One nice thing about getting information about the annual New Music Summit is that Outsound Presents assigns every iteration of that festival to the same Web page. That site gets updated, and it now has the details for the 18th annual offering, which will take place next month between July 21 and July 27, co-presented by KFJC, the campus radio station of Foothill College that probably comes closest to broadcasting “bleeding edge” content on a consistent basis. As in the past, the festival will consist of five two-set concerts on successive evenings at the end of next month. All performances will begin at 8:15 p.m., and each will be preceded at 7:30 p.m. with a Q&A session moderated by Rent Romus at which performers will talk about their work and take questions from the audience. Each concert will consist of two sets. Participants will be as follows:
Tuesday, July 23: The title of the first concert will be Free Flowing, described as “a night of original comprovisation” (presumably meaning “collective improvisation”). The first set will involve a seriously large collective assembled by the duo B. combo of Lisa Mezzacappa on bass and Jason Levis on percussion. The other performers will be Polly Moller Springhorn (flutes), Kyle Bruckmann (oboes), Randy McKean (alto saxophone and clarinets), Cory Wright (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Josh Marshall (tenor saxophone), Theo Padouvas (trumpet), Rob Ewing (trombone), gabby fluke-mogul (violin), Murray Campbell (violin and oboe), Shanna Sordahl (cello), John Finkbeiner (guitar) and Kjell Nordeson (percussion). They will be followed by the more intimate Social Stutter, a saxophone quartet led by Beth Schenk on alto. The other performers are Kasey Knudsen (alto), Phillip Greenlief (tenor), and Cory Wright (tenor and baritone). Schenk is particularly interested in working with two altos and two tenors, which provides more homogenous sonorities than the usual soprano-alto-tenor-baritone resources, allowing the players to venture into denser harmonic territory.
Wednesday, July 24: The second concert will be a night of exploratory rock performed under the title Rocket. Gentleman Surfer began as a solo project conceived by drummer Jon Bafus. He now leads a trio, whose other members are guitarist Barry McDaniel and Zack Bissell playing synthesizers. The second set will be taken by the quartet Vegan Butcher, led by guitarist John Shiurba, who also provides the compositions to be performed. Vocals are provided by Angela Coon with rhythm shared by Wil Hendricks on bass and Suki O’Kane on drums.
Andrea Centazzo in performance (from his event page on the Web site for the Outsound New Music Summit)
Thursday, July 25: Both of the sets in the third concert will venture into media beyond the usual musical resources, and the title of the program will be Crossing Borders. In the first set Lenora Lee will improvise dance in response to the tenor saxophone improvisations by Francis Wong. The second set will be a solo performance by percussionist Andrea Centazzo. Centazzo is decidedly eclectic, since his resources consist of over 200 instruments, extended by electronics, computer sequencing, and digital sampling. As can be seen above, his performances are further enhanced by real-time projection of video images.
Friday, July 26: Expanding the Rift will explore the territory shared by composition and improvisation. The first set will consist of a performance of a three-movement graphic score composed by Springhorn. The title of the piece “Tomography Fortunae” will probably be the most playful of this summer’s offerings. The first word has nothing to do with computer-based three-dimensional imaging. Rather it reflects the fact that the piece was composed for seven musicians named Tom: Tom Bickley (recorders), Tom Djll (trumpet and electronics), Tom DiMuzio (electronics), Tom Duff (banjo and electronics), Tom Nunn (invented instruments), Tom Scandura (drums), and Tom Weeks (alto saxophone). Similarly, the second word has nothing to do with superstition and is grounded instead in research in number theory by a mathematician that happens to be named Reo Fortune. Fortunate numbers are derived from prime numbers through a procedure that is a bit too complicated to include as part of the description of a piece of music; but, as might be expected, Wikipedia has a Web page that not only explains what Fortunate numbers are but also identifies an outstanding conjecture about them. The second set requires far less explanation, since it will present improvised landscapes of percussion and electronics performed by the duo of William Winant and Zachary James Watkins.
Saturday, July 27: The title of the final concert is self-explanatory: Spontaneous. The first set will be improvisations led by Romus on saxophones, flutes, and percussion. It is the result of a multi-regional collaboration with pianist Gerard Cox, based in Columbus, Ohio, who will not be performing at the Summit. The spontaneous performers that will join Romus will be Keith Kelly (saxophones), Heikki Koskinen (e-trumpet), Mezzacappa (bass), and Nava Dunkelman (percussion). Spontaneous reed virtuoso and composer Vinny Golia will visit for the second set. He will lead a quartet, whose other members will be Steve Adams (saxophones), Miller Wrenn (bass), and Clint Dodson (drums).
All concerts will take place in the Concert Hall of the Community Music Center in the Mission. The address is 544 Capp Street, which is just north of the northwest corner of 20th Street and between Mission Street and South Van Ness Avenue. A Festival Pass for all concerts is $80, general admission to a single concert is $15 with reduced rates for students ($10) and seniors ($12). All tickets may be purchased online through a single Brown Paper Tickets event page, which includes a pull-down menu for the five specific dates.
Finally, there will be the annual Touch the Gear expo, a hands-on family-friendly event open to the general public. It provides an opportunity for everyone to get better acquainted with the instruments, technologies, and techniques involved in the ways music will be made during the concerts to follow. It will run for three hours, beginning at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 21; and there will be no charge for admission. It will also take place in the Concert Hall of the Community Music Center.