Arts & Events

SF Chamber Orchestra, Le Bateau Ivre Mark New Year

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Friday December 29, 2006

New Year’s Eve and Day may be celebrated for free at two remarkable and complementary shows at two venerable Berkeley venues—the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Simon, with guest artists pianist Robert Schwartz and trumpeter Jeffrey Strong at 8 p. m. on Sunday, New Year’s Eve, First Congregational Church (2345 Channing Way at Dana)—and Parlor Tango (bandoneon player Odile Lavault, pianist Marco Casasola and cellist David Morris) inaugurating a new, no cover Monday night Arts Events series, New Year’s Day at 7 p.m. at Le Bateau Ivre Restaurant & Coffee House, 2629 Telegraph Ave.  

The SF Chamber Orchestra will play Schubert’s Fifth Symphony, Shostakovich’s witty First Piano Concerto, and Handel’s Trumpet Concerto in G Minor in a concert dedicated to the memory of their founder, Maestro Edgar Braun, who presided over the orchestra from 1993 to 2002. 

Robert Schwartz, a Sacramento native and now San Francisco resident after 15 years in New York, 1975 Ravel Prizewinner whose recording of Romero’s “Spirals” was recently released on Klavier, will perform with the orchestra, as will Jeffrey Strong, who was first chair trumpet with the CMEA All-State Orchestra as well as a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has freelanced with both the SF and Berkeley Symphonies and Opera Brass. 

The performance is free, with preferred seating to SFCO members. Reservations and information: (415) 248-1640 or 


And on New Year’s Day, in what promises to be the first of a diverse new Arts Events series, Le Bateau Ivre will present Parlor Tango in an atmosphere of “candles, wood floors and room for dancing” at the restaurant, previously closed on Mondays. “It’s something new for us,” commented Thomas Cooper of Le Bateau Ivre. 

“We’re considering string quartets, Bluegrass, opera, poetry readings, book signings, fundraisers and evenings with the flavor and music of different ethnic groups and nationalities,” he said. “We’ll be open from 6 to 10, with the events from 7 to 9. Le Bateau Ivre will make some money on people ordering food and drink, although there will be no cover charge. The various groups putting on the evenings won’t charge the restaurant; we will not charge them. It will be a very low key arrangement, which we hope will introduce people to Le Bateau Ivre Restaurant through these events.”  

Information at 849-1100 or; for events planning, 



Photograph: The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra will perform on New Year’s Eve at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley.