The Living Earth Show
Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue Information
Echoes, poetry written by Tassiana Willis with Gabriel Cortez, Ashley Smiley, and Michael Wayne Turner III, among others; music composed by Danny Clay; directed and curated by Sean San José
About This Performance
San Francisco is a city where the only constant is change. Whether sudden and loud or gradual and quiet, the aftershocks are always felt, and the echoes always heard, by the next generation. SF Performances is proud to present a spoken-word chamber opera that will explore these Echoes through poetry, music, dialogue, and recorded streetscapes.
For more than 40 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the world’s most celebrated and influential ensembles, performing thousands of concerts, releasing more than 60 recordings, collaborating with many of the world’s most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning over 900 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos has received over 40 awards, including the Polar Music and Avery Fisher Prizes, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians.
Integral to Kronos’ work is a series of long-running collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers, including Americans Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich; Azerbaijan’s Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Russia’s Vladimir Martynov; Poland’s Henryk Górecki; and Serbian-American Aleksandra Vrebalov. Additional collaborators have included Wu Man, Laurie Anderson, Tanya Tagaq, Mahsa Vahdat, Trevor Paglen, Van Dyke Parks, múm, Dawn Upshaw, Noam Chomsky, Tom Waits, Asha Bhosle, Taraf de Haïdouks, and Howard Zinn.
On tour for five months per year, Kronos appears in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on recordings, including the Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated Nuevo (2002) and the 2004 Grammy-winner Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite. Kronos’ most recent releases include the One Earth, One People, One Love: Kronos Plays Terry Riley box set; Folk Songs, which features Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Rhiannon Giddens, and Natalie Merchant singing traditional songs; and Ladilikan, a collaborative album with Trio Da Kali, a “super-group” of Malian griot musicians assembled by Aga Khan Music Initiative.
The nonprofit Kronos Performing Arts Association manages all aspects of Kronos’ work, including the commissioning of new works, concert tours and home season performances, education programs, and a self-produced Kronos Festival. In 2015, Kronos launched Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, an education and legacy project that is commissioning—and distributing for free—the first learning library of contemporary repertoire for string quartet.
Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks has long championed a local, national, and increasingly global movement of young people picking up pens and stepping proudly onto stages, declaring themselves present.
We believe that literacy is a need, not a want.
One of the world’s leading presenters of Spoken Word performance, education, and youth development programs, Youth Speaks produces local and national youth poetry slams, festivals, and reading series, alongside a comprehensive slate of arts-in-education programs during the school day, in the after-school hours and on weekends. In addition, we create internationally-recognized theater and digital programming, and have helped launch a national network of over 70 programs who believe in the power of young people.
Called “outstanding” by The San Francisco Chronicle, “transcendent” by The Charleston City Paper, “a vanguard effort of new chamber music” by The San Francisco Examiner, and “a fully distorted perpetual motion of awesome” by I Care If You Listen, The Living Earth Show is a megaphone and canvas for some of the world’s most progressive artists. Comprised of electric guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson, the San Francisco-based ensemble uses the traditions of classical and experimental music as tools to allow artists of all disciplines to create their most ambitious works and respond to the world in which they live.
Memorizing every work it performs, The Living Earth Show thrives on pushing the boundaries of technical and artistic possibility in its presentation of commissioned electro-acoustic chamber music. The ensemble has commissioned and premiered works by such diverse composers as Anna Meredith, Timo Andres, Nicole Lizée, M. Lamar, Raven Chacon, Brian Ferneyhough, Samuel Adams, Ken Ueno, Luciano Chessa, Sharmi Basu, Ted Hearne, Jon Russell, Adrian Knight, Alden Jenks, Nick Vasallo, and Zachary James Watkins. Many of these commissions can be found on the group’s critically acclaimed debut album, High Art (Innova Records, 2013) and its upcoming albums Dance Music (New Amsterdam Records) and TAFT (slashsound).
Upcoming productions include Aeolus, an opera with Ken Ueno and Majel Connery, a new song cycle presented with and composed by Ted Hearne, a collaboration with Kronos Quartet and Youth Speaks, M. Lamar’s song cycle Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman, Dennis Aman’s evening-length work 24 Preludes and Fugues, Nicholas Vasallo’s Surrounding The Earth, a new work written for the ensemble by Raven Chacon, the collaborative performance project AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, and a new evening-length collaboration with Post:Ballet and composers including Samuel Adams, Andrew Norman, Daniel Wohl scheduled to premiere in 2019.
When not performing as The Living Earth Show, Andy and Travis also comprise 2/3 of the rhythm section of C O /\/\ /\/\ /\ /\/ D O, a musical juggernaut dedicated to dismantling heteropatriarchy through militant, violently queer rap metal.