• April 30, 2015
  • 8:00 pm
  • Cowell Theater
    Fort Mason Pier 2
    San Francisco, CA 94123
Add to Calendar 04/30/2015 8:00 pm 04/30/2015 America/Los_Angeles Celebrating Terry Riley The Terry Riley weekend with The Complete String Quartets of JOHN ZORN featuring JACK and Tony Arnold, Kala Ramnath, and Thollem McDonas (5/2/15) Cowell Theater
Fort Mason Pier 2
San Francisco, CA 94123
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Join us for the Terry Riley weekend!

To celebrate Terry Riley's 80th birthday, and honor his genius as a composer, performer, musician, and human being, we asked him to curate this short series that expresses the diversity of his creative interests. Don't miss this incredible weekend of three performances in a diverse array of contemporary Western and Indian classical styles. Whether you join us for one concert or the entire weekend, you will be transported and inspired by the creative mastery presented here.

The Complete String Quartets of JOHN ZORN featuring JACK and Tony Arnold (4/30/15) There has rarely been a musician as versatile and prolific as John Zorn, whose genre bending creativity has excited audiences and confounded critics and academics for 40 years. One of his greatest achievements are his compositions for string quartet, which are among the most important contributions to the genre since Carter and Bartok. Spanning almost three decades, these six quartets are each a world of their own, and run the gamut from cartoon madness, hardcore intensity, hebrew spirituality, hermetic romanticism, Crowlean Magick and Alchemical Mysticism. This unprecedented concert presents all six of Zorn's remarkably varied quartets along with the US premiere of  Pandora's Box, his striking new composition for string quartet and soprano written for the Arditti Quartet. Featuring the virtuosic young quartet JACK and Tony Arnold on voice, this marathon concert of Zorn's complete quartets is not to be missed.

Drawing upon his experience in classical, jazz, rock, hardcore punk, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, world and improvised music, John Zorn has created a controversial and influential body of work that often defies academic categories. He has earned great respect within his own community and beyond by going his own way without compromise, developing a large network of supporters world wide, often in unexpected places. Born in 1953 and raised in New York City, Zorn has been a central figure in the Downtown Scene since 1975, incorporating a wide variety of creative musicians into various compositional formats. He is an indefatigable worker and highly prolific: he has composed 6 string quartets, vocal music, chamber music, operas, symphonic and dance works, has released over 100 cds under his own name, has led and written music for dozens of bands (Naked City, The Dreamers, Moonchild, Painkiller), scored over 50 films, and written over 600 tunes for his popular Masada project. His work is diverse and remarkably eclectic and draws inspiration from Art, Literature, Film, Theatre, Philosophy, Alchemy and Mysticism as well as Music.

The JACK Quartet
 electrifies audiences worldwide with "explosive virtuosity" (Boston Globe) and "viscerally exciting performances" (New York Times). David Patrick Stearns (Philadelphia Inquirer) proclaimed their performance as being "among the most stimulating new-music concerts of my experience." The Washington Postcommented, "The string quartet may be a 250-year-old contraption, but young, brilliant groups like the JACK Quartet are keeping it thrillingly vital." Alex Ross (New Yorker) hailed their performance of Iannis Xenakis' complete string quartets as being "exceptional" and "beautifully harsh," and Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times) called their sold-out performances of Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 3 In iij. Noct. "mind-blowingly good."

The Chicago Tribune writes, "anything sung by soprano Tony Arnold is worth hearing." Hailed by the New York Times as "a bold, powerful interpreter," she is recognized internationally as a leading proponent of new music in concert and recording, praised for her sparkling and insightful performances of the most daunting contemporary scores. Since becoming the first-­ prize laureate of the both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition (NL) and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition (USA), Ms. Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-­‐edge composers and instrumentalists on the world stage, receiving consistent critical accolades for a voice of beauty and warmth, an uncanny technical facility, sterling musicianship, and riveting stage presence. "Simply put, she is a rock-­‐star in this genre" (Sequenza 21). 

Kala Ramnath (5/1/15) is Grammy nominated for her album 'Miles from India', recognized as one of the fifty best instrumentalists of the world by the prestigious 'Songlines' Magazine, Album 'Kala' selected again by 'Songlines' magazine as one of the 50 best recordings of the world, the first Indian violinist to be featured in the violin Bible, 'The Strad', a solo essay in the 'Encyclopedia - Rough Guide to World Music' for her contributions in the field of violin in music, frequently featured in Hollywood soundtracks including the Oscar nominated "Blood Diamond" and many more such recognitions, Maestro Kala Ramnath with her 'Singing Violin' stands among the best instrumentalists of the world.

Today a virtuoso of staggering proportions, Kala has performed at all the major music festivals in India, as well as the most prestigious stages throughout the world, including the Sydney Opera House, London's Queen Elizabeth Hall and New York's Carnegie Hall to name a few.

Kala is at the vanguard of the present generation of Indian instrumental super-stars. Due to her rigorous training in the classical tradition she comfortably forges musical alliances with artists of renown from different genres around the globe incorporating elements of Western Classical, Jazz, Flamenco and traditional African music into her rich and varied repertoire.

Thollem McDonas
 (5/2/15) For years, Thollem has relentlessly followed his curiosities, complimented by rigorous study, hard work and a peripatetic lifestyle. After spending his 20s and 30s dedicated to grassroots activism, for the past 10 years he has redirected his focus back to his music, folding his myriad of experiences into his work. In this last decade alone, he has played well over 1,000 concerts throughout N. America and Europe as a soloist as well in collaboration with hundreds of musicians, dancers, and filmmakers. He has released over 40 albums in that span as leader or co-leader on 18 different vanguard labels, to international critical acclaim. As a soloist, he has been heralded world-wide as one of the most exciting pianists alive, tackling complexities invented spontaneously with seemingly impossible velocity.

"Thollem McDonas thinks quicker than God, but his pressure-packed melodic constructions don't leave you in the dust. Thollem does what few can: He combines extreme imagination with terrific post-classical chops and an ability to communicate through melody. A fresh, disciplined avant-pianist with an attractively extreme viewpoint. Unreal linear explosions."  Greg Burk, LA Weekly

The Complete String Quartets of John Zorn featuring JACK Quartet and Tony Arnold
Thursday, April 30, 2015, Palace of Fine Arts 

Kala Ramnath
Friday, May 1, 2015, Cowell Theater

Thollem McDonas
Saturday, May 2, 2015, Cowell Theater

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This event is sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts 

SF Grants for the Arts

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