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Ensemble for These Times

San Francisco, CA            

who we are

Celebrating our Twelfth Season in 2019/20, Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) is a new music chamber group consisting of Van Cliburn competitor pianist Dale Tsang,  2015 winner of The American Prize in Composition, David Garner, award-winning soprano Nanette McGuinness, and cellist Anne Lerner-Wright.

E4TT performs 20th and 21st century music—particularly by women composers or with texts by women poets—that is relevant, engaging, original, and compelling, music that resonates today and will speak to tomorrow. E4TT strongly believes in the power of artistic beauty, intelligence, wit, lyricism, and irony to create a deep understanding of our times and the human condition. We’re honored to have been awarded second place for Chamber Music Performance in 2018/19 by The American Prize.

We’ve commissioned over 25 works for premiere in the U.S. and Europe in mix-and-match combination of songs for soprano and piano, solo works for piano or cello, cello/piano duos, soprano/cello/piano trios,  and for soprano, cello, and piano with guest artists on violin and/or English horn.  We rebranded in  2015; our new name was inspired by one of E4TT’s first songs, “In dieser Zeit” (“In These Times”), to a poem by Mascha Kaléko, on the ensemble’s critically acclaimed 2016 debut CD, “Surviving: Women’s Words” (Centaur Recordings CRC3490), which won a Silver Medal in the Global Music Awards. The CD sets music to texts by Jewish women poets, reflecting on their wartime experiences and was made possible by grants from the SF Conservatory of Music and SFFCM’s Musical Grant Program.

what we’ve done

Formed in 2007/2008 when McGuinness encountered music by Garner during recording sessions at Skywalker Ranch, the Ensemble quickly grew to include pianist Dale Tsang. Co-produced by the Jewish Music Festival in Berkeley in 2011, the group made its international debut in 2012 at a concert produced by the Jüdische Gemeinde Berlin. In 2016 the ensemble toured to the Krakow Culture Festival in Poland and in 2014, the U.S. Embassy in Budapest sponsored the JMPP in a 4-city tour in Hungary as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days. Most recently, E4TT toured their “Guernica Project” to Madrid, Spain, in October, 2017. The group has received 15 national and local grants, with Bay Area performances at the German Consulate General, SF Conservatory of Music, Old First Concerts, Noontime Concerts, Berkeley Public Library, and Trinity Concerts, among other venues. The ensemble has received grants from the Clorox Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts Program, the Ross McKee Foundation, the East Bay Fund for Artists, the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles, The SFKrakow Sister Cities Association, and CCI’s Quick Capacity Fund. Since 2011, E4TT has been fiscally sponsored by InterMusic SF (formerly SF Friends of Chamber Music).


where we’re going

E4TT celebrates diversity in modern chamber music. In 2019/20, we’re performing “Blooming Flowers: Music by Women Composers,” with a world premiere by Chinese composer Weiwei Miao, “Mothers & Daughters,” with three world premieres (two by LGBT composers and one by a woman composer) plus works by African-American and Asian-American composers, “Dreams of Distant Lands,” focusing on oppressed artists and peoples in exile,  releasing our third our CD, “Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan” and touring to Southern California.

“Indigo Codes” (2019) by Aleksandra Vrebalov (b. 1970)

The world premiere performance of “Indigo Codes” commissioned by E4TT for the group’s “The Film Noir Project,” April 6, 2019, performed by E4TT pianist Dale Tsang.

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Noir Vignettes (2014) by Stacy Garrop (b. 1979)

“Noir Vignettes” for cello and piano was performed at E4TT’s The Film Noir Project on April 6, 2019 at the SF Conservatory of Music in San Francisco, CA by E4TT cellist Anne Lerner-Wright and pianist Dale Tsang

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Espenbaum (from Die eichne Tuer, 2017) by David Garner (b. 1954)

“Espenbaum” (sung in German) is the centerpoint of David Garner’s “Die eichne Tuer,” with a text by Paul Celan (1920-1970) about the poet’s mother who was killed. World premiere performance by Ensemble for These Times (Nanette McGuinness, soprano, Anne Lerner-Wright, cello, Dale Tsang, piano, guest violinist Ilana Blumberg Thomas, and guest English hornist, Laura Reynolds) on April 15, 2018 at Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco, CA.

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