Philadelphia Improvisation and Experimental Music Calendar

01.  23.  20

Thursday             6:00PM

Space and Compnay

Ryan Collerd: Photography

2200 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
Philadelphia artist and photojournalist Ryan Collerd has been documenting Ars Nova Workshop performances for a decade. Please join us for the closing reception of his Ars Nova-specific exhibition featuring extraordinary Philadelphia images from over the years, including Sun Ra Arkestra, Dave Burrell, Thurston Moore, Annette Peacock, Moor Mother, Tootie Heath, and many more. Light refreshments will be served. Framed prints will also be available for purchase.
Ryan Collerd is a Philadelphia based photographer specializing in photojournalism and documentary photography. His clients include The Atlantic, Newsweek, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

01.  23.  20

Thursday             7:00PM

Century

Hypnagogue, Hallucinogenic Bulb, Masri/Getty, Dead Squares

1350 South 29th St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146
It's gonna be a noisy one

Hypnagogue (MA)
https://hypnagogue.bandcamp.com/

Hallucinogenic Bulb
https://hallucinogenicbulb.bandcamp.com/

Julius Masri/Dan Getty
https://www.juliusmasri.com/
https://copjokes.bandcamp.com/

Dead Squares

01.  25.  20

Saturday             4:30PM

Discovery Center

Sonic Sunsets Presents Chaka Benson + Yiddish Labor Leider

3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121
Come out to the avian paradise that is The Discovery Center as Chaka Benson joins us for the 4th Sonic Sunset of the winter! Don't worry we'll keep you nice and warm with Fresh Sourdough, Electronic Imagining, Righteous Riotous Anger.
Known mostly for performing in art galleries and small, funky venues...These days you can find Chaka Benson and the awesome powerful sounds of his Eurorack machine almost anywhere!
Always on the move...maybe he's coming your way soon!
Check his FB and Instagram @chakabenson to find out.
https://cmbperformance.blogspot.com/2019/07/chaka-benson.html?m=1
Aaron Pond is your host and opener for the evening, performing improvised melodies with the poetry of the early 20th century Yiddish Labor Movement. Special thanks to the Robert and Molly Freedman Sound Archive for helping me find a treasure trove of songs!

01.  25.  20

Saturday             8:00PM

Caplan Center

Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom

320 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19102
Performing "In Our Veins: Rivers and Social Change"
Featuring
Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom
Myra Melford – piano
Jenny Scheinman – violin
Ben Goldberg – clarinet
Kirk Knuffke – cornet
Todd Sickafoose –  bass
Allison Miller – drums + compositions
Claudia Rahardjanoto – tap dance
Please join us for the Philadelphia premiere of In Our Veins: Rivers and Social Change, the new multimedia work by drummer and composer Allison Miller, teaming her singular ensemble Boom Tic Boom with acclaimed tap dancer Claudia Rahardjanoto.
Over the past ten years, Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom has established itself as one of the most consistently inventive and hardest working bands in modern jazz. Miller’s music for the sextet makes surprising and inventive use of the full palette of its unique instrumentation, simultaneously challenging and infectious, witty and emotional, joyous and richly layered, drawing on a range of inspirations embracing modern jazz, indie rock, and globe-spanning rhythmic traditions. Miller has been named one of the “Top 20 Jazz Drummers” in Downbeat, and her composition “Otis Was a Polar Bear” was on NPR’s list of “The 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women.”

01.  27.  20

Monday             8:00PM

ELCA

Earth Tongues & Unseen Rain

1542 E Montgomery Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Earth Tongues:
An ensemble dedicated to exploring the scope and scale of experimental improvised music, Earth Tongues approaches each performance as a chance to build new, challenging work that take silence and ambient sound into full account. Consisting of Carlo Costa on percussion, Joe Moffett on trumpet, and Dan Peck on tuba, the trio creates immersive pieces that weave through a Venn diagram of music, noise, and quiet.
Unseen Rain:
Unseen Rain is an experimental ensemble from Philadelphia. Delving into the sound worlds of places beyond human reach, the music evokes the echolocation of ocean floors, the bustling of anthills, and the cosmic reverberations of extra-terrestrial life. Comprised of strings, vibraphone and modified drum kit, The group’s instrumentation lends itself to an intimate, quieter aesthetic that embraces space and slow-building forms. Unseen Rain was formed by violinist June Bender in 2017. Recent projects include film scoring for the documentary Queer Genius (directed by Catherine Pancake), and the upcoming fall release of their debut album, Out Beyond. The group’s name pays homage to the Sufi mystic Rumi, whose poems inspired Bender to write some of her first compositional sketches.
June Bender violin/composition
Alban Bailly cello/electronics
Ashley Tini vibraphone
Matt Stein double bass
Mike Szekely percussion

01.  31.  20

Friday             8:00PM

Fleisher Art Memorial

Variant 6: New Suns

719 Catharine Street Philadelphia, PA 19147
Philadelphia’s favorite vocal sextet Variant 6 presents world premieres by Joanne Metcalf and Klaus Sandvig on a program that brings light in the dark of winter.  Joanne Metcalf’s music draws inspiration from Renaissance and medieval polyphony, ancient Georgian music, and contemporary extended techniques. Her new work will set a poem by Denise Levertov: “The Sea’s Wash in the Hollow of Your Heart”.   Norwegian composer Klaus Sandvig’s music attempts to make a substantial impact on the listener and is based upon a wide understanding of possible listening experiences. His interest for formalized structures and their intrinsic qualities are often combined with a strong intention to create an organic and at the same time challenging development. Klaus will be setting brief excerpts from Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Also on the program will be Metcalf’s “Il nome del bel fior” which she wrote for Singer Pur and the Hilliard Ensemble, as well as music by Donna McKevitt and Philadephia-based composers Benjamin C S Boyle and David Shapiro.
PROGRAM
– Joanne Metcalf: TBD (world premiere)
– Klaus Sandvik: TBD (world premiere)
– Joanne Metcalf: Il nome del bel fior (excerpts)
– Donna McKevitt: Translucence
– Benjamin C S Boyle: Supplice
– David Shapiro : It is enough

02.  01.  20

Saturday             8:00PM

Pageant : Soloveev

Here We Go Again : 4 sets

607 Bainbridge St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147
J GUY LAUGHLIN (Cleveland) & JAMES MCKAIN & T.J. BORDEN
First time outing for this trio, though mutual respect and admiration combined with past collaborations involving 2 out of the 3 in other settings only solidifies the status of this performance as inevitable.
Midwest-via-Manhattan reedsman James McKain is looking towards greener pastures with his first gig as a Philadelphia resident (he's moving to town the day of this gig). Blurring the line between the avant virtuosity of the downtown scene and the dank scuzz of the midwest basement skronk, McKain pushes the limits of his saxophone as a tool for discovery, yielding a cornucopia of auditory textures, from guttural gurgles and psycho jazz slosh and slurps, to dog-whistle polyphonic overtones and queasy microtonal explorations of the altissimo-range.
https://jamesmckain.bandcamp.com/
J Guy is a seasoned free jazz/noise rock drummer from Cleveland.
J Guy & James duo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRdwqcNAtGg
T.J. Borden is a musician working within and around the constraints of the cello. Formerly from western NY, he now splits his time between Philadelphia and NYC, where he focuses most of his efforts towards exploiting the strengths and failures of himself and his instrument.
www.tylerjborden.com
YUREKA CASH
pretty bad, but pretty good
https://youtu.be/axtj-u-r0pg
SHANE RILEY
#1 purveyor of AI Generated Crappola in Philadelphia
https://shaneriley.bandcamp.com/
LEO SUAREZ
A recent transplant from Tampa, FL to Philadelphia, drummer/improvisor Leo Suarez has been performing, recording and touring within various rock contexts, as well as in many different experimental and improvised settings. Suarez is well-known in FL for his work with MeatWound, Career, and Glass Tongue Trio, and since moving to Philadelphia, has collaborated or performed with Jack Wright, Dan Blacksberg, T.J. Borden, Madam Data, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Taiwan Housing Project. Suarez has toured the U.S. and Europe extensively with 4AD rock group Merchandise, and continues to stay active on the road with Nude Tayne, Carnivorous Bells, and his new improvisational power trio TONED (with Nathan Corder and Tom Weeks).
https://leosuarez.bandcamp.com/
Doors at 8PM
1st set at 9PM
$5-$15 sliding scale

02.  07.  20

Friday             8:00PM

Christ Church

DAVID FIRST: SAME ANIMAL, DIFFERENT CAGES – NIGHT 1

20 N American Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
Bowerbird is pleased to present Same Animal, Different Cages, a two night portrait of composer David First. Now based in Brooklyn, First was born in Philadelphia and was active in the city during the 1970s and 80s as the composer and guitarist for the influential avant rock band The Notekillers. His work ranges from pop songs to severely minimalist droneworks during which he can be found playing everything from computer to harmonica. First has created freely improvised jazz works, abstract electronic music, sound art, audiovisual experiments, and opera. He has played with legendary jazz pianist Cecil Taylor at Carnegie Hall and was musical director for (Mummer’s) Trilby String Band. First has collaborated on recordings and performances with Kyp Malone of TV On the Radio, renowned minimalist composer Phill Niblock, and has been commissioned to create new works for the Flux Quartet, Joseph Kubera, The SEM Ensemble, and Thomas Buckner.

02.  08.  20

Saturday             4:30PM

The Discovery Center

Sonic Sunsets Presents The NuGruv Network + Argyle Torah

3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121
Come out to gorgeous, sublime, avian paradise that is The Discovery Center as Kimpedro + The NuGruv Network joins us for the Final Sonic Sunset of the winter! Don't worry we'll keep you nice and warm.
About the Performers
The NU GRuV Network is Not A Band! We are a collective of successful enterprising artists complimenting and supplementing one anothers’ specialized skill sets to acheive next level proficiency in the creative and performing arts. Kimpedro’s NU GRuV Network is operated on a strong spiritual foundation. Every member acknowledges GOD as the Source of their Creativity and realizes how much of a privilege and honor it is to share such an empowerment! The NU GRuV Network, established in 2012, was inspired by the long running success of The JazGuardian Organization.
Argyle Torah- Improvisations of Man and Machine for Voice and Modular Synthesizer.
Thomas Patteson + Aaron Pond are buds spiraling out from soil in delicate procedures. The difference- small. Both befriend the spirit of the sun. Thomas channels UV rays through circuits into pure aurality. Aaron makes petals ruminate.

02.  08.  20

Saturday             8:00PM

Christ Church

DAVID FIRST: SAME ANIMAL, DIFFERENT CAGES – NIGHT 2

20 N American Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
Bowerbird is pleased to present Same Animal, Different Cages, a two night portrait of composer David First. Now based in Brooklyn, First was born in Philadelphia and was active in the city during the 1970s and 80s as the composer and guitarist for the influential avant rock band The Notekillers. His work ranges from pop songs to severely minimalist droneworks during which he can be found playing everything from computer to harmonica. First has created freely improvised jazz works, abstract electronic music, sound art, audiovisual experiments, and opera. He has played with legendary jazz pianist Cecil Taylor at Carnegie Hall and was musical director for (Mummer’s) Trilby String Band. First has collaborated on recordings and performances with Kyp Malone of TV On the Radio, renowned minimalist composer Phill Niblock, and has been commissioned to create new works for the Flux Quartet, Joseph Kubera, The SEM Ensemble, and Thomas Buckner.

02.  15.  20

Saturday             8:00PM

Icebox Project Space

Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble & Laurie Amat

1400 N American st Philadelphia, PA 19122
Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble:
Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble is an ever-evolving, collectively-improvising large ensemble for projections and music, led by visual artist Erik Ruin, recently lauded by the New York Times for his “spell-binding cut-paper animations.” Erik manipulates intricate paper-cuts and painted films on overhead projectors to create abstract landscapes and fragmentary scenes that are nonetheless charged with meaning, merging with music that ranges from dark atmospherics to ecstatic peaks of dissonance. Members of the ensemble include a rotating cast of Philly’s finest musicians, who have collaborated with everyone from Anthony Braxton to the Sun Ra Arkestra to Bardo Pond.
Laurie Amat:
Laurie Amat is an acclaimed vocalist, improvisational performer, experimental composer and teacher. Her approach to singing is informed by broad experience including pop, rock, traditional and inventive opera, spoken word, video, dance, theater and performance art.

02.  15.  20

Saturday             8:00PM

Ruba Club

Marquis Hill’s Love Tape

416 Green Street Philadelphia, PA
Marquis Hil – flugelhorn
Mike King – keyboards
Junius Paul – bass
Makaya McCraven – drums
Please join us for a scintillating performance by inventive trumpeter Marquis Hill and his soulful new project Love Tape.
From his beginnings as one of Chicago’s most thrilling young trumpeters to his current status as an internationally renowned musician, composer, and bandleader, Marquis Hill has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that divide musical genres. Contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house, neo-soul—to Hill, they’re all essential elements of the profound African-American creative heritage he’s a part of. “It all comes from the same tree,” says the 2014 Thelonious Monk Competition winner. “They simply blossomed from different branches.”

02.  18.  20

Tuesday             8:00PM

The Rotunda

Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury

4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury is a disciple of the sitar maestro Pandit Subroto Roy-Chowdhury. Groomed in the Veen-kar style of the Senia Gharana, which maintains the Dhrupadi origins of Indian Classical music, Indrajit strives to innovate while keeping a firm connection with the past. While completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, Indrajit received the Bennenson Award for the Arts to further his study of Indian Classical music. Since then he has taken the profession of a full-time sitarist and has performed on stages across the world including such prestigious venues as Gyan Mancha (Kolkata), Hammerstein Ballroom (New York), Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.) and has had his concerts telecast by Doordarshan (Indian National Television). During the 2010 Fall semester Indrajit was a visiting faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and taught the University’s sitar course.

02.  24.  20

Friday             8:00PM

The Rotunda

GEORGE STAVIS, Elkhorn

4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States
George Stavis is a singular player, among the finest 5-string banjo players of his generation. Although trained in the traditions of Pete Seeger and Earl Scruggs, in the late 1960s Stavis developed a unique approach to the instrument which expanded it in both popular and exotic directions. His first solo album, Labyrinths, on the Vanguard label, is considered a landmark for improvisational performance (“. . . one of the essential albums, in any genre, of the 1960s.” –Glenn Jones), one that brought the banjo into the “world music” category, with its evocations of jazz, classical and Indian music. Later, Stavis developed the electric banjo, fronting a popular West Coast band, Oganookie, who performed up to 160 nights per year. In the mid-’80s, Stavis released a folk orchestral album, Morning Mood, which featured his long-time collaborator, violinist / fiddler Robert Stern, and included such notables such as Darol Anger and Mike Marshall on violin and mandolin, respectively. Stavis has performed on eight recordings, including four as principal, and has opened for such artists as Richie Havens, Neil Young, the Grateful Dead and Jean-Luc Ponty, as well as performing duets with the another of the banjo’s most notable innovators, the late Bill Keith. His early work has recently been re-released in Italy and the UK, and a recent solo piece can be heard on Imaginational Anthem, Vol. 3 (Tompkins Square). Though he has not been an active performer in recent years, he still plays out from time to time, and recently performed to a rapt audience at the Thousand Incarnations of the Rose Festival of American Primitive Music. Stavis currently lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

03.  10.  20

Tuesday             8:00PM

Johnny Brenda's

Jeff Parker & The New Breed

1201 N. Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA
Ars Nova Workshop is thrilled to present the return of guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Jeff Parker with his eclectic and autobiographical ensemble The New Breed.
A longtime member of the influential indie band Tortoise and a pillar of the Chicago jazz and experimental music scene, Jeff Parker is recognized as one of contemporary music’s most versatile and innovative electric guitarists and composers. With a prolific output characterized by musical ideas of angularity and logic, he draws from a wide variety of genres—from pop, rock, and jazz to new music—using ideas informed by innovations and trends in both popular and experimental forms. He creates works that explore and exploit the contrary relationships between tradition and technology, improvisation and composition, and the familiar and the abstract.

03.  12.  20

Thursday             8:00PM

Johnny Brenda's

Sun of Goldfinger

1201 N. Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA
Please join us for a performance by Sun of Goldfinger, an exploratory trio featuring three Ars Nova Workshop favorites: guitarist David Torn, saxophonist Tim Berne, and percussionist Ches Smith.
The self-titled debut by Sun of Goldfinger builds upon an enticing web of relationships: of the three musicians, who have worked together in various capacities in guitarist David Torn’s brain-warping projects as well as saxophonist Tim Berne’s boundary-stretching bands; and of all three artists and the groundbreaking label ECM, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 with no signs of slowing its forward march into uncharted sonic territory.

03.  17.  20

Tuesday             8:00PM

The Rotunda

FENNESZ, Britton Powell

4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States
Austrian laptop music pioneer Fennesz recently released his first album in nearly five years, Agora, and it reinforces the inscrutable beauty of his aesthetic. His work is steeped in romanticism, with each piece patiently wending its way through meticulously plotted narratives of remarkable concision, marked by orchestral swells and shimmering ambience. Using a blend of synthesizers and ingeniously processed electric guitar, he sculpts richly textured movements that seamlessly layer post-industrial noises—whirrs, clicks, feedback, and machine-like throbs—soaring washes of symphonic color, and hydroplaning drones, all of which coalesce into glorious transmissions of interiority. While the title of the opening piece, “In My Room,” references his longstanding ardor for the Beach Boys, in the hands of Fennesz it conveys a profound expression of communication, opening doors to the world.
New York electronic music composer and performer Britton Powell is deeply invested the psycho-acoustic possibilities of minimalism. Perhaps known best for his collaborations with artists like Jon Gibson, Matmos, Leila Bodreuil, and Sensations Fix, his own pieces and DJ mixes combine hypnotic sonic patterns, subtly knotted textural contrasts, and colliding polyrhythms. As much an advocate as an artist, he’s run various underground music space and operates the experimental label Catch Wave Ltd.
Scroll to top