“Can a corporation be human? If a corporation is a human, where does that leave you and me? Are we just machines?” These are the questions Ted Hearne is asking in “Sound from the Bench,” a major new cantata co-commissioned by Volti and The Crossing in Philadelphia. The San Francisco Symphony has just named Hearne its New Voices composer for 2014/15 -- hear him here first as Volti sings the World Premiere of “Sound from the Bench.”
Working with poet Jena Osman, Hearne muses on the nature of human speech, using poetry taken from the Citizens United oral argument before the Supreme Court. Guitarists Taylor Levine and James Moore and percussionist Ron Wiltrout join Volti in a rare departure from a cappella, carrying out the human/non-human theme -- the singers are using the most natural instrument there is, while the guitars are harnessing currents and circuits to make what is essentially electronic music.
"The Oath of Allegiance" -- the pledge that is taken by all new citizens of the United States -- makes Australian-born Melissa Dunphy, the daughter of a Greek father and a Chinese mother, think about what it means to be a US citizen. World Premiere, Volti Commission.
We finish our 35th season with a look back, singing "Winging Wildly" -- an extraordinarily beautiful and passionate three-song set from San Francisco’s own "dean of American choral composers," co-commissioned by Volti when we were The San Francisco Chamber Singers back in the 1990s. We also premiere Mechem's "We Can Sing That!" -- a lighthearted tribute to what a chorus can do!
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