The Zafa Collective will workshop pieces from three major performances on the Collective’s 2017-2018 season calendar: a performance of all Chinese and Chinese-American composers, a performance of all female composers, and a performance of all Mexican and Mexican-American composers. Zafa will begin the process of bringing pieces from each of these programs to performance readiness and will bring several of the composers involved to the studio to rehearse with the Collective and workshop publicly. Zafa’s sponsorship will culminate in a works-in-progress public performance with a piece from each program represented.
As a collective, Zafa’s mission is to challenge what is considered canon in terms of contemporary music or new music. Zafa actively seeks works outside the demographic the canon has accepted and present them in high quality performances in their effort to normalize the performances of works by women, nonbinary people, and composers of color. The works selected for the 2017-2018 season are all excellent pieces by a diverse array of composers and the collective are excited about having time and space to live with these works at High Concept Labs for a period of several months leading up to their public performances.
The Zafa Collective, founded in 2016 by Hannah Christiansen (violin) and Casey Karr (double bass), follows in the footsteps of Ensemble Dal Niente and ICE with its flexible instrumentation, allowing Zafa to choose its repertoire with no limitations. Formed upon the idea that classical music should be inclusive and accessible both in terms of programming and performance, the Zafa Collective actively seeks music from outside the canon of Western art music and presents programs with diverse aesthetics. In its inaugural year, the Zafa Collective premiered works by composers including Derek Tywoniuk, Connor Singh Vanderbeek, and Aaron Holloway-Nahum, workshopped with Ellen Ruth Harrison, Eliza Brown, and Sato Matsui, and performed in spaces across Chicago, including Constellation and Ganz Hall. As a part of their mission to make new music accessible and inclusive, the Zafa Collective launched their Salon Series in November, 2016. The Salon Series is a monthly program of smaller chamber works performed in non-traditional venues. Salon concerts are informal, BYOB, and admission is free.
Zafa has a core of seven musicians: Hannah Christiansen and Emelinda Escobar, violins, Danielle Taylor, viola, Audrey Q Snyder, cello, Andy Hudson, clarinets, Josh Graham, percussion, and Nicole Frankel, flutes.