Center for New Music’s Schedule is Full to Bursting in October

Michael Zwiebach on October 9, 2018
Outside the Center for New Music

It’s existed for only a few years, but it’s hard to imagine the Bay Area’s new-music community without the Center for New Music. The work that’s being done over there used to fly completely under the radar or not happen at all. October, already nine days gone, is particularly rich in diverse flavors, and shows that if you build it they will come.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, guitarist and electro-acoustic improviser Tetuzi Akiyama kicks off a new C4NM series “Latitudes,” curated by Other Minds’ Blaine Todd, “spanning the fields of art rock, sound art, and interdisciplinary forms.”

That’s hardly the only latitude given to pop/jazz/improv this month: on Oct. 25, accordionist Erika Stucky plays The Laundry, a set co-presented by C4NM. Stucky combines jazz and pop with spoken word performance and live image projection. And on Friday, Oct. 12, “Visible Transitions” offers perhaps the wildest improv show of the month, in which musicians improvise live as abstract painters work, and vice-versa. Ethan Cranke and Brian Lucas participate with a variety of expert improvisers, such as Gino Robair, Cheryl Leonard, Philip Greenlief, and (from Sweden) Palle and Per Anders.

Soundwave, San Francisco’s biennial festival of provocation, art, and music, joins the Center to host “Future Sonic Cities,”  during the one-week Zurich Meets San Francisco festival, Oct. 20-26. The festival itself is officially described as “a festival of two cities on the topic of intersectional identity and building opportunities for collaboration and exchange in culture, art, and music today.” The multi-act concert includes a moderated discussion panel with some of the artists.

From the Pacific Rim comes another musical exchange: on Oct. 14, shamisen virtuoso Hidejiro Honjoh, this year’s Japanese Cultural Envoy, interweaves repertoire from the Edo period with contemporary works by Lou Harrison, Dai Fujikura, Hiroya Miura, and Yuji Takahashi, a concert curated by Kurt Rohde.

Need more technology in your life? The Center is offering an Oct. 21 workshop on transforming audio recordings into MIDI events and notation. The promise is that we’ll “get our hands dirty with sound information in various formats and representations, and come away with some practical knowledge about acoustics, data compression, and pattern recognition.” RSVP in advance. And connected with that, Pamela Z and her compatriots Eric Lyon and Donald Swearingen share an Oct. 15 concert they’re calling “Surely You Gesture” in music created with gesturally-triggered electronics and voice.

Early-music and new-music communities have found each other in a match that was meant to be. C4NM closes out the month on Oct. 27, with the early music Liaison Ensemble getting together with Julie Barwick and Emma Logan’s Helia Music Collective, which “supports the creative endeavors of women in music throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.” The result will be a fascinating mix of Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini, from the 17th century, and Barwick, Lily Chen, Emily Koh, and Logan, from the here and now. It’s the capstone to a remarkable month, that will open your ears.