What is Earplay?

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It’s no surprise that large numbers of classical music lovers revere chamber music. Usually performed in small venues, the music is vivid and accessible and it’s easy to distinguish the sounds of individual instruments. These qualities of chamber music aren’t changing any time soon, but the music is.

At a concert by San Francisco’s Earplay, one of America’s most adventuresome contemporary chamber music ensembles, musical tones and rhythms are often markedly different from the beloved chamber works of Beethoven, Brahms or Mozart. Earplay recently performed pieces by the acclaimed Japanese composer Takemitsu where instruments emulated the random and sometimes spiritual, but also chaotic, sounds of nature.

In other concerts Earplay has introduced the music of innovative composers, some of whose work engages the listener with surprising instrumental combinations. Imagine alto flute teamed with bass clarinet and English horn or viola paired with digital audio.

Earplay’s repertoire is sometimes called new music or new chamber music. It’s an evolving genre where composers and musicians freely experiment with musical structure, rhythm, and sounds.

Earplay challenges audiences to broaden their concept of music. Much as one might view an abstract painting, listeners become participants and interpreters as they discover new emotional and auditory experiences.


Bold New Music, Passionate Performance