Morrison Artists Series celebrates 60th season of free concerts at SF State

San Francisco’s Telegraph Quartet

2014 Grand Prize winners of the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Telegraph Quartet is a San Francisco-based ensemble.

On Sunday, Sept. 27, the Morrison Artists Series, the longest-running chamber music series in San Francisco, will kick off its 60th season at San Francisco State University with a performance by the Alexander String Quartet. The new series, which runs through May 2016, will feature seven free performances by renowned musicians, including a young harp virtuoso, five gifted Dutch wind players and an a cappella ensemble with two
GRAMMY-nominated releases.

a cappella quartet New York Polyphony

New York Polyphony was lauded by The New Yorker as “singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure.”

The Morrison Artists Series, a performing arts institution since 1956, is organized by the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center. The center's aim is to advance the art of chamber music and encourage its appreciation. Offering world-class performances at no cost, it has presented more than 350 concerts attended by more than
100,000 guests.

"This season's programs, featuring a wide-ranging variety of chamber music genres and repertoire from many periods performed by some of the greatest American and European ensembles on today's concert stage, will be a perfect way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Morrison Artists Series," said Richard Festinger, professor of music and artistic director of the series. "This series provides an inestimable gift of superlative chamber music, admission free, to San Francisco
Bay Area audiences." 

Festinger noted that chamber music concerts of this caliber typically cost between $60 and $100 per ticket.  

As in years past, the Alexander String Quartet, SF State's acclaimed quartet-in-residence, will perform the first concert of the season. The quartet has been considered one of the world's premier chamber music ensembles for more than 30 years. This year, their performance will feature special guest violist Andrew Duckles. Duckles leads a diverse musical life as a recording artist, chamber musician, soloist and teacher.

On Friday, Dec. 4, this season's Showcase Performance, which recognizes local artists of distinction, will feature the Telegraph Quartet, the 2014 Grand Prize recipients at the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

Each performance in the series is preceded by a lecture, which may take various forms, Festinger said. "Sometimes the performers are with me on stage, I may prepare a lecture that includes audio and video, and on occasion there may be a question and answer session with performers," he said. In addition to the concert performance, all artists present a chamber music master class under the auspices of the Morrison Chamber Music Center. All concerts, lectures and master classes are free to the public.

Harpist Bridget Kibbey with the Amphion Quartet

Harp virtuoso Bridget Kibbey joins forces with the Amphio Quartet featuring an unusual and sonorous combination of instruments on
Feb. 19.

The 2015-2016 Morrison Artists Series includes:

  • Sunday, Sept. 27: the Alexander String Quartet with guest violist Andrew Duckles
  • Sunday, Nov. 8: the Fidelio Trio in their
    San Francisco debut
  • Friday, Dec. 4: the Telegraph String Quartet in a special Showcase Performance
  • Friday, Feb. 19: the Amphion Quartet with special guest Bridget Kibbey, harp
  • Sunday, March 13: cello virtuoso Jay Campbell in recital with pianist Conor Hanick
  • Sunday, April 17: the Calefax Reed Quintet
  • Friday, May 6: a cappella quartet New York Polyphony

All performances will be held in SF State's 700-seat McKenna Theatre. 

The concert series is free, but tickets are required. To learn more and reserve tickets, visit