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New Music Bay Area was founded in 1989, originally named 20th Century Forum, to celebrate the exciting world of new music in the Bay Area. Its mission is to support and extend the legacy of the Bay Area new music community and its proud traditions by fostering new works and projects.

The first concert of 20th Century FORUM/New Music Bay Area was on 12/9/89, billed as “A Saturday Night in the 20th Century.”

Since 1996 New Music Bay Area/20th Century Forum has hosted The Garden of Memory walk-through concert every June 21st from 5pm-9pm at The Chapel of the Chimes.


Video:: "Garden of Memory Through the Years" RT: 12m45s  PLAY

Laura Inserra cover.jpg

Chapel of the Chimes Oakland 

New Music Bay Area's co-sponsor, Chapel of the Chimes, is the largest above-ground cemetery (mausoleum which is an inside cemetery) west of the Mississippi. Chimes started out as a street car station that was transformed into the California Memorial Crematorium and Columbarium in 1909. The property was expanded and transformed initially by Julia Morgan and later by Aaron Green, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Oakland Historical Landmark today continues to provide complete end-of-life services, part of a family of four premier Bay Area cemeteries, columbariums, crematories, mausoleums and funeral homes. From traditional to personalized, Chapel of the Chimes assists the diverse families of Northern California to fully memorialize and celebrate a life lived.

Event goers are invited to wander the multilevel building which is built onto a hillside between Piedmont Avenue and Howe Street as the performers play simultaneously. Getting lost is part of the experience as guests climb up and down the three floors through a maze of gardens, cloisters, alcoves, stairwells, fountains and other architectural elements, which rise into vaulted ceilings. Seamless in feel there are three separate design sections created by four architects; Cunningham & Politeo 1909, Julia Morgan 1926-1951 (consulting until her retirement 1951), Aaron Green 1956-1986 and JST Architects 1986-1998. In the older section the complexity of chapels, columbaria, and mausoleum areas are adorned with murals, paintings, sculpture, mosaics, California tile and 16th century antiquities. All architectural and garden areas have excellent acoustics and are illuminated by gentle natural light, often through beautiful arrangements of stained glass.



SF Gate

The Bay Area's most unique music festival takes place at Chapel of the Chimes


Garden of Memory Cultivates Fresh Music and Art


New York Times

Sarah Cahill, New Music's Tireless Advocate

National Sawdust

Garden of  Memory: A Musical Solstice for Everyone

SF ThisSide

Garden of Memory at the Chapel of Chimes - Summer Solstice Event

SF Gate

Chapel of the Chimes a natural fit for a musical game of hide-and-seek

Web design & development based on 2022 & 2023 Garden of Memory sites created by Alternating Currents.

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