About Us

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players is the West Coast’s most long-standing and largest new music ensemble comprised of highly skilled musicians performing innovative contemporary music. The Contemporary Music Players nourish the creation and dissemination of new works through world-class performances, commissions, and community and education programs. The Players perform the music of composers from across cultures and stylistic traditions who are creating a vast and vital 21st-century musical language featuring the work of iconic and emerging composers while shining a spotlight on large-ensemble pieces and California artists. The Players seek to share these experiences with as many people as possible, both in and outside of traditional concert settings.

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players is one of the most active ensembles in the United States dedicated to contemporary music and play an important role in the regional and national cultural landscape. The Contemporary Music Players are a 2018 awardee of the esteemed Fromm Foundation Ensemble Prize, and a ten-time winner of the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. The Players have performed more than 1,200 works by over 600 composers; Over 300 of these performances have been premieres, and the organization has commissioned over 80 major works including pieces from composers such as John Adams, John Cage, Earle Brown, Olly Wilson, Michael Gordon, Du Yun, Myra Melford, and Julia Wolfe. The Contemporary Players have been presented by leading cultural festivals and concert series including San Francisco Performances, Los Angeles Monday Evening Concerts, Cal Performances, the Stern Grove Festival, the Festival of New American Music at CSU Sacramento, the Ojai Festival, and France’s prestigious MANCA Festival.

In 1971, composer Charles Boone began organizing a series of avant-garde music concerts in San Francisco art galleries. He called the series BYOP (Bring Your Own Pillow), because audience members sat on the floor. Three years later, his colleagues, harpist Marcella DeCray and oboist/conductor Jean-Louis LeRoux, reorganized the concert series as a nonprofit corporation. Since its inception, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players have been led by seven Executive Directors, and eight Artistic Directors, with continuous support and oversight by an active Board of Directors.

“There’s a reason why SFCMP is considered the Bay Area’s premier new music ensemble.” — Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle


San Francisco Contemporary Music Players produce and perform virtuosic, large-ensemble concerts of contemporary music featuring the works of iconic and emerging composers while shining a spotlight on California artists. The Contemporary Music Players expand and enhance the contemporary music repertoire by collaborating with composers on the interpretation, commissioning, and recording of new works and provide education programs to encourage the development of the next generation of contemporary music composers and musicians.