|The Festival of New American Music opens on Friday, November 4 at 8:00 p.m. with a Gala Concert featuring Sandbox Percussion, Earplay, bassoonist Paul Hanson, and a new trio by composer Stephen Blumberg, performed by Sandra McPherson (clarinet), Susan Lamb Cook (cello), and John Cozza (piano).
Following the Gala Concert will be a concert by Sandbox Percussion on Saturday, November 5 at 8:00 p.m. Lauded by The Washington Post as “revitalizing the world of contemporary music” with “jaw- dropping virtuosity,” Sandbox Percussion has established themselves as a leading proponent in this generation of contemporary percussion chamber music. Brought together by their love of chamber music and the simple joy of playing together, Sandbox Percussion features performers Jonathan Allen, Victor Caccese, Ian Rosenbaum and Terry Sweeney.
Sandbox made their New York debut in 2012 on the Concerts on the Slope series in Brooklyn. Following that performance, they accepted an invitation to become artists-in-residence of the series and have returned in each subsequent season. Last season Sandbox gave twelve world premieres by composers such as Robert Sirota, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Crowell, Thomas Kotcheff, Alex Weiser, and Tonia Ko.
In addition to keeping a busy concert schedule Sandbox has also participated in various masterclasses and coachings at schools such as the Peabody Conservatory, Curtis Institute, Cornell University, and Furman University. While there they coached students on some of the most pivotal works in the percussion repertoire including Steve Reich’s Drumming, György Ligeti’s Síppal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel and John Cage’s Third Construction. Sandbox Percussion has now reached their fifth concert season and will celebrate with a fourth return to the Concerts on Slope series in Brooklyn and a special performance of John Luther Adams’ Strange and Sacred Noise at Trinity Church on Wall Street. They will also make a return visit to the Peabody Conservatory and Furman University where they will coach and perform Steve Reich’s monumental work, Drumming.
Splinter Reeds will perform on Sunday, November 6 at 8:00 p.m. Splinter Reeds is the Bay Area's first reed quintet, comprising five innovative musicians with a shared passion for new music. The ensemble is committed to presenting top tier performances of today’s best contemporary composition, showcasing the vast possibilities of the reed quintet, commissioning new works, and collaborating with fellow musicians and artists. Splinter Reeds formed in 2013 with the coming together of five colleagues highly active in multiple facets of the Bay Area’s vibrant music scene: Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), Bill Kalinkos (clarinet), David Wegehaupt (saxophone), Jeff Anderle (bass clarinet), and Dana Jessen (bassoon).
Recent concert engagements include performances at the Mondavi Performing Arts Center, Berkeley Art Museum, Switchboard Music Festival, April in Santa Cruz Festival of Contemporary Music, San Francisco Center for New Music, and the Presidio Sessions chamber music series. Additionally, they have held residencies at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The ensemble has received grant awards from New Music USA, the Zellerbach Foundation, and the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.
On Monday, November 7, Earplay will perform at 8:00 p.m. A regular on the Festival, Earplay is a group of seven outstanding Bay Area artists including Terrie Baune, violin; Tod Brody, flute; Peter Josheff, clarinet; Thalia Moore, cello; Ellen Ruth Rose, viola; Brenda Tom, piano; and Mary Chun, conductor.
Founded in 1985 by a consortium of composers and musicians, Earplay is dedicated to the performance of new chamber music. They have performed over 500 works by more than 300 composers in their 31-year history, including over 120 world premieres and more than 70 new works commissioned by the ensemble.
Bassoonist Paul Hanson will perform on Tuesday, November 8 at 8:00 p.m. From his roots as an award-winning classical bassoonist and jazz saxophonist, Paul has sought to expand the lexicon of the bassoon while creating a unique musical voice. As a jazz/fusion bassoonist he has recorded and/or performed with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Wayne Shorter, Peter Erskine, and many others.
Paul was the 1996 Grand Prize winner of JAZZIZ Magazineʼs WOODWINDS ON FIRE award - the first bassoonist ever to win. He also was the winner of the Robert Mondavi Woodwind concerto competition in 1984, and was awarded an NEA Jazz Fellowship in 1995.
On Wednesday, November 9, the Cassatt Quartet will perform at 8:00 p.m. Acclaimed as one of America's outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East, with appearances at New York's Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Quartet has been presented on major radio stations such as National Public Radio's Performance Today, Boston's WGBH, New York's WQXR and WNYC, and on Canada's CBC Radio and Radio France.
Formed in 1985 with the encouragement of the Juilliard Quartet, the Cassatt initiated and served as the inaugural participants in Juilliard's Young Artists Quartet Program. Their numerous awards include a Tanglewood Chamber Music Fellowship, the Wardwell Chamber Music Fellowship at Yale (where they served as teaching assistants to the Tokyo Quartet), First Prizes at the Fischoff and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions, two top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, two CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, a recording grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and commissioning grants from Meet the Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Festival of New American Music closes on Sunday, November 13 at 8:00 p.m. with a performance by pianist Sarah Cahill. Called “fiercely gifted” and “superb” by the New York Times and “as tenacious and committed an advocate as any composer could dream of” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Sarah Cahill has had works dedicated to her by John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, and Ingram Marshall, and she has also premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Julia Wolfe, Toshi Ichiyanagi, George Lewis, Leo Ornstein, and many others. She will be performing a set of eighteen commissioned pieces on the theme of peace and war.
Recent appearances include a concert at San Quentin of the music Henry Cowell wrote while incarcerated there, four performances at the San Francisco Symphony’s Soundbox, a residency at the Noguchi Museum, and concerts at Le Poisson Rouge and Roulette in New York. Sarah Cahill is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory and curates a monthly series of new music concerts at the new Berkeley Art Museum.