed in the major music capitals of five continents, securing its standing among the world’s premiere ensembles. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Shostakovich, the quartet's recordings of the Beethoven cycle (twice), and the Bartók and Shostakovich cycles have all won international critical acclaim. The quartet has also established itself as an important advocate of new music through over 25 commissions from such composers as Jake Heggie, Cindy Cox, Augusta Read Thomas, Robert Greenberg, Martin Bresnick, César Cano, Tarik O'Reagan, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Wayne Peterson.

The Alexander String Quartet is a major artistic presence in its home base of San Francisco, serving since 1989 as Ensemble-in-Residence for San Francisco Performances and Directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University.

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, Panamá, Poland, and the Philippines.

Among the fine musicians with whom the Alexander String Quartet has collaborated are pianists Joyce Yang, Roger Woodward, Anne-Marie McDermott, Jon Nakamatsu, Menahem Pressler, and Jeremy Menuhin; clarinetists Joan Enric Lluna, David Shifrin, Richard Stolzman, and Eli Eban; soprano Elly Ameling; mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato; cellists Lynn Harrell, Sadao Harada, and David Requiro; violist Toby Appel; and jazz greats, Branford Marsalis, David Sánchez, and Andrew Speight. The quartet has worked with many composers including Aaron Copland, George Crumb, and Elliot Carter and has long enjoyed a close relationship with composer-lecturer Robert Greenberg, performing numerous lecture-concerts with him annually.

The Alexander String Quartet added considerably to its distinguished and wide-ranging discography over the past decade, now recording exclusively for the FoghornClassics label. There were three major releases in the 2013-2014 season: The combined string quartet cycles of Bartók and Kodály, recorded on the renowned Ellen M. Egger Quartet of matched instruments built by San Francisco luthier, Francis Kuttner ("If ever an album had "Grammy nominee" written on its front cover, this is it." -Audiophile Audition); The String Quintets & Sextets of Brahms with Toby Appel and David Requiro ("a uniquely detailed, transparent warmth" -Strings Magazine); and the Brahms & Schumann Piano Quintets with Joyce Yang ("passionate, soulful readings of two pinnacles of the chamber repertory" -The New York Times). Their recording of music of Gershwin and Kern was released in the summer of 2012, following the spring 2012 recording of the clarinet quintet of Brahms and a new quintet from César Cano, in collaboration with Joan Enric Lluna, as well as a disc in collaboration with the San Francisco Choral Artists (with Strings Attached). Next to be released will be an album of works by Cindy Cox.

The Alexander's 2009 release of the complete Beethoven Cycle was described by Music Web International as performances “uncompromising in 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. FoghornClassics released a six-CD album (Fragments Volume 1 & Volume 2) 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 (Retrospections), 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 captured international attention as the first American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition in 1985. The quartet has received honorary degrees from Allegheny College and St. Lawrence University, and presidential medals from Baruch College (CUNY).

Weiss-Requiro Duo

December 10, 2017
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Weiss-Requiro Duo

Meta Weiss, cello

David Requiro, cello *

* David Requiro is a Crowden School alum ('99)!

Experience the rare treat of two exceptional award-winning cellists, Meta Weiss and David Requiro, both known for their virtuosity and lyricism, joining forces as a duo.


      • Bach Suite in C minor for Two Celli, BWV 995 (transcribed by Weiss/Requiro from the Lute Suite in G minor)
      • Sollima Arboreto Salvatico for Two Celli (2004)
      • Glière Duets for Two Cellos, Op. 53
      • Bach Chaconne for Two Celli,BWV 1004 (transcribed from the Violin Partita in D minor by Jaffe/Perron)
      • Paganini Variations on One String on a Theme by Rossini (transcribed by Thomas-Mifune/Weiss/Requiro)

Join us for a free "Meet-the-Artists" reception following the concert.

About David Requiro, cello

First Prize winner of the 2008 Naumburg International Violoncello Competition and a Crowden School alumnus, DAVID REQUIRO has emerged as one of today’s finest American cellists. After winning First Prize in both the Washington International and Irving M. Klein International String Competitions, he also captured a top prize at the Gaspar Cassadó International Violoncello Competition in Hachioji, Japan, coupled with the prize for the best performances of works by Cassadó.

David Requiro has made concerto appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, and several orchestras from California including the Marin, Oakland East Bay, Peninsula, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and Stockton Symphonies. He also has been featured as soloist with the Ann Arbor, Breckenridge, Canton, Edmonton, Lansing, Olympia, Pine Bluff, and Santa Fe Symphony Orchestras as well as with the Northwest Sinfonietta, Symphony ProMusica, and Naples Philharmonic. His Carnegie Hall debut recital at Weill Hall was followed by a critically acclaimed San Francisco Performances recital at the Herbst Theatre. Soon after making his Kennedy Center debut, David also completed the cycle of Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano and Cello at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Actively involved in contemporary music, David appeared as a guest artist at the 2010 Amsterdam Cello Biennale where he gave the Dutch premiere of Pierre Jalbert’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. He has collaborated with composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki and Bright Sheng, as well as with members of the Aspen Percussion Ensemble, giving the Aspen Music Festival premiere of Tan Dun’s concerto, Elegy: Snow in June, for cello and percussion. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Requiro is a founding member of the Baumer String Quartet and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Concertante Chamber Players, ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), and the Alexander String Quartet. For over eight seasons, he has served as a frequent performing artist of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players Series in New York City. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center recently appointed David to its prestigious CMS Two residency beginning in 2018.

In 2015, David Requiro joined the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder as Assistant Professor of Cello. He previously served as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Puget Sound as well as Guest Lecturer at the University of Michigan. His artist faculty appointments include the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival, Giverny Chamber Music Festival, Innsbrook Music Festival and Institute, Maui Classical Music Festival, and Olympic Music Festival. As a member of the Baumer String Quartet, he co-founded the annual Monterey Chamber Music Workshop and has served on faculty at Crowden's summer Chamber Music Workshop.

A native of Oakland, David began cello studies at age six and his teachers have included Milly Rosner, Bonnie Hampton, Mark Churchill, Michel Strauss, and Richard Aaron. He graduated from the Crowden School in 1999.

About Meta Weiss, cello

San Francisco native META WEISS made her international debut at the age of seven in Utrecht, Holland, and has established herself as one of the leading cellists of her generation. An acclaimed soloist, chamber musician, and artist, her performances have taken her to venues throughout the US and internationally, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Boston Symphony Hall, The Kimmel Center, Royal Albert Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, and Teatro Britanico (Peru). Recent solo appearances include concertos with the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro), Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Nacional Claudio Santoro (Brasilia), and Third Coast Percussion.

She has garnered top prizes in numerous competitions, including the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, Washington International Competition, Seattle Ladies Musical Club Award Tour Competition, Carmel Music Society Competition, National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Competition, Schadt Cello Competition, and the TexASTA Solo Competition. As a member of the cello-rock group Break of Reality, she was selected by the US Department of State as a “musical ambassador” for the American Music Abroad Program. With Break of Reality, she has toured across America, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Brazil. Weiss has also been featured on National Public Radio on many occasions, including as guest artist on the shows A Prairie Home Companion, Performance Today, Northwest Focus Live!, Radio Astana KZ, and From the Top. The debut album of duoW, her violin-cello duo with violinist Arianna Warsaw-Fan, entitled Entendre, was released in August 2013 on the Grammy award-winning label Sono Luminus. Entendre is the winner of the Violoncello Foundation's 2nd Annual Listener’s Choice Award.

Weiss began the cello at age four and has studied with Joel Krosnick, Darrett Adkins, Norman Fischer, Irene Sharp, Joan Jeanrenaud, and Michael Reynolds. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and her Master's of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where she also recently completed the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow and a SYLFF Fellow.

Weiss was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Cello and Head of Chamber Music at the Queensland Conservatorium in 2015. Her previous faculty positions include Artist-in-Residence at the University of Puget Sound, Cello Fellow in the Juilliard Music Advancement Program, Artist Faculty at Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute, and Virtuosi Artist at the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

Weiss performs on a Gioffredo Cappa cello, c. 1690, generously provided for her by an anonymous supporter.

Chamber Music Society of San Francisco

February 4, 2018

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Chamber Music Society

Jory Fankuchen, violin*
Natasha Makhijani, violin
Clio Tilton, viola
Samsun van Loon, cello

* Jory Fankuchen is a Crowden School alum ('91)!

Born out of a collective desire to perform the great chamber music repertoire, the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco is dedicated to bringing these masterworks to diverse audiences.


      • Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80
      • Mozart Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581 with guest artist Steve Sànchez

Join us for a free "Meet-the-Artists" reception following the concert

About Chamber Music Society of San Francisco

Founded in the spring of 2013, the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco was born out of a collective desire to perform the great chamber music repertoire. Dedicated to bringing these masterworks to diverse audiences, CMSSF is passionate about concertizing in intimate settings, creating close connections between performers and listeners, and cultivating a relationship between music and audiences that extends far beyond the perimeter of the concert hall.

CMSSF brings together Bay Area musicians of diverse musical experience. They can be heard performing with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Oakland Symphony, Magik*Magik Orchestra, as well as many other chamber ensembles, including early music, jazz, tango, and pop.

Founding members Natasha Makhijani, Jory Fankuchen, Clio Tilton and Samsun van Loon came together through their mutual love of the late Beethoven String Quartets. Forming a core to collaborate with guest artists, highlights of our fourth season include collaboration with premier Bay Area musicians and expansion to the sextet repertoire.

Our Mission

Crowden combines music and education to nurture, develop, and inspire students of all ages, and provides essential support to the musical life of the community.