Rova performing at the Center for New Music with Thollem McDonas at the piano, Steve Adams on electronics, and Bruce Ackley, Larry Ochs, and Jon Raskin on saxophones (from a Rova:Arts Facebook page)
According to my records, the last time I wrote about SF Live Arts at Cyprian’s (formerly the Noe Valley Music Series) was in April of 2018. On that occasion I had announced that the Rova Saxophone Quartet would use this concert series to provide the venue for presenting a concert to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary. Rova will return to Cyprian’s next month, this time for a memorial occasion.
The honoree will be Marlene Aron, who, during her lifetime, played a significant role as the Assistant Director of SF Live Arts. She was also a community activist and an extraordinary artist. In memory of her connection to SF Live Arts, Rova saxophonist Bruce Ackley was commissioned to create a memorial composition.
His efforts were inspired by two of Aron’s paintings from 2016, Weep at the Beauty of her Stones and Ground, the Brown Earth Accepts Everything: Forest Prayer and Time, Woven in Time, We Become. Both of these pieces were circular in structure. Each was constructed with a filigree of natural elements, along with traditional media. Each was then embedded in a square-format frame.
Ackley used the idea of the four equal sides of a square to correspond with the four instrumental voices of Rova. He could then develop a polyphony to evoke the detailed textures found in the paintings’ surfaces, while his thematic material has been informed by the diversity of colors in the paintings. Following usual Rova practices, the resulting piece will combine composed and improvised elements.
This concert will began at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 12. The concert will take place in Cyprian’s Center, which is located downstairs at St. Cyprian’s Church, which is located at 2097 Turk Street at the corner of Lyon Street in NOPA (NOrth of the PAnhandle). Admission will be $22 at the door but $18 if purchased in advance. Advance purchase may be made online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page. Students, seniors, and children under the age of twelve will be admitted for $16.