Chamber Music Seminar
Chamber music takes center stage at Stanford University this month, with concerts, film screenings and talks in Bing Concert Hall and Campbell Recital Hall in the Braun Music Center. It's all part of the Chamber Music Seminar hosted by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, who have been in residence at the school for several years.
Georges Zeisel, who heads the European Centre for Chamber Music, will be showing his documentary film "The Musicians of the String Quartet," which explores music history in such depth that the four-hour film will be screened in segments across four days. A Q&A with the director will follow each showing.
The free screenings are planned in Campbell Recital Hall: "Vienna, The First Movement (1760-1828)" at 2:30 p.m. June 22; "Variations on a European Theme (1820-1930)" at 7 p.m. June 22; "Largo Desolato: The Exile (1900-1945)" at 7 p.m. June 24; and "Last Movement: The Revival (1938-1988)" at 7 p.m. June 26.
A separate doc will also get a free screening: Josh Aronson's "Orchestra of Exiles," set in the early 1930s, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. June 28 at Campbell Recital Hall.
Meanwhile, popular speaker, composer and conductor Rob Kapilow will give the free keynote address, "Instructions for Living a Musical Life," at 2:30 p.m. June 23 in Campbell Recital Hall.
Several concerts at Bing are also free, though tickets must be picked up at the venue up to an hour before curtain. Scheduled performers are: pianists Stephen Prutsman and Pedja Muzijevic with the St. Lawrence at noon June 24; pianists Mark Fewer, Nina Lee and Muzijevic with violinist and cellist Fewer and Chris Costanza, and pianist Prutsman at noon June 26; and percussionist Mikael Ringquist and pianist Prutsman with the St. Lawrence at noon June 28. Various musicians will also be spotlighted in group concerts at 7:30 p.m. June 29 and 11 a.m. June 30.
For more about the events, including details on master classes (enrollment is now closed, but the public can observe), go to music.stanford.edu.
The folk-blues musician Mokai is in his element in a coffeehouse. He's been singing his songs, accompanying himself on fingerstyle guitar, for years in cafes — and at nightclubs, benefits, house concerts, shelters and hospitals. The San Franciscan has also been known to play a radio station or two, such as KPFA and KALW.
Along the way, Mokai has buoyed his music with such influences as Bob Marley, Woody Guthrie and Paul Simon. He's fond of likening his songwriting style to the "poetic irreverence of Ani DiFranco."
The musician will bring his sound to the Peninsula on Saturday, June 29, playing an 8 p.m. gig at Red Rock Coffee in downtown Mountain View. One never knows what a musician will be inspired to perform, of course, but his recorded songs have included "Holy Guacamole," "Any Distraction'll Do" and "Hayes Street Blues."
Red Rock Coffee is at 201 Castro St. For more information about the coffeehouse's upcoming schedule, which also includes the honky-tonk music of Bennett Jackson on June 22 and poetry and improvised music on June 28, go to redrockcoffee.org or call 650-967-4473.
Summertime, and the theater is breezy. Especially for the Palo Alto Children's Theatre and Peninsula Youth Theatre, who present family-friendly shows under the open sky every summer.
In Palo Alto, the Hot Dog Suppertime Shows play out on the Roy Ginsburg Magic Castle Stage at the children's theater, 1305 Middlefield Road. Audiences bring picnics or buy hot dogs and burgers (or veggie burgers, of course) on the spot to create dinnertime theater. Shows are about an hour long and intended for ages 4 and up.
Now playing: "Pippi Longstocking," the beloved Swedish tale of the rabble-rousing girl with the braids. Remaining performances are June 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28 and 29. "HONK! Jr." comes next, spinning its modern take on "The Ugly Duckling" from July 10 through July 27.
The third show, "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs," is a parody of the classic, in which the Big Bad Wolf gets put on trial for his alleged misdeed. (Audience: You're the jury.) This show is performed by the older Wingspread Company (ages 14 to 24), July 31 through Aug. 10.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for kids. Go to cityofpaloalto.org or call 650-463-4970.
Meanwhile, Peninsula Youth Theatre puts on free performances of family stories, mostly fairy tales, outside at various parks through Aug. 9. All shows start at 6:30 p.m.
Upcoming performances include: "Thumbelina" at Rengstorff Park, 201 S. Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View, on June 21; "The Princess King," at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts' ParkStage at 500 Castro St., on June 28; "Murder in the Knife Room," at Cubberley Amphitheatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, also on June 28; "Beauty and the Beast," on the ParkStage on July 5; "Treasure Island" at Rengstorff Park on July 5; and "Stone Soup" at Cubberley, also on July 5.
For a full schedule, go to pytnet.org or call 650-988-8798.