After a ceremonious opening in honor of Oakland poet-composer Anthony Gnazzo's 75th birthday, the Seattle Chamber Players (flute, clarinet, violin, cello) will kick off OM 16 with works by four of this year's guest composers. Esteemed composer-author and former Village Voice critic Kyle Gann offers his peripatetic depiction of Kierkegaard wandering endlessly through Copenhagen, and SCP will join forces with a percussion trio for the rock-tinged Zilver by Holland's legendary Louis Andriessen. Virtuoso vocalist-composer Agata Zubel (Poland) will join SCP onstage for her riveting work Cascando, with text from Beckett's three-part poem of the same name.
Other opening night gems include Aron Kallay performing Gann's 13-limit microtonal invention Triskaidekaphonia, and a special performance by violinist-vocalist Monica Germino, with Andriessen at the piano, of the surprising and captivating Le voile de bonheur (The veil of happiness). The evening concludes with Janice Giteck's multimedia masterpiece Ishi, commissioned by SCP and inspired by the songs of the last surviving member of the 8,000-year-old Yahi tribe. The work's sixth and final movement features a short film made in collaboration with San Francisco's Emiko Omori, shot on location on Mount Lassen, Ishi's former home.
I Wayan Balawan (first US appearance)
The second night of OM 16 opens with the world premiere of a new work commissioned by Other Minds, by Berkeley's David A. Jaffe. Eight string players will surround the audience, with Andrew Schloss onstage controlling a Disklavier piano and a battery of percussion instruments including chimes hanging from the rafters. This incredible installation, constructed by inventor-composer Trimpin (OM 1), makes use of instruments willed to Jaffe by the late maverick composer and spatial music innovator Henry Brant (OM 4).
Bali guitar phenom I Wayan Balawan makes his first US appearance, bringing to the OM stage his two-necked guitar, his lighting-fast tapping style, and a special blend of Ethnic Balinese Music and jazz. Agata Zubel performs solo in her work Parlando, adding to an already eclectic evening. The concert closes with a set featuring Dutch drummer Han Bennink, the co-founder of the Instant Composers Pool in 1967, who claims that his first percussion instrument was a kitchen chair. He'll be joined by the Bay Area's own raucous noisemaker, guitarist Fred Frith (OM 11).
The final concert of OM 16 brings Louis Andriessen back to the stage, with Monica Germino and the riveting Italian soprano Cristina Zavalloni. This set of more recent works by Holland's leading composer includes Letter from Cathy, with text by the inimitable vocalist Cathy Berberian, written to Andriessen in 1964, the final year of her marriage to Luciano Berio. The other works also draw on fascinating texts: Passeggiata uses poems by Dino Campana to create a fantastic dream-like collage, and the third movement of Xenia includes an optional vocal part with Rimbaud's "Voyelles," in translation by Andriessen.
The Bay Area's "fiercely gifted" (NY Times) pianist and new music advocate Sarah Cahill takes the stage in Kyle Gann's tour de force, Time Does Not Exist. The work's repetitive texture draws inspiration from Freud's assertion that "In the unconscious, time does not exist."
The festival closes with the world premiere of Slang, a new work commissioned by OM, by 2010 MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran. The work draws inspiration from a number of sources including a 1970 LP by Western Electric titled Dialect of the Black American, and folk music of Taiwan's Bunun tribe. Moran will be joined by the members of Bandwagon, plus New York guitarist Mary Halvorson, a veteran of ensembles led by Anthony Braxton, Trevor Dunn, Elliott Sharp and others, and spellbinding mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran.
Available through the JCCSF Box Office, (415) 292-1233. Box Office hours M-F 12-7pm, Sat. 12-5pm.
We've added a special event this year in partnership with Meridian Gallery: emerging composers Nicholas Chase, Lisa Coons, Ben Hjertmann, and Zibuokle Martinaityte were chosen from over 100 applicants from across the globe to participate in a special 8-day residency. As OM Fellows they will participate in a series of events including lecture-presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and seminars, and have the opportunity to pick the brains of all of this year's featured composers. The experience will culminate in this concert featuring new works by all four composers, performed by the Other Minds and Navitas Ensembles.
Tickets are extremely limited for this special concert.
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