About Us

The Chrysalis Foundation

 Supporting a Musical Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century

          Robert Henri, American painter and art teacher, wrote this passage in a 1915 letter to his students:

            There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign! It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Signposts on the way to what may be… Signposts toward greater knowledge

          We are drawn to the works of art left for us by past masters, even as we continue to create new ones for our fellows and ourselves in the present. We go to these signposts for direction, encouragement, inspiration. We long for the glimpses they give us behind the material wall, into the intangible. We seek clues in them, like fingerprints of the invisible. Through them, we sense the mysterious fields and forces that infuse our physical reality, and continue to exist beyond it.

          This website is designed to introduce you to the work of Cris Forster; inventor, builder, composer, musician — creator of extraordinary signposts. He has spent the past 30 years designing and building an orchestra of original acoustic instruments, then using their unique timbres and expanded tunings to compose a contemporary American music. He has written a book, Musical Mathematics: On the Art and Science of Acoustic Instruments, which successfully builds a bridge between the lands of Science and Art. He is now in the process of composing a major theatre piece for musicians and dancers, scored for the entire ensemble of instruments, entitled Ellis Island/Angel Island: A Vision of the American Immigrants.

          The Chrysalis Foundation has championed Cris Forster’s work since 1982. In the fall of 2002, we entered a new phase of our existence by signing the lease on a 2500 square-foot building in San Francisco’s SOMA district. The Foundation’s new studio is quiet, secure, well-lit, and wide open; a perfect home for the instruments. This is a place where Cris can compose, musicians can rehearse, and you can gather with us to experience innovative and enlightening music.

-Heidi Forster, President