SoundBox, an innovative new concert series at the San Francisco Symphony, takes place in our old Zellerbach A rehearsal space adjacent to the backstage area, which used to be known for its drafty conditions and the world’s deadest acoustics. Newly renovated with the Meyer Constellation Sound System, the space has been transformed into a contemporary club-like concert venue, with great atmosphere and even better acoustics. The music is new or familiar but all thematically and creatively linked, and presented in unexpected ways with lots of multimedia surprises.
The 9 works on the December program were connected by the theme of Weimer Berlin, featuring cabaret chanteuse Meow Meow singing music of that era. My chamber ensemble performed several works with her, including a Kurt Weill piece, “Ballad of the Drowned Girl” where we were called upon to improvise scrapes, scratches, harmonics and other “drowning sounds” as Meow Meow performed the words. We opened the show with an arrangement of Schubert’s “Forelle” Variations for voice and quintet, followed by the Theme and Variations movement from Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet accompanied by a virtual stream of trout swimming behind us!