SF Music Day returns to the War Memorial Veteran’s Building this Sunday afternoon, with 33 ensembles playing all kinds of chamber music in free performances. Cory Combs is the executive director of the organization behind it, what was previously the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and is now called InterMusic SF. He says the name change reflects the larger definition of music from all genres. The ensembles will be using four performance spaces, and in the cafe downstairs, three panels will discuss how the landscape has changed for musicians over the ten years that Music Day has been celebrated.
You can find the complete rundown at the InterMusic SF website.
The performances will begin at noon on Sunday, and use Herbst Theatre, the Green Room, Education Studio, and Taube Atrium Theater, with a mix of genres. “You can go from venue to venue,” Combs says, “And we’ve designed it that way to where there’s not a classical room and a jazz room, because these boundaries are often blurred by artists in the Bay Area purposefully. So it’s really the idea that you can hopefully explore some sounds and some new artists, but then also if you’re really there to hear a particular style, you can thread your way through the day and follow that style.” There are traditional classical ensembles, jazz combos, early music, new music and world reflected in the programming, including such hard-to-classify groups as the Living Earth Show (featuring electric guitar and percussion), Real Vocal String Quartet (“they play in a string quartet format but they also sing and do modern music, and do contemporary original music”) and the ZOFO piano duo, which frequently has brought premiere commission pieces to Music Day in the past. The name change for the presenting organization came in response to the limited way some think of the definition of chamber music. “Chamber music, for some, has a connotation of a very specific style, even though in actuality, Chamber Music doesn’t mean style, it means a small ensemble of musicians performing together, likely without a conductor. But for some, it means only classical music. And so our funders, and some of our other supporters were looking at that and saying ‘You guys should really think about how to brand yourselves so you show the inclusivity of your work.’ So far, Combs says, many have embraced the new name. “Others are worried that we might be veering away from classical music, and we assure them that we’re not. My background is classical music, and I love it as much as all the styles. So, no, we’re not leaving that, we’re only kind of re-messaging that, hey, we’re here to support all high-quality music in the Bay Area of this small-ensemble format.”