Articles by Dustin Soiseth
I attended a Google hangout with members of the Calder Quartet as part of a new audience engagement initiative supporting the Studio Classics series at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis, California. The series showcases new music and I was curious to know why the Mondavi Center chose Google hangouts to promote the series, and what they hoped to accomplish.
The Kronos Quartet wrapped up a three-year residency at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this month with a program devoted to San Francisco composers Dan Becker, Stephen Prutsman, Nathaniel Stookey, and Pamela Z.
A unique instrumentation hasn’t stopped other new music ensembles from creating repertoires for themselves, and ZOFO seems to be on that path, too. With outstanding musicians like Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi championing piano-four-hands, perhaps more composers will be encouraged to take up the cause.
“He followed his own path, and it took decades to be recognized,” says pianist Sarah Cahill. “I think a lot of young composers today—not just in the Bay Area but across the country—are picking up on what he started.”
When new music groups perform in rock clubs and other similar venues they are counting on these spaces to recontextualize what they do. But what about the venues that make this recontextualization possible? How do their priorities differ from those of more traditional venues? They are an essential part of this trend, but do they know it?
Today, local enterprising young musicians inhabit a musical world almost totally free of the boundaries previously posed by genres and traditions, a world where contentious issues—formal attire, “alt-classical”—aren’t even issues anymore. They have sidestepped whole entire philosophical debates and simply decided to do what they wanted to do, which, of course, is what people in the Bay Area have been doing for a long time.