News / Arts & Entertainment

San Francisco Musicians Create 'New' Classical Music

Nonsemble 6  (photo by Matthew Washburn)
Nonsemble 6 (photo by Matthew Washburn)
TEXT SIZE - +
Richard Paul
California has long been seen as the place in the U.S. where new ideas are tested.  A group of young artists in San Francisco are continuing that trend, giving new life to an old field: opera and European classical music.

There’s a well-worn path that conservatory students take after graduation.  Amy Foote, a newly minted opera singer, says normally it was expected that…“I would perform in community opera productions and that I would audition for young artists programs and getting a church gig.  Also, for instrumentalists, I think it is expected that you would take orchestral excerpt auditions.”

But like most artists, Foote had bigger dreams.   

“I wanted to perform new classical chamber music, so I made sure that I could,” she said.

Foote is not alone, either in her drive or in her desire to seek a new way to make a career in the field of European classical music.  In fact, she’s part of a trend among her former classmates at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  

“What I saw out of the San Francisco Conservatory were these students who were very interested in developing their own projects in an entrepreneurial way," said Sidney Chen, an editor for NewMusicBox, a web publication that covers new American orchestral work.  "They’ve said that where opportunities don’t exist, they’ve decided to create them.”

San Francisco Musicians Create New Classical Music
San Francisco Musicians Create New Classical Musici
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

This push towards entrepreneurial risk-taking arose in an organic and spontaneous fashion.  Though it’s not something they teach students at the San Francisco Conservatory, several conservatory professors have recently taken it upon themselves to work with the school’s recent alumni in a new and exciting way.  

Mobius TrioMobius Trio
x
Mobius Trio
Mobius Trio
“They’re our collaborators now.  They’re writing music for us,” said Conservatory graduate Matt Linder, a member of the classical guitar group Mobius Trio.

The title cut off the Mobius Trio’s new album "Last Light" was written by the head of the Conservatory’s composition department, Professor Dan Becker.  Mobius had another song written for them by music history professor Luciano Chessa.

“These are people who command very real commission fees for a reason," LInder said. "They are known composers.  But they’ve been incredibly generous in terms of donating part of their commission fee to us.”

Friction QuartetFriction Quartet
x
Friction Quartet
Friction Quartet
Becker also collaborated with another group of alumni, the Friction Quartet, on an hour-long work for dance and string quartet.  In the case of Amy Foote’s group, Nonsemble 6, a professor got them a booking that led to a national tour, starting clear across the country in Washington, D.C.  

“Mary Ellen Poole, the Dean, gave us the opportunity of going to the Kennedy Center," she said. "That’s awesome.”

​In classical fields like opera and concert music, there is often a lament that no new work is being created.   According to Chen of NewMusicBox, this experiment is helping address that problem too.

​“We’ve seen several years of very concentrated activity specifically centered on contemporary music.  That’s also unusual," he said. "It’s not just that there’s a string quartet that plays Beethoven very well.  What we’re seeing now is a whole string of performers coming out of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music who are all very committed to contemporary music and in some cases, exclusively committed to contemporary music.”

It is self-evident that these collaborations are helping these young artists, but they are doing something much more.  In an increasingly disassociated and global era, this new way of working has created a unique, local phenomenon that enriches the lives of San Francisco music lovers and creates for them and for the artists a true sense of community.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Saxophonist Craig Handy has an exciting new band called 2nd Line Smith, which combines the organ-jazz repertoire of Jimmy Smith with the “second line” rhythms of New Orleans parade music. Craig Handy joins "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten at Washington’s Bohemian Caverns jazz club to talk about the music and perform with the band.

Blogs