Christopher Honett, former executive director of the Manhattan Sinfonietta, has been named executive director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players following a seven month nationwide search. Honett, who holds a Ph.D. in composition from Harvard University, was chosen from among more than 60 applicants. As executive director, Honett succeeds Adam Frey, who led the ensemble for 18 years, starting in 1991. Honett will take up his new post on July 15, 2009.
Honett grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received his undergraduate education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His musical mentors have included Julian Anderson, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Chaya Czernowin, Mario Davidovsky, Joshua Fineberg, Magnus Lindberg, and Bernard Rands. From 2004 to 2006, he directed the Harvard Group for New Music. Honett served most recently as executive director of the new music ensemble Manhattan Sinfonietta, formerly the Columbia Sinfonietta. Honett has also served as the North American agent for the French music publisher Editions Henry Lemoine. He is co-author of The Listen, a small book of reflections on the experience of listening to contemporary music. Honett’s musical compositions have been performed by such respected ensembles as the Arditti String Quartet and Ensemble Intercontemporain.
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP), now in its 38th year, performs, commissions, and records the music of today’s composers. A ten-time winner of the national ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players has won this award more times than any other ensemble. It has commissioned 74 pieces and performed over 1,150 new works, including 72 U.S. premieres and 141 world premieres. Highlights of SFCMP’s 2009-2010 season include: an all-American concert featuring the west coast premiere of John Harbison’s The Seven Ages as well as works by Edmund Campion, Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, and Charles Wuorinen (October 5); a concert including a work by U.C. Berkeley’s newest composition professor Ken Ueno (November 2); and a concert featuring Tan Dun’s 2004 Water Music (April 26). Each of the concerts will take place at San Francisco’s historic Herbst Theatre, the location of the signing of the United Nations Charter on June 26, 1945. (—Condensed from the press release)