Location: Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Conlon Nancarrow did not write a single piece for solo percussion. Yet, the supreme rhythmic complexity and architectural nuance of his music makes Nancarrow a favorite composer among percussionists. Imagine our delight when composer and Nancarrow expert, Dominic Murcott, arranged Piece for Tape for a solo percussionist. This virtuosic, explosive work demonstrates exactly why percussionists so admire Nancarrow’s music. More bittersweetly, it also hints at what monumental contributions he might have made to our repertoire if he had only had willing collaborators to realize his compositions.
This program is designed to offer a glimpse of the incredible range of influence Conlon Nancarrow has had on the solo percussion repertoire. Framed by Murcott arrangements of Nancarrow’s works, the program also features fiercely complex pieces by Brian Ferneyhough and Christopher Burns that reflect the layers of shifting tempi pioneered by Nancarrow. More oblique relationships can be found in the hypnotic, ethereal landscape of Michael Fiday’s Same Rivers Different and the timbral complexity of Having Never Written a Note for Percussion by Nancarrow’s contemporary (and champion), James Tenney. Murcott, himself contributes Armed Response Unit, a response to Piece for Tape featuring the same instrumentarium with the addition of interactive electronics. Finally, John Cage’s music must be heard at a concert focused on Nancarrow’s percussion works, if only because of his mesostic, “A Long Letter” to Conlon Nancarrow.
― Chris Froh, percussionist
Part of Anywhere in Time: A Conlon Nancarrow Festival, co-curated by Dominic Murcott and Jay Sanders, Curator and Curator of Performance.
Tickets for this program are required, and include the cost of admission ($22 adults, $18 seniors, free for members). Due to limited capacity, visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets may still be purchased online until two hours before the program begins. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
Percussionist Christopher Froh specializes in promoting and influencing the creation of new music through critically acclaimed performances and dynamic lectures. A member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Empyrean Ensemble, Rootstock Percussion, and San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Froh has premiered more than one hundred chamber and solo works by composers from fifteen countries. His rich and diverse career also includes performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall and the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall, as well as session recording at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch for a video game about monkeys and pirates.
James Tenney, “Having Never Written a Note for Percussion," 1971