Guest List: One Found Sound

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Approaching the end of their fifth full season, the acclaimed collaborative, conductorless, chamber orchestra One Found Sound have been re-shaping the idea of how to bring classical music to a new generation since their inception. Founded in 2013 by five graduates of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, One Found Sound has hosted performances in warehouse spaces, art galleries, local wineries, and live-work collaborative venues. Essentially, the group works to eliminate the monied and stuffy barriers of entry in classical music without sacrificing any of their affinity and reverence for their source material.

One Found Sound will host their Gala: Quinquennial Birthday Bash this Friday, April 27th at Heron Arts in San Francisco, CA. To celebrate with had co-founder Sarah Bonomo describe each piece they’ll be playing, as democratically voted on by its members.

Check it all out below and should you be in the Bay Area this Friday, click here for more details.

The pieces that we are performing at this year’s gala were nominated by the members of the orchestra as their favorite works from each one of our five seasons. It’s our way of reflecting on our great and memorable experiences with audiences over these first few years while refreshing these pieces and changing their contexts.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony

Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony was the first piece we ever read as an orchestra, before we even had a name, so it’s really special to revisit this monumental work now.

It’s by far the most recognizable piece on the program, so it’s really exciting to give audiences a brand new perspective on a piece they might know so well. We make artistic decisions through collaboration and communication, so new and original ideas emerge as we rehearse and perform. We are an intimate orchestra with no conductor and a lot of synthesis, movement, and physicality. That all adds up to a very different kind of Beethoven symphony: one that is very much alive.

Zoltán Kodály’s Dances of Galánta (Galántai táncok)

Synthesis, movement, and communication are vital to pulling off a piece like Dances of Galanta. It’s a really ambitious piece to perform without a conductor because there are so many moving parts, so much expressive freedom from soloists, and extremely flexible tempos. That intensity and energy meshes with the audience’s excitement and the whole room buzzes with electricity.

Antonín Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds

Dvořák’s Serenade is a virtuosic showpiece for woodwinds, horns, cello and string bass. The warm spectrum of instrumental colors that you get from this deep and rich set of instruments just wraps you in sound. There is nothing quite like a live performance of this piece. You not only hear it, but you can feel it resonate throughout your body. Instant smiles. Guaranteed.

Jean Françaix’s orchestra in miniature

From our third season, we chose the French composer Jean Françaix’s Dixtour, a work for just ten players: five strings and five winds. It’s a really inventive piece, and he scored it like a miniature orchestra. You get a really zoomed in, transparent view of the colorful interactions between instruments. It will change the way you hear orchestral music on any scale.

Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from the Fifth Symphony

On the topic of scale, Gustav Mahler may not be one of the first names that come to mind when you think of smaller ensembles, because his symphonies redefined “massive” for orchestral scoring. Despite the size of his orchestras, he rarely uses every player at the same time, and some of the most magical moments are also the most intimate and fragile. Amid the grandeur of his Fifth Symphony, Mahler placed a gorgeous musical love letter in the form of Adagiettofor strings and harps. It was a very personal statement from Mahler, and when we played it in our very first season, we asked our audiences to share their own love letters and reflect on what love means. We feel a deep connection with this piece.

We take a lot of pride in sharing music that may be completely new to our audiences. We have essentially an entire orchestra of music lovers, each of whom brings their own expansive tastes to repertoire selection processes.

J.S. Bach / Anton Webern’s Musical Offering

One exciting discovery was the modernist twentieth-century composer Anton Webern’s setting of an intricate contrapuntal work of J.S. Bach. He orchestrates the ricercar so that the melodies travel constantly through this stream of instrumental colors. It was an instance of Bach sounding very modern and eclectic. It also happened to be a perfect work for an ensemble like one found sound, because passing musical lines and gestures from person to person is second nature to us.

Toru Takemitsu’s The Dorian Horizon for seventeen strings

Toru Takemitsu was an avant-garde Japanese composer with a perspective on the sound that is completely unique in the world of “classical music.” He conceived of music as a reflection of the natural world and discovered sounds and colors in the orchestra that we didn’t notice were hiding there. To include his The Dorian Horizonon a recent program was really special for us. It plays with physical space, time, movement, stillness, and sound, and gave our audiences a new vision into what music can be.

Frank Martin’s Concerto for winds, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra

The Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Concertofor seven winds, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra is on our upcoming sixth season, and we are really excited about it! It highlights the miniature ensembles-within-ensembles of our group and is written in a truly unique musical language, with elements of jazz, Mozartian elegance, and retro-futuristic mechanical verve.

Present and future

We are really excited about some new works in our upcoming sixth season, which was nominated and voted by the members of the orchestra. These include some works by living composers, including Reena Esmail’s Teen Murti, infused with Hindustani melodic gestures and raag, in a nod to the composer’s Indian-American heritage.

We are also thrilled about our first major commission, from the Bay Area-based Iranian composer Sahba Aminikia. We’ll be premiering his work during our 2019 gala entitled “Storytelling”.

Part of our mission is to share the voices and expressions of artists from a variety of life experiences and to present that music alongside an eclectic selection of works from the past. Whether you’ve never heard of the composer or work, or if you’ve heard of it a thousand times, the amazing thing about live music, especially in an intimate setting, is that you’ll inevitably hear something very new, fresh, and alive.

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