PALLADE MUSICA A young early music quartet from Montreal will have its West Coast debut in a series of concerts by the San Francisco Early Music Society this weekend. Pallade Musica will play instrumental works from the 17th century, including compositions by Sweelinck, Castaldi and Buxtehude. The program “journeys from the beginnings of the Stile Moderno in the breathtaking sonatas of Dario Castello to the pinnacle of the Stylus Phantasticus with Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s ‘Mystery Sonatas’ for violin.” Pallade Musica will perform at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Call the box office for ticket availability on 510-528-1725.
KRONOS AND WU MAN The Kronos Quartet and Wu Man, a pipa virtuoso (Chinese lute), make for a startling musical combination. On Sunday, Kronos will perform quartets by Kevin Volans and David Little before being joined by Wu Man for Terry Riley’s The Cusp of Magic. All three works were written for Kronos. Last year, Wu Man was the first non-Western performer to win Musical America‘s Instrumentalist of the Year. Sunday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. in Hertz Hall. Tickets available from Cal Performances.
ALTERNATIVE TO NFL PLAYOFFS Berkeley Rep’s X’s and O’s (A Football Love Story) opens in previews Friday, Jan. 16. The play by KJ Sanchez with Jenny Mercein was originally commissioned by Berkeley Rep and Center Stage, and developed in The Ground Floor, Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. X’s and O’s takes on the highly topical issue of the bruising effect of a violent game on players’ health, based on interviews with players, families and fans. Dwight Hicks, who won two Super Bowls with the 49ers is in the cast. X’s and O’s is at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, and Saturday, Jan. 17, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 18, at Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage.
JOHN GORKA Contemporary folksinger John Gorka’s most recent album, Bright Side of Down, was praised by one critic for its “wry, slice-of-life observations reminiscent of Lyle Lovett and John Prine.” A leader of what has been called the New Folk Movement, Gorka has performed with Nancy Griffith, Ani DiFranco, Patty Larkin and Mary Chapin Carpenter. According to the Freight, “His originals are clever, but not just clever. They cut to the bone.” Gorka plays at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St., at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Tickets available from the Freight ticket office.
CALLING ALL MYCOLOGISTS Heavy rains in December created perfect conditions for mushrooms, as anyone who has walked in the East Bay Regional Parks recently can attest. If you’ve ever wondered about those colorful sproutings, Debbie Viess, co-founder of the Bay Area Mycological Society, is leading a talk on local fungi at the Botanical Garden on Saturday morning. Mushrooms in the Garden, 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr.
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