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a curved brass instrument

Charles Hutchins / James Fei and John Bischoff
Sunday, August 28, 2022 7:00pm @ Center for New Music

Charles Hutchins makes a triumphant return to the Bay Area for an algorithmic performance on computer and serpent, the low-pitched Renaissance-era brass instrument. Saxophonist and live electronics performer James Fei and computer music pioneer John Bischoff round out the night with a duo performance for our return to San Francisco’s Center for New Music.

Artist Bios

Charles Hutchins

Charles Hutchins playing tuba

Charles Céleste Hutchins was born in San Jose, California in 1976, and lives in London, England. He has spent the last decade exploring live synthesizer patching and using his computer to do things that his analogue synthesizer can’t do, including just intonation, granular synthesis and networking. His most recent work has concentrated on live laptop performance, especially in an ensemble setting. All of his work contains an openness to unpredictability and a possibility of crashing.

Hutchins attended Mills College in Oakland, California, where he studied with Maggi Payne and acquired a love for the sound of analog electronics. In 1998 he graduated with a dual B.A. in music and computer science. In 2005, Charles graduated from the M.A. program at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he studied computer music and SuperCollider with Ron Kuivila and improvisation with Anthony Braxton. Following that, he attended the year long course at CCMIX in France and then the Sonology course at the Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands. He has recently completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in England, where he studied with Scott Wilson. While at Birmingham, he was a co­founder of BiLE, the Birmingham Laptop Ensemble, and continues to compose for and perform with the group. As an extension of BiLE, he co­-founded the Network Music Festival, dedicated to music made using computer network performance, which had its third year in 2015. He also sings with the Vocal Constructivists, a London­-based choir dedicated to the performance of graphic notation and has composed a commission for them.

He has performed in North America – in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Canada, and Connecticut – and in Europe­ in England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Austria. His music has been played on European and American radio. Hutchins is a lecturer in the music department at the University of Kent, and a member of the board of directors for Other Minds.

James Fei

James Fei headshot

James Fei (b. Taipei, Taiwan) moved to the US in 1992 to study electrical engineering. He has since been active as a composer and performer on saxophones and live electronics. Works by Fei have been performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, MATA Micro Orchestra, and Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Recordings can be found on Leo Records, Improvised Music from Japan, CRI, Krabbesholm, and Organized Sound. Compositions for Fei’s own ensemble of four alto saxophones focus on physical processes of saliva, fatigue, reeds crippled by cuts, and the threshold of audible sound production, while his sound installations and performance on live electronics often focus on electronic and acoustic feedback. Fei received the Grants for Artists Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2014 and he is president of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation. Fei has taught at Mills College in Oakland since 2006, where he is Professor of Electronic Arts, Director of the Center for Contemporary Music, and Head of the Art and Technology Program.

John Bischoff

John Bischoff headshot

John Bischoff (b. 1949) is an early pioneer of live computer music. He is known for his solo constructions in real-time synthesis as well as his development of computer network music. Bischoff studied composition with Robert Moran, James Tenney, Robert Ashley, and David Behrman. He has been active in the experimental music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 40 years as a composer, performer, and teacher. His performances around the US include NEW MUSIC AMERICA festivals in 1981 and 1989, Roulette and Experimental Intermedia in New York, and Lampo in Chicago to name a few. He has performed in Europe at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, Akademie der Künste in Berlin, STEIM in Amsterdam, and Fylkingen in Stockholm among other places. He is a founding member of the League of Automatic Music Composers, the world’s first computer network band, and co-authored an article on the League’s music that appears in Foundations of Computer Music (MIT Press 1985). From 1985 to the present he has performed and recorded with the network band The Hub. In 1999 he received a $25,000 award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York in recognition of his music. He was also named a recipient of an Alpert Award/Ucross Residency Fellowship in 2002. In 2004, noted media theorist Douglas Kahn published A Musical Technography of John Bischoff in the Leonardo Music Journal (Vol. 14, MIT Press). Recordings of his work are available on New World Records, Tzadik, Lovely Music, 23Five, Centaur, and Artifact Recordings. He is Professor of Music at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Video from the Artists

Charles Céleste Hutchins

John Bischoff

James Fei

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