The Ross McKee Foundation presents a series of exuberant performances focused on the piano and its prodigious repertoire.

Want to check out a Piano Talk?
Here’s a video:

The Piano in Varied Parts

Distinguished pianist, professor, and Fromm Institute lecturer Scott Foglesong takes a look into the cupboards of the solo piano literature. Short pieces, drawn together by their composers into suites or partitas, together with variations on familiar melodies, make up this program of instruction and performance. Bach and Debussy are on hand, as are composers from several centuries, in a Piano Talk that is itself a partita — a musical whole of individual elements.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Admission: $20

Music For Two

Before the age of radio and recordings, home-grown piano duets were the cornerstone of 19th century chamber music, inspiring original works by the era’s finest composers and introducing audiences to new symphonic works through transcriptions. Celebrated Teaching Company lecturer Robert Greenberg teams with the Grammy-nominated ZOFO Duet for a festive exploration of the four-hand literature.

In addition to Greenberg’s expert commentary, there’s a great deal of music on this program. ZOFO will perform excerpts and entire works, including four-hand versions of symphonies by Beethoven and Brahms, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and recent commissions by Allen Shawn and Gabriela Lena Frank.

Watch this!

From right to left: Pianist Warren Jones with singers Zanxi Yang, James Hogan and Ricardo Garcia

Warren Jones

The Role of the Piano and the Pianist in Classical Songs

Join conductor, pianist and renowned operatic vocal coach Warren Jones (and special guests) for a discussion of the role of the piano and the pianist in classical song literature. Mr. Jones will focus on the poetic aspects of composition – how moods, situations, settings and contexts echo and evoke a range of image and form.

the series

In its inaugural year, Piano Talks looks to the nineteenth century, when the piano swept into homes, concert halls, and entertainment venues of all stripes, reaching vast new audiences and becoming central to music education.

While the piano achieved unprecedented visibility in the public sphere during this period, our speakers and performers will look at something more intimate: repertoire for the home and salon — Lieder (Warren Jones), four-hand piano music (Robert Greenberg and ZOFO Duet), and private music (Scott Foglesong).


General admission tickets are $20. Rush tickets ($10) are available at the door for students and educators with institutional ID.

The Venue

All lecture-recitals take place in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, California.

the performers

For 42 years Warren Jones has honed the skills of the world’s finest young artists at San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program through coaching and master classes. In demand as a collaborative pianist, vocal coach and conductor, he has worked with an international roster of vocalists that includes Marilyn Horne, Håkan Hagegård, Kathleen Battle, Samuel Ramey, Carol Vaness, Tatiana Troyanos and Thomas Hampson.

Robert Greenberg’s formidable resume as a composer includes studies at Princeton and UC Berkeley, commissions for local and international ensembles, and artistic directorship at the Bay Area new music powerhouse, Composers, Inc. He is best known, however, as a colorful and innovative lecturer who has brought music history to life for scores of music lovers through his popular presentations for The Teaching Company.

ZOFO DUET combines the forces of virtuoso pianists Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi; their dazzling recitals and commissioned work (by Terry Riley, William Bolcom, Gabriela Lena Frank and more) have re-energized the four-hand piano genre. Novel thematic programming and general artistic excellence have earned them a Steinway Artist designation and two Grammy nominations.

Scott Foglesong is beloved by audiences for his engaging pre-concert lectures at the San Francisco Symphony. A professor of Theory and Musicianship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1978, he is also a pianist of unusual depth and sensitivity whose sold-out recitals reflect his training as a keyboardist, historian and music theorist.

the foundation

The Ross McKee Foundation has supported piano performance and education in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1989. The Foundation continues the legacy of pianist and educator Ross McKee (1915-1987) through a nationally-recognized piano competition for young artists, grants in support of piano performances, and scholarships for pianists at a variety of educational institutions, including the Community Music Center, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and San Francisco State University.

For more information, please visit  , and sign up below for occasional email notifications regarding Piano Talks and other sponsored events.