San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players in concert

The numbers are impressive for the acclaimed, historic organization specializing in contemporary music.

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players’ 52nd season in 2022 and 2023 includes the work of 35 composers, eight from California; five commissioning projects; 10 world, U.S., or West Coast premieres; and a spotlight on large-ensemble works.

Probably crossing his fingers behind his back, SFCMP Artistic Director Eric Dudley announced that “in celebration of a return to post-pandemic normality,” the group also returns to large-ensemble concerts — at the SF Conservatory of Music, Taube Atrium, and Herbst Theatre, as well as holding forth for more intimate concerts in The Lab, the ensemble’s new Mission District home.

The season features, among others, the commissioned world premiere of Brian Baumbusch’s Polytempo Music, premieres of pieces by SF Search for Scores winners Marcus Norris and Aiyana Braun, and the Bay Area premiere of Catch and Release (2006) by Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Eric Dudley
Eric Dudley | Credit: Bonica Ayala

Dudley says the season is “one of the fullest and most adventurous that we’ve planned yet — from large, ambitious ensemble programs to intimate chamber concerts, with groundbreaking commissions and new community partnerships, we’ll be presenting a season of genuine scope that invites everyone to come back to the concert experience and enjoy live, inspiring, boundary-pushing new musical works.”

Two programs, this fall and in the new year, showcase the relationship between music and the visual arts. The collaboration between SFCMP and UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies also continues Dec. 4, with pieces for solo double bass, performed by SFCMP double bassist Richard Worn, alongside new electroacoustic works by CNMAT composers..

On Nov. 5, “Re-Tuning and Refiguration” in the SF Conservatory of Music’s Hume Concert Hall, explores how the parameter of fixed pitch becomes a fluid concept in a program that surveys different tuning systems and their juxtapositions with each other. Emerging composers from the school’s Technology and Applied Composition program respond with new works seeking innovative approaches to pitch. Pieces by American mavericks Ben Johnston and Sky Macklay inhabit the “notes between the notes” to alter perceptions of how certain instruments are supposed to sound. Korean-born composer Unsuk Chin further disguises instrumental identities in a musical exploration of pantomime.

Flutist Tod Brody and harpist Meredith Clark perform music by Jennifer Higdon, Suzanne Farrin, Luciano Berio, Salvatore Sciarrino, and others on Jan. 15, 2023, in The Lab.

The “Sound & Wine” annual benefit program is scheduled on Feb. 26, 2023, in the planned (but not yet confirmed) venue of the Monroe Club, 473 Broadway, San Francisco.

This season’s concluding program, “Power Duos, Power Dynamics,” on May 11, 2023, in Herbst Theatre, brings contrasting viewpoints and intergenerational dialogue to the concert hall. With Anthony Braxton as the elder composer in the mix, a piece by his son Tyondai combines his experience as a rock musician and his sensibilities for orchestral music into a dance-inspired musical tapestry, while works by Miya Masaoka and George Lewis offer contrasting viewpoints on group virtuosity and the nature of the performer and audience dynamic.