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2016 Festival

The 2016 Switchboard Music Festival was on June 18, 2016 at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. Click below to learn more about our lineup!

Julius Eastman’s 1973 piece is one of the first minimalist works to show the influence of pop music. Written for an indeterminate ensemble, Stay On It will be performed by Festival artists, co-directors, and Switchboard alumni.


Two sets of collaborators at the extremes of new music find one another in this unlikely partnership. Hailing from the outsider worlds of avant-garde opera, Tuvan throat-singing, and wicked good performance art, Majel Connery, Ken Ueno and The Living Earth Show (Andy Meyerson and Travis Andrews) team up for Switchboard Music Festival to produce something truly novel: bona fide pop music.



The Grammy-nominated ZOFO piano duo will be performing three of their most recently commissioned new works: Ryan Brown’s I Heard Bells from My Rotating House, the world premiere of Gabriella Smith’s Máncora to Huaraz, and Terry Riley’s Praying Mantis Rag.


Dominique Leone is a musician, DJ and writer currently based in New York. At Switchboard, he will perform music from his most recent album, November 2015’s ‘San Francisco,’ featuring an all-star cast of the Bay Area’s best experimental musicians. He has released albums on Important, Smalltown Supersound, and Upcode, and worked with Lindstrom, Max Tundra, Matmos, Fred Frith, William Winant, Kevin Blechdom and R.Stevie Moore among many others. He appeared on Boredoms’ Super Roots 10 release (2009), and Nonesuch released his remix of Steve Reich’s 2×5 the following year, in conjunction with the composer’s 74th birthday. Dominique staged and recorded an updated version of Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces in 2011 (which appeared at Switchboard 2012) and helped organize live presentations of Frith’s Gravity LP during 2012-14. In 2013, he completed a project to release a new song each day of the year. As a music critic, he has written for Pitchfork, Paste, Allmusic and others, known for championing modern experimental, progressive and fringe artists.


Aram Shelton- - De Studio, Antwerp (Geert Vandepoele) Small

Tonal Masher is the solo electroacoustic project of Aram Shelton. To find a new application for the use of his 1937 Conn alto saxophone, Shelton has chosen to remove the reed and mouthpiece, and work with the tones that are a result of feedback via microphone and amplification, and the percussive elements of keys and pads. Using a Max patcher that he has developed over several years, Shelton creates music that uses the unique harmonic palette of the instrument to create patient polyphony from a monophonic instrument, while highlighting the rhythmic side of the saxophone via key clicks and pad thumps.


Religious Girls

Religious Girls are a diverse group of multi-instrumentalists, with each member hailing from separate musical backgrounds that ranges from metal to noise to math rock and pop. Using their talents, Religious Girls focus thier energy into creating beautiful harmonies and layering them over intricate percussive ryhthms. Preferring to play on the floor near listeners rather than a distant stage, they feel that no matter how high of quality a recording may be the live set is what moves people, and therefore focus on creating intimacy with the crowd. Collectively, the band has tried to push aside the standards of popular song writing with non-repeating structures, an intricate mathmatical style, and a carefully laid out set in which all songs are interweaved into one. Religious Girls offers an intense and dramatic set, leaving viewers in awe by the end of the performance.



Alisa Rose, of the Real Vocal String Quartet, performs her Fiddle Caprices and Pizzicato Pieces, a collection of virtuosic compositions for solo violin that explore rhythmic fiddle and tango bowing, percussive noises, and an array of pizzicato sounds.



The Del Sol String Quartet will perform music for quartet and electronics by Mason Bates, and will be joined by Daniel Wohl for selections from his new quartet Holographic, which NPR says “quietly erases the line between electronic and acoustic music, while potentially appealing to many curious ears, from fans of Aphex Twin to followers of new chamber music.”


JacobTV’s Body of your Dreams for piano and soundtrack samples an Abtronic Pro commercial (“It’s one of the easiest ways ever to get your body in the shape you want it…”). Paired with a rhythmic solo piano, performed by Anne Rainwater, it’s a humorous and on-the-nose portrayal of a society obsessed with slimness.


aaron novik inside booklet

Aaron Novik‘s O+O+ was conceived amidst thoughts on the role of swing feel in music making today. Instead of wondering if jazz needs to swing to be called jazz, Aaron started from the question ‘Does all music that swings need to be jazz?’ Using an austere compositional approach of only two chords, with extended use of repetition, the effects owe more than a slight nod to minimalism, but the use of fiercely independent and conflicting lines creates an atmosphere more reminiscent of dixieland or even avant garde jazz. O+O+ is Aaron Novik, clarinet, compositions; Kasey Knudsen, alto sax; Mia Bella d’Augelli, violin; Mark Clifford, vibraphone; Jason Hoopes, bass; and Jordan Glenn, drums.



Winner of five Grammy awards, the San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform music by Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa, Philip Glass, and Timo Andres.

Stunning vocal range, flexibility, drama, and power are among the hallmarks of the 37-year-old San Francisco Girls Chorus, which is recognized as one of the world’s most widely known and respected vocal ensembles for youth. Under the direction of composer-performer Lisa Bielawaand conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the SF Girls Chorus has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices fused with expressiveness and drama. As a result, the Chorus vibrantly performs 1,000 years of choral masterworks from plainchant to the most challenging and nuanced contemporary works created expressly for them in programs that are as intelligently designed as they are enjoyable and revelatory to experience.


Tyondai Braxton is an American composer and electronic musician. He has been writing and performing music under his own name and collaboratively, under various group titles, since the mid 1990’s. His music incorporates electronic and modern orchestral elements, ranging from solo pieces to large-scale symphonic works. The former front man of experimental rock band Battles, Braxton has since focused on his own work, including his critically acclaimed album Central Market – which has been performed by world-renowned orchestras such as London Sinfonietta, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has been commissioned to write pieces for ensembles such as The Bang on a Can All Stars, Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, and Brooklyn Rider. In 2012, Braxton collaborated with legendary composer Philip Glass – performing as a duo for the festival series All Tomorrow’s Parties, as well as remixing Glass’ work for the REWORK remix album. In 2013, Braxton premiered HIVE – a multimedia piece that is part sound installation/part live performance – at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. He has given subsequent HIVE performances at Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow, as part of the Nonesuch Records 50th Anniversary celebration at The Barbican in London, and at Sydney Opera House. HIVE1 – Braxton’s first new album in six years – was released on May 12th on Nonesuch Records.