Inaugural Residency

Inaugural Artists in Residence include acclaimed artists Ellen Arkbro (virtual), Olivia Block, Steve Cardenas (2022 Charlie Haden Artist in Residence), and LARAAJI (virtual).

While the week’s activities are primarily intended for the CalArts community, several of LARAAJI’s virtual events will be open to the public, including: talks on Tuesday, Nov. 8 and Wednesday, Nov. 9; Laughter Meditation on Thursday, Nov. 10; and Guided Meditation on Friday, Nov. 11.

The on-campus, resident activities will include a panel discussion, presentations and workshops, and in-studio and live ensemble collaborations between residents and students. A Composition Masterclass with Block will be open to the public on Monday, Nov. 7.

The residency week culminates in a free, public concert at the Wild Beast on Friday, Nov. 11 at 8 pm.  

Jump to schedule

HASOM poster image

Meet the Artists

Ellen Arkbro

Ellen Arkbro is a composer, musician, and sound artist working with precision-tuned intervallic harmony. Her work includes compositions for acoustic instruments and for synthetic sound, and for combinations of both, as well as installation work. She has presented her site-specific work at Barbican in London, Kölner Philharmonie, Serralves in Porto, Issue Project Room in New York, Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, Silent Green in Berlin, Ina GRM in Paris and Tempelaukkio Kirke in Helsinki. In all of her work, Arkbro focuses on the qualities of harmonic sound that reveal listening as an active process of creative participation, inviting the listener to gradually transform into the sound itself.

Photo: Lieve Kleeven


Ellen Arkbro Headshot

Olivia Block

Olivia Block is a media artist and composer. Currently, her practice includes live performance, recordings, audio-visual installations, sound design, and scores for orchestra and chamber music concerts. Block's studio pieces often combine field recordings, electronic sounds, electric organ, piano and long chamber music passages. She composes scores for ensemble, orchestra, pipe organ and piano. Her recordings are published on Another Timbre, Erstwhile, Glistening Examples, NNA Tapes, Room40, Sedimental, and Touch, among other labels. Block performs using various techniques and instruments. She plays improvised and composed pieces on synth organ, laptop, analog synth, amplified objects, inside of grand piano and microphone, among other materials. Block creates multi-channel diffusion concerts and site-specific, multi-channel sound installations. She recently completed a 14-channel sound installation featuring sounds from Harry Bertoia's "Sonambient” sculptures for the Nasher Sculpture Gallery in Dallas, Texas.

Olivia Block Headshot

Steve Cardenas

Steve Cardenas, the 2022 Charlie Haden Artist in Residence at CalArts, has performed and recorded with many well-known and highly esteemed musicians. Notably, he was a longstanding member of the Paul Motian Electric Bebop Band, Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, Steve Swallow Quintet and Joey Baron’s Killer Joey. Steve is currently a member of the John Patitucci Electric Guitar Quartet, Jon Cowherd Mercy Project, Adam Nussbaum Lead Belly Project and Ben Allison Band. Steve has also performed regularly with such artists as Madeleine Peyroux, Eliane Elias and Norah Jones, as well as toured extensively performing at countless international music festivals, theaters, and clubs. Steve has six recordings as a leader, as well as appears as a sideman on over 100 recordings. His most recent albums, “Healing Power - the music of Carla Bley” and “Blue Has a Range,” are on Sunnyside Records. Additionally, Steve is on faculty at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York and is also co-author with editor Don Sickler of the Thelonious Monk Fakebook, Hal Leonard Publishing.

Photo: Anna Yatskevich

Steve Cardenas Headshot


Edward Gordon/LARAAJI is a musician, multi-instrumentalist, mystic, and laughter meditation practitioner based in New York City. He attended Howard University, a historically black university in Washington D.C. on a scholarship to study composition and piano. LARAAJI’S experiments and explorations with the open tuned electric autoharp/zither began with a gentle nudge from his divine guidance. In 1976, in Queens, NY, he had gone into a pawn shop to trade his guitar for much-needed cash, but was guided to instead acquire the autoharp/zither in the store window. Heeding this mystical and startling guidance, he left the shop with a Kentucky BlueGrass instrument he had never touched before. Within a few weeks, LARAAJI had discovered a new sound vocabulary with this 36-stringed American folk instrument. After open-minded experimentation with altered tunings, LARAAJI arrived at a deeply engaging and exotic new age music performance sound, which he sometimes refers to as “Celestial Vibration,” recalling an earlier paranormal sound hearing experience. LARAAJI began studying Eastern mysticism and improvising trance-inducing jams on his modified autoharp, processed through various electronic effects. In 1979, Brian Eno saw LARAAJI playing in Washington Square Park, NYC and invited him to record an album for his seminal ambient series “Ambient 3: Day of Radiance,” released 1980. Since then, LARAAJI has recorded over 50 solo and collaborative albums, the latest of which are three solo piano improvisation LPs, SUN PIANO, MOON PIANO & THROUGH LUMINOUS EYES. He also conducts healing laughter playshops around the world.

Laraaji Headshot

Schedule of Events

Monday, Nov. 7

  • 10-11 am (Open to the CalArts community)
    Wild Beast Courtyard       
    • The Herb Alpert School of Music Residency Coffee Mixer     
  • 11 am-1 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    Wild Beast 
    • Welcome from Music School Dean Volker Straelbel
    • Panel Discussion: Introducing the Artists in Residence, moderated by Jeonghyeon Joo with Ellen Arkbro (virtual), Olivia Block and Steve Cardenas in-person, and LARAAJI (virtual) 
  • 3-6 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Rehearsal 1: The Music of Steve Cardenas

  • 4-6 pm (**Open to the public**)
    ​Wild Beast
    • ​Composition Masterclass with Olivia Block
  • 4-6 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    Zoom with RSVP
    • ​Guided meditation with Laraaji

Tuesday, Nov. 8



  • 10 - 11 am (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Guided meditation with Laraaji
  • 11 am - 1 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    Wild Beast
    • ​Workshop 1: Field Recording with Olivia Block
  • 12 - 2 pm (**Open to the public**)
    Zoom with RSVP / Room B318
    • Talk 1: Visualizations with Laraaji
  • 2 - 4 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Harmonic Sound: Intonation, Tuning and Listening with Ellen Arkbro
  • 2 - 5 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Rehearsal 2: The Music of Paul Motian with Steve Cardenas

Wednesday, Nov. 9


  • 9-10 am (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Guided Meditation with Laraaji
  • 11 am-1 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    ​​Wild Beast      
    • Workshop 2: Sound and Space with Olivia Block
  • 12 - 2 pm (**Open to the public**)
    Zoom by RSVP / Room B318    
    • Talk 2: Music for Relaxation with Laraaji

  • 12 - 1 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    Main Gallery  
    • Darek Oles Ensemble performance

  • 2 - 4 pm (Canceled)
    Wild Beast
    • Listening session with Ellen Arkbro

  • 2 - 5 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Rehearsal 3: The Music of Charlie Haden with Steve Cardenas, the 2022 Charlie Haden Artist in Residence

  • 6:15 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    Room B318
    • Joe LaBarbera Book Talk 

  • 7 pm  
    ROD Lobby
    • Faculty Farewell Concert Reception with Thai Food

  • 8 pm (**Open to the public**)  
    The Wild Beast
    • Faculty Farewell Concert featuring double reed alumnx Miroslav Tadic, Joe LaBarbera and David Roitstein, Larry Koonse, and Edwin Livingstone. And come ready to sing Bach Chorales with Allan!

Thursday, Nov. 10

  • 10-11 am (**Open to the public**)
    Zoom by RSVP     
    • Laughter Meditation with Laraaji
  • 11 am-4 pm  
    • Collaborative Music Ensemble's Class Ensemble and Laraaji
  • 2-5 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Rehearsal 4: The Music of Thelonious Monk with Steve Cardenas

  • 5-7 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Group improv with Nicholas Deyoe

Friday, Nov. 11

  • 10-11 am (**Open to the public**)
    Zoom by RSVP     
    • Guided meditation with Laraaji
  • 12-1 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    Main Gallery
    • Vardan Ovsepian Composition Ensemble 
  • 1-4 pm (Open to the CalArts community)
    • Clouds for Three Tubas: Open Rehearsal with Ellen Arkbro

  • 8-10 pm (**Open to the public**)
    Inside the Wild Beast