Ensemble San Francisco performing at Le Festival, June 19, 2015
Ensemble San Francisco performing at Le Festival, June 19, 2015. Photography by Bob Zimmerman/ AF Silicon Valley

The 3rd edition of Le Festival of French Classical Music will be presented by the Alliance Française Silicon Valley (AFSCV) this May. Concerts will feature baroque music from 17th century France on the first night, Thursday, May 12. The second evening, Saturday, May 14, moves up to 20th century all-French chamber music by Ravel, Gaubert and Fauré.

Conductor Mark Starr and French flutist Isabelle Chapuis will once again direct Le Festival. Chapuis is Principal Flute of the Orchestra of Opera San José. Starr has conducted orchestras and teaches music throughout the world.

“Some of the finest musicians in the Bay Area will be playing in this year’s Le Festival,” said Upi Struzak, President of AFSCV. “One goal of the Alliance Française is to bring French aspects together in Silicon Valley and make them more visible. A lot of people enjoy classical music, and we want to make this concert of French composers an opportunity to promote French culture.”

Le Festival of French Classical Music at AF Silicon Valley
Le Festival of French Classical Music at AF Silicon Valley

The Thursday concert will feature MUSA San Francisco Baroque Music Ensemble, a celebrated Bay Area Early Music group. They will perform Baroque music from 17th Century France featuring vocal and instrumental works by François Couperin, André Campra, Jacquel Morel, Nicolas Bernier’s “Le Café” Cantata and others. Harpsichordist Derek Tam will lead the virtuoso seven-member Early Music group featuring period instruments such as lute, viol and harpsichord.

Saturday’s concert will feature Ensemble San Francisco, the renowned Bay Area chamber music ensemble. Their all-French programme will feature works by Maurice Ravel, Philippe Gaubert and Garbriel Fauré. Six virtuoso instrumental soloists will feature Ravel’s Sonata for violin and violoncello, plus Fauré’s Piano Quintet No. 2.

Le Festival of French Classical Music will take place at the Mountain View Center of the Performing Arts, on Second Stage. This new location will provide an intimate circular stage for a close experience of the music and the musicians.

Ticket prices are $25 for AFSCV members; $45 for adults; $35 for seniors; $25 for students (21 & under); and $10 for children (8 –12 years old.) Tickets can be purchased by calling the Mountain View Center of the Performing Arts ticketing office at 650.903.6000. Mountain View Center of the Performing Arts is located at 500 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA, 94043.

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Martha Sessums is the France Today Ambassador for San Francisco. Intrigued by France since her first stroll along the Seine, Martha and her husband often travel to Paris to explore the city and beyond. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, delighting in its strong Francophone and French culture community. She was a high-tech public relations executive and currently runs a non-profit continuing education organization.

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