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Metallica guitarist rocks SFSU chamber music gala

September 9, 2005

Photo of Metallica guitarist Kirk HammettHeavy metal guitar icon Kirk Hammett of Metallica will help kick off the 50th anniversary season of SFSU's Morrison Artists Series, the longest-running chamber music program in San Francisco, at a benefit gala concert at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 15.

Photo of the FLUX QuartetHammett and his electric guitar will join the FLUX Quartet and Morrison Artists Series Artistic Director Saul Gropman, on classical guitar, at Herbst Theater in San Francisco for a partially improvised performance of a piece written by the quartet's violinist, Thomas Chiu. Hammett previously jumped into classical music with Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony in April 1999.

The St. Lawrence String Quartet will also perform.

Admission is $28 or $54. A limited number of tickets are still available and may be purchased by calling City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 or online at Morrison Artits Series Web site.

The benefit concert is the first ticketed event in the history of the Morrison Artists Series. It is followed by five of the series' traditional free season concerts on Sunday afternoons at McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts building on campus.

Photo of the St. Lawrence String QuartetSince 1955, the Morrison Artists Series has alternated daring and experimental programs with traditional repertory. Classical compositions by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are juxtaposed with sounds of the 20th century, including first performances by such composers as SFSU's Pulitzer Prize-winning Wayne Peterson, a professor emeritus of music.

Presenting six free concerts each year, the series has logged 300 concerts in its history, featuring performers from more than 20 countries and the West Coast premieres of groups that are now regulars on international concert circuits including FLUX, St. Lawrence, eighth blackbird and Eroica Trio.

San Francisco Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman has called the series "indispensable." In a Sept. 7 Chronicle article on the upcoming gala, Kosman called the series "one of the Bay Area's best-kept secrets."

The Morrison Artists Series is a program of SFSU's May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center, established in 1955 by Edward Hohfeld to provide "the finest music in the most accessible way." Gropman, also an SFSU lecturer, became artistic director in 1989. That same year the center established a residency for the Alexander String Quartet in the SFSU College of Creative Arts, in a partnership with San Francisco Performances.

Since joining SFSU, the Alexander String Quartet has directed the chamber music studies program in the University's School of Music and Dance, presenting music seminars, coaching students and providing outreach.

-- Matt Itelson
St. Lawrence Quartet photo: Marco Borggreve


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Last modified September 9, 2005 by University Communications