As a long-time member of the Cornelius Cardew Choir, I am pleased to note that we’ll be celebrating our 12th Anniversary in May, 2013, with a series of three concerts, to be held on Wednesday, May 1st, Thursday, May 2nd, and Saturday, May 4th, in San Francisco and Berkeley, California.
Founded on May Day, 2001, the Cornelius Cardew Choir is a vocal performance ensemble based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The choir is an exciting intersection of community and experimental music brought together by singing. Occasionally, individual members also perform on other acoustic and electronic instruments, and some pieces have included additional pre-recorded sounds or digital samples. Elements of text, theatre and movement are often included in the performances.
Many of the Cardew Choir members are also composers or sound designers; and all feel free to make suggestions about the possibilities for performing a specific piece, or to try new approaches to singing and producing vocal sounds. The choir partially functions as a group composition seminar, in a collaborative environment. The choir was named in honor of Cornelius Cardew, English experimental composer/performer and political activist, who was killed in 1981. The ensemble draws inspiration from his Scratch Orchestra, composer Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening processes, and John Cage’s explorations of sound and life. We perform works by 20th and 21st Century composers, including works by our own members.
Curious about the musical compositions that we’ll perform in this upcoming series? Here’s a brief summary, but it’s all very experiential, so you’ll really need to be there to fully appreciate the context. Each individual performance is influenced by the environment of the specific venue:
Five-One, by choir co-founder Bob Marsh, is a remarkable work of sonic theater, employing humor, pathos, and action, using Five Elements: Sybil (seer), Ranter (psycho style street person), Carpenters, Clatter Chatterers (tea party with porcelain cups and saucers, Intone Nation (note singers). Three variations – The Sparseness (sound here and there), The Blastfulness (short-ish burst of sound, and the Thickness (continuous legato, depending on the Element). Conduction by Bob Marsh (dancer, mixicologist, puppeteer, and much more).
Knee Play 3, by Philip Glass, is a vivacious choral piece from Glass’s opera, Einstein on the Beach, using numbers and some solfeggio (do-re-mi) as the text. It’s great fun to sing, and to hear.
The Tuning Meditation, by Pauline Oliveros, is a deeply engaging vocal interaction that blossoms into elegant clouds of sound. Democracy manifest in beauty. It’s one of our favorite pieces to perform and is a Deep Listening Meditation by the oval figure in American Experimental Music.
Wildwood Cantata, by David Samas, provides a buffet of delicious wilderness sounds in song and poetry with interjections of indigenous woodland musics set to unusual invented instruments made from the natural elements. Together, performers and audience members listen through a journey from wind and silence through the dawn chorus of birds with solos from Gusty Winds May Exist (shakuhachi and recorder), down the river and into the heart of the trees, while Bob Marsh dances butoh in a Sonic Tree Suit. After a rainstorm, the wolves howl together, ending in the twilight choir of droning insects!
The three venues and dates where the 12th Anniversary concerts will be presented include:
2133 University Avenue
Berkeley, California (a short walk from downtown Berkeley BART)
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
For more information visit their web site.
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St San Francisco, California (near Powell Street BART)
Phone: (415) 255-5971
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Please note: At this venue only, the Philip Glass work, Knee Play #3 will NOT be performed; instead, the choir will perform a whimsical piece that is an improvisational play on the English alphabet, by emeritus choir member and composer, Joseph Zitt, entitled That Alphabet Thing. The piece blurs the lines between text, phonetics, sound and music.
For more information, visit their web site. Go to the “Creative Music Series” page, which should be updated soon for May, 2013.
Center for New Music, San Francisco
55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, California (near Powell Street BART)
Saturday, May 4, 2013
For more information, visit their web site.
We are excited and amazed to celebrate our 12th Anniversary, and I am personally especially excited about performing at the Center for New Music, a relatively new venue in San Francisco. Founded by Adam Fong and Brent Miller specifically for the performance of New Music genres, the Center also hosts workshops, a rehearsal/studio space, and even a co-working space at a convenient location near Market Street and the Powell Street BART station, in downtown San Francisco.
Tickets will be available at the door at all three performance spaces; advance tickets available where indicated on their web sites. Audience members are encouraged to be on time for all concerts. There will be a brief intermission at all three performances.
The Berkeley Arts space in downtown Berkeley, and Center for New Music in San Francisco are wheelchair accessible, and the performance venues are located on the ground floor. The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco is located on the second floor and has a stairway; please call the venue in advance for information about possible elevator access (phone number above, and at their web site).
The performers in all three concerts will be as follows (in no particular order):
Tom Bickley, co-founder and director
Bob Marsh, co-founder
Marianne Tomita McDonald
Subscribe to this blog or ask to be added to the Creative Sage Arts e-letter list for news about other events, projects, books, and performances coming up in the next year, in which I’ll be participating. Please feel free to ask questions or comment below this post — and please come say hello afterward, if you attend one of our performances. We look forward to seeing you there!