Regular readers know that this site tries to keep up with events at the Turquoise Yantra Grotto (TYG), These are basically house concerts that charge admission, meaning that they are open to the general public. However, the setting is not one of a concert or recital hall; and the location is a bit on the “suburban” side. Nevertheless, as things tend to get quiet during the holiday season, TYG has arranged events at the end of this week on two consecutive nights, both of which deserve to be recognized. These will take place at 32 Turquoise Way near Glen Canyon. Admission is between $10 and $15.
Friday, December 18, 8 p.m.: Following up on the Optical Sound series, curated by Tania Chen with film curator Benjamin Tinker at the Center for New Music (C4NM), TYG will launch the first in a series of movie nights, which, like Optical Sound, will involve live improvisational accompaniment to the projection of films. However, while Optical Sound programs have been structured for the screening of full-length feature films, TYG plans to organize programs built around four short sets, each of which will involve one or more different musicians. The first set in this new series will be taken by instrument builder Cheryl Leonard. She will be followed by Bryan Day, who also builds his own instruments, which he performed with custom audio generation software and natural field recordings. The next set will bring live electronic music performer Amanda Chaudhary together with the Brother’s Quarrel duo of David Samas and Ian Saxton, both of whom create instruments in both the digital and physical domains. In the final set Samas will jam with Jaroba, another inventor who performs on his own instruments.
Saturday, December 19, 8 p.m.: The following evening will shift attention from invented instruments to the human voice. The full title of the program is First Music/ The Human Instrument: an Evening of, for and from the voice. Three pieces will be presented, each by different performers. The opening selection will be the seventh and final paragraph from The Great Learning, an epic cantata by Cornelius Cardew based on Ezra Pound’s translations into English from the classic Confucianist text. This will be performed by Tom Bickley’s Cornelius Cardew Choir, named in honor of the composer and based on his conviction that a healthy political economy involves collective music-making by professionals, amateurs, and novices. The Cornelius Cardew Choir will be followed by the Long Tone Choir, created and “gently facilitated” (her words) by Rae Diamond. The group will perform Diamond’s “Ternary Canon and Circling Intervals.” David Samas will then perform two of his compositions, “The Ritual of the Burning Book” and “The Ives Family Christmas” (the latter being given its world premiere) with community participation. The Oa duo of writer Hugh Behm-Steinberg and sound artist Matt Davignon will then conclude the program with original improvisations for processed voice.
Meanwhile, C4NM will host two concerts at the beginning of this week. These will both take place at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. As usual, general admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members. Also as usual, tickets will be available only at the door. Specifics are as follows:
Tuesday, December 15, 7:30 p.m.: This will be a visit by solo pianist Thomas Otten, currently on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Otten has recently taken an interest in the piano etudes written by African-American composer H. Leslie Adams. He will perform selections from the second part of this collection, which she composed just before her death in 2007. These are eclectic compositions drawing upon classical, jazz, and pop styles, which Otten describes as “Rachmaninoff meets Burt Bacharach.” Following an intermission, Otten will give a master class with selected pianists.
Wednesday, December 16, 8 p.m.: This will be the latest C4NM performance by the Rova Saxophone Quartet of Jon Raskin, Larry Ochs, Bruce Ackley, and Steve Adams. They will perform “Tracers” from Figure 8, a collection of music for saxophone octet. The other four saxophonists will be Kasey Knudsen, Cory Wright, Aram Shelton, and Sheldon Brown. Other composers to be included on the program will be Wadada Leo Smith, John Carter, and Rova members.
That same evening will also be the latest monthly showcase of adventurous visual and auditory performances at Second Act. As usual there were be four sets by groups whose names tend to be as innovative as the music they make (usually giving no clue as to just what that music will turn out to be). The title of the program will be The Holiday Experiment(al) Show in recognition of the season. The groups will be N.213, Sister Blanche, Earth Jerks, and Antimatter.
This performance will begin at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16; and these events generally run for about two hours. Second Act is located at 1727 Haight Street. It combines its performing area with a marketplace, all under the roof of what used to be a movie house. Admission will be $5, payable at the door. Only those aged 21 or older will be admitted.
Finally, Outsound Presents will give its weekly concert in the Luggage Store Creative Music series. This will follow the usual format of two sets, both of which will be solo performances. The first set will be taken by instrument builder Peter Whitehead. He will be followed by Nadia Shihab, who was trained as a violinist but whose improvisations also involve voice and electronic gear.
As usual, this concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 17. The Luggage Store Gallery is located at 1007 Market Street. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $6 and $15.