Information on the Garden of Memory

As of 3/4/2017 New Music Bay Area is open to proposals for 2017’s Garden of Memory on June 21 from 5pm-9pm at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. We will be reviewing proposals for the next month or two – it takes us quite a while to juggle all the various needs to put together this huge event.

Email your proposal, with a short bio, description of your intended performance, and sound and/or video clips to newmusicbayarea @ This will be reviewed by a committee. There are usually openings for 10-15 new performers/ensembles each year.

If you’ve never attended the event, we are looking for music which pushes boundaries – electroacoustic, new classical, unusual jazz, new approaches to World Music, or anything unique. The music also must be respectful to the space itself, which is a Columbarium, and cannot be so loud that it intrudes on the spaces of the other performers.

We ask for a minimum performance of two hours, if sharing a room, or the full four hours if solely occupying a room (with short breaks.) There is only one piano in the building and it’s in the Main Chapel which is highly scheduled for short sets. If you’re interested in performing in the chapel, know it’s a long shot.

The annual Garden of Memory summer solstice concert began in 1995 when Sarah Cahill was writing a cover story for the East Bay Express about public bathrooms of the East Bay.

In search of interesting bathrooms, she wandered into the Chapel of the Chimes and heard some distant organ music as she got lost in the maze of the building. Inspired by that combination of sensory stimuli, she pitched the idea of a concert to other board members of New Music Bay Area. They said yes, and were pleasantly surprised when The Chapel of the Chimes also said yes to a big wild concert of avant garde and experimental music.

To be considered for future Garden of Memory concerts please email towards the end of February/beginning of March . There are usually openings for 10-12 new ensembles & performers each year. Please include in your email a proposal and links to your work. Most artists are expected to perform for the entire four hours, unless sharing a space with another ensemble. Renumeration varies from year to year, depending on attendance, and number of performers.

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