Ensemble for These Times logo

Now in our 12th season, Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) is a contemporary music chamber group consisting of award-winning soprano, co-director and co-founder Nanette McGuinness, Van Cliburn competitor pianist Dale Tsang, cellist Anne Lerner and 2015 The American Prize winner, composer, co-director and co-founder David Garner, plus regular guest artists that include Ilana Blumberg, violin, Laura Reynolds, English horn, Julie Michael, viola, and Chelsea Hollow, sopranon and other fine guest artists each season. Guest artists in 2019/20 also include Deborah Rosengaus mezzo-soprano, Jonathan Smucker, tenor, and Dalit Warshaw, pianist/composer.

The group was awarded second place in Chamber Music Performance for The American Prize in 2018/19 and is currently a semifinalist in the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music.

Ensemble for These Times focuses on 20th and 21st century music that is relevant, engaging, original, and compelling, music that resonates today and will speak to tomorrow. E4TT strongly believes in the power of artistic beauty, intelligence, wit, lyricism, and irony to create a deep understanding of our times and the human condition.

The ensemble was formed in 2007/2008 when soprano Nanette McGuinness and David Garner met during recording sessions at Skywalker Ranch; it quickly grew to include pianist Dale Tsang and then cellist Anne Lerner. Recent performance highlights include a tour to Madrid, Spain, in Fall 2017 and at the 2016 Krakow Culture Festival in Poland. Past highlights include a four-city tour to Hungary in Fall 2014 as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Budapest; the world premiere of Garner’s Chanson für Morgen in 2011 at Trinity Chamber Concerts, supported in part by a grant from the East Bay Fund for Artists and produced in association with the 26th Jewish Music Festival; the European premiere of Chanson für Morgen in Berlin in 2012, with the Jüdische Gemeinde Berlin, and concerts at the German Consulate General in SF, Old First Concerts, Peninsula JCC, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Trinity Chamber and Noontime Concerts, among others. From its inception, E4TT has had a strong, ongoing commitment to new music by women composers or with texts by women writers, as well as by emerging and less-known composers.

Call for Scores In E4TT's first Call for Scores in December 2015-January 2016, the group received 275 scores by 200 composers, choosing 56 by 54 composers for a multi-year performance series entitled 56x54 that runs from 2016-2019.

Recordings E4TT's debut CD, Surviving: Women’s Words, was released on the Centaur label in 2016 and won a Silver Medal in the 2016 Global Music Awards. Writing at Examiner.com, Stephen Smoliar called Mr. Garner’s settings of poetry by Jewish women Holocaust survivors “fascinating,” “passionate,” and “highly compelling;” Erin Heisel of American Record Guide also called it “fascinating,” and “compelling,” and Grego Applegate Edwards reviewed it (at Gapplegate Classical-Modern Review) as, “…extremely well done. Recommended.” Finally, Lesley Mitchell-Clarke wrote (The Whole Note) “Now more than ever, as the U.S. experiences a déjà vu of hatred and is poised on the brink of societal unravelling, the potent and timeless messages of survival, love, tolerance and forgiveness contained on this brilliant presentation need to resonate throughout the world.”

E4TT’s second recording, "The Hungarians: From Rozsa to Justus" was released on Centaur Records on April 6, 2018 as a digital EP and won a Gold Medal in the 2018 Global Music Awards. The CD consists of music by three Hungarian and one Hungarian-American composers who were exiled or killed in the Holocaust: multiple-Oscar-recipient Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995), Sándor Vándor (1901-1945), Lajos Delej (1923-1945), and György Justus (1898-1945). Featuring duos for cello and piano by Rozsa and Vandor--plus a Scherzo from a missing cello sonata attributed to Delej--songs by Vandor and Justus for soprano and piano, and the premiere recording of a recently rediscovered set of piano miniatures by Delej, the CD is the result of the group’s successful four-city concert tour in Hungary in 2014, which was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Budapest.
E4TT will release our third recording, "Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan," in spring 2020 and The "Guernica" Project in the 2021/22 season.

Commissions The ensemble has commissioned 24 new works and two arrangements for premiere in the U.S. and Europe. Major commissioning projects include "Mothers & Daughters," the "Film Noir Project" (E4TT's homage to all things musical and film noir), The "Guernica" Project (commemorating the 80th anniversary of Picasso's iconic painting "Guernica," which itself commemorated the horrific bombing of the eponymous Spanish town); "Once/Memory/Night: Paul Celan" (new music focusing on the world and works of seminal 20th century poet Paul Celan); Surviving: Women's Words" (four new song cycles by David Garner to texts by women Holocaust survivors, which became the group's first CD); and "Women's Love and Loss" (three new works by women composers focusing on lost love in women's lives, to poetry by Lucille Clifton, Robert Frost, and Robinson Jeffers).

Repertory In addition to commissions, the group's repertory include works by: 21st century composers: John Adams, Elinor Armer, David Conte, Gabriela Lena Frank, Osvaldo Golijov, Arthur Gottschalk, John Harbison, Alden Jenks, Juliana Hall, John Harbison, Ruth Lomon, James Primosch, Elena Ruehr, Judith Shatin, Heather Schmidt, Laura Schwendinger,Aleksandra Vrebalov, Melinda Wagner, and Mercedes Zavala;
20th century composers: Lajos Delej, Josima Feldschuh, Edwin Geist, Pavel Haas, Paul Hindemith, György Justus, Vitezslava Kapralova, Erich Korngold, Miklos Rozsa, Arnold Schoenberg, Sándor Vándor, Franz Waxman, Kurt Weill, Hans Winterberg and Alexander Zemlinsky.

Formerly the Jewish Music & Poetry Project (JMPP), the ensemble rebranded in Fall 2015, with the JMPP continuing as a project of the group. The ensemble’s new name was inspired by one of E4TT’s first songs, “In dieser Zeit” (translation, “In These Times”), to a text by German/Polish poet Mascha Kaléko (1901-1976). Part of Garner’s first major work for the group, “In dieser Zeit” is on the ensemble’s 2016 CD, Surviving: Women’s Words, four major song cycles to texts by Jewish women poets, reflecting on their wartime experiences. "Surviving: Women’s Words" was made possible by grants from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and SFFCM’s Musical Grant Program. Since its first major commission using texts about the Holocaust by Polish-German/ Jewish poet Mascha Kaléko, the JMPP has focused on bringing new, nearly new, forbidden, and forgotten music to light, with a dual emphasis: 1) new music to texts by Jewish women poets or by women composers; 2) music by composers who were banned, exiled, or destroyed in the Holocaust.

Press kit


Nanette McGuinness, soprano
Anne Lerner, cello
Dale Tsang, piano
David Garner, composer

Guest Artists

Ilana Blumberg, violin
Taylor Chan, piano
Alejandro Saiz San Emeterio, violin
Dawn Harms, violin
Chelsea Hollow, soprano
Julie Michael, viola
Laura Reynolds, English horn
Karen Rosenak, piano
Deborah Rosengaus, mezzo-soprano
Jonathan Smucker, tenor
Dalit Hadass Warshaw, piano/composer
Xin Zhao, piano


Stephanie Neumann, Marketing and Development
Brennan Stokes, Publicity and Design
Chelsea Holmes, Social Media

Performance Videographer

Mister WA Productions