Without Compromise

Kurt Rohde

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This talk was first presented to the board of trustees of the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation.

I was invited to talk with you today because of my experience with new music ensembles in the Bay Area. During my thirteen years in the Bay Area, I have participated with nearly all of the ensembles that operate outside the sphere of the San Francisco Symphony. I am a composer and violist, artistic director of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and member of the Berkeley Symphony and New Century Chamber Orchestra. Through all these roles, I have become well acquainted with the process of getting an ensemble together, finding a composer to work with, conceiving the concept behind a new work, getting the funding to make it happen, targeting an audience that wants to hear it, planning the rehearsals to prepare for the performance, premiering the work, and trying to get the new work performed again after the premiere. This scenario is typical for many of the smaller ensembles that perform new music in the Bay Area. It has helped create a history of successful projects. In creating this history, the model is slowly proving that it perhaps can become a sustainable form.