8 Hours of non-stop, genre-defying Music from the Bay Area’s most innovative artists
At Dance Mission Theater, San Francisco
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
The third annual SWITCHBOARD MUSIC FESTIVAL is an 8-hour, non-stop music spectacle presenting composers and musicians who push the boundaries of their respective genres. No other Bay Area music festival or concert series offers such an eclectic, genre-crossing, convention-breaking, bastardizing group of experimentalists, innovators, and musical omnivores in a single event. The Switchboard Music Festival will feature some of the Bay Area’s most original performers, including Thorny Brocky, Strike Gently (Kate Campbell and Regina Schaffer, solo piano), Teslim, Sqwonk, Sabbaticus Rex, Real Vocal String Quartet, Billygoat, Matt Small Chamber Ensemble, Zoë Keating, and miRthkon. The festival will also present living composers whose work challenges traditional ideas of notated music, including Gerard Beljon, Cornelius Boots, Ryan Brown, Luciano Chessa, Ruby Fulton, Missy Mazzoli, Marc Mellits, Aaron Novik, Belinda Reynolds, and Jonathan Russell. The Switchboard Music Festival was founded by local composers and performers Jeff Anderle, Ryan Brown, and Jonathan Russell with the goal of bringing together many of the unique musicians working in the Bay Area. Their goal is to highlight musicians and composers who effortlessly float between genres, challenging and re-defining the music scene in the Bay Area and beyond.
Co-founders Jon Russell, Ryan Brown, and Jeff Anderle
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Thorny Brocky is Aaron Novik’s newest creation, a live ensemble that performs music from all of Aaron’s previous projects. This includes Floating World, an art song/pop band, Simulacra, a clarinet metal band, Crafty Apples, a minimalist chamber improv group, Gubbish, a gypsy jazz folk group, and Love Triangle Elementary School, an indie rock/experimental improv band among others.
Kate Campbell, pianist, performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician specializing in late 20th century and contemporary works. She has worked with many leading composers, including Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and David Lang, as well as premiering many works by emerging composers. Recent projects include appearances with the Adorno Ensemble, performing for the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, and recording for New Amsterdam Records.
Co-founder Ryan Brown on: Switchboard Music Festival 2010
Teslim means both ‘commit’ and ‘surrender’ in Turkish and features two well known Bay Area musicians: violinist Kaila Flexer and Gari Hegedus on oud, Turkish saz, Greek lauoto and other (mostly plucked) stringed instruments. This potent duo performs Greek, Turkish and Sephardic music. In addition, both Flexer and Hegedus are composers whose original music is based on these fertile traditions. This unusual duo is at home in classical, early music, and folk music venues and holds workshops on a variety of topics.
The San Francisco-based Sqwonk bass clarinet duo is a dynamic and adventurous ensemble devoted to exploring the full expressive range of the bass clarinet, from deep resonances to raucous wails. Though grounded in the classical tradition, Sqwonk plays music that draws on a wide range of influences, from klezmer to heavy metal to blues to avant-garde improvisation, creating a repertoire that is both contemporary and broadly accessible to a wide audience.
Sabbaticus Rex is an ensemble rooted in the supremacy of sound over music, the triumph of tone over time and thought. This process uses haunting and beautiful acoustic instruments and methods: overtone gongs, shakuhachi (bamboo Zen flutes), Taimu (bass) shakuhachi, and throat-singing. This is sound, but not music. It is primordial easy-listening for dinosaurs: slowly shifting elemental dialogues between fat flutes and big gongs.
Real Vocal String Quartet
Real Vocal String Quartet was formed in 2003 by premier San Francisco violinist/composer Irene Sazer. RVSQ’s influences range from traditional American string band music to contemporary improvisation, from Brazilian folk rhythms to hypnotic meditations from West Africa. Through it all, the threads of spine-tingling vocal and instrumental harmony and fearless, inspired improvisation weave a web of original acoustic music played with a deep groove.
BILLYGOAT – David Klein and Nick Woolley
David Klein and Nick Woolley formed the musical/visual duo of Billygoat, producing stop-animated films and performing their live, original scores. These films have been described as “stop-motion shorts of staggering complexity,” created one tiny movement at a time via tens of thousands of individual photographs of an ever-morphing art piece.
Matt Small’s Chamber Ensemble has been heard in performance since 2002, including its 2005 Carnegie Hall debut. The sextet (bass, piano, saxophone, clarinet, violin, drums) blends elements of a modern classical ensemble with those of a flexible jazz/improvisatory group. Critically acclaimed bassist Matt Small has been developing his own cutting-edge, multi-genre work in the Bay Area since 1997.
Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra. Armed with just her cello and a small box of electronics, Keating records layer upon layer of cello, her feet dancing over an array of pedals to transform her solo performances into multipart works.
miRthkon: Oakland, California’s latest entry into a rich tradition of anti-tradition, is fully
prepared to effectively blow your mind with their highly idiosyncratic brand of sonic
blasphemy! Their music features an inimitable blend of quirky prog rock, avant-garde jazz, contemporary classical abstraction, thrash metal, and oddly enough: pop accessibility that defies categoratization.
As a composer, pianist, and musical saw / Vietnamese dan bau soloist, Luciano Chessa has been active in Europe, the U.S., and Australia. Among his compositions, it is worth mentioning a piano and percussion duet after Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Petrolio, Il pedone dell’aria for orchestra and double children’s choir, Louganis, for piano and TV/VCR combo, and Strelitzie, a newly published work for amplified baritone and string orchestra.
Ruby Fulton’s musical habits have been summed up as “Write what you like, take delight. Repeat.” (NewMusicBox) She grew up in Northwest Iowa and now lives and works in Baltimore. She is co-director of Rhymes With Opera, a company dedicated to bringing new opera into unexpected places.
Composer and clarinetist Jonathan Russell is active in a wide variety of music, from classical to experimental to klezmer to church music. His work stretches the boundaries of contemporary classical music, opening it up to the sounds and attitudes of the other musical traditions surrounding it. He has received commissions from the San Francisco Symphony, Empyrean Ensemble, ADORNO Ensemble, Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, and has collaborated with choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton.
Dance Mission Theater is located at 3316 24th Street, San Francisco, near the 24th St./Mission BART station.
Switchboard Music is funded almost entirely by donations. They truly can’t do it without your help. Find out how to support the festival or to volunteer for the day of the event:
SWITCHBOARD FESTIVAL 2010
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Visit Seán on YouTube:
”As Time Goes By” – aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
“Embraceable You” – On The Organ – At the Legion of Honor
Samson vs. Dalilah at AT&T Ballpark
DALILAH – In residence at San Francisco’s de Young Museum
See related articles and interviews:
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THE SUGAR WITCH – A Winner At New Conservatory Theatre Center
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CARLOS SANTANA – Winner of 2010 Mayor’s Art Award
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ZAHI HAWASS – Comes to San Francisco March 8th
SHANGHAI – Now At the Asian Art Museum
PIANIST MISHA DICHTER – A Conversation
DOUBT – At New Conservatory Theatre Centre
JOSHUA ROMAN – Hot young cellist debuts this week at SF Symphony
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OEDIPUS EL REY – A World Premiere At Magic Theatre
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF – Some Fancy Fiddling By Harvey Fierstein
PROGRAM 2 – SF BALLET, Opens Tuesday, February 9th
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SHAKESPEARE GARDEN BUST TO RECEIVE FULL CONSERVATION TREATMENT
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DAVID PERRY – On the “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media”
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CRITIC’S CHOICE: CD – MICHAEL MANIACI: Mozart Arias For Male Soprano
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CRITIC’S CHOICE – CDS, Pianists: Mitsuko Uchida, Temirzhan Yerzhanov, and Jonathan Biss
CARTIER AND AMERICA – Exclusive Exhibit at the Legion of Honor
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A CONVERSATION WITH LUCIE ARNAZ – This Week At The Rrazz Room
9 GRAMMY® NOMINATIONS – To Telarc International and Heads Up International
CARTIER – Exclusive Exhibit at the Legion of Honor
ON THE ORGAN – At the Legion of Honor
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JANE MONHEIT – At The Empire Ballroom
VERY POSTMORTEM: Mummies and Medicine – At the Legion of Honor
EXOTIC EROTIC BALL – 30th Anniversary, Friday and Saturday At The Cow Palace
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FLEET WEEK – A Conversation with Airshow Pilot Tim Weber
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IL TRITTICO – Patricia Racette Debuts In Puccini’s Trio of One-Act Operas
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THE EGYPTIAN (1954) – A Swords & Sandals Cultural Encounter at the de Young Museum
TUTANKHAMUN – And The Golden Age Of Pharaohs
SALLY KELLERMAN – Hot Lips for Hot Hits at The Rrazz Room
DIANE BAKER – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
CAMERON CARPENTER – Up Close and Very Personal
RUBEN MARTIN – Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
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CHRISTINE ANDREAS – A Conversation with Beautiful Broadway and Cabaret Star
CD Review – REVOLUTIONARY, Cameron Carpenter, Organist
JENNIFER SIEBEL – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: email@example.com.