SFCMP Contemporary Music Masterclass Series

2019-20 Season
Contemporary Music Masterclass
NOV 7, 2019  7:30pm
at San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Prepared Piano Techniques and Performances
Clinician, Kate Campbell, SFCMP Pianist

SFCMP Masterclass Kate Campbell 2019-20

In SFCMP’s Contemporary Music Masterclass series, audiences can observe some of the most talented Bay Area pre-professional musicians in live interaction, performance, and coaching with our renowned ensemble members. Students will perform selected works while being mentored in the techniques, skills, and myriad styles of contemporary music. This season’s class will showcase performances of the techniques used by John Cage in Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano and is led by SFCMP pianist, Kate Campbell.

Participating students:

Jonas Fisher, Pianist
Jeanne Hourez, Pianist
Geoffrey Lee, Pianist
TJ Martin, Composer
Juan María Prieto Iborra, Composer, Pianist
Zach Weiner, Pianist
Yu Xu, Composer
Yangfan Xu, Composer, Pianist


This masterclass is an opportunity for piano students to explore the technique of prepared piano through one of the masterpieces of the 20th century, John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes. Participants will perform 1-3 movements from the set of 20. The class will cover both logistical and interpretive elements of performing with prepared piano, and will include a brief workshop on making and refining the preparations.

Prepared piano expands the possibilities of the traditional piano, and has become a mainstream technique in contemporary composition. Additionally, 2019 is an active year for performing the works of John Cage, as it marks the 100th birthday of choreographer Merce Cunningham, his longtime collaborator and life partner, for whom Cage’s first prepared piano pieces were written. 


This masterclass is an opportunity for composition students to participate in the prepared piano masterclass by composing a short piece using the same piano preparations as the Sonatas and Interludes (which can be found in the preface to the score). Composers may perform their own work or collaborate with a pianist in advance to perform in the class.

About Kate Campbell

Hailed as a “brilliant pianist” (Financial Times) and “powerful player” (Santa Cruz Sentinel), Kate Campbell performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician specializing in contemporary music and interdisciplinary projects. She is at home with styles ranging from thorny modernism to “sleek and spirited” minimalism (San Francisco Chronicle). Her most recent projects have involved working closely with internationally renowned composers and performers such as Meredith Monk, Lisa Bielawa, and Steve Schick.

Kate is the pianist for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. She is the co-founder and pianist of the interdisciplinary duo K A T E S, which intertwines new solo piano music with new dance. This year she will continue a guest artist residency at California State University East Bay, workshopping and premiering music by faculty and student composers.  She is also proud to have been one of the founding organizers for Omaha Under the Radar Festival, featuring new music, dance, and theater in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. She was recently honored as a distinguished fellow at Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts. Her recorded work can be heard on New Amsterdam Records, Pinna Records, and New Focus Recordings.

As an in-demand rehearsal & collaborative pianist, Kate has had the pleasure of working with many of the Bay Area’s top institutions, including the San Francisco Girls Chorus, West Edge Opera, UC Berkeley, Mills College, Sacred & Profane, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music faculty such as opera star Deborah Voigt. 

Kate has served on the faculty of Mills College, the University of San Francisco, and Westminster Conservatory in Princeton, NJ. She currently maintains a thriving private studio in Oakland, CA.


Past Contemporary Music Masterclasses

Kyle Bruckmann, Contemporary Music and Reeds, 2018
William Winant, Contemporary Music Percussion Technique, 2017
Steven Schick, New Music and Percussion, 2016

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