I remember the day my daughter Sofia came home from the nursery school she attended and told me that her teacher played a guitar during song time.“I want to play guitar,” she said. She was 4. I didn’t listen.
For families with young children, deciding whether to enjoy live music together is usually a matter of priorities. Weekends scheduled with wall-to-wall soccer matches, birthday parties, and assorted play dates can seem like a frenetic sprint to Monday morning.
Add to that mix the sometimes-daunting challenge of discovering an appropriate live classical music performance for children.
One of the great benefits of living in the Bay Area is the opportunity to tap into its vibrant new-music scene. This movable feast of experimental music seems to be fueled by an unending parade of gifted composers and performers who have spent their lives redefining musical boundaries.
In Boston, during the mid-1960s, it was commonly accepted that there were three people in town who would never in their lives need to pay for a drink at one of that city’s taverns: Carl Yastrzemski, the slugging left fielder for the Red Sox; Bill Russell, the center for the Celtics’ perennial championship teams; and Arthur Fiedler, the indefatigable conductor of the Boston Pops.
Nothingset Ensemble, a grassroots collective of Bay Area musicians, composers, and conductors dedicated to performing new music, has just three prerequisites for selecting repertoire: The music must be less than 100 years old, should be performed infrequently, and must be great, according to Ted Hine and Darren Jones, the ensemble’s founders and creative directors.
Life is full for guitarist and composer Sérgio Assad. The Brazilian performs with his brother, Odair, in arguably the best guitar duo on the planet, tours for other ensemble projects, and teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.