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Mission & History

Switchboard supports the creation and performance of new music in the Bay Area by engaging artists and audiences from a wide variety of musical communities. 

Since 2008, Switchboard has presented 168 sets, comprised of 862 musicians performing a wide range of styles and genres. Sets have included a mix of emerging, established, large, and small ensembles from the Bay Area and selected guests from across the country. Over 39 premieres have been presented—many of which were written for our programs.  Switchboard’s flagship event is the Switchboard Music Festival, an annual, eight-hour, non-stop showcase bringing together a diverse array of primarily local musicians united by a common desire to challenge genre distinctions. Recent highlights include a set by the Kronos Quartet on the 2014 Festival as part of their 40th anniversary season; other headliners have included Tyondai Braxton, Carla Kihlstedt, Zoë Keating, Volti, Pamela Z, and Del Sol String Quartet. Our monthly concert series, Switchboard Presents, premiered in February 2014 and is held at the Center for New Music. These double-bill showcases feature previous, upcoming, and future Festival artists in an intimate and casual setting.

Founded by Ryan Brown, Jeff Anderle, and Jon Russell, the first Switchboard Festival was held at Dance Mission Theater in 2008. Growing audiences quickly exceeded the theater’s capacity, precipitating a move to Brava Theater in 2011. Annie Phillips joined Brown and Anderle as co-director in 2014, and in 2015 Switchboard was the only West Coast organization awarded an Adventurous Programming Award by ASCAP and Chamber Music America. For its tenth anniversary festival, Switchboard moves to ZSpace located centrally in San Francisco’s Mission District.