New Keys, whose motto is “newfangled music for piano,” is an innovative ensemble of four pianists: Kate Campbell, Anthony Porter, Anne Rainwater, and Regina Schaffer. Their mission is (in their own words) “to surface and promote the newest and most innovative music for the piano.” Affiliated with the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, the group challenges composers “to explore the vast untapped potential of the piano and strive to craft the experience of a piano recital as both captivating and approachable for our audience.”
Next month New Keys will present the fall concert of their eleventh season. Playing on the age of the group (not to mention how old typewriters used to represent the digit “1”), the title of the program will be minima11ism. The program was conceived as an afterthought following the recent celebration of Terry Riley’s 80th birthday, which included a three-day festival organized by the Kronos Quartet, a solo piano recital by Sarah Cahill for Old First Concerts, and two new recordings, one by the ZOFO Duet of pianists Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmermann on Sono Luminus and one by the Kronos Quartet on Nonesuch.
Cahill will appear as guest artist to begin the minima11ism program. She will give a duo performance with Shaffer of Riley’s “Cinco de Mayo” from the fifth book of his multivolume series The Heaven Ladder. (It is also the final track on the ZOFO Duet recording.) The program will then move into new domains beyond Riley’s own work. Both Shaffer and Campbell will perform selections from the twenty solo piano études composed by Philip Glass. Finally, all four of the New Keys pianists will give the world premiere of a composition by Ruby Fulton entitled all night, all day. Technically, this music was inspired by Riley’s early pieces that worked with tape delay processes, often engaged for real-time performances. However, the title comes from the protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray from a coma that began while he was being transported in a police van. During their rallies, protestors chanted “All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray!” Fuller composed all night, all day for eight hands on two pianos.
This concert will begin at 8 p.m. next month on Thursday, October 8. The venue will be the Center for New Music (C4NM), located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission will be $15 with the usual $10 rate for C4NM members. Tickets will be available only at the door.