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Brava Theater interior

Other Minds Festival 28
Wednesday–Saturday, September 25–28, 2024
Panels at 7:00 pm, Concerts at 8:00 pm
Brava Theater, San Francisco

A bevy of composers will convene for the 28th Other Minds Festival, an international annual showcase for composers held at San Francisco’s Brava Theater September 25–28, 2024.

The Festival opens with two world premiere performances of The Cello Quartet by the visionary Seattle-based media artist Trimpin, commissioned by Other Minds with support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. The piece features three autonomous cellos perched atop moving platforms. The word “cello” here hardly describes these sculptures, which will function both as instruments and dancers. A human cellist, Seattle’s Lori Goldston also equipped with her own moving platform, will round out the quartet while a trio of circus artists, choreographed by the Bay Area’s Margaret Fisher, will interact with the moving instruments affecting their course through wireless depth cameras embedded into the instruments.

On Night 3, we celebrate the 85th birthday of the New Zealand-born American composer Annea Lockwood with two collaborative works with trumpeter Nate Wooley and the piano/percussion quartet Yarn/Wire. Becoming Air explores a fascination with a magical sense of disorderliness, while Into the Vanishing Point was composed in response to the collapse of the world’s insect population. These works will be followed by Yarn/Wire’s performance of Both sides. Now by the Norwegian composer Jan Martin Smørdal.

On Night 4, two percussionists, Marshall Trammell and Nava Dunkelman, return to the Bay Area to be reunited with their local counterparts. Trammell, who now lives in Kansas City, MO, will perform We Say NO To Genocide with saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh, an improvised set expressing the connections of poetry and music. Dunkelman, now a resident of New York, returns to the Bay to perform with Amma Ateria as IMA. Their electro-percussion duo brings together expressionistic noise music and Japanese poetry in electrifying juxtaposition. The program will be capped off with a performance of Annea Lockwood‘s RCSC performed by pianist and new music champion Sarah Cahill, a dedicatee of the piece, along with the late pioneering American composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, from whose music the melodic material was borrowed.

Concert Programs

Concert 1
Wednesday, September 25
7pm panel discussion · 8pm concert

TrimpinThe Cello Quartet, world premiere; Lori Goldston, cello; Margaret Fisher, choreography; Joel Herzfeld, Bri Crabtree, Calvin Kai Ku, circus artists

Concert 2
Thursday, September 26
7pm panel discussion · 8pm concert

TrimpinThe Cello Quartet, world premiere; Lori Goldston, cello; Margaret Fisher, choreography; Joel Herzfeld, Bri Crabtree, Calvin Kai Ku, circus artists

Concert 3
Friday, September 27
7pm panel discussion · 8pm concert

Annea LockwoodBecoming Air, Nate Wooley, trumpet; Into the Vanishing Point, Yarn/Wire
Jan Martin Smørdal
Both Sides. Now, Yarn/Wire

Concert 4
Saturday, September 28
7pm panel discussion · 8pm concert

Annea LockwoodRCSC, Sarah Cahill, piano
Marshall Trammell
, drums and Hafez Modirzadeh, saxophone – We Say NO To Genocide
IMA (Amma Ateria, electronics; Nava Dunkelman, percussion) – The Flowers Die in Burning Fire – 炎の中で死にゆく花

Festival Artist Bios

Margaret Fisher headshot with white background

Margaret Fisher

Margaret Fisher, choreographer, has presented interdisciplinary and scholarly work, partnering with the late, venturesome Robert Hughes, composer and conductor. She’s also created choreography for the music of composers familiar to Other Minds audiences: Charles Amirkhanian, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Beth Anderson, Bob Ashley, Lou Harrison, and Ezra Pound. Her love of early twentieth-century modernism found expression in her direction of composer Charles Shere’s opera The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even, based on Duchamp’s eponymous 1915-1923 painting on glass. In 1984, Fisher and Hughes formed MAFISHCO, a performance and production group known for its pairing of vintage-tech to high-tech video monitors, film projectors, lasers, walkie-talkies, multi-image orchestra, cloud chambers, and recently, a robotic heron fabricated by Oliver DiCicco.

Two woman looking away from camera in pink lighting.

IMA

IMA is the electro-percussion project of electronic sound artist Amma Ateria (HK) and percussionist Nava Dunkelman (JP), based in California and New York. Through restraint and release, IMA depicts expressionistic noise music of Japanese poetry with the meticulous industrial and serene. Striving for a balance between precision of instrumentation, filmic transitions between silence and densities are driven to brinks of breakage, situated by beautification in between. IMA marches forth with starkness and surrender into the aftermath of destruction, an attempt for transformative regeneration of beauty through catalysts of pleasure. The duo was presented in residency at The Stone, NYC (2016/2023), San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, SF (2016), San Francisco Art Institute (2018), CCRMA, Stanford University (2018), Other Minds: Latitudes (2019), Music in the Fault Zone, Mills College (2022), and Roulette, NYC (2024).

Annea Lockwood. Photo by Julia Dratel.

Annea Lockwood

Annea Lockwood’s compositions range from sound art and environmental sound installations to concert music. Recent works include Wild Energy with Bob Bielecki–a site-specific installation focused on geophysical, atmospheric, and mammalian infra and ultra sound sources, permanently installed at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts–Skin Resonance with Vanessa Tomlinson for bass drums and voice, Inside the Watershed with Liz Phillips–a riverside installation in Philadelphia–and On Fractured Ground: the peace walls in Belfast, NI for fixed media. Water has been a recurring focus of her work and her three installation sound maps of rivers: the Hudson River, the Danube, and the Housatonic River have been widely presented. She is a recipient of the SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) Lifetime Achievement Award 2020 and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2022.

Hafez Modirzadeh playing saxophone.

Hafez Modirzadeh

Hafez Modirzadeh’s work is global in scope and highly collaborative in nature. Over the past three decades, the influence of his original concepts such as Chromodality (1992), Aural Archetypes (2001), Compost Music (2009), Convergence Liberation (2011), and Sonic Indigeneity (2023), has galvanized innovative performance practices that extend beyond any one discipline, genre, or generation. While a Professor of Music at San Francisco State, Modirzadeh’s unique form of artistic scholarship has been published in such journals as Music in China, Black Music Research, Leonardo, and Critical Studies in Improvisation. As a Grammy-nominated saxophonist, Modirzadeh has learned from and performed with master artists ranging from Ornette Coleman to Danongan Kalanduyan and Mahmoud Zoufonoun, as well as many creative music pioneers from the AACM and Asian Improv aRts.

Jan Martin Smordal headshot.

Jan Martin Smørdal

Jan Martin Smørdal (b. 1978) is a Norwegian composer and performer of contemporary music based in the Oslo region. With a background in experimental bands and improvisation, Smørdal writes solo, chamber, and orchestral works often inspired by social phenomena: imitation and mimicry; swarms, flocks, and other collective behaviors; memory; and the unevenness inherent to being human. His music has been performed by musicians and ensembles in the Americas, Europe, and Australia, and at festivals such as Ultima (NO), ISCM (AU/EE), MATA (US), and Borealis (NO). Smørdal’s music has been released on the labels LAWO, SOFA, and Aurora, and has been featured by BBC Radio 3, The Wire, NRK, Resonance FM, Freq, and Bandcamp’s “Best of Contemporary Classical.” In 2022, Smørdal was awarded the Arne Nordheim Prize, Norway’s most prestigious award for composers.

Marshall Trammell plating drumset

Marshall Trammell

Marshall Trammell is an experimental archivist, percussionist, conductor, and composer. His aesthetics and activism are centered in social change interventions and generate new local and global ecologies that embrace improvisation as a collective, movement-building tool in the creation of post-capitalist imaginaries. Trammell’s work also uses political aesthetic theory, data creation, mapping, and collective music-and-artmaking in order to step out of the domain of traditional cultural institutions, relocating the act of co-production back in the community. Trammell’s Music Research Strategies is a performing-political education platform for embodied social justice vernacular, organizational strategy, and alternative infrastructure development. He is affiliated with EastSide Arts Alliance and ProArts COMMONS and is a member of Solidarity Research Center.

Trimpin headshot

Trimpin

Trimpin is a sound sculptor, composer, engineer, and inventor. A specialist in interfacing computers with traditional instruments, he has developed ways of playing instruments ranging from giant marimbas to stacks of electric guitars via computer. His work integrates sculpture, sound, and live performance. Born in Germany near the Black Forest, Trimpin spent several years living and studying in Berlin, working as a set designer and collaborating with artists from both Germany and the United States. He relocated to the United States in 1979. His work has been performed and exhibited at shows, performances, new music festivals, museums, and galleries around the world including the Seattle Art Museum, International Jazz Festival in Vancouver, Missoula Museum of Art in Montana, Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State University Museum of Art, Ojai Music Festival, and Other Minds Festival.

Nate Wooley. Photo by Julia Dratel.

Nate Wooley

Nate Wooley was born in 1974 Clatskanie, Oregon and began playing trumpet professionally with his father, a big band saxophonist, at the age of thirteen. He made his debut as soloist with the New York Philharmonic at the opening series of their 2019 season. Considered one of the leading lights of the American movement to redefine the physical boundaries of the horn, Wooley has been gathering international acclaim for his idiosyncratic trumpet language. Wooley moved to New York in 2001 and has since become one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Éliane Radigue, Annea Lockwood, Ken Vandermark, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada. He has premiered works for trumpet by Christian Wolff, Michael Pisaro, Annea Lockwood, Ash Fure, Wadada Leo Smith, Sarah Hennies, Martin Arnold, and Eva-Maria Houben.

Four people standing in front of trees with green leaves.

Yarn/Wire

Described by The New York Times as “key figures from the contemporary music scene… with unmistakable devotion and excitement,” Yarn/Wire is a New York-based percussion and piano quartet (Sae Hashimoto and Russell Greenberg, percussion; Laura Barger and Julia Den Boer, pianos) dedicated to the promotion of creative, experimental new music. Since its formation in 2005, the ensemble has become a fixture at the world’s preeminent halls and music festivals, making its German debut in two concerts at the prestigious Donaueschingen Musiktage in 2023. Their ongoing commissioning series, Yarn/Wire/Currents, serves as an incubator for new experimental music in partnership with a variety of Brooklyn-based institutions. Yarn/Wire has recorded for the WERGO, Kairos, New Amsterdam, Northern Spy, Distributed Objects, Black Truffle, Shelter Press, Populist, and Carrier record labels, in addition to maintaining its own imprint.

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