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West Coast Tour 2017

18/03/2017 - 13:19

David Dramm and I took it upon ourselves to tour together after a 22 year hiatus. We started with a concert at our homebase, Splendor Amsterdam, where we could try a few things out before we hit the road.

I played radical repertoire including works by Sam Pluta, Hugo Morales, David Dramm, Yannis Kyriakides and myself and David told stories about our former tours. We ended the concert with a story that we told together.

First stop was Chicago which is not on the west coast and David was not there. Sam Pluta and I recorded his sonically intense and tremendous to perform Delay/Line. I gave a couple of composition seminars and we joined our favorite bassoon players Katie Young and Dana Jessen for an improv concert at Elastic Arts that was reminiscent of a concert in Splendor that Shackle produced a couple of years ago.

Recording Sam Pluta’s Delay/Line. Univ of Chicago.

David and I met up in Vancouver where he met with the students of John Korsrud and joined me for a concert produced by Music on Main. We get together with David Pay, the director of Music on Main, in the Netherlands and it was a treat to finally spend time with him on his own turf. What a stunning venue the Fox Cabaret is!

Vancouver is the home of the NOW Society run by colleague and close friend, Lisa Cay Miller. We managed to squeeze in a play at the NOW Society INsphere Sessions. I like the way Lisa hears and reacts when we play together. Jeff Younger joined us as did a few others. Nice night of improv with a lot of circular breathing.

Next came a residency at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. I fell in love with the mountain that hovers over the campus. The snowy cliffs and peaks bewitched us with light and shadows moment to moment for four days. I collaborated with six student composers and recorded their flute/electronics compositions. A gratifying lip-buster and just the beginning. We will work together again in Amsterdam in June in a BYU/Splendor exchange residency. David taught lessons for a full day, we gave a joint lecture on Splendor and our work, I led an improv class and we finished with a concert. The rewards of spending time with the musical community of BYU were felt by all.

Another early flight took us to San Francisco where we got in a car and drove to Santa Cruz, American style. We gave another Composition Colloquim and enjoyed the challenge of tweaking our duo presentation. The students told us we brought a freshness to the seminar formant by handing the lead back and forth and into the public.

Our concert was in the Radius Gallery run by the Indexical Foundation. Bravo Indexical for creating a vibrant series with a curious audience from scratch!

The last concert was at the San Francisco Center For New Music. The audience included some new and some dear old friends. Performing for them in such an intimate space gave the concert a sort of conversational flavor. Hello, we’re here to tell you our stories.

Meerenai Shin was the curator for the Center For New Music Concert and this was her last concert.

The Shackle Stick received its first review in Vital Weekly.

19/08/2012 - 23:05

SHACKLE – THE SHACKLE STICK (USB device and card game)
A duo of Robert van Heumen (laptop) and Anne La Berge (flute, electronic, voice). Both are quite known in the world of improvised music and them working together is perhaps nothing new. However the way they work is quite interesting. Along with the USB device you get a card game. There are twenty musical variations cards, each in three different parameters. A conductor shows one of these cards for ten seconds and then musicians start improvising, unless a player produces a ‘cancel’ card; then a new card is shown. Players have also a ‘next’ card, which they can use when they like to play something new. A bit like Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies’, but then completely different. It directs improvisation in a great way, I think. The card game is designed beautifully by Isabelle Vigier and it would be great to try this out one day. The card game is made up to between two and five players, but on the USB device there is of course just La Berge and Van Heumen. The short movie sees them performing the card ‘Chuck’, and then there three further pieces of music, with titles that don’t seem directly related to the cards, but no doubt were generated of using the cards. I mean: why would they otherwise be part of this package? This is some excellent improvisation, with La Berge’s flutes clearly the central point and Van Heumen processing of the flute, along whatever else he does come up within the space of his computer. He gives the music a great vibrant character, whereas La Berge’s playing brings a more introspective element to the table – at least at times – she can be nasty as well. This is, overall, a great imaginative work, of great music, great concept and wonderful execution. (FdW)

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