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Second Sundays Concert Series - 2017

"Pilgrims of the Heart"
The striving human heart across lands and time.

The Swedenborgian Church of San Francisco hosts a music concert series as unique as its historic setting!
Hear classic, traditional and original musical expressions of the struggles and joys of our common strivings, roaming from eastern and western Europe, the Near East, all the way to settlers in the new world. Most of the performers in this series embody that spirit, heirs of a wandering legacy, some from distant lands themselves, performing for audiences on many continents in many cultures, and so are ambassadors of the human spirit around the globe, sharing, and learning, as they journey with an open heart. Come, and be refreshed with what we share together.

The evening concerts begin February 12 at 7:30 p.m. and run monthly on the second Sunday of each month. Tickets are an affordable $20 each, available from Brown Paper Tickets online, or at the door.

May 14, 2017: Vadalma (Wild Apple)
Ballads, Dances and Laments

Travel from the Carpathian Mountains to the villages of the Danube Valley through authentic Hungarian songs styled with both innovative and traditional instrumentation that is soulful and passionate. By turns heart-rending and dance-reveling, the “outrageous fiddling” and penetrating cello accompaniment to singer Zina Bozzay’s achingly-touching songs bare the Carpathian heart.

Zina Bozzay, the founder, leader, and singer of Vadalma, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Honors, and holds a Masters degree in Music Composition. She has learned these songs in Hungary from master practitioners in the style, and brings the village source recordings, background information, and her original arrangements to Vadalma. Zina has performed at the Táncháztalálkozó, Hungarian Heritage House, and National Theatre in Budapest. Soloist at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Golden Festival in New York, and the Kárpátok 50th Anniversay Gala in Los Angeles, she is also a regularly invited soloist for Hungarian community events around the Bay Area, including the annual Hungarian Heritage Festival.

Praised by the New York Times for his “outrageous fiddling,” Matthew Szemela has toured the US, Europe, and Asia extensively, and appeared with artists as diverse as Sting, Susan Sarandon, Beyoncé Knowles, and Olivia Newton John. He currently performs with the Berkeley Symphony, Quartet San Francisco, Rupa & the April Fishes, Alta California, and other Bay Area ensembles encompassing a wide range of genres.

Cellist Misha Khalikulov, originally from Uzbekistan and raised in San Francisco, brings his dynamic, soulful playing and dedication to stylistic detail to Vadalma. Misha also performs with the Blind Willies, Stringquake, Amy LaCour trio, and Rupa & the April Fishes, with whom he's toured in 25 countries.

Tickets are available at

June 11, 2017: VNote Ensemble
Adventures in Venezuelan Folk/Jazz Fusion

Hailed for its spirited performances and fascinating fusion of Venezuelan folk music with adventurous jazz explorations, the VNote Ensemble gives voice to the hidden treasure of Venezuelan music. Ensemble members combine classical training and many years of study under masters of folk traditions from Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, and the Caribbean and blend their training with elements of jazz, rock, and pop to deliver original compositions, novel arrangements and great musicianship into an exciting musical sound full of entrancing rhythm and impassioned instrumentation.

July 9, 2017: Carlos Reyes
Beyond Borders: Classical-Latin-Jazz

Music is a spirit that knows no limits, and multi-instrumentalist Carlos Reyes is it's prophet. A star in his own right, he entertains with grace, wit and a musical style that combines Latin, jazz and classical with his native Paraguayan roots.

The son of a national musical hero in Paraguay, Carlos began learning the violin at the age of three. Recognized as a prodigy, he was challenged by his father to learn the Paraguayan harp. He purchased his first harp at the age of ten and two weeks later he earned a double encore and $250 at his first professional harp concert. Since then he has taken the harp and its music to ground-breaking levels.

He made his debut on harp with the Oakland Symphony and his debut on the violin with the Oakland Youth Symphony at just fourteen years of age. Continuing his early musical education, Carlos learned to play many different instruments including guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboards, as well as mastering the use of a variety of electronic devices and special effects. He has worked in the professional recording industry for commercials, as a solo artist on instrumental background music for the acclaimed children’s shows “Sesame Street” and “Villa Alegre” when he was still in his teens.

Carlos thrilled thousands of loyal followers with the Jazz-Rock group Merlin as they played all over the SF Bay Area. Carlos's first album, “The Beauty of it All”, was on the Top-Ten Contemporary Jazz charts in Billboard Magazine for over 15 weeks. Since then he has recorded, produced, and contributed to many recordings, performed with headliners such as Chuck Mangione, Bill Evans, Clark Terry, Pat Travers, MC Hammer, and has shared the stage with The Crusaders, The Rippingtons, Charlie Daniels, Wynona Judd, Clint Black, Willie Nelson, The Doobie Brothers, rocker Steve Miller and many more. He has toured Europe and Asia performing at music festivals and renowned theaters. Remembering his roots, he has started a program to bring musical instruments to the children of Paraguay beginning this year.

More performances to be listed soon. Bookmark us to keep checking back or join our mailing list below.
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Past Concerts

February 12, 2017: Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter - Weaving Worlds
A multi-instrumentalist duo with Celtic Harps, Swedish Nyckelharpa, Ukrainian Bandura, Bouzouki, Cittern and more. Their music travels seamlessly from Ireland to Sweden, Norway, and to traditions further east and includes many acclaimed enchanting original compositions.

Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter have performed with some of the biggest names in folk and acoustic music and have sold well over a million albums combined. Audiences are spellbound and enchanted with their unique show of breathtaking music both Traditional and original, with wondrous stories and humor entwined.

Lisa Lynne has gained worldwide recognition for her original music featuring her Celtic Harp. She specializes in Traditional acoustic folk and rare instruments and is widely acclaimed for composing memorable and heartwarming melodies that transcend category and genre on the Windham Hiill/Sony music labels that have repeatedly placed in the Top 10 & Top 20 on the Billboard New age music charts. Lisa tours year round performing at large US festivals and performing art centers. Her work in Therapeutic music has gained recognition from NBC, CNN, Fox News Atlanta and numerous newspaper and magazine articles including Wall Street Journal. Lisa’s music is heard throughout the award winning PBS special “Alone in the Wilderness,” amongst many other soundtracks for commercial television and independent films.

Aryeh Frankfurter’s musical endeavors began at the age of three when he undertook classical training on the violin. His progress enabled him to study under various master violinists, including concert master of the Chicago Symphony. He participated both as a violinist and violist in a series of chamber music ensembles under the tutelage of internationally renown cellist, Bonnie Hampton, pianist Nathan Schwartz, teachers at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the late violinist Ann Crowden of the Crowden School of music in Berkeley, CA. Aryeh’s musical development led him to explore various ethnic and international musical genres, particularly Celtic folk music. At the age of fifteen Aryeh was introduced to the Celtic harp, an instrument which has become the focal point of his musical inspiration and expression. Over the interceding years Aryeh taught himself to play a variety of instruments including electric violin, viola, cello, guitar, cittern, mandolin, lap dulcimer and hammered dulcimer, bowed and plucked psaltry, penny whistle, baroque flute, recorder, percussion and more recently the Swedish Nyckelharpa. He works full time as both a performer and audio engineer. He has 18 albums to his credit and two books. He tours full time as a solo artist, with Lisa Lynne, Patrick Ball and the Windham Hill Winter Solstice Tours.

March 12, 2017: Vajra Voices and Friends
Remembered Migrations: Voices of Women in Medieval to Modern Song

Seven-voice women's ensemble Vajra Voices soars in an ambitious vocal performance unlike any other. Titled "Remembered Migrations" this daring presentation bridges the inner lives of women from as far flung eras and places as medieval France, 20th century Appalachia,12th century China, and contemporary works inspired by those voices and more. The styles are similarly diverse, from the motets and chansons to familiar folk to vocal abstractions. Woven throughout is a journey into the alchemy of the human spirit. The concert premieres a new vocal work from composer Theresa Wong based on the 12th century poetry of Taoist Sister Sun Bu’er, and also new works by multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen who joins the ensemble for this performance.
Since their debut in the 2010 Berkeley Festival, Vajra Voices has delighted audiences on concert series throughout Northern California. In 2014 Vajra Voices was honored to sing for the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women ministers in the Episcopal Church which was held in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.

In addition to holding degrees from leading music schools, including Indian University, Case Western, and Stanford University, members have studied privately in the studio of ensemble director Karen R. Clark, who has served as faculty on many workshop series, to include, Chanticleer, the San Francisco Early Music Society, and the Madison Festival, and has coached ensembles such as the Seattle Medieval Women's Choir, UC Berkeley Chamber Singers, and Tinctoris Five at Stanford University.

April 9, 2017: Black Cedar Trio
A Path Less Trod

Prize-winning musicians and symphony members team up to deliver a program that displays both their technical mastery and the variety of their favorite styles, wit, and romantic moods from centuries past to the present day. The trio Black Cedar delivers an evening that both fascinates the mind and stirs your passions. Delightful surprises included.

The performance works range across 400 years of evocative musical genius from a sonata by Bach and a cassation of a Haydn quartet, to a tango by Carlos Gardel, a romantic reverie by Astor Piazzolla, and a commissioned threesome by Durwynne Hsieh, The unusual combination of flute, cello and guitar will, by turns, soar your spirit, tug at your heart, and tickle your imagination.


Kris Palmer, flute, is a winner of the Carmel Chamber Music Society Competition, a second prize winner in the National Flute Association Young Artist Competition and a Carnegie Hall Recital Debut winner with Artists International. She is a former member of the New Mexico Symphony, and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rice University.

Steve Lin is a winner of both the Boston GuitarFest Competition and the East Carolina University Guitar Competition. A recording artist for VGo Recordings, Steve has released two albums, and is currently the Professor of Guitar at San Jose State University.

Isaac Pastor-Chernak is Principal Cellist with Portland Opera and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Associate Principal Cellist with Stockton Symphony, and a member of Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and Santa Barbara Symphony. Winner of both the Lyon and Witzel Prizes at UC Berkeley and commisssioner of nearly two dozen new cello chamber works, he is equally at home in early music with appearances at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the American Bach Soloists, and the International Baroque Institute at Longy.