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Danny Clay is named Elevate Ensemble’s composer-in-residence

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As I reported last April, the new chamber group Elevate Ensemble was founded by Chad Goodman, who also serves as Music Director, to provide an opportunity to feature the work of emerging composers in the context of appropriate pieces from the previous centuries. A second goal was to establish collaborations involving other artistic media to enhance the listening experience of works being performed. The first world premiere to be presented by Elevate Ensemble at their debut concert last May was by Danny Clay, who has been pursuing opportunities to present his work in some highly imaginative settings.

Last week Elevate Ensemble announced that Clay would be composer-in-residence for the coming 2014–2015 season. This has involved commissioning Clay for a new composition in which he will collaborate with the photographer Jeremy Blakeslee. On the About Web page on his Web site, Blakeslee describes himself as an “Urban Archeologist specializing in the documentation of historical industrial architecture, machinery, infrastructure and mines.” Clay will be working with photographs Blakeslee has been taking of the Union Iron Works Historic District at Pier 70. These photographs will be projected around the performance space while Clay’s music is played.

While Elevate Ensemble has not yet announced full details for the 2014–2015 season, Clay’s new piece (whose title has not yet been announced) has been scheduled for the Fall 2014 concert. The rest of the program has also been announced. It will begin with the first of two nonets that Haans Eisler composed between 1939 and 1941. This will be followed by a divertimento, also for nine instruments, that Walter Piston completed in 1946. On a similar scale but an earlier time-frame the program will present Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” played, as he originally conceived it, by thirteen instruments, one to a part.

This concert has already been scheduled to take place this coming October 10, so those interested in the ambitious mission of this new ensemble are encouraged to save the date. The venue will be the Osher Salon at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). The flexibility of this space should lend itself to providing a suitable environment for the display of photographs that will be presented in conjunction with Clay’s new composition. It also happens to be the venue in which Clay gave his SFCM Graduate Recital in May of 2013. Further information about tickets will be forthcoming and posted on the Events Web page of the Elevate Ensemble Web site.

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