Michael Pisaro was born in Buffalo in 1961. He is a composer and guitarist, a member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble and founder and director of the Experimental Music Workshop, Calarts.
Dr. Kathryn Pisaro is active as an oboist and a music historian. A recipient of a B.M. in oboe performance from DePaul University and a performance certificate from California Institute of the Arts, she has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ray Charles, Garth Brooks, the Moody Blues, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, among many others, and in dozens of Broadway musicals. Reviews have described Dr. Pisaro’s playing as “masterful” and “a many-splendored serenade to joy.” A specialist in 20th century music, she has had over fifty pieces written for her. She can be heard on Edition Wandelweiser, Leisure Planet, Plate Tec Tonic and City Lights record labels.
Silicon Valley native Megan DeJarnett grew up surrounded by technology, but unlike many of her peers, she turned to music instead. DeJarnett completed her BM in Theory and Composition at Arizona State University, and after several years crafting acoustic works, which have been described as “writing with the force of a blizzard” and “tastefully atonal,” she expanded her palate into the world of electronic music. As she’s combined her Bay Area heritage and her creative instincts, DeJarnett has brought the outside world into her music, working narrative arcs into much of her recent output and blending genres and disciplines to create performances that truly rise off the page.
Rage Thormbones is a collaboration between trombonists Matt Barbier and Weston Olencki. Rage has recorded for hathut records, fulfilled residences at Harvard, Stanford, NYU, and has plans to release albums soon. Weston lives and works in New York and Matt in Los Angeles.
Jeph Jerman is a musician who began his musical career drumming and playing in bar bands. In the 1980s, he became aware of other sonic possibilities for his drum kit and started learning to improvise and record his own music. During this time Jerman was a frequent collaborator with other musicians who were also exploring improvisational techniques. In the mid-1980s, Jerman founded a cassette label for the distribution of music by himself and friends. The label released over 50 cassettes, several LPs, and a short-lived magazine.
After relocating from Colorado to Seattle, Jerman continued playing with local groups of improvisers and began giving solo performances where he improvised with mostly natural found objects, a practice he continues today. He founded the first animist orchestra dedicated to making larger scale works using natural object play. In 1999, Jerman moved to Cottonwood, AZ. He continues to investigate sound and recording in many forms including field recordings, the building of crude sound making devices, and the effects of age and other damage to analog tape. Jerman's 2014 Grants to Artists award funded recording and touring with Tim Barnes. Jerman continues to collaborate with Dave Knott in a band collectively known as The Yes, Well, and with Tim Barnes, with whom collaborated on an FCA-supported record released in 2015 (Erstwhile Records.) Other CDs and works are available on Anomalous Records, Semperflorens, and Trait Media Works.
Ryan Seward is a percussionist, improviser, composer, and sound artist based in Denver, CO.
His improvisational work centers around approaching the drum as a site of resonance and employing various techniques and preparations to achieve an extensive timbral palette. He also works with found objects, zither, contact mics, analog electronics, and field recordings.
As a composer/sound artist, Seward composes and conceptualizes music/sound for improvisers/spaces. His practice is rooted in a concern for deep listening, communitarian ritual, and the subjective emotional and subconscious engagements with the unique characteristics and qualities of our sonic environments.
Seward runs and curates the record label, emic rite, in order to document his own work and the work of other experimental and contemporary improvisers, composers, and sound artists, with a current focus on those of the American Mountain West, Southwest, and Great Plains.
Bob Marsh is a well seasoned improviser whose work has involved shaping sounds words images ideas. Originally from Detroit, Marsh arrived in the Bay Area in 2000 after ten years in Chicago where he played with most of the avant improvisers in that rich and varied scene. Since his arrival on the west coast, multi-instrumentalist and composer Marsh has been busy with several projects. He currently leads or directs String Theory, a string ensemble focusing on textures and microtonics; the Che Guevarra Memorial Marching (and Stationary) Accordion Band, structured and free improv for six to fifteen accordions; Robot Martians, electronics and processed voice; the Out of the Blue Chamber Ensemble, a mixture of reeds and strings; Opera Viva, voiced physical theater; the Quintessentials, a quintet specializing in interpreting graphic compositions based on alterations to the Michelin Road Guide to France; and the Illuminated Orchestra, structured improves for large ensemble. Additionally Marsh is a member of Romus/Diaz-Infante's Abstractions, Jim Ryan's Left Coast Improv Group, Moe! Staiano's Moe!chestra and Tom Bickley's Cornelius Cardew Choir. Bob Marsh tours frequently with his long term partner saxophonist Jack Wright. Bob has recently been presenting a solo work involving violin, voice and tap shoes. Marsh's educational background includes a BFA in sculpture and an MA in humanistic clinical psychology. He has studied classical piano, classical guitar and vibraphone and has taught himself various other instruments. He currently is active with cello, accordion, violin, voice, vibraphone and electronics.
Laura Steenberge is a performer and composer in Los Angeles who researches language, the voice, mythology and acoustics. Influenced by folk music, psycholinguistics, acoustics and medieval Byzantine chant, collectively her work is a study of nonsense and the boundaries of knowledge. A multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and public speaker, Steenberge uses voice, contrabass, viola da gamba, objects, images to create works in traditional and site-specific locations throughout California, including SF MOMA, the Sutro Baths, the Hammer Museum, REDCAT and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She holds BAs in music and linguistics from the University of Southern California, an MFA in composer/performer and integrated media from CalArts, and a DMA in music composition from Stanford University. She teaches experimental sound practices at CalArts.
Weston Olencki is a New York City based musician making experimental music/art. As a performer He is interested in extended technical & physical demands, noise, signal processing, and long-term collaborations with other artists. He make my own work about the internet, human & machine sociality, and archive/database creation, usually with live electronics &/or video. Lately he's been making things involving live computer animation, experimental tuning systems, and integrating modular synthesizers.
Morgan Evans-Weiler is a Boston based artist and educator whose work ranges from composition and sound installation to drawing, video and design.
Evans-Weiler maintains a busy performance schedule and has performed throughout the United States. He has collaborated and performed with Seth Cluett, Sarah Hennies, Mike Bullock, Dave Gross, Bhob Rainey, Dafne Vincent-Sandoval, Jed Speare, Antoine Beuger, Magnus Granberg, Christoph Schiller and many others. He is director of the New England based ensemble ‘Ordinary Affects’ whom have performed works by Jurg Frey, Magnus Granberg and premiered works by Antoine Beuger and Michael Pisaro.
He has toured nationally and internationally. He recently presented his work in London, Berlin, Huddersfield, Nantes, Besancon and completed a ten day residency at Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm. In 2014 he was invited to perform at the High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music. His recent album ‘Violin/Sine’ was called ‘transfixing’ by writer Steve Smith and included in the Boston Globe’s list of ‘Best Local Classical Albums of 2015’. His music has been released on the ‘Suppedaneum’ label and he has forthcoming releases on ‘Another Timbre’ and ‘ErstAEU’.
Joseph Clayton Mills is a musician, artist, and writer who lives and works in Arizona. His text-based paintings, assemblages, and sound installations have been exhibited in Chicago, New York, and Europe and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker. He is the author of the short-story collection Zyxt, and in 2012 published Nabokrossvords, a translation of early Russian crosswords by Vladimir Nabokov. He is an active participant in the improvised and experimental music community in Chicago, where his collaborators have included Adam Sonderberg and Steven Hess (as Haptic), Michael Vallera (as Maar), NoéCuéllar (as Parital), Sylvain Chaveau, Jason Stein, Michael Pisaro, and Olivia Block, among many others; his recordings have appeared on numerous labels, including Another Timbre, FSS, and Entr’acte. In 2013, in conjunction with Noé Cuéllar, he launched Suppedaneum, a label focused on releasing scores and their realizations.
Burnt Dot is an LA-based noise, improvisation and experimental jazz ensemble funded by Sarah Belle Reid (trumpet + electronics) and Ryan Gaston (modular synthesizer).
Reid and Gaston started Burnt Dot to explore open forms of spontaneous creation. The group is a fluid ensemble of sound and visual artists who are committed to creating work that is as quirky, fiery, and thought-provoking as the world that inspires it.
Burnt Dot's performances range in scope from art museums and concert halls to intermedia installations and site-specific improvisations. Equally committed to outreach and education, Burnt Dot frequently presents workshops and lectures to students in music, improvisation, and creative technology at universities such as Stanford University (CCRMA), California Institute of the Arts, University of Oregon, Hendrix College, and UC Irvine, among others.
Francisco Eme´s work has developed in the areas of sound art, electroacoustic music, photography & video. Creating electroacoustic compositions, multimedia installations, interventions & performances that immerse the audience into a world rich in symbols and poetics. Sometimes interested in the everyday situations of life, sometimes reflecting about social interaction in the world today. Francisco uses visualization as a compositional element. His works have been presented in México, United States, England, Spain, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Canada, Colombia, Argentina and El Salvador in festivals such as San Francisco Tape Music Festival, New York Electroacoustic Music Festival, Festival TransitioMX, InSOnora, amongst others. Currently Francisco works at the Tijuana / San Diego border region where he has developed works about the transborder condition.
Andrew C. Smith is a composer and keyboardist living in Santa Cruz, California. His music often involves just intonation tunings, repetition, and language at the threshold of making sense, often connected to computational processes throughout the composition. He co-organizes the record label and concert producer Indexical, which focuses on long-running collaborations with experimental music composers, performers, and curators. He is a currently a D.M.A. candidate in music composition at UC Santa Cruz, working with Larry Polansky and David Dunn.
Roughhousing is Jack Wright (saxes), Evan Lipson (double bass) and Zachary Darrup. (guitar and objects). "Musical roughhousing is what this group does. You might think this is pure dissonance until you realize it's all synchronized close listening to each other, which comes from so many hours of playing together."
'As DJ Super Squirrel, I want to create multisensory live events in diverse venues, from nightclubs to living rooms, that tell stories about living culture, community, and self-identity under the ever-shifting, hybrid virtual-material conditions of liquid modernity (Bauman 2000). I also collaborate with several Boston performance troupes, including Urban Nomad, MadFemmePride, and TraniWreck, and lead the Signifying Monkey ensemble with a rotating group of DJs and producers. I perform with the Ableton Live software, the Moog Little Phatty analog synthesizer, the Akai APC 40 MIDI controller, video synthesis programs, acoustic percussion, and drum machines.
I have performed at Beat Research, Dyke Night, TraniWreck, Bootie Boston, ZuZu, the Enormous Room, Good Life, Machine, Caprice Lounge, Om Lounge, and several other Boston-area nightclubs. I was a featured performer at the launch of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation in 2013, and have recently DJ'd events at Rasta Club in Tel Aviv, Israel's premier venue for Afro-diasporic and Amharic music. My work has been been reviewed at Boston.com, the Harvard Crimson, Dig Boston, and in Tel Aviv's music press.' -Sarah Hankins (AKA DJ Super Squirrel)
Figmentum (Daria Binkowski, Kyle Rowan and Ania Sundstrom) seeks to go beyond the conventional boundaries of contemporary art music, exploring repertoire for alternative instruments and uncommon sounds.
Figmentum is more than a performing ensemble. We are a unique collective of composers, writers, builders and more. We aim to create – music, instruments, ideas, and community. We seek to educate and engage with those around us through performances and events. We call San Diego our home.
A Figmentum event may be at a coffee house in North Park, a museum Downtown, or even a bookstore by the beach in Del Mar. Toy pianos – pink, red, and black – may find their way onto our stage. Newly-constructed instruments might make their debut. Our performances seek to engage with the community, to be an integral part of San Diego’s culture.
Liam Mooney (Los Angeles)
Liam Mooney is a composer and instrument maker. His work is centered around noisy textures, performer interactions, and the use (or misuse) of familiar objects and materials (balloons, styrofoam, vacuum cleaners . . . ). He is originally from Alleghany County, Virginia, and is currently based in Los Angeles.
Anthony Vine (b. 1988) is a composer and guitarist currently living in San Diego, California. Vine's music is characterized by carefully sculpted fragile landscapes, static networks of microtonal harmony, and strong influences from visual artists and choreographers.
His music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Yarn/Wire, Alarm Will Sound, Bozzini Quartet, Ensemble Modelo62, Bearthoven, Ensemble SurPlus, Trio SurPlus, The Syndicate for the New Arts, and the Illinois Modern Ensemble with performances at festivals throughout the world, including the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht), Time of Music (Musiikin Aika, Finland), Ultima Festival (Oslo), MATA Festival (New York), and Nief Norf Summer Festival (Knoxville). His music has been recorded and released on Cantaloupe Music and Galtta Media. In 2016, he was awarded the Gaudeamus Prize.
Vine has attended institutes and residencies such as the Schloss Solitude Summer Academy, Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute, Mizzou International Composers Festival, CULTIVATE at Copland House, Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composers Residency, Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, and Composit New Music Festival.
Vine collaborates frequently with choreographers and multimedia artists: most recently, he has been working with video artist Katy Gilmore, and Brooklyn-based dance collective Logan Company.
Vine holds an M.M. in composition from the University of Washington, and a B.M. in composition from The Ohio State University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego.
Jordan Sand is a bassist, vocalist, composer, collaborator, writer, and (very aspiring) film photographer.
For the past five years, she has been developing a singular solo sound at the intersection of the familiar and the avant-garde. Combining “ninja bass playing” with “lovely and agile vocals” (Obsolete Media Objects), she released a debut album of original songs in 2014. The project is back in the darkroom, mutating and evolving. Fascinated by the secret and scintillating abilities of the bass, she has set up her proverbial laboratory at UC San Diego, pursuing a master’s degree in experimental performance.
Mustafa Walker (Santa Cruz, CA)
Driven by interests in instrument building technology from the Age of Exploration, renaissance ceremonial magic, Greek tuning theory, mensural notation, and calligraphy, K. C. M. Walker seeks to produce work exploring ritual in musical performance, the mysteries of sound, and the magic in objects and actions. He practices medieval and renaissance repertoire for the hurdy gurdy, bass viol, lute, brass and woodwinds, hoping to discover their hidden voices through altered tuning practices, extended techniques, and long form improvisation. He holds a bachelors of music theory and composition from the College of Charleston and a masters in experimental music from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Mustafa is from Charleston, South Carolina, but is currently based in Los Angeles and pursuing a DMA in music composition with David Dunn and Larry Polansky at The University of California, Santa Cruz.
San Francisco-based H/I Ensemble explores breath, song, and synthesis through sound. Julie Herndon (keys, voice, electronics) and John Ivers (clarinets, electronics) use reactive elements to create malleable, semi-permeable musical structures. Referencing pop, spectralism, and free improvisation, H/I blends boundaries of genre to create dynamic and immersive songscapes.
Hailed for his “technically polished playing” as well as an “endless amount of musical knowledge and creativity”, Tyler J. Borden is a rising force in the contemporary music landscape. A dedicated purveyor of modern music, Tyler has performed with many contemporary music luminaries such as the JACK Quartet, the Theater of Eternal Music Brass and String Band, the Slee Sinfonietta, Ensemble Offspring, Tony Conrad, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, and Steve McCaffery. He has performed at the Soundways New Music Festival in St. Petersburg, June in Buffalo, the New Media Art and Sound Summit, and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, and he has been a participant at the Lucerne Festival Academy and the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. His performance of Witold Lutoslawski’s “Cello Concerto” with the University at Buffalo Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Daniel Bassin was praised for how he “mastered the works intricacies with elegant grace.” Currently, Tyler is a member of the [Switch~ Ensemble], a group dedicated to the performance of works that incorporate multimedia into live performance.
Daniel Meyer-O'Keeffe and Adam Zuckerman (Joshua Tree, CA / Los Angeles)
Daniel Meyer-O'Keeffe is a composer and performer. His work focuses on the political implications of friendship, narrative and naiveté.
His music has been presented at the wulf in LA, Eastern Bloc in Montreal as well as festivals such as June in Buffalo and the Atlantic Music Festival. After dropping out of graduate school in Montreal, Daniel is currently living and working Joshua Tree, California. He is the co-founder of High Desert Soundings.
Originally from Chicago, Sam Clark-McHale (b. 1992) is a composer and improviser currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. His works have been performed by The Living Earth Show, Ensemble Signal, Quartetto Indaco, and the Illinois Modern Ensemble at venues and festivals including June in Buffalo, the Yarn/Wire Institute and the highSCORE New Music Festival. His piece metallic cocaine bebop for Pierrot ensemble was a 2015 ASCAP Morton Gould Award Finalist. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition at UC Davis studying with Mika Pelo.
Although trained as a composer, Jacob Sundstrom’s (b. 1988) work has branched out into several mediums and fields. Among these interests are installation, visual, glitch, data bending, and EEG-driven art. His work focuses on the friction between and among medium, performer(s), and process: using the process against the performers, the process against the medium, the medium against the performers, and visa versa and so on. Out of this friction arises fascinating, beautiful, and often surprising results.
Sundstrom’s musical work has been performed by ensembles including Inverted Space, the JACK Quartet, and the Seattle Chamber Players. It has been performed or played in places as diverse as Radiophrenia in Scotland, art galleries and underground venues in Seattle, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. His visual work has been showcased by the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle and he was a featured artist at the Georgetown Art Attack Special Events at CoCA Un[contained] at Equinox Studios. His work has also been shown at the Behind the Static glitch art show at Erickson Clock in Atlanta, and at Common AREA Maintenance in Seattle. As a visual artist, Sundstrom was profiled in the June 1016 issue of the Not Random Art Contemporary Art Review magazine.
As a researcher, he has helped develop brain-computer musical interfaces for use in performance settings. His work on EEG-driven musical interfaces has been published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting. For what it’s worth, he studied music and philosophy at the University of California, San Diego and music at the University of Washington. He is currently a PhD student in computer music at the University of California, San Diego.
Ypsmael is a sound art and electroacoustic performance project originating in England in the late 2000s. Crafting textural washes of sound and live loops without a computer or presets of any kind, Ypsmael uses electronic and acoustic sound sources, sonic artifacts and audio detritus derived from an array of instruments, live electronics, bent and amplified objects and sometimes field recordings at the core of his compositional and improvisational approach. In over a hundred live appearances around Europe and across the Atlantic, Ypsmael has been collaborating with or performing solo in support of the late Dieter Moebius (Cluster) andcontemporaries such as Damo Suzuki (Can), Simon Whetham, Nate Young & Mike Connelly (Wolf Eyes, Failing Lights), Seymour Wright (lll人), Raphael Ortis & Louis Schild (Leon), Simon Scott (Slowdive), TJ Borden, Valerie Kuehne, Jack Wright, Steve Norton, Crank Sturgeon, I’d M Thfft Able,Christian Kobi, Ryan Jordan, Alexander Tucker, Pimmon, Mike Shiflet, John Chantler, Olivier Dumont & Rodolphe Loubatière, Circuit des Yeux, Ben Bennett, Franziska Baumann, Adam Parkinson, Emptyset, Hackacomb and many more.
Sonic provocateurs Elrond, featuring Vern Avola (EMS, Prizehog) and Ian Gorman Weiland (Antecessor, Hot Victory), deliver a cyborgian onslaught of hammered beats and roaring frequencies that would be the highlight of an off-planet prom for Replicants and T-1000s. -Ron Mason Gassaway
Monopiece (Oakland, CA)
Elena Yu and Isaac Aronson (Joshua Tree, CA / Los Angeles)
Elena Yu is an artist based in Joshua Tree, CA. Her current body of work uses a semi-invented form of notation in a series of visual scores to be applied in dance, music, storytelling, and more. Working primarily in painting, weaving, and performance, she is also an occasional collaborator with Isaac Aronson. Their music has been presented at the wulf (Los Angeles) and Grid Log (Yucca Valley). Yu obtained a BA in Art from UCLA.
Isaac Aronson is a Los Angeles based composer and performer. Influenced by conceptual art theory, his work often investigates music as a mediator of ideas, hoping to both extend and illustrate its limits of communication. His music has been presented at the wulf, Dem Passwords, and Perhspace, among other venues and galleries. He has also performed with multiple ensembles, including Dog Star Orchestra and Southland Ensemble. Aronson obtained a BFA in Music Technology from California Institute of the Arts.
After a year-long journey across North America, the Dream Wanderer virtual reality gallery has found a new home in the high desert. Immerse yourself in a powerful and surreal VR exploration of vivid dreaming, the afterlife and spiritualism based on interviews from members of the utopian psychic community Lilydale.
Lily Dale was founded in 1879 in Western New York as a camp and meeting place for Spiritualists and Freethinkers. Residents of this small town claim to communicate with the dead. The ‘Guidelines for Spiritualism’ are posted on the wall of the Assembly Hall in downtown Lily Dale and guideline #4 reads: “We Never Die”
The virtual reality experience incorporates interviews with Lily Dale resident mediums, motion capture from movement artist Ginger Wagg, and a deck of hand-drawn tarot cards by artist Bobby Griffiths. Kid-friendly experiences available.
Daniel Fishkin’s ears are ringing. Composer, sound artist, and instrument builder. Completely ambivalent about music. Daniel studied with composer Maryanne Amacher and with multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart. He has performed as a soloist on modular synthesizer with the American Symphony Orchestra, developed sound installations in abandoned concert halls, and played innumerable basement punk shows. Daniel’s lifework investigating the aesthetics of hearing damage has received international press (Nature Journal, 2014); as an ally in the search for a cure, he has been awarded the title of “tinnitus ambassador” by the Deutsche Tinnitus-Stiftung. Recent activities include Composing the Tinnitus Suites: 2016, a concert series about hearing damage, taking place in Philadelphia, PA, supported by a a Project Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Daniel received his MA in Music Composition from Wesleyan University, has taught analog synthesis at Bard College, and, as fate would have it, is now pursuing his PhD at University of California, San Diego.