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San Francisco Conservatory of Music to host the next sfSoundSeries concert

The members of the sfSoundGroup
The members of the sfSoundGroup
courtesy of sfSound

The next sfSoundSeries concert presented by the Bay Area contemporary music ensemble sfSound will take place later this month in the Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). This will involve a relatively large gathering of “core” sfSoundGroup performers and “guest artists.” Saxophonist John Ingle will also be serving as conductor (as well as performing on garden hose). The other participants in this concert will be Monica Scott (cello), Ellen Ruth Rose (viola), Kjell Nordeson (percussion), Hadley McCarroll (piano), Brendan Lai-Tong (trombone), Benjamin Kreith (violin), Matt Ingalls (clarinet), Tom Dambly (trumpet), George Cremaschi (bass), Armando Castellano (horn), Jesse Canterbury (bass clarinet), and Kyle Bruckmann (oboe and English horn).

The entire group will contribute to a performance of Philip Glass’ 1969 “Two Pages.” This piece represents Glass’ early work at its most minimal. It uses only five pitches but, in spite of the title, has a duration of twenty minutes.

“Two Pages” will be preceded by two major compositions from the European avant-garde. The program will begin with Iannis Xenakis’ “Anaktoria,” composed the preceding year (1968) and scored for clarinet, bassoon, horn, string quartet, and bass. The piece pursues a wide range of unusual sonorities, including particularly “sickly” glissandos, multiphonics arising from overblowing the clarinet, and the strings playing almost directly on the bridge. The name appears in one of the fragments of the poems of Sappho (Fragment 16 in the Lobel-Page edition).

“Anaktoria” will be followed by Giacinto Scelsi’s “Kya,” scored for solo clarinet (Ingalls) accompanied by English horn, French horn, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, viola, and cello. This piece, which takes a little more than a quarter of an hour, is representative of Scelsi’s own minimal effort to focus on sound as little more than unmodified oscillation, particularly in the way in which he composed for the ensemble accompanying the clarinet. The result is an experience that continues to sound modern, even though “Kya” is the oldest work on the program, having been composed in 1959.

The newest work on the program will be the world premiere of a yet-to-be-titled composition by Cremaschi. This was written especially for his performance on bass along with sfSoundGroup members. As a result it draws upon techniques from free improvisation, which is fundamental to the sfSound aesthetic. Indeed, following the Cremaschi premiere, the program will conclude with an improvisation by all participating musicians. The remaining work on the program, which will precede that premiere, will be “All my Angers,” composed for cello and piano (Scott and McCarroll) in 2013 by Wojciech Widłak.

This concert will take place in the SFCM Concert Hall at 50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni Station on Market Street. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $15 with an $8 rate for the underemployed.

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