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Celebrating ten years of “outstanding” (San Francisco Chronicle), “transcendent” (Charleston City Paper) and “awesome” performances, (I Care If You Listen), The Living Earth Show (guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson) is a megaphone and canvas for some of the world’s most progressive artists. One of the premiere contemporary chamber arts ensembles in the United States, The Living Earth Show received the grand prize in the SAVVY Chamber Arts Competition and runner-up in the open division of the M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works by some of the most vital composers in the world, released three critically acclaimed albums, and has performed, lectured, and given masterclasses across the country.
The Living Earth Show’s tenth anniversary season culminates in T.L.E.S.tival, a festival co-produced by ODC Theater, featuring two of The Living Earth Show’s most distinctive, iconic collaborations: the inimitable M. Lamar’s Lordship & Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman (March 6, 2020 at ODC Theater), and the soul-searching San Francisco spoken-word opera, Echoes (March 7, 2020 at ODC Theater), created and performed by TLES, the Kronos Quartet, and the poets of Youth Speaks with music composed by Danny Clay.
Later in the season, The Living Earth Show will present Hyphen (May 8, 2020 at the Center for New Music in San Francisco), an 80th birthday celebration of the ground-breaking Iranian composer Alireza Mashayekhi curated by Farnood HaghaniPour and featuring a world premiere by Mashayekhi alongside new electroacoustical works by generations of Iranian and Iranian-American composers influenced by his work. There is also a happy return to COMMANDO, the fabulously aggressive celebration of queerness created in collaboration with a San Francisco-based collective of queer and trans artists including Lynne Breedlove, Juba Kalamka, Honey Mahogany, Drew Arriola-Sands, and Krylon Superstar. The season concludes with Lyra (July 19-20, 2020 at YBCA Forum), an ambitious and breath-taking balletic re-telling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth co-presented with renegade Bay Area dance company Post:Ballet and written by composer Samuel Adams (who wrote the first-ever TLES commission).
Other productions this season have included the critically acclaimed world premiere of Raven Chacon’s Tremble Staves, a site-specific exploration of the water crisis facing down the Western United States and Navajo Nation (and elsewhere in the world), presented on the Pacific Ocean shore at the ruins of San Francisco’s Sutro Baths; and Humble Servant, a solo percussion recital exploring tension, resonance, ritual, and control in virtuosic works written for percussionist and TLES Artistic Director Andy Meyerson by Samuel Adams, Christopher Cerrone, Adrian Knight, Amadeus Regucera, and Sarah Hennies.
Memorizing every work it performs, The Living Earth Show thrives on pushing the boundaries of technical and artistic possibility in its presentation of commissioned electro-acoustic chamber music. It has presented seasons of commissioned multimedia productions since 2011, working with dance companies, visual artists, sculptors, poets, and other musicians to craft compelling, immersive, San Francisco-centric work. The ensemble has commissioned and premiered works by such composers as Anna Meredith, Timo Andres, Nicole Lizée, M. Lamar, Raven Chacon, Christopher Cerrone, Alireza Mashayekhi, Jacob Cooper, Brian Ferneyhough, Samuel Adams, Ken Ueno, Luciano Chessa, Danny Clay, Sharmi Basu, Ted Hearne, Sarah Hennies, Morgan Craft, Adrian Knight, Ava Mendoza, Alden Jenks, and Zachary James Watkins. Many of these commissions can be found on the group’s critically acclaimed albums High Art (Innova Records, 2013), Dance Music (New Amsterdam Records, 2016), and Lordship & Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman (Negrogothic Records, 2019).
As composer/artist Raven Chacon says, “The Living Earth Show can play any music I write for them. They are brilliant collaborators at all levels of conceptualization.”