a year long series celebrating John Cage's centennial

As a year-long celebration of John Cage's 100th birthday, sfSound has created a realization of Cage's indeterminate score Variations II (1961) as a series of eleven concerts throughout 2012!

John Cage, perhaps the most influential composer of the 20th century, had a prolific and diverse compositional output covering a surprisingly wide range of styles and forms. sfSound's concerts have always featured a similar diversity of the experimental, electronic, theatrical, noise, and "off the page" musical interpretation/improvisation. Creating a festival based around Cage's music was a no-brainer -- something we have tossed around for years.

As devout fans of Cage's music wanting to join the celebration this special year, we have created a festival that provides a unique opportunity to experience the stylistic range and beauty of a composer who is often only represented by his few notorious works.

With programs earlier in the year featuring selected works (including Cage's tape music on our annual Tape Music Festival), this summer kicks into high gear with 4 concerts of Cage's music. Especially exciting to us are a rare performance of The City Wears a Slouch Hat, Cage's only "radio drama" work from 1942 with a text written by Kenneth Patchen; Cage's "difficult" solo works, Music of Changes (1951) and Freeman Etudes (1977-90); two realizations of Cartridge Music (1960); the microtonal ten (1991); and just being able to perform a number of significant works by Cage like Imaginary Landscape No. 1 (1939), Living Room Music (1940), The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (1942), Sonatas and Interludes (1948), Water Music (1952), Radio Music (1956), Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957-58), Aria with Fontana Mix (1958), Theatre Piece (1960), Atlas Eclipticalis (1961-62), 0'00" (4'33" No.2) (1962), Cheap Imitation (1969-77), and Music For ________ (1984-87).

With featured performances by visiting artists David Bithell (SOU, Ashland), Christopher Burns (UW, Milwaukee), Tom Chiu (Flux Quartet, NYC), and Christopher Jones (DePaul, Chicago) joining local virtuosi Julia Hathaway, Matthew Goodheart, Hadley McCarroll, Rootstock Percussion (Christopher Froh, Daniel Kennedy and Loren Mach), sfSoundGroup and sfSoundOrchestra, these events are not to be missed!

:: click here to view past festival concerts ::

:: concerts 2012

JANUARY 20-22 2012
san francisco tape music festival :: odc theater :: 3153 17th :: san francisco :: $15/8[$35] :: 8p

The San Francisco Tape Music Festival 2012 America's only festival devoted to the performance of audio works projected in three-dimensional space, with three distinct evenings of classic audio art and new fixed media compositions by 25 local and international composers. Hear members of the SF Tape Music Collective, along with guest composers, shape the sound live over a pristine surround system consisting of 16+ high-end loudspeakers while the audience is seated in complete darkness. It's a unique opportunity to experience music forming - literally - around you.

This year we celebrate 100 years of John Cage, with classic tape assemblages spanning his career, along with two new realizations of tape scores by the SF Tape Music Collective. Plus the first ever captured sounds, realized 163 year-old phonautograph realizations. Classics by Milton Babbitt, Raymond Scott, Jim Henson, Luc Ferrari, and The Beatles; and new works by Thom Blum, Cliff Caruthers, Jacob Felix Heule, Matt Ingalls, Kristin Miltner, Maggi Payne, and Rubber (O) Cement™, Joseph Anderson (UK), Matthew Barnard (UK), Martin Bédard (Montréal), Christopher Burns (Milwaukee), Dan Joseph (New York), Orestis Karamanlis (Greece), Stelios Manousakis (Seattle), Émilie Payeur (Montréal), Alexander Schubert (Germany), Christian Swithinbank (UK), Adam Basanta (Montréal), and John Young (UK).

ccrma stage :: stanford university :: free :: 8p

a concert of new instrumental music with electronics!

James Tenney - Ergodos II (For John Cage) (1978) computer generated tape with instrumental responses
Phil Niblock - Disseminate (1998) pre-recorded and live instruments
Mario Davidovsky - Synchronisms #3 (1965) cello and tape
Per Bloland - Quintet (2005) sax and live electronics
Kyle Bruckmann - Cell Structure (2009) oboe, clarinet, and recorded analog electronics
Matt Ingalls - False Awakening (2008) amplified instruments and electronics

Kyle Bruckmann oboe
Matt Ingalls, clarinet
John Ingle, saxophone
Monica Scott, cello

community music center :: 544 capp :: san francisco :: 8p :: $15 [$8 underemployed]


From Holland: Virtuoso Vocalist Jaap Blonk performing solo and with sfSound!

Jaap Blonk is a self-taught composer, performer and poet who has worked since the early 1980s almost exclusively in the realm of improvised vocal performance and Dada inspired concrete poetry. He is celebrated world-wide for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom in improvisation with a keen grasp of structure. He has collaborated with many musicians and ensembles in the field of contemporary and improvised music, like Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Nicolas Collins, Joan La Barbara, Carola Bauckholt, Golan Levin, The Ex, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and the Ebony Band.

As part of our continuing celebration of John Cage's 100th birthday, we present one of Cage's most known and effective simultaneous performances of pieces, Aria with Fontana Mix. Blonk will be performing his interpretation of Aria while sfSound premieres our new acoustic realization of Fontana Mix. In addition, we present one of Cage's earlieast works, the rarely heard Composition for 3 Voices.

This concert is presented in association with San Francisco Cinematheque.

Jaap Blonk - Dr Voxoid's Next Move (2011, 45m)
John Cage - Aria (1958 - featuring Jaap Blonk) with Fontana Mix (1958 - sfSound's new realization, 10m)
Jaap Blonk/sfSoundGroup - Improvisation (2012, 10m)
John Cage - Composition for 3 Voices (1934, 5m)
Matt Ingalls - False Awakening (2008, 15m) amplified instruments and electronics

Jaap Blonk, voice
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Tom Dambly, trumpet
Matt Ingalls, clarinet
John Ingle, saxophone
Ben Kreith, violin
Michelle Lou, guitar
Hadley McCarroll, piano
Monica Scott, cello
Andy Strain, trombone

SAT JULY 14 2012 :: Variation VII
odc dance commons :: studio b :: 351 shotwell :: san francisco :: 8p :: $15 [$8 underemployed] :: cash at door only

We launch our first summer Variation with a program encompassing Cage's entire career, from Imaginary Landscape No. 1 (1939) (one of the earliest electro-acoustic works ever composed) to one of Cage's final works, the hauntingly beautiful microtonal ten (1991).

As to be expected, this concert covers a large spectrum of sounds, including voice, a chamber ensemble, piano preparations, test tones, conch shells, the sound of fire, a radio, 3 whistles, water containers, water pouring, shuffling a deck of cards, a wooden stick, found objects, paper crumpling, and silence. Plus a new Cage-inspired work by sfSound's Monica Scott!

Imaginary Landscape No. 1 (1939)
2 variable-speed phono turntables, frequency recordings, muted piano and cymbal

The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (1942)
Experiences II (1948)
solo voice

Water Music (1952)
pianist, radio, 3 whistles, water containers, deck of cards, a wooden stick, four objects for preparing a piano and a stopwatch; score to be mounted as a large poster

But what about the noise of crumpling paper which he used to do in order to paint the series of "Papiers froisses" or tearing up paper to make "Papiers dechires?" Arp was stimulated by water (sea, lake, and flowing waters like rivers), forests (1985)
found objects, water, and crumpling paper

ten (1991)
microtonal chamber ensemble

(h)ear age:C (2012)
a new Cage-inspired chamber work by sfSound's Monica Scott

Hadley McCarroll, voice and piano
Matt Ingalls, clarinet and test frequencies
John Ingle, saxophone
Tom Dambly, trumpet
Brendan Lai-Tong, trombone
Matthew Goodheart, piano
Kjell Nordeson, percussion
Erik Ulman, violin
Ben Kreith, violin
Tara Flandreau, viola
Monica Scott, cello

SUN AUGUST 5 2012 :: Variation VIII
the lab :: 2948 16th st :: san francisco :: 8p :: $15 [$8 underemployed] :: cash at door only

Our next Variation is a program focusing on Cage's most pioneering experimental, electronic, and noise music. Starting with early works utilizing 'non-musical' objects to generate sound [ Living Room Music (1940) and Radio Music (1956) ], we move to Cage's music for amplified objects from the early 60's. These works, epitomized by Cartridge Music (1960), feature graphic scores written on transparencies arranged by performers to realize various "events" amplified with contact microphones and phonograph cartridges. Although Cage was famously opposed to improvisation, these works require musicians who can make musical decisions based on real-time listening -- a skill honed by all the sfSound players!

Balancing out the program are two acoustic works: Music For ________ (1984-87) for chamber ensemble and a new work for improvisers by sfSound's Christopher Burns.

Living Room Music (1940)
household objects and voice

Radio Music (1956)
one to eight radios

Cartridge Music (1960)
phonographic pick-ups, small objects, furniture, contact microphones, and amplification

Music for Amplified Toy Pianos (1960)
any number of toy pianos

0'00" (4'33" No.2) (1962)
a disciplined action with maximum amplification

Inlets (Improvisation II) (1977)
water-filled conch shells, a conch shell player using circular breathing and the sound of fire

Music For ________ (1984-87)
chamber ensemble

One3 (1988)
a hall on the edge of feedback

unlit cigarettes (for john cage) (2012)
a new work by Christopher Burns for four or more improvisers

Kyle Bruckmann, oboe, electronics & toy piano
Christopher Burns, electronics
Amar Chaudhary, toy piano
Daniel Cullen, toy piano
Tom Dambly, trumpet, furniture & electronics
Tom Djll, trumpet and electronics
Sivan Eldar, toy piano
Tara Flandreau, violin and electronics
Matthew Goodheart, furniture & electronics
Matt Ingalls, clarinet, furniture, electronics & toy piano
John Ingle, saxophone
Hadley McCarroll, furniture, voice & toy piano
Wobbly, electronics

FRI AUGUST 17 2012 :: Variation IX
old first concerts :: 1751 sacramento :: san francisco :: 8p :: $17/14

This Variation brings an exciting program of some of Cage's most virtuosic and elegantly drawn scores, featuring performances by New York violinist Tom Chiu (Flux Quartet), pianist Christopher Jones (Chicago), and the sfSoundOrchestra. Although widely known, Music of Changes (solo piano, 1951) and Freeman Etudes (solo violin , 1977-90) are undoubtedly Cage's most difficult pieces and are rarely performed. This is an extraordinary opportunity to hear both works live that should not be missed!

Rounding out the program, we present three of Cage's most iconic works: Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957-58), Cheap Imitation (1969-77), and Atlas Eclipticalis (1961-62).

Music of Changes (books I and IV) (1951)
solo piano

59½" For a String Player (1953)
solo violin

Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957-58) with Solo for Voice 1 (1960)
piano and chamber ensemble

Atlas Eclipticalis (1961-62) with Solo for Voice 45 (1970)
chamber orchestra

Cheap Imitation (1969-77)
solo violin

Freeman Etudes (1977-90)
solo violin

Tom Chiu, solo violin
Christopher Jones, solo piano and conductor

Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Jesse Canterbury, clarinets
Matt Ingalls, clarinets
John Ingle, saxophone
Steve Adams, woodwinds
Phillip Greenlief, woodwinds
Jon Raskin, woodwinds
Tom Dambly, trumpet
Tom Djll, trumpet
Christian Behrens, trombone
Kjell Nordeson, percussion
Erik Ulman, violin
Tara Flandreau, viola
Richard Worn, bass
Hadley McCarroll, voice
Ken Ueno, voice

SUN AUGUST 25 2012 :: Variation 0
berkeley arts festival space :: 4p

11th and 12th Annual Transbay Skronkathon BBQ

THU SEPTEMBER 6 2012 :: Variation X
sfmoma :: 151 3rd st :: san francisco :: 7p :: $10 general/$7 museum members, students, seniors

sfSound reprises Cartridge Music (1960), as part of the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival

THU SEPTEMBER 20 2012 :: Variation XI
sfmoma :: 151 3rd st :: san francisco :: 7p :: $10 general/$7 museum members, students, seniors :: advance ticket purchase

Our final Variation ends with some of Cage's most intriguing and theatrical works. The program centers around the The City Wears a Slouch Hat, Cage's only "radio drama" work from 1942 with a text written by Kenneth Patchen. This 30-minute piece written for a "sound orchestra" of percussion, sound effects, and actors has only recently been known publicly, with only a handful of live performances. Featuring a star cast (John Flanagan, Stacy Ross, Michael Sommers, David Winter) with local virtuosi Rootstock Percussion, this is an event not to be missed!

The concert also includes the iconic works Sonatas and Interludes (1948), Cage's magnum opus for prepared piano, performed by Hadley McCarroll and an all-acoustic realization of Aria with Fontana Mix (1958), performed by soprano Julia Hathaway. sfSoundGroup also performs their unique transcriptions of Sonatas and Interludes for chamber ensemble and one of Cage's latest works, the elegant Five (1988).

Sonatas and Interludes (selected) (1948)
prepared piano

sfSound's Sonatas & Interludes Transcription Project (2012)
chamber ensemble

The City Wears a Slouch Hat (1942)
percussion, sound effects, and actors

Aria with Fontana Mix (1958)
voice and chamber ensemble

Five (1988)
chamber ensemble

John Flanagan, actor
Julia Hathaway, voice
Hadley McCarroll, piano
Rootstock Percussion (Christopher Froh, Daniel Kennedy and Loren Mach)
Stacy Ross, actor
Michael Sommers, actor
David Winter, actor

Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Tom Dambly, trumpet
Matt Ingalls, clarinet & sound effects
Ben Kreith, violin
Monica Scott, cello
Andy Strain, trombone


October 12, Faithful! Festival, Berlin
October 14, Prague Cabaret with Praha Improvizační Orchestr, Prague
October 16, New Music Encounters Plus, Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Brno

NOVEMBER 18 2012
chamber music day :: yerba buena center for the arts :: 701 mission :: san francisco :: free

Mission Eye & Ear: live cinema

Matt Ingalls/sfSoundGroup present sound to a film by Konrad Steiner

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