A seasonal assortment of classical music across the Bay Area

By | November 16, 2022

The San Francisco Symphony Choir performs in Handel’s “Messiah” on the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 2006. Photograph: Jakub Mosur / The Chronicle 2006

Bach Society of California

There are numerous methods to have fun Christmas with Bach, however the California Bach Society and Inventive Director Paul Flight proceed to seek out new methods to offer the vacation season some musical selection.

This 12 months’s program is dedicated to Christmas music from the British Isles, a lineup that features seasonal choices from English composers corresponding to Benjamin Britten, John Tavener and John Rutter, in addition to up to date singing from composer Ann Burgess.

A spread of conventional songs in English, Welsh and Gaelic full the programme.

8 p.m. Dec. 2. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell, SF; 8:00 p.m. December 3. All Saints Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto; 4:04 p.m. Dec. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Avenue, Berkeley. $10 to $30. 650-485-1097. www.calbach.org

Berkeley comic and creator W. Kamau Bell will narrate SF Symphony’s “Peter and the Wolf.” Photograph: Paul Chinn/The Chronicle 2017

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at all times takes the chance of the Christmas season to unfold its wings stylistically, providing a wealthy lineup that encompasses Christmas carols, vacation choices, movie scores and extra.

This 12 months’s program begins with the return of the festive household program ‘Deck the Corridor’ (December 4) and continues with a New 12 months’s Eve program that includes Seth MacFarlane.

In between, two performances of Handel’s “Messiah” (December 9-10) carried out by Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki; “Peter and the Wolf” with narrator W. Kamau Bell (December 11); a “Vacation Gaiety” occasion on December 15 with Edwin Outwater and Peaches Christ; and movie screenings with stay orchestral accompaniment of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (December 16-17) and “Elf” (December 21-22).

December 4-31. $20 to $175. Davies Symphony Corridor, 401 Van Ness Ave, SF 415-864-6000. www.sfsymphony.org

The Kitka Girls’s Choir Photograph: Vincent Louis Carrella


The venerable Bay Space Girls’s Choir, which focuses on Balkan vocal music, is reprising its standard “Wintersongs” program of seasonal music from Japanese Europe.

This 12 months’s iteration locations specific emphasis on music from Ukraine, each secular and sacred, in assist of the nation’s present humanitarian disaster.

December 9-18. $25 to $50. Areas in Belvedere, Sacramento, Menlo Park, Oakland and San Francisco. 510-444-0323. www.kitka.org

Grace Cathedral at Nob Hill. Photograph: Stephanie Wright Hession

Cathedral of Grace

Twelve Days of Christmas means a dozen distinct musical occasions for the festive season, at the least in line with the parents at Grace Cathedral. And who may decline such abundance?

Seasonal choices embrace performances by the Cathedral Males’s and Boys’ Choir, the Bay Brass, Presto Opera and Future Muhammad. They embrace Christmas carols from around the globe in addition to organ music, jazz and a wealth of non secular emotions.

December 10-23. $15 to $70. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., SF www.gracecathedral.org

Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonia Choir

It would not be Christmas with out “Messiah,” and this season provides many alternatives to get pleasure from Handel’s good and beloved oratorio.

First out the door – albeit by way of the nostril – are Music Director Richard Egarr and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale.

For these performances, the group welcomes a formidable line-up of vocal soloists, many new to the Bay Space: soprano Stefanie True, mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, tenor Andrew Tortise and bass Joshua Bloom. Additionally on web site, the Philharmonia Chorale, beneath new administration for the reason that arrival of director Valérie Sainte-Agathe.

7:30 p.m. December 14. Bing Live performance Corridor, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford; 7 p.m. Dec. 15. Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave., SF; 7 p.m. December 17, 4 p.m. December 18. First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Approach, Berkeley. $32 to $130. 415-295-1900. www.philharmonia.org

American Bach Soloists

The social gathering lineup of Bach’s American soloists and musical director Jeffrey Thomas is historically a three-part affair, starting with a combined live performance of Baroque music, then executing a pure transition to performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” This 12 months, the introductory program (December 14) contains music by Valentini, Charpentier and Johann Christoph Pez alongside excerpts from “Messiah”.

The whole “Messiah” will observe on December 15 and 16, with soprano Maya Kherani, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, tenor James Reese and bass-baritone Christian Pursell as soloists.

Lastly, soprano Liv Redpath and bass Alex Rosen are set to affix forces for a New 12 months’s Eve program of operatic arias from Rameau, Purcell and extra.

December 14-16. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., SF 4 p.m.; December thirty first. Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave., SF $25-$125. 415-621-7900. www.americanbach.org

The Chanticleer Male Choir Photograph: Courtesy of Chanticleer


Vacation music is barely a part of the repertoire of the Bay Space’s most important male choir. The group additionally excels in jazz, Renaissance polyphony, pop music and spirituals – and all of those traditions make their presence felt in Chanticleer’s annual Christmas program.

This 12 months’s lineup features a new jazz association of “O, Come All Ye Trustworthy” by Grammy-nominated Amanda Taylor.

December 15-23. $35 to $79. Areas in Palo Alto, Petaluma, San Francisco, Sacramento, Carmel, Santa Clara and Berkeley. 415-252-8589. www.chanticleer.org