Terry Riley was born on June 24, 1935, meaning that he will reach the landmark age of 80 this June. During the middle of the twentieth century, he was a leading figure in the experimental music scene on the West Coast, which, through activities such as those at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, came to have as much impact as the East Coast efforts of John Cage and his “New York School” and the Fluxus movement. As June gets closer, there will be a variety of events planned to honor Riley; but the first “out of the gate” is the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), which has planned a Celebrating Terry Riley event for the end of this week.
This celebration will not focus on Riley’s music. Instead, Riley has curated a series of three concerts honoring other creative musicians. They will be performed on successive evenings as follows:
- Thursday, April 30: Soprano Tony Arnold will join forces with the JACK Quartet for a performance of the complete string quartets composed by John Zorn.
- Friday, May 1: Indian instrumentalist Kala Ramnath will give a multi-genre solo recital, combining her background in Indian classical music with the Western classical style, jazz, flamenco, and traditional African music.
- Saturday, May 2: The prodigious improviser Thollem McDonas will give a solo recital.
The Thursday concert will be held at the Palace of Fine Arts. The other two will take place in the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason. All three performances will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are being sold online through City Box Office. Thursday tickets for the Palace of Fine Arts are available for $20, $35, $50, and $65 and may be purchased from an event page which shows availability in the different sections. Tickets for the Cowell Theater are $25, $35, and $50, and there are separate event pages for Kala Ramnath and Thollem McDonas. There is also a “bundle” Web page that offers a 20% discount on each set of tickets for all three events.
Other concerts of interest for the coming week include the following:
- Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 p.m.: One of the high points of the 13th Annual Outsound New Music Summit, held this past July, was the appearance of pioneering beat poet ruth weiss (spelled in lower case as a protest against “law and order”). As a sign that beat poetry has made the transition from revolutionary to nostalgic, weiss will be giving a reading at (of all places) the Top of the Mark. As had been the case at her Outsound gig, she will perform with music, provided, in this case, by the trio of Rent Romus on saxophone, Doug O’Connor on bass, and Hal Davis on percussion. For those unfamiliar with this landmark location, the Top of the Mark is the top floor of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, towering over Nob Hill at 999 California Street on the southeast corner of Mason Street. This is part of a Poetry & Jazz Series being presented in partnership with the Beat Museum in North Beach. There is no charge for this event, but it tends to be assumed that patrons will order something from the bar.
- Wednesday, April 29, 8 p.m.: The El Rio bar in the Mission will host a program called Avant Pop, a special evening of cutting-edge exploratory song from artists based in the Bay Area. The performing groups will be the Grex trio of Karl Evangelista (guitar and voice), Rei Scampavia (keyboards and voice) and Robert Lopez (drums), Jack O’ the Clock (Damon Waitkus, Emily Packard, Kate McLoughlin, Jason Hoopes, and Jordan Glenn, and the chamber jazz group The Dirty Snacks Ensemble of Mark Clifford (vibes), Aram Shelton (reeds), Geneva Harrison (drums), Scott Brown (bass), Kristin Dutton (violin), and Marty McGinn (piano). El Rio is located at 3158 Mission Street, and admission will be on a sliding scale between $5 and $10.
- Thursday, April 30, 8 p.m.: Having appeared at the Center for New Music two weeks ago, Florent Colautti will bring his “homemade” live electronic music to the Luggage Store Creative Music Series offered weekly by Outsound Presents. His solo set will be preceded by another soloist, Joshua Marshall on tenor saxophone. During the remodeling of the building housing the Luggage Store Gallery, Outsound Presents is offering these concerts at 998 Market Street, right on the east corner of Taylor Street. Admission will be on the usual sliding scale between $6 and $15.
- Friday, May 1, noon: City Hall will celebrate May Day with the performance of the fourth, fifth, and sixth of Anna Halperin’s collection of 95 rituals. Dana and Shinichi Iova-Koga will perform choreographic interpretations by Molissa Fenley and Wanjiru Kumuyu. Korean instrumentalist and vocalist Dohee Lee will perform with musicians Jason Ditzian, Max Baloian, Tim Kim, Katherine McDonald, and Dan Gottwald. This free event will be performed in the Rotunda of the City Hall building, with entrances on both Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street between Grove Street and McAllister Street.
- Saturday, May 2, 8 p.m.: Animals and Giraffes will be a preview party to celebrate the debut release of the album July. This is the result of a collaboration between poet Claudia La Rocco and composer Phillip Greenlief. The recording features La Rocco poetry read against improvisations performed by Greenlief, David Boyce, Jon Raskin, Aurora Josephson, Tim Perkis, Karen Stackpole, John Shiurba, Evelyn Davis, and Dapplegray. The party will be hosted by the Center for New Music (C4NM), curated by Raskin, at 55 Taylor Street, half a block north of the corner of Market Street. Tickets will be available only at the door for $15, There will also be a special $10 rate for C4NM members.