News / Arts & Entertainment

San Francisco Musicians Create 'New' Classical Music

Nonsemble 6  (photo by Matthew Washburn)
Nonsemble 6 (photo by Matthew Washburn)
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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."