SFCMP presents SF Search
Under 30 Composer Competition and Reading Panel
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players is committed to the recording and creation of world-class contemporary classical works.
Cheryl Steets is a senior marketing executive with extensive expertise in strategic marketing communications, having led marketing communications teams in organizations of all sizes from start-ups to multi-million dollar international corporations over the past 18 years.
As Chief Operating Officer of gINT Software in Santa Rosa CA, Cheryl led the organization to quadruple its revenue in a short seven-year period. As marketing director for Bentley Systems, a global corporation based in Exton, PA, Cheryl oversaw many successful international and multilingual marketing initiatives over a six-year period, including strategic planning, event marketing, and social media outreach with multinational teams.
In addition to her professional marketing career, Cheryl holds a Ph.D. from UCLA with a focus on ancient languages, specializing in Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and early Persian, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Classics from the University of Rhode Island. Cheryl is the founder and president of Inner Sunrise LLC, an organization devoted to wellness that offers products and educational information related stress relief and work-life balance. Alongside her extensive business and academic experience, Cheryl brings a deep love and profound appreciation for the glories of music, literature, theater, and fine art.
Explore the music that we’ve performed, and more! Radio SFCMP is your guide through the sound worlds that have inspired SFCMP audiences for the past 44 years. Enjoy the discoveries!
Check out samples and kudos from our 2014-15 season, including Agata Zubel’s “engagingly unsettled chamber work,” (SF Chronicle) and Tony Arnold’s “evocative and memorable” performance (Financial Times) of George Crumb’s Yesteryear.
Listen free to recordings of new works premiered as part of TenFourteen from our 2014-15 season. Yes, free! Listen Now
Soundvoice is a community engagement and educational project created by SFCMP. The celebration, together with our 2015 partner, Hospitality House, took place on May 17.
Excerpt from Elena Ruehr: It’s About Time (world premiere, November 16, 2015)
Excerpt from Gabriela Ortiz: Corporea (world premiere, November 16, 2015)
Excerpt from Du Yun: Slow Portraits 3 (world premiere, January 25, 2015)
Excerpt from George Crumb: The Yellow Moon of Andalusia (world premiere, November 16, 2015)
Excerpt from Agata Zubel where to (world premiere, January 25, 2015)
Excerpt from Laurie San Martin: we turn in the night in a circle of fire (world premiere February 22, 2015)
Support letter to the NEA from composer David Lang
STEVEN SCHICK ON PROJECT TENFOURTEEN
Our TenFourteen Project
When Rob Amory, a Trustee of the Jebediah Foundation approached me in February 2011with an extravagant proposal to commission ten composers for our 2014-15 season—a cycle he calls Project TenFourteen—he made one thing crystal clear. The composers were to confront, each in his or her way, “the human condition, common to us all.”
Initially, I was dubious about our prospects for success.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t imagine ten composers, especially these ten gifted artists, taking the challenge seriously and composing music about the human condition. The problem was that I couldn’t imagine any worthy composer making music that was not about the human condition. How would these compositions be different? But Rob’s point of departure was not to be easily shunted aside. In the nearly four years it has taken to prepare Project TenFourteen, I have often mused about what it might mean explicitly to confront our human condition through music. Many of the composers must have wondered too. I have fielded such questions from them as, “Does this mean we should compose some kind of political music?” “Should I use voice so that a text can make my point of view clearer?”
Non-guidance has always been my favorite kind of guidance; it shapes without instructing. So, in the manner of psychotherapists (and conductors) everywhere, I asked in return, “And, how do you feel about that?”
With an invitation as ample as “reflect on being human,” the first logical step would be to make things as concrete as possible, beginning by narrowing the options. Indeed, the composers quickly imposed restrictions on themselves. They limited the number of instruments or the kinds of special techniques they would use. They put boundaries on matters as sophisticated as their harmonic and melodic palette and as simple as overall duration. And as options narrowed, compositional points-of-view became more focused. A composer who creates a limit does two things: she enforces a restriction that impedes exploration in a certain direction. She also releases pressure in the opposite direction, making exploration more likely along that potentially fruitful, and now depressurized, area. Thus, as in Bernoulli’s Principle, an acceleration in the stream of ideas follows in direct relation to a considered limitation, but along the vector opposing it. Before any of us knew it, ideas were surging and roiling, gathering both density and velocity.
The unfolding of a musical composition is always fascinating, but I wondered whether this special set of commissions inspired a different process. In other words, was the process of composition itself—as distinct from the resulting piece of music—able to respond to the human condition? Among the many things that Project TenFourteen has demonstrated to me is that the act of composing music—the thinking, planning, scheming, and imagining—reveals a distinctly human dimension in creativity.
Let’s start with a personal axiom of my own: music does not consist solely—perhaps not even mostly—of the presentation of musical sounds. For me it is first and foremost a web of interactions. These interactions link composers and performers, to be sure, but they also reach out to listeners, concert presenters, music critics, and beyond. A piece of music can even reach people who have not heard or read about it, but are nevertheless buoyed along on the waves and eddies it created. It was marvelous to see each TenFourteen composer confront creation, not as the employment of a skill set involving sonic choices, pitch matrices, or the blueprints of form, but as the response to the essential question: How does this music enrich the lives of those for whom it is intended? This simple criterion supplanted the commonplace metrics of success in the world of classical music—style, popular appeal, ticket and record sales, outreach potential—and replaced them with the only standards that count: Might someone be moved by this music? Would someone’s life be made richer?
My conversations with Project TenFourteen composers in the early stages of their work illuminated for me the importance of a composer’s avenue, that is to say the path by which a composer connects his first fantasies and ideas about a piece with the sounds and ideas that eventually reach his listeners.
A composer who creates an effective avenue can use it to enhance both the beginning and the end of the compositional process. Imagine this: the buzz of an idea fascinates a composer. This idea passes via an avenue or avenues through compositional stages of increasing refinement and artistic rigor. Eventually the idea is realized as a piece of music, experienced in a concert by an audience member. But this moment of active, conscious listening is not “the end.” In fact it is just the mid-point of the process. A listener reverses the progression, first examining the piece as sound, and then, through reflection, extracting a world of ideas from it. Perhaps with the passage of time (and if a composer has constructed his avenues well), what will remain in the memory of the listener will be some version of the original buzz that motivated the composer in the first place. Project TenFourteen focuses our attention on the way the buzz of an idea traverses the avenue a composer has created for it.
In fact one view of music history involves tracking shifts in composers’ preferred avenues—interpolations in the buzz cycle, if you will.
For example, until Kant, Beethoven, and the other late 18th century zealots of the Enlightenment came along, the Church and the landed aristocracy held a virtual monopoly on what we considered “serious” music. Compositional avenues of that period dictated that “classical music” was to be written for the rich, the Godly—or preferably both. But a radical tidal wave of new thinking, fomented by Beethoven and his contemporaries, forged by the French Revolution and furthered by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, smashed the ecclesiastical hegemony—redirecting art along three new meridians: liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Talk about the human condition!
The egalitarian precepts of the Enlightenment continue to guide our attempts to extract meaning from music. Even after the complex codicils of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we still take comfort in music that treats humanity as more strongly bonded by its commonalities than split by its differences. But arguably Beethoven and his cohort cared more about humanity than about people. Such thinking might have been acceptable two hundred years ago, but to a contemporary composer seeking to communicate with individual human beings and their messy lives, the broad application of classical-era bromides seems aloof and insufficient.
This brings us to the present, where we rightly expect music to respond honestly to us and not to a conveniently packaged collection of human qualities. In short, we expect new avenues. Composers have begun to listen to us as much as we listen to them, and to compose music that reflects our broad and unwieldy spectrum of personal histories, intellectual orientations, and stylistic preferences. But herein lurks a danger: in our desire to personalize the experience of listening to music, we risk creating the music of autobiography. As we seek a music that responds to each of us, we risk sacrificing music that speaks to all of us.
It was just as we were balancing tenuously on the tightrope of these distinctions – between music as something universal and aspirational and music as a force that is personal and with shifting relevance—that Rob Amory tossed us a weighted medicine ball in the form of Project TenFourteen. To the best of our abilities we have kept our balance, but of course the ultimate judgment will be yours.
Listen to what we have learned so far. The Polish composer, Agata Zubel, wrote about the view of historical time in her new work, where to: “synergy [among diverse peoples] … makes it possible to look both sideways… and back.” I smiled when I realized that I was not the only one who obsessively picks at loose threads in the historical weave. Gabriela Ortiz took a more direct route in her Corpórea when she declared it to be, “about the duality between the mind and the body.” The work is dedicated to the Mexican diplomat Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, who rescued tens of thousands of Jews and Spanish republicans, saving their bodies and minds from the destruction of the Second World War. In the last concert of our season, Koji Nakano will use the symbolism of the Mandala in his eponymous piece to represent, in his words, “the religious chart and geometric pattern of both Hinduism and Buddhism, as the focal point to get into my own inner and outer world of equilibrium.” George Crumb’s Xylophony, the first piece solely for percussion by this great American composer, looks both forward to new chapters in the lexicon of the percussive art and backward to the wood nymphs of Wagner.
Finally, for me, the heart of Project TenFourteen comes not in the form of a piece, but from a conversation I had with the venerable composer Chou Wen-Chung about the techniques and meanings of Chinese calligraphy. The key to calligraphy, according to Professor Chou, lies in the contraposition of multiplicity and singularity: a calligraphic character is comprised of many intertwined and mutually reinforcing brush strokes that must be made in a single movement, propelled by a single breath. It is both many and one at the same time. It projects both objective meaning and indefinable poetry. A brush stroke is simultaneously a single object that breaks down under examination into layers of fine, individual lines, and the reverse, a collection of independent lines that, in the right light, meld together as one. I will leave you to apply Professor Chou’s thoughts to the music you will experience in Project TenFourteen. But for me his model is powerful: any art that can merge the individual and collective, the personal and the universal, offers a vital new avenue for us all.
My thanks at this moment are to Rob Amory and the Jebediah Foundation for the invitation to participate in Project TenFourteen, to Matias Tarnopolsky and his wonderful staff for making us at home under the umbrella of Cal Performances, to my colleagues at the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and of course, most importantly, to you, our intrepid listeners. As we imagined this music from its inception, and imagined the conversations that would ensue, it was always with you we were speaking.
– Steven Schick
ABOUT THESE WORKS:
Elena Ruehr began it’s about time immediately upon receiving the TenFourteen Project commission, completing it in the month of her 50th birthday in August 2013. Ruehr intended it, in part, as a birthday present to herself; it’s prevailingly optimistic, the title referencing her birthday milestone as well as the work’s dynamic focus on rhythm and meter, patterns and their transformation. The piece is modeled loosely on the Baroque (particularly Vivaldian) concerto. The violin has a sometime concertante role supported by “continuo” of clarinet, guitar, harp, drum, and cello, but the continuo textures frequently become the true focus of the piece. In contrast with the buoyant outer movements, the introspective middle movement was triggered by a catastrophic world event whose echo suffuses its mood.
In addition to the two world premieres this evening, George Crumb’s Xylophony, written for Steven Schick, is slated for premiere in March. The composer writes, “The sense of YESTERYEAR is implied by François Villon’s Ballad of the Dead Ladies: ‘Where are the snows of yesteryear?’ ” In Yesteryear, “a Vocalise for Mezzo-Soprano, Amplified Piano, and Percussion,” the instruments provide a shimmering and resonant atmosphere for the voice; in a real sense the voice expands into this non-vocal sound-world. At the same time the voice is in itself a kind of hyper-voice, beyond everyday communication, beyond singing and speaking. This is enhanced by characteristic theatrical elements. The Yellow Moon of Andalusia is a cycle of six Lorca settings for voice and amplified piano. Imagery of clocks’ inexorable machinery rubs against the wild sounds of cicadas and fundamental expression of song.
Crumb’s Five Pieces for Piano are an early (1962) example of the composer’s penchant for extending instruments’ basic idioms into new worlds of sound. These pieces also reveal a succinct, direct control of musical gesture and the creation of a highly individual musical rhetoric.
Georges Aperghis produces highly exploratory and experimental work in the service of the most immediate expressive content, with particular focus on vocal and theatrical works. His Récitations series for voice is somewhat in the vein of Berio’s Sequenza III or Ligeti’s Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures, along with other linguistically structuralist (/deconstructionist) works of that era. Composed in 1977-78, the Récitations pieces crowd vocal and emotional actions into such densely packed moments that they elude any possible sense of “completion,” instead suggesting a landscape of layered meanings—musical, semantic, emotional, instinctive, all centered within, and emerging from, the performer herself. Récitation 9 weaves together a placidly uttered sentence with a repeated vocal fragment like a displaced loop. Récitation 10 creates a simulacrum of realistic communication via a “sentence” expanding via fragments of quasi-words, interposed with sung phrases.
Gabriela Ortiz’s TenFourteen Project commission, Corpórea, is dedicated to the Mexican diplomat Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, whose actions as consul in France during World War II allowed thousands of Jews, exiles from Franco’s Spain, and others to escape the Third Reich during the years 1940-43. As its title suggests, the music of Ortiz’s four-movement work is strongly centered on the physical, fragile nature of the human body, as well as the body as foundation for human thought and spirit. The first and third movements are ethereal and airy: the first, “Air,” is virtually a miniature flute concerto, with that instrument frequently recalling the very sound of breath, of wind. The second and fourth are more concretely rhythmic and pulsed, representing “primitive and earthy aspects of life” (Alejandro Escuer).
George Crumb was born in West Virginia in 1929 into a musical family, and studied at various schools in the Midwest as well as at the Berlin Hochschule as a Fulbright Scholar. He eventually joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he composed and taught for three decades. His highly intuitive approach to composition, with its emphasis on texture, timbre, and line, bore substantial fruit during the 1960s, including the Madrigals (1966-1969), Eleven Echoes of Autumn (1965), and, inspired by the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Night of the Four Moons (1969). Echoes of Time and the River, one of Crumb’s rare orchestral works, earned the composer the Pulitzer Prize.
Gabriela Ortiz Torres was born in Mexico City of parents who were folk musicians. She learned folk music at home, and then studied in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique. She returned to Mexico City due to the illness of her mother, and studied composition there with Mario Lavista at the National Conservatory of Music. She continued her studies at the Guildhall School with Robert Saxton, and with Simon Emmerson at the University of London where she received a PhD in 1996. After completing her studies, she took a position at the National School of Music at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City. She also taught at Indiana University in the United States.
Elena Ruehr says of her music “the idea is that the surface be simple, the structure complex.” An award winning faculty member at MIT, she is also a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and has been a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute and composer-in-residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which performed her major orchestral works as well as the opera Toussaint Before the Spirits(Arsis Records). Three of her six string quartets were commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet, who have recordedHow She Danced: String Quartets of Elena Ruehr. Her quartets have also been performed by the Biava, Borromeo, Lark, ROCO and Shanghai string quartets. Her other recordings include Averno(Avie Records with the Trinity Choir, Julian Wachner, conducting),Jane Wang considers the Dragonfly (various artists on Albany) andShimmer (Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble on Albany).
Born in Greece in 1945, Georges Aperghis has lived in France since 1963. He has pursued a broadly independent career the core of which is music composition, but which also embraces expansive multimedia and theatrical elements. Among his influences have been the musique concrete of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry and his mentor Iannis Xenakis, whose iconoclastic approach served as a model for Aperghis’s development of his own compositional methodology. Among his most important pieces are the watershed La tragique histoire du nécromancien Hiéronimo et de son miroir, the Récitations series for solo voice, and Die Hamletmaschine, based on Heiner Müller’s drama; he has also created a substantial body of instrumental works. In 2011 he received the Mauricio Kagel Prize.
Since becoming the first-prize laureate of the both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition (NL) and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition (USA), Tony Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-edge composers and instrumentalist on the world stage. She has premiered over 25 new works written expressly for her as soprano of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and has premiered over 200 new works, extensively touring the US and abroad. Ms. Arnold is a member of the George Crumb Ensemble, and has more than two dozen recordings with major labels to her credit. to date. In 2009, Ms. Arnold was the first performer ever invited to be the Howard Hanson Distinguished Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music. Since 2003 she has served on the faculty of the University at Buffalo. In 2014, she will serve as artist-in-residence at both the University of Indianapolis and the University of California at Davis. Read more about Tony Arnold at her website.
March 25, 2015 Town Hall
4:30-6:30 p.m. Center for New Music (55 Taylor Street)
Recording of the meeting (unedited)
- Welcome and recap from last meeting
- Remarks and/or Q & A – current season; next season (S. Schick)
- Round Robin format Player-Led Discussion
- Continuing our dialogue about collaboratively designing “pods” (-scapes).
- Why are you into new music? And what does or can SFCMP mean for you?
- How could SFCMP help enhance your brand as an individual musician? How can you help us do the same for ours?
- Post-mortem on the 2014-15 season. What’s worked well? What would you change?
- What’s different in your other groups from SFCMP that you wish we could do?
- What would you like to see more of?
- Who are SFCMP’s constituents? What’s our purpose?
- What is a Player? Why are you one?
- How can we be more specific about Player responsibilities and privileges?
- Other topics
October 8, 2014 Town Hall
Six-minute presentation on our “State of the State”
Letter from Steven Schick
As I rapidly approach my fourth anniversary as Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, let me say that the experience of making music with you has been life affirming. We have created wonderful concerts together, reached many thousands of listeners, and made an indelible impact on our community. So I would like the following observations to start with a thank you for what we have done together and for the promise of what we are poised to do.
Where We Have Been
The first two seasons in my tenure as artistic director of SFCMP were full of wonderful and provocative music. During interviews and conversations at the time of my hiring, I pledged to continue the arc of SFCMP, assuring board members and players alike that I wished to maintain the solid tradition and venerable history of our group. Change, when it came, would neither be immediate nor precipitous. “Zones of Intensity” (our 2011-12 season), and “The Beautiful X” (2012-13) did indeed play upon our history and traditions. Each season was a set of five concerts, presented at Herbst Theater, and each was associated with a “Contemporary Insights” presentation on the day before the concert. We commissioned and premiered pieces by Chaya Czernowin, Mark Applebaum, Lewis Nielson, Michelle Lou, and Edmund Campion. In the second season we also hosted the largest concert Cage Centennial event in the western United States. More than a thousand people heard us in two concerts, one of which was a 4h33’ “Musicircus.” A few months later we presented a sold-out performance of Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” in an extraordinary collaboration with San Francisco Conservatory students. It was unexpected, but not surprising, that we made the San Francisco Chronicle’s year-end round up as the most improved ensemble. I highlight the Cage and Reich events, not just because they were popular, but because – as both great performances and engaging outreach – they began to point the way to a new role and revitalized profile for SFCMP.
In conversations with Rozie Kennedy, who has brought extraordinary energies and abilities to us as our Executive Director, and in consultation with the Artistic Committee, we began to embrace a more ‘holistic’ (for want of a better term) approach to music presentation. Great performances in concerts were as vital as ever, but they were not enough. Plans for the 2013-14 season, “Sounding the Public Space,” were built upon the lessons learned in the Cage and Reich events. In “Sounding the Public Space,” as before, we presented great concerts. Highlights for me were Luciano Chessa and his army of dancing parfumières, hearing Jeff Anderle’s magisterial performance of Lucier and Bill Kalinkos wailing like a rock star in La Chute. From Jarek Kapuscinski’s “Gramophone Concerto,” to James Dillon’s masterpiece, New York Triptych, it was quite a year.
But perhaps the most exciting elements of last season were the ways in which we departed from a straight concert format and worked in alternate modes of music presentation. Certainly one of the most important new pieces presented anywhere in the country last season was Lisa Bielawa’s Crissy Broadcast. As environmental art, as a choreographed sound installation, and as a mammoth outreach effort that brought nearly 800 community musicians together, it was unparalleled. And there we were right in the middle of it! SFCMP was the core ensemble and I was music director of the project. It was rightly featured as one of the top ten concerts of 2013 in the Chronicle. And we closed the season with “Sweet Thunder.” You may remember that through Rand Steiger we secured a grant of $100,000 with an additional $50,000 in matching funds to host and present a festival of electro-acoustic music at the Fort Mason Center. Rozie ingeniously deployed and augmented that grant and we were able to present a world-class festival. Our events – the Saturday evening concert and Sunday’s “Compose Yourself” for high-school aged composers (thank you again Rozie for making that happen!) – were superb. And the guest ensembles we hosted contributed significantly to our event and to our luster as hosts. Among the many signs of success have been the numerous letters I received – some before the festival – from composers and performers asking to be included in the “next Sweet Thunder Festival!”
Where We Are
The accomplishments detailed above are thanks to you. And thanks to you we start our new season, “TenFourteen,” with a full head of steam. You have heard this information many times, but let me reinforce here, that the impetus for “TenFourteen” was a large grant made to us by the Jebediah Foundation, with which we have commissioned and will present 10 new works (actually 12 since George Crumb has sent us three pieces!) The new works are by Ken Ueno, Laurie San Martin, Elena Reuhr, Du Yun, Gabriela Ortiz, Lei Liang, Koji Nakano, Agata Zubel, Chou Wen-chung and George Crumb. These concerts will be given under the auspices of Cal Performances. This alone is a major partnership worth celebrating. The initial reason for seeking out Matias Tarnopolsky and exploring a relationship with Cal Performances was the need to find an alternate venue while Herbst Theatre was undergoing renovations. But the relationship that has evolved with Matias and his staff has gone far beyond one of convenience. They are offering their facilities, participating financially by bringing in guest soloists, and have featured us in more than a quarter-million brochures that went out to their subscribers.
By now many of you have been in touch with Jon Yu, who will take some of the rehearsal scheduling functions formerly provided by Mason. We are trying something new this year, with the idea of making better use of your time, by scheduling rehearsals in a short intense period immediately preceding the performance. Like every new initiative there will be a period of adjustment. We are committed to this new paradigm until we have a chance to evaluate its effectiveness. I invite you to contact us with any concerns and problems you are having.
Though “TenFourteen” is built upon our concerts, we plan to extend the concert performances into the sphere of outreach by means of associated events – conversations, classes, informal gatherings – designed to create a deep and nuanced experience that goes beyond the scores and performances. Again, what we have learned from the Musicircus, and Crissy Field, from Sweet Thunder, and Project Anton (in which we took the Webern Concerto into grade school classes) is that concerts are necessary, but they are not enough. Our true art is the creation and cultivation of relationships, existing on multiple levels, with our family of listeners.
Where We Are Going
At the time of this writing, my thoughts are very much on our plans for the 2015-16 season. Some things are known: We will return to San Francisco. We will have a season of concerts surrounded by events that amplify them. But the haunting question is, how do we leverage the work we have done towards a new paradigm of music presentation in our future seasons. My core belief is this: If we remain in a format in which we only present five stand-alone concerts, we do so at our peril. I believe that people listen to music to connect them to world where experiences and ideas are shared. And I believe that people listen to new music to join a world of new ideas. Creating new music is the greatest sign of optimism a society can make. New music presumes future audiences of active listeners who someday will seek a relationship with us through the art we have made. This requires relationships not just concerts. It requires that we cultivate a new community of listeners, and that we talk to them not just play at them.
I propose we continue a core offering of high-quality ensemble concerts, but that we amplify the impact of those concerts by embedding them in a web of related activities, such as presentations in schools and smaller concerts of chamber and solo music that directly reflect upon the large ensemble concerts. For 2015-16, I envision three “pods” of activity. These pods will not be festivals. Festivals, while valuable, are not a new mode of presentation and do not suit our administrative structure. Our events will look like hives: at the center of each will be a major concert with large and important ensemble works organized loosely around a theme. But also just like a hive, there will be a great deal of activity beyond the major concerts. You, the players, will be invited to propose autonomous concerts – solo and small ensemble – that will extend the theme. And we will all engage in dialogue with our listeners and other musicians in a variety of “talk and play” formats. The advantages to this plan are multiple: we can explore important themes in contemporary music, we can occupy the artistic space of San Francisco for a week or so with attendant publicity and impact, and, if we set up a lively internal process of brainstorming and programming, we can bring SFCMP closer to the new model of artist-driven music making.
This presents lots of challenges. We will need to speak to each other to refine this idea in a way that reflects our, and not just my, views. And, of course, new initiatives, whether they be the concerts themselves or a novel and innovative outreach modalities, will need to be funded. This will require all of us to own our activities.
For that reason I request a “Town Meeting” of players and board members sometime this fall so that our new season can develop in a spirit of shared commitment. At the moment the thoughts in this letter are simply a proposal. My ideas are malleable; my plans are flexible. But I know I speak for Rozie and Don when I say that the secret to our future success resides not just in where we go but, equally importantly, how we get there. My hope is that we will get there together.
Thank you for reading this long note. Thank you for your great work, whether as a player or board member. I look forward to our conversations.
Through our services agreement with the Center for New Music, the following key personnel manage and implement SFCMP’s production activities:
Adam Fong (Project Manager) Adam has worked as a composer, performer, and producer of new music since completing his MFA in Music Composition at California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with James Tenney and Wadada Leo Smith. As Associate Director of Other Minds (2006–2012), Fong produced six editions of the annual Other Minds Festival, dubbed the “premier new music festival on the West Coast” (Los Angeles Times), and many special projects including the CD reissues of Conlon Nancarrow’s Studies for Player Piano and The Complete Music of Carl Ruggles, tribute concerts to Ruth Crawford Seeger, Henry Cowell, and Dane Rudhyar, a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Fluxus, and the American Premiere of 18 Microtonal Ragas based on “Solo for Voice 58″ by John Cage. Fong’s own compositions have been performed internationally in Auckland, London, Berlin, Tübingen and Darmstadt, at many US universities, and throughout California, by performers including the two-piano team Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa. In 2008, he co-founded Emerging Arts Professionals/San Francisco Bay Area, a network dedicated to the development and growth of next generation arts and culture workers; he was Chair of Business Development in 2010-11 and became Director in 2011. Adam also holds a master’s degree from Stanford University (English). He has lectured on experimental music and received international publication of his scholarly and creative work, and serves on advisory boards, panels, and committees at the local and national level.
Jon Yu (Production Manager) Jon is a composer and guitarist currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received a B.A. in Music from University of California, Santa Cruz, studying under Hi-Kyung Kim, John Sackett, and Ben Leeds Carson; and a M.A. in Music Composition from San Francisco State University, studying under Richard Festinger and Benjamin Sabey. He has received fellowships from festivals such as the June in Buffalo Festival and the Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat. His works have been performed throughout the United States by ensembles such as Jarring Sounds, Ensemble Signal, and Wet Ink Ensemble. Current projects include new pieces for the Living Earth Show and flutist Wayla J. Chambo. Besides his composition pursuits, Jon also plays in and tours with a number of Bay Area rock bands.
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.
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.