[From the 8/22 SFCV.org Music News]
Money, to be sure, is important, especially if you don't
have it, but it's no substitute for brains and guts in musical
leadership. Big budgets do not equal high standards of programming
excitement and excellence. As reported here last week
"regional," fiscally-constrained California Symphony (on a budget
of $1.65 million) is offering more American and commissioned
works than mighty San Francisco Symphony, with its $56 million
annual budget. The good folks in Davies Symphony Hall may be
playing better than ever, and serve well hundreds of thousands
among "mainstream" listeners, but a season of six American works
from a major American orchestra? Tsk, tsk.
The pleasant task of reporting "good news" from the world of
musical little giants today brings up the case of the Del Sol
Quartet's next season, on an operating budget of about $100,000.
Kate Stenberg, Rick Shinozaki, Charlton Lee, and Hannah Addario-Berry
want you to hear (whether you want to or not) "Premieres without
Borders" and "Women and Motherhood" during the quartet's home
season in the area.
The first program, Nov. 5-10 - in San Francisco, Berkeley, Point
Reyes, and Mountain View - includes (get ready for this!) Marc
Blitzstein's unpublished 1930 Quartet for Strings, Iranian-born
Reza Vali's yet-untitled work written for Del Sol, the American
premiere of New Zealander Jack Body's Epicycle, and - I quote -
"Hopkin and the Wired Night by Eric Lindsay of Los Angeles,
America's most promising composer under 30; he composed the work
for Del Sol in response to seeing hand-drawn posters by a Seattle
child looking for his lost frog." Yes.
Program 2, May 27 - June 3 (in the same locations, but also
including a concert in de Young Museum's Koret Auditorium),
offers the music of Ruth Crawford Seeger, Julia Wolfe, Linda
Catlin Smith, Sally Beamish and Teresa Carreno, all about
motherhood (and nary a piece about apple pie). The first two
are Americans, Smith is Canadian, Beamish works in the U.K.,
and Carreno was a 19th century Venezuelan composer.
Speaking of rampant internationalism, Del Sol's many collaborations
include performances of Hyo-shin Na's work in the Music on the
Hill Concert Series (Oct. 22, St. Kevin's Church, S.F.), of Kui
Dong and Duo Huang, with Melody of China, in the Festival of New
American Music (Nov. 11, CSU, Sacramento), Concerts4Kids (Nov.
12, Mountain View), Other Minds Festival XII - works by Per
Norgard, Maja Ratkje, Peter Sculthorpe and Ronald Bruce - (Dec.
8-10), and many others.
On the road, the Bay Area's foursome of new music go to Canada
next week, for a concert at Soiree Lane, in Sooke, British
Columbia, with Jack Body, Per Norgard, Arturo Salinas, R. Murray
Schafer, Ron Bruce Smith, and Astor Piazzolla; concerts in
Monterrey and elsewhere in Mexico with the music of Arturo
Salinas; then a residency at Northeastern University, performing
George Antheil, Marc Blitzstein, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Ronald
Bruce Smith. Del Sol is taking the music of Curtis Cacioppo,
Richard Hermann and Hyo-shin Na to a composers' symposium in
Albuquerque; then in the same city's chamber-music festival:
George Antheil, Jose Evangelista, Gabriela Lena Frank and Lou
How do they do it?! Not with (or even for) money, for sure.
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