New Ear Festival 2017
January 8-16, 2017
Curated by Peter Evans
LIVE STREAM of all performances, presented in partnership with Wave Farm.
Jan 8 (6pm) - Tribute to Pauline Oliveros
and launch of 9 Evenings + 50 video archive
Jan 9 - Amir ElSaffar, Ole Mathison, Tomas Fujiwara
Jan 10 - Kassa Overall
Jan 11 - Ohal Grietzer, Victoria Keddie
Jan 12 - Miya Masaoka, Byron Westbrook, Ursula Scherrer
Jan 13 - Tomeka Reid, Jamie Branch, Selina Trepp
Jan 14 - Diego Espinosa
Jan 15 - Levy Lorenzo, Lea Bertucci
Jan 16 - Yulan Grant, Devin Kenny
Performances Start at 8
Sun. Jan 8 - Tribute to Pauline Oliveros
and launch of "9 Evenings + 50" video archive (6pm start)
Mon. Jan 9 - Amir ElSaffar, Ole Mathison, Tomas Fujiwara
Trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar has distinguished himself with a mastery of disparate musical styles and a singular approach to combining aspects of Middle Eastern music with American jazz, extending the boundaries of each tradition.
A skilled jazz trumpeter with a classical background, ElSaffar has created new techniques to play microtones and ornaments that are idiomatic to Arabic music but are not typically heard on the trumpet. Additionally, he is an acknowledged performer of the classical Iraqi maqam tradition, and performs actively in the US and internationally as a vocalist and santur player. As a composer, ElSaffar has used the microtones found in maqam music to create a unique approach to harmony and melody. He currently leads four critically-acclaimed ensembles: Two Rivers, which combines the musical languages and instrumentation of Iraqi Maqam and contemporary jazz; the Amir ElSaffar Quintet, performing ElSaffar’s microtonal compositions with standard jazz instrumentation; Safaafir, the only ensemble in the US performing and preserving the Iraqi Maqam in its traditional format; and The Alwan Ensemble.
In addition, he has worked with jazz legend Cecil Taylor, and prominent jazz musicians such as Mark Dresser, Gerry Hemingway, Marc Ribot, Henry Grimes, and Oliver Lake. ElSaffar has appeared on numerous recordings, and has released six under his own name, Maqams of Baghdad (2005), Two Rivers (2007), Radif Suite (2010), Inana (2011), Alchemy (2013), and Crisis (2015).
Tues. Jan 10 - Kassa Overall
KASSA overall is one part jazz drummer, one part alt rapper and one part whatever he feels like bringing to the stage that particular day. Performing material from his new Rap album. There may be other musicians, there may be video projections or he may just tell jokes over Joni Mitchell covers. Who knows.
Since moving to NYC via Seattle WA he has recorded and toured with some of the most forward thinking artists in many genres especially what is considered “Jazz.” (Francis and the Lights, Theo Croker, Geri Allen, Vijay Iyer, Steve Coleman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gary Bartz etc…)
He is currently focused on solo endeavors including his debut project BLACK YOGA as a frontman. This body of work comes from a Hip Hop vein but he does not like to look at art in terms of categories. Hardly some staid conscious hip-hop throwback, Kassa is wary of coming across as preachy. “I feel like we’re in a world of know-it-alls,” he says. “There’s a lot of assuming, and I think that stops people from learning. As soon as you define something, you close yourself off from possibilities.
Following a few years of formal partnership with Kool A.D. in the rap duo Peaceful Solutions, Kassa’s solo venture fearlessly explores dark corners of the mind, not to wallow in negative sentiments but rather to expose them in pursuit of personal betterment.
“To become a master, you have to always be a student,” Kassa says. “The way we approach our daily life should be more studious. You don’t have to agree, but you have to be open.”
Wed. Jan 11 - Ohal Grietzer, Victoria Keddie
Ohal Grietzer is a pianist, soundtrack composer, and mixed-media artist working primarily with audio and video. She produces and performs music using synthesizers, field recordings, and voice. Her music is based on formal transformations from the logic of contemporary composition to the sensibilities of pop songs, gradually building narrative and pathos out of soundscape and abstraction. Ohal's debut album as a solo artist, Acid Park, an eight songs piece for voice, synthesizers and samplers, was released earlier this year on Styles Upon Styles.
Victoria Keddie is an artist working in sound, video, and transmission. Her focus involves analog signal generation and manipulation, the performing body, and relationships of space. For five years, she has been Co-Director of E.S.P. TV, a nomadic TV studio that hybridizes technologies to realize synthetic environments and deconstruct the televisual for live performance. In early 2016, Keddie launched UNIT 11, a mobile transmission based residency operated within and involving an ENG news van. Site specific field work involves concentrated energy fields, fluctuating electronic activity, geographical discontinuity, and time sensitivity.
She has performed and exhibited internationally at venues and festivals such as, The Swiss Institute, The Kitchen, Museum of Moving Image, Queens Museum of Art, and Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Human Resources (Los Angeles), Lightcone, (Paris), Studio XX (Montreal), LOOP Festival (Barcelona), Pallas Projects (Dublin), Reykjavik Arts Festival (Reykjavik), General Public (Berlin), Axis Art Centre (Crew), The Independent Film Festival (Naples), Liste Art Fair (Basel), Seeing Sound Festival (Bath), and Daimon (Gatineau). With her project, E.S.P. TV, she has been artist-in-residence at Pioneer Works, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Museum of Arts and Design.
Video works are distributed through Lightcone, (Paris). Sound works to be released with Spectral Evidence, (Cambridge, MA).
Thurs. Jan 12 - Miya Masaoka, Byron Westbrook, Ursula Scherrer
Miya Masaoka resides in New York City and is a Grammy nominated (2016) classically trained musician, composer and installation artist. She has created works for traditional Japanese instruments, chamber ensembles, symphonic orchestra, mixed choirs, telematic performances and designed interactive wearable textiles. She has composed pieces using spatialization, sonification of data, mapped behavior of plants, brain activity and insect movement. The Wire publication calls her work, “virtuosic, magnificient…essential.”
Her work has been performed throughout the world including the Venice Biennale 2004, the Miller Theater, NYC, Merkin Hall, V2 (Rotterdam), Ircam, (Paris), KunstRadio (Vienna), Radio Breman (Germany), Alice Tully Hall, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Walker, Contemporary Art Museum of Chicago. She was the keynote speaker for NIME in Brisbane, Australia 2016.
The New York Press calls her a “World class innovator with uncompromising musicality,” and the New York Times calls her “an explorer of the extremes of her instrument.”
She has been commissioned by and collaborated with Bang On a Can, So Percussion, The La Jolla Symphony, Either/Or Ensemble, Volti, SF Sound, Ensemble of the Piedmont Choirs, San Francisco Choral Society, Alonzo King and Lines Ballet, Kathleen Supove, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Joan Jeanrenaud (formerly of Kronos), Del Sol String Quartet
Awards include the prestigious Doris Duke Award, the Alpert Award, Gerbode, ASCAP, Asian Cultural Council, the MAP Fund, Asian Art Foundation, the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle, Issue Project Room.
She has collaborated and worked with many leading artists including Pharoah Sanders, Pauline Oliveros, Ornette Coleman, Steve Coleman, Mark Izu, Toshiko Akiyoshi (she wrote a piece for her), Cecil Taylor, Jin Hi Kim, Larry Ochs, Fred Frith, Christian Wolff, Henry Brandt, Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, Vijay Iyer and Gerry Hemingway, Myra Melford and Zeena Parkins. She has recently recorded a duo recording with Anthony Braxton.
She is a Fulbright Fellow for Japan 2016, She has been a faculty member of the Milton Avery MFA Sound/Music Department at Bard College since 2003 and has taught composition at NYU. She is the interim Director of Sound Arts MFA program at Columbia University.
Byron Westbrook is an artist and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. He has been performing and showing experimental sound work internationally since 2008. Following two releases under the moniker Corridors, his debut LP under his given name (Precipice on Root Strata) was named #4 Best Experimental Album of 2015 by Pitchfork Magazine. His work has been presented at ICA London, Fridman Gallery, ISSUE Project Room, PS1 Annex, Abrons Arts Center, Pioneer Works, Human Resources, Disjecta, Instants Chavires Art Space, Fylkingen, the LAB, among many others. He holds an MFA from Bard College and has been in residence at Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Clocktower Gallery, Diapason Gallery, EMS Stockholm. He is currently Visiting Faculty in the Fine Arts Department at Pratt Institute.
The poetic quality of Ursula Scherrer's work reminds one of moving paintings, drawing the viewer into the images, leaving them with their own stories. She transforms spaces and landscapes into serene, abstract portraits of rhythm, color and light - inner landscapes in the outside world where the images and actions have less to do with what we see then with the feeling they leave behind.
Scherrer is a Swiss artist living in New York. Her work has been shown in festivals, galleries and museums internationally.
Her aesthetic training began with dance, transitioned to choreography and expanded to photography, video, text, mixed media and performance art.
Fri. Jan 13 - Tomeka Reid, Jaimie Branch, Selina Trepp
Recently described as a “New Jazz Power Source” by the New York Times, Chicago cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in the Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade.
Her distinctive melodic sensibility, usually braided to a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles over the years. Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell, singer Dee Alexander, and drummer Mike Reed. She is also a co-leader of the adventurous string trio called Hear in Now, with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi. Recently Reid released her debut recording as a bandleader, with the eponymous recording by the Tomeka Reid Quartet, a lively yet charged debut album that is a vibrant showcase not only for the cellist’s improvisational acumen, but also her knack for dynamic arrangements and her compositional ability. Reid, grew up outside of Washington D.C., but her musical career largely kicked into gear after moving to Chicago in 2000 to attend DePaul University for graduate school. Her work with Nicole Mitchell and various Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians-related groups have proved influential to the young musician. By focusing on developing her craft primarily as a side person and working in countless improvisational contexts, Reid has achieved a stunning musical maturity. Reid is a 2016 recipient of a 3Arts award in music.
Jaimie Branch is a Brooklyn-based trumpeter working in the areas of improvisation and composition. In her performance and composition, Branch is particularly interested in extending and expanding the technical limitations of the trumpet and the musical language of free jazz and improvised musics. Currently Branch leads a variety of projects including the Jaimie Branch Trio featuring bassist Brandon Lopez and drummer Mike Pride and the Jaimie Branch Quartet: Fly or Die, featuring cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Jason Ajemian, and drummer Chad Taylor. Both groups have debut records coming out in Spring 2017.
Selina Trepp is an artist whose work explores economy and improvisation. Finding a balance between the intuitive and conceptual is the goal, living a life of adventure is a way, embarrassment is often the result.
She combines installation, drawing, painting, and sculpture to create intricate setups for photos and videos. Selina Trepps work has been exhibited widely internationally and has received several awards and honors including the Swiss Art Award and the Illinois Arts council Fellowship.
In addition to the studio-based work, Selina is active in the experimental music scene. In this context she sings and plays the videolah, her midi controlled video synthesizer, to create projected animations in real-time as visual music. She performs with a varying cast of collaborators and as one half of Spectralina, her audiovisual collaboration with Dan Bitney.
Sat. Jan 14 - Diego Espinosa
Multi-percussionist/sound artist/composer dedicated to expand the boundaries of contemporary performance practice through sound exploration. His works and experiments with a wide range of visual artists, music technologists and theatrical/physical percussion repertoire has led him to focus a great deal of energy on projects wherein the visual component of a composition is as important or even equal partner to the music. In 2016 was his debut as a soloist at the BBC Proms (Royal Albert Hall) with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, performed twice at the Tate Modern (Tarek Atoui's The Reversed Sessions), 9 times at Deutche Oper/Munich Biennale, and is currently nominated for the International Classical Music Awards 2017 with the recording of Tongues of Fire by James Wood. Espinosa has performed in 36 countries across all five continents collaborating with diverse artists like Pierre Boulez, John Zorn, Steve Reich, John Luther Adams, Kajia Saariaho, Matmos, and Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble. He has received awards in Europe, North America and Asia. He holds a Doctorate from McGill University, and a Masters from the Royal Conservatory, The Netherlands. He was a steady member of cutting edge Dutch ensembles Slagwerk Den Haag and Amsterdam Percussion Group. He has recorded for Mode Records, Tzadik, Cantalloupe, Col legno, EMF, ENCORA, Karnatic Lab, Artek, EtCetera, and Navona Records.
Sun. Jan 15 - Levy Lorenzo, Lea Bertucci
Filipino-American Levy I. Lorenzo works at the intersection of music, art, and technology. On an international scale, his body of work spans custom electronics design, sound engineering, instrument building, installation art, free improvisation, and classical percussion. With a primary focus on inventing new instruments, he prototypes, composes, and performs new electronic music. As an electronic art consultant, Levy designs interactive electronics ranging from small sculptures to large-scale public art installations with artists such as Alvin Lucier and Leo Villareal. As a percussionist, he co-founded the experimental theater/electronics duo Radical 2 with Dennis Sullivan and is a member of House Special, an electro-acoustic improvising quintet with Peter Evans. As a sound engineer, he specializes in the realization and performance of complete electro-acoustic concerts with non-traditional configurations. A core member of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), he fulfills multiple roles as live sound engineer, electronic musician, and percussionist. Levy earned degrees as Master of Electrical & Computer Engineering from Cornell University, and Doctor of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University. He has given numerous guest lectures on electronic musical instrument design and teaches at CUNY College of Technology and Hunter College. He recently received commissions from the American Composers Forum and Pringles
Lea Bertucci is an American sound artist, composer and performer whose work describes relationships between acoustic phenomena and biological resonance. Her work often incorporates multi-channel speaker arrays, electroacoustic feedback, extended instrumental/vocal technique, and tape collage. As an instrumentalist, she takes an idiosyncratic approach to the amplification of woodwind instruments, creating organic yet electrified sonic interventions. Her debut solo LP, Resonance Shapes, was released in 2013 on the Obsolete Units label and has been praised by A Closer Listen as "A grand exploration of the possibilities inherent in sound”. She is a 2016 MacDowell Fellow in composition and a 2015 ISSUE Project Room Artist-in-Residence. Her discography includes a number of solo and collaborative releases on various underground independent labels in the US and Europe, most recently, Axis/Atlas, on Clandestine Compositions.
My choices as a composer and sound artist describe relationships between acoustic phenomena and biological resonance. Many of my projects involve improvisation, on-site exploration, multichannel speaker configurations and radical electroacoustic preparation of orchestral instruments. My four-dimensional approach to composition asks the listener to reconsider the body’s relationship to sound and initiates new access points to architecture.
The use of rigorous, abstract sound in my work, whether electronically generated or the product of extended instrumental technique, is a deliberate reaction to our disastrous times.
In my compositions for tape, juxtapositions of environmental sources and manipulated instruments/objects form an ominous sound-world, where states of alienation, ambiguity and transcendence are examined. The deceleration of tape speed extends the moment of a recorded sound, allowing it to take on its own life as a musically descriptive force.
Mon. Jan. 16 - Yulan Grant
Yulan Grant is a New York based multi-disciplinary artist from Kingston, Jamaica. A creative positioned between Caribbean and American culture, her work interrogates ideas of identity, notions of power, perceived histories and the entanglements that happens within these topics. Grant is interested in the role that new media plays in artistic practices and the dialogue they hope to create. Grant's recent exhibitions include Paradise Garage in Los Angeles, CA; MoMA PS1 in Queens, NY, Edel Assanti in London, England and GAMeC in Bergamo, Italy among others.