The current semester at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) was organized around an integrating “long theme” concerning relationships between music and both politics and social justice. From an outsider’s point of view, this theme was most evident when the New Music Ensemble prepared a concert that was performed on the Friday before Election Day (November 4). The program for that concert presented two generations of politically-aware modernism. The current generation was represented by Ted Hearne with a performance of his Katrina Ballads cantata, setting source texts involving Hurricane Katrina and the social catastrophe it wrought. The previous generation’s catastrophe involved the 1971 riots at the Attica State Prison in New York. Frederick Rzewski’s “Coming Together” provided music for the narration of a text by one of the Attica inmates. To underscore the social injustices leading up to those riots, the New Music Ensemble invited local political activist Angela Davis to narrate the text at their performance.
As this semester draws to a close, this “long theme” will once again be given a “public face.” Members of the SFCM community have “come together” (reflecting on Rzewski’s composition) to create eight pieces. These will all be performed as the program of a benefit concert for Project Homeless Connect. Seven of those eight works will be given their respective world premieres. However, the primary purpose of the concert will be to encourage donations to Project Homeless Connect. These will be accepted at the door; but they can also be made both before and after the concert, until December 26, through an Eventbrite event page. SFCM participants in this concert will be (in alphabetical order) Moya Aldridge, Zak Argabrite, Loryn Barbeau, Maryclare Brzytwa, Costantinos Dafnis, Daniel De Togni, Jonah Gallagher, Anna Heflin, Jasmine Johnson, Molly Monahan, Helen Newby, Samuel Ostroff, Rachael Swanson, and Christopher Whitley.
The performance will begin at 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 11, at SFCM. It is expected to last about 90 minutes. (This is not listed on the SFCM Calendar; and, on the basis of what is on that Calendar, the venue will probably be the Osher Salon.) SFCM is located at 50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station.