Project Anton Statement of Intent

To kick off a new year of programming with our new annual theme, Legacies and Living Spaces,  ArtSeed announces a new collaborative project that brings San Francisco Public Montessori School  (SFPMS) and Leola Havard Early Education School students and teachers together with ArtSeed artists who will facilitate a visual arts interpretation of an important twentieth century musical composition. This new partnership involves San Francisco Contemporary Music Players’ (SFCMP) conductor Steven Schick,  SFCMP musicians and staff, and ArtSeed teaching artists. The artwork by the artists, teachers and children will be projected during a dress rehearsal. The culminating public performance will feature music by  twentieth-century master composer Anton Webern, juxtaposed with Bay Area composer Jaroslaw  Kapuscinski’s multimedia world premiere, Pointing Twice, preceded the day before by a “Contemporary Insights” educational event for the public.

Kapuscinski describes his work as “the negative of Webern that will bring the joy of seeing the positive.”  One aspect of the multimedia presentation will include a series of visual responses created by SFPMS  students and their teachers who will listen to Webern’s music and create artworks based on it. The participants who make these responsive works will be invited to the SFCMP concert at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 24, 2014 and will receive passes to the dress rehearsal and the Insights educational event March 23.

Anton Webern (1883-1945), Austrian composer of the highest distinction, gave life to work of stunning beauty and rigor. He continued into the mid-twentieth century the great line of western classical music from Bach, through Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, and Schoenberg. Following his death, his music described a path for vanguard composers Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Nono, and many others.

 Webern’s leading-edge compositions, only thirty two in all, are characterized by extreme concentration and concision, unprecedented fragmentation and use of silence, along with heightened emotional tension and directness. That his compositions appear infrequently on concert programs is no indication of their splendor grace, and significance. Like visual artists in the same period Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian, Webern’s seminal music marked rare heights achieved in twentieth century artistic thinking and creation.

One of the core beliefs at SFCMP is that contemporary music has the potential to engage many members of our community, even if they don’t have a stated affinity for classical music. It is to our advantage that the public at-large has many emotive and indirect aesthetic/”crossover” connections to new music (through jazz, pop, world, and other music forms, as well as interdisciplinary and visual arts), even if they do not necessarily have experiential ones. It’s our aim to leverage this “esthetic upside” and forge a place at the community table for new music.

 ArtSeed’s mission is to connect the most resourceful and gifted with the youngest and most vulnerable citizens of the Bay Area and beyond through projects that explore links between classical and cutting-edge fine arts disciplines.

ArtSeed will to teach and utilize structural elements in architecture and music (Goethe having suggested that architecture was frozen music), among other things, to enrich students’ vocabulary of visual expression with which they can respond to Webern’s classical tradition. Participants will also use these tools to explore positive and negative shapes (or sound and silence) in response to Kapuscinski’s new work. Together we will discover key elements that have come to us through the ages to create living (or live) spaces in both the sonic and spatial sense.