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San Francisco Contemporary Music Players

Connecting and Responding to Contemporary Music
A Clinic for High School Music Students
Recommended for grades 9-12

Clinic Description

In this outcomes-based presentation, high school music students will enhance their musicianship by analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating contemporary music presented by San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Bay Area’s most longstanding contemporary music ensemble. 

Clinic Outline

  1. Introduction to contemporary music in the Bay Area and SF Contemporary Music Players’ role.
  2. Demonstration of contemporary music.
  3. Discussion about the development of contemporary musical ideas.
  4. Discussion about how new music is created and an introduction to a recent commission project.
  5. Presentation of behind-the-scenes subject matter from the development of a new piece.
  6. Discussion about the evaluation of the new piece and its cultural application.

Student Learning Outcomes
Students will 

  • Describe the history of the development of contemporary music sounds or musical ideas.
  • Describe how sounds and musical ideas are used to represent personal experiences, concepts, or storylines.
  • Demonstrate how interests, knowledge, and skills relate to personal choices in composition
  • Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, and varied cultures.
  • Identify and describe how experiences and contexts (personal or social) effect the evaluation of music.

Time Needed
Scalable for different class durations

Equipment Needed
Projector and audio

Post-Clinic Ideas

  • Watch SF Contemporary Music Players ongoing How Music is Made series on YouTube.
  • Conduct monthly sight-reading sessions of contemporary repertoire (at an appropriate level) with discussion about techniques used by each composer.

Teaching Artist

Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eric Dudley, leads a multi-faceted career as a conductor, composer, vocalist and pianist deeply engaged in the performance and creation of contemporary music. Eric has been a member of the genre-defying vocal octet Roomful of Teeth since its founding in 2009, touring worldwide and recording a wide array of newly commissioned works with the Grammy Award-winning ensemble. He moved to the Bay Area in 2016 to oversee the orchestra program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, becoming the next Artistic Director for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players in 2017. Eric also serves as one of the principal conductors for the Bendigo Festival of Exploratory Music in Australia, and recently led Roomful of Teeth and Ensemble L’Instant Donné in a production with Peter Sellars at the Paris Festival d’Automne.

While living in New York City, Eric conducted and performed with organizations as diverse as Ekmeles and TENET vocal ensembles, the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Talea Ensemble, American Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Signal and the New York Philharmonic. He was an assistant conductor for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra under Rossen Milanov for several seasons, and some of his recent guest engagements include the Ojai Festival in California, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in New York and Finland, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

A passionate educator, Eric was on the faculty of Mannes College of Music at the The New School in New York, where he directed the Mannes Prep Philharmonic and The New School Chorus, as well as leading the orchestra in concert and teaching the graduate conducting students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for the past three years. He has recently been appointed to an ongoing Artist-in-Residence position at the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.  

As a pianist and chamber musician, he has performed with members of Novus New York and the Cincinnati and Princeton symphony orchestras. His own music has been premiered and recorded by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Quey Percussion Duo, and by Roomful of Teeth.

Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the Eastman School of Music, and master’s and doctorate degrees in orchestral conducting from Yale University. 

About San Francisco Contemporary Music Players

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/ASCAPAward 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 AdamsJohn CageEarle BrownOlly WilsonMichael Gordon, Du YunMyra 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.