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Other Minds presents the West Coast premiere of Rhys Chatham’s A Secret Rose (2006) for 100 electric guitars November 17, 2013. A monumental work based on his 1989 composition An Angel Moves to Fast to See, A Secret Rose will feature an orchestra of 100 electric guitar players from the Bay Area and abroad in the performance of a single five-movement orchestral scale piece at the historic Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California.



Rhys Chatham circa 1980s
Photo Courtesy of Rhys Chatham

Buy tickets for Rhys Chatham's A Secret Rose 

In keeping with Other Minds’ ethos, Chatham’s work successfully widens the definition of serious music by gaining the appreciation of a typically divided music community that pits the academic against non-academic.

Rhys Chatham is a composer steeped in the American minimalist tradition of the Sixties and Seventies. He studied composition under Morton Subotnick and LaMonte Young, was the go-to piano and harpsichord tuner for Young and Glenn Gould, was the initiator of the music program at Manhattan’s famous avant-garde art space The Kitchen, and played in the immensely influential minimalist collectives The Theatre of Eternal Music and The Dream Syndicate.

His most indelible mark however came from the creation of a new type of urban music fusing the extended drone work of minimalist music with the raw and elemental fury of rock and roll.

Upon hearing The Ramones at the infamous New York punk club CBGB’s in 1977, the already-accomplished Chatham experienced a musical reawakening. Becoming enamored of the electric guitar and its possibilities, Chatham took to exploring the potential of his new tool.

He integrated his work in just-intonation and overtone composition with the energy and power he encountered in the explosion of punk music in the Seventies. “I couldn’t help but wonder as I was working with it,” reflects Chatham, “what would happen if I had a great number of guitars all massed together–perhaps a hundred of them.” Thus began the genesis of one the most singularly unifying and rousing explorations of rock and roll to date.


The Richmond performance of A Secret Rose will feature a cast of notable musicians from bands such as Guided By Voices, Akron/Family, Tristeza, Hrsta, Sutekh Hexen, and Girls Against Boys as well as a large number of participants coming from San Francisco’s East Bay. Rehearsals for the performance will be held at the newly renovated East Bay Performing Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond.

The scope of Chatham’s awe-inspiring guitar work is superbly matched by the architectural beauty of Richmond’s Craneway Pavilion. The Craneway offers an unsurpassed 180-degree waterfront view of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, Oakland, Berkeley and the Bay with breathtaking western sunsets over Angel Island and Mt. Tamalpais as well as stunning views of the San Francisco night skyline. And to think all this will happen under the light of a full moon, visible from the theatre!

Designed by Albert Kahn in 1931, the site was originally used as a Ford assembly plant up until WWII at when it was retooled to manufacture tanks and jeeps. After briefly returning to auto manufacturing and a stint as a film set and book depository the 45,000 sq. foot structure was partially destroyed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In 2004 the building was purchased and underwent renovations resulting in its distinction as an official landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.

A Secret Rose 2008
Craig McKibben, Williamsport Gazette

craneway indoorCraneway Pavillion

East Bay Center for Performing Arts
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts

Join us in experiencing this truly spectacular and once-in-a-lifetime, community event. And let’s welcome back to the States this towering “Other Mind,” who, since 1978, has resided in Paris and performed mostly in Europe.

Support the production of A Secret Rose by contributing to our Kickstarter Campaign!

OM G100 Kickstarter

Read: Rhys Chatham's Bio
Download: Press Release and Images
Listen: OM's June preview event featuring Guitar Trio at the LAB, in San Francisco
Watch: OM's Chatham Channel

Also check out this French documentary from the 90's of An Angel Moves To Fast To See
(Chatham's first work for an orchestra of 100 guitars)