As SFCMP prepares to perform Aural Hypothesis, we asked composer Lei Liang about the piece:
In the performance notes for Aural Hypothesis you mention that “the overwritten ‘cadenzas’ are meant to trigger improvisatory action and accidents,” and that what you prefer from the performer is “not deliberate details…but rather an explosive energy that threatens to destroy the overall balance of the composed work.” Certainly this seems appropriate for the piece given your description of contrasting calligraphy brushstrokes in the program notes as well as of shigaraki ware in the piano note, but is this kind of openness to the unpredictable and technique of “overwriting” despite anticipation of mistakes typical of your work? If so, what are your limits with regards to how much control you’re willing to relinquish or maintain?
Sometimes I write passages that are meant to be so challenging that it forces the musician to wrestle with it in live performance. Their difficulty level is not absurd, but rather attainable – or almost attainable. In fact, every detail should be realizable, and it should be rewarding for practice. It is a special feeling for me to experience the intensity of struggling to gain control. I don’t think of it as relinquishing control – it is not about that. Rather, it is about the challenge of attaining, and gaining control in an intense moment. It is about the willingness to sacrifice the correctness of a few notes in order to channel the explosive energy. I find this struggle – and the mistakes that come with it – to be very human.
On a similar note, it’s very interesting that you would “overwrite” something which you expect not to be played exactly. That is, there’s an interesting tension between the specificity of notation and the acceptance and expectation of deviation from what you’ve written. Of course, with transposing instruments it’s common practice to notate in a way that to an extent directly contradicts what is actually heard, but it seems to me that in this piece you’ve discovered an interesting sort of variant on this idea of “transposition” which allows for deviation from the specific notes written based on a given performer’s own experience of reading the notation and interacting with the sonic results of your score. Since the cadenzas are so specifically notated, could you talk about how you chose exactly what notes to write in terms of the actual sonic results you desired?
I write these rapid passages very slowly, and I test them out with care to make sure that they are playable, and at the same time awkward – “awkward” in the sense that they pose real physical challenges to the pianist. How rapidly and precisely can one play? How far can one’s fingers leap? What is a really “awkward” move that makes the passage challenging yet still musical?
The title of the piece is extremely interesting; the pairing of somewhat scientific terminology with an art form traditionally perceived as exceedingly subjective; the use of the word “hypothesis” suggesting conjecture and questions which anticipate results and thus discovery. There’s so much to think about before even hearing the first note. Could you talk about the title and your conception of the piece as a “hypothesis”?
Chou Wen-chung, the composer to whom this piece is dedicated, once made the remark that “music is calligraphy in sound, calligraphy is music in ink.” I have been intrigued by this remark, and by another one he asked me, “when is a line not a line?” Writing music is a speculative process for me. In this piece, I was trying to discover for myself whether there is a parallel between lines in ink and lines in sound. When is a melody no longer merely a melody? The second half of the work is really an effort to answer this question.
Aural Hypothesis will be performed on Thursday, October 25, 2012 (more information).
Lei Liang will be a featured panelist for Young American Composers and the Legacy of John Cage on Friday, October 26, 2012 (more information).
Violinist Hrabba Atladottir studied in Berlin, Germany with professor Axel Gerhardt and professor Tomasz Tomaszewski. After finishing her studies, Hrabba worked as a freelancing violinist in Berlin for five years, regularly playing with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Oper, and Deutsche Symphonieorchester. Hrabba also participated in a world tour with the Icelandic pop artist Björk, and a Germany tour with violinist Nigel Kennedy. Joshua Kosman, music critic of San Francisco Chronicle, praised her performance of Vivaldi’s “Spring”, and called her violin playing “delicate but fervent.”
In 2004, Hrabba moved to New York, playing on a regular basis with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra among other orchestras. She also played with the Either/Or ensemble in NY in close collaboration with Helmut Lachenmann.
Since August 2008, Hrabba is based in Berkeley, California, where she has been performing as a soloist and with various ensembles including New Century Chamber Orchestra, The Empyrean Ensemble, the ECO ensemble. Hrabba is currently a Violin Lecturer at UC Berkeley and at Mills College. Hrabba joined SFCMP in 2015.
Jeff Anderle is a pioneer in the world of low reeds, helping to popularize the role of the modern clarinet and bass clarinet through his innovative and diverse performances, ensembles, and commissions.
He is a founding member of both Splinter Reeds, the Bay Area’s first reed quintet, and REDSHIFT contemporary music ensemble, as well as a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and the Paul Dresher Electro/Acoustic Band. He is half of the bass clarinet duo Sqwonk, which has commissioned and premiered a significant body of work that infuses aspects of classical, folk and popular music into its own distinct style. As a member of the virtuosic, heavy metal bass clarinet quartet Edmund Welles, he has been featured nationally at festivals and masterclasses.
Jeff is a founding co-director of Switchboard Music, a presenting organization which has featured hundreds of innovative musicians through its annual marathon and concert series. In addition, he makes regular guest appearances with a wide range of music institutions from orchestras to diverse chamber music ensembles.
Jeff teaches clarinet, bass clarinet, chamber music, and entrepreneurship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has been on the faculty at U.C. Berkeley and as a member of REDSHIFT holds a guest artist residency at California State University East Bay. He holds a M.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a B.A. from University of California at Los Angeles. Jeff joined SFCMP in 2012. www.jeffanderle.com
Tod Brody (flute) is principal flutist with SFCMP, as well as local new music groups Earplay, Eco Ensemble, and the Empyrean Ensemble, with an extensive career that has included performances of numerous world premieres and many recordings. He is also principal flutist of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Sacramento Opera, and the California Musical Theater, and makes frequent appearances with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet orchestras, and in other chamber and orchestral settings throughout the region. Active as an instructor, Tod teaches flute and chamber music at the University of California, Davis. In addition to performing and teaching, Tod is an active arts administrator, currently serving as Executive Director of the Marin Symphony. Tod joined SFCMP in 1997.
Oboist Kyle Bruckmann’s work as a composer and performer spans from the Western classical tradition into the frontiers of free jazz, electronic music and post-punk. With more than 60 recordings and a striking array of performance affiliations to his credit (Splinter Reeds, Quinteto Latino, the Stockton Symphony, sfSound, Eco Ensemble, Ensemble Parallèle, and others) he has been acclaimed as “a modern day renaissance musician,” and “a seasoned improviser with impressive extended technique and peculiar artistic flair.” Before relocating to the Bay Area in 2003, Kyle was a fixture in Chicago’s experimental music underground, collaborating regularly with electroacoustic duo EKG, the ”noise-rock monstrosity” Lozenge, and the Creative Music quintet Wrack (recipient of a 2012 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant). Bruckmann earned undergraduate degrees in music and psychology at Rice University, studying oboe with Robert Atherholt, serving as music director of campus radio station KTRU, and achieving academic distinction as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his M.M. at the University of Michigan, where he studied oboe performance with Harry Sargous and contemporary improvisation with Ed Sarath. He now teaches at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis. Kyle joined SFCMP in 2012. kylebruckmann.com
Hailed as a “brilliant pianist” (Financial Times), Kate Campbell performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician specializing in 20th and 21st century music, and is at home with styles ranging from thorny modernism, to “sleek and spirited” minimalism, to indie classical.
In addition to her work with SFCMP, Kate is the pianist for the Eco Ensemble in Berkeley, and co-founder and pianist of the interdisciplinary duoK A T E S, which intertwines new solo piano music and new dance. As the pianist in the contemporary ensembleREDSHIFT, this year she will continue a guest artist residency at California State University East Bay, premiering works by faculty and student composers. She is also proud to be one of the founding organizers of theOmaha Under the Radar Festival, featuring new music, dance, and theater in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
Susan Freier (violin) is known in the Bay Area beyond her SFCMP affiliation as a member of the passionate and provocative Ives Quartet (formerly the Stanford String Quartet), of which her husband SFCMP cellist Stephen Harrison is also a member. After earning a degree in Music and Biology at Stanford, Susan entered the Eastman School of Music where she co-founded the widely acclaimed Chester String Quartet. She has been a participant at the Aspen, Grand Teton and Newport Music Festivals, and has performed on NPR, the BBC and German State Radio. Formerly an artist-faculty member at the Pacific Music Festival, Music in the Mountains at Steamboat Springs and the Rocky Ridge Music Center, Susan is currently on the artist faculty of the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy and the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop. Her recordings are on the Newport Classics, Stolat, Pantheon, Laurel, Music and Arts, and CRI labels. Susan joined SFCMP in 1993.
Percussionist Christopher Froh specializes in promoting and influencing the creation of new music through critically-acclaimed performances and dynamic lectures. Also a member of Empyrean Ensemble, Rootstock Percussion, and San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Froh has premiered over 100 chamber and solo works by composers from 15 countries. His rich and diverse career also includes performances with the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall, Gamelan Sekar Jaya at the Stern Grove Festival, and session recording at Skywalker Ranch for a video game about monkeys and pirates. Chris has recorded with the San Francisco Symphony on SFS Media; as a soloist on Albany, Innova, and Equilibrium labels; and as a chamber musician on Bridge Records and Music@Menlo LIVE. As a soloist, he has appeared at festivals and recitals across Japan, China, Turkey, Europe, and the United States including featured performances at the Beijing Modern Festival, Nuovi Spazi Musicali, and Music@Menlo. He studied at the University of Michigan, Eastman School of Music, and Toho Gakuen Conservatory where he was a student of marimba pioneer, Keiko Abe. He teaches percussion and chamber music at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento. Chris joined SFCMP in 2002.
Lifelong “noisemaker” Hall Goff (trombone) gravitated from boy choir to trombone at age 12, absorbing all sorts of recorded sounds and musical styles from Dixieland, bebop, pop vocalists of the early 60′s to early Zappa, Chicago Symphony recordings, and comedy troupe The Firesign Theater. Hall obtained his B.A. from Oberlin and his M.M. at Yale School of Music, whree he was mentored by John Swallow and Otto-Werner Mueller. A former orchestra member in Italy’s Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto and The Macerata Opera Festival, Hall has been a member of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra since 1977 and the Golden Gate Park Band since 2009. Goff has had the ongoing good fortune to play with many Bay Area ensembles of all sizes, as well as on various recordings and motion picture soundtracks, as well as in backing musical stars of opera, jazz, rock, and pop, from The Manhattan Transfer and Vic Damone to Glen Campbell, Bob Hope, and many others. Hall joined SFCMP in 1979.
For more than 30 years, harpist Karen Gottlieb has performed, toured and recorded with such notable ensembles as the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Boys Chorus, California Symphony and the Skywalker Recording Symphony. In her touring with the San Francisco Symphony, she has performed in many of the world’s greatest concert halls including Royal Albert Hall, London; Musikverein, Vienna; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Philharmonie Berlin; and with some of the leading music festivals – Salzburg, Edinburgh, London Proms and Lucerne. Within the USA, she has performed in most of the major symphonic venues from Carnegie Hall to Disney Hall and performed under the directions of many of the leading conductors – Claudio Abbado, Herbert Blomstedt, George Solti, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Edo DeWaart, Erich Leinsdorf and Mstislav Rostropovich.
As a freelance artist, she regularly performs with many ensembles, especially enjoying her work in contemporary music. Among the many leading 20th and 21st century composers, she has worked personally and in ensembles with Elliot Carter, John Adams, Lou Harrison, Phillip Glass, John Williams, Gunther Schuller, Jake Heggie, Alan Hovhaness, John Luther Adams & Witold Lutoslawski.
Karen has also worked with many of the most celebrated of popular culture artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Linda Ronstadt & Michael Feinstein. She is the harpist for the Skywalker Recording Symphony, having recorded many of the major movies, TV and video game soundtracks, and served as principal harpist with the California Symphony and the Cabrillo Music Festival.
Karen received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington in Seattle and her Masters in Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her teachers include Alice Chalifoux, Lynne Palmer, Pamela Vokolek, Marjorie Call, Marianna Oberascher and Linda Wood Rollo, including summer studies with Lucile Laurence and Susann McDonald.
A very active cellist in the Bay Area and beyond, Stephen Harrison (cello) is a founding member (with his wife, Susan Freier) of the Ives Quartet (formerly known as Stanford String Quartet) and a member of the faculty at Stanford University. Formerly principal cellist of the Chamber Symphony of San Francisco, the Opera Company of Boston, and the New England Chamber Orchestra, Harrison has performed on National Public Radio, the BBC, and on both German State Radio and the Netherlands State Radio. Stephen has toured internationally and recorded on the Delos, CRI, New Albion and Newport Classics labels. Harrison has been on the faculty of the Pacific Music Festival and is currently an artist/faculty member of the Rocky Ridge Music Center. Most recently he has served as principal cellist of the Mendocino Music Festival, coached at the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop and performed at the Telluride Chamber Music Festival. He earned his degrees at Oberlin College and Boston University, where he received the Award for Distinction in Graduate Performance. Stephen joined SFCMP in 1984.
Violinist Graeme Jennings lives in both Sydney and San Francisco. He is a former member of the legendary Arditti String Quartet and now performs regularly as a member of Australia’s internationally renowned new music group, Elision. He has recently worked as guest concert-master with the Adelaide and Melbourne Symphonies and Associate Concert-master with the Sydney Symphony. Locally, he is a member of Adorno Ensemble. Graeme has served on the faculties of UC Berkeley, Mills College and Stanford Universities and now serves as a Senior Lecturer in Violin and Viola at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia. Jennings has toured widely throughout the world, made more than 70 CDs, given over 300 premieres, and received such accolades as the Siemens Prize (1999) and two Gramophone awards. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw, Munich Philharmonic, Berlin Radio, Austrian Radio, Netherlands Radio, French Radio, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony. He joined SFCMP in 2007.
Peter Josheff, clarinetist and composer, is a founding member of Sonic Harvest and of Earplay. He is also a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Empyrean Ensemble and the Eco Ensemble. He performs frequently with Opera Parallele, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and Melody of China, and has worked with many other groups including West Edge Opera, the Ives Collective, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, Composers Inc., and SF Sound.
Peter has composed instrumental and vocal music, opera and pop songs, as well as music for dance and theater. Crazed Loner, his singer/songwriter project, had it’s public debut in October 2016. His latest work, The Dream Mechanic, Four Poems by Carol Vanderveer Hamilton,commissioned by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, was premiered in February 2017. Other recent compositions include Big Brother (2014) for solo piccolo, premiered Earplay; Ground Hog Day (2014) for clarinet and string quartet, premiered by the Farallon Quintet; Europa and The Bull (2014), a chamber oratorio commissioned for and premiered at the Mary Holmes Festival at UC Santa Cruz; The Cauldron (2013), commissioned and premiered by tenor Brian Thorsett; Waiting (2012), commissioned and premiered by Earplay; Nautical Man Nautical Man (2011), an album of pop songs; Sutro Tower in the Fog (2011), commissioned, premiered and recorded by the Bernal Hill Players; Sextet (2010), premiered by Sonic Harvest; and Inferno (2008), a chamber opera produced by San Francisco Cabaret Opera in 2009. Peter joined SFCMP in 1999.
Clarinetist Bill Kalinkos enjoys a diverse musical career as a member of critically acclaimed groups such as Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Signal, Deviant Septet, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eco Ensemble, and Splinter Reeds. Recognized by the Washington Post as a “notable contemporary music specialist,” he has been fortunate enough to work with and premiere pieces by many renowned composers. As an orchestral player, Bill is the principal clarinetist of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, a member of both IRIS Orchestra and the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, and he has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra. Prior to his appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Missouri – Columbia for 2014-15, Bill served on the faculty of the University of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley. As a recording artist, he can be heard on the Cantaloupe, Nonesuch, Euroarts, Naxos, Mode, Orange Mountain, Albany Records, and Deutsche Gramophon labels., Bill joined SFCMP in 2012.
Daniel Kennedy (percussion) is a specialist in the music of the twentieth century. A member of Earplay and the Empyrean Ensemble, he has been the founding member of contemporary ensembles including including the California E.A.R. Unit and the Talujon Percussion Quartet, and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, India, Bali, and Japan. Described as a “subtly graceful soloist” by the San Francisco Chronicle, he has been featured in a solo role with the California Arts Council Touring Program, and has an extensive list of other concert appearances as well as recordings to his credit. He received his M.F.A. degree from the California Institute of the Arts and his D. M. A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Mr. Kennedy, who has recorded widely, is both Instructor of Percussion and Artistic Director of the Festival of New American Music at California State University, Sacramento. Daniel has been a member of SFCMP since 1993.
Originally from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Adam Luftman is currently the Principal Trumpet of both the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet Orchestras. Prior to moving to SF in 2007, Luftman held positions with the Baltimore Symphony, New World Symphony in Miami, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has also been a guest artist with many of the countries finest orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony. During the summers, Luftman has performed at the Grand Teton Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival, Sun Valley, Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Spoleto Festival, Aspen, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.
In addition to his orchestral work, Adam has been a featured soloist with a number of orchestras and is a member of the National Brass Ensemble and The Bay Brass. He has recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, the National Brass Ensemble, for ESPN Sunday Night Football, and on many movie and video game soundtracks. Luftman is currently on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory, UC Berkeley, and San Francisco State University. He has presented masterclasses all over the country including The Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, New World Symphony, and Tanglewood. He is an honors graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Interlochen Arts Academy. Adam joined SFCMP in 2010.
Loren Mach (percussionist) is passionate about 21st-Century music. A graduate of the Oberlin and Cincinnati Conservatories, he has premiered countless solo, chamber, and orchestral works. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley and is principal percussionist of eco ensemble, principal timpanist of San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and co-founder of Rootstock Percussion. Mach often performs with the San Francisco Symphony and other local orchestras, but he prefers more intimate projects with groups like Empyrean, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Opera Parallel, Earplay, and sfSound. In recent summers he has performed at the Ojai Music Festival, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and Music in the Mountains. Mach was awarded a 2011 Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation. He appeared in two full-length concerts at the 2014 Venice Biennale with eco ensemble, including a special performance of Nagoya Marimbas for Golden Lion lifetime achievement honoree, Steve Reich. Mach’s other passions involve our fundamental relationship to food as a form of communion with others and our interconnectedness with the natural world around us. An avid hiker, climber and cyclist, he cherishes time spent outside as an integral part of being alive. Loren joined SFCMP in 2015.
Roy Malan (violin) serves as solo violinist with the California Symphony and Opera Parallèle, and was the long-time concertmaster and solo violinist for the San Francisco Ballet. The founding director of the Telluride Chamber Music Festival, he has an extensive career of performance domestically as well as in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, and Africa to his credit. He is also widely recorded on the Genesis, Orion, and other labels, Roy was formerly a member of Porter Quartet, Stanford String Quartet, Ives Quartet, and the San Francisco Piano Trio, among others. Educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music under Yehudi Menuhin, he also attended Juilliard and the Curtis Institute, where he was a student of Ivan Galamian and Efrem Zimbalist (he authored the latter’s biography). Roy currently serves on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz, plays locally with a string quartet, piano trio, and music festival engagements. Roy joined SFCMP in 1976.
Lawrence Ragent (French horn) is a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and has been locally affiliated with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, Sinfonia San Francisco and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. His performances on the Baroque horn have been with American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque, Magnificat ,and the Trinity Consort. An honors graduate of the New England Conservatory, he taught at Brown University and performed with the New England Ragtime Ensemble and the Boston Symphony before returning to his native California. Currently, Lawrence is on the faculty of Stanford University where he is also a member of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet. He joined SFCMP in 1981.
Oboist Sarah Rathke maintains a busy and enthusiastic performance presence in Northern California and beyond, as a member of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras and a regular performer with the symphonies of Marin, Fremont, Santa Rosa, Vallejo, California, Berkeley, Monterey and Santa Cruz. She was a member of the Avenue Winds, a Bay Area woodwind quintet committed to new music, and has also has performed with various orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Ballet. Born into a musical family in Alberta, Canada, and a lifelong new music enthusiast, Sarah received her B.M. from Northwestern University where she studied with Ray Still at and her M.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under John DeLancie. Rathke is a Professor of Oboe at UC Berkeley. Sarah joined SFCMP in 2012.
Nanci Severance (viola) has been a member of the San Francisco Symphony since 1982. She has performed with many Bay area ensembles, including the Stanford Quartet, Composers Inc, Chamber Music West, the Midsummer Mozart Chamber Players, and the Parlante Chamber Orchestra, with whom she was principal violist. She is also a member of the Donatello String Quartet, and she is a regular guest artist with the Stanford String Quartet. Over the course of her career, Nanci has performed with the Toledo Symphony, the Cleveland Opera orchestra, the Cleveland Ballet, as Assistant Principal violist of the Aspen Chamber Orchestra and rotating Principal of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. A native of Michigan, Severance received her B.M. from Oberlin College and her M.M. at Northern Illinois University. She has performed with SFCMP since 1986 and became a member in 2008.
David Tanenbaum has performed as a solo guitarist throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Solo performances over the course of his career have included the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Vienna’s ORF orchestra, and elsewhere, under the baton of such eminent conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kent Nagano and John Adams. Many distinguished composers have written solos for David, including Hans Werner Henze’s guitar concerto An Eine Äolsharfe, Terry Riley’s first guitar piece Ascención, four works by Aaron Jay Kernis, and the last completed work by Lou Harrison. Tanenbaum has toured extensively with Steve Reich and Musicians, in Japan with Toru Takemitsu, and has had a long association with Ensemble Modern. He is currently recording the complete guitar works of Sofia Gubaidulina for Naxos. David is the Chair of the San Francisco Conservatory’s Guitar department. David joined SFCMP in 2008. davidtanenbaum.com
Peter Wahrhaftig is Principal Tubist of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Bay Brass. He appears frequently with the San Francisco Opera, the Oakland-East Bay Symphony and numerous other local organizations, both in concert and in recordings, including those of Alvin Curran, Christian Wolff, and electro-acoustic composer Chris Brown . Past engagements have been with the Israel Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Ringling Brother-Barnum and Bailey Circus, and heavy metal legends Metallica. In addition to his performance career, Wahrhaftig has performed on the soundtracks of numerous movie and video games. An Oakland native, Peter received his degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Arnold Jacobs, and has also studied with Floyd Cooley. He can be heard on Alvin Curran’s eclectic CD Animal Sounds, and he now teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, U.C. Berkeley, and privately in the Bay Area. Peter joined SFCMP in 1982.
Grammy-nominated percussionist William Winant is internationally regarded as a leading performer of avant-garde music. In 2014, he received a Grammy nomination for his recording of John Cage’s historic solo work, 27′ 10.554″ for a percussionist, on Micro Fest Records. Over the course of his career, William has collaborated with legends of 20th and 21st century music, from Iannis Xenakis to Steve Reich and Yo-Yo Ma, and from Merce Cunningham to Kronos Quartet and Sonic Youth. Composers who have written for Willie include john Cage, Lou Harrison, John Zorn, Peter Garland, Larry Polansky, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Terry Riley, Fred Frith, Somei Satoh, and Wadada Leo Smith. He is the percussionist with the avant-rock band Mr. Bungle, and performs locally with his own ensemble, the William Winant Percussion Group. A member of the instrumental faculty at the University of California at Berkeley and Mills College, and a Visiting Lecturer at University of California, Santa Cruz. Winant has made over two hundred recordings covering a wide variety of music, including the revered recording of Lou Harrison’s La Koro Sutro and the 2013 release of Five American Percussion Pieces. In 2016, Winant was awarded a prestigious grant from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in recognition for his groundbreaking work as a contemporary percussionist. William joined SFCMP in 1988. williamwinant.com
In addition to his work with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, percussionist Nick Woodbury performs with and co-directs Mantra Percussion – a group dedicated to large-scale projects that redefine the traditional classical music concert format. Woodbury has appeared alongside the Bang on a Can All-Stars, with the Ensemble Modern Akademie, and Eco Ensemble. His work with contemporary music includes premiering new works by George Crumb, John Luther Adams, Michael Gordon and many others. Woodbury has appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Apple Store at Lincoln Center, Kresge Auditorium at MIT, New Music New College, Symphony Space in Manhattan, Carlsbad New Music Festival, Bowling Green New Music Festival, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, X Avant Festival in Toronto, Vancouver New Music and the Festival Internacional de Inverno de Campos do Jordão in Brazil. Nick joined SFCMP in 2015. nickwoodbury.com
Double bassist Richard Worn has performed extensively with the San Francisco Opera and Symphony. Currently, he serves as Assistant Principal Bass of the Marin Symphony and Principal Bass of the Sanse Chamber Orchestra as well as with the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, ECO Ensemble, Other Minds sfSound, Empyrean Ensemble, Earplay, and Composer’s Inc. Richard is also former Principal Bass of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. With his Worn Chamber Ensemble, founded in 1996, has performed works for both solo bass and ensemble by such composers as Andreissen, Cage, Harrison, Henze, Reveultas, Scelsi, Varese, and Xenakis. Richard holds degrees in double bass from California State University, Northridge and the New England Conservatory. He currently teaches and provides orchestral coaching at UC Berkeley. Richard joined SFCMP in 2002.
Rozella Floranz Kennedy (Executive Director) has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, ranging from arts and cultural organizations to the ACLU. She began her career in media, working in editorial management roles at Paris Passion magazine, Mothering magazine, Oxygen.com, Time Inc., and other media institutions. She helped establish three nonprofit organizations in New Mexico, where she lived for the last 12 years: the NM Centennial Commemoration, Creative Santa Fe, and the nationally acclaimed Santa Fe New Music (SFNM). She co-founded SFNM and helped lead the organization to many accolades, including 100 performances, nine major commissions, 39 world premieres, five American premieres, and the 2010 Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Most recently, Rozella served as business development director for a national diversity organization providing opportunities to Native American students. An alumna of New York’s Brearley School, she holds degrees from Tufts University and the Université de Paris, Sorbonne. She is a published essayist. She and her husband, the composer and conductor John Kennedy, have two daughters and two dogs. Rozella joined the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players in 2012.
Monday, April 1, 2013
8:00 p.m. | Pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m.
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP) is proud to present the final concert of the 2012-13 season, our 42nd, with a concert featuring a global kaleidoscope of compositional voices ranging from classical, avant-garde, jazz, and gamelan genres to Asian and Aboriginal influences and American iconoclasts.
Join us on Monday, April 1 for “Hive,” a concert featuring two world premieres of SFCMP commissions and works for chamber ensemble.
Among the composers whose works will be performed are Lewis Nielson, a composer and faculty member at Oberlin College. He will be present for the World Premiere of his SFCMP-commissioned work: *on regression, accumulation, and the persistence of ghosts. The Israeli composer Chaya Czernowin, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow and the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University, will also be present for the premiere of her SFCMP-commissioned work *Slow Summer Stay.*
The concert will also feature the US premiere of a 1997 work by Australian Composer Liza Lim, whose composition *Philtre*(which translates as “love potion), for solo retuned violin will be performed by SFCMP ensemble member Graeme Jennings. The eponymous composition “Hive,” by Evan Ziporyn is also on the program. A co-founder of the game-changing new music ensemble Bang On A Can All-Stars wrote this work in 2007 for two clarinets and bass clarinet.
In addition to the concert, we will present the final “Contemporary Insights” event the day before, Sunday, March 31 at 4:30 p.m. at the SF Girls Chorus (44 Page St #200, San Francisco, CA 94102 ) where Artistic Director Steven Schick will talk with the composers and some of the featured works will be previewed.
Lewis Nielson, on regression, accumulation, and the persistence of ghosts (2013, commission and world premiere)
Evan Ziporyn, Hive (2007)
Liza Lim, Philtre (1997, US premiere)
Chaya Czernowin, Slow Summer Stay (2013, commission and world premiere)
Monday, February 25, 2013
8:00 p.m. | Pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m. Herbst Theatre
SFCMP’s February 22 concert features world premieres of commissions by George Lewis and Mark Applebaum, the West Coast premiere of a recent work by “post-minimalist” composer Eve Beglarian; a work by composer, percussionist, and poet Stuart Saunders Smith; and Bay Area-composer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Dresher.
Rabbit Hole will spiral us into a shared exploration of varied styles and compositional voices, from jazz to minimalism, and from poetry to Dada theatricality.
George Lewis is a composer/trombonist, a pioneer of computer music, and a scholar of improvisation and experimental music. A professor at Columbia University, he also is the recipient of a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship. He has performed over his illustrious career with jazz artists including Anthony Braxton, Count Basie, Gil Evans, and others. Lewis, in residence at UC Berkeley for the Spring Semester of 2013 and will be present for the concert, where his new SFCMP commission Hexis will receive its world premiere.
Eve Beglarian is a “post-minimalist” composer whose chamber, choral, and orchestral music has been commissioned and widely performed in the U.S. and abroad. Her 2010 work I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long, will receive its Bay Area premiere.
The recipient of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and a mainstay in Bay Area new music circles, Paul Dresher is a self-described “pre-maximalist.” As a guest musician, he will be performing his 2011 work, Chromatic Quadrachord, on the quadrachord, an instrument of his invention.
Composer, percussionist, and poet Stuart Saunders Smith will travel from his home in Maine to be present for the performance of his 1977 work Pinetop, a new-music homage to ragtime pianist Pinetop Perkins.
The evening will also include the World Premiere of a SFCMP-commissioned work by composer/improviser Mark Applebaum, who is also associate professor of music composition and theory at Stanford University. His new work, for which our concert, Rabbit Hole, is named, combines high theatricality in the Dadaist tradition with a densely detailed score of musical cues and glyphs. Come join us for a thrilling sonic venture!
Eve Beglarian, I’m Worried Now, But I Won’t Be Worried Long (2010, 6 min. – Bay Area premiere)
Stuart Saunders Smith, Pinetop (1977, 7 min.)
Mark Applebaum, Rabbit Hole (2013, 15 min. – commission and world premiere)
Paul Dresher, Chromatic Quadrachord (2001, 8 minutes)
George Lewis, Hexis (2013, 12 min. – commission and world premiere)
Monday, January 28, 2013
8:00 p.m. | Pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m. San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall
Get ready to hear one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. SFCMP joins with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for a rare performance of Music for 18 Musicians and other pieces by Steve Reich, featuring students from the Conservatory’s Percussion Ensemble and other programs. A complimentary reception with our musicians will follow the discussion.
Steve Reich, Clapping Music (1972, 4’)
Steve Reich, Electric Counterpoint (2005, 11’)
Steve Reich, Music for 18 Musicians (1974, 55’)
Click here for the event’s press release and here for ticket information.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is located at 50 Oak Street, San Francisco.
Sunday, October 28, 2012 – 1:00-5:33 p.m. | FREE – YBCA Forum and Gallery Building
The duration of this event gave a nod to Cage’s memorable silent work 4’ 33”, which shocked audiences sixty years ago, but today reveals the genre-disrupting and defining impulses that typified Cage’s work and life. SFCMP presented the Bay Area’s free marathon “circus” with over 40 Cage works for soloists, ensembles, and even non-musicians.
Here’s how the John Cage database describes a Musicircus: “The idea of this composition is nothing more than an invitation to a number of musicians, who perform simultaneously anything or in any way they desire.” If you have always wondered about John Cage, or just want to experience something different and exciting, don’t miss this.
In addition to works performed by our fantastic ensemble players, the Musicircus included a variety of related activities and events:
• A screening of Cage/Cunningham at 2:00 p.m. (Q & A with director Elliot Caplan after the film moderated by Ann Murphy, Chair of the Dance Department at Mills College).
• Performances by young musicians from Mills College, UC Davis, Sacramento State, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
• Cage’s Postcard from Heaven performed by an ensemble of 13 harps.
• Event guides from the Young Artists At Work (YAAW) program at YBCA.
• Readings from Cage’s letters, essays, and other writings.
• A sound walk around Yerba Buena Gardens based on Cage’s A Dip in the Lake. Audiences brought their smartphone or audio recorder and became performers by play back sounds recorded during these walks in an interactive performance of the piece.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
8:00 p.m. | Pre-concert talk 7:15 p.m.
Our season opens with a weekend of events celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of the revolutionary composer, artist, and writer John Cage. All three of Cage’s groundbreaking Constructions for percussion ensemble will be interspersed with recent works by emerging American composers, creating a dialogue between a master and some newer voices of contemporary music.
Lei Liang, Aural Hypothesis (2010, 11’, West Coast premiere)