From 27 April – 2 May I was the Melissa Gold Guest Artist at the Milton Academy in Boston. It was a week of adventure working with young people from ages 12 – 17. My goal was to give them a taste of music that uses improvisation and interactive electronics. I prepared a few pieces where they could participate. Even when there were 60 or more per class, we found ways for them to get inside of extended techniques, sonic improvisation and pushing a few buttons on my controllers. Participation and discussions were lively.
On Wednesday we ventured off campus to the high powered Brookline High School and the Bridge Boston Charter School where we embarked on the same adventures. At Bridge Boston we made music with kids from 4 – 8 yrs. They smiled, laughed and danced when I made up short songs using all those weird sounds. When is weird weird?
This week was made possible by my dear friend and colleague Louise Mundinger, music teacher at Milton and organist supreme.
Milton Chorus link giving Martin Parker’s GruntCount a try.
Chorus class at Brookline
Advanced music students Brookline
I flew to Edinburgh on 8 April to work with composer Michael Edwards and his students Yoann Mylonakis and Louis McHugh from the University of Edinburgh’s Digital Composition and Performance Department. We spent long hours tweaking their interactive computer compositions and then performed them at the Edinburgh Science Festival on 10 April.
We ran the audio directly from my old trustworthy RME to the surround speaker system and the composers controlled their pieces that were installed on my laptop discretely and almost secretly using MIRA and their iPads. No big mixers, no spaghetti cabling down the middle of the hall. Lovely interactions between composers, computers and the performer which happened to be me!
Robert van Heumen and I as Shackle hosted two duos to a full day in Amsterdam on 25 March.
They have very long names:
Of an implacable subtraction
with bassoonist/composer Dana Jessen and composer/performer Paula Mathussen
Architeuthis Walks on Land
with bassoonist/composer Katherine Young and violist/improviser Amy Cimini
Both duos presented their work and themselves at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and then played with and without Shackle in a diverse and marvelous concert at Splendor Amsterdam.
Oh how I wish they all lived in my town and I could play with them more than once in a blue moon.
Electra Kouloumpi is a young dancer and building engineer. One of her passions is to offer her audience abstract narrative interpretations of the spaces she moves through. This was our second time on stage together and the first as a duo. We had some magic in that hallway at the Kulter Proeflokaal in the basement of the A Lab building.
Blueprint is a video score by the conceptually wondrous artist Justin Bennett that MAZE performed with at GEMAK in The Hague on Friday the 13th of March. Justin recorded the performance and the audio is played with the video as part of an installation that will run until 11 April 2015.
Then we hope to play with it around the world.
Each of the 50 Splendor Amsterdam artists gives a concert once a year specifically for our club members. This time I assembled and arranged music that had something directly or abstractly to do with Winter Songs with some serious help from David Dramm and astounding performing from Jan Willem Baljet, Diamanda LBD, Nina Hitz and Nora Mulder. We were SOLD OUT!
From 16 – 19 February I had a job to do. One hour a day. It was to play in Martijn Tellinga’s
_during, lasting . . ., an installation/performance that lasts 5 consecutive days for 6 hours daily where 9 players enter the space for one hour (unannounced & uncoordinated) and the audience comes and goes.
It was part of the Nearly Not There . . festival W139
For me it was paradise.
Shackle had two romping and stomping performances in the beginning of February that included our full set up plus guests.
We were in Deventer on 8 February at the Kunstlab as guests of ~DIF where we played with silent film fragments and tried out all the new stuff we’ve been working on so that we can find more new stuff to do.
Robert van Heumen organized and produced Local Stop Revisited on February 15 in STEIM. STEIM will be moving location at the end of 2015. It’s a place where many of us were able to use space and facilities to research and create some of our most significant work in the last years. Shackle Affair made an appearance with guests Semay Wu and Han Buhrs. We’re into guests!
The 5 month long, 27 performances tour of My Private Odyssey with with Club Guy and Roni ended on 5 February. That was a monumental run of a sensational work with a big team of performers and makers that I grew to appreciate and love deeply. I never found Ithaca. In my role as Telemachus, I was left looking for my father over and over again. Still am.
The concerts that I found myself in were rich in performer diversity inclucing ages, sizes, disciplines, instruments, body parts and locations.
On 5 January I played on the monthly Monday Match at the BIMhuis in Amsterdam. The special guest was a musician playing sewing machine. Eventually I was inspired to tell my own sewing machine story where my Mom sewed through her finger.
Zebra was the guest band for the monthly ImproJam at MEZRAB on 17 January. That was my first authentic jam session ever in my life! Got to hear some magical moments and some misfires too. That’s jamming.
The Oorsprong Curators Series has a complex set of rules regarding when one is allowed to play on the concert. Basically one can only play once in the concert season and only with artists one has never played with before. At my age those stipulations are hard to follow. We had a fantastic performance on 26 January with a collective spirit that rendered our improvisation into compositional magic. Many thanks to Electra Kouloumpi for putting us together. We’ll see one another again on local stages soon.