Upcoming Events

Tue 8/11

Image - Music Education and the Complete Human Being

Music Education and the Complete Human Being

Date: Tue, August 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With SF Conservatory of Music's Joan Gordon

Joan Gordon, Director, Pre-College and Adult Extension Divisions, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

The study of the arts, particularly music, is well documented as having a positive effect on the brain. This presentation will address the importance of providing young people with a comprehensive musical education that sets private study of an instrument within the context of ear training, theory and ensemble participation. These skills serve the students in all aspects of life in addition to their musical endeavors. The evening will include performances by student musicians.

Wed 8/12

Image - Music of Remembrance

Music of Remembrance

Date: Wed, August 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With composer Jake Heggie and artistic director Mina Miller

Jake Heggie, American Composer and Pianist
Mina Miller, Founder and Artistic Director, Music of Remembrance
Kip Cranna, Dramaturg, SF Opera - Moderator

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Heggie, the distinguished American composer, will present excerpts from his magnificent work, Farewell Auschwitz, which unfolds the incredible life of Krystyna Zywulska, Polish poet and Resistance member. Join him and Mina Miller as she describes the philosophy of Music of Remembrance, which, since 1998, has been dedicated to remembering Holocaust musicians and composers, presenting concerts and educational programs and commissioning new works about the Holocaust such as Farewell Auschwitz. Heggie will be on the July cover of Opera news and was hailed as the major opera composer of our century.

Image - Why Music? The Confessions of a Willing Prisoner of the Violin

Why Music? The Confessions of a Willing Prisoner of the Violin

Date: Wed, August 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert.

Mark Volkert, Assistant Concertmaster, San Francisco Symphony

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Volkert’s talk will blend biography and his philosophy on music, peppered with interesting anecdotes and tales from the trenches. A violinist with the San Francisco Symphony since 1972, he has been assistant concertmaster since 1980.

Thu 8/13

"And She Can Sing..." Music as a Portal to the Person

Date: Thu, August 13, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
Music engaging people with memory loss and disorientation

Mary Hulme, LCSW, ASW-G, C-SWHC, Geriatrician Odile Lavault, Recreational Therapist 
Theresa Allison, MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geriatrics, UCSF

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

The panel will discuss the remarkable role of music in engaging people who are suffering from memory loss and disorientation. Combining film clips, a PowerPoint presentation and live music, the speakers will show how to use improvisation, openness, patience and optimism in the practice of validation to see that there is a reason behind all behaviors. Learn how, through observing and listening with empathy, one may learn what to say and do to engage those with dementias. It will be both educational and entertaining.

Image - Design & Tech with John Maeda

Design & Tech with John Maeda

Date: Thu, August 13, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Design is changing the game in Silicon Valley

John Maeda, Design Partner, KPCB; Former President, RISD

Design is changing the game in Silicon Valley and impacting the way tech is integrated into our everyday lives. Join us as John Maeda discusses the exciting changes that are happening at the intersection of design and technology. Last year, he joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) as the firm’s first-ever design partner and has since released his #DesignInTech Report which highlights insightful business-design trends. His analysis ranges from industry big picture, such as Google and Facebook’s atypical acquisition of 14 creative firms, to up close and personal: mobile users are checking their phones every 5.6 minutes. Hear from John Maeda as he helps us unfold how design is changing how we interact, work, hire, code and create.

Fri 8/14

Image - Nicholas McGegan: Baroque Music Matters

Nicholas McGegan: Baroque Music Matters

Date: Fri, August 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
In conversation with professor Kate van Orden

Nicholas McGegan, Music Director, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Conductor
In conversation with Kate van Orden, Professor of Music, Harvard University

Kate van Orden, professor of music at Harvard University, sits down with Nicholas McGegan, who is increasingly recognized for his probing and revelatory explorations of music of all periods. Listeners will gain insight into McGegan’s career as a conductor and leader of a world-class orchestra, and his views on baroque music’s continuing appeal as an art form – and why that matters. 

Image - Paul Solman: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security

Paul Solman: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security

Date: Fri, August 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Paul Solman, Business and Economics Correspondent, “PBS Newshour”; Co-Author, Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security; Twitter @paulsolman

Want to know how to navigate the forbidding maze of Social Security and emerge with the highest possible benefits? You could try reading all 2,728 rules of the Social Security system (and the thousands of explanations of these rules), but Solman explains Social Security benefits in an easy-to-understand and user-friendly style. What you don’t know can seriously hurt you: wrong decisions about which Social Security benefits to apply for cost some individual retirees tens of thousands of dollars in lost income every year. Learn the secrets to maximizing your Social Security benefits and earn up to thousands of dollars more each year with expert advice that you can’t get anywhere else. You’ve paid all your working life for these benefits. Now, get what’s yours.

Mon 8/17

Image - The Music of Cinema

The Music of Cinema

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A rich multimedia presentation.

Scott Foglesong, Chair, Department of Musicianship and Music Theory, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Music for the movies has its own language, idioms and styles. It originated, paradoxically enough, in the silent cinema where music served to mask projection noises in addition to providing helpful cues to the onscreen action, then came into its own with the advent of talkies. We’ll be covering that film music in a rich multimedia presentation that starts with a close look at Max Steiner’s breakthrough score for the 1933 King Kong and the late-Romantic language of Hollywood, including composers such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Franz Waxman. Then came the inevitable reaction by a younger generation of composers such as Bernard Herrmann and Alex North, who approached film music with a distinctly eclectic and experimental sensibility. We’ll end with today’s leading film music composers, and examine the music for one extended sequence in a major film.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 8/17/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 8/17/15

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Informative and engaging commentary on political news.

Panelists TBA

The summer's almost over, and it's already had a lot going on in the political sphere. New candidates launching their campaigns. Politicians getting into trouble. Proposals floated to deal with major problems.

Join us as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees).

Tue 8/18

Image - Music Matters: Full Body Forward!

Music Matters: Full Body Forward!

Date: Tue, August 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With singer and activist Melanie DeMore

Melanie DeMore, Singer/Songwriter; Composer; Conductor; Vocal Activist

“A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath you,” says Melanie DeMore. With an established career of 30 years in music, Melanie has used her voice to inspire social and political change as well as preserving the African American folk tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding. Now Melanie is bringing her musical talent to The Commonwealth Club to show how one raises one’s voice with power, determination and energy.

Full Body Forward is intended for all those who have longed to raise their voices with power, determination and energy. Participants do not need singing experience to attend. Music Matters

Image - Counting from Infinity: A Special Film Screening with Keith Devlin

Counting from Infinity: A Special Film Screening with Keith Devlin

Date: Tue, August 18, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With mathematician Keith Devlin

Keith Devlin, Mathematician, Stanford University

The new film Counting from Infinity captures a significant moment in mathematical history: the discovery of the Twin Prime Conjecture. The film sets the scene in April 2013 as little-known lecturer Yitang Zhang, while working in isolation, proved something that rocked the mathematical world.

Join us as we view a special screening of the film with NPR’s “Math Guy” and Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin alongside for expert commentary.

Wed 8/19

Cole Porter: The Music and the Man

Date: Wed, August 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Sophisticated, worldly, witty, passionate, romantic, irreverent and downright bawdy

Noah Griffin, Founder and Artistic Director, Cole Porter Society

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation

Sophisticated, worldly, witty, passionate, romantic, irreverent and downright bawdy are all apt descriptors of Cole Porter. The uninitiated and those who thought they knew all there was to know about this elfin genius are constantly rediscovering America’s foremost musical poet, who is never out of style for the cognoscenti. Come experience the music of Cole you know and music of the Cole you thought you knew.

Image - U.C. President Janet Napolitano Interviews Charlotte Jacobs, M.D.

U.C. President Janet Napolitano Interviews Charlotte Jacobs, M.D.

Date: Wed, August 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The Legacy of Jonas Salk

The Legacy of Jonas Salk

Janet Napolitano, President of University of California; Former Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Governor of Arizona
Charlotte Jacobs, M.D. Professor of Medicine (Emerita), Stanford University; Author, Jonas Salk: A Life

Part of The Club’s Good Lit Series, Underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Sixty years ago, physician-researcher Jonas Salk changed human history by inventing the polio vaccine. His work has saved countless lives and helped shaped the medical field as we know it today. Recently, Dr. Charlotte Jacobs has published the first comprehensive biography, Jonas Salk: A Life. She and Janet Napolitano will sit down and discuss her book that explores Jonas Salk’s life and legacy. The first in a limited series of interviews, Napolitano talks with Jacobs and uses the biography as the centerpiece for discussion about the best practices of vaccinations, preventing pandemics and saving lives.

Thu 8/20

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, August 20, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans.

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable midday walk and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state, and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory.

Fri 8/21

Image - Vox Mundi: Sound and Voice

Vox Mundi: Sound and Voice

Date: Fri, August 21, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Silvia Nakkach, Award-Winning Composer; Former Psychotherapist; Faculty Member, California Institute of Integral Studies; Founder and Artistic Director, Vox Mundi
Val Serrant, Traditional Drum and Steel Drum Performer; Vocalist; Caribbean Arts Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley

Silvia Nakkach, classical Indian musician, and Val Serrant, drum/steel drum percussionist, will display the richness of their indigenous musical traditions from their different backgrounds, through performance and dialogue. They will also engage the audience’s participation in the healing power of music, so prepare yourself to personally embrace why music matters around the world. Music Matters

Mon 8/24

Image - Why Music Therapy Matters for the Special-Needs Student

Why Music Therapy Matters for the Special-Needs Student

Date: Mon, August 24, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
The opportunity to realize musical gifts.

Susan Rancer, Registered Music Therapist

Henny Kupferstein, Graduate Student; Musical Savant; Autism researcher

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Many parents dream of their children studying piano. For parents of special-needs children, this dream can be realized through channels that honor children's individual strengths and needs. Non-verbal and special-needs students often do not have the opportunity to realize their musical gifts. Rancer is a registered music therapist who works with clients one-on-one, teaching students in a highly specialized manner. Kupferstein is a musical savant who says she lives inside the sensory experience of her music students. In collaboration, they have developed a methodology and evidence-based practice for successful musical and educational outcomes.

Image - Singing for Our Lives: Music in the Time of AIDS

Singing for Our Lives: Music in the Time of AIDS

Date: Mon, August 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With conductor Jon Bailey

Jon Bailey, Conductor; Composer; Professor Emeritus, Pomona College

More than 1.2 million people are living with HIV infections in the United States, and gay and bisexual men are the ones more severely affected by HIV. Jon Bailey, artistic director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles for 13 years, uses his past experience and knowledge during the dark time of the AIDS crisis to speak about how the power of music can create a community and heal spirits. 

Tue 8/25

Orchestra Music Grown Locally

Date: Tue, August 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A panel discussion

Michael Morgan, Music Director, East Bay Symphony Orchestra and Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra; Artistic Director, Festival Opera, Walnut Creek
Additional panelists TBA

Music can be a catalyst for pulling together communities. The Bay Area, specifically, has benefitted from orchestras and the wide variety of music being written by local composers. Michael Morgan, music director of the East Bay Symphony Orchestra, has helped bring in awards for adventurous programming and excellence in community engagement. Join us for a conversation with Morgan and several other composers and conductors discussing the significance of locally grown music. 

Wed 8/26

Image - Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Date: Wed, August 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Mozart scholar Steven Machtinger

Steven Machtinger, Attorney; Violist; Independent Mozart Scholar

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Steven Machtinger and the London Quintet return to The Commonwealth Club for the Music Matters series, this time exploring how Mozart expressed Masonic attitudes toward death and immortality in the third movement of his G minor String Quintet of 1787.