Sunday, October 26, 2014
Center for New Music's Second Anniversary Party
The Center for New Music celebrated their second anniversary last weekend with a fundraising concert and party to help pay for the tuning of their three pianos, which are currently situated in a rehearsal room, in the small concert hall, and in the front room of the thriving space for new and experimental music.
The place has attracted an unusually broad mixture of old and young and everything in between, both as composers/performers and appreciative audiences, including Patricia Bourne above...
...and artist Elena-María Bey and Pinna Records producer Roger Rohrbach.
Brent Miller above and Adam Fong opened the Center with an interesting model, where Center members such as Pamela Z below can perform concerts and try out material with little financial risk.
In fact, the artists and performers keep 100% of the box office receipts for each concert, while the Center ekes out a living with grants from arts groups and local government, membership fees, and sharing office space with other San Francisco arts nonprofits. There's probably nothing else like it in the world right now, at least not at this level of talent and experimentation.
The Center's location currently requires a bit of courage to attend as it sits on Taylor Street in the Tenderloin near the Golden Gate Theatre. The Center signed a fifteen-year lease so they have some safety for when the burgeoning gentrification of the neighborhood goes into hyperdrive, which looks to be finally happening within the next couple of years. (Photo above is of filmmaker and Center Board President Peter Osmonde.)
Sunday's concert featured four pianists, starting with East Bay composer Chris Brown who played his fascinating 2001 composition Branches for pianist and interactive percussive computer score. "How much of that piece was notated and how much improvised?" I asked Brown at intermission, and he responded that it was about 50/50. "Think Thelonius Monk."
Sarah Cahill, with Joseph M. Colombo as page-turner, played Naturali Periclitati, a three-movement piece about "endangered natures" by composer John Kennedy that was as graceful as every other piece I have heard by him, with Cahill giving a persuasive performance.
I had to leave before the second half, which was devoted to a conceptual piece that included video about Greg Louganis by composer Luciano Chessa (not pictured, though the above guys seemed to be his posse). There was also a piece written and performed by Joseph M. Colombo.
However, the event was inspiring enough that I threatened to become a member myself, but composer and Membership Manager Luis Escareño advised me to return with a check rather than incur credit card fees. This means I can produce a concert of my own in the coming year, though it's going to be difficult topping the upcoming November 12th concert, FRIENDLY GALAXIES: AN EVENING OF CELEBRATING SUN RA AT 100.