Summer Solstice Concert Returns to Bay Area
Chapel of the Chimes and New Music Bay Area present Garden of Memory, the annual summer solstice celebration at Chapel of the Chimes, a labyrinthine columbarium and mausoleum replete with gardens, fountains and stained-glass skylights.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a walk-through fun house and musical and visual splendor,” the program features simultaneous performances in different parts of the chapel by more than 50 Bay Area composers and performers presenting a variety of acoustic and electronic music, installations, and interactive events. The audience is free to move throughout this multilevel maze of interior gardens, alcoves, pools and antechambers. Kids of all ages are warmly invited.
Highlights include the Bay Area premiere of John Adams’ I Still Play, performed by pianist Sarah Cahill; a sunset bell-ringing ceremony led by Brenda Hutchinson for her Daily Bell Project; Cornelius Cardew Choir’s annual performance of Pauline Oliveros’ Heart Chant, which invites audience members to join in the circle; Maggi Payne’s interactive theremin; and the West Coast premiere of a work by Jon Gibson with the William Winant Percussion Group.
Since 1996, New Music Bay Area, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities and information to composers and performers of new music throughout the Bay Area, has hosted the Garden of Memory solstice concert every June 21st from 5pm-9pm. The event now draws crowds of more than a thousand people each year. Board president Sarah Cahill came up with the idea after wandering into the Chapel of the Chimes. Cahill recalls,“As I meandered around the building, I heard distant organ music, and tried to follow the sound to its source, through a labyrinth of magical gardens and gothic alcoves with the afternoon light filtering through stained glass. I imagined putting musicians all around this maze, so that when you turn a corner you might encounter a string quartet or an electronic music installation or a Georgian choir. So that’s what we did.”