What We Do
Led by Artistic Director Steven Schick, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP) is one of the most long-standing continually performing new music ensembles in the U.S. occupying a special role in the regional and national cultural landscape. Through a broad range of performances, collaborative projects, commissioning, and educational outreach activities, we aim to give our audience members and friends opportunities to discover musical repertoire that is new to them – and to use these experiences as ways to better understand, interact with, and enjoy their lives and our world.
Among other classical ensembles, we are solely devoted to 20th and 21st century repertoire – particularly the work of living composers. Yes, we love the traditional and familiar works of the canon – but as with all art-forms, our collective societal imagination requires the stimulation of the new. Across cultures and stylistic constraints, composers today are creating a vast and vital 21st-century musical language. We want to share it with as many people as possible, both in and out of a traditional concert setting.
In addition to programmatic innovation, SFCMP is highly praised for the high artistic caliber of our performers. Our 22 core members are among the Bay Area’s leading musicians, active soloists and chamber musicians. Some belong to pillar institutions such as the SF Symphony, SF Ballet, or the SF Opera, while others are founding members of respected performing ensembles such as the Ives Quartet, Eco Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, etc. Many are esteemed area educators, holding professorships at Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and Mills College, among others. All are devoted to the excitement and adventure of new music.
Over 42 seasons, we have performed more than 1,200 new works by 560 composers. Nearly 150 of these have been premieres, and we have commissioned 79 new works from such composers as John Adams, Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, Shulamit Ran, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Olly Wilson, Julia Wolfe, and Zhou Long. SFCMP has been presented by leading cultural festivals and concert series including San Francisco Performances, Cal Performances, the Other Minds Festival, and the Stern Grove Festival, the 2013 Festival of New American Music at California State University at Sacramento, the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, the Ojai Festival, and in 2009 at France’s prestigious MANCA Festival in Nice.
– “The Bay Area’s premier new music ensemble” – Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
What We Can Do – Beyond the Concert Hall
We believe contemporary music has the potential to engage many members of our community, even if they don’t have a particular closeness to classical music. It’s our aim to forge a place at the community table for new music – fostering its relevance, even for the non-traditional concert-goer.
In addition to our long-standing “Contemporary Insights: Music and Conversation” series and pre-concert talks geared towards adults, imaginative website resources and other means, we are focused on invigorating the Bay Area through our educational and outreach activities. Here’s what we believe can happen:
Concert and non-concert events and activities can give members and friends opportunities to discover musical repertoire that is new to them – and to use these experiences as ways to better understand, interact with, and enjoy their lives and our world.
Casual and even non-musicians can be brought into the arc of music creation and appreciation.
Educational and artistic programs can take place in a variety of venues and settings, creating broader opportunities for people to be touched and influenced by the music in ways that are unique for each of them.
More people in the Bay Area can enjoy access to authentic, high-quality performance and participation in new classical music.
We can effectively build partnerships and leverage resources, so even a small institution like ours can make a mighty stand for creating new pathways of relevance and support the art-form in exciting and compelling ways.
Stay tuned for news of new informal “pop-up” events and resources, featuring our own ensemble members, guest composers we work with, and others who are contributing to the cultural commons around the vibrant field of new music.
What You Can Do – Join With Us
If all of this interests you, there are several ways you can get involved:
1) Sign up for our e-newsletter (box at bottom of this page) and/or follow us on Facebook for ongoing information
2) Make a tax-deductible gift to support our work
3) Contact us to learn about corporate sponsorship and volunteer opportunities
4) Tell your friends about what we do and why we are doing it.
Thanks! We look forward to sharing great musical moments with you!