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.

for 2013-2014, we also present the bi-weekly sfSoundSalonSeries at the center for new music in san francisco!
upcoming concerts

aug 24, 2014 - sfSound @ sfcm - STOCKHAUSEN/GRISEY/SMALL PACKAGES
sep 27, 2014 - birgit ulher mit grosse abfahrt
oct 14, 2014 - jonathan zorn
oct 21, 2014 - MUSIC & FILM: a. lewandowski/t. feeney/c. shepard/l. polansky/d. kant & m. ashkin/b. o'brien
nov 8, 2014 - nate wooly & carol robinson play eliane radigue
nov 11, 2014 - tim hodgkinson
nov 18, 2014 - bhob rainey
mar 9, 2015 - marco fusi
apr, 2015 - james tenney's "spectrum iv"

:: view previous 2014 concerts here ::

 August 24 2014 
san francisco conservatory of music concert hall :: 50 oak st :: san francisco :: $15 [$8 underemployed] :: 8p
*** purchase advance tickets here ***

sfSound's small packages

sfSound's most ambitious project of 2014, “small packages,” is a series of musical performances featuring Avant-Garde classics programmed alongside a group of new, shorter musical responses by living composers. Our previous "packages" combined established masterworks by György Ligeti, Earle Brown, and Anton Webern, alongside new contributions by Pauline Oliveros, Mark Applebaum, Greg Saunier, Dan Becker, Maggi Payne, and Canner MEFE among many others.

This concert features two classic works: Karlheinz Stockhausen's Kontra-Punkte, the quintessential post-war serial masterpiece, and Gérard Grisey's atmospheric Périodes , the 2nd piece of his epic suite, Les espaces acoustiques, a touchstone of spectral music. The two seemingly opposed classic works of modern concert music are iconic examples of two main threads in modern 20th century music -- yet both are rarely performed in the United States today.

To round out the program, we have commissioned five of sfSound's composer-performers to create new short works as a response - in their own unique way - to one or both of the classic compositions on the program. For each “small packages”, expect a diverse array of techniques sfSound is known for: complex notation, extended instrumental techniques, graphic notation, and improvisation.

Taken as a whole, this collection of new works should be an excellent pairing to the stylistic range of the Stockhausen and Grisey "forgotten classics", all performed by one of the region’s most creative new music ensembles. An evening not to be missed!

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Kontra-Punkte (1953)
Gérard Grisey - Périodes (1974)
Monica Scott - small package (2014)
John Ingle - small package (2014)
Matt Ingalls - small package (2014)
Christopher Burns - small package (2014)
Kyle Bruckmann - small package (2014)

Richard Worn, bass
Monica Scott, cello
Ellen Ruth Rose, viola
Theodore Padouvas, trumpet
Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano
Emily Laurance, harp
Brendan Lai-Tong, trombone
Benjamin Kreith, violin
Erin Irvine, bassoon
John Ingle, saxophone/conductor
Matt Ingalls, clarinet
Diane Grubbe, flute
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe/english horn
Rob Bailis, bass clarinet

this concert is funded, in part by the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, and individual contributions.

 September 27 2014 
sfSoundSalonSeries :: center for new music :: 55 taylor :: san francisco :: $15 [$10 members/underemployed] :: 7:49p

Birgit Ulher mit Grosse Abfahrt

German trumpet improviser, Birgit Ulher, performs solo and group improvisations with Grosse Abfahrt — a San Francisco freely-improvising music continuum/community whose name means “great departure”. From out this departure of de-parts comes a salute to epic failure, a disaster in full-dress uniform, gold epaulets dangling off the corpse of Western culture.

Birgit Ulher, trumpet
John Shiurba, guitar
Gino Robair, percussion/electronics
Tim Perkis, electronics
Kanoko Nishi, koto/piano
Bill Hsu, video
Jacob Felix Heule, percussion
Tom Djll, trumpet/electronics
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe/english horn

Born 1961 in Nuremberg, Birgit Ulher studied the visual arts, which still have an important influence on her music. Since moving to Hamburg in 1982 she has been involved in free improvisation and experimental music. Since then she has “established a distinguished grammar of sounds beyond the open trumpet” (jazzdimensions.de). She works mainly on extending the sounding possiblities of the trumpet by using splitting sounds, multiphonics and granular sounds and has developed her own extended techniques and preparations for producing these sounds. Besides this material research she is especially interested in the relation between sound and silence. She performs solo, with dancers, working ensembles, and one-time collaborations with musicians from around the world.

She has been organising the festival of improvised music Real Time Music Meetingfor over ten years.

Music performances in Europe, USA, South America, Russia and the Middle East, together with UNSK (Birgit Ulher / Martin Küchen / Lise-Lott Norelius / Raymond Strid), the Trio PUT (with Ulrich Phillipp and Roger Turner), Nordzucker (with Lars Scherzberg and Michael Maierhof), Heiner Metzger, Martin Klapper, Tim Hodgkinson, Dorothea Schürch, Rhodri Davies, Robyn Schulkowsky, John Edwards, Michael Zerang, Damon Smith, Lou Mallozzi, Gino Robair, Ute Wassermann, Albert Márkos, Sven Ake Johansson, Gene Coleman, Ernesto Rodrigues, Heddy Boubaker, Tim Perkis, Bryan Eubanks, Tanaka, Ariel Shibolet, Christoph Schiller and Sean Meehan, Forbes Graham, Leonel Kaplan, Gregory Büttner, Lucio Capece, Eric Leonardson and Bill Hsu.

Lecture/Workshops at Haifa University, SAIC - School of The Art Institut of Chicago and Hochschule für Musik Basel.

Grosse Abfahrt is a project Tom Djll started to explore a number of problems in freely improvised music. The first and most obvious of these is the problem of ensemble size, which Djll wanted to tackle head-on: GA ensembles are always of eight to ten players. This range seems to settle in a locale where there is a strong opportunity for individual sound-agents to emerge and make a statement against the ensemble backdrop, and also for the entire ensemble to cohere into long-form structures that transcend the productions of conventional improvised-music sociality (another problem addressed). How these ensembles are collected takes up another problem: that of the conflict between fluency and comfort among improvising compadres. Fluency between players’ languages and approaches is desirable, of course; however, it can lead to complacency.

Grosse Abfahrt is made up of a core group of five-six players which, ideally, does not vary: Tom Djll, Tim Perkis, Matt Ingalls, John Shiurba, Kyle Bruckmann and Gino Robair. These people are all very familiar with each other’s strengths, preferences, and foibles. Added to this core are “outsider" musicians who have not played with the core. Often, these outsiders come from far away, and are playing as duos or trios already, so they arrive with some comfort and fluency in their own musical relationship. How these two dynamics come together to create music, with practically no introduction (much less, rehearsal), is Grosse Abfahrt's practice.

This will be the core group's second meeting with Birgit Ulher, who is based in Hamburg, Germany; it's our first with locals Bill Hsu, Kanoko Nishi-Smith, and Jacob Felix Heule.

Birgit Ulher's appearance is made possible by
The Goethe Institut

:: 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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:: radio
Many recordings of past concerts, as well as featured works on upcoming concerts can be heard on sfSoundRadio.
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