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SFCMP will conclude its 2013–14 season with a four-day electro-acoustic festival

Preview image for the Viva Voce installation
Preview image for the Viva Voce installation
courtesy of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players

The 2013–14 season of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP) will conclude this month with a four-day festival of electro-acoustic music entitled Sweet Thunder. This will involve a series of six concerts, as well as a variety of installations that will be free and open to the general public. The concerts will feature not only SFCMP artists but an impressive variety of guest performers. The specifics, listed in order of date and time, are as follows:

Thursday, April 24, 7:30 p.m.: This will be a recital by the visiting JACK Quartet. The program will include a tribute to the late Jonathan Harvey with a performance of his fourth quartet. It will also present a new work by Kevin Ernste and the West Coast premiere of “Nightmare for JACK” by Natacha Diels. Turgut Ercetin’s first quartet will also be performed. This concert will be preceded by a special kick-off’/reception for SFCMP patrons and subscribers. There will be two performances to supplement the socializing. Claire Chase, flutist with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will perform Steve Reich’s “Vermont Counterpoint,” alternating between flute, alto flute, and piccolo, with prerecorded accompaniment of ten additional flute parts. This will be followed by “Corail” composed by local composer Ed Campion last year for saxophone and interactive software. This special “prelude” to the festival will begin at 6 p.m.

Friday, April 25, 7:30 p.m.: This will be a concert by ICE. It will feature the world premiere of “In The Light of Air” by Anna Thorvaldsdottir and two new works by Rand Steiger, “Mourning Fog” and “Cyclone.” Other recent compositions will include “Ghostlight” by Nathan Davis and “La Bouche” by Maria Stankova, both composed last year. Experimental jazz composer George Lewis will also be included on the program with his 1977 “Shadowgraph 5” and his 2007 “Artificial Life.” All of these composers will be present for the performance.

Friday, April 25, 10 p.m.: Special guest Morton Subotnick will give a performance of his seminal electronic work “From Silver Apples of the Moon to a Sky of Cloudless Sulphur IV: Lucy.”

Saturday, April 26, 2 p.m.: This will be a program of solo electro-acoustic compositions featuring SFCMP performers and close associates. Daniel Kennedy will give a solo percussion performance of Javier Alvarez’ “Shekere,” composed in 2001. Matt Ingalls will perform “CrusT,” a clarinet solo he composed in 2011. There will be two guest artists, violist Wendy Richman performing Ken Ueno’s 2007 “Talus” and bassoonist Rebekah Heller performing Steiger’s 2013 “Concatenation.” There will also be a solo flute performance of Roger Reynolds’ “Transfigured Wind,” composed in 1985.

Saturday, April 26, 7:30 p.m.: SFCMP musicians have prepared a program that will survey the history of electro-acoustic music, joined by several of their friends. The oldest work on the program will be Edgard Varèse’s “Déserts,” created between 1950 and 1954. This is one of Varése’s largest compositions, composed as four episodes performed by twenty instrumentalists with three interpolations of “organized sound” on two-track tape. Varèse’s pioneering tape composition, “Poème électronique,” composed between 1957 and 1958 and originally played through 400 loudspeakers in the Philips pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, will also be presented. Guitarist David Tanenbaum will perform the tenth of Mario Davidovsky’s “Synchronisms” compositions, created in 1992. Kaija Saariaho’s 1986 “Io” will be partnered with the world premiere of “Albatross,” commissioned from Ashley Fure. Finally, SFCMP Artistic Director Steven Schick will join Pamela Z for the world premiere of her latest work, “(v)erstählen.”

Sunday, April 27, 2 p.m.: The final concert will feature the percussion ensemble red fish blue fish performing with friends. The program will present a new composition by Jamie Oliver and a new iteration of “Voyager,” created by Lewis in 1987. The Lewis performance will feature oboist Kyle Bruckmann and pianist Dana Reason. The program will also include Karlheinz Stockhausen’s 1964 “Mikrophonie I” and Luigi Nono’s 1979 “Con Luigi Dallapiccola.”

In addition there will be an Awards Concert arranged in conjunction with SFCMP’s international high school composer competition. All of the finalist works from this competition will be performed by SFCMP musicians in a free concert. This will take place on Sunday, April 27, at 12:30 p.m.

The free installations, which will be ongoing for the duration of the festival, will be as follows:

  1. Viva Voce is an interactive work for electronics and tablet by Katharina Rosenberger and Heiko Kalmbach involving life-sized video projections of three singers (Pamela Z, Julianna Snapper, and Shelly Hirsch), whose performances can be “played” through tablet interactions.
  2. Sweet Thunder Listening Room will present classic works of tape and pre-composed computer music curated by Tom Erbe.

All performances and installations will be presented at the Fort Mason Center. Viva Voce will be set up in the Firehouse, the Fleet Room will provide the setting for the Sweet Thunder Listening Room, and all concerts (including the kick-off reception) will take place in the Festival Pavilion. Brown Paper Tickets has created a profile page for the entire festival. This page has hyperlinks for purchasing tickets to all concerts (except for the reception), a Festival Pass for all events, and a Mini-Sub for any three events.