Location:4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States
10/22/2019 8:00 PM - 10/22/2019 8:00 PM
Drummer Gerald Cleaver, born and raised in Detroit, is a product of the city’s rich music tradition. He has performed or recorded with a wide variety of artists: Roscoe Mitchell, Tommy Flanagan, Matt Shipp, William Parker, Eddie Harris, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Gayle, Ralph Alessi, Jacky Terrasson, Muhal Richard Abrams, Joe Morris, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne, Jeremy Pelt, David Torn and Miroslav Vitous, among others. Cleaver currently leads the bands Violet Hour, Black Host, Uncle June and Farmers By Nature with Craig Taborn & William Parker.
Frode Gjerstad (saxophones & clarinet) has for many years declared his enthusiasm towards small line-ups, and especially trio. With over 120 recordings as a leader he has established himself as a major saxophonist on the international scene. His trios have included strong drummers and bass players such as John Stevens, Hamid Drake, Rashied Bakr, Johnny Dyani, Kent Carter, William Parker and Paal Nilssen-Love.
Bassist Brandon Lopez is a musician who deals with improvised and composed music (if one likes to make a distinction). His work as been praised as “brutal” and “relentless”. He’s worked beside many of experimental music’s luminaries; Jooklo Trio, Nate Wooley, Sun Ra Arkestra, Ashley Fure, Okkyung Lee, Gerald Cleaver, Ingrid Laubrock, Tony Malaby, Tyshawn Sorey, Bill Nace, Steve Baczkwoski, Chris Corsano, and many others. He was the 2018 Artist in Residence at Issue Project Room and a Van Lier Fellow at Roulette Intermedium. In September 2018 he was featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic.
10/22/2019 8:00 PM - 10/22/2019 8:00 PM
Co-sponsored by South Asia Center University of Pennsylvania
Harsh Narayan is a leading sarangi player of the younger generation and performer of Hindustani Classical Music living in Mumbai, India. He has performed and recorded with many Indian Classical Musicians worldwide. To say that Harsh Narayan’s life has been steeped in the classical music of India since he was born is an understatement. His father is the sarod maestro Brij Narayan and his aunt is the sarangi virtuoso Aruna Narayan Kalle. And as if that is not enough of a rarified birth, his grandfather is none other than the legendary sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan, credited by experts worldwide for bringing the sarangi to the forefront of Indian Classical Music as a solo instrument of the highest order. Of the Pandit, the great Yehudi Menuhin has said, “The sarangi … in the hands of Ram Narayan most revealingly expresses the very soul of Indian feelings and thought.”
Born in Mumbai in 1985, Harsh Narayan has had the great fortune of studying with his grandfather since the age of six. While under the caring guidance of his illustrious teacher, Harsh’s musicianship was developed and his natural talent was exposed. Right from the start, Harsh embraced this training with a passion for the sarangi, a highly technical and very challenging instrument to play. This passion has only been surpassed by his devotion to his grandfather and to the musical legacy that he wholeheartedly embraced.
This musical foundation, a well-rounded and rigorous training by a family of maestros, lead to a virtuosity that can be witnessed in his concert presentations, where the depth of his musical perception has earned him an “A” graded artist rating from All India Radio. His total command of sarangi playing technique allows him an enviable degree of creative freedom, coaxing the inherent musicality out of the instrument, with the flair of a seasoned performer.
Armed with a unique musical background and an invaluable classical training, Harsh Narayan is eminently qualified to expand upon the enormous body of work of his grandfather while establishing himself among the new generation of Indian Classical Musicians and sarangi torch bearers.
Harsh Narayan will be accompanied by Tejas Tope on tabla for this performance.
Tejas Tope has been studying with his Guru, Pandit Samir Chatterjee, since the age of 5. He has performed on many occasions across the country, and recently completed a tour in India. He has also trained with Ustad Zakir Hussain, and studied Pakhawaj with Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma.
In addition to playing tabla solo in various venues in USA and abroad, Tejas has accompanied his Guru Pt. Samir Chatterjee (tabla solo), Pt. Ramesh Mishra (sarangi), Samarth Nagarkar (vocal), Kunal Gunjal (santoor), Qais Essar (rabab), Padmashree Pt. Satish Vyas (santoor), Padmashree Pta. Rita Ganuli (vocal), Shakir Khan (sitar), Kedar Naphade (harmonium solo), Pta. Lalita Dantale-Kurulkar (vocal), Chaitanya Kunte (harmonium), Manoj Govindraj (vocal), Rucha Muley-Jambhekar (vocal), Paromita Das (vocal) and several other musicians over the past several years.
10/24/2019 8:00 PM - 10/24/2019 8:00 PM
Co-presented with Clavius Productions.
Trumpeter-composer ARTHUR BROOKS is one of the unsung heroes of the new music. In his 40+ year career he has collaborated with such legendary figures as Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor, Sonny Sharrock, Alan Silva, and Frank Wright among others. For over 20 years he taught alongside Dixon in the Black Music Division at Bennington College. Brooks founded Ensemble V at Bennington College in 1973 and the music has continued to evolve. Though Brooks is technically the leader and creator — or perhaps curator — of Ensemble V, he emphasizes that the band is a democracy. “Everybody’s a leader. And everybody has big ears. We find ourselves in areas that I would like to take home and develop and write, but I wouldn’t want to limit what we’re going to do.” For this performance, he’ll be joined by Jeremy Harlos – bass; Bill Heminway – trumpet & flugelhorn; Anthony Santor – bass and Matt Weston – percussion.
11/15/2019 8:00 PM - 11/15/2019 8:00 PM
Bowerbird is pleased to present “Neil Feather: Sound Mechanic” an evening dedicated to the sonic contraptions of Neil Feather, the inventor of such fantastical instruments as “the Wiggler”, “the Nondo”, “Thunderwheels”, “magnapooters”, “Apex Roto-Zither”, and the “Thumbsnake”. The night will feature a performance of a work-in-progress chamber concerto composed for Feather’s instruments alongside the Arcana New Music Ensemble by Philadelphia and New Zealand based composer Rosie Langabeer, with whom Feather collaborates closely in the duo Two To Tutu Too. This will be followed by an improvised set featuring many of Feather’s creations. Opening the evening will be Hannah Rose Nicholas and Samuel Kelder’s Shizuka Duo, performing new works for two violas.
Hannah Rose Nicholas & Samuel Kelder, violas
Rosie Langabeer: IDIOSYNCROPHILIA (work in progress)
Arcana New Music Ensemble
Violin – Russell Kotcher
Viola – Hannah Nicholas
Cello – Erin Busch
Double bass – Josh Machiz
Trombone – RJ McGhee
Trombone – Dan Blacksberg
Bassoon – Dominic Panunto
Percussion 1 – Andy Thierauf
Percussion 2 – Alyssa Resh
Feather Instruments: Ashley Tini
Feather Instruments: Julius Masri
Feather Instruments: Neil Feather
Neil Feather and friends.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Since 1970, Neil Feather has been developing esoteric acoustic and engineering strategies to invent, design, and build a constantly developing collection of experimental musical instruments. Using an assortment of mechanical items, from strings and springs to motors and magnets, Feather’s inventions are works of art that are just as appropriately viewed in a gallery as they are on stage. His live performances on these instruments are naturally unique and serve as both sonically intriguing recitals as well as visually compelling demonstrations of his devices. A founding member of Baltimore’s Red Room Collective and the High Zero Foundation as well as a 2016 Guggenheim fellow, Feather was a part of the Bowerbird creative team that helped bring Mauricio Kagel’s Zwei Mann Orchester to life in 2018.
Rosie Langabeer is an award-winning composer, pianist, and band leader from Aotearoa New Zealand. With an output as eclectic as ranging from composing for string quartet, to ballet music, to free improvisation, to solo piano concerts and much much more, her wonderfully honest voice will make you want to cry and then sprinkle in some robot-bird-monsters. The New York Times has praised her surrealism and time-bending abilities, which she earned through collaborations with local heavyweights BalletX and Pig Iron Theatre Company, and her current projects include a suite of compositions for invented instruments by Neil Feather in combination with classical instrumentalists from the Arcana Ensemble; and a new ballet score made in collaboration with Tara Middleton for BalletX’s 2019 fall season this December at The Wilma Theater.
Shizuka Duo is comprised of violists Samuel Kelder and Hannah Rose Nicholas. The two founded Shizuka during the debut of the Barnes Ensemble in Philadelphia (2017), a contemporary music residency with the JACK Quartet. They are alumni of the Lucerne Festival Academy (2015-19), where they were featured as soloists and chamber musicians. Shizuka Duo gave its debut at MISE-EN_PLACE Bushwick in September 2018. They have since performed at Cloud Club (Boston), Spectrum (NYC), Berklee College of Music, Tufts University, and Boston University. The duo has premiered over eight new works, written for them by faculty and alumni composers of Berklee, Tufts, Boston Conservatory, Mannes, New England Conservatory, and the University of Pennsylvania. Sam and Hannah both play on instruments made by Hiroshi Iizuka. “Shizuka,” is the Japanese word for quiet and calm, and the name of a heroine in Japanese folklore known for her beauty and her dance.
11/23/2019 8:00 PM - 11/23/2019 8:00 PM
William Hooker (drummer,composer and poet) has created works that range from jazz and “new” music to experimental genres. He has released over 70 CDs as a leader. Mr. Hooker has performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Edgefest Jazz Festival, The Vision Festival, The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, The Wadsworth Atheneum, Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Walker Art Center,the first on MTV, The Kitchen, Roulette, Real Art Ways. He has also presented his work at the JVC Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, CMJ Music Festival,Vilnius Jazz Festival, Experimenta Argentina,The Knitting Factory and the Victoriaville Music Festival.
William Hooker has received commissions and support from the New York State Council on the Arts,Meet the Composer,Tokio Marine Insurance Company, Colleges and Universities such as Oberlin, Fordham, Columbia,New York University, Boston University, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale and many more. Accompanying musicians have included Billy Bang, David Ware, William Parker, Thurston Moore, David Soldier, Roy Campbell, Zeena Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, Jason Hwang, Sabir Mateen, Elliot Sharpe ,David Murray, Ted Daniel, JD Parren and many more.
“William knows no genre bounds and ceaselessly searches for new forms of music, always with the intent to inspire.” New York City Jazz Record.
“…No description of the Philly jazz scene exists that does not include something along the lines of “And Elliott Levin has been known to sit in, buggin’ out with his sax and flute…” A Philadelphia drummer described Levin as “the guy that calls you at two in the morning, wanting you to haul your drums over to some jam session.”
Levin grew up in Philly, but studied music and creative writing on the west coast at the University of Oregon. He took private lessons with a former Philadelphia Orchestra saxophonist, Michael Guera, and embarked on further research with the great jazz pianist, Cecil Taylor, in whose groups Levin has also performed. The weekend grocery list of Levin credits includes playing with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes for a decade as the saxophonist in the Sound of Philadelphia band, as well as with Odean Popes’ Saxophone Choir, Tyrone Hill, Don Preston, Scram!, New Ghost, Atzilut (Fourth World), Talking Free Bebop, and various collaborations with bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma. Levin‘s gigs with Taylor included the groups Phthongas and Unit Core Ensemble, and he can be heard on the Taylor FMP album Live in Berlin.”- bio by Eugene Chadbourne
Luke Stewart has pursued a vast number of creative projects over the years. On the jazz side, Luke has performed at many of DC’s historic venues including Bohemian Caverns, Twins Jazz, and HR-57. He had the honor of studying and performing with saxophonist Hamiett Bluiett.
“By now if you don’t know bassist Luke Stewart you’re behind. Stewart is a force on the Washington DC scene not only as a performer (in Irreversible Entanglements, James Brandon Lewis Trio, Trio OOO, Ancestral Duo and more) but also as a booker, promoter, radio DJ and more.”-Astral Spirits
“This outfit seemed to have taken some cues from the far-East trance of John Coltrane with shades of Eric Dolphy. Instead of hitting a down beat to start, they gradually drifted from random soundchecking to subtly teasing out a motif with horns and kamancheh. They feel no pressure to jump straight in when a light drone can set the mood most effectively.
Patient focus was the central theme for a continuous hour to follow. Steady rhythm patterns would ebb until they created a mantric trance before gradually shifting again. Two electric basses (a new format for this show) took turns holding root lines or adding lighter shadings around the edges. The whole thing would have seemed like an attentive free improvisation if it weren’t for the trumpet and saxophone circling each other in well-coordinated lockstep. However loosely sketched it was, it made an hour where time stretched almost until it couldn’t be sensed at all. ” – Geno Thackara/All About Jazz
12/20/2019 8:00 PM - 12/20/2019 8:00 PM
Sarah Hennies: Contralto
plus Flourish with Ashely Tini
Ithaca composer and percussionist Sarah Hennies presents a cinematic version of her stunning 2017 video work Contralto, a bracing yet tender meditation on gender dysphoria viewed through the lens of transgender women finding a comfortable new speaking voice. Based on her experience in Ithaca College’s Voice and Communication Modification Program for People in the Transgender Community, the composer gathered seven diverse transgender women to perform vocal exercises designed to aid in so-called, “voice feminization.” Contralto is an intimate glimpse into the participants articulating stock phrases, singing notes, and sharing personal details to present a powerful example of the harrowing difficulties involved in the process. While the video stands on its own as an experimental documentary, it’s greatly enhanced by an inextricably woven score by Hennies that underlines the sense of futility embedded in quotidian, wok-like exercises practiced by the video subjects, which by default become symbolic acts of resistance in the transgender community.
To open the evening Hennies and Philadelphia percussionist Ashley Tini—who is among the musicians on the cinematic version of Contralto—will perform the composer’s Flourish (2013), for two vibraphonists positioned on opposite sides of the same instrument. The work presents different modes of stasis, from relentlessly pulsing mallet strikes to billowing clouds of overtones and spooky interference patterns.
01/17/2020 8:00 PM - 01/17/2020 8:00 PM
Since her emergence in New York’s No Wave scene in the late 1970s as a percussionist in DNA, Japanese native Ikue Mori has used auto didacticism to forge one of the most singular aesthetics in contemporary music. Since switching from a richly intuitive approach to drums to electronics during the 1980s she’s refined an elusive, liquid sound that translated her rhythmic vocabulary into a shape-spilling mass of daydreaming gurgles, bloops, smears, rattles, and fractals that’s at once serene and unsettling. She’s a master improviser, adapting a recognizable sonic palette from real-time processing according to the needs and variables of each situation. Over the years she’s formed inextricable bonds with musicians like John Zorn, Zeena Parkins, Craig Taborn, and Sylvie Courvoisier, among others, steadily enhancing within and adapting to each disparate context.
New York improviser and composer Charmaine Lee has quickly become a force in experimental music circles in the last few years, parlaying her voice with staggering extended technique and electronics to create a forceful, elusive practice that shares more in common with noise and experimental approaches than conventional singing. Her wordless, cacophonous improvisations viscerally transmit ultra-high- pitched frequencies, manic vocal fry, and guttural shrieks manipulated with distortion, feedback, and objects like glass and water to deliver an unsettling attack that is simultaneously brittle and violent. Mori and Lee will each perform solo, followed by a duo set—a young partnership marked by exquisite tension, piercing timbre, and quicksilver exchange.