The Sublime and the Surreal: Erik Satie and Salvador Dali

Humanities West SalonKayleen Asbo / The Sublime and the Surreal: Erik Satie and Salvador Dali.

Come celebrate the city of lights and love in this delectable Humanities West Salon, a performance and lecture evening on the history of music and art in turn-of-the-century Paris.

November 30, 2017. 7-8:30 pm. Hotel Rex. $25-30

Kayleen Asbo, PhD is a faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a lecturer on cultural history for the San Francisco Opera, Dominican University and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes of UC Berkeley and Sonoma State University. Her course Dante through Art and Music has been hailed as “utterly addictive tour-de-force of passion, performance and meticulous scholarship,” and “unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in a classroom–not just intellectually illuminating, but also heart-opening and profoundly moving,” and “unforgettable and perhaps even life-changing.”


Music of the Celtic Nations

March 17, 2016, 6-7:30 pm PST at the Hotel Rex

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Humanities West Salon, featuring Music of the Celtic Nations. Multi-instrumentalists Shira Kammen and Jim Oakden celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a performance of the music of the Celtic nations–Brittany, Galicia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, etc.–on piano, bagpipes, and other Celtic instruments.

The Music of Renaissance Spain with Richard Savino

Thursday, January 21, 2016, 6:00 pm PST at Hotel Rex

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Humanities West Salon at the Rex, featuring Richard Savino’s performances and recordings have been praised by critics throughout the world. In addition to receiving a Diapason d’Or from Compact ( Paris) and a 10 du Rèpertoire (Paris) the latter has also placed his Boccherini recordings in their “Great Discoveries” category which they deem as essential to any classical music collection. He has also recorded the romantic guitar music of Johann Kaspar Mertz (HM) virtuoso sonatas by Paganini and Giuliani with violinist Monica Huggett, and sonatas for flute and guitar with flutist Laurel Zucker. In 1998 Koch International released his recording of an extensive collection of 18th century guitar music from Mexico by Santiago de Murcia (4 Stars: Goldberg) which the Public Radio International program The World featured as its “Global Hit,” and in September 1999 Mr. Savino was the subject of a one hour special on the PRI program Harmonia. With El Mundo he has recorded Venice Before Vivaldi, a Portrait of Giovanni Legrenzi and Villancicos y Cantadas (sacred music from Spain and Latin America) and with Ensemble Galatea he has recorded the music by Barabara Strozzi (Emanuella Galli, mezzo soprano), Biagio Marini (with Monica Huggett) and Giovanni Buonamente (with Monica Huggett and Bruce Dickey). In recent years Koch released his recording of the first period instrument versions of the Boccherini Guitar Symphonia and the Op. 30 Concerto for Guitar by Mauro Giuliani with Ms. Huggett and the Portland Baroque Orchestra. His most recent recordings (2006-07) include The Essential Giuliani Vol. 1 (Koch), Music Fit fir a King (solo baroque guitar music by Robert De Viseé and Françios Campion) and Baroque Guitar Sonatas (1696) of Ludovico Roncallii (Dorian). As a continuo player and accompanist Mr. Savino has worked with some of the world’s most important performers and is a principal performer with the Houston Grand Opera, New York Collegium, Portland Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Colorado, Dallas Opera and Glimmerglass Opera. From 1986-98 Mr. Savino directed the CSU Summer Arts Guitar and Lute Institute. Presently he is director of the ensemble El Mundo and in 1995 and 2005 he was Visiting Artistic Director of the prestigious NEH sponsored Aston Magna Academy and Music Festival at Rutgers University. An avid writer, Mr. Savino has had articles and editions published by Cambridge University Press, Editions Chantarelle and Indiana University Press. He is a lecturer and instructor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Professor of Music at CSU Sacramento where he has been the only music professor to receive “outstanding and exceptional” and “best” sabbatical awards. Mr. Savino instructors have included Andres Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, Albert Fuller and Jerry Willard. He received his Doctorate from SUNY at Stony Brook.

Dawn of the Renaissance
Dawn of the Renaissance

Dante Across the Centuries: A Musical Journey

Performance Date: 09/24/2015, 6:00 pm

Dante Across the Centuries: A Musical Journey. FeaturingKayleen Asbo (piano), Bonnie Brooks (voice), and Julija Zibrat(violin). Dante Alighieri stands as a bridge between the music of the Medieval and the Modern worlds. The poet (1265-1321) considered himself to be upholding the legacy of the troubadours. Music forms an integral part of the structure of the Divine Comedy – Dante assigned a specific hymn or chant for every circle of Purgatory and Paradise. Commemorating the 750th anniversary of his birth, we explore the role of music in Dante’s magnum opus as well as ways his work has inspired musical responses across the ages. Join us in our journey from the Medieval Plainchant Salve Regina to Loreena McKennitt’s 1997 Celtic-infused Dante’s Prayer.


Salve Regina (12th century plainchant, Anonymous)
Selections from the Laudario di Cortona (13th century, Anonymous)
Selections Johannes Ciconia (1370-1412)
Dante’s Prayer Loreena McKennitt (1997)
Vide cor Meum Patrick Cassidy (2001)

Also: brief audio excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini(1876) and Franz Liszt’s Dante Sonata – Après Une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata (1849)

Céline Ricci
Céline Ricci

Bringing Lost Italian Carnival Music to the Stage

Hotel Rex, San Francisco

Humanities West’s first Salon at the Rex. Ars Minerva presents Bringing Lost Italian Carnival Music to the Stage. Join Artistic Director and mezzo-soprano Céline Ricci and pianist Derek Tam performing and in conversation about their upcoming mid-March Premier of the Lost Baroque Opera La Cleopatra. Join us in the Library Bar at the Hotel Rex at 5:00 PM for a pre-program drink.

About the Performers

Céline Ricci is Artistic Director of Ars Minerva, a presenter of world premiere Baroque Operas in Festival. Its first is La Cleopatra at Marines’ Memorial Theatre on March 14 and 15, 2015. She studied in Paris with Ana Maria Miranda and at the prestigious London Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Selected by conductor William Christie for Les Jardin des Voix, she was named one of opera’s promising new talents in 2005 by Opernwelt, which singled out her performance as Arbace in Terradellas’ Artaserse as a “tour de force,” and her coloratura abilities “equal to those of Cecilia Bartoli.” She appears frequently for the prestigious Les Arts Florissants. Her discography includes Cirque (2011) and a CD of French melodies (2012). Recent operas include Angelica in Handel’s Orlando (Sacramento Opera), Clitia in Handel’s Teseo (Göttingen-Handel Festival), Handel’s Athalia (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra), Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (numerous companies). Collaborating conductors include Nicolas McGegan, Hugo Reyne, Friedmann Layer, P. Cohen-Akenine, Enrique Mazzola, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Martin Haselbock, Martin Gester, Timm Rolek. She has toured in Berlin, London, Brussels, Israel, and Barcelona, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

In demand as a conductor and historical keyboardist, Derek Tam performs regularly in the Bay Area and elsewhere. As a conductor, Derek appears frequently with choral and orchestral ensembles. In addition to serving as Director of Music at First Congregational Church of Berkeley, he is music director of the Berkeley Community Chorus Chamber Singers. He is also artistic director of Star Valley Children’s Choir. In addition to his conducting career, Derek is a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist on various historical keyboards, from the harpsichord and fortepiano to the modern concert grand. He has served as continuo harpsichordist in many professional ensembles in the Bay Area, as well as with his own groups, MUSA and the Alchemy Trio.

Bringing Lost Italian Carnival Music to the Stage will be presented at the Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Tickets are available through City Box Office.


Special Event: The Story of North Indian Classical Music

Commonwealth Club of California, San Francisco

Monday Night Philosophy at the Commonwealth Club takes another look at the connections between ideas and music, this time by analyzing the musical traditions of India. Mahesh Kale is not only a classical vocalist, but also plays the instruments Thumri, Dadra, Tappa, Bhajans, Bhavgeet and Natyasangeet. Mr. Kale will explain how Indian music can both express what is verbally inexpressible and deepen the meaning of a seemingly commonplace thought, and will perform to illustrate his points. Cosponsored by Humanities West, the Indian Classical Music Association, and the Monday Night Philosophy Series.

Commonwealth Club of California
RSVP 415.597.6700
Commonwealth Club members free, $20 public.