Saturday: New music academy gives first concert


Submitted by Alexander Sigman, co-founder and executive director, Menlo-Atherton Academy of Contemporary Music.

Whether composing an opera, writing a biography of futurist Luigi Russolo, or performing pieces involving video, blimps, stuffed animals, or sensory deprivation, Berkeley-based Italian composer and performer Luciano Chessa is tirelessly breaking new ground in contemporary music.

Mr. Chessa will be featured at the inaugural program of the Menlo-Atherton Academy of Contemporary Music on Saturday, April 9, starting at 2 p.m. at the performing arts center on the Menlo-Atherton High School campus.

Mr. Chessa will present a concert of pieces for piano, Vietnamese dan bau, and video. The program will include the world premiere of composer Sylvano Bussotti's "Variazioni Chessa" (commissioned by the performer), Joan La Barbara's 1974 performance art piece, "Hear What I Feel," and original works for piano and video, realized in collaboration with Stanford visual artist Terry Berlier.

Mr. Chessa recently directed a performance, at the prestigious Maerzmusik festival in Berlin, of an orchestra made up of Mr. Russolo's noise-making intonarumori instruments that Mr. Chessa himself completely rebuilt in 2009.

The April 9 performance at M-A's performing arts center will be followed by a post-concert discussion and reception. The performing arts center is at 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students with ID, and free for Sequoia Union High School District students and staff.

This is the first in a series of semi-monthly concerts, lecture-demonstration, and workshops that will be performed at the performing arts center by guest composers, performers, and sound artists, under the sponsorship of the Menlo-Atherton Academy of Contemporary Music, founded in 2010 by former Stanford colleague Jason Federmeyer and myself.

This nonprofit organization is supported by, but independent of, M-A High School and the city of Menlo Park.

Future guests will include New York-based saxophone and piano duo The Kenners, sound artist Bill Fontana, and composer, sound sculptor, improviser, Stanford professor and Menlo Park resident Mark Applebaum.

Visit for more information about the academy and its programs.

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