Selections from Threads by Paul Lansky
Threads, written for Sō Percussion in 2005, is a half-hour long “cantata” for percussion quartet in ten short movements. There are three “threads” that are interwoven in the piece: Arias and Preludes that focus on the metallic pitched sounds of vibraphones, glockenspiel and pipes; Choruses in which drumming predominates; and Recitatives made largely from Cage-like noise instruments, bottles, flower pots, crotales, etc.
Drumming, Mvmt. I by Steve Reich
Drumming begins with two drummers building up the basic rhythmic pattern of the entire piece from a single drum beat. This pattern undergoes changes of phase position, pitch, and timbre, but all the performers play this pattern, or some part of it, throughout the entire piece. — Steve Reich
The SF Conservatory Percussion Quartet is John Jaworski, Mika Nakamura, Katrina Shore, and Stephanie Webster.
Some Other Fields
Some Other Fields is an ongoing collaboration between Bay Area cellist Teddy Rankin-Parker and New York-based composer Michael Beharie. Based on a longstanding interest in how the physical constraints of an instrument informs its repertoire, Some Other Fields aims to create a processed and amplified cello that demands its own conventions and performance practice. Specific overtones sparked from quiet tremolo bowing are processed with distortions and pitched delays to amplify the resonant frequencies in Rankin-Parker’s unique instrument. Hyper lyrical passages, combined with these noise textures, create a world in which the cello sings in a storm. Listen to an excerpt here.
This is the second installment of a large, hour-long work for vocal quartet, percussion quartet, and two keyboards, based on a book with the same name by Dr. Richard Selzer. This semi-staged work uses Dr. Selzer’s lyrical, and often graphic, musings on surgery and the mysteries of the human body. Not quite an opera, and not really music theater, this work is a “medical oratorio” that finds the teases out the sacred elements in the operating theater. Listen to an excerpt here.
Mortal Lessons by Ryan Brown
Dina Maccabee and Jesse Olsen Bay, also known as the intrepid songwriting duo Ramon & Jessica, are thrilled to present excerpts from their adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s gorgeously imagistic and quirky book for children, The World is Round, published in 1939. Thanks to funding from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and East Bay Fund for Artists, we have collaborated with Berkeley theater company Just Theater to create a staged version of the piece, scored for a 6-voice a cappella chamber ensemble.
The music of Roses Are Blue explores Stein’s playful and surreal language and imagery, using lyrical melodies and complex rhythms to tell the story of the young adventurer Rose and her fellow characters. Like the book, this music speaks to audiences of all ages through music that is both strange and playful, evocative and challenging. Over the course of the song cycle, Rose’s tale unfolds in a tapestry of counterpoint, polyrhythm and texture, drawing listeners into the alluring world of the narrative. Recurring melodic motifs and loops mirror Stein’s word patterns, while wordless vocalise provides a backdrop for acrobatic improvisation. Listen to an excerpt here.
About Ramon & Jessica
We make music that is experimental, expressive, and minimalist, while never straying too far from our roots in folk and pop music. Over the past 12 years, we have released three albums and two E.P.’s to critical acclaim, played hundreds of shows around the Bay Area and nationally, developed a large and devoted following, and received several awards and grants. Recently we have focused on developing and performing a uniquely original form of a cappella duet music (imagine experimental vocalist Meredith Monk singing the tight pop harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel), which we are now expanding into the a cappella sextet of Roses Are Blue.
Splinter Reeds is the Bay Area’s first reed quintet, comprising five innovative musicians with a shared passion for new music. The ensemble is committed to presenting top tier performances of today’s best contemporary composition, showcasing the vast possibilities of the reed quintet, commissioning new works, and collaborating with fellow musicians and artists. As a relatively new and emerging chamber music genre, the reed quintet is an evolutionary detour from the traditional woodwind quintet with the advantages of a more closely related instrument family. With approximately 19 reed quintets worldwide, Splinter Reeds is dedicated to cutting edge composition and aims to expand on the existing reed quintet repertoire through the development of new works by emerging and established composers.
Splinter Reeds formed in 2013 with the coming together of five colleagues highly active in multiple facets of the Bay Area’s vibrant music scene: Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), Bill Kalinkos (clarinet), David Wegehaupt (saxophone), Jeff Anderle (bass clarinet), and Dana Jessen (bassoon). The sum of their wide ranges of experience – in settings including free jazz, improvisation, electronic music, pop, punk and metal as well as classical – has enabled them to rapidly zero in on a specific aesthetic identity.
Recent concert engagements include performances at the Mondavi Performing Arts Center, Berkeley Art Museum, April in Santa Cruz Festival of Contemporary Music, San Francisco Center for New Music, and the Presidio Sessions chamber music series. Additionally, they have held residencies at UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The ensemble has received grant awards from New Music USA, the Zellerbach Foundation, and the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
For more than 40 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world’s most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 850 works and arrangements for string quartet.