? rova:arts | On Rova's Radar MAR - MAY 2017
:: March - April 2017 ::

BEOWULF 2017, March 12 - April 15, San Francisco

In This Dispatch:


April European Tour Dates

Local Rova Shows

New CD: Saxophone Special Revisited

Electric Ascension/No Favorites Photos

Favorite Street: Larry Ochs

Rova Member Shows

Rova Presents: World of Koto Music

RIP Bill Horvitz

Rova T-Shirts!


An exploration of darkness and light, power and conquest, monstrosity and heroism - performed through startling imagery, rich soundscape, and fervent physicality.

Directed by Ava Roy and Shinichi Iova-Koga
Created and performed by We Players, Rova Saxophone Quartet, and inkBoat Physical Theatre and Dance


"Grendel and I are called together, and I've come."

Rova’s upcoming collaboration with We Players and inkBoat culminates this week with the opening of BEOWULF, an ambitious March-April 2017 site-specific re-imagining of the classic Old English epic poem. For several years we have worked on projects with both companies to create and present performances that blur the lines between improvisation and composition, seeking to integrate dance, music, theater and the audience experience.

This production of BEOWULF radically departs from that most ancient poem of the same name. When we peel back the layers of story and character, what reveals itself? What dreams emerge? As we tell tales of legendary heroes and monsters, we also reflect on our current times. Join us to discover the weapons of word, body and sound created by We Players, inkBoat and Rova Saxophone Quartet in this epic battle to discover, in the end, our humanity through the lens of monstrosity.

We recommend reading this summary of Beowulf to ground you in this dreamscape.

inkBoat: Shinichi Iova-Koga, Dana Iova-Koga
We Players: Ava Roy, Charlie Gurke, Nathaniel Justiniano
Rova: (saxophones and creative collaboration)

The journey begins at sunset
Thursday - Sunday, March 11 - April 16, 2017

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
900 Beach St, San Francisco 94109

For more information, reservations and tickets visit the We Players website.


April European Tour Dates

Tuesday, April 25
Gastwirtschaft Martinschlossl
Vienna, Austria

Wednesday, April 26
Klub Wetrinsky
Vetrinjski dvor, za IZVEN
Maribor, Slovenia

Thursday, April 27
Villach, Austria

Sunday, April 30
Ulrichsberg Kaleidophon 2017
Ulrichsberg, Austria


Local Rova Shows

Rova Performs New and Recent Works

Wednesday, April 19, 8:00 PM
Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street near Market (Powell Street BART)
San Francisco
Rova will present original works on home turf. Come see us in this intimate downtown setting.

Friday, May 26, 6:00 PM
The Presidio Officers Club
50 Moraga Street at Arguello in the SF Predisio
San Francisco
FREE but registration is required
The Presidio Sessions series presents a wide range of Bay Area music in a great setting, for FREE! You can bring in food and drinks in from the restaurant next door. Come early because the place fills up. 


New CD: Saxophone Special Revisited

Rova + Kyle Bruckmann and Henry Kaiser

Steve Lacy’s mid-1970s innovations helped shape western improvised music for decades. His 1974 live recording Saxophone Special lit up the ears of the soon-to-be Rovas and sparked our imaginations during the band’s earliest days. Rova first tackled this thorny set of Steve Lacy tunes at one of our 25th Anniversary concerts, alongside the first performance of Electric Ascension, in 2003. In recent years we have performed the pieces with long-time Rova friend, guitarist Henry Kaiser, and the infinitely imaginative Kyle Bruckmann, who performs here on analog synthesizer. We’re excited about the results of this update of the Lacy classic, and happy for this opportunity to pay tribute to one of the band’s mentors and greatest inspirations.

Available from Clean Feed May, 2017.


Electric Ascension/No Favorites Photos

Myles Boisen Photos

Rova presented two special large ensemble sets at SFJAZZ at the end of January, John Coltrane’s Ascension (Rova’s electric version), and our tribute to Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, No Favorites. The residual high from a very special night still lingers. The venue was perfect for a major undertaking involving so many musicians—who played superbly throughout the nigh—and the audience was completely enthralled. It was one of Rova’s best local events in years. Thanks to all the artists who performed, to the audience, and to SFJAZZ staff who helped make it all work out so well. Below are a sampling of some wonderful photos taken by our pal Myles Boisen, who also helped with the setup and rehearsals during the day, and was in charge of the sound for the concert. 

Jason Hoopes, Jordan Glenn and John Schott

Electric Ascension 2017 Ensemble

Zeena Parkins and Trey Spruance

Ochs, Robinson, Frith, Johnston, Mendoza


Favorite Street: Larry Ochs

Top 25 Films

Kind of a joke really: “Top 25 films of all time…” Someone once told me they’d love to know what my top 25 were. I sat down maybe 6 months after that and just began thinking about that question. There’s just no way to narrow it down that far. Nor to 50 or maybe even 100, though at that number yeah, maybe. The thing is that there are many films that really “get to you”—if you’re in the mood to be gotten to in that way. How do you compare what Groundhog Day gets at to John Cassavetes’ films? One could say: obviously Cassavetes’ A Woman under the Influence or Faces is a great film; Groundhog Day is a comedy, and kind of reaching for a mass audience. But, when you’re ready for a sure-fire movie that you want to make you laugh? Groundhog Day wins out. How do you compare Orson Welles films—highly stylized fictions—to a documentary as great as some of the ones Wim Wenders has made recently? What the hell? Top 25 documentaries would be hard enough. But that’s what I decided to do: make genre lists. Easier. At least that way it’s your favorite apples, kind of.

Herewith my favorite films where music is key to the unfolding of that film. I’m not going to include music docs for the most part. I will star the ones you have to see but should try to see in a theater—well: if the music really matters then we all would agree it’s best to see them in a theater with a real sound system (or on a screen at home that’s plugged in to stereo speakers). But, don’t wait unless the first chance you get is on an airplane. Then by all means, wait!!! In general, I’m not going to say anything about these films as I list them here. But when I say “favorite” I mean movies I could watch over and over, or in some cases, already have watched over and over. #1 below for example.

Across the Universe*
Julie Taymor takes the music of the Beatles and creates what I consider to be a very “real” movie about the angst and stress and greatness of the 1960’s and 1970’s Vietnam War period. It’s a MUSICAL. It’s the Beatles. But still, if you were between (I imagine) 15 and 35 in the 1960’s or early seventies, this film gets it. If you weren’t there, it’s still great. For kids, for teens for adults watching now. Yeah: in fact this film would indeed make a Top 50 list if I made it.

The King of Masks (Wu Tianming) 
For children of all ages.

Chunyhang (Kwon-taek Im) 
Based on one of the seven extant long-songs sung by p’ansori masters in Korea. Magnificent.

Moulin Rouge* (Baz Luhrmann)
You know, La La Land is very enjoyable. But it just doesn’t compare very favorably to this tour-de-force from 2001. Does it? 

Sopyeonje (Kwon-taek Im)
Looking for “the story of the blues”?  Hey, here it is. Yes, overly dramatic perhaps, and we must note if it isn’t obvious from the title. It’s the blues as felt in Korea. But, wow! This is an amazing film. 

Pina (Wim Wenders)
It’s best to see (by far) in 3D, but still great in normal form. An ode to choreographer Pina Bausch. 

Luck (produced by and starring Dustin Hoffman)
This began as an ongoing series on cable TV that might have lasted for years if the acting, storyline and cinematography were deciding things; but, for very good reasons having nothing to do with the quality of the show, it was cancelled during the first season, and wrapped after 9 episodes. It thus really becomes in essence a 9-hour film, a brilliant piece of fiction about various characters surrounding a race track in Los Angeles. I bring it in here because the music is used in such an extraordinary way to tie the stories together. It’s a beautiful job by the composer and editors. Created by David Milch, who also brought us Deadwood.

Tremé (by the creator of The Wire)
Four seasons focusing on New Orleans, post-Katrina, with the major focus being on the culture/music of the city. There’s just a ton of great music here, although the free-jazz scene in New Orleans is not featured! Kidd Jordan, the octogenarian free-jazz saxophonist does get one walk-on towards the very end of the series, but unlike almost every other real musicians who is shown during this fictional series, he only gets to shake the hands of the characters, he doesn’t get to play. Still terrific.

I Am Cuba* (Mikhail Kalatozov)
Just remarkable on DVD as well. If you don’t know this director’s work, then dive in to all that’s available.

An American in Paris (Music by George Gershwin, choreographed by Gene Kelly) 
And it won a lot of Academy Awards! 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly* + The Big Gundown (both directed by Sergio Leone with music by Ennio Morricone)

Mulholland Drive (David Lynch)

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)

The Fantastic Planet 
Animation of the highest form

Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg)
One of my favorite films to watch on DVD because every scene is intense, packed with details. Breaks between scenes are necessary so as not to miss more details. In other words, multiple viewings reveal more and more. Top 50 likely.

Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako) - 2014
Music a critical element to the story. Make sure to check out the interview with the director in the extras. 

Dancer In the Dark (Lars Von Trier)
Bjork stars in all ways, but the film is great in all ways as well.

*Best if seen on a big screen first. (But wait a minute; isn’t that true of any film. I would say yes. But Naked Lunch really nailed me on the small screen, for example. 

I’m going to leave it there. Please send us your thoughts on other films you can watch over and over (probably).  I just took 2001 A Space Odyssey* off the list. The music is dominant – important – in this film, for sure, but no one could watch this over and over except its director. (But it is a great one if you’ve never seen it.)


Rova Member Shows

Tuesday, March 14, 8:00 PM
Rova:Arts presents:

Satoko Fujii and the Collective, Hakidame ni Tsuru (Crane in the Wasteland)
Larry Ochs / Darren Johnston / Tania Chen

A great double bill, featuring the imaginative, and always surprising pianist, Satoko Fujii with prankster-improv maestro, Kappa Maki, plus a new Larry Ochs trio. 

Pianist/composer, Satoko Fujii

Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street, near Market
San Francisco


Rova Presents: World of Koto Music

Rova:Arts is a nonprofit! We are the fiscal sponsor of this exciting upcoming concert of traditional Japanese music.



RIP Bill Horvitz, 1947 - 2017

Sadly, we mourn the loss of our friend and fellow musician, Bill Horvitz. Rovas first met Bill in the early ‘80s when he was an integral part of the budding ‘downtown’ music scene in New York. He contributed significantly to important early recordings by John Zorn, as well as Butch Morris, and was involved with numerous bands on that scene. Bill continued to lead his own ensembles after relocating to the Bay Area. He made his mark on the west coast music scene with his large ensemble performances and recordings, dedicated to his brother, Phillip, whose untimely death inspired Bill’s compelling work, The Long Walk. Rova’s Steve Adams and Jon Raskin were frequent collaborators with Bill, appearing on several of his CDs. Bill’s presence will be sorely missed by friends, family and fellow artists. 


Rova T-Shirts!!!

Check out the design below, featuring an image shot by our friend, Finnish photographer, Lauri Nykopp, which is printed on quality black tees. THE SHIRTS ARE VERY LIMITED EDITION. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Available in XXL – XL – L - M

US: $20 + tax $1.75 + shipping $4 US = $25.75 Foreign: $20 + tax $1.75 + shipping $8 = $29.75

Click here to order your t-shirt


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About Rova:Arts

Rova:Arts, formed in 1986 to support the activities of Rova, has been instrumental in producing local projects and advancing an ongoing cultural exchange between local Bay Area artists and the international scene through its Rovaté concert series. These events, made possible by funding to Rova:Arts, have engaged Bay Area musicians and composers—as well as musicians from around the world. Rova:Arts projects are often reproduced in other parts of the world, thereby bringing the work to a broader audience. Also, many Rova:Arts events have been recorded, resulting in releases which have been enthusiastically celebrated.

Click here to find out more and to Join Rova:Arts. If you are interested in getting involved in a more hands-on-way, feel free to contact us: http://www.rova.org/contact.html. Thanks for being part of the art.

Bandcamp! Bandcamp!

We’re now offering both new and impossible to find Rova recordings and other points of interest on our Bandcamp page. Be sure to check out recordings there, including No Favorites, as well as, for example, the long out-of-print 1990 recording Long on Logic that we are making available as a CD download for the first time.

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