The coming season marks the tenth anniversary of Ensemble for These Times (E4TT). The group was originally founded in 2007 as the Jewish Music & Poetry Project. Led by soprano Nanette McGuinness, the group began as a trio, whose other members were pianist Dale Tsang and cellist Adaiha MacAdam-Somer. The fourth founding member was composer David Garner. The name change to E4TT took place in 2015 to reflect a broader mission and purpose. That purpose was grounded in a strong belief in the power of artistic beauty, intelligence, wit, lyricism, and irony to create a deep understanding of our times and the human condition.
Five programs have been planned for the Tenth Anniversary Season. Three of them will take place in San Francisco, each at a different venue. MacAdam-Somer has been replaced by Anne Lerner-Wright, who began as guest artist last season and is continuing in that capacity. Selections will include a continuation of the 56 x 54 series of world premiere performances of works written in response to the 2015 Call for Scores. There will also be a special program organized around the life and works of Paul Celan, who survived an internment camp in Romania (where both of his parents died) and eventually established himself as a poet in Paris following the end of the Second World War. Specifics for the San Francisco performances, all of which will take place next year, are as follows:
Sunday, February 4, 4 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The title of this program will be 56 x 54 + Gorecki: Strings & Things. The featured work will be “Genesis I: Elementi,” a rarely performed string trio by Henryk Górecki. Cellist Lerner-Wright will be joined by violinist Dawn Harms and violist Julie Michael. The Call for Scores composers to be included on the program will be Weiwei Miao, Julianna Hall, Leah Kennedy, Mike McFerron, Dave Collins, and Joelle Wallach. The program will also include Aleksandra Vrebalov’s “Passion Revisited.”
Sunday, April 15, 4 p.m., Noe Valley Ministry: This will be the program organized around Paul Celan, entitled Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan. To this end there will be world premiere performances of four commissioned works. Two of them will be settings of Celan’s poetry, Garner’s “Die Eichne Tuer” and “Nachtlang” by Jared Redmond. Stephen Eddins’ “A Song for the End of the World” will be a setting of poetry by Celan’s contemporary, Czesław Miłosz. Finally, Vrebalov used her “Spell No. 8” to express her personal thoughts on Celan’s life and works. The program will also include “Memoire de l’ombre” by Call for Scores composer Aleksandra Kaca. Harms will again perform as guest artist, as well as Laura Reynolds on cor anglais.
Friday, June 29, 8 p.m., Old First Presbyterian Church: This will mark the return of E4TT to the Old First Concerts (O1C) series. The title of the program will be 56 x 54: Focus on the Cello. Garner will contribute to that focus with a capriccio that Lerner-Wright will play, accompanied by Tsang. Call for Scores composers will include Lawrence Kramer, David Luna, Michael Daugherty, Gladys Smuckler Moskowitz, Frederick Schipizy, and Tom Flaherty.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, the Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez Street, and Old First Presbyterian Church at 1751 Sacramento Street. Tickets for the February and April concerts will be $30 and $20. They are currently available for sale online through Eventbrite event pages, which may be accessed through the hyperlinks above. O1C has not yet created an event page for the June concert, but ticket prices will range between $25 and $5.