Futurist sound artist Luigi Russolo constructed special hand-cranked instruments to realize an expanded field of orchestral sound. Called intonarumori (noise intoners), these instruments could produce noises — explosions, howls, buzzes, hisses — not usually employed in Western music. Luciano Chessa, a Bay Area-based composer and Russolo scholar, has overseen the recreation of 16 intonarumori and has curated this concert of original and newly commissioned scores.
$15-$30 general; $10-$25 SFMOMA and partner institution members, students, and seniors. Tickets available through ybca.org/tickets or 415.978.2787.
Blixa Bargeld was born in West Berlin in 1959. In 1980 he founded the band Einstürzende Neubauten, which has released numerous albums and singles and performed all over the world. In 1984 Bargeld founded the Bad Seeds with Barry Adamson, Nick Cave, and Mick Harvey; Bargeld played guitar in that group until 2003. Since the 1980s, Bargeld has expanded his oeuvre as an artist in numerous collaborations and solo events within all branches of performing arts: films, radio plays, audiobooks, theater productions, performances, and installations. He is a singer, narrator, actor, director, author, musician, poet, and experimenter. His main instrument remains his voice, and language is his distinctive medium. The works he creates should be understood as experimental designs, part of a game where rules are discovered and broken in perpetual transformations.
Alexa Beattie recently graduated with honors from the Artist's Certificate in Chamber Music Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Paul Hersh and Jodi Levitz. As a soloist, Beattie has appeared with Glasgow's Kelvin Ensemble and the new music group Symposia, and in the Festival of British Youth Orchestras. Originally from Scotland, she is a recipient of the City of London's Chartered Surveyors String Quartet Prize, and as a Jerwood Scholar she has attended the International Musicians Seminar master classes at Prussia Cove. In the Bay Area, she is a founding member of the Picasso String Quartet and, most recently, the CMASH Trio (soprano, viola, and piano). With diverse repertoire and expertise, Beattie's deeply influential and inspiring collaborative partners have included Bonnie Hampton, Hersh, Canada's slam poetry champion Shane Koyczan, Robert Mann, and Ian Swensen.
Matthias Bossi, a graduate of the New England Conservatory, is the drummer/orator for "rock-against-rock" pioneers Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and was a member of New York's Grammy-nominated Skeleton Key. As a founder of Brooklyn-based recording collective The Book of Knots, he has collaborated with Carla Bozulich, Jon Langford, author Rick Moody, Zeena Parkins, David Thomas, Tom Waits, and Mike Watt. He is currently touring with guitarist Fred Frith in his new project, Cosa Brava, and also with San Francisco singer/songwriter John Vanderslice. Equally at home in the theater, Bossi has worked with the Pickle Family Circus, Oakland Metro Opera, Shotgun Players, Nanos Operetta, Berkeley's Central Works, and Erica Schuch's Performance Project. Choreographers Joe Goode, Shinichi Iova-Koga, Jo Kreiter, and Deborah Slater have commissioned music from Bossi and his wife, violinist Carla Kihlstedt.
John Butcher's music has ranged through free improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked saxophone pieces, and work with live electronics, amplification, and feedback. He is well known as a solo performer, and sometimes explores extreme acoustics, as heard on 2008's Resonant Spaces CD. He has composed for Elision Ensemble, Polwechsel, Rova Saxophone Quartet, and recently wrote somethingtobesaid for his own John Butcher Group. After initially studying physics and publishing a doctorate on quantum chromodynamics, he left academia and went off with music, working in the 1980s with Chris Burn, Phil Durrant, Paul Lovens, Radu Malfatti, and John Russell. In the early 1990s he joined what became the final version of John Stevens's Spontaneous Music Ensemble and also began playing with Derek Bailey and Phil Minton. For ten years he was a member of Polwechsel. Recent projects include Thermal with Thomas Lehn and EX guitarist Andy Moor, the wind trio The Contest of Pleasures, and duos with Steve Beresford, John Edwards, Gerry Hemingway, Toshimaru Nakamura, Eddie Prevost, and Gino Robair. He values playing in many occasional, sometimes just one-off encounters, ranging from large groups such as Butch Morris's London Skyscraper and the EX Orkestra to duo concerts with Fred Frith and Akio Suzuki.
Luthier Keith Cary has built stringed instruments since 1975, working on both historical and experimental instruments. He holds a BS in Music from the University of California, Davis, and studied violin repair with Anton Smith in 1980. He worked extensively as a musician, playing string bass, cello, mandolin, and tuba in a variety of genera, with Robert Armstrong, Charles Baty, Kris Bobrowsky, The Cheap Suit Serenaders, Luciano Chessa, Joe Craven, Robert Crumb, Devil Makes Three, Ellen Fullman, Jolie Holland, Tony Passarell, John Tchicai, Clarence Van Hook , and John Vanderslice.
Luciano Chessa has been active in Europe, the U.S., and Australia as a composer, pianist, and musical saw/Vietnamese dan bau soloist. Among his compositions are a piano and percussion duet after Pier Paolo Pasolini's Petrolio, written for Sarah Cahill and Chris Froh and presented in 2004 at the American Academy in Rome; Il pedone dell'aria for orchestra and double children's choir, which premiered in 2006 at the Auditorium of Turin's Lingotto and was subsequently released on DVD; Louganis (San Francisco, Old First Concerts, 2007), for piano and TV/VCR combo, and Inkless Imagination IV (UC Davis, Mondavi Center, 2008) for viola, mini-bass musical saw, turntables, percussion, FM radios, and blimp and video projection (both in collaboration with artist Terry Berlier); Recitativo, aria e coro della Vergine (Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory, 2008); and Strelitzie, a newly published work for amplified baritone and string orchestra.
Chessa has been performing Futurist sound poetry for over ten years. His research on Italian Futurism, which he has presented and published internationally, has shown for the first time the occult relationship between Luigi Russolo's intonarumori and Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical noisemakers. He is currently working on the first monograph dedicated to Russolo and his Art of Noises, to be published by the University of California Press in Spring 2010.
James Fei was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to the U.S. in 1992 to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. He has since been active as a composer and performer on saxophones and live electronics. Works by Fei have been performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, MATA Micro Orchestra, and Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Recordings can be found on Leo Records, Improvised Music from Japan, CRI, Krabbesholm, and Organized Sound. Compositions for Fei's own ensemble of four alto saxophones focus on physical processes of saliva, fatigue, reeds crippled by cuts, and the threshold of audible sound production, while his sound installations and performance on live electronics often focus on electronic and acoustic feedback. Fei teaches sound art and electronic arts at Mills College.
In 1981 Ellen Fullman began developing the "Long String Instrument," an installation of dozens of wires fifty feet or more in length, tuned in just intonation, and "bowed" with rosin-coated fingers. Fullman has developed a unique notation system to choreograph the performer's movements, exploring sonic events that occur at specific nodal point locations along the string length of the instrument. She has recorded extensively with this unusual instrument and has collaborated with such luminary figures as composer Pauline Oliveros, choreographer Deborah Hay, the Kronos Quartet, and Keiji Haino. She has been awarded the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin residency, the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission/NEA Fellowship for Japan, and a Headlands Center for the Arts artist residency. Her music was represented in The American Century; Art and Culture, 1950–2000 at the Whitney Museum, and she has performed in venues and festivals in Europe, Japan, and the Americas, including: Instal, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Other Minds, the Walker Art Center, and Donaueschinger Musiktage. Her release, Ort, with Berlin-based collaborator Jörg Hiller, was selected in the top fifty recordings of 2004 by The Wire (London) and "Fluctuations" with trombonist Monique Buzzarté on Deep Listening was included in The Wire's top fifty recordings of 2008.
DJ Olive cofounded Lalalandia Entertainment Research Corporation, which made many of the most memorable Brooklyn warehouse after-hours environments of the '90s. Multipolyomni and We™ are two notable projects he created. He has performed with Christian Fennesz, Luc Ferrari, Kim Gordon, William Hooker, Christian Marclay, Rich "Lloop" Panciera, Ignacio "Once11" Platas, Marc Ribot, and Otomo Yoshihide, among many others. He founded two record labels, Phonomena Audio Arts & Multiples and The Agriculture. Olive's first solo CD, Bodega, was followed by Live in Tasmania. He has been included in many exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial 2008, Treble, Brooklyn Sculpture Center 2004, City Sonics 2004, Mons, the Venice Biennale 2003, the Whitney Biennial 2002, and Bit Streams at the Whitney 2001.
Matt Ingalls, clarinetist, composer, improviser, and computer musician, is the founder and coproducer of sfSound. He holds degrees in music composition from The University of Texas at Austin and Mills College. Ingalls has lived in Oakland since 1994. http://sfsound.org/matt
John Ingle is a saxophonist, composer, and improviser originally from Memphis, Tennessee, who now resides and works in San Francisco. His music is informed and influenced by contemporary concert music, improvised music, electronic music, jazz, various Asian folk music traditions, and the blues and gospel of his native southeast U.S. He collaborates with electronics innovator Laetitia Sonami and New York–based composer/dulcimerist Dan Joseph and is a founding member of the sfSoundGroup. Ingle's solo saxophone music emphasizes multiphonics, vocal harmonics, and subtle control of extended saxophone techniques, while his chamber music explores such musical parameters as spiral time, linear pulse, and nonlinear harmony, and indulges in both simple resonance as well as complex timbre and auditory sleights-of-hand.
Christopher Jones is a composer, pianist, and conductor based in San Francisco. He has received commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation and the American Composers Forum and has performed at venues including the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, the Ictus International Composition Seminar in Brussels, Merkin Hall in New York, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Jones has given many premieres and enjoys working closely with composers. He brings his interests in composition, performance, and improvisation together in his work as pianist, conductor, and codirector of the innovative new music group, sfSound. Jones completed a doctorate in composition at Stanford University, where he studied with Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey, and also earned degrees in composition from the University of Calgary, studying with Allan Gordon Bell, and in piano performance from Indiana University and the New England Conservatory, studying with Evelyne Brancart and Patricia Zander.
Carla Kihlstedt is a composer and improviser whose primary building blocks are the voice and the violin. She has spent much of the last ten years on tour in the U.S. and Europe with one of her ongoing groups: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat, and 2 Foot Yard. Lisa Bielawa Matthias Bossi, Fred Frith, Satoko Fujii, Shahzad Ismaily, and are among her favorite musical collaborators. She has premiered the music of Bielawa and of the late Jorge Liderman and has been a soloist at the MATA festival in New York, the Ojai Music Festival, and the Armenian Gallery Festival, as well as with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. She enjoys writing music for dance and theater companies, including Flyaway Productions, inkBoat, the Joe Goode Performance Group, and Deborah Slater Dance Theater. Recent projects include Causing a Tiger (based on field recordings from her travels) with Bossi and Ismaily; a seven-person staged song cycle based on Jorge Luis Borges's Book of Imaginary Beings called Necessary Monsters written with poet Rafael Oses; and a new piece for the ROVA Saxophone Quartet called Pandaemonium, which will be premiered at the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco. This October, Tzadik will release Black River, a two-disc recording of her duet with pianist Fujii. Early next year she anticipates the release of Ragged Atlas, the debut recording of Cosa Brava, Fred Frith's most recent and long-awaited band, including Kihlstedt, Zeena Parkins, Bossi, and The Norman Conquest.
Ulrich Krieger is a composer and saxophone player. His pieces are widely performed by ensembles in Europe and the U.S. Krieger's recent interest lies in the experimental fringes of contemporary pop culture, the limbo between noise, metal, ambient, and silence. He transcribed and arranged Lou Reeds's Metal Machine Music for classical instruments. He has won several awards and residencies in New York, Los Angeles, Venice, Rome, Bologna, Darmstadt, and others. Collaborators include Lou Reed, Lee Ranaldo, LaMonte Young, Phill Niblock, Christian Marclay, Mario Bertoncini, Merzbow, Michiko Hirayama, John Duncan, Zbigniew Karkowski, DJ Olive, Alan Licht, Kasper T Toeplitz, and Radu Malfatti. He calls his way of saxophone playing "acoustic electronics" and often uses his instrument as an "analogue sampler" to call his quasi-electronic sounds, which then get processed.
Over the past two decades, guitarist Alan Licht has worked with a veritable who's who of the experimental world, from free jazz legends (Rashied Ali, Derek Bailey) and electronica wizards (Fennesz, Jim O'Rourke) to turntable masters (DJ Spooky, Christian Marclay) and veteran downtown New York composers (John Zorn, Rhys Chatham). Licht is also renowned in the indie rock scene as a bandleader (Run On, Love Child) and supporting player to cult legends like Tom Verlaine, Arthur Lee, Arto Lindsay, and Jandek. He has released five albums of compositions for tape and solo guitar, and his sound and video installations have been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. With Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, he founded Text of Light, an ongoing ensemble that performs freely improvised concerts alongside screenings of classic avant garde cinema. Licht was curator at the famed New York experimental music venue Tonic from 2000 until its closing in 2007 and has written extensively about the arts for The Wire, Modern Painters, Artforum, Rhizome, Art Review, Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Premiere, Purple, Village Voice, New York Sun, Time Out New York, and other publications. His first book, An Emotional Memoir of Martha Quinn, was published by Drag City Press in 2003; a new book, Sound Art:Beyond Music, Between Media, the first extensive survey of the genre in English, was published by Rizzoli in 2007.
The Magik*Magik Orchestra is America's only symphonic orchestra dedicated to collaborating with artists from the rock and pop community. Spearheaded by 27-year-old composer Minna Choi, Magik*Magik is currently made up of over one hundred students and young freelancers from around the Bay Area. Magik*Magik hit the ground running in August 2008 with a sold-out debut at Herbst Theatre, performing the West Coast premiere of Popcorn Superhet Receiver, composed by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead - the only U.S. performance of the work attended by Greenwood. Since its debut, Magik*Magik has consistently sold out shows at crossover venues all over town including the Great American Music Hall, Swedish American Hall, and Hotel Utah to "audiences massively dominated by listeners in their 20s -- almost unheard of in the classical world,"wrote Richard Scheinin of the San Jose Mercury News. Magik*Magik has been singled out by every major local publication and numerous music blogs as one of the area's most relevant orchestras to the masses of popular music fans still unfamiliar with classical music. Critic Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle raved, "It would be hard to envision a more skillful approach to the goal of mixing up rock and contemporary classical audiences."
Gregory Moore studied linguistics at UC Berkeley and electronic music at CalArts. He lives and works at Maybeck Studio, where he hosts residencies for musicians from around the world and produces a series of new music concerts and recordings. His own compositions integrate acoustic instrumentation with a digital collage of spoken text and are gaining popularity in Europe, Australia, Japan, New York, and especially at the UC Davis student radio station. Ongoing collaborations include the speech and/or instrumental virtuosity of singer Jacqueline Bobak; pianist Sarah Cahill; composer and avant-garde saw player Luciano Chessa; cellists Erika Duke Kirkpatrick, Frances Marie Uitti, and Theresa Wong; the Kronos Quartet; architect Donlyn Lyndon and photographer Alice Wingwall; ceramics artist Jim Melchert; sculptor Elizabeth Somers; bassoonist Tara Speiser; and bass-clarinetist Cory Wright. Most recently, one of his text collages has been featured on a brand new CD by the Italian psycho-socio-pop band, Frida X. Moore is now working to complete his first CD, On Charrette, to be released in 2010.
Kjell Nordeson divides his time between Stockholm and San Francisco. He has a BA from Stockholm University and has studied classical percussion at Ingesund School of Music with Björn Liljeqvist, former principal percussionist of the Stockholm Philharmonic. Together with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, he formed AALY Trio in 1986. AALY Trio became one of the leading groups in the Swedish experimental scene in the 1990s. Nordeson has toured extensively in North America, Europe, North Africa, and Japan with various groups. He has performed with Peter Brötzmann, Barry Guy, Frank Gratkowski, Gerry Hemingway, Joe Morris, William Parker, Paul Rutherford, Stefano Scodanibbio, Ken Vandermark, and many others. Since 2004, Nordeson has been active in the San Francisco Bay Area's thriving community of free-improvised, experimental, and new music. He regularly plays with musicians George Cremaschi, Greg Goodman, John Ingle, Darren Johnston, Scott Looney, Lisa Mezzacappa, Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, sfSoundGroup, Aram Shelton, Damon Smith, and many others.
Mike Patton is a Renaissance man: from his teens spent with genre-defying alternatives acts like Faith No More and Mr. Bungle to his various collaborations with avant-garde musicians, the deconstructed-pop music he created with Peeping Tom, his current career as a film composer, his roles in popular videogames and his launching Mondo Cane (an Italian language, orchestra driven pop standard project), there seems to be no limit to what Patton can do. Born in 1968 in Eureka, California, Patton formed Mr. Bungle when he was 17 (a band he would work with on and off until 1999), which married experimental rock with just about every other musical genre to create a unique brand of rock that's still been impossible to imitate. From there, Patton joined Faith No More, which despite being best known for crossover hits like "Epic" and "Falling To Pieces" (and their respective music videos), the group also flirted with orchestral pop (i.e., Angel Dust's "A Small Victory") and soul (their brilliant cover of the Commodores "Easy"). The band recently embarked on an extremely successful but brief reunion tour. Watch a video of Patton playing the Intonarumori.
In 1998, Patton formed the experimental noise act Fantômas with former Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, Buzz Osborne of The Melvins, and Dave Lombardo from Slayer; a few years later he joined Tomahawk, a very alternative rock band founded by Duane Denison of the Jesus Lizard and featuring John Stanier of Battles and x-Helmet. He also collaborated with house music and trip hop trailblazers Dan The Automator and Kid Koala in Lovage, which released "Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady" in 2001. In 2007 he supplied the musical score to the short film A Perfect Place followed by the score to his first major motion picture, Crank: High Voltage, in 2009.
In 1999 he founded the record label Ipecac Recordings alongside manager Greg Werckman, which has gone on to release most of Patton's own recordings in addition to releases by The Melvins, Isis, Josh Homme and many others. For more information: www.ipecac.com
Monica Scott, cellist, has performed throughout the United States and in almost every European country, as well as Argentina, Canada, and South Korea, engaging audiences with her energetic, eloquent playing. Her wide stylistic range and interests span the classical repertoire through avant-garde and improvised music. Currently she is active with sfSound and with her duo martha & monica, with pianist Hadley McCarroll. Scott holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam. A devoted teacher, Scott serves on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department, The Crowden School, and College Preparatory School, and maintains an active private studio in Oakland.
sfSoundGroup is a unique collective of local composer-performers that has been presenting some of the most exciting concerts of contemporary and experimental music in San Francisco over the past ten years. From the grittiest sounds of the West Coast improv underground to the latest music of the European avant-garde, the group is dedicated to exploring the boundaries of experimental instrument technique, conceptual art, live electronic music, and the various facets of contemporary composition and improvisation. sfSound received a ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming in 2008.
Elliott Sharp has been a composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and critical figure in the avant-garde music scene in New York City for over thirty years. He has released over two hundred recordings spanning the musical spectrum and leads the projects Carbon and Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane and has pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction. His collaborators include Ensemble Modern; Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; Radio-Symphony of Frankfurt; pop singer Debbie Harry; computer artist Perry Hoberman; blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples; jazz greats Jack deJohnette, Sonny Sharrock, and Billy Hart; turntable innovator Christian Marclay; and Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians Of Jahjouka. Sharp's work was featured in the 2009 Ostrava Music Days; the 2008 New Music Stockholm festival, and the Hessischer Rundfunk Klangbiennale in 2007. The documentary film about Sharp's work by Bert Shapiro, Doing The Don't, has just been released on DVD.
The Text of Light group was formed in 1999 with the idea to perform improvised music to the films of Stan Brakhage and other members of the American Cinema avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s, an lesser-known period of American filmic poetics (Brakhage's film The Text of Light was the premiere performance and namesake of the group). Members of the group include Lee Ranaldo and Alan Licht (guitars/devices); Christian Marclay and DJ Olive (turntables); William Hooker (drums/percussion); Ulrich Krieger (saxophone/electronics); and most recently Tim Barnes (drums/percussion). Various combinations of these players attend gigs, depending on individual schedules, so the group takes on various permutations. The group has performed with the following films: Dog Star Man, Anticipation of the Night, Songs, Harry Smith's Mahagonny outtakes, Oz: The Approach to the Emerald City, and Late Superimpositions. The group has headlined the Victoriaville Music Festival, Canada (2002); Three Rivers Film Festival, Pittsburgh; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. They have also done several tours of Europe as well as performed in New York City and other U.S. club and cinema venues.
Erik Ulman is currently a lecturer in Music at Stanford University. He studied composition at the University of California, San Diego, working principally with Brian Ferneyhough, as well as with Helmut Lachenmann at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule on a DAAD grant. He has taught music at UCSD and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His music has been performed in concerts and festivals across the U.S., Europe, and Australia by such notable interpreters as Magnus Andersson, Anthony Burr, the Cygnus Ensemble, Ensemble Plus-Minus, John Mark Harris, Colin McAllister, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Nieuw Ensemble, NOISE, Ian Pace, sfSound, and SONOR; the Arditti Quartet performed his Third String Quartet in Boswil, Switzerland and at the Bern Biennale in October 2005. Ulman has written about music or film in such journals as Perspectives of New Music, Senses of Cinema, and Open Space, and his essay "Olson and Musical Composition" appears in the book Sound as Sense. He is also a violinist, playing with sfSound and the Theatre of Eternal Music String Ensemble, and in 2006 he guest directed the Stanford Improvisation Collective. In June 2004 Ulman and Marcia Scott organized the first Poto Festival, a gathering of artists in various media, in Grass Valley, California; a second took place in 2005.
Theresa Wong is an improviser and composer based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose work encompasses music, theater, and the visual arts. Her training in classical music and design fused during her fellowship at Fabrica Center in Treviso, Italy, where she recognized the possibility of creative performance through encounters with Lawrence Weiner, Koichi Makigami, and Alexander Balanescu. Current projects include: O Sleep, an improvised opera launched into progress at the Headlands Center for the Arts, which explores the conundrum of sleep life; Call It Culture, a cello duo written for and performed with Joan Jeanrenaud and funded by a Subito Grant, which utilizes original extended techniques in a score merging composition and improvisation; and Disasters of War, inspired by Francisco Goya's etchings, a duo performed with Carla Kihlstedt at the Meridian Gallery for cello, violin, and voices. Wong performed a leading vocal role in Anna Halprin's Spirit of Place, a site-specific piece honoring Stern Grove. She is a cast member in Kihlstedt's Necessary Monsters, a seven-member theater project. She has performed internationally and collaborated with such artists as Fred Frith, Joelle Leandre, Gianni Gebbia, Dohee Lee, Ellen Fullman, and ROVA Saxophone Quartet. Wong holds an MFA in Performance and Improvisation from Mills College and a BS in Product Design from Stanford University.