From Major World Premieres to “Individual Agency” through New Music, SFCMP’s 44th Season Has Much to Offer
Bay Area’s leading new music ensemble delivers exciting array of public performances, events, and participatory projects in its 2014-15 season
San Francisco, August 27, 2014 – Anchored by World Premieres of a dozen works by major international composers, and enhanced by an array of special events, the 44th season of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players attests to the staying power, as well as the evolving imagination, of one of our nation’s leading new musical performance organizations.
Under the artistic leadership of internationally acclaimed musician and educator Steven Schick, SFCMP’s season is anchored by Project TenFourteen – four concerts with world premieres from ten distinctive composers all challenged to “reflect upon and address the human condition, common to us all.” The ten composers participating in this project are of extraordinary caliber – George Crumb, Elena Ruehr, Gabriela Ortiz, Ken Ueno, Gabriela Ortiz, Du Yun, Agata Zubel, Koji Nakano, Lei Liang, Laurie San Martin, and Wen-Chung Chou. Collectively, they represent cultures ranging from China, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, to Mexico, Poland, and several regions of the U.S. and span music styles from lyric to extended techniques to the forefront of electro-acousticism.
The four concerts — in November 2014 and January, February and March 2015 — will take place at Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. They are presented in collaboration with Cal Performances. A pre-concert talk precedes each performance, and a post-concert reception will allow audience members to engage with the composers and artists. (Many of the commissioned composers will be in attendance for their world premieres.)
Project TenFourteen represents the vision of Robert Amory, a trustee of the Jebediah Foundation in Boston, who commissioned the composers. A global kaleidoscope embodying and celebrating the varied cultural and personal influences that infuse contemporary music, Project TenFourteen will also underscore our common humanity and shared destiny, offering fresh insight into the artistic vision of some of the most stimulating composers working today, from household names like Crumb and Wen-Chung Chou to local favorites Ken Ueno and Laurie San Martin.
Says SFCMP Artistic Director Steven Schick, “A project of this scope, bringing twelve new pieces — George Crumb in fact, gave us three new works for the project – by composers of this caliber to the Bay Area in one season is quite unprecedented in our classical music field. Project TenFourteen excited us not only because it is bringing important works to the contemporary canon, but also in its totally, it upholds and extends our tradition of bringing new, cutting-edge music from around the world to Northern California.”
The concerts will also include music by 20th and 21st century master composers Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle, Georges Aperghis, with guest musicians Tony Arnold (soprano), Mark Dresser (bass) and Nicholas Hodges (piano). The Cal Performances concerts will close with a rousing performance of Edgard Varese’s Ionisation, performed by an all-star Bay Area percussion ensemble. (Full details for all four concerts follow below.)
Events in San Francisco
In addition to Project TenFourteen, SFCMP’s 44th season includes four special events in San Francisco: a September screening of an award-winning film (“I Live 4 Art”) featuring recently SFCMP-commissioned Bay Area composer Mark Applebaum; an October concert of music for the electroacoustic harp by Australian artist Alice Giles; a greatly anticipated January performance of Steve Reich’s Drumming: the iconic 1970 work by America’s most beloved living composer; and a day-long community celebration event in the spring, Soundvoice.
The screening event at the Center for New Music will include the filmmakers and Applebaum in a Q&A (over popcorn, naturally) on the experience of living “artfully” in 2014. (Full details on these events follow below.)
Alice Giles will perform her “Alice in Antarctica” at the JCC’s Kanbar Hall in October, in a concert that incorporates electroacoustic harp, voice, and visual and audio material and that commemorates the centenary of the First Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914, of which her grandfather, Dr. C.T. Madigan, was a member.
The Reich concert event builds upon the success of a sold-out 2013 performance of Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. It will culminate a week-long residency by Schick and SFCMP musicians at the SF Conservatory of Music. Student musicians from the Conservatory will share the stage with SFCMP ensemble members in the performance of what has been called “minimalism’s first masterpiece
In late Spring 2015, SFCMP will organize a day-long celebratory event called Soundvoice. The second year of a James Irvine Foundation-funded “Exploring Engagement” initiative, Soundvoice is a participatory project comprised of a community learning phase that introduces non-musicians to musique concrète, found sound and other elements of contemporary music; a co-creative component in which participants will “collect” sounds from their lives in order to tell their stories; and a final community celebration featuring performance of a new work incorporating the participants’ “sound voices.”
Soundvoice builds upon two successful prior outreach/engagement activities of SFCMP (2012 Cage Musicircus and 2013 Crissy Broadcast). It demonstrates SFCMP’s zeal to deliver authentic participatory experiences to a broad range of people through the flexible and exciting lexicon of new music.
The project is modeled on the anthropological methodology of “photovoice,” which teaches marginalized people (generally in developing nations) to use a camera to gain personal agency by telling stories through the medium of film. Soundvoice translates this experience to the medium of music, taking a cue from John Cage’s 1978 A Dip in the Lake, in which performers walk through neighborhoods recording sounds for collective playback in a concert setting (a process work delivered by SFCMP and community members at the 2012 Musicircus).
SFCMP Executive Director Rozella Kennedy envisions Soundvoice as an exciting shared experiment, rooted in the American Experimentalist tradition. She points out that composers like John Cage and Cornelius Cardew challenged our notions about what is “music” and what is “performance” in ways that we take for granted today, as consumers of pop- and high-culture alike. According to Kennedy, “SFCMP is very excited about ‘walking our talk’ regarding engagement models for new music – and if Soundvoice can help facilitate someone discovering and honoring his or her ’inner artist’ in a meaningful, invigorating, and authentic way, it will be very mutually powerful.”
The date for the Soundvoice event will be announced in early 2015.
In addition to these events, SFCMP will host composer talks (“Breaking Bread with the Composer”), pop-up concerts (“Players Shows”), and other special events over the course of the season. In anticipation of the 2015-16 season, which will mark SFCMP’s 45th anniversary, it will also deliver a robust lineup of digital offerings from its archives. Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up for the e-newsletter at the www.sfcmp.org website to remain apprised of ongoing developments.
“This is an extraordinarily exciting season for SFCMP, coming on the heels of a large and very ambitious 43rd season,” says Artistic Director Steven Schick. “While we are the second-oldest new music ensemble in the country, we are by no means looking back complacently. Through projects like TenFourteen, collaborations with student musicians, and even projects introducing non-musicians to our world, we are constantly recommitting to new music, new experiences, and forward-looking thought.”
Concert and Event Dates and Details
Mon. Sept. 22 – 5:30-8 pm – Special Screening: I Live 4 Art – Winner of the “Best Documentary, Biography” at the 2014 Oregon Independent Film Festival, and “Silver Winner” at the 2014 Philadelphia International Film Festival, this is a humorous, satirical and unique philosophical exploration of the creative process – its angst, its thrills, its purpose and its methods, featuring recently commissioned SFCMP composer Mark Applebaum and other artists. The filmmakers and Applebaum will be present for the screening and Q&A. Center for New Music, 55 Taylor Street – tickets $9 at http://sfcmp.org
Sunday, October 12, 2014 – Special Event: Alice in Australia – In a special concert of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, guest Australian harpist Alice Giles will perform a solo recital of “Alice in Antarctica” on Sunday, October 12, 2014 — a multi-media performance commemorating the Centenary of the First Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914. Incorporating acoustic and electric harp, spoken and sung voice, recorded spoken voice, visual and audio material, this is a scintillating journey through music and film, honoring Giles’ grandfather Dr. C.T. Madigan, a member of the first Australian expedition to Antarctica. This exciting event will feature the first San Francisco appearance of the electroacoustic harp. JCCSF Kanbar Hall, 7 pm – Tickets $30/$20/$10, available in August 2014 through the JCCSF.
Please note that tickets for the four Project TenFourteen concerts are available only through Cal Performances’ website – . individual tickets are $32. Four-concert subscription is $96.
Sunday, November 16, 2014 – Project TenFourteen: Concert #1 – The opening concert of Project TenFourteen features the World Premiere of two works by George Crumb – Yesteryear and The Yellow Moon of Andalusia—as well as his Five Pieces for Piano; the World Premiere of Corpórea by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz; and the World Premiere of Elena Ruehr’s It’s About Time. Also on the program: Georges Aperghis‘s Récitations 9 and 10 for solo voice. Special guest soprano Tony Arnold joins the SFCMP ensemble members led by Steven Schick. Cal Performances Hertz Hall, Berkeley – 7:00 pm (pre-concert talk 6-6:30)
Sunday, January 25, 2015 – Project TenFourteen: Concert #2 – This concert will feature the World Premiere of Polish composer Agata Zubel’s where to as well as the World Premiere of Slow Portraits 3 by Du Yun. Also on the program, two works by Harrison Birtwistle: The Axe Manual and Gigue Machine. Special guest pianist Nicholas Hodges joins the SFCMP ensemble, with Steven Schick on percussion. Cal Performances Hertz Hall, Berkeley – 7:00 pm (pre-concert talk 6-6:30)
Sunday, February 22, 2014 – Project TenFourteen: Concert #3 – On this concert, SFCMP performs the World Premiere of we turn in the night in a circle of fire by Laurie San Martin as well as a new work by Ken Ueno, Zetsu. Also on the program, two major works of the 20th century: Luciano Berio’s Linea and Luigi Nono’s Hay Que Caminar Soñando. Cal Performances Hertz Hall, Berkeley – 7:00 pm (pre-concert talk 6-6:30)
Sunday, March 29, 2015 – Project TenFourteen: Concert #4 – The final Project TenFourteen concert presents the World Premiere of Koji Nakano’s Time Song V: Mandala; Lei Liang’s Luminous, with featured guest bassist Mark Dresser; a work by legendary Chinese composer Chou Wen-chung; the third World Premiere commissioned work by George Crumb, Xylophony, and a special performance of Edgard Varèse’s Ionisation by an all-star percussion ensemble. Cal Performances Hertz Hall, Berkeley – 7:00 pm (pre-concert talk 6-6:30)
(Soundvoice date to be announced in early 2015; late spring, Center for New Music; free of cost.)
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