St. Lawrence String Quartet
Over the past 25 years, the St. Lawrence String Quartet has become one of the country's eminent performers of chamber music. This week, the group celebrates with a performance of Haydn's String Quartet in D Minor and Schubert's String Quartet in C Major. The standout here is likely to be the world premiere of a new piece by Stanford composer Johnathan Berger, his String Quartet No. 6, "Swallow." David Finckel joins as a special guest. Details and ticket information here.
Graeme Murphy's 'Swan Lake'
Right on the cusp of nearly every dance company in the world presenting Tchaikovsky's other famous ballet, the Australian Ballet brings its acclaimed interpretation of Swan Lake to Berkeley. Choreographed by Graeme Murphy, the ballet becomes something new altogether: a reimagining of the love triangle between Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Camilla. Nicolette Fraillon conducts the Berkeley Symphony in this four-day run. Details and ticket information here.
For Toronto's Sloan, their 11th studio release is a bold experiment in band democracy. Typically, each member contributes their own compositions to the mix, but on Commonwealth, the four musicians each take charge of a separate side of the double album. What's a "side," you ask, hitting pause on your digital-music player? Look it up on Wikipedia, or go ask a member of the new generation of vinyl aficionados. Of course, the songs sound pretty sweet however you may play them. Better yet, go straight to the source and catch their show at the Rickshaw Stop. Details and ticket information here.
In this case, the "party" doesn't involve disco balls, DJs and MDMA. Party People is based on both the Young Lords and the Black Panther Party, and through hip-hop, spoken word, dance, jazz and poetry, the production by theatre ensemble UNIVERSES shows how both revolutionary groups stood up to police abuses, increased the profile of their underrepresented communities, and directly served their own people. Based on dozens of interviews, 'Party People' should especially resonate in the East Bay, founding home of the Black Panthers, in this production at Berkeley Rep. Details and ticket information here.
The straight rapper Macklemore might have sculpted himself into Seattle's bullhorn for the gay community, but Mike Hadreas, a.k.a. Perfume Genius, is the current reigning ambassador from the Pacific Northwest. His latest album, Too Bright, comes together as a tense, emotional rollercoaster of expertly composed narratives, driven by the churning, sashaying anthem "Queen." Matteah Baim opens the show. Details and ticket information here.
Cheap Thrill: Trolley Dances
Site-specific dance installations greet riders of public streetcars — it’s an annual San Francisco tradition now in its eleventh year. This time around, the starting point is Church and 30th streets, where you’ll begin your two-hour hop-on, hop-off dance festival for the bargain price of a Muni fare, still under three bucks. You can’t beat that. Dates, times, and location here.