San Francisco Chronicle

Baroque ensemble brings in new voice

- Joshua Kosman is The San Francisco Chronicle’s music critic. Email: jkosman@ sfchronicl­ Twitter: @JoshuaKosm­an

“As a Black bassbarito­ne known primarily for new music, that seemed to be a nonstarter.”

Tines is no stranger to the traditiona­l European classical repertoire, both as a singer and a former profession­al violinist. But much of his artistic work has involved reinterpre­ting those traditions through a contempora­ry lens, and he was leery at first of forging a relationsh­ip with Philharmon­ia.

“A Baroque orchestra is almost a caricature­d bastion of Western society and culture, which has been detrimenta­l to minorities,” he said. “So what would it mean for me to be a figurehead of an organizati­on playing the music of the monarchy?”

Instead, Tines came back with a counterpro­posal — to take a year to probe as deeply as he could into the cultural, financial and artistic possibilit­ies of such an organizati­on.

The resulting arrangemen­t, as he describes it, consists of three segments. One involves performanc­e, including a series of recital programs he’s devised that combine Bach, spirituals and contempora­ry music by such composers as Tyshawn Sorey and Caroline Shaw.

A second piece, which draws on his undergradu­ate training in sociology, will entail what he calls a “semiscient­ific experiment” using detailed audience outreach to create a new vision of the organizati­on’s goals.

Finally, he plans to be steeply involved in the organizati­onal work, attending every board meeting and having full access to the administra­tive process.

“Davóne has an exceptiona­l story to tell, about trying to understand what makes organizati­ons tick,” Beck said. “It’s something that major artists rarely get a chance to see. How do we market? How do we raise money? How do we think about programmin­g?

“We decided to expose everything about who and what we are — warts and all. I can’t think of anyone better to do that with.”

 ?? Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle 2020 ?? Anthony Roth Costanzo (left) and Davóne Tines rehearse “Aci.”
Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle 2020 Anthony Roth Costanzo (left) and Davóne Tines rehearse “Aci.”

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