Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hot Air Music Festival 2017

The free, annual, all-day Hot Air Music Festival is the coolest event at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, with students and former students playing whatever they want. The eighth iteration was a couple of Sundays ago, and I lucked out seeing a few of my favorite performers, including Meerenai Shim on flute who was playing Bryndan Moondy's recent composition Cascade with Brandon Morris on violin, Samuel Nelson on viola, and Chiayu Chang on piano. You can see Meerenai perform with with the A/B Duo and Areon Flutes.

They were followed by the Friction Quartet, who have played at the last six Hot Air festivals.

Violinist Kevin Rogers explained the quartet originally got together for the Hot Air festival, so that it was a sentimental event for them, though they are getting so good they will probably soon be famous which may put an end to that.

On Sunday they played three movements from Marc Mellits' 2011 eight-movement Tapas, which was beautiful, exhilarating music (click here to listen to the piece on Soundcloud). Violinist Otis Harriel is pictured above.

The Friction Quartet will be appearing tonight, Wednesday the 15th, at the Center for New Music performing eight string quartets. Here's a description of the interesting sounding event from the C4NM website:
The Common Sense Composers’ Collective completed eight string quartets in 2010 up at Banff in collaboration with the Afiara and Cecilia Quartets. San Francisco’s own Friction SQ is about to record these works up at Skywalker and will be preceding these sessions with this one-time only live performance of the whole set of eight pieces. Common Sense is a bi-coastal composers’ collective founded in 1994. All members, which include Marc Mellits, Melissa Hui, Belinda Reynolds, Carolyn Yarnell, Dan Becker, John Halle, Randy Woolf, and Ed Harsh, will be in attendance for this West Coast premiere of these pieces. There will be a celebratory wine reception open to all ticket-holders at 6:30pm before the 7:30pm performance.

Pictured above is cellist Doug Machiz.

Violist Taija Warbelow introduced John Halle's 2002 Spheres with an entertaining demonstration that included clapping her hands against her body to show how each player was performing the same music but with different time signatures ranging from triplets to fifths, and the polyrhythms were fun and fascinating.

Later in the afternoon ZOFO, the four-hand, one-piano duo of Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi played three pieces from an upcoming hour-long project called ZOFOMOMA.

They have commissioned 15 composers from around the world to write a short work for the duo based on a favorite work of art which will be projected while the music is performed, rather like a 21st Century Pictures at an Exhibition.

This afternoon they played Mexican composer Pablo Ortiz's paisaje, Swiss composer Cecile Marti's Wendung, and Japanese composer Kenji Oh's Sacred Chichibu Peaks at Spring Dawn. They were all quite different from each other, and the entire ZOFOMOMA is slated to be completed at some point in 2017-18.

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