Season 24: Young at Heart

2017-youngatheart-web-square-largeWe presented our Fall 2017 concerts at three locations: San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Piedmont. Our theme, “Young At Heart,” was a celebration of youth and a wistful look back at our own. We featured works with a youth connection, including: The Toy Symphony by Joseph Haydn or Leopold Mozart; The Concerto Grosso in G-minor by Arcangelo Corelli, better known as “The Christmas Concerto”; Kinderszenen, Op.15 (“Scenes from Childhood”) by Robert Schumann; and Elegia e Tarantella by Giovanni Bottesini, featuring our music director, Achille Bocus, on solo mandolin.

Season 23: Stabat Mater

2017 Card for Stabat MaterThe San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra performed Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s stunning Stabat Mater in two Bay Area concerts April 8 and 9. Stabat Mater is scored for orchestra and two voices. The Orchestra was joined by two renowned Bay area singers: soprano Susan Gundunas and alto Twila Ehmcke. The concerts also featured Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.


Season 22: Reflections

2016 Card for ReflectionsWe recently celebrated our tenth birthday! Our Fall 2016 season “Reflections” was one for reflecting on a decade of beautiful music, and considering a future full of potential. Achille Bocus conducted the orchestra in a joyous revisiting of many of the pieces from past programs that our audiences have enjoyed, including selections from Dvořák’s Symphony for the New World, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Calace’s Serenata Gaia, and Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals.

Season 21: Celebration

2016 Card for CelebrationFor our ten-year anniversary season, the theme was “Celebration”. Our repertoire included the full Mozart 29th Symphony, and music from Altieri, and Vivaldi in honor of the occasion.




Season 20: “Dance!”

2015 Card for DanceAchille Bocus conducts us in music for, or inspired by, dance. Our dance repertoire ranges from the elegant (such as Mozart’s Minuet from the 29th Symphony and Respighi’s Antiche Danze et Arie) to the boisterous (Calace’s Bolero, Holst’s Dargason, and Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances). We’ll also include Debussy’s Mazurka, Anitra’s Dance from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, and, taking a looser interpretation of our theme, Vivaldi’s L’Autunno from the Four Seasons, which depicts a scene of drunken revelry and, to be sure, much dancing.

Season 19: Fauna

fauna_croppedWe’ll bring you songs of animals, both real and imagined, from tortoises and camels to armadillo tanks and firebirds. We’ll play selections from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Saint-Saëns’s Carnaval des Animaux, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Primavera, because it’s spring!).


Season 18: New World (August to December 2014)

new_world_posterCelebrating our conductor’s move to America from Italy, our repertoire will focus on the New World (America) and on new worlds in general. We’ll play, among others, Calace’s Pavana, Bruce Graybill’s Walnut Valley Suite, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and the first movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

Conductor: Achille Bocus, concertmaster: Corey Johnson

  • Pavana in D major Op. 54 (Orchestra a Plettro) ~ Raffaele Calace (1863-1934)
  • Andante from Sonata II in A minor for solo violin, BWV 1003 ~ J.S. Bach (1720) / arr. Achille Bocus
  • First movement (Adagio – Allegro Molto) from New World Symphony ~ Antonin Dvorak (1893) / arr. Achille Bocus
  • Fanfare for the Common Man ~ Aaron Copland (1942) / arr. Achille Bocus, soloists Corey Johnson, John Pursey (electric mandolin), Alan Duncan (electric octave mandolin), Ryan Mitra (electric guitar), David Albright (electric mandocello)
  • Walnut Valley Suite ~ Bruce Graybill (1997)
    • 1. The Wake
    • 2. The Procession
    • 3. Ritual Dance
  • They Didn’t Believe Me ~ Jerome David Kern (1914) / arr. Achille Bocus
  • Mr Sandman ~ Pat Ballard (1954) / arr. Tony Kaye
  • Oblivion ~ Astor Piazzolla (1982) / arr. Achille Bocus, soloist Achille Bocus (mandolin)
  • Maple Leaf Rag ~ Scott Joplin (1899) / arr. Achille Bocus

Season 17: Spirit (January to April 2014)

Spirit Concert

In this special program, the Orchestra will perform Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater, with contralto singer, Twila Ehmcke. Stabat Mater is the musical setting for a medieval poem on the thoughts of Mary as she watched her son Jesus dying on the cross. It’s a very moving work with words and music that express an array of emotions through distress, profound love, and resignation. In some ways similar to another Baroque piece, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (performed by SFMO during Easter of 2010 and 2011), Vivaldi’s version is shorter and requires only an alto. We pair this piece with Bach’s Kunst der Fuge, the uninstrumented and incomplete work from the final decade of Bach’s life. The contrapuntal lines lend themselves to the precise articulation of mandolins. We round out the program with the romantic, sweeping lines of Martucci’s Nocturne and the elegance of Schubert’s “Menuetto” from Symphony No. 5.

Conductor: Achille Bocus, concertmaster: Corey Johnson

  • Stabat Mater ~ A. Vivaldi (1727) / arr. Achille Bocus, soloist Twila Ehmcke, contralto
  • Kunst der Fuge ~ J. S. Bach (1740s) / arr. Achille Bocus
  • Nocturne ~ G. Martucci (1891) / arr. Achille Bocus
  • “Menuetto” from Symphony No. 5 ~ F. Schubert (1816) / arr. Achille Bocus

Season 16: Passion (August to December 2013)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne Bocus

October – November Repertoire (with links to our SF concert audio and video):

  • Prelude to First Music from The Fairy-Queen ~ Henry Purcell (1692) WATCH
  • Por una Cabeza ~ C. Gardel (1935)/arr. Tony Kaye WATCH
  • A Time for Us (Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet) ~ Nino Rota (1968) WATCH
  • Bolero ~ Rafaelle Calace (1863-1934) WATCH
  • Elegia ~ Rafaelle Calace (1863-1934) WATCH
  • The Path of His Beloved from Rakastava (The Lover) ~ J. Sibelius (1893)/arr. Nicola Swinburne LISTEN, WATCH
  • Danse Macabre ~ Camille Saint-Saëns (1874)/arr. Tony Kaye LISTEN, WATCH
  • Libertango ~ A. Piazzolla (1974)/arr. Tony Kaye LISTEN, WATCH
  • Chaconne from The Fairy-Queen ~ Henry Purcell (1692) LISTEN, WATCH

December Repertoire (for December 6 & 7):

  • Selections* from The Fairy-Queen ~ Henry Purcell (1692)
    • Prelude to First Music
    • Jig
    • Rondeau
    • Entry Dance
    • A Thousand Ways We’ll Find
    • Fairy Dance
  • Por una Cabeza ~ C. Gardel (1935)/arr. Tony Kaye
  • A Time for Us (Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet) ~ Nino Rota (1968)
  • Mister Sandman ~ Pat Ballard (1954)/arr. Tony Kaye
  • Bolero ~ Rafaelle Calace (1863-1934)
  • Libertango ~ A. Piazzolla (1974)/arr. Tony Kaye

Season 15: Season of Dreams (February to May 2013)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne Bocus, Concertmaster: Tony Kaye.

  • Selections* from The Fairy-Queen ~ Henry Purcell (1692) (Viola da Gamba, Julie Jeffrey)
    • Prelude to First Music LISTEN1 LISTEN2
    • Jig LISTEN
    • Rondeau LISTEN
    • If Love’s a Sweet Passion (with Soprano, Christina Schiffner Santschi) LISTEN
    • Entry Dance LISTEN
    • See, Even Night Herself Is Here (with Soprano) LISTEN
    • A Thousand Ways We’ll Find LISTEN
    • Chaconne LISTEN
    • Sing While We Trip It Upon the Green (with Soprano) LISTEN
  • Berceuse from The Dolly Suite Op. 56 No. 1 ~ Gabriel Faure (1893-96)/Arr. Tony Kaye LISTEN
  • Reverie ~ Claude Debussy (1890)/arr. Tony Kaye LISTEN1 LISTEN2
  • Sogno (Opus 31) ~ Rafaelle Calace (~1900)/Arr. Achille Bocus LISTEN1 LISTEN2
  • Danse Macabre ~ Camille Saint-Saëns (1874)/arr. Tony Kaye
  • Mister Sandman ~ Pat Ballard (1954)/Arr. Tony Kaye LISTEN1 LISTEN2

Season 14: Fire (August to November 2012)

Conductor: Achille Bocus, Concertmaster: Tony Kaye.

  • Romanian Folk Dances ~ Béla Bartók (1915)/arr. Achille Bocus. Soloist: Tony Kaye (mandolin) LISTEN (7 pieces undivided)
    • I Jocul Cu Bata
    • II Brâul
    • III Pe Loc
    • IV Buciumeana
    • V Poarga Romaneasca
    • VI Maruntel Belenyes
    • VII Maruntel Nyagra
  • Españoleta y Fanfare de la Cabellería de Nápoles from Fantasia para un Gentilhombre ~ Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999)/arr. Achille Bocus. Soloist: Sam Gutterman (guitar) WATCH, LISTEN
  • Music for the Royal Fireworks ~ George Frideric Handel (1749) LISTEN (6 pieces undivided)
    • Ouverture WATCH
    • Bourrée WATCH
    • La Paix
    • La Réjouissance
    • Menuet I
    • Menuet II
  • Addio Milano (Ciao CRAL) ~ Achille Bocus (2008) LISTEN
  • Zortzico ~ Isaac Albéniz (1887)/arr. Tony Kaye LISTEN
  • Intermezzo ~ Rafaelle Calace (1863-1934)
  • Ritual Fire Dance ~ Manuel De Falla (~1920)/arr. Tony Kaye WATCH, LISTEN
  • The Firebird (Finale from Tableau II) ~ Igor Stravinsky (1919)/arr. Achille Bocus WATCH, LISTEN

Season 13: Celebration by the Bridge (January to June 2012)

Conductor: Achille Bocus, Concertmaster: Nicola Swinburne Bocus. Featuring the three winning compositions our New Music Competition Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Chrysopylae Reflections ~ James Kellaris (2012) WATCH or LISTEN
  • Golden Gate Drive ~ Ivan Bozicevic (2012) WATCH or LISTEN
  • Steel Harp ~ Gerald Willis (2012) WATCH or LISTEN
  • Fanfare for the Common Man ~ Aaron Copland (1942)/played on electric mandolins and guitars/arr. Achille Bocus. Soloists: Matt Zoerb, Achille Bocus, Alan Duncan (electric mandolin/octave mandolin); Kevin Evans, Sam Gutterman (electric guitars) WATCH or LISTEN
  • Transit Aetas, Aria XVII(17)b from Oratorium Juditha Triumphans ~ Antonio Vivaldi (1716)/Soloists Twila Ehmcke, contralto and Nicola Swinburne Bocus (Mandolin) WATCH or LISTEN
  • Piano Suites ~ Erik Satie (1913)/arr. Achille Bocus. Narrator: Angela Neff. LISTEN (9 pieces undivided)
  • Enfantillages Pittoresques (Children’s Stuff)
    • I. Petit prelude a la journee (Start of the Day)
    • II. Berceuse (Lullaby)
    • III. Marche du Grand Escalier (March up the Long Staircase)
  • Menus Propos Enfantins (Children’s Menu)
    • I. Le Chant Guerrier du Roi des Haricots (War Cry of the King of Beans)
    • II. Ce Que Dit la petite Princesse des Tulipes (What the Little Tulip Princess Says)
    • III. Valse du Chocolat aux Amandes (Waltz of the Chocolate Almonds)
  • Peccadilles Importunes (Unfortunate Offences)
    • I. Etre jaloux de son camarade qui a une grosse tete (Being Jealous of your Friend who has a Big Head)
    • II. Lui manger sa tartine (Eating Your Friend’s Sandwich)
    • III. Profiter de ce qu’il a des cors aux pieds pour lui prendre son cerceau (Taking Advantage of the Corns on his Feet to grab his Hoop)
  • Mazurka ~ Claude Debussy (1890) LISTEN
  • Bolero ~ Rafaelle Calace (~1900) LISTEN
  • Tarantella ~ Rafaelle Calace (~1900) LISTEN

Season 12: Stabat Mater (March to April 2012)

Conductor: Achille Bocus, Concertmaster: Nicola Swinburne Bocus. See below under Season 10.

Season 11: Winter (August to November 2011)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne Bocus, Concertmaster: Achille Bocus.

  • Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Opus 46 ~ E. Grieg (1867)
  • Winter Concerto ~ A. Vivaldi (1678-1741)/A. Bocus soloist
  • Rakastava (The Lover) ~ J. Sibelius (1893)
    • I. The Lover LISTEN
    • II. The Path of His Beloved LISTEN
    • III. Good Evening!…Farewell! LISTEN
  • Romance in C, Op. 42 ~ J. Sibelius (1903) LISTEN or WATCH
  • Happy Birthday Bill Monroe ~ D. Grisman (1982)/D. Grisman soloist LISTEN or WATCH
  • Ironed and Confused LISTEN

Season 10: Stabat Mater (Easter 2011)

Conductor: Achille Bocus, Concertmaster: Nicola Swinburne Bocus.

  • Stabat Mater ~ G.B. Pergolesi (1736)
    • 1. Stabat mater dolorosa WATCH
    • 2. Cujus animam gementem
    • 3. O quam tristis et afflicta
    • 4. Quae moerebat et dolebat LISTEN
    • 5. Quis est homo qui non fleret LISTEN
    • 6. Vidit suum dulcem natum
    • 7. Eja, Mater, fons amoris
    • 8. Fac, ut ardeat cor meum LISTEN
    • 9. Sancta Mater, istud agas LISTEN or WATCH
    • 10. Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
    • 11. Inflammatus et accensus
    • 12. Quando corpus morietur LISTEN

Recordings with Susan Gundunas (Soprano) and Twila Ehmcke (Alto).

Season 9: Air (Fall 2010)

Conductor: Achille Bocus, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • I Talk to the Wind ~ Ian McDonald and Peter Sinfield (from King Crimson 1969), Sean Gugler and Loren Cheng soloists, LISTEN
  • Addio Milano (Ciao CRAL) ~ A. Bocus (2008) LISTEN
  • Sechs Kinderstücke (Six pieces for Children) ~ F. Mendelssohn (1842)
  • Concerto Grosso No. 8 (fatto per la notte di Natale) ~ A. Corelli (1712), Sarah Bell, Nicola Swinburne, Sam Gutterman soloists, LISTEN
  • Air from Orchestral Suite III in D  ~ J.S. Bach (1729-1736?)

Season 8: The British Invasion (Spring 2010)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne Bocus/Achille Bocus, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • Tarkus (Selection from Album) ~ Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer)
  • Dancing with the Moonlit Knight ~ Genesis
  • Selling England by the Pound ~ Genesis
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds ~ The Beatles
  • The Dargason (Finale from St. Paul’s Suite, Op. 9, No. 2) ~ G. Holst (1912) LISTEN
  • German Dances (8 of 16) and 2 Schottische (Op. 33) ~ F. Schubert (1823-24)

Season 7: The Child (Fall 2009)

Conductor: Achille Bocus, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • Kinderszenen (orig. for piano), selection~ Schumann ~ arr. Achille Bocus (2009). 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
    , WATCH
    , WATCH
  • Toy Symphony ~ L. Mozart? Haydn? (unknown)
  • String Quartet Op. 33 No. 5 (“How do you do?”), Largo e Cantabile ~ Haydn
  • Serenade for 13 woodwinds ~ Mozart ~ arr. Achille Bocus (2009)

Season 6: Past Season Highlights (Fall 2008 and Spring 2009)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • Serenata Napolitana ~ Francesco Cilea (1866-1950)
  • La Vallee Maudite, Ouverture Drammatique ~ Francois Menichetti (1882-1969)
  • Divertimento No. 1 in D for Strings, KV 136 ~ W. Mozart (1756 – 1791)
  • Romance ~ D. Shostakovich (1906-1975) ~ arr. Tony Kaye (2007)
  • Concerto in F Major (RV 138) ~ Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Season 5: Old and New (Spring and Summer 2008)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • Un Italiano nel Deserto ~ Achille Bocus (2003)
  • Fandango for Mandolins ~ Ann Carr-Boyd (1982)
  • Walnut Valley Suite ~ Bruce Graybill (1995)
  • Family Squabble ~ Owen Hartford (1995)
  • Music for Play ~ Claudio Mandonico (1978)
  • Sky-Colored Lake ~ Robert Martel (1995)

From Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances (rearranged by Hladky, 1957):

  • Danza Rustica ~ Giovanni Batista Besardo (b. 1657) ~ arr. Nicola Swinburne (2008)
  • Bergamasca ~ Bernardo Gianoncelli (1599) ~ arr. Tony Kaye (2006)
  • Baletto detto il Conte Orlando ~ Simone Molinaro (1599) ~ arr. Nicola Swinburne (2008)


Season 4: Russian Music (Spring and Fall 2007)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • Moscow Nights ~ V. Solovyev-Sedoy ~ arr. Nicola Swinburne, with soprano Marta Johansen
  • Pizzicato ~ A. Glasunov
  • Romance ~ D. Shostakovich ~ arr. Tony Kaye
  • Sleeping Beauty Waltz ~ V. I. Tchaikovsky
  • Selections from The Nutcracker Suite ~ V. I. Tchaikovsky
  • Katiusha ~ M. Blanter ~ arr. Tony Kaye, with soprano Marta Johansen

Season 3: Classical Period (1750 – 1827) (Fall 2006)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • Divertimento in F for Strings, KV 138 ~ W. Mozart (1756 – 1791)
  • Concerto for Mandolin and Strings in G ~ Domenico Caudioso (18th century)
  • String Quartet No. 8 in A. Op. 33 No. 6 ~ Luigi Boccherini (1743 – 1805)


Season 2: Late Italian Romantic Folk Music (Summer 2006)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne, Concertmaster: Sarah Bell.

  • Il Bacio ~ L. Arditi ~ arr. Mark Davis
  • L’Ultimo Fiore ~ E. Jacovacci
  • Japanischer Lanternentanz ~ Yoshimoto
  • Nina ~ G. B. Pergolesi ~ arr. Mark Davis
  • Un Bel Di ~ Madame Butterfly ~ Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924) ~ arr. Nicola Swinburne, with soprano Marta
  • Soyons Gais ~ Paul Borrelly
  • Tarantella Siciliana ~ G. Balsamo
  • La Vallee Maudite ~ Francois Menichetti
  • Crisantemo (Chrysanthemum) Waltz ~ G. Sartori

Season 1: Baroque Period (Winter 2006)

Conductor: Nicola Swinburne, Concertmaster: Doug Hoople.

  • La Rejouissance ~ Handel (1685-1759)
  • Passacaile ~ Handel
  • Suite for unaccompanied Cello No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 ~ Prelude and Sonata in Em for Cello and Continuo ~ J. S. Bach (1685 – 1750) ~ arr. Luigi Dallapiccola, Tony Kaye, with mandocello soloist Todd Billeci
  • Gavotte ~
    Rameau (1683-1761)
  • Corrente ~ Corelli (1635-1713)
  • If Love be Blind ~ Bateson (1604)
  • Concerto in F Major (RV 138) ~ Vivaldi (1678-1741)