sfSoundSeries/sfSoundSalonSeries is a concert series in the san francisco bay area featuring contemporary and experimental music. our programs reach from the latest music of the european avant-garde to the grittiest sounds of the west coast improv-underground, encompassing recent trends in instrumental technique, conceptual art, music theater, and electronic sound.
for 2013-2014, we also present the bi-weekly sfSoundSalonSeries at the center for new music in san francisco!
sep 27, 2014 - birgit ulher mit grosse abfahrt
oct 14, 2014 - jonathan zorn
oct 21, 2014 - MUSIC & FILM: a. lewandowski/t. feeney/c. shepard/l. polansky/d. kant & m. ashkin/b. o'brien
nov 8, 2014 - nate wooley & carol robinson play eliane radigue
nov 11, 2014 - tim hodgkinson
nov 18, 2014 - bhob rainey
jan 9-11, 2015 - SAN FRANCISCO TAPE MUSIC FESTIVAL 2015
mar 9, 2015 - marco fusi
apr, 2015 - james tenney's "spectrum iv"
:: view previous 2014 concerts here ::
Birgit Ulher mit Grosse Abfahrt
German trumpet improviser, Birgit Ulher, performs solo and group improvisations with Grosse Abfahrt — a San Francisco freely-improvising music continuum/community whose name means “great departure”. From out this departure of de-parts comes a salute to epic failure, a disaster in full-dress uniform, gold epaulets dangling off the corpse of Western culture.
M U S I C I A N S
Birgit Ulher, trumpet
John Shiurba, guitar
Gino Robair, percussion/electronics
Tim Perkis, electronics
Kanoko Nishi, koto/piano
Bill Hsu, video
Jacob Felix Heule, percussion
Tom Djll, trumpet/electronics
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe/english horn
Born 1961 in Nuremberg, Birgit Ulher studied the visual arts, which still have an important influence on her music. Since moving to Hamburg in 1982 she has been involved in free improvisation and experimental music. Since then she has “established a distinguished grammar of sounds beyond the open trumpet” (jazzdimensions.de). She works mainly on extending the sounding possiblities of the trumpet by using splitting sounds, multiphonics and granular sounds and has developed her own extended techniques and preparations for producing these sounds. Besides this material research she is especially interested in the relation between sound and silence. She performs solo, with dancers, working ensembles, and one-time collaborations with musicians from around the world.
She has been organising the festival of improvised music Real Time Music Meetingfor over ten years.
Music performances in Europe, USA, South America, Russia and the Middle East, together with UNSK (Birgit Ulher / Martin Küchen / Lise-Lott Norelius / Raymond Strid), the Trio PUT (with Ulrich Phillipp and Roger Turner), Nordzucker (with Lars Scherzberg and Michael Maierhof), Heiner Metzger, Martin Klapper, Tim Hodgkinson, Dorothea Schürch, Rhodri Davies, Robyn Schulkowsky, John Edwards, Michael Zerang, Damon Smith, Lou Mallozzi, Gino Robair, Ute Wassermann, Albert Márkos, Sven Ake Johansson, Gene Coleman, Ernesto Rodrigues, Heddy Boubaker, Tim Perkis, Bryan Eubanks, Tanaka, Ariel Shibolet, Christoph Schiller and Sean Meehan, Forbes Graham, Leonel Kaplan, Gregory Büttner, Lucio Capece, Eric Leonardson and Bill Hsu.
Lecture/Workshops at Haifa University, SAIC - School of The Art Institut of Chicago and Hochschule für Musik Basel.
Grosse Abfahrt is a project Tom Djll started to explore a number of problems in freely improvised music. The first and most obvious of these is the problem of ensemble size, which Djll wanted to tackle head-on: GA ensembles are always of eight to ten players. This range seems to settle in a locale where there is a strong opportunity for individual sound-agents to emerge and make a statement against the ensemble backdrop, and also for the entire ensemble to cohere into long-form structures that transcend the productions of conventional improvised-music sociality (another problem addressed). How these ensembles are collected takes up another problem: that of the conflict between fluency and comfort among improvising compadres. Fluency between players’ languages and approaches is desirable, of course; however, it can lead to complacency.
Grosse Abfahrt is made up of a core group of five-six players which, ideally, does not vary: Tom Djll, Tim Perkis, Matt Ingalls, John Shiurba, Kyle Bruckmann and Gino Robair. These people are all very familiar with each other’s strengths, preferences, and foibles. Added to this core are “outsider" musicians who have not played with the core. Often, these outsiders come from far away, and are playing as duos or trios already, so they arrive with some comfort and fluency in their own musical relationship. How these two dynamics come together to create music, with practically no introduction (much less, rehearsal), is Grosse Abfahrt's practice.
This will be the core group's second meeting with Birgit Ulher, who is based in Hamburg, Germany; it's our first with locals Bill Hsu, Kanoko Nishi-Smith, and Jacob Felix Heule.
Birgit Ulher's appearance is made possible by
The Goethe Institut
Jonathan Zorn presents a selection of recent pieces for voice and electronics.
Zorn's performance will include his composition And Perforation, which uses Sigmund Freud’s essay “The Uncanny” rewritten using Google Translate and MS Word ‘s Auto Summarize functionr sung through a vocoder; and Language as Dust, an essayistic sound poem exploring the consequences of electronic mediation within spoken and written language. The investigation is divided into three meditations exploring relations between: 1) sound and meaning, 2) pattern and noise, and 3) presence and absence. The text of Language as Dust freely repurposes textual sources relating to the history of vocal technologies as well as psychoanalytic and philosophical theories of the voice, including: Aristotle's De Anima, Thomas Edison's anticipated use of audio recording, abstracted lyrics of "How High the Moon," misheard vocoder communications, and transcriptions of Electronic Voice Phenomena.
Jonathan Zorn is a composer, performer, and curator of experimental, electronic, and improvised music. His electronic music pairs improvising musicians with interactive computer systems to create hybrid, human-machine ensembles. Zorn's interest in vocal utterance has resulted in a series of pieces in which spoken language is interrupted by electronic forces, drawing attention to the gap between speech and sound. He is currently working on a suite of electroacoustic sound/text performance pieces. Zorn has been active as an improvisor on bass and electronics for 15 years and has performed at Red Cat, the Walker Art Center, the Verona Jazz Festival, the Library of Congress, the Seattle Festival of Improvised Music, Line Space Line Festival, and the Chelsea Art Museum. He has performed under the direction of Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, Fred Frith, and Alison Knowles. His work has been published in Ord und Bild, the SEAMUS Journal, Notations 21, and UbuWeb.
An evening of Experimental Music and Film
Annie Lewandowski and Tim Feeney with films by Michael Ashkin &
Craig Shepard, Larry Polansky, and David Kant with a film by Beth O'Brien
Finding a shared interest in works of abandonment and stasis, improvisers Tim Feeney (percussion) and Annie Lewandowski (piano/electronics) began a collaboration with artist Michael Ashkin in Ithaca, NY in 2011. Often performed as short videos with live improvised soundtracks, their work Depot/Centralia/Tiber was released on DVD in 2013. In the DVD liner notes, Jonathan Skinner writes: "Like the accompanying music, the indeterminate rhythm of these videos, enflamed via minimalist stillness, emerges in conjunction with clouds, insects, birds plants… The drone of Lewandowski's and Feeney's musical collaboration, the drum of the earth itself, offers a surface taught with myriad events."
Depot/Centralia/Tiber has been performed and screened in Ithaca, New York, and Oberlin.
On a West Coast tour, video artist Beth O'Brien composer/trumpeter Craig Shepard present On Foot: Brooklyn (recently released on Edition Wandelweiser Records). Shepard walked 780-miles in 91 days in New York City, walking everywhere he went. Each week, he composed a new piece and wrote it down. Each Sunday, he led a silent, cell-phone free walk to a different location in Brooklyn, performed the piece, and walked back. O'Brien documented the walks.
This performance features a video of animated still photography by O'Brien together with a live performance of two pieces composed on the trek with Shepard, Larry Polansky, and David Kant.
Michael Ashkin's work spans various media, including sculpture, installation, photography, video, poetry, and text. His work addresses issues of landscape, architecture, and urbanism, specifically the intersection of subjectivity with the social, economic, and political production of space. After receiving a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from Columbia University in Middle East Languages and Cultures, he worked in the business world for eight years before choosing to become an artist. He received an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993. Since then he has shown extensively nationally and internationally including the Whitney Biennial (1997), Greater New York (2000), Documenta 11 (2002), and Vienna Secesion (2009). He has been awarded two Pollock-Krasner Fellowships (1997, 2012) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009). He is currently Chair of the Department of Art at Cornell University.
Tim Feeney has performed as an improviser with musicians including cellist/electronic musician Vic Rawlings; the percussion trio Meridian, with Nick Hennies and Greg Stuart; pianist Annie Lewandowski; tape-deck manipulator Howard Stelzer; trumpeter Nate Wooley; sound artists Jed Speare and Ernst Karel; saxophonist Jack Wright; and the trio ONDA. As an interpreter, Tim was a founding member of the quartet So Percussion, the duo Non Zero with saxophonist Brian Sacawa, and the ensemble LotUs. He has toured throughout the United States, including notable performances at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, New York's The Stone, the Center for New Music and Audio Technology at UC-Berkeley, the Stanford Art Museum, Mills College, Princeton University, and Oberlin College. He has recorded for labels including Accidie, Full Spectrum, Sedimental, Soul on Rice, Audiobot, Homophoni, and Brassland/Talitres. Tim is currently Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Alabama.
Annie Lewandowski is a composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist whose work has situated her between the worlds of improvisation and independent rock music. As an improviser on the piano and accordion, she has recorded with Fred Frith, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Caroline Kraabel, Tim Feeney, and Doublends Vert, and performed with improvisers including Theresa Wong, Miya Masaoka, Chris Cutler, Evan Parker, Ellen Fullman, CAGE, and Charles Hayward. Lewandowski and percussionist Tim Feeney have an ongoing project improvising to the short videos of artist Michael Ashkin.
As a singer, guitarist, and keyboardist, Lewandowski has recorded with rock bands Emma Zunz, Xiu Xiu, The Curtains, Former Ghosts, William Ryan Fritch, and Hawnay Troof. Her band powerdove has released five recordings: Live at the Maybeck House (self-released, 2010), a self-titled EP (Circle into Square, 2011), Be Mine (Circle into Square, 2011), Do You Burn? (Circle into Square/ Murailles Music/ Africantape, 2013), and Arrest (Murailles Music/Sickroom, 2014/2015). Lewandowski has performed at festivals and venues across the United States and Europe, including the Casa da Música (Porto, Portugal), the Hippodrome (London), Musica Nelle Valli (San Martin Spino, Italy), the Great American Music Hall (San Francisco), the Frieze Arts Fair (London), Avalon (Los Angeles), and Redcat (Los Angeles).
Lewandowski is a lecturer in music at Cornell University.
Beth O'Brien is a photographer, filmmaker and visual artist living in Brooklyn, NY.
Craig Shepard (1975 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA) is a composer, trombonist and sound artist. He is a member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble. His work has been called "touchingly beautiful" (Wolfgang Fuhrmann, Berliner Zeitung) and "truly invulnerable" (Martin Preisser, St-Galler Tagblatt). It has been featured at Moments Musicaux Aarau, the Akademie der Künste Berlin, the Kunstraum Düsseldorf, Experimental Intermedia New York, Real Art Ways in Hartford, the Deep Listening Center in Kingston, New York, and throughout Europe and the United States.
His most successful work is On Foot, a 31-day, 350-mile trek from Geneva to St. Margrethen, Switzerland on which he composed, wrote down and performed a new piece every day. As a trombonist, he has performed with Christian Wolff, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Jürg Frey, Collegium Novum Zürich and many others. He has played on recordings with the Vokal Ensemble München and with Burkhard Schlothauer. At the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Zurich University of the Arts), Mr. Shepard served as a lecturer and listening researcher. A paper detailing the results of his work has been published in the Schweizerische Musikzeitung. From 2001 to 2005, he studied sacbut with Ulrich Eichenberger. In 1998, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude, from Northwestern University, where he studied trombone with Frank Crisafulli and composition with Michael Pisaro and Alan Stout.
Craig Shepard lives in Brooklyn, New York City.
Larry Polansky (b. 1954) is a composer, theorist, teacher, writer, performer, programmer, editor and publisher. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, teaching at UC Santa Cruz. He is also the Emeritus Strauss Professor of Music at Dartmouth College, and co-director and co-founder of Frog Peak Music.
His five solo CDs are available on New World Records, Artifact, and Cold Blue, and his music is widely anthologized on many other labels. His own works are performed frequently around the world. From 1980-90 he worked at the Mills Center for Contemporary Music, where he was one of the co-authors (with Phil Burk and David Rosenboom) of the computer music language HMSL, and a contributor to the widely-used program SoundHack (by Tom Erbe).
Nate Wooley and Carol Robinson premiere new works by
Eliane Radigue and Denis Doufour
As part of a nationwide tour that offers a rare opportunity to hear new French works played by the cutting edge performers they were made for, clarinetist Carol Robinson and trumpeter Nate Wooley will give American and world premiere performances of new works by iconoclastic French composers Eliane Radigue and Denis Dufour. The program opens with Dufour’s fascinating Cinq forms d’appel for bass clarinet and trumpet, and continues with Radigue’s OCCAM XVI for solo bass clarinet, OCCAM X for solo trumpet, and OCCAM River III, an amazingly beautiful duet for trumpet and birbynė (the keyless Lithuanian folk clarinet). The Occam pieces are part of a substantial set of new works composed in conjunction with a small group of the world’s finest contemporary musical voices.
Eliane Radigue is renowned for her electronic music, in particular, with the ARP Synthesizer. Her compositions are defined by micro-events due to subtle overtone shifts that dance above a seemingly static tone. The result is profoundly moving. In 2005, Radigue began composing for acoustic instruments, first Naldjorlak, her grand trio for two basset horns and cello, now the ever-expanding Occam Ocean series. These new works have been featured in important festivals: Festival d’Automne / Paris, Huddersfield Contemporary, Angelica / Bologna, CTM.12 Spectral / Berlin, Crossing the Line / NY, Sound and Music / London, ISEA2010 Ruhr, E-May / Vienna, [K] HEUTE / Hamburg, and Impact / Utrecht.
Denis Doufour, highly respected for his research in the fields of instrumental and electronic creation, is the author of more than 160 works. As one of the pioneers of the “morphological” and expressive approach to sonic writing, his works employ a vast spectrum of parameters in all sonic dimensions.
Franco-American clarinetist Carol Robinson is known for her eclectic approach to performing, composing and improvising. Equally at ease in the classical and experimental realms, she appears in festivals, concert halls, and alternative spaces the world over. Her recordings of Feldman, Nono, Berio, Scelsi, Niblock, and of her own compositions, are widely acclaimed. One of Eliane Radigue’s most virtuosic and consistent collaborators, she has premiered Naldjorlak and numerous pieces from Occam Ocean.
New York based trumpeter Nate Wooley has performed on over 100 recordings. Increasingly acknowledged internationally, Wooley’s specific style is part of a burgeoning revolution in experimental trumpet technique with the likes of improvisers Evan Parker, John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, and Thurston Moore. His own compositions expand conceptions of linguistic based embouchure manipulation and utilize the trumpet to control amplified feedback.
Robinson/Wooly Tour funded with support from The French-American Fund for Contemporary Music