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The Noises of Art

Many of us can recall a time, back in the day, when we brought cups of strong coffee to class and heard a professor tell us about the distant early days of “new music”.  Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away (Italy), Luigi Russolo created his hand-cranked noise intoners – the intonarumori – and wrote his treatise, The Art of Noises, which would ultimately inspire a marvelous British new-wave band to contribute their song, Moments in Love, to a zillion compilations of makeout music.  But I digress.

Here in San Francisco we are fortunate enough to have a Russolo scholar and composer, Luciano Chessa, to oversee the creation of 16 authentic intonarumori and curate a concert of original and newly commissioned scores especially for the noise intoners.  His efforts are all coming together this Friday night in a highly anticipated concert presented by Performa and SFMOMA with the Italian Cultural Institute and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Original scores by Luigi Russolo and Paolo Buzzi will share the evening with new compositions by Blixa Bargeld; John Butcher and Gino Robair; Luciano Chessa; James Fei; Ellen Fullman; Carla Kihlstedt and Mattias Bossi; Ulrich Krieger; Pablo Ortiz; Mike Patton; the sfSoundGroup; Elliott Sharp; Text of Light; and Theresa Wong.  Curator Chessa will perform along with many of the composers listed above, plus Ellen Fullman and ensemble players from Magik*Magik Orchestra.

Music for 16 Futurist Noise Intoners starts at 8:00 p.m. in the Novellus Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $15-$30 general and $10-$25 for lucky members of SFMOMA and partner institutions, students, and seniors. Tickets are available online through or by phone at 415.978.2787.