Other Minds is a San Francisco based private 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, founded in 1992 by Charles Amirkhanian (who serves as Executive and Artistic Director) and Jim Newman (President Emeritus). According to their mission statement: Other Minds, Inc., is dedicated to the encouragement and propagation of contemporary music in all its forms through concerts, workshops and conferences that bring together artists and audiences of diverse traditions, generations and cultural backgrounds. By fostering cross-cultural exchange and creative dialogue and by encouraging exploration of areas in new music seldom touched upon by mainstream music institutions, Other Minds is committed to expanding and reshaping the definition of what constitutes "serious music.".
The name "Other Minds" has been attributed by Jim Newman to an anonymous obituary that ran in the New Yorker in 1992 which stated that John Cage "...composed music in other people's minds."
Other Minds has achieved wide recognition and acclaim including the ASCAP award in 2009 for adventurous programming and the American Music Center's 2005 letter of distinction for service to American composers.
Since 1993 they have presented an annual concert series featuring a wide range of composers from every part of the world, some well-known, some rising stars who reflect the aesthetic of Other Minds. These concerts are produced in conjunction with an artist residency retreat held at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California just south of San Francisco in which that year's artists have an opportunity to share their work with each other prior to the festival performances.
In addition Other Minds organizes occasional concerts and events known as "New Music Seances" in various venues in the Bay Area throughout the year featuring live performances with local artists of music by undeservedly lesser known past masters such as Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford, Dane Rudhyar, Alan Hovhaness and Lester Bowie.
The annual concert series usually occurs in early March and is held at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center's Kanbar Hall
Composers represented in the annual festival have included such artists as Meredith Monk, Muhal Richard Abrams, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Frederic Rzewski, Margaret Leng Tan, Henry Brant, Conlon Nancarrow, Robert Ashley, Pauline Oliveros, Lou Harrison, Laurie Anderson, LaMonte Young, Leroy Jenkins, Janice Giteck, Kyle Gann, Olly Wilson, William Parker, Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, Brian Eno and many others.
Henry Brant's Pulitzer Prize winning Ice Field from 2001 was an Other Minds commission. Grawemeyer Award winner Louis Andriessen was recently featured as was MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran.
Preservation & Online Archives
Since 2000, Other Minds has been involved in preserving audiovisual materials which includes an extensive audio collection from the KPFA Music Dept. Archives, as well as the organization's own programming collection. In 2002 Other Minds inaugurated a free online archive called radiOM, where users can access hundreds of hours of archival audio material including interviews with prominent composers of our time, past OM festival performances, examples of sound poetry, and much more.
Weekly Radio Program
Music from Other Minds is a weekly program produced and usually hosted by Other Minds board member Richard Friedman. It is broadcast on San Francisco radio station KALW and features a wide variety of international new music common to the mission of Other Minds. Weekly programs are also accessible as an mp3 stream from the program website at the time of broadcast and for at least a week thereafter.
Other Minds also has a record label, with a continually expanding catalog of CDs and DVDs. Some of the releases are of recordings from the now defunct 1750 Arch Records such as '10+2:12 American Text Sound Pieces' and the first complete recording (and the only recording done on his own instruments in his Mexico City studio) of Conlon Nancarrow's Player Piano Studies. Other releases include new recordings like 'FIRST LIFE The Rare Early Works' (world premieres of music by Marc Blitzstein).
Current efforts are being made to release some long out of print recordings of American music by pianist Maro Ajemian and violinist Anahid Ajemian. They also stock a selection of contemporary music CDs and related books and scores from other publishers.