What We Do


– “The Bay Area’s premier new music ensemble” –  Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

Led by Artistic Director Steven Schick, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players occupies an important role in the regional and national cultural landscape. The most long-standing continually performing new music ensemble outside the East Coast, SFCMP uses performances, collaborative projects, commissions, and educational outreach activities to give 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.

We are devoted to 20th and 21st century repertoire because – as with all art – 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 inside and outside the traditional concert setting.

In addition to programmatic innovation, our performances are rooted in artistic virtuosity. Our 22 core members are among the Bay Area’s leading musicians.Some belong to pillar institutions such as the SF Symphony, SF Ballet, and SF Opera, while others are founding members of respected chamber ensembles such as the Ives Quartet, Eco Ensemble , and Alarm Will Sound. 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.

Now in our 44th season, we have performed more than 1,200 new works by over 550 composers. Nearly 150 of these have been premieres, and we have commissioned some 80 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.

Beyond the Concert Hall

Contemporary music has the potential to engage many people, even those who don’t have a particular closeness to classical music. We’re working to make a place at the community table for new music all around the Bay Area, even for the non-traditional concertgoer.

To this end, we have focused on invigorating the public through educational and outreach activities. In addition to pre-concert talks, we’re launching new public events and activities with composers, musicians, and others who care about the cultural world. Here is what we believe can happen:

  1. Concert and non-concert events and activities provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy, and benefit from music that is new to them.

  2. Casual and even non-musicians are welcomed into the arc of music creation and appreciation.

  3. Events and programs take place in a variety of settings, letting music touch and influence people in ways that are unique for each of them.

  4. More people in the Bay Area enjoy access to authentic, high-quality performance and participation in new classical music.

  5. Effective partnerships help even a small institution like ours play a significant role in creating relevance and interest for new art and culture.

We’re excited about our future. Please join us in exploring, celebrating and expanding the vibrant field of new music. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or through our website for ongoing news about our season, projects, and special events!

Join With Us

If our goals and plans interest you, there are several ways you can get involved:

1) Make a tax-deductible gift to support our work

2)  Contact us to learn about corporate sponsorship and volunteer opportunities

3) Browse this website, where features, links and even a SFCMP Spotify playlist can help set you on a path of discovery all your own!

4) Tell your friends about what we do!

Thank you! We look forward to sharing a great musical adventure with you!