sfSoundSeries/sfSoundSalonSeries is a concert series in the san francisco bay area featuring contemporary and experimental music. our programs reach from the latest music of the european avant-garde to the grittiest sounds of the west coast improv-underground, encompassing recent trends in instrumental technique, conceptual art, music theater, and electronic sound.

we also present the sfSoundSalonSeries at the center for new music in san francisco!
upcoming concerts

dec 4, 2016 - michael thieke & biliana voutchkova
jan 6-8, 2017 - the san francisco tape music festival
jan 17, 2017 - ashley walters
feb 24, 2017 - david smooke + ken ueno + matt ingalls
apr 4, 2017 - sarah hennies + john krausbauer
apr 11, 2017 - loadbang
apr 18, 2017 - michelle lou + scott worthington

:: view previous 2016 concerts here ::

 Sunday December 4 2016 
sfSoundSalonSeries :: center for new music :: 55 taylor :: san francisco :: $15 [$10 underemployed/members] :: 8:00p


in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Chicago

The Berlin—based duo of BILIANA VOUTCHKOVA (violin) and MICHAEL THIEKE (clarinet) has worked intensively since 2011, developing a strong interest in exploring reduction and micro elements that increase the sensitivity of perception for themselves as well as their audiences. The music focuses on microtonality and intimate, slow moving soundscapes. As active performer-composers the two are intrigued by real time composition and improvisation, as well as by contemporary composition. The duo has performed in Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech Republic and Germany, and has released their first album “Already there” on the Swiss label Flexion Records.


Blur is a form of inexactness, indeterminacy, uncertainty in the depiction or reproduction of an object or state of affairs; it need not constitute an error, rather it can be desired or perhaps impossible to avoid.

Blur is the immortality a scientist achieves through quantum suicide, or a living and dead cat in the state of superposition, as in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Blur creates blanks that serve as stimuli for supplementation by subjective concretizations that stretch far beyond what the object actually presents. Blur is the enormous room between seeing distinctly and not seeing at all when we’re reading a page — distinctly seen is always just a word or syllable, while the remainder stays blurred. All theory is blurred.

The duo’s new program works with the theme of blur in the field of music, on the level of formal composition as well as in the details of the musical material.

The music’s structure creates a blur; improvised parts alternate with fields of pre-structured material in which tape-recordings of the duo are duplicated by live performance. Identical material thus sounds in live performance at the same time it sounds from playback, unavoidably giving rise to blur in the temporal dimension, in the rhythmic, timbral, and motivic variations, in the microtonal interpretation of individual pitches. The live portion of the duplicated material is still improvised, but in a framework restricted by the pre-recorded material being played back.

On the formal level, the transitions between composition and improvisation grow vague, they lose their sharp edges. To perception, what is being composed in real time blurs into what has been structured in advance; the difference can be registered only after an interval, if at all. On the level of musical detail, the blur derives from the duplication of the material, which is organized so as to sound at approximately the same time, but never identically.

“Is it even always an advantage to replace a picture that is not sharp by one that is? Isn’t one that isn’t sharp often just what we need?” (Ludwig Wittgenstein). (translated by Brady Bowman)

BILIANA VOUTCHKOVA studied classical violin, in her college years she developed a strong interest in contemporary composed and improvised music. Since then she has been active in both fields, her work spans a wide possible range of music and sound. She has collaborated with Frances-Marie Uitti, Matthias Bauer, Audrey Chen, Axel Dörner, Robin Hayward, and is part of the Berlin based Splitter Orchester, Work in Progress and Das Neue Ensemble Hannover as well as regular guest with ensembles such as Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, Mozaik, Ensemble Modern, Sasha Waltz & Guests. In recent years Biliana started working intensively with dancers and expanded her interest into instant composition of sound and movement, co-founded her group Grapeshade and developed the idea of OSM – open sound & movement collective with partner Louise Wagner leading into curating their own series at Radial System V in Berlin.

The Berlin-based clarinetist/composer/performer MICHAEL THIEKE is equally at home across a broad range of musical environments, such as experimental song forms, collectively composing projects, improvising collectives, and music on the fringes of jazz. He is exploring the minutiae of sound, timbre and noise, with a particular interest in microtonality and related sound phenomena, and with a preference for long-term collaborations and collective work. Concert tours took him all around Europe and to China, Canada, Lebanon, Japan and the USA, and his work has been documented on over 40 releases on such labels as staubgold, ftarri, leo records, erstwhile andanother timbre. Some of his current Projects are: The International Nothing, The Magic I.D., The Pitch, Splitter Orchester, Hotelgäste and Der Lange Schatten, as well as duos with Biliana Voutchkova and Olivier Toulemonde.

 January 6/7/8 2017 
tape fest 2017 :: victoria theater :: 2961 16th Street :: san francisco

The San Francisco Tape Music Festival 2017

America's only festival devoted to the performance of audio works projected in three-dimensional space, The San Francisco Tape Music Festival features three distinct evenings of classic audio art and new fixed media compositions by 20 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 24 high-end loudspeakers while the audience is seated in complete darkness. It's a unique opportunity to experience music forming - literally - around you.

[click here for more details]

 Tuesday January 17 2017 
sfSoundSalonSeries :: center for new music :: 55 taylor :: san francisco :: $15 [$10 underemployed/members] :: 8:00p


Cellist ASHLEY WALTERS has been described as performing “…with the kind of brilliance that beckons a major new performer on the new music scene” (Mark Swed,LA Times). As a solo artist, Ashley has been the dedicatee of numerous works by composers such as Nicholas Deyoe, Andrew McIntosh, Lewis Nielson, Daniel Rothman, Wadada Leo Smith, and Andrew Tholl. She is also known for her performances of Sequenza XIV by Luciano Berio, Plainsound-Litany by Wolfgang von Schweinitz, and Invisibility by Liza Lim. She specializes in performing microtonal works and repertoire with extended techniques and alternate tunings. Ashley has appeared as a soloist on concert series such as Green Umbrella, wasteLAnd music, San Diego New Music, Beyond Baroque, nief-norf Summer Music Festival, Santa Fe Creative Dialogue, at the Hammer Museum, the Wulf, and for dance performances in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. Her debut album will soon be released featuring four works written for her in addition to works by Berio and Schweinitz. Recently, Ashley premiered a cello concerto by long-time collaborator Nicholas Deyoe and will record the piece in 2017. Following the premiere performance, Paul Muller of Sequenza 21 wrote, “The swirling texture and often agitated phrasing was accurately and confidently played, a showcase for the virtuosity that Ms. Walters dependably brings to all her performances.” This sheason, she will perform Liza Lim’s Invisibility at Disney Hall as well as solo recitals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

A frequent collaborator with legendary trumpeter, improviser, and composer, Wadada Leo Smith, Ashley joined his Golden Quintet in 2016 and recorded his America’s National Parks the same year. “The band Wadada enlisted for this project was an expansion of his dream-team of veterans known as the Golden Quartet (Anthony Davis on piano, John Lindberg on bass, Pheeroan akLaff on drums), with the acquisition of the young cellist Ashley Walters, who adds chamberesque texture and diversified colors to the organic divagations.” (Jazz Trail) About the album, Dan McClenaghan of All About Jazz said “…and Ashley Walters’ cello paints the rich, beautiful hues that subtly enhance the entire proceeding – the most auspicious addition to a jazz ensemble since Chico Hamilton brought the instrument into his chamber groups in the late 1950’s.” Ashley has toured Smith’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated Ten Freedom Summers to Austria, Brazil, Chicago, D.C., and New York. She has also twice appeared as a guest with Smith’s Golden Quartet performing in Istanbul and Paris and she has performed with Smith’s Silver Orchestra, for which Robert Bush of All About Jazz said,“…and cellist Ashley Walters contributions were consistently compelling.”

Ashley is a founding member of the Formalist Quartet, now in its tenth season, which has premiered a vast repertoire of works and is known for its audacious programming. Soon, the quartet will release a recording of Christian Wolff’s string quartets, recorded in collaboration with the composer. The Formalist Quartet has held residencies at Princeton, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, CalArts, and Oberlin. Called “superb” and “fabulous” by the LA Times, the group has appeared in concert in Iceland, Austria, Italy, Germany, and throughout the United States.

In the summer of 2013, Ashley joined the faculty of the nief-norf Summer Festival, a multi-tiered contemporary music organization devoted to fostering creative collaboration among musical performers, composers, and scholars. Each summer, she joins colleagues from throughout the U.S. to perform, teach chamber music, and conduct ensembles. In November 2014, she appeared with the nief-norf project at a multi-day festival at Northern Illinois University. Ashley’s recordings can be heard on Cold Blue Records, Darla Records, Populist Records, Tzadik Records, Cunieform, Music from Stanford: <541>, Atlantic Records, Universal Motown, and as the cellist on the DVD documentary Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story.

Ashley currently serves as faculty at Moorpark College and Ventura College. She has served on the faculty of the California State Summer School (Valencia, CA), the Academy of Creative Education (North Hollywood, CA), the Harmony Project (Hollywood, CA), and as an Associate-in-Music at UCSD.

A native of Oak Hill, VA, Dr. Walters holds degrees from the University of California, San Diego (where she was twice awarded for excellence in teaching for her work with undergraduate students), the California Institute of the Arts, and Vanderbilt University (Magna Cum Laude).

:: musicians
The concerts showcase some of the Bay Area's finest musicians, bringing together talented and accomplished improvisers, composers, and performers committed to the full range of contemporary musicmaking. :: more ::

:: history
sfSound has been producing concerts since 1999.
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