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Mark Applebaum OM19
Mark Applebaum, sound sculpture with electronics at OM19. Photo by Michael Melnyk.

In celebration of the Bay Area’s heritage as a pioneering stronghold of arts and culture, for the first time the OM 19 Festival presented an entirely Northern California cast of composers, including Mark Applebaum, John Bischoff, Donald Buchla, Joseph Byrd, Charles Céleste Hutchins, Myra Melford, Roscoe Mitchell, Wendy Reid, and John Schott. Their work is eclectic and not categorizeable into one canon. Perhaps this very eclecticism defines the “Bay Area Tradition.” Arguably, perhaps the most unique performer on this festival was Lulu Reid, an African Grey Parrot.

Mark Applebaum is Associate Professor of Composition at Stanford University and was recently named the Hazy Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and Leland & Edith Smith Faculty Scholar.

He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego where he studied principally with Brian Ferneyhough. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia with notable performances at the Darmstadt Sessions. Many of his pieces are characterized by challenges to the conventional boundaries of musical ontology: works for three conductors and no players, a concerto for florist and orchestra, pieces for instruments made of junk, notational specifications that appear on the faces of custom wristwatches, works for an invented sign language choreographed to sound, amplified Dadaist rituals, and a 72-foot long graphic score displayed in a museum and accompanied by no instructions for its interpretation. He has received commissions from Betty Freeman, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Fromm Foundation, the Vienna Modern Festival, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, and numerous others.

Educated in physics, physiology, music, and astronomy, Don Buchla’s multi-faceted creativity continues to be applied to fields as diverse as space biophysics research, musical instrument design, and multi-media composition. Much of his work has been centered on the refinement of communication channels between man and machine, notably the invention of mobility aids for the visually handicapped, the development of instrumentation for bio-feedback and physiological telemetry, the design of interactive electronic musical instruments, and performance-oriented music languages. Don founded the alternative band, Fried Suck, was a founding member of the 15 piece Arch Ensemble, and co-founded the Electric Weasel Ensemble, the Muse and the Fuse, and the Artist’s Research Collective. He served as technical director of the California Institute of the Arts, the San Francisco Tape Music Center, the Electric Circus, and the Electric Symphony.

Pianist, composer and Guggenheim fellow Myra Melford draws inspiration from a vast spectrum of cultural and spiritual traditions and artistic disciplines. In 2013, she released her first solo recording and premiered Language of Dreams, her most ambitious project to date, combining narration, dance, and video with music for her quintet, Snowy Egret. Melford also performs in the collective Trio M with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson, and the duo ::Dialogue:: with clarinetist Ben Goldberg. Melford was named a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow and received both the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She won the 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts for Music and has been honored numerous times in DownBeat’s Critics Poll.

In 2013, Melford was named a Guggenheim Fellow and received both the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Performing Artist Award and a Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She was also the winner of the 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts for Music and has been honored numerous times in DownBeat’s Critics Poll since 1991.

Charles Céleste Hutchins was born in San Jose, California, in 1976 and lives in London, England. He 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 and received his Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham in England.

Hutchins uses his computer to do things that his analogue synthesizer cannot do, including just intonation and granular synthesis. His most recent work has concentrated on live laptop performance, especially in an ensemble setting. In Cloud Drawings, Hutchins explored the interaction of visual media as a determinant of sound, allowing the audience to experience the piece on both a sonic and a visual level.

Also appearing on OM 19 were new music pioneers John Bischoff (b. 1949) and Joseph Byrd (b. 1937), woodwind innovator/composer Roscoe Mitchell, and proponent of interspecies music, Wendy Reid (accompanied by Lulu Reid, African Grey Parrot).

Festival Program

CONCERT 1

Friday, February 28th, 2014
SF Jazz Center, San Francisco

Mark Applebaum
Aphasia
Mark Applebaum, soloist

Mark Applebaum
Metaphysics of Notation
Other Minds Ensemble, with projected graphic score

Mark Applebaum
Mousketier Praxis
Mark Applebaum, sound sculpture with electronics

John Bischoff
Audio Combine
for laptop, toy chime, music box, ukulele, and hand drum
John Bischoff, soloist

John Bischoff
Surface Effect
for laptop and analog circuit
John Bischoff, soloist

Joseph Byrd
Water Music (1963)
for solo percussion and electronic tape
Alan Zimmerman, percussion

Joseph Byrd
Animals (1961)
for string quartet, percussion, and prepared piano
Del Sol String Quartet: Kate Stenberg and Rick Shinozaki, violins; Charlton Lee, viola; Kathryn Bates Williams, cello
Sarah Cahill, piano; Alan Zimmerman, percussion

Donald Buchla
Drop by Drop (2013), U.S. premiere
for Buchla analog synthesizer, piano, and film
Donald Buchla, analog synthesizer; Nannick Buchla, piano; Silvia Matheus, film

 

CONCERT 2

Saturday March 1, 2014
SF Jazz Center, San Francisco

Charles Céleste Hutchins
Cloud Drawings (2005-2013)
Solo laptop, with live interactive video
Charles Céleste Hutchins, soloist

John Schott
Carving, Scraping, Changing (2013), World premiere
John Schott, guitar; Dan Seamus, bass; John Hanes, drums

Wendy Reid
Tree Piece #55, “lulu variations” (2008) 
for African grey parrot, blue parrot, muted violin, trumpet, stone/bowl of water, Buchla Lighting, and digital recording
Lulu Reid, African grey parrot
Wendy Reid, violin
Tom Dambly, trumpet

Myra Melford
Solo Improvisations (2013)
Myra Melford, piano

Roscoe Mitchell
Nonaah for bass saxophone quartet (2013), World premiere 
Roscoe Mitchell, J.D. Parran, Vinny Golia, Scott Robinson, bass saxophones

OM 19 printed program

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Other Minds Festival 19 program.

Concert Media: Video

Mark Applebaum
Aphasia (2010)

Recorded live at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco on Friday, February 28, 2014, during Other Minds Festival 19. Mark Applebaum, soloist. Conceived originally for singer and two-channel tape, Aphasia was commissioned by the GRM, Paris and composed for virtuoso singer Nicholas Isherwood. The tape, an idiosyncratic explosion of warped and mangled sounds, is made up exclusively of vocal samples—all provided by Isherwood and subsequently transformed digitally. Against the backdrop of this audio narrative, the singer performs an elaborate set of hand gestures, an assiduously choreographed sign language of sorts. Each gesture is fastidiously synchronized to the tape in tight rhythmic coordination.

Charles Céleste Hutchins
Cloud Drawings (2005-2013)

Recorded live at the SF Jazz Center, Saturday, March 1, 2014, during Other Minds Festival 19. Played by composer Charles Céleste Hutchins on a laptop, this piece uses a program written in SuperCollider designed for improvising textures in real time.

Donald Buchla
Drop By Drop (2012), U.S. Premiere

Recorded live at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco on Friday, February 28, 2014, during Other Minds Festival 19. This is a piece for analog synthesizer, piano and film. Nannick Buchla, piano; Donald Buchla, synthesizer; Silvia Mattheus/Donald Buchla, film.

Concert Media: Audio

Water Music (1963)
Joseph Byrd

Composition for percussion and electronic tape. Recorded on Friday, February 28, 2014, during Other Minds Festival 19, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. Alan Zimmerman, percussion.

Carving, Scraping, Changing (2013)
John Schott

Recorded Saturday, March 1, 2014, during Other Minds Festival 19, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. Performed by the Actual Trio: John Schott, guitar; Dan Seamans, bass; John Hanes, drums.

Mousketier Praxis (2003)
Mark Applebaum

Recorded Friday, February 28, 2014, during Other Minds Festival 19, at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. Performed by Mark Applebaum on sound sculpture with electronics.

Photos – Djerassi Retreat

Photos by Richard Friedman

Photos – Opening Party

Photos by Michael Melnyk

Photos – Performances

Photos by Michael Melnyk

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