Other Minds presents, curates and archives the work of new music experimentalists. Established names like Philip Glass, Henry Cowell and Conlon Nancarrow have a forum here, along with experimental poets such as Anne Waldman and Jaap Blonk, genre-crossing artists like Rhys Chatham and Pauline Oliveros, and young composers and performers such as Brian Baumbusch and Shalini Vijayan. This page is where you will find detailed information about the artists whose work we champion. Though the entries here are currently sparse, by 2020 you should see this page become a useful resource for those interested in finding out more about the artists whose work they are studying and enjoying.
Sheila Davies Sumner is a writer and producer of original radio dramas, commissioned by New American Radio, including The Opponent’s Queen: Detail, adapted from an epistolary novel; and What is the Matter in Amy Glennon? which received a Prix Futura special commendation for experimental radio. Additionally, she has recorded soundtracks for telephone dramas, dance performances, films, and music festivals, notably New Music America. In 2016, she collaborated with filmmaker, Douglas Sandberg on an audio-visual triptych, entitled Three Terellas.
The piece Static, produced at KPFA Radio by Charles Amirkhanian, is a sonic commentary about the multiple aspects of Interference. Accompanying musicians are Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser, guitars. Her work was featured in Other Minds Festival 23 – Sound Poetry: The Wages of Syntax. Click on the image for more information.
Jaap Blonk (born in 1953 in Woerden, Holland) is a self-taught composer, performer, and poet. He went to university for mathematics and musicology but did not finish those studies. In the late 1970’s he took up saxophone and started to compose music. A few years later he discovered his potential as a vocal performer, at first in reciting poetry and later on in improvisations and his own compositions. For almost two decades his voice was his main means for the discovery and development of new sounds. From 2000 on Blonk started work with electronics, at first using samples of his own and then extending the field to include the pure sound synthesis as well. He has done research of the possibilities of algorhythmics composition for the creation of music, visual art, and poetry. Blonk has collaborated with figures such as Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Joan La Barbara, the Ex, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, and the Ebony Band. He has his own record label, Kontrans, featuring a total of 25 releases so far. He has appeared on other labels such as Staalplaat, Basta, Victo, Ecstatic Peace, Monotype Records, Terp, and Elegua Records. His book/CD Traces of Speech was published in 2012, and a sequel is planned entitled Traces of Cookery.
Enzo Minarelli was born in 1951, graduated with a thesis of psycholinguistics at the University of Venice, and works with poetry and its practicable application towards sound, writing, video, and entertainment since the seventies. His sonic works are found in mumerous museums and gallery venues. He is currently curating monographic issues Baobab magazine. He directs the Video Sound Poetry Festival, an international exhibition entirely dedicated to the relationships between the various forms of poetry and video, and Strumenti a Voce, a festival-symposium of polyptych events, annually held at the DAMS of the University of Bologna. He has had exhibitions of poetry of the image, both in Italy and abroad, and is included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Zaragoza (Spain). He has edited several exhibitions of visual poetry, recently been editor of Italian selections for Dimensão (Brazil) and Visible Language (USA). He has been a visiting poet at San Francisco State University, University of California at Davis, San Jose State University, University of California at San Diego, San Diego State University, the Autonomous University of Mexico City, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Pãulo of Brazil.
Beth Anderson is a poet and composer of new romantic music, text-sound works, and music theater events. She has composed an opera, an oratorio, three off-off Broadway musicals, several downtown music theater collaborations, music for orchestra, voice, chorus, tape, instrumental solos with and without electronic modulation, and a large amount of chamber music, in this country and in Europe, on radio and in concert. She joined Ear Magazine on V.1#5 in May 1973 and took it to NYC where she ran it 1975-79. Her all-Beth Anderson recordings are out on MSR, Albany, New World and Pogus. 1750 Arch and then Other Minds (2003) released TORERO PIECE. Her other music is on Capstone, North/South, Newport Classics, and Opus One. She is her own publisher along with Antes/Bella Musica in Germany. Born in Kentucky, she studied primarily in California with John Cage, Terry Riley, Robert Ashley, and Larry Austin, at Mills College and the University of California at Davis. She has been awarded an Aaron Copland Fund for Music grant, many Meet the Composer grants, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Foundation for the Contemporary Performance Arts grant.
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen, to David Bowie, Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.
Glass is a seminal figure in the musical style that was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” It immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, develops.
In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; ten symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’ documentaries; chamber music; and a growing body of work for keyboards.
Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American composer. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the late 20th century. Glass’s work has been described as minimal music, having similar qualities to other “minimalist” composers such as La Monte Young, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley. However, Glass has instead described himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures”, which he has helped evolve stylistically.
Lou Harrison was born in Portland, Oregon, on May 14, 1917. Lou Harrison’s eclectic musical style was born from rich cultural influences: Baroque, pre-Baroque, and Renaissance period music, Native American and Asian music, twelve-tone composition, historic or “just” tunings and, most notably, the gamelan music of Java and Bali. Perhaps more than any other 20th century composer, Lou had the widest ranging “wandering ear.” His studies included composition with Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg. From 1945 to 1948, Harrison wrote for the New York Herald Tribune under chief music critic, Virgil Thomson. He was introduced to Charles Ives and helped reconstruct that elder composer’s Symphony No. 3. When he conducted the world premiere on April 5, 2946, with the NY Little Symphony, the work was awarded the following year’s Pulitzer Prize.
Harrison’s oeuvre was remarkably large and varied including chamber, choral and orchestral works, gamelan, dance, and opera, often employing world, folk instruments, and newly invented instruments built from items from auto shops and junkyards. In 1967 he met his life partner William Colvig who helped him invent instruments replicating the Indonesian gamelan but with his own just intonation tunings. Some of his major works are La Koro Sutro for chorus and gamelan, the Suite for Violin and American Gamelan, Pacifika Rondo (for orchestra of western and oriental instruments), his operas Rapunzel and Young Caesar (a puppet opera on gay themes), as well as four symphonies and numerous concerti. A true renaissance man, Lou was also an accomplished dancer, artist, poet, calligrapher, esperantist and an important advocate for gay causes and pacifism.
Lou Harrison passed away at 85 on February 2, 2003, leaving behind a vast legacy of musical and theatrical works, and an indelible influence on a younger generation of musicians.
Tone Åse studied classical voice at the Trondheim Musikkonservatorium and Tromsø Musikkonservatorium, and received a master’s degree from the Jazz program at Trondheim Musikkonservatorium where she works now as an assistant professor. Åse joined Kvitretten in 1991 and contributed to two records with Kristin Asbjørnsen, Solveig Slettahjell, and Eldbjørg Raknes who she still frequently collaborates with. In 1994 she took over the lead of Sosialistisk Kor in Trondheim and is also involved with Trondheim Voices. She has also performed with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. She has contributed in Live Maria Roggen’s Liveband, and with Ingrid Storholmen she performed “Samtalen” at Olsokdagene (2006). She leads the quartet BOL with her husband Ståle Storløkken (piano), Tor Yttredal (saxophone), and Tor Haugerud (drums) with the album Silver Sun (2001). They appeared as a trio when Yttredal left the band, and was commissioned by the Trondheim Kammerfestival in 2003. They performed at Varangerfestivalen in 2006. Åse is in the new lineup with Marilyn Mazur’s Future Song.
Anne Waldman is a poet first, and additionally a performer, professor, editor, literary arts curator, and cultural activist. She is the author numerous collections of poetry, including the 1000 page feminist epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House 2011) which was the winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. Waldman is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Chancellor Emeritus of The Academy of American Poets. She received a long-life achievement award by the Before Columbus Foundation in 2015. She has collaborated with numerous visual artists, including painter Pat Steir. Waldman has also worked on a collaboration with Meredith Monk which has been presented at Danspace in NYC, ICA in Boston, and Brown University. She founded Fast Speaking Music which produces albums and performances with musicians Ambrose Bye and Devin Brahja Waldman, with whom she also collaborates. Publishers Weekly has deemed Waldman “a counter cultural giant.” She is one of the founders of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery, co-founded the Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg, and continues to curate its Summer Writing Program annually. She has performed in recent years at festivals in Atlanta, Beijing, Brussels, Calcutta, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Jaipur, Madrid, Marrakesh, Mexico City, Montreal, Newark’s Dodge Festival, Paris, Slovakia, San Francisco, Tangiers, and Vienna.
Ottar Ormstad was born in, and based as an independent artist in Oslo, Norway. As a concrete poet, he creates verbivocovisual poetry since the 1960s and is author of electronic literature since 2007. In his works, Ormstad extends his originally print-based practice by moving into the realm of networked programmable space. His works include modern electronic music, visual backgrounds such as self-produced b/w (darkroom) photography, animations, or live video footage, on which he stages his poetry. In his first films he collaborated with the Norwegian composers in Xploding Plastix. In his playful poetry, a yellow “y” usually serves as “main character.” In print, as well as in his video-based works, Ormstad often presents his concrete poetry as what he calls “letter carpets” and which create effects known from Op Art. His works have been nationally and internationally screened and exhibited as part of experimental film and electronic literature festivals and conferences. As OTTARAS, Ormstad has collaborated since 2014 with Russian composer Taras Mashtalir. Together they perform sound poetry in combination with video-works by Russian artists, based on Ormstad’s visual poetry books.
Taras Mashtalir is a composer and sound designer, a classical musician turned electronic music producer. His compositions are unique blend of different genres morphed together and wrapped into a new aesthetic fabric of electronic ambience. After receiving his BA in Linguistics & Cross-cultural communication from Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University, Taras spent some time recording/performing in St. Petersburg and Moscow, before relocating to New York. For the past 12 years Taras has achieved outstanding results and his work is acknowledged in the industry. He has produced a numbers of albums, collaborating with major artists such as Patrick Leonard, legendary composer and producer (Pink Floyd, Elton John, Madonna), and Lou Christie, an American singer-songwriter best known for pop hits in the 1960s.
His works also include multimedia installations, soundtracks for films and animations, as well as music for TV ads and programs such as the Discovery Science Channel, History Channel, Speed Channel, TNT, FOX Sports, CBS, etc. Taras is currently involved in several projects exploring new dimensions of digital publishing. He is the co-founder of media poetry group Machine Libertine, co-founder and editor of digital publishing portal SELF-ID.com, co-creator of multimedia poetic project PROTOTOROID, co-creator and producer of New York based multimedia project Discrete Encounter.
At the age of twenty-two Michael McClure gave his first poetry reading at the legendary Six Gallery event in San Francisco where Allen Ginsberg first read Howl. He is the author of more than twenty-five books of poetry, two novels, several books of essays, and journalism included in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. He has received numerous honors including a Guggenheim fellowship, the Alfred Jarry Award, and an honorary doctorate from California College of the Arts. He created two TV documentaries. A prolific playwright, his 1965 play The Beard instigated a successful censorship battle after the police arrested the actors of the Los Angeles production fourteen nights in a row. The play went on to receive two Obies (the Off Broadway Theater Award) and is performed across the U.S. and Europe. McClure’s songwriting includes Mercedes Benz with Janis Joplin. With keyboardist of The Doors, Ray Manzarek, McClure performed poetry and music on stages around the world, and their most recent CD is Piano Poems. His collaboration with maestro Terry Riley created the CD I Like Your Eyes Liberty.
Besides poetry and art, his deep interests are the biological environment and biology. McClure describes himself as a mammal patriot and believes, in the words of Diane di Prima that, “The only war that matters is the war against the imagination.”
Amy X Neuburg
Amy X Neuburg has been composing and performing music in her own boundary-less blend of styles since the 1980s. One of the earliest artists to work with live digital looping, Amy has presented her “avant-cabaret” live-looping songs nationally and internationally at venues from divey clubs to major festivals (Other Minds, Bang on a Can, Berlin International Poetry Festival, Wellington and Christchurch jazz festivals in New Zealand, Alterazioni Milan, Warsaw Philharmonic series). As composer for ensembles, often with voice and electronics, highlights have included The Secret Language of Subways with the Cello ChiXtet, Hunger Strike with San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Fill as Desired for Solstice vocal ensemble with live looping, and works for San Francisco Girls Chorus school, Pacific Mozart Ensemble chorus, Del Sol String Quartet, and the Paul Dresher Ensemble. Neuburg also composes regularly for dance, theater and visual media and is currently working on a year-long collaboration with choreographer Risa Jaroslow. A classically trained singer, Neuburg enjoys performing vocal works by contemporary composers; favorite projects have included the cycle of 10 commissioned songs They will have been so beautiful with the Paul Dresher Ensemble, international tours and recordings with Robert Ashley’s operas, the leading role of Simone Weil in Guillermo Galindo’s opera Decreation, and a long-running musical with Culture Clash. Amy won an Alpert/Ucross prize and has received grants from the Gerbode Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett, Arts International, Meet the Composer, The East Bay Community Foundation, and many others. She has degrees in linguistics and voice from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and an MFA in electronic music from the Mills CCM.
Pamela Z is a composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video. A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she processes her voice in real time to create dense, complex sonic layers. Her solo works combine extended vocal techniques, bel canto, found objects, text, digital processing, and wireless MIDI controllers that allow her to manipulate sound with physical gestures. In addition to her solo work, she has been commissioned to compose scores for dance, theatre, film, and chamber ensembles including Kronos Quartet, the Bang on a Can All Stars, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and Del Sol Quartet.
Her interdisciplinary performance works have been presented globally at venues including The Kitchen (NY), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF), REDCAT (LA), MCA (Chicago), and Trafo (Budapest), and her installations have been presented at such exhibition spaces as the Whitney (NY), the Diözesanmuseum (Cologne), and Dak’Art (Sénégal). She has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Joan La Barbara, Joan Jeanrenaud, Brenda Way (ODC Dance), and Miya Masaoka. She has participated in several New Music Theatre events (including John Cage festivals), and has performed with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Pamela Z has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. She has performed in contemporary music festivals including Bang on a Can (New York), Interlink (Japan), Other Minds (San Francisco), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), and Pina Bausch Tanztheater Festival (Wuppertal, Germany). Her numerous awards include a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation residency, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, and the NEA Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship. She holds a music degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Sten Sandell is a Swedish composer, pianist, organist, percussionist, vocalist, and composer of electro-acoustic music. Between 1976 and 1986 he studied piano with Mats Persson and Carl-Axel Dominique, improvisation and composition with Sven-David Sandstrom, and electro-acoustic music with Par Lindgren. During this time, he attended the Academy of Music in Stockholm. Sandell’s Influences are broad and include free improvisation, contemporary, and ethnic music. From 1976 to the present day he has been involved in group work, solo projects and in dance, drama, and film. The two long-standing groups are Sa Vidare, 1979-89 with guitarist Peter Soderberg and saxophonist Johan Petri, who played “structurally organized improvisations,” and Gush (from 1988 and ongoing) with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and percussionist Raymond Strid, well-known for their free improvised music. Instrumentation for solo projects has included piano, synthesizer, sampler, percussion, and voice, and is represented on a number of records, for example, Frames on the Bauta label. He has undertaken tours in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria He has collaborated with Carl-Axel Dominique, Anders Jormin, Sainkho Namchylak, Jon Rose, Mats Persson, Kristine Scholz, David Moss, Phil Wachsmann, Sven-Ake Johansson, Mats Gustafsson, Raymond Strid, and many others.