ten years of meridian music: composers in performance

innova 751


1 Vinny Golia (bass clarinet) Steps (excerpt) (3:58) 1/9/1999 (BMI)


2 John Bischoff (electronics) Quarter Turn (excerpt) (6:27) 2/5/1999 (BMI)


3 Matthew Sperry (contrabass) Improvisation (excerpt) (4:12) 5/7/1999 (BMI)


4 Damon Smith (contrabass), Hugh Livingston (cello), Carla Kihlstedt (violin) Lines For Trio (to Paul Klee) (5:57)  7/10/1999 (Damon Smith)


5 Pauline Oliveros (accordion)  Pauline’s Solo (1993/1999) (excerpt) (4:04) 12/3/1999 (Deep Listening Publications, ASCAP)


6 Ben Goldberg (clarinet) John Schott (acoustic guitar) All Chords Stand For Other Chords (excerpt) (6:27) 5/5/2000 (Ben Goldberg, njamin music, ASCAP)


7 Shoko Hikage (koto) Improvisation (1:35) 7/7/2000 (BMI)


8 Frank Gratkowski (alto saxophone) Improvisation (3:52) 11/1/2002 (GEMA)

9 Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon) Ellen Burr (flute) Improvisation (2:55) 2/7/2003 (ASCAP)


10 Viv Corringham (voice, electronics, and field recordings) Improvisation (with San Francisco sounds) (6:47) 11/9/2005


11 Jon Raskin (baritone saxophone) Sonic Coordinates (3:39) 5/10/2006 (ASCAP)


12 Tom Bickley (recorder, voice), Bob Marsh (accordion, voice) Microtonic meditations for endings and beginnings, Mvmt II: Scherzo (3:44) 1/10/2007 (BMI )


13 Philip Gelb (shakuhachi), Jie Ma (pipa) Comp. 40 N and Comp. 110 A (5:48) 3/12/2008 (Anthony Braxton, Synthesis Music)


14 Theresa Wong (cello and voice) Nightwatching (5:21) 2/11/2009 (ASCAP)



all compositions by the performers except where noted


total running time: one hour and six minutes

cover: Earth Music Series, Robert Koska, 1998, gouache on paper, signed a verso, 15” x 10 1/6”. Collection of Anne Brodzky and Anthony Williams


inside cover: Generally Midair: a site-specific electroacoustic chamber work composed by Tom Bickley for the opening of Meridian Gallery’s new space on May 9th 2007, the title is an anagram of the gallery’s name. Performed by Pauline Oliveros (via the Net from Kingston, NY), Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Adria Otte, Margot Bevington, Beau Casey, Bob Marsh, Thea Farhadian, Nancy Beckman, Tom Bickley, and Joseph Zitt.



designed by Stephen Raaka for the meridian gallery


Through monthly concerts by diverse composer/performers, both established and emerging, this series seeks to present a wide range of art music from the vital Bay Area scene and beyond. The series offers audiences music in a variety of idioms and created by a variety of compositional processes (from solo voice to sophisticated multimedia/software processing; from improvisation to “new complexity”) in an intimate setting. The musicians themselves come from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and the series embraces that diversity as well as sonic diversity. This disc represents a small selection of these performances spanning 1999 – 2009.


T H E R E  I S  N O  A R T  T H A T  I S  N O T

D E R I V E D  F R O M  S O C I A L  P R A C T I C E


M E R I D I A N M U S I C  composers in performance was initiated ten years ago in the fall of 1998 by Meridian Gallery directors Anne Trueblood Brodzky and Anthony Williams along with shakuhachi player Philip Gelb. Brodzky and Williams envisioned extending the programming of the non-profit gallery to include the presenting of new music. Meridian already had a strong history as an exhibition venue (since 1989), operating under the conviction that significant art increases social, philosophical and spiritual change. The series was launched with the support of a $5000 seed grant awarded by Phyllis Wattis and has since been presenting high-quality monthly concerts by diverse composer/performers, both established and emerging, spanning a wide range of art music from the vital Bay Area scene and beyond.


Recorded by Michael Zelner

Curated by Tom Bickley and Michael Zelner with invaluable assistance from Adria Otte.


Acknowledgments: We are grateful for support from the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and Meet the Composer’s MetLife Creative Connections program. We would also like to thank Tom Bickley, Michael Zelner, Philip Gelb, Lisa Mezzacappa, Philip Blackburn, Chris Campbell and everyone at innova, and all of the composers and performers that have contributed to the series.


P H I L I P G E L B, an active musician in the rich community of avant-garde composers/performers in the Bay Area, became the first curator of the series.


We started Meridian Music: Composers in Performance in 1989 to showcase solo (mostly) performances of original material employing new and unique instrumental approaches. Being in the San Francisco Bay area gave us the immediate resources of new electronic instruments coming out of Mills College, CNMAT and Stanford. The large, culturally diverse populations of musicians was key to the series as we frequently featured some of the leading performers of instruments usually associated with traditional Japanese or Persian music such as koto, shakuhachi or ney.  For five years, while curating the series we featured dozens of the finest performers of new music from over 10 countries including a weekend long, three concert 70th birthday retrospective of one of our most celebrated musical thinkers: Pauline Oliveros!


She has performed several times at the gallery, once dedicating a composition to Robert Kostka’s Ghost Dance paintings, always acting as mentor to the two curators and supporting the gallery’s vision.


After running the series for five years, I found it necessary to hand over the reins to someone else. I am delighted that Tom Bickley has maintained the series and of course, put his own stamp on the programming.  Performances now take place in Meridian’s new gallery in the appropriately named, Toyoji Tomita Performance Space, named after our friend, a frequent performer and very frequent audience member of the series who left us, last year.


The Meridian music series is an obvious extension of Anne Brodzky’s and Tony Williams’ understanding of the need to incorporate all the arts in one space and their desire to provide a home for all creative souls. This is most evident in the youth program where inner city kids are introduced as both participants and observers to a multitude of different artists and genres, including contemporary visual art from around the world, ballet, opera, new music, bread baking and a plethora of other creative endeavors. Besides providing a forum for the current generation to expose their work, Meridian Gallery is involved in creating the next generation of artists! 


T O M B I C K L E Y, composer/performer, Director of the Cornelius Cardew Choir and faculty member at CSU East Bay became curator of the series in the winter of 2005.


This disc of experimental music from the San Francisco Bay Area, 1999-2008, captures a series of “present moments.” Performers and audiences together: listen, create, interact, live into the sense of the saying from tea ceremony “ichi-go, ichi-e” (the unique occurrence of this moment). As musician and political activist Cornelius Cardew noted, “there is no art that is not ‘derived’ from social practice.” This social practice of presence in the moment is at the heart of much experimental music, and certainly reflects the cultural ethos of the west coast. I invite you to listen to the “westness” of this music and let it call us all to creative endeavors in all aspects of our lives.


These recordings are of live performances lovingly documented by Michael Zelner of Zoka Productions. I am grateful to Philip Gelb for his founding curatorial work 1998-2004, and for support from him, Anne Brodzky, Tony Williams, Adria Otte, and all who have worked with us. Support from Meet the Composer and the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation continues to be crucial in our work. Of course, the greatest thanks go to the musicians who have performed and the audiences who have listened.