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Pauline Oliveros on accordion OM20
Pauline Oliveros on stage during OM20. Photo by Michael Melnyk.

For 20 years, Other Minds has searched the world over for the most unconventional and inspiring composers of our time. In March 2015, the Other Minds Festival celebrated its 20th edition, and to mark this occasion, for the first time in its history, presented a retrospective cast from festivals past. Among the many highlights this year were the U.S. premiere of Michael Nyman’s Symphony No. 2, featuring the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts Orchestra (SFSOTA) and accompanied by historical clips from Mexican cinema of the 20th Century.

The festival was honored to present the World premiere performance of Pauline Oliveros’ Twins Peeking at Koto, featuring Oliveros and Norwegian virtuoso Frode Haltli on accordion, and recent Doris Duke Award recipient Miya Masaoka on koto. Masaoka presented her own World premiere, String Quartet No. 2, “Tilt,” composed for San Francisco’s Del Sol Quartet. Del Sol’s also performed a tribute to the late Australian master Peter Sculthorpe, of his String Quartet No. 14, “Quamby (1998), with Stephen Kent on didjeridu. There was a centenary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide with Yerevan composer and ECM artist Tigran Mansurian’s Canti Parelleli on Armenian folksongs, featuring Viennese soprano Hasmik Papian accompanied by the SFSOTA Orchestra, directed by Bradley Hogarth.

Other Minds Executive and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian explains Other Minds’ 20th anniversary was an opportunity to reflect on two decades’ worth of prescient programming. In Amirkhanian’s preface, “As we look back at the nearly 200 composers we’ve brought to San Francisco for these gatherings, it seemed a good time to tip our hat to some of our most surprising discoveries who have gone on to make signal contributions to international concert life.” OM 20 also payed tribute to the late Peter Sculthorpe, who had accepted an invitation to be with us as our elder statesman. The legendary Lou Harrison whose final work, Scenes from Nek Chand, was composed for American steel guitar soloist David Tanenbaum at our 2002 festival, was reprised on OM 20’s opening night.

OM’s featured artists had their works brought to life in the superlative hall of the SFJAZZ Center. Featured artists included: Miya Masaoka, Maja Ratkje (Norway), Errollyn Wallen (BZ/U.K.), Pauline Oliveros, Don Byron (US), Tigran Mansurian (Armenia), Michael Nyman (U.K.), Charles Amirkhanian, David Tanenbaum, Frode Haltl (Norway), and Kathy Hinde (U.K.), with tributes to the late Peter Sculthorpe (Australia), and Lou Harrison.   

2015’s artists had their works performed by an exceptional cast of musicians including: Soprano Hasmik Papian (Austria), violinist Moves Pagossian, the Del Sol String Quartet, didjeridu player Stephen Kent, pianist Aruán Ortiz, bassist Cameron Brown, drummer John Betsch, and a special appearance by the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts Orchestra.

Prior to taking the stage in San Francisco for three days of concerts and panels, the Other Minds composers assembled privately to share their work and ideas with one another in a pre-festival residency hosted by the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, located in the scenic forested hills of Woodside, CA.

Festival Program

Concert 1

Established Legends, Emerging Legends
Friday, March 6th, 2015
SF Jazz Center, San Francisco

Peter Sculthorpe
From Kakadu (1993)
David Tanenbaum, classical guitar

Lou Harrison
Scenes from Nek Chand (2001-02)
David Tanenbaum, National Steel just-intonation guitar

Charles Amirkhanian
Rippling the Lamp (2007)
Kate Stenberg, violin and tape

Miya Masaoka
String Quartet No. 2, “Tilt (2014-15), World premiere
Del Sol String Quartet: Benjamin Kreith and Rick Shinozaki, violins; Charlton Lee, viola; Kathryn Bates, cello

Maja S.K. Ratkje, Kathy Hinde, & Frode Haltli
Birds & Traces II (2014-15), World premiere
Maja Ratkje, voice and electronics; Frode Haltli, accordion

Peter Sculthorpe
Quartet No. 14, “Quamby” (1998)
Del Sol String Quartet, Stephen Kent, didjeridu

 

Concert 2

Improvised (According to Plan)
Saturday, March 7th, 2015
SF Jazz Center, San Francisco

Charles Amirkhanian
Dumbek Bookache IV (1986)
Ka Himeni Hehena (1997)
Marathon (1997)
Charles Amirkhanian, voice with tape

Errollyn Wallen
London’s Burning and Other Songs
Errollyn Wallen, voice and piano
Del Sol String Quartet

Pauline Oliveros
Twins Peeking at Koto (2015), World premiere
Pauline Oliveros, accordion; Frode Haltli, accordion; Miya Masaoka, koto

Improvisation
Don Byron Quartet:
Don Byron, clarinet; Aruán Ortiz, piano; Cameron Brown, bass; John Betsch, drums

 

Concert 3

A Centennial Memorial: The Armenian Genocide
Sunday, March 8th, 2015
SF Jazz Center, San Francisco

Charles Amirkhanian
Miatsoom (Reunion) (1994-97)
Tape work

Tigran Mansurian
Canti Paralleli (2007-08)
for soprano and string orchestra on texts by Paghtasar Dpir, Yeghishe Charents, and Avetik Isahakyan; U.S. premiere
Hasmik Papian, soprano
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts Orchestra; Bradley Hogarth, conductor

Tigran Mansurian
Romance for Violin and Strings (2011), U.S. premiere
Movses Pagossian, violin
SFSOTA Orchestra; Bradley Hogarth, conductor

Michael Nyman
Symphony No. 2 (2014)
SFSOTA Orchestra; Bradley Hogarth, conductor

OM20 Cover photo

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Other Minds Festival 20 program.

Concert Media: Video

Miya Masaoka
String Quartet No. 2, “Tilt” (2014-2015), World Premiere

Recorded live at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco on Friday, March 6, 2015, during Other Minds Festival 20. Performed by the Del Sol String Quartet:
Rick Shinozaki and Benjamin Kreith, violins; Charlton Lee, viola; Kathryn Bates, cello

Composers Panel
Pauline Oliveros, Errollyn Wallen and Don Byron.

Panel discussion with composers during Other Minds Festival 20, recorded Saturday, March 7, 2016. Composers were Pauline Oliveros, Errollyn Wallen and Don Byron, and the moderator was Other Minds Artistic Director, Charles Amirkhanian.

Pauline Oliveros
Twins Peeking at Koto (2014), World Premiere

Pauline Oliveros (accordion), Frode Haltli (accordion), and Miya Masaoka (koto) perform Pauline’s composition Twins Peeking at Koto (2014). Recorded live at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco on Saturday, March 7, 2015, during Other Minds Festival 20. The performance was a world premiere of this piece, which was commissioned by Other Minds for the Festival.

Concert Media: Audio

Ka Himeni Hehena
Charles Amirkhanian

Recorded on Saturday, March 7, 2015, during Other Minds Festival 20, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. Charles Amirkhanian, voice with tape.

Romance for Violin and Strings
Tigran Mansurian

Recorded on Sunday, March 8, 2015, during Other Minds Festival 20, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. Movses Pagossian, violin, with School of the Arts Orchestra, Bradley Hogarth, conductor.

Improvisation
Don Byron Quartet

Recorded on Saturday, March 7, 2015, during Other Minds Festival 20, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. Don Byron, clarinet; Aruán Ortiz, piano; Cameron Brown, bass; John Betsch, drums.

Rippling the Lamp
Charles Amirkhanian

Recorded on Friday, March 6, 2015, during Other Minds Festival 20, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. Kate Stenberg, violin; tape.

Photos – Black & White

Photos by John Fago

Photos – Opening Party

Photos by Michael Melnyk

Photos – Discussion

Photos by Michael Melnyk

Photos – Sound Check

Photos by Michael Melnyk

Photos – Performances

Photos by Michael Melnyk

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