Other Minds Festival 26
October 13-15, 2022 @ the Great Star Theater, SF
October 13-15, 2022 @ the Great Star Theater, SF
Other Minds Festival 26 brought together a cast of composers from locations both near and far for three nights of new music at San Francisco’s historic Great Star Theater in Chinatown, October 13-15, 2022.
Evening one kicked off with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Raven Chacon taking the stage with legendary Bay Area experimentalist Guillermo Galindo, an electroacoustic violin performance by Japanese-American violinist and composer Mari Kimura, and a performance of music for voice and cello by the Bay Area’s own Theresa Wong.
Friday night we welcomed to the stage three of our international participants, bassist and improviser Joëlle Léandre who performed alongside vocalist Lauren Newton, and Swedish composer, instrument builder, and sound artist Hanna Hartman. The performance concluded with the American premiere of Other Minds Executive and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian’s Rachet Attach It for 10 percussionists accompanied by altered recordings of player piano rolls recorded by the composer and performed by Rex Lawson.
Our final night continued with the world premiere of a newly commissioned work for the duo of Kate Stenberg and Sarah Cahill by Norwegian composer Lars Petter Hagen and a piece for moving marimbas by Kui Dong. We celebrates the conclusion of our festival with the US premiere of UK composer Dominic Murcott’s masterwork The Harmonic Canon, which was performed by the Seattle-based arx duo on a half-ton bell designed specifically for the work.
Concert 1 Videos
Other Minds Executive and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian leads a discussion the composers and performers of the works presented this evening: Mari Kimura (Japan/U.S.), Raven Chacon (U.S.), Guillermo Galindo (Mexico/U.S.) and Theresa Wong (U.S.).
Theresa Wong Fluency of Trees
Theresa Wong is a Bay Area-based composer, cellist, and vocalist. Her work Fluency of Trees explores connection to the primal sentience of the natural world. The piece synergizes song forms, noise, and harmony through a unique timbral merging of cello and voice.
Mari Kimura Four Short Works
Four short works from Mari Kimura, a violinist, composer, and a leading figure in the field of interactive computer music. Here she plays JanMaricana, D’Alembert Caprice, Motion Notions (by Dai Fujikura), and Rossby Waving. She uses a motion sensor system she developed called MUGIC® on three of these pieces.
Raven Chacon/Guillermo Galindo Improvised Set
The collaborations of Raven Chacon and Guillermo Galindo bridge the worlds of contemporary sound art, acoustic composition, noise, indigenous activism, and visual art. They draw on Indigenous and Mexican symbology, ritual items, amplified objects, and on the American experimental music of John Cage and subsequent composers.
Concert 1 Photos
Credit: ebbe roe yovino-smith
Concert 2 Videos
Other Minds Executive and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian leads a discussion the composers and performers of the works presented this evening: Hanna Hartman (Sweden/Germany), Dominic Murcott (UK, conductor for Charles’s work Ratchet Attach It), Lauren Newton (US/Germany, vocalist) and Joëlle Léandre (France, bassist) who collaborated on an improvised set of music.
Hanna Hartman SOLO, CRUSH
Hanna Hartman is a Swedish composer, sound artist, and performer based in Berlin. She has composed works for radio, electroacoustic music, ensembles, and sound installations and performed all over the world. SOLO is a work for amplified and moving objects with hydrophones, stainless steel washers, and more. CRUSH is a tape piece based on close-up sounds, recorded all over the world, and recordings of a Buchla 200.
Joëlle Léandre/Lauren Newton Improvised Set
The music of Joëlle Léandre (double bass) and Lauren Newton (voice) is not arranged conventionally but rather is scattered, diffused, dispersed through layers of sound. The voice’s high notes forge a variety of color fragments, while the low notes of the double bass create substance and depth. Their improvisations flow from the pure joy of creating and performing sound songs that are both original and very personal.
Charles Amirkhanian Ratchet Attach It
Charles Amirkhanian’s 11-movement work for piano roll and percussion ensemble, originally composed for the 2021 Spitalfields Festival in London. Performed by the Other Minds Ensemble: Dominic Murcott, conductor; Jeremy Steinkoler, director; Andrew Griffin, Andrew Lewis, Clay Melish, Rowan Nykamp, Erika Oba, Brian Rice, Dawn Richardson, Evan Steinkoler. Click here to read the full program notes.
Concert 2 Photos
Credit: ebbe roe yovino-smith
Concert 3 Videos
Other Minds Executive and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian leads a discussion with the three composers of the works presented this evening: Dominic Murcott (UK), Kui Dong (China/U.S.), and Lars Petter Hagen (Norway).
Dominic Murcott The Harmonic Canon
Dominic Murcott is a composer, percussionist, curator and educator based in London. The Harmonic Canon is both the name of the piece and the double bell custom-made for it. Comprising two bells tuned a semitone apart, some parts of the bells are in tune with each other, others are out of tune, creating a unique ‘beating’ between the bells. Oh – and did we mention it spins? Performed by Garrett Arney and Christopher Whyte.
Kui Dong Scattered Ladder
This work, originally commissioned by the Dutch ensemble Slagwerk Den Haag, is scored for two marimbas played by four musicians. During the piece, the marimbas are moved across the stage, resulting in a spatialization of sounds that is played by an ever-changing set of hands. The composition was written in response to the commissioner’s request that the composer “think deeper about what we normally perceive as a percussion piece.”
Lars Petter Hagen 10 Svendsen Romances, Seven Studies in Sadness, Diabelli Cadenza, Coda
Lars Petter Hagen is a Norwegian composer whose work maintains a unique and questioning stance towards the great musical milestones of the past. In this concert the duo of Kate Stenberg (violin) and Sarah Cahill (piano) – along with Maximilian Sauer on electronics – play 4 of Hagen’s works in sequence, including a Coda for his work 10 Svendsen Romances commissioned by Other Minds and given its world premiere here.
Concert 3 Photos
Credit: ebbe roe yovino-smith
Festival Artist Bios
Composer and sound poet, radio and record producer Charles Amirkhanian is a leading American practitioner of electroacoustic music and text-sound composition. He co-founded Other Minds in 1993 and serves as its Executive & Artistic Director. Amirkhanian is widely known for his live and fixed media works utilizing speech elements in rhythmic patterns resembling percussion music. His later electroacoustic music incorporates ambient sounds modified with digital sampling, for which he was commissioned by WDR Köln to create such hörspiel works as Im Frühling and Metropolis San Francisco. Recent CD releases of his music are Loudspeakers (New World) and Miatsoom (Other Minds). A DVD of his performance works in collaboration with artist Carol Law, Hypothetical Moments, is set for release in 2022. His early life as a percussionist is revisited in his recent opus for 10 percussionists, Ratchet Attach It, commissioned for the 2021 Spitalfields Festival in London, and having its U.S. premiere at OM Festival 26.
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, collaborator, or with Postcommodity, Chacon has exhibited or performed at Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, REDCAT, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Borealis Festival, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Chaco Canyon, Ende Tymes Festival, 18th Biennale of Sydney, and The Kennedy Center. Every year, he teaches 20 students to write string quartets for the Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project. He is the recipient of the United States Artists fellowship in Music, The Creative Capital award in Visual Arts, The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation artist fellowship, the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for Music Composition, the Pew Fellowship, and the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Kui Dong’s compositions span diverse genres and styles that include ballet, orchestral and chamber works, chorus, electro-acoustic music, film scores, multi-media art, and improvisation. Her works written in the United States show a unique synthesis of influences from avant-garde experimental and jazz, and at the same time maintain a profound respect to Western classical music and a deep cultural connection with her Chinese roots. She also incorporates theater, as well as Chinese and other non-western instruments and musical concepts into contemporary settings. Dong is Professor of Music Composition at Dartmouth College and, when not writing music, occasionally performs free improvisation and writes novels.
The extent of the work of experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist, and visual media artist Guillermo Galindo redefines the conventional limits between music, the art of music composition, and the intersections between art disciplines, politics, humanitarian issues, spirituality, and social awareness. His acoustic work includes two commissioned orchestral compositions by the OFUNAM (Mexico University Orchestra) and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and Choir, solo instrumental works, two operas, sonic sculptures, visual arts, computer interaction works, electro-acoustic music, film, instrument building, three-dimensional immersive installations, and live improvisation. Galindo’s graphic scores and three-dimensional sculptural cyber-totemic sonic objects have been shown at major museums and art biennials in America, Europe, and Asia including (amongst others) documenta14 (2017), Pacific Standard Time (2017), LACMA in Los Angeles, California, and The National Gallery in Washington DC.
Lars Petter Hagen
Lars Petter Hagen’s music has been called an art of ‘resignation,’ silent despair, and reduction, and he describes himself as a melancholic. But if all this suggests a man in retreat from society, Lars Petter Hagen’s career suggests quite the opposite. As a composer he has attracted international acclaim for his work which maintains a unique and questioning stance towards the great musical milestones of the past. The UK’s Gramophone magazine described him as ‘essentially swearing in church, at the same time as crafting the most heavenly sounds this side of the pearly gates’ and describing his 2014 album with symphonic music performed by the Oslo Philharmonic as ‘genuinely visionary… the most important new music disc to arrive for a long time.’
Hanna Hartman is a Swedish composer, sound artist and performer based in Berlin. She has composed works for radio, electroacoustic music, ensembles, sound installations and given numerous performances all over the world. Her many awards and grants include the Karl-Sczuka-Preis, the Phonurgia Nova Prize, a Villa Aurora grant and the Rome Prize (Villa Massimo). During 2007 and 2008, she was Composer-in-Residence at the Swedish Radio and in 2019 at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Hanna Hartman is a member of the German Academy of the Arts. Her work has been presented in numerous concerts and festivals such as Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, el nicho aural Mexico City, Akousma Montreal, London Contemporary Music Festival, Eclat Festival Stuttgart, Cut & Splice Festival Manchester, Rainy Days Luxemburg, and Roma Europa, Rome.
Mari Kimura is a violinist/composer, a leading figure in interactive computer music. Mari is world-renowned for Subharmonics—the production of pitches that sound up to an octave below the violin’s lowest string—and her dynamic performances and as an improviser. She received numerous awards including Guggenheim Fellowship, Fromm Award, a residency award at IRCAM, and the grant from Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Mari is a Professor of Music UC at Irvine and at The Juilliard School. She developed a motion sensor system MUGIC® and received the Certificate of Recognition from the House of Representatives and the California State Assembly as an entrepreneur.
Joëlle Léandre, born in Aix-en-Provence in 1951, is a French contrabassist, composer, and improviser. In 1976, she was awarded the « Creative Associate of Arts », a one year grant to work in Buffalo, New York with Morton Feldman. In 2002, 2004, and 2006, Joëlle Léandre was a visiting professor of composition and improvisation and the Darius Milhaud Chair at Mills College in Oakland, California. Léandre’s work spans the globe. Her creative and performance activities, both solo and ensemble, have led her to the most prestigious European, American, and Asian scenes. She has worked with Merce Cuningham, Morton Feldman, John Cage, Giacinto Scelsi, Philippe Fenelon, Philippe Hersant, Steve Lacy, José Luis Campana, Betsy Jolas, and Aldo Clementi. Joëlle Léandre has recorded more than 180 albums. Her book, A Voix basse, is a collection of interviews with Franck Médioni (MF, 2008). She was named “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite” and most recently “Chevalier de l’ordre des Art et des Lettres” (France).
Dominic Murcott is a composer, percussionist, curator and educator based in London. Beginning as a self-taught musician he played drums and percussion with many influential bands and is the vibraphonist with art-pop outfit The High Llamas. Recording has been with Stereolab, Pavement, Cathal Coughlan and St Etienne to name a few. Changing direction he studied music formally and received a PhD in Composition from Goldsmiths College before being made Head of Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Now in his 19th year in the post, the department is oversubscribed and renowned for its innovative approach to composition training. An expert on the music of Conlon Nancarrow, he lectures, curates festivals and undertakes public speaking around the world. Recent compositions include The Harmonic Canon, which won a 2018 BASCA British Composer Award.
Lauren Newton, born in Oregon, USA, completed classical voice studies at the University of Oregon and the State University of Music in Stuttgart, Germany, where she has lived since 1974. She began expanding her range of voice techniques without using words, focusing primarily on vocal expression, and gained recognition in both the jazz and avant-garde music scenes. She performed solo and toured with various ensembles in the USA, South Korea, India, Japan, and throughout Europe. In 1983, she received the annual German Critiques Award for Timbre, her first recording as bandleader. Concerts and recordings with: Vienna Art Orchestra (1979-90), Vocal Summit (1982-83), vocal quartet Timbre (1990-2007), Anthony Braxton, Fritz Hauser, Joëlle Léandre, Koichi Makigami, Maria Joao, Phil Minton, Barre Phillips, Aki Takase, Myra Melford, Heiri Kenzig, Vladimir Tarasov, and the Austrian poet Ernst Jandl (among others). Her own projects have included compositions for music and theater productions, small and large ensembles, choirs, and radio plays. In 2020, she received the Lifetime Achievement Jazz Award from the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Theresa Wong is a composer, cellist, and vocalist active at the intersection of improvisation, composition, and the synergy of multiple disciplines. Her works include As We Breathe, an installed song commissioned by Long Beach Opera, She Dances Naked Under Palm Trees, commissioned by pianist Sarah Cahill, and Harbors, co-composed with Long String Instrument inventor Ellen Fullman and chosen as one of Wire’s top 50 releases of 2020. Recent commissions include works for San Francisco Girls Chorus, NakedEye Ensemble, and Del Sol String Quartet. Wong has shared her work internationally and is the founder of fo’c’sle, a record label dedicated to adventurous music from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.