Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Sun, Jun 16 2019 7:00 PM

Other Minds 24: Concert 3 – Four Pianos in Quarter Tones

Join us on Sunday, June 16 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the third and final installment of our 24th festival season: Concert 3 – Four Pianos in Quarter Tones

The late composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky (1893-1979) was a tireless explorer in the realm of quarter-tone, eighths-of-tone, 16ths-of-tone, and other microtonal [composition] circa 1935-1975. Other Minds presents the first-ever American retrospective of works by this Russian-born acquaintance of Alexander Scriabin’s who lived most of his life in Paris after 1920. Charles Amirkhanian, who met with the composer three times between 1972-1978, is curating a program that will include Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra, a four-movement 30-minute work for four grand pianos, two of them tuned down a quarter-tone, and other works for piano ensemble.

Martine Joste, director of the Wyschnegradsky Association in Paris, will perform the composer’s solo piano pieces and talk with Charles Amirkhanian about the spiritual and aesthetic world of the composer. She’ll be joined by the piano duo HOCKET from Los Angeles, along with soloists Vicki Ray and Steven Vanhauwaert, conducted by Donald Crockett, in the American premieres of works for four pianos by Wyschnegradsky.

About the Artists
HOCKET is a cutting-edge piano duo based in Los Angeles. Lauded as “brilliant” by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times and as an “adventurous young ensemble” by The New Yorker, members Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff are both pianist-composers dedicated to commissioning and performing contemporary music. They have performed in some of the most exciting festivals and venues across the country including The Bang on Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, MATA Festival in New York City, The Center for New Music in San Francisco, and the Carlsbad Music Festival. Together, they have premiered over one hundred chamber and solo works and have collaborated with the premiere new music ensembles Eighth Blackbird and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. HOCKET has received grants from the Presser Foundation and The Earle Brown Music Foundation and has been a selected artist in Firebird Ensemble’s Outstanding Young Artists Initiative.

Sarah Gibson is a composer and pianist who has been called “a serious talent to watch” (Atlanta Journal Constitution). Sarah holds degrees in Piano and Composition from Indiana University, and a Masters and Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in composition from USC.

Thomas Kotcheff is a Los Angeles based composer and pianist. His compositions have been described as “truly beautiful and inspired” ( and “explosive” (Gramophone Magazine). He holds degrees in composition and piano performance from the Peabody Institute and the University of Southern California.

Described as “phenomenal and fearless,” Grammy nominated pianist Vicki Ray is a leading interpreter of contemporary piano music. Known for thoughtful and innovative programming which seeks to redefine the piano recital in the 21st century, Vicki’s concerts often include electronics, video, recitation and improvisation.

A native of Belgium, Steven Vanhauwaert was hailed by the Los Angeles Times’ Mark Swed for his “impressive clarity, sense of structure and monster technique.” Since then, Mr. Vanhauwaert has appeared in solo recitals at the world’s leading venues, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, REDCAT Auditorium, the Concertgebouw, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, and Bulgaria Hall in Sofia.

A winner of five first prizes at the National Superior Conservatory of Music of Paris, where she studied with Yves Nat, Martine Joste is one of the most brilliant French pianists of today. After perfecting her skills in Siena (Italy), Tanglewood (USA) and the Mozarteum of Salzburg (Austria), Martine Joste began an international concert career which has taken her to all the European countries, the USA, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Uruguay, Canada and the Middle-East.

A passionate advocate of contemporary music, she performs regularly with numerous ensembles. As a soloist, she has given first performances of more than 40 works (by Jean-Claude Risset, Alain Bancquart, Bruce Mather, Claude Ballif, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Fernand Vandenbogaerde, among others), several of which she requested and are dedicated to her. In 1992, John Cage composed one of his last works, Two6 for her and the violinist Ami Flammer.

Active as a conductor of new music, composer Donald Crockett has presented many world, national and regional premieres with the Los Angeles-based new music ensemble Xtet, Thornton Edge new music ensemble, and as a guest conductor with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Hilliard Ensemble, California EAR Unit, Firebird Ensemble, Ensemble X, Jacaranda, and the USC Thornton Symphony. He has also been very active over the years as a composer and conductor with the venerable and famed Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles. His recordings as a conductor can be found on the Albany, CRI, Doberman/Yppan, ECM and New World labels.

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