As a rare ensemble dedicated to music for flute, cello, and guitar, Black Cedar creates, discovers, and re-imagines works for this unique combination. The trio’s accolades include grants from the Zellerbach Family Foundation and the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, plus an invite to the National Flute Association Convention. Their recently released debut album, A Path Less Trod has earned critical praise, with Stephen Smoliar’s The Rehearsal Studio blog writing, “While the instrumentation is unconventional, it is surprisingly effective…Black Cedar is particularly effective for the rhetoric of intimacy they establish…an intimacy evident in the strategic command of understatement one encounters in the performances on this new album.”
Black Cedar’s commissions include Of Emblems (2014) by San Francisco’s Garrett Shatzer and Miscellaneous Music (2015) by Bay Area composer Durwynne Hsieh. AllMusic Review’s James Manheim writes, “Miscellaneous Music makes the whole package worth the price of admission with its way of thinking through the possibilities of the ensemble and with its sheer high spirits…Hsieh defines boundaries between the roles of the three disparate instruments, and then crosses them gleefully.”
In just three years of existence the trio has performed approximately 50 concerts throughout California, and they’ve appeared repeatedly on KALW 91.7 FM in San Francisco, KKUP 91.5 FM in San Jose, and KWMR 90.5 FM in Marin County. “Hats off to them!” writes the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “Black Cedar has done a wonderful job of making the case that chamber music can involve approaches to instrumentation not usually expected,” says the San Francisco Examiner.
Their 2016-2017 appearances include the San Francisco Presidio, the San Francisco War Memorial Performing Arts Center, the Santa Cruz Chamber Players, Throckmorton Theatre in Marin County, the Sacramento Guitar Society, the San Francisco Public Library, and the Dominican Center at Mission San Jose.
In 2017 Black Cedar will commission Ursula Kwong-Brown’s In Transit for flute, cello, guitar, and electronic tape – a musical interpretation of the transient human mélange in the San Francisco Bay Area, incorporating the recorded voices of residents.