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Brilliant Minds 

Other Minds Festival VII

Wednesday, Mar 7 2001
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From a solo violin suite scored by poet Ezra Pound to a ritualistic coupling of percussion and dance by Korean composer Hi Kyung Kim, the Other Minds Festival VII promises a stunning collection of aural adventures that you won't find anywhere else in the world. The three-night new-music fete presents a sumptuously global program, mixing rare works by deceased visionaries (Pound, George Antheil, Alan Hovhaness) with explorations by contemporary masters (Kim, Alvin Curran, Chris Brown, Andrew Hill) in a range of styles.

Other Minds director Charles Amirkhanian strives to showcase composers and performers who "subvert the status quo" with music-making ideals that challenge both the artists themselves and their chosen forms of expression. To that end, electronics guru Curran departs from his usual high-tech hijinks with a mellifluous composition for acoustic piano; Brown, a broad-minded digital-age innovator, connects a thorny network of computers with pomo turntablist Eddie Def and extreme percussionist William Winant; and renowned jazz pianist Hill performs a solo piece that pushes beyond genre parameters.

The resurrection of post-WWI efforts by lifelong iconoclasts Pound and Antheil illustrates Amirkhanian's commitment to presenting alternative voices that transcend time. Excerpts from the poet's opera Cavalcanti and his "Fiddle Music" suite apply rhythms and pitches of "the living tongue" to notes on the page. Antheil, a surrealist-hipster whose Ballet Mécanique was the eccentric hit of the SF Symphony's "American Mavericks" series last year, returns once again from the dead with "Sonata No. 1 for Violin & Piano" -- a fine encapsulation of the festival's credo to stage beautiful music that bends the ear.

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Sam Prestianni

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