All I Know³
Information, transmission, modulation, and noise – 3rd Edition

Other Minds 16!

OM 16presented in association with the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the Eugene and Elinor Friend Center for the Arts at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

Featuring these composers:
Louis Andriessen (Netherlands)
I Wayan Balawan (Indonesia)
Han Bennink (Netherlands)
Kyle Gann (USA)
Janice Giteck (USA)
David A. Jaffe (USA)
Jason Moran (USA)
Agata Zubel (Poland)

Tickets & Information
Thursday-Friday-Saturday, March 3-4-5, 2011
7pm Panel Discussions / 8pm Concerts
Kanbar Hall, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCCSF),
3200 California Street (at Presidio Ave.), San Francisco



Dane Rudhyar

The San Jose Mercury News has a great article on the upcoming Dane Rudhyar Retrospective concerts next week.

It includes a YouTube Video of Sarah Cahill performing  Rudhyar’s “Yearning” from Pentagram IV at an earlier Other Minds Seance:

It is the music that Other Minds is revisiting, compositions from his early and his late-in-life work. The retrospective begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Monday in San Francisco’s Swedenborgian Church, 2107 Lyon St., with a panel discussion moderated by Other Minds artistic director Charles Amirkhanian and featuring the composer’s widow, Leyla Rudhyar Hill, and his biographer, Deniz Ertan of the University of Nottingham. In the concert that follows at 8 p.m., the Ives String Quartet will play Rudhyar’s “Crisis & Overcoming,” a string quartet written in 1979. Violinist David Abel and pianist Julie Steinberg will collaborate on “Poem for Violin and Piano” (1920), and Berkeley-based pianist and radio show host Sarah Cahill will play three solo works: “Transmutation,” a tone sequence in seven movements (1976); “Stars” from “Pentagram No. 3″ (1925) and “Granites” (1929).

Cahill, asked for her thoughts on Rudhyar’s musical language, spoke of the “atmospheric, layered sound world” he invented and said she was amazed that both the early and the late works seem to dip into the same pool of inspiration. She quoted his annotations from his “Transmutation” score: “The inspiration for the music stems from a sequence of psycho-spiritual states of consciousness, not from anything resembling physical movement. Music here is a nonverbal speech aiming at communicating or inciting inner experiences.”

Read the entire article here.

Field Day 2010

ARRL FIELD DAYThis weekend is ham radio’s Field Day. It’s when radio amateurs set up their equipment outdoors and off the power grid and try to contact as many other hams as they can. It’s a contest. There are rules and points. No prizes, tho. Just bragging rights.

And, as usual, I’m not prepared. I’m a “casual” amateur radio operator, AG6RF.

I’ll probably put the mobile rig into the van  and head out somewhere later today or tomorrow. It can be fun, like fishing when the fish are biting. Or, depending on the electromagnetic weather and the ionosphere, a complete bust.

So we’ll see. Someday I hope to be more prepared, with a real location, maybe a tent, and a portable antenna tower I can put up and run a long wire antenna. And a portable car battery or maybe some solar panels. And lunch.

Anyway, Field Day runs from 11am PDT today, Saturday, to 2pm Sunday. I’d better get moving.


Update: I never did get it together. I didn’t have much time during the weekend, but I did manage to make 3 or 4 contacts, mostly north to WA and south to San Diego. Propagation was poor and the noise level was high. Well, maybe next year…

Garden Of Memory – New Music Circus

Monday (June 21, Summer Solstice) at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland , the 15th annual new music circus will happen.

Garden of Memory 2010 is always a lot of fun and has some amazing performers .. some of the best names in new music in the Bay Area.

Today’s NY Times had a piece about it, and one of its founders Sarah Cahill.

Sarah Cahill

Sarah Cahill, New Music’s Tireless Advocate

When she is at the keyboard, Sarah Cahill exudes self-confidence. At a recent recital at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with David Latulippe, a flutist, Ms. Cahill dashed off challenging works by Arvo Part and Terry Riley with an easy flamboyance that matched her bright orange dress.

But during the curtain call, another side of Ms. Cahill’s personality came through. With an awkward bow and a shy smile, she looked more like a student playing in public for the first time than a seasoned world-class performer.

Ms. Cahill has such a gentle demeanor that it can be hard to grasp the magnitude of her impact on the contemporary music scene — not only as a pianist but also as a champion of contemporary composers, a prolific events producer and an influential broadcaster of classical music.

Composers like Pauline Oliveros and Frederic Rzewski have dedicated works to her. John Adams wrote his 1977 piano piece “China Gates” for Ms. Cahill when she was just 17. (more…)

January 6

Today is my birthday .  King Richard II’s too. (1367). Curious.

I’m taking the day off. Going over to Pt Reyes in the morning. Take some pictures. Do some ham radio from my van (will I contact Japan this time? No sunspots.) Maybe take a walk if it’s not raining.

I’ve been getting all these automated emails from websites wishing me a happy birthday. Very strange. “Happy Birthday from”.  Thanks. Really.

A lot to think about. So what is 66 supposed to feel like? Any different than 65? Not really. So far. Can’t tell yet. It was midnight Jan 6th almost four hours ago in New York City. My mother told me I was born around midnight, New York time. So I really can’t judge. But I think I’m the same person I was 30 years ago. A few more aches and pains.

Oddly, so many of my friends seem to have their birthdays around this time as well. In fact, many of my best friends are within the first 3 weeks of January. What’s the significance of that?  I’ve always wondered.

I think we make too much of age, and aging.  Beats the alternative, however.

pbrf2010.jpg   This is me right now.

I’ve got my grumpy face on.

The interesting thing about having your birthday in the first week of the year is that my new years  are in synch with everyone’s calendar new year.

But I kinda think everything is going to turn out all right in the end. Don’t know why I feel that way. I’m not an optimist.

We’ll see.

Last Night – A House In Bali

A House in Bali - Evan ZiporynLast night we went to the much anticipated world stage permiere performance of Evan Ziporyn’s A HOUSE IN BALI in Berkeley.

And I was not disappointed. It was a major accomplishment, bringing together Balinese dancers, actors, Balinese ensemble Gamelan Salukat, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and a trio of exceptional singers.

Ziporyn’s music was outstanding in its counterplay between western and Balinese styles, and the music he composed for the on-stage gamelan was exciting. Musically, this was a very enjoyable event.

I wish I could say the same for the staging, which combined live video with a cramped set that attempted to show the house Colin McPhee built for himself in Bali. I found the video arbitrary and distracting, and not helpful in making it easier to understand the plot, which telescopes in time four major events that in real time occur over the 7 years McPhee spent in Bali: McPhee’s coming to Bali after rejecting a dull life in Paris, his disastrous attempt to build his house and the confrontation with local customs,  his relationship and mentoring of a Balinese boy (Samphi), and his eventual departure from paradise.

The video was shot in real time by stationary cameras on stage and by cameramen moving anachronistically thru the set. But the imagery most of the time made no sense, and for a long period the only image on the large overhead screen was McPhee’s bed. I failed to get the point.  After that I tried to ignore the video screen as much as possible. That wasn’t easy.

Still the music, and the dancing, were most exciting, and I found myself anticipating the next solo by the gamelan, which played with amazing gusto and flash. Which, perhaps, is another inherent problem when mixing musical cultures… that the new and fresh sounds (here, the gamelan) overpowered the familiar new music ensemble of violin, cello, electric guitar, vibraphone, piano, and bass, and at times was much more interesting.

The singers (Marc Molomot as McPhee, Anne Harley as Margaret Mead, and Timur Bekbosunov as Walter Spies) were excellent, altho their over-amplified voices sounded harsh and unnatural (but I have a natural aversion to amplification).

So even tho I have some reservations, I still can marvel at the accomplishment .. that it happened at all. I only hope that this work gets enough performances so that it can be gradually fine tuned. But, as we all know, works that involve so many diverse and special forces are somewhat doomed to few rare performances after the premiere. I only hope that Evan and company are able to interest and involve local gamelans to the work and guarantee future performances. I would love to see this again. But maybe without the video.

Still, two bravos and congratulations to all who worked so hard to put this on, and to Cal Performances for making it happen!

Evan Ziporyn and A HOUSE IN BALI

Evan Ziporyn has an article about bringing the opera to Bali, and it’s on »New Music Box , and the page includes a link to a 40 minute excerpt from the opera!

So the question really is: why perform this opera in Bali, particularly once the economy went south and our funding shriveled? The subject itself demanded it: Colin McPhee left Bali in 1938 in part because, as he said, “I will always remain the outsider.” He never came back, though in his absence he became woven into the fabric of Balinese culture, deeply influencing not just Westerners like myself, but also many Balinese scholars and musicians, in a variety of ways. In Bali, heroes and ancestors are enshrined in house temples, inscribed into paintings, and invigorated anew through performance. I felt McPhee deserved the same treatment. I think of myself as one of McPhee’s spiritual descendants—part of an ongoing line of Westerners who follow in his footsteps, a composer coming to Bali to study gamelan, and then spending the rest of my life figuring out what it has to do with my own music. So from the beginning this felt like dharma, a duty I needed to at least try to fulfill.

…read the entire article.

House in Bali – Public Events

Cal performances has announced a number of free public events at U.C. Berkeley leading up to the performances of Evan Ziporyn’s A HOUSE IN BALI:

Education/Community Events
Campus and Community Residency
Sept 18-26, 2009

Composer Colloquium
Fri, Sept 18, 3-4:30 pm, 125 Morrison Hall

Composer Evan Ziporyn — UC Berkeley Ph.D, Bang On A Can All-Stars member, and MIT Professor — talks about his work.

Balinese Dance Demonstration
Mon, Sept 21, 5:30-7 pm, Hertz Hall

Dancer-choreographer Dewi Kadek Aryani and dancer Desak Made Suarti Laksmi demonstrate Balinese dance forms.

Gamelan Master Class
Tue, Sept 22, 5:30-7 pm, 250 Morrison Hall

Musicians of the Balinese ensemble Gamelan Salukat coach UC Berkeley students in the Gamelan program at the Department of Music. Observers are welcome.

Crossing Cultures: Behind the Scenes
Artist Talk
Fri, Sept 25, 4-5:30 pm, Zellerbach Hall Lobby Mezzanine

Evan Ziporyn discusses the challenges of creating a staged work with artists of vastly different training and cultural experiences, with a brief look at a rehearsal in progress.

More info at Cal Performances’ website.

A House In Bali – Coming in September

A House In Bali

On September 26 & 27th, Cal Performances will present the American premiere in Berkeley of a  new opera,  Evan Ziporyn’s  A HOUSE IN BALI, based on the memoir by Colin McPhee.The work received it’s world premiere in June in Bali, near where McPhee lived for a time in the 1930′s.

McPhee, an obscure and now mostly forgotten Canadian composer wrote his memoir of those days in Bali in the ’40s, but he is primarily responsible for the interest in Balinese and Javanese music that surged in the late 1960′s and continues today.  Tragically, McPhee never lived to see it happen — he died in 1964. And his own music, much of it freely influenced by Balinese music, was mostly neglected because it wasn’t “mainstream”.Colin McPhee

But one of the younger generation of composers to become fascinated with this music is Evan Ziporyn, who has studied the music intensively for nearly three decades. Which makes an opera by him and based on McPhee’s writings so intriguing. Evan, who appeared at an Other Minds festival a number of years ago, has many works based on Balinese styles, including Ngaben, for gamelan and orchestra in memory of those who died at the Sari Club bombing in Bali in 2003.

You can read, see, and hear a lot about this production on the House in Bali website, including video excerpts from the premiere in June in Bali. And I’ll be presenting some of McPhee’s and Ziporyn’s music on upcoming Music from Other Minds programs in September, so stay tuned.

And if you can go, tickets are available from the Cal Performances website.  This should prove to be a rare and spectacular event.

There is a wonderful article about McPhee over at the Overgrown Path classical music blog, and you can hear a 1980 portrait of the composer that Charles Amirkhanian put together in 1980 on the website.

The Revenge of the Dead Indians


View Details & TrailerBuy Tickets Now

This celebration of John Cage’s work, influences, and thoughts is neither a feature film nor a documentary: footage of Cage and performances of his music are assembled together with 42 personalities, from well-known artists to market vendors and street cleaners, “found” video and audio landscapes, and theatrically directed readings.This one-time film screening, a benefit for Other Minds, includes complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres and a chance to hear well-known figures such as Noam Chomsky, Merce Cunningham, Frank Gehry, Ellsworth Kelly, Yoko Ono, and Frank Zappa pay tribute to John Cage.

Directed by Henning Lohner
Music: John Cage
Cinematographer: Van Carlson
Musical performances by Irvine Arditti, Margaret Leng Tan, Frances-Marie Uitti and others
Length: 129 min

Earplay – May 20 – Messiaen, Bouchard, Carter, Harvey, Tzortzis


As part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival, Earplay completed its 24th season with a concert on May 20 at Herbst Theater in San Francisco


Here’s the program:

Elliott Carter –  Con Leggerezza Pensosa (1990)

Nicolas Tzortzis
(2006)  –   U.S. Premiere – 2008 Winner Earplay Donald Aird Memorial Composition Competition

Olivier Messiaen  –  Cantéyodjayâ (1948)

Jonathan Harvey  –  Nataraja (1985)

Linda Bouchard  –  Systematic Survival (2009) — World Premiere  — Earplay/Fromm Music Foundation commission

Here are my brief comments on the concert:

Herbst hall was about half full, which isn’t bad for a new music concert on a Wednesday night.

I found the Carter piece tedious. No secret that I’m not much of a Carter fan. The only word that came to my mind while listening to it, other than “tedious” was “baroque”.

The Tzortzis Amenable began and ended poorly in clichés, but the middle offered some interesting material that would have been better off standing on it’s own.

Karen Rosenak’s performance of Messiaen’s powerful Cantéyodjaya  was incredible! And very exciting.

Jonathan Harvey’s Nataraja was a wonderful piano+flute/piccolo duet with a great interplay between the instruments. Quite virtuoistic and fun.

Linda Bouchard’s Systematic Survival, a premiere,  was equally wonderful. Linda said this was a major departure for her .. a quiet piece .. and she found it very hard to do. But it works. It seemed like each member of the ensemble had their own set of loops they went thru, all quiet but not slow, with a definite forward movement, like a clock, or a gaggle of clocks, ticking away. Sometimes restraint pays off. We await the recording.

In general, this was a worthwhile concert, wonderfully performed by this accomplished ensemble. I just wish they would discover that not all new music is in the Carter/Boulez school and branch out more. But that’s another discussion, for another day. Next year will be their 25th anniversary season and some surprises are being planned.

Two bravos!

A Spectralist Spring – Impressions

This SFCMP concert was worth the ride into S.F.  Here’s my mini-review:

Alessandro Solbiati: Sestetto a Gerard (2006):
Some gorgeous sounds coming from the prepared piano – like wood blocks and chimes – were very surprising. But the piece as a whole was incoherent and melodramatic.

Philippe Hurel: Loops IV (2005)
For solo marimba, played magnificently by Daniel Kennedy, was a real treat. Short phrases treated as “cells” that repeat and undergo transformations that you can actually hear! What a concept! This is a virtuoso piece for marimbist and really exciting!

Tristan Murail: Cloches d’adieu, et un sourire… (1992), and La Mandragore (1993)
Julie Steinberg played these two so effortlessly that it seemed one big improvisation. Marvelous pieces in a post-Messiaenic style. The piano just shimmered.

François Paris: A propos de Nice (2005) with film by Jean Vigo (1930)
I loved it! First, the film, a French version of Vertov’s Man With A Movie Camera, actually shot by Vertov’s brother, Boris Kaufmann, contrasts the rich and not rich in Nice in 1930. Today we’d call the film amateurish, but it was wonderful! And the music Paris composed as a “dialog” with the film was equally wonderful.

Excellent concert! Unfortunately, the last concert for outgoing SFCMP executive director Adam Frey. His tenure over the past 18 years has seen a significant growth in the group that we hope will continue with the next season.

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
presents its final concert of the season:

Moving pictures, picture music
Music of Hurel, Murail, Paris, and Solbiati
Featuring a film by Jean Vigo
David Milnes, Music Director

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:00 pm

OM14: Dobromila Jaskot from Poland

from the Polish Cultural Institute:


Other Minds Festival and
the Polish Cultural Institute


HANNAH for cello and electronics
LINEARIA for string quartet   U.S. PREMIERE

No other city has an organization quite like Other Minds, cultivating all the music that would otherwise drop between the cracks
- Alex Ross, The New Yorker

The 14th Other Minds Festival introduces an emerging voice from Poland, Dobromila Jaskot, as one of nine of the most exciting and innovative composers from around the world, for concerts and artists’ talks. The festival, produced by its Director Charles Amirkhanian, continues an annual tradition of presenting the most creative voices from across the musical spectrum.

Two works by Jaskot, Poland’s hottest emerging “other mind,” will be presented during the festival: her Linearia for string quartet and Hannah for cello and electronics. In both compositions, she uses traditional instruments to thrilling effect. Linearia will be performed by the award-winning Del Sol Quartet, and the electro-acoustic Hannah will be performed by cellist Hannah Addario-Berry with Dobromila Jaskot on electronics.

Dobromila Jaskot was born in 1981 in Torun. In 2005 she graduated with distinction from the Academy of Music in Poznan in the composition class, and in 2007 she completed postgraduate studies in Special, Computer, Film, and Theater Composition at the Academy of Music in Wroclaw. Her creative interests are centered around multimedia arts, with particular focus on their interactive aspects. Her compositions are deeply emotional, displaying a formal clarity and gestural invention that have made her a popular guest at music festivals throughout Europe, such as the UltraSchall, Warsaw Autumn, Musica Electronica Nova, and Contemporary Music week in Esbjerg. ,She has been a prizewinner at several competitions for composers and performers. In 2006 her interactive chamber opera Fedora was premiered at the National Opera in Warsaw.

The Other Minds Festival, one of the few in the United States that encourages contemporary music, fosters cross-cultural exchange and creative dialogue by exploring areas in new music seldom touched by mainstream institutions. Begun in 1993, it has featured over 150 composers and 447 guest performers from more than 35 countries.

The roster of composers invited for the 14th Other Minds Festival includes Michael Harrison (USA), Dobromila Jaskot (Poland), Ben Johnston (USA), Catherin Lamb (USA), Chico Mello (Brazil), John Schneider (USA), Linda Catlin Smith (Canada), Bent Sorensen (Denmark), and Chinary Ung (Cambodia). Featured performers include the Trio con Brio Copenhagen, the Amsterdam Cello Octet, under the direction of Polish cellist and composer Robert Putowski, performing works by Arvo Part (US Premiere) and a special presentation in memory of Mauricio Kagel (1931 – 2008), and San Francisco’s Del Sol String Quartet.

»More about Dobromila Jaskot
»More about Del Sol String Quartet and Hannah Addario-Berry

FRIDAY,  MARCH 6, 2009
7:00 PM Panel Discussion
8:00 PM Concert

Kanbar Hall,
JCC of San Francisco
3200 California Street at
Presidio Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

Tickets: single concert $35 / $25 student; Festival passes $79 / $65 student,
Tel: 415.292.1233 or online at or


Pianist Eva-Maria Zimmermann (right) and soprano Lara Bruckmann (left) have been working on this project for quite a while! This should be something worth the trip. There will also be an Ondes Martenot demonstration that children would enjoy. (The Ondes Martenot is an early electronic instrument).

Music by Messiaen, Debussy, Jolivet, and Delbos.

The detailed information and program is at


WHEN: Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Concerts starting at 3pm, 5:30pm,and 8pm
Ondes Martenot demonstration at 4:30pm
Receptions after each concert, featuring visual art by Srimonkol “JAX” Darawali.

WHERE: Old First Concerts, San Francisco
1751 Sacramento Street (at Van Ness)

TICKETS: Single Concert $15/$12 seniors and students with ID
Festival Pass $35/$28 seniors and students with ID

BOX OFFICE: (415) 474-1608

War Vigil in Piedmont

War Vigil, Piedmont, 19 March 2008

Just back from a brief vigil against the war in Iraq held in tony Piedmont’s city center organized by Move On. Some 50 or so people answered the email call to gather and remember those who have died and our dishonorable leaders who lied.

Piedmont, an East Bay surburb of San Francisco that borders on Berkeley and Oakland, is the Beverly Hills of the North. So it was reassuring to see that many people come together. However, too few young people came. It seemed we all were veterans of too many peace marches, peace vigils, teach-ins, sit-ins, and so on.

Was it four years ago we stood in a similar vigil holding our candles in Berkeley.

Cheney was interviewed on PBS earlier. He was asked to comment on the fact that 2/3 of Americans oppose the war. His response: “So?”. I’m afraid this democracy is lost. I’ve always felt that the governance model the Bush administration admired the most was the Chinese. See it now in action.


Richard Friedman lives in Oakland, CA, is a freelance tech writer/editor, web designer, photographer, is a Director of Other Minds, wrote his first computer program in 1962 for the IBM 650. It played dice. He is also a ham radio (AG6RF) operator, and he also takes a lot of photographs, composes music, and does a weekly radio program on KALW called Music From Other Minds.
He is not Kinky.

View Richard Friedman's profile on LinkedIn


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