Gabriel KahanePiano/Vocals Carla KihlstedtViolin/Vocals Del Sol Quartet

Gabriel Kahane and Carla Kihlstedt

PIVOT Festival

Hyeyung Sol Yoon, violin Benjamin Kreith, violin Charlton Lee, viola Kathryn Bates, cello

Wednesday, January 29, 2025 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

Composer/singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane returns as guest curator once again for the tenth season of PIVOT. Kahane’s work exists at the intersection of art and social practice, and he is one of the most thoughtful—and thought-provoking—artists of his generation. He will perform opening night and host all three evenings of deliciously ingenious music brimming with thought, humor—both dark and light—and substance.

Composer, collaborator, violinist, singer, improviser, educator, and instigator Carla Kihlstedt explores complex worlds—the ocean, dreams, imaginary creatures, the machine age—through many different lenses. Kahane will lead her and the Del Sol Quartet in Kihlstedt’s 26 Little Deaths, inspired by Edward Gorey’s work.


KIHLSTEDT: 26 Little Deaths

Performance Sponsors

Silvie Jensen & David Masterson, Christian Jessen, and Jeanne Newman

Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work increasingly exists at the intersection of art and social practice. Hailed as “one of the finest songwriters of the day” by The New Yorker, he is known to haunt basement rock clubs and august concert halls alike, where you’ll likely find him in the green room, double-fisting coffee, and a book.

He has released five albums as a singer-songwriter including his most recent LP, Magnificent Bird (Nonesuch Records), which received widespread critical acclaim. As a composer, he has been commissioned by many of America’s leading arts institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Public Theater, which in 2012 presented his musical February House.

In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere in Portland of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form, a work that explores inequality in America through the lens of housing issues. The piece was released as an album in March of 2020, and is scheduled for performance by half a dozen other American orchestras in the coming years.

In his 2023–24 season, Kahane embarked on a new collaborative commissioning project with the Attacca Quartet, Pekka Kuusisto, and Roomful of Teeth as part of a two-year initiative with San Francisco Performances, with additional performances scheduled around the U.S. and Europe. Season highlights include the European premiere of emergency shelter intake form in London with the BBC Concert Orchestra, duo recitals with Jeffrey Kahane, a conducting appearance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New York premiere of his piano concerto Heirloom by Jeffrey Kahane and The Knights. Venues include UCLA’s Nimoy Theater, Seattle’s Meany Center, and New York’s 92NY.

Kahane’s discography also includes the highly praised Book of Travelers, The Ambassador, which received an acclaimed staging at BAM, directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Tiffany; an album of chamber music, The Fiction Issue, with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and vocalist/composer Shara Nova; a recording with The Knights of his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest; as well as the original cast album for February House.

A frequent collaborator across a range of musical communities, Gabriel has worked with an array of artists including Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, Caroline Shaw, and Chris Thile. After nearly two decades in Brooklyn, Kahane relocated with his family to Portland, Oregon, in March of 2020. Their freakishly self-possessed cat, Roscoe Greebletron Jones III, when not under investigation for securities fraud, continues his fruitless attempts to monetize his Instagram account.

Carla Kihlstedt plays the violin, sings, improvises, and composes—sometimes at the service of a simple song and other times as part of a large-scale, multi-faceted performance. Her ongoing collaborative projects cover a wide spectrum of sounds, from the rich and subtle acoustic composers’ collective Tin Hat, the dramatic and alarming experimental rock band Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, the intimate, incisive purveyors of song 2 Foot Yard, and the fiercely spontaneous improvisational duo Minamo, with pianist Satoko Fujii. Kihlstedt has also recorded and performed with many of her favorite musicians, including Fred Frith, Tom Waits, Ben Goldberg, Lisa Bielawa, and Colin Jacobsen.

Though the cornerstone of her musical vocabulary comes from her classical training as a violinist, Kihlstedt's world now comfortably reaches far beyond the concert hall, as she has spent much of the last dozen years traveling in the U.S. and abroad with her many bands, playing in concert halls, rock clubs, and theaters, for rock, classical, and experimental audiences.

Kihlstedt has written scores for several dance and theater companies, including Flyaway Productions, inkBoat, and The Joe Goode Performance Group. Further highlighted compositions include Causing a Tiger, with Matthias Bossi and Shazad Ismaily, based around field recordings from her travels, and Pandæmonium, written for the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, which is based on observations from 1660–1880 of the coming of machine age. Four of the nine movements of Pandæmonium are graphic scores sewn by hand.

Kihlstedt is currently developing a new piece with her husband, musician, and actor Matthias Bossi, that looks at family histories as interpreted by memory and myth.

Studies at Peabody Institute, San Francisco Conservatory, and Oberlin Conservatory. Recordings on Tzadik, Hannibal/Ryko, Intakt, The End, Fred (U.K.), ANTI-, Elektra, and Warner Brothers.

San Francisco’s Del Sol Quartet believes that music can, and should, happen anywhere—screaming out Aeryn Santillan’s Makeshift Memorials from a Mission District sidewalk or a rural high school, bouncing Ben Johnston’s microtonal Americana off the canyon walls of the Yampa River or the hallowed walls of Library of Congress, bringing Huang Ruo’s Angel Island Oratorio home to the island detention barracks or across the Pacific to the Singapore International Arts Festival. Del Sol’s performances provide the possibility for unexpected discovery, sparking dialogue and bringing people together.

Since 1992, Del Sol has commissioned or premiered hundreds of works by composers including Terry Riley, Tania León, Frederic Rzewski, Vijay Iyer, Mason Bates, Pamela Z, Chinary Ung, Chen Yi, Andy Akiho, Erberk Eryilmaz, Theresa Wong, and Reza Vali. They especially value their ongoing relationship with the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music in Boonville, California.

Huang Ruo—A Dust in Time, Del Sol’s eleventh album, was described in the New York Times as “excavations of beauty from the elemental.” New Del Sol recordings in 2023 include The Resonance Between, a collaboration with North Indian musicians Alam Khan & Arjun Verma, and SPELLLING and The Mystery School with Oakland magical-futurist pop phenomenon SPELLLING.

Artist Video

Carla Kihlstedt Performs Her Work Without Us for the Long Beach Opera