Curators

Curators of the Center for New Music are invited by the Center’s Board of Directors to serve two-year terms. Each curator is encouraged to realize their own vision, and to encourage artists to do the same. As a group, their responsibility is to make the best possible use of the Center’s resources to create concerts and special events that embody the values of diversity, inclusion, and excellence. As with member events, 100% of ticket revenue goes to the artists.

Allegra Chapman

I am a great believer in context, in its ability to help us understand our world, imagine our future, and see our place in it all. When we explore the music of our time in context, we glimpse the vast continuum of creative expression and discover what it means to be human now. As a curator at the Center for New Music, I am excited and honored to present two series: 1. Bard Music West Plays: mini-immersions into the worlds of contemporary composers, co-curated by those composers and the artistic directors of Bard Music West; 2. Telescope: multi-disciplinary performances that deeply investigate a composer, work, or musical topic in context with an emphasis on overlooked and minority voices.

Pianist Allegra Chapman is dedicated to engaging with new audiences as performer, presenter, and educator. Allegra is founding Artistic Co-director and Executive Director of Bard Music West, a branch of the Bard Music Festival that presents innovative concert programs in San Francisco exploring the worlds of contemporary and twentieth-century composers. Allegra has performed as soloist and chamber musician at prestigious venues throughout the United States, Europe, and China, including Alice Tully Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, the Bard Music Festival, the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum in Budapest, and Xi'an Concert Hall in Xi'an, China. Her performances have been broadcast on WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, and KALW San Francisco.

An avid chamber musician and passionate advocate for contemporary music, Allegra performs regularly with Ensemble Illume, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, UC Berkeley's Eco Ensemble, Ensemble Illume, and LeMesh & Chapman, a duo with soprano Sara LeMesh. She has collaborated with members of International Contemporary Ensemble and the Eusebius, Orion, and Telegraph String Quartets. Allegra has also worked with composers Joan Tower and Charles Wuorinen and premiered the works of many young composers. In 2012, Allegra’s unusual collaboration with Yamaha Disklavier and The Juilliard School’s Center for Innovation in the Arts was the subject of a feature article and video in the Wall Street Journal. Allegra holds bachelor degrees in piano performance and history from Bard College Conservatory of Music, a master in music from The Julliard School.

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Blaine Todd

Blaine is curating a new series on behalf of Other Minds called Latitudes. Latitudes focuses on a contingent of composers, improvisers, and musicians working in underground forms of contemporary music. It was started in response to the dwindling number of venues in San Francisco presenting artists operating in the liminal space between Rock & Roll and the avant-garde. The hope for this series is to help fill a gap that’s become glaringly obvious in San Francisco’s music scene.

Blaine Todd is a musician, curator, and arts fundraiser. He is the current Associate Director at Other Minds—a 25 year old Bay Area experimental music institution dedicated to the encouragement and propagation of contemporary music in all its forms through concerts, recordings, broadcasts, audio preservation, and public discussions that bring together artists and audiences of diverse traditions, generations, and cultural backgrounds.

Todd studied literature at San Francisco State and Aarhus University in Denmark. Before working for Other Minds he was an Associate Editor at the short story magazine Zoetrope: All-Story and a fundraiser for the Studio Museum in Harlem and the New-York Historical Society. He helps curate the Full Spectrum Records imprint Editions Littlefield as well as a new Los Angeles-based label featuring the works of established and under-recognized experimental music artists called Besom Presse. In addition to recording and performing under his own name, he performs in the ritualistic eco-terrorist drone collective Common Eider, King Eider; trance-psychedelic outfit Ecstatic Music Band; cosmic country rock quartet Real Life Rock & Roll Band; the utopic-folk dreamers Andrew Weathers Ensemble and minimalist psych punk band Night Collectors. More information about Other Minds here, and Latitudes here.

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Chris Brown

My curatorship will focus on live electronic music, especially on ensembles that can include both electronic and acoustic instruments. My series of workshops and concerts will culminate in a mini-festival of live electronic music featuring active electronic music composer/performers from the West Coast. Acts will include electronic improvisation and network music ensembles, live-coding sessions, and interactive acoustic/electronic music and sound installations.

Chris Brown, composer, pianist, and electronic musician, makes music with self- designed sonic systems that include acoustic and electroacoustic instruments, interactive software, computer networks, microtonal tunings, and improvisation. His compositions are designs for performances in which people bring to life the musical structures embedded in scores, instruments, and machines. He has been a member since 1986 of the pioneering computer network music band The Hub, which received the Giga-Hertz Prize for Electroacoustic Music in Nov. 2018 from ZKM, Karlsruhe.

Throughout his career he has composed solos for acoustic instruments with interactive electronics, and for computer alone, using software he writes for his compositions and improvisations. Since 2005 he has written music in just intonation, often integrating rhythmic structures that parallel the proportions used in their tunings. Recordings of his music are available on New World, Tzadik, Pogus, Intakt, Ecstatic Peace, Red Toucan, Leo, and Artifact Recordings. He is a Professor Emeritus at Mills College in Oakland, California, where he taught electronic music, composition, theory, and ethnomusicology for 30 years.

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Dan Becker

On one hand I am simply excited and honored to have the opportunity to showcase local Artists — from all generations — whose work moves and inspires me. On the other hand, much of my work for years has leaned towards a desire to shine a light on the unique and rich New Music Community that exists here in SF (though sometimes in latent form). Doing this always depends on the context that we find ourselves in. NOW more than ever one crucial question is how can we be musicians, composers, “musical citizens”, and now CITIZENS in the broader sense, all at the same time? And should we?

Dan Becker composes music (current commissions include a new work for Kronos), studies music (he received his DMA from Yale), teaches music (most recently at the San Francisco Conservatory), organizes music (as founder of the Common Sense Composers’ Collective), and advocates for new music (he serves on several artistic Boards, including Other Minds.)

Becker’s recent solo CD FADE made several top-ten lists in 2014, including NYC’s BigCityBlog, where it came in as number one. Awards and grants include those from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Meet the Composer, the Argosy Foundation, the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the American Music Center’s Live Music for Dance, the Zellerbach Family Fund, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, among others.

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Giacomo Fiore

My curatorial vision revolves around the guitar’s unique ability to traverse cultural and musical borders. Whether acoustic or amplified, notated or improvised, plucked or strummed, guitar music provides an accessible entry point to the more rarefied fields of contemporary musical practice. I am interested in proposals that are thematically refined, adventurous, and reflect a diversity of identities; I am also excited to work with performers and composers who harness the guitar's existing and novel technological capabilities.

Italian-born guitarist Giacomo Fiore has premiered dozens of new works for justly-tuned, electric, and classical guitars, and released eight recordings for Cold Blue, Pinna, Spectropol, Paper Garden Records, and his own label. As a musicologist his research focuses on U.S. experimental music, intonation, and performance; he has published articles in Music Theory Spectrum, JSAM, and TEMPO, and writes regularly for Classical Guitar and SFCV. He lectures on historical topics at the San Francisco Conservatory, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of San Francisco.

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Glenda Bates

A curator’s role is to present works that provide meaning to them, and hopefully convey some meaning or insight to the audience as well. Being a curator of contemporary works is especially exciting and important work, because we are creating the future canon of classical music. I am thrilled to present two series as part of my curatorship: 1) Contemporary Classical Salon Series, featuring works by living composers, and 2) Crossing Over, featuring Jazz composers with roots in Classical, Latin, and other art forms. My mission is to present, perform, and create music that is good for the soul and the intellect, and which reflects our universal consciousness. It is also important to keep the classical music tradition alive by featuring and supporting contemporary classical composers and musicians.

A versatile musician and multi-instrumentalist, Glenda Bates’s innovative approach to performance blends classical music training with jazz repertoire and improvisation. A classically trained oboist and a jazz vocalist, Dr. Bates also plays the ukulele, and is a composer, lyricist, and poet. Bates freelances in Baroque, Classical, and Jazz ensembles in San Francisco, and is also sought out by contemporary composers to present new works for oboe and English horn. OboeTronics, her solo project, pushes the archaic oboe into the technological realm by creating immersive sound experiences and championing electroacoustic composers. She has premiered dozens of compositions by living composers including Eldad Tarmu, Peter Winkler, Perry Goldstein, Robert Gibson, Daria Semegen, Andrew Conklin, Tomek Regulski, Richard Dubras, and more. Bates received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Oboe Performance from Stony Brook University under the guidance of Professor Pedro Diaz, English horn soloist at the Metropolitan Opera. She earned her Master of Music from the University of Maryland, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Carolina. Previous oboe teachers include Mark Hill, Rebecca Nagel, Carol Stephenson, and Susan Vought-Findley. She also studied Baroque performance practice with Marc Schachmann and Arthur Haas, and jazz with Ray Anderson and Bert Ligon.

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Jennifer Ellis

My job as curator is to facilitate access. This access runs two ways. First of all, it is my job to ensure that diverse artists across race, socio-economic status, citizenship status, (dis)ability status, LBGTQIAA, gender, and nationality are welcomed into the C4NM space. Secondly, it is my job to facilitate the audience’s ability to access the artist. Integral to my series’ curation would be facilitated encounters between the artist and the audience that go beyond the traditional audience performer relationship.

Committed to pushing the boundaries of harp performance, Dr. Jennifer R. Ellis (D.M.A. University of Michigan, M.M. Cleveland Institute of Music, B.M. Oberlin) has performed over eighty premieres. She embraces firsts: first harpist to attend Bang on a Can, Fresh Inc., and Splice summer festivals, and the first harpist to be a One Beat Fellow, a fellowship through Found Sound Nation and the U.S. State Department. An Alice Chalifoux Prize awardee, she performs with the new music harp and saxophone group Admiral Launch Duo, four-time residents of Avaloch Music Institute, with an upcoming album on Albany Records. Dedicated to innovative music pedagogy, she has taught privately and at institutions including MPULSE, Harps Etc., and Young Artist’s Harp Seminar. An in-demand educator, she gives an average of a dozen guest workshops per season at institutions including Arizona State University, CSU Sacramento, Cleveland State University, Interlochen, the International Harp Festival, Miami University, Michigan State University, University of Arizona, University of Hartford, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and University of North Carolina Greensboro. She was named an inaugural UM Engaged Pedagogy Fellow, earned a UM CRLT Graduate Teacher Certificate, and trained in eurhythmics pedagogy at CIM. Drawing on this advanced training, she has been tapped to train other teachers in settings including the SF ASTA teaching symposium and the University of Michigan. She is a 2017-2018 UC Davis artist-in-residence and a guest artist at the 40th Anniversary Festival of New American Music. She is on the preparatory and adult extension faculty of San Francisco Conservatory of Music and teaches all ages at Harps Etc.

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Julie Herndon

Curating is about creating a diverse community. It’s providing the basis for connection. I prioritize work that mixes media, performance art, and unconventional instrumentalism in engaging and challenging performances. I want to create a space where musicians of different backgrounds, practices, and aesthetic climates can share their experiments with sound.

Julie Herndon is a composer and performer working with internal/external space through improvisation, text, graphics, and electronics. Her work explores the body’s relationship to the self, to performance, and to tools like musical instruments and personal technology. Her electroacoustic work has been described as “blended to inhabit a surprisingly expressive space” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Recent compositions have been performed by ensembles including JACK Quartet, Ensemble Proton Bern, Line Upon Line Percussion, Retro Disco, Elevate and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Performances include festivals and venues such as Artistry Space and Hotel Vagabond in Singapore, soundSCAPE in Italy, MATA Festival and MIS-EN_PLACE Bushwick in New York, Megapolis Audio Art Festival in Oakland, and Hot Air Festival in San Francisco.

As an educator, Julie has instructed classes at Stanford, Mills College, and Santa Fe Community College, as well as assisting courses in Copenhagen and Stockholm in subjects ranging from anime to transidiomatic art-making. As a collaborator, Herndon is co-founder of hi, a duo featuring harmonium and clarinet with electronics, as well as a member of Dirt and Copper. She is currently Composer in Residence with Elevate Ensemble and a doctoral candidate (Hume Fellow) at Stanford University studying with Mark Applebaum, Brian Ferneyhough, Patricia Alessandrini, and Jaroslaw Kapuscinski.

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Kurt Rohde

Pluralism is here to stay - finally! More than ever, I believe that art needs to “step-up” to critically and honestly assess our society. I would like the opportunity to find those who are making important work, be it in the current mainstream or in the unacknowledged, darkened alleys of marginalization, so that fewer artists feel "left behind."

Kurt Rohde plays viola and composes. His newest works are for the Lyris Quartet, tenor Joe Dan Harper, cellist Rhonda Rider, pianist Genevieve Lee, and the Borromeo String Quartet. He plays with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, where he serves as Artistic Advisor. Kurt teaches composition at UC Davis, has received Rome Prize, Berlin Prize, Radcliffe-Harvard Institute, and Guggenheim fellowships, and awards from American Academy of Arts and Letters, Barlow, Fromm, Hanson, and Koussevitzky Foundations. He lives in SF with his husband Tim and their dog Ripley. (Photo by Jeannette Yu)

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