Concert Productions



New music on the mountain
Rova performing at Rova:Arts’ outdoor summer event: New Music on the Mountain

Since 1986, when Rova:Arts was first incorporated, the organization has produced at least one special event in the Bay Area annually. Most of these concert-events include the members of Rova Saxophone Quartet and other special guests. The guests have been chosen based on one of three criterion:

  1. to introduce the artists themselves or some lesser-known aspect of the artist’s oeuvre to the Rova fan base and/or to the Bay Area.
  2. To collaborate with Rova on a special collaboration dreamed up by one or more members of Rova
  3. To compose a commissioned work for Rova Saxophone Quartet or for Rova plus other artists, usually including the composer


Since the turn of the century, these special performances have generally fallen under three series titles:

  1. Rovaté: an annual event produced especially for Bay Area audiences where large works for Rova plus guests are first rehearsed and performed in anticipation of export to the USA and beyond.

    2006: produced The Glass Head in collaboration with primary artist - dancer Shinichi Iova Koga and his performance group, inkBoat, also including dancer Yuko Kaseki, media designer Eric Koziol, and director Ernie Lafky

    Cheryl setup

    2005: produced The Mirror World, an evening length work by Larry Ochs for 17 Bay Area musicians. The evening included films by Stan Brakhage, whose films inspired the music, and to whomThe Mirror World is dedicated.

    2003: produced Electric Ascension, the John Coltrane masterwork re-imagined for an electric ensemble of internationally known improvisers. Also produced a concert of Steve Lacy music rearranged for septet by Bruce Ackley…

    2002: produced An Alligator in Your Wallet, with music commissioned by Rova:Arts and composed for big band by Steve Adams and pianist Satoko Fujii

    2001: formed an OrkestRova of Bay Area luminaries to perform a commissioned work by legendary trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith; commissioned composer John Schott to compose a set-long work including fragments of early Rova-composed works and arranged for a septet of his choosing.

    Cheryl setup
    Cheryl Leonard’s setup for her music with natural objects

    2000: the legendary Sam Rivers and his trio join Rova and local musicians to form a big band that performed the premiere of Sam Rivers’ Maelstrom. Also premieres of commissioned works for Rova from Bay Area composers Miya Masaoka and John Schott.

  2. New Music on the Mountain: an outdoor new music concert taking place in the beautiful amphitheater carved out of the top of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County. This event featured Rova performing as a quartet plus guest artists from the Bay Area and beyond, usually with the idea of introducing the musician himself, or some aspect of the aritist’s acoustic repertoire that is heard infrequently, to the Rova:Arts fan base. Guests have included Cheryl Leonard, Fred Frith, Joan Jeanrenaud, Carla Kihlstedt, India Cooke, Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith, Darren Johnston, and more

  3. Art of the Improviser: in this series, the Rova members hook up with 5 to 7 other improvisers for evenings of small ensemble and large ensemble free improvisations. Guests have included Vinny Golia, Nels Cline, Sarah Schoenbeck, Harris Eisenstadt, Ches Smith, George Cremaschi, Theresa Wong, Bill Horvitz and others

Cheryl Leonard performing at New Music on the Mountain 2004