D'Arcy Reynolds

Commissions

D’Arcy Reynolds is available to compose new solo and chamber works for varied ensemble configurations. Her commissions from numerous ensembles and organizations, including the American Composers Forum, the Picasso Ensemble, Adesso, Tessa Brinckmann & the East/West Continuo, Noe Valley Chamber Music, and the San Francisco Community Music Center have engendered a flexible and accommodating style with performers and organizations alike. Please click here to discuss new commissioning options.

“The Sontonga Quartet is pleased to recommend working with the American composer, D’Arcy Reynolds.Having performed a number of works influenced both directly and indirectly by the African music of the region, it was extremely interesting for us to work with someone from ‘outside’ and to see the different way in which Ms Reynolds facilitated the integration of different worlds. It was clear that her long involvement with other non-Western musics contributed to the success of this endeavor inasmuch as she found a way to keep the integrity of the essence of the African base intact while writing an essentially Western work around it.”

Marc Uys, Sontonga Quartet

Testimonials

I have known D’Arcy for over 30 years, since the time she studied composition and North Indian Raga with me at Mills College in Oakland in the 1970’s. D’Arcy is a talented pianist and composer whose work has grown over the years, attracting considerable attention and gaining her new commissions and performances. Her compositions speak with authority. 

She has been involved with some exciting teaching projects with young people and has taken a very creative approach in finding was to motivate young people in music composition and performance.  D’Arcy would be a stimulating presence in any Music department, and her wealth of experience in both Eastern and Western music practice would be welcome to both colleagues and students.

Terry Riley, Composer

D’Arcy’s wide-ranging intellectual curiosity has led her to investigate many musics: vernacular and “classical,” Eastern and Western. She has always been eager to find new things and to integrate them into the considerable amount she has already learned’ and she has found ways to share this enthusiasm and knowledge with others, as teacher, performer, and composer.

Charles Shere, Composer and music critic

Picasso Ensemble
February 28, 2024

To Whom it May Concern: 

On behalf of Picasso Ensemble, a piano trio based in the San Francisco Bay Area (Susan C. Brown, violin, Victoria Ehrlich, cello, Josephine Gandolfi, piano,) I enthusiastically recommend supporting the work of composer D’Arcy Reynolds. In public concerts from 2012 to the present, we have programmed nine of her compositions, all beautifully crafted and well-received. 

Ms. Reynolds’ long engagement with world musics and societal issues is frequently reflected in the music she writes. In turn, her music has expanded our musical world as classically trained performers and has made possible our agency in drawing attention to important social concerns. An example of the latter is her composition Rediscovering Eden, a four-movement work that traces the process of humanity’s evolution from pre-industrial times to the “post Carbon” era, concluding with a musical depiction of an idyllic localized society in harmony with nature. We performed this piece in public concerts, including an “Earth Day Celebration” concert to benefit a rural Nicaraguan children’s library and community center. The music and its message were an important part of the event. 

An example of her interest in world music is her composition Jardin Cubano (dedicated to Social Freedom and Equity.) From 2016 to 2020, a time when Latin American culture was maligned in certain quarters of the United States, Ms. Reynolds chose to study the musical traditions of numerous Latin American countries. During this time, Picasso Ensemble performed Jardin Cubano and four additional compositions by Ms Reynolds based on traditional music from Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Through these concerts, we were able to join in Ms. Reynolds’ acknowledgement and celebration of these cultural heritages, to the delight of performers and audience members alike. 

Most recently we performed two works in the jazz idiom, compositions reflecting the composer’s recent study of the elements of jazz, a welcome entree into the world of jazz for classical concert musicians. 

As we prepared for each concert, Ms. Reynolds graciously traveled considerable distances to our rehearsal sites. An excellent pianist and mentor, she offered invaluable interpretive suggestions to our ensemble. Our sessions together were always lively and interesting. When she attended live concerts, she addressed our audiences with concise, insightful remarks.

I wholeheartedly endorse the work of D’Arcy Reynolds as an accomplished composer and artist committed to worthy goals.  It is a pleasure and inspiration to work with her.

Sincerely,
Josephine Gandolfi


To whom it may concern:
The Sontonga Quartet is pleased to recommend working with the American composer, D’Arcy Reynolds. We had the pleasure of performing a full-evening programme of her music at the University of Cape Town in April, 2005. The concert included a new work for String Quartet entitled Cloven Dreams that was based on Owl House, a national landmark in South Africa.

In addition to the performance in Cape Town, Sontonga Quartet performed Cloven Dreams on three other occasions while on tour in the Eastern Cape later the same month. The piece was warmly received, particularly in Nieu-Bethesda – the location of Owl House.

Having performed a number of works influenced both directly and indirectly by the African music of the region, it was extremely interesting for us to work with someone from ‘outside’ and to see the different way in which Ms Reynolds facilitated the integration of different worlds. It was clear that her long involvement with other non-Western musics contributed to the success of this endeavor inasmuch as she found a way to keep the integrity of the essence of the African base intact while writing an essentially Western work around it.

The recent documentary that we filmed at Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa includes insightful dialogue with Ms Reynolds, highlighting the compositional process and its ties to Owl House.

 It was wonderful for us to be on the set of this fascinating documentary which was possible largely as a result of the creative drive and enthusiasm which Ms Reynolds had for the project.

D’Arcy’s attendance at several of our rehearsals while she was in South Africa brought the nuances of her compositions to a new level of clarity for the quartet. She was able to work in a relaxed but serious manner, allowing the quartet to continue developing our own interpretation of her music, while benefiting from her insightful commentary.

Sincerely,

Marc Uys, Sontonga Quartet

I met D’Arcy Reynolds in 1999 when I performed in the premiere of her new work “The Past Keeps Changing”. This was part of the American Composers Forum commissioning program for poets and composers at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. That was the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration with D’Arcy. Over the years, she has explored world music, and I have been fortunate to perform most of her chamber music with international influences:

Cloven Dreams, influenced by South African field recordings and visual imagery (the commission of this piece led to a fun recording project in Portland, Oregon);
 21, for cello, vibes, and marimba, is reflective of her training in North Indian raga with Pandit Pran Nath.  (“21” refers to the meter!);
Tangria, a Tango Suite, for piano trio – D’Arcy’s researches into tango have taken her to many locations and encounters, which she has shared with me by means of lessons, concerts, and meetings with some wonderful living tango masters;
Latin Carnival and Jardin Cubano are both influenced by Cuban montunos, and are infused with Latin rhythms and harmony.

 

Many of these pieces started out orchestrated for other instruments, and when I expressed an interest, D’Arcy transcribed them to enable me to play them. As a part of the Picasso ensemble, we were delighted to commission her piano trio version of Latin Carnival. Her pieces have been warmly received by our audiences in Santa Cruz, California.

Once D’Arcy has created the first draft of a new piece, she works very closely with performers  in rehearsal. I feel that we are an integral part of her compositional process. She is very open to performer input and experimentation, so the process feels truly collaborative. My many collborations with the exceptional musicians of the Bay Area have sometimes resulted in strange combintions of instruments, and D’Arcy is always open to the musical and genre-bending possibilities these combinations present.

I would highly recommend performers, ensembles, and individuals to commission D’Arcy Reynolds to compose new solo and chamber works.  The result will be challenging and rewarding!

Victoria Ehrlich, Cellist Emerita, San Francisco Opera

D’Arcy Reynolds is an absolutely wonderful composer/pianist whose music is simultaneously upbeat, energetic, and thought provoking. Playing and performing her Latin Carnival and Jardin Cubano for oboe and piano, has been a source of great intrigue, study and education for me. Learning about the rhythms and inspired melodies, focusing on the precise details, hearing the final outcome and joyful audience response has been uplifting and fun!

Brenda Schuman-Post, Oboist

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