This site has tried, not always successfully, to keep up with the programs prepared by Earplay. The group, founded in 1985, is a consortium of composers and musicians, the latter calling themselves the Earplayers. The programming philosophy seeks to combine new chamber music with works by great composers of both the 20th and 21st centuries. New works have involved commissioning efforts since 1987, and since then more than 70 new works have been commissioned.
The title of the current season is Test of Time. As that title suggests, programming has been designed to celebrate both past and future, combining world premieres with music from the past that has stood the test of time. The title of this month’s program is Surprise & Enigma. It will honor the legacy of composers who have recently died and celebrates the promise and artistry of accomplished composers in the early part of their career.
The primary legacy work on the program will be by the late Donald Aird, for whom Earplay’s annual Aird Composers Competition is named. Earplay pianist Brenda Tom will be joined by founding Earplay pianist Karen Rosenak for a performance of Aird’s duo composition entitled “The Four-Handed Game,” composed in 1995 and given a “revival” performance in 2002. The program will also honor the late Stefan Wolpe with a performance of his 1963 trio for flute (Tod Brody), cello (Thalia Moore), and piano. In addition, the program will feature “Monk” by the 2015 Aird Competition winner Shiuan Chang, scored for flute, clarinet (Peter Josheff), cello, and piano. Finally, the works commissioned by Earplay will include the last piece written by Herb Bielawa before his death this past December, “Drone on D” for flute, clarinet, violin (Terrie Baune), viola (Ellen Ruth Rose), and cello. (By way of context it is worth observing that Bielawa was a professor for 25 years at San Francisco State University, where he not only created electronic music and computer music studios but also developed courses for them. He also founded the new music performing ensemble Pro Musica Nova.) The other commissioned work on the program will be Ursula Kwong-Brown’s recently completed “Unwinding” for violin, viola, and cello.
This concert will take place on Monday, March 14, beginning at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. and a reception following the concert. The venue will be the ODC Theater, located in the Mission at 3153 17th Street at the corner of Shotwell Street. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $10 for students with valid identification. Tickets may be purchased online through an ODC event page.