San Francisco's Peninsula promises to be an excellent place for some highly varied and exciting music these next two weekends. For openers, the Peninsula Symphony, under the direction of its Oakland-based maestro, Mitchell Sardou Klein, will present two performances of what its organizers are calling an "electrifying" concert of classic and recently composed Argentine tangos.
Quartet San Francisco, the first-place winner of the International Tango Competition in New York City in 2004, will join professional dancers Sandor and Parissa of Tango Vivo and "Dancing with the Stars" fame and the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra in a passionate program that will include "Danzon No. 2" by Arturo Marquez, "Tangazo" by the legendary Astor Piazzolla along with a group of tangos assembled from the works of Augustin Bardi, G.H. Matos Rodriguez, Piazzolla and the versatile jazz and classical violinist/arranger/composer Jeremy Cohen.
Cohen, who founded Quartet San Francisco in 2001, has led the ensemble to worldwide acclaim with tours through China, South Korea, Japan, Turkey and more, as well as with appearances at prestigious concert venues throughout the United States. Three of the group's CD releases have received Grammy nominations. Current members, in addition to Cohen, are violinist Matthew Szemela, violist Chad Kaltinger and cellist Kelley Maulbetsch.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City; 8 p.m. Saturday, Flint Center, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino; $20-$40; 650-941-5291 or www.peninsulasymphony.org.
A BIG BANG AT THE BING: For a new and unusual presentation focused on percussion, hasten to Stanford University's new Bing Concert Hall next weekend to see, feel and hear percussionist Glenn Kotche, best known as the drummer for the rock band Wilco. The highlight of his program will be the world premiere of "Ilimaq" (Spirit Journeys), a multimedia work commissioned by Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Duke University and the National Endowment for the Arts, from Alaskan composer John Luther Adams. He has been dubbed by The New Yorker magazine as "one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century." The show will include films of performances held in the Alaskan tundra as well as Kotche's percussive retelling of the epic "Monkey Chant" tale with an accompanying shadow-puppet film. Stanford alum Andrew Meyerson, also a percussionist, will join Kotche for portions of the performance.
Note that in music lingo, "percussion" refers not only to drums in their multiple forms, but xylophones, marimbas, triangles, gongs, sticks, wood blocks, castanets, pianos and more.
The program sounds tailor-made to show off the sonic capabilities and dazzling bling of Bing Concert Hall. it is patterned like a circular amphitheater with its 842 seats arranged in a terraced, vineyard-like construct that rings the performance stage below. The hall's walls feature large, sculptural convex shapes that can be angled to provide optimal acoustic reflection or absorption as well as to serve as screens for video projections. The ceiling area contains even more sophisticated acoustic electronics, technical lighting and rigging equipment.
Details: 8 p.m. Jan. 26, Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St. at Museum Way, Stanford; $15-$30; 650-725-2787, http://livelyarts.stanford.edu.
THREE TO HEAR: Music at Kohl Mansion's 30th season continues with the return of Trio Solisti for a concert in the elegant great room Sunday night. The noted ensemble (Maria Bachmann, violin; Alexis Gerlach, cello; and Jon Klibonoff, piano) will perform 14 of Beethoven's Op. 44 Variations, Chausson's Trio in G minor and its own arrangement of Mussorgsky's popular "Pictures at an Exhibition."
Now based in New York City, the 10-year-old ensemble has made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and has performed in Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series in New York City. It is also the founding ensemble of Colorado's Telluride Music Fest and is currently in residence at Adelphi University in New York. Critics have used such phrases as "electric energy," "soloistic virtuosity" and "thrilling abandon" to describe its performances.
Kohl resident musicologist Kai Christiansen will lecture an hour before the concert in the mansion library, and a complimentary holiday buffet with the musicians will follow.
Details: 7 p.m. Sunday, 2750 Adeline Drive, Burlingame; $15-$45; 650-762-1130, www.musicatkohl.org.
Contact Cheryl North at firstname.lastname@example.org.