Spring 2020 Visiting Artists

Lucia Mense

Lucia Mense will be a guest during Wintersession in “The Recorder Today & Yesterday.” Lucia presently resides in Cologne, this after completing her studies in that city as well as Milano and Amsterdam. Her repertoire encompasses works from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, as well as the contemporary flute literature, which she is actively expanding and developing. She has concertized throughout Europe, Russia, China and the United States as a soloist and as chamber musician.

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Antonio Sánchez

Antonio is the Charlie Haden/CalArts Artist in Residence and will teach "The Spirituality of Improvisation" during Wintersession

Five-time Grammy Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Antonio Sánchez is considered by many critics and musicians alike as one of the most prominent drummers of his generation, and that was before he caught the attention of the world with his score for Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s acclaimed film Birdman.

Born in Mexico City on November 1, 1971, he started playing drums at the age of five and began performing professionally early in his teens. He pursued a degree in classical piano at the National Conservatory in Mexico and in 1993 he moved to Boston to enroll at Berklee College of Music. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Jazz Studies. He’s made New York City his home since 1999.

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Thana Alexa

THANA ALEXA will be at CalArts for a Wintersession class that is open to the Institute, "Singing with Thana Alexa." 

Surprising is the word that perhaps best describes Thana Alexa, an extraordinarily creative force in music.  An awe-inspiring vocalist, composer, and arranger – for whom the voice is both a lyrical and experimental instrument – her music pushes the boundaries of the genre into new and unexplored territory with deep seeded roots in jazz and overtones of contemporary soul and world music.

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Vera Ivanova

Ivanova's compositions have been described as "... humanistic and deeply felt works ..." (John Bilotta, Society of Composers, Inc.). In her early Fantasy-Toccata (2003) for violin and piano, "the humor takes on a harder, sardonic edge recalling the composer's roots in the work of Shostakovich and Schnittke" (Ted Ayala, Crescenta Valley Weekly). In her later "Three Studies in Uneven Meters for Piano" (2011), "the greatest power of her brief, angular, crystalline music lies in its power to provoke the gods of symmetry" (Laurence Vittes, Lark Gallery Online Blog). After teaching as Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition at the Setnor School of Music of Syracuse University (NY), she was appointed as Associate Professor of Music in the College of Performing Arts at Chapman University (Orange, CA). Ivanova also teaches at the Colburn Academy. 

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Aaron Drake

Drake will hold a discussion on how to continue meritorious 'artistic practice' while working professionally as a composer for contemporary visual media.

Classically trained as a pianist from age 5, Drake performed competitively between ages 8 and 15 throughout the West Coast (US and Canada). Drake received an MFA in Composition from CalArts where he studied with James Tenney (microtonal music), Mark Trayle, David Rosenboom and Michael Pisaro. CalArts pushed him to conceptualize music beyond the intricacies of advanced music theory which lead to his first film collaborations.



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Neal Acree

Neal Acree is a BAFTA nominated film, television and video game composer and conductor whose work includes the massively popular game franchises World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Overwatch, Revelation Online, shows like Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Witchblade and over 30 feature films. A versatile and prolific composer with roots in classical, rock and electronic music, Acree's music has been recorded and performed by orchestras and choirs around the world, including the hit concert tour Video Games Live.

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Kalia Vandever


Kalia will be performing a few of her solo works for trombone with effects, as well as explaining her compositional and improvisational approaches.

Kalia Vandever is a trombonist, composer, and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. Her unique sound and approach to composition and improvisation is inspired by her broad musical influences. She often describes her approach to the trombone as an extension of her voice. She released her debut album "In Bloom" in May 2019, which features all of her original compositions written for quartet, as well as duo with guitar. She also has a solo project using trombone and voice with effects.

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Thomas Kotcheff

Kotcheff performs Frederick Rzewski’s monumental Songs of Insurrection! Please join us to hear Thomas talk about and play this 75 minute cycle of protest song/variations. All are welcome!

Thomas Kotcheff is a Los Angeles based composer and pianist. His compositions have been described as “truly beautiful and inspired” (icareifyoulisten.com) and “explosive” (Gramophone magazine), and have been performed internationally. As a new music pianist, Thomas has dedicated himself to commissioning and premiering new piano works. He is the pianist and founding member of the Los Angeles based piano duo HOCKET and he holds degrees in composition and piano performance from the Peabody Institute and the University of Southern California. For more information visit. 

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Lisa Mezzacappa

Lisa Mezzacappa has been an active collaborator in the San Francisco Bay Area music community for more than 15 years. Her activities as a composer, bassist, improviser, and ensemble leader encompass ethereal chamber music, electro-acoustic works, avant-garde jazz, music for groups from duo to large ensemble, and collaborations with film, dance, and visual art. Mezzacappa has released her music on the New World, Clean Feed, NoBusiness, Leo, and NotTwo record labels, and her work has been supported by the MAP Fund, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Aaron Copland Fund. Current projects include the improvising orchestra, the duo B. Experimental Band; a suite for sextet inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics; and a podcast opera about relationships at the dawn of the Internet.



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Vic Rawlings

Vic Rawlings employs a still and unstable sound language that traverses from visceral excess to extreme austerity. He has designed and built two separate instruments to realize this aesthetic, including extensive and invasive cello preparations, some directly based on obscure baroque instrumentation. The amplified cello is used as a resonant wooden microphone. He also continually develops an electronic instrument from the exposed circuit boards of sound processors, effectively producing an analog synthesizer with a highly unstable interface. This electronic instrument is realized by a flexible array of exposed speaker elements, chosen for their often unpredictable and idiosyncratic acoustic qualities. His solo performances deny conventional assumptions about the use of time and refuse alliance with dominant trends in improvised music.

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Rent Romus

Bay Area saxophonist, composer and bandleader Rent Romus will present the process and music behind “Manala” (netherworld), an original musical project weaving the elements of jazz, traditional folk, and free improvisation. He will be joined by co-composer, educator, and musician Heikki Koskinen. The project is inspired by the mythic prose of cultural liberation and identity found in the Finnish National Epic known as the Kalevala and the folklore of northern arctic traditions.

Rent Romus is a saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, music producer, and community leader. A third generation Finnish American born in the great north of upper Michigan and growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout his creative career his mission and vision is to create original music inspired by abstract visual art, science fiction, and cultural mythology, while seeking to challenge himself artistically through research and experimentation. He currently leads the Lords of Outland, a free improvisation unit since 1994, the Life's Blood Ensemble a composition focused contemporary ensemble, and leads the Finnish/American group Otherworld Ensemble.


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John P. McCowen

McCowen’s talk will be focused on the concept of the clarinet/contrabass clarinet as a new polyphonic instrument - an acoustic synthesizer.

John McCowen is a Brooklyn-based composer/performer originally from Southern Illinois. His work focuses on extending the acoustic possibilities of the clarinet family. John embraces long-form drones, difference tones, and beating harmonics as a means to extrude the dimensions within - treating the clarinet as an acoustic synthesizer. John was the 2017 and 2019 artist-in-residence at Lijiang Studio in Yunnan, China. He received the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award for Excellence in Music Composition in 2016 from Mills College, where he also received an MA in Music Composition under the tutelage of Roscoe Mitchell. He is currently the 2020 artist-in-residence at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn, NY.

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Patrick Shiroishi

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist & composer based in Los Angeles. He will be doing a short performance and giving a brief talk on his journey as a musician.

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Michael Francis Duch

Michael Francis Duch (1978) was born and raised in Trondheim, Norway, and plays the double bass. He is currently Deputy Head of Department at Department of Music at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology - NTNU, and a former member of the The Young Academy of Norway.Duch completed his project “Free Improvisation – Method and Genre” as research-fellow at the University of Trondheim (NTNU) late October 2010, where he has been doing research on Free Improvisation and the use of Improvisation in Experimental Music. He has been involved in about 70 recordings released in various formats, and has played solo-concerts various places in Norway and Sweden, and also Reykjavik, Athens, Madrid, Vienna, Glasgow, Huddersfield and London.

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Jenny Olivia Johnson

Jenny Olivia Johnson (b. 1978 in Santa Monica, CA) is a composer, sound artist, and music scholar, as well as an Associate Professor of Music at Wellesley College. Her compositions and artwork range from electroacoustic chamber songs and contemplative solo works to short amplified operas and interactive sound sculptures with lighting. Jenny’s most recent project is the immersive installation DIVE (LUCY’S LAST DANCE), currently on view at the Davis Museum from February-June 2020. The installation is based on Jenny’s forthcoming headphones-opera “The After Time,” which explores the erotics of grieving.

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Maayan Tsadka

Maayan Tsadka is a composer, sound artist, improviser, sound explorer and teacher. At the root of all his works is an attempt to grasp some understanding about the nature of sound, its behavior, acoustic ways of organization, and its environmental and social roles. He is interested in uncovering and amplifying layers and musical patterns—hidden, inherent structures— which occur acoustically, as well as in an exploration of the ways in which the sonic phenomena meets the physiology of the ear and the psychology of listening. Often, his work incorporates a dimension of imaginary and speculative sonic worlds, on the line between crypto-zoology, crypto-botany and futuristic folklore. 

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Weston Olencki

Lecture/Talk with colloquium on approaches to performance and presentation of works via Zoom. Email Matt Barbier for Zoom link if interested in joining mbarbier@calarts.edu

Weston Olencki is a South Carolina-born, Brooklyn-based musician working at the intersections of improvisation, contemporary composition & extended instrumental performance, new media technologies, and noise-based practices. 


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Gloria Yehilevsky

International percussionist Gloria Yehilevsky presents an immersive practice with improvisation, composition, and education. Her work is rooted in the philosophy that music is communication. She was selected as an artist for the World Percussion Group in 2017, received the highest awarded prize in the Italy PAS International Vibraphone competition, won the PAS/Armand Zildjian Percussion Scholarship, and is a Musical Merit Foundation protégé. Her accolades include recording for NAXOS, airing on BBC Radio 3, performing in the International Symposium at PGVIM in Bangkok, performing at PASIC and earning the Fred Sanford Award with Santa Clara Vanguard.
Gloria endorses Black Swamp Percussion.

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Julia Holter

Julia Holter is a composer, performer, and recording artist based in Los Angeles. Her interest in sonic mysteries has led her to record in various settings--in her home, outside with a field recorder, and in recording studios—as well as to perform live, often with a focus on the voice and the space between language and babble. Holter’s music is multi-layered and texturally rich. She has amassed a body of work that explores melody within free song structures, atmosphere, and the impulses of the voice. She has released five studio albums: Aviary (2018), Have You In My Wilderness (2015), Loud City Song (2013), Ekstasis (2012), and Tragedy (2011). Holter has performed her music at venues and festivals throughout the world with an ensemble of creative musicians. She has written music for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and other ensembles, as well as scores for the films “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (2020) and “Bleed for This” (2016) and the TV show “Pure” (2019).

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Jacob Wick

You’ll be listening to some of Jacob’s solo work, specifically from the record feel, released in 2019 on Thin Wrist. Then talk about the idea that structured feel, which is the process queer sound -> queer time -> queer space. 

Jacob Wick is an improviser, writer, and artist. His work is dedicated to and informed by queer feelings and queer politics. As an improviser and trumpet player, he has performed in a variety of contexts, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Kennedy Center, and the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC). He has performed with Matana Roberts, Andrea Neumann, Gerald Cleaver, Katherine Young, Judith Hamann, Toshimaru Nakamura, and others.

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Fall 2019 Visiting Artists

Stephen James Taylor

Mr. Taylor graduated from Stanford Music Department in 1976 and has worked as a film composer since 1981. He has received numerous credits and Emmy nominations, plus has many miscellaneous classical music commissions. Stephen is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, inventor, and filmmaker.

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Josh Nelson

A native of Southern California, Josh Nelson maintains an active and creative schedule as a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and recording artist. He has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Natalie Cole, Anthony Wilson, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens,  Alicia Olatuja, Eddie Daniels, Ken Peplowski, Richard Galliano, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, Greg Hutchinson, John Clayton, Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Sara Gazarek, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers, Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, and Lewis Nash. Josh has performed around the world and recorded for numerous albums, films, and TV shows, but also makes time for his own projects. His latest is 2017’s The Sky Remains which is his love letter to Los Angeles. It’s the third in his Discovery Project series. It unearths hidden gems and little-known stories about the composer’s hometown.



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Coleman Zurkowski


Coleman Zurkowski is a composer living in New York City. He received a Bachelor's in Music Composition from DePaul University in 2012 and an MFA in MusicComposition from CalArts in 2014. He is currently working in New York, composing music for film, commercials and theater., as well as presenting music of his own. Coleman has self-funded two national tours of his personal compositions and one international tour. ZERO was also signed to Dangerbird Records in Los Angeles as a part of their experimental music series "Arthur King Presents" and was released in 2018.

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Tim Hagans

Grammy-nominated composer and trumpeter Tim Hagans is one of the most unique and influential modern voices in jazz. His distinct tone was described by the Village Voice as “powerfully expressive” and Gary Giddins professed him to be a “swarming, spirited tour de force.” His newest CD, FACES UNDER THE INFLUENCE, A Jazz Tribute to John Cassavetes is a suite of 7 musical portraits inspired by characters from the films of John Cassavetes. The recording features the NDR Big Band in Hamburg with Mr. Hagans as guest composer, conductor and trumpet soloist; it was released on Waiting Moon Records, Hagans' own label.

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Cathlene Pineda


Cathlene Pineda is a sought-after pianist and composer in the Los Angeles area. In 2016, Orenda Records released Cathlene's second album of original music, Passing: A California Suite. "Airy, elegant, and haunting" (Cesareo Garasa, The Californian), this album was originally a piece commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society and premiered at the Angel City Jazz Festival. The album creates “an open atmosphere that hints at the complex beauty of the city" (Lee Epstein, freejazzblog.org). The LA Times called Cathlene’s first album, A Week’s Time, (Orenda Records, 2014) a “graceful pleasure.” She is currently working on her third album, to be released in the Spring of 2020. Cathlene received an MFA in Jazz Performance from California Institute of the Arts in 2011.


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Ivan Ivanov

Lecture Surrealism in Music
Presentation of book Surrealism in Music and Leonardo Balada

Bulgarian born clarinetist Ivan Ivanov studied at the Sofia State Academy of music “Pancho Vladigerov” and finished his Bachelor’s degree with distinctions. In 2004 Mr. Ivanov became a permanent member of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and worked with such conductors as Sir Neville Mariner, Jean Bernard Pommier, Rossen Milanov and others. In addition to his full-time employment at the National Orchestra he collaborated with Radio Sofia Orchestra, New Symphony Orchestra, Classic FM Radio, National Opera etc. As an orchestral player he has toured France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Nederland, Japan and etc. Mr. Ivanov earned his Master’s degree of Performance Clarinet at the Carnegie Mellon University from the studio of Michael Rusinek, Principal Clarinet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas from the studio of Dr. Marina Sturm, former first and e-flat clarinet player of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He also studied with Ricardo Morales, Boris Allakhverdyan etc. Currently, Ivan serves as substitute player with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and San Diego Symphony. 


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Latvian Vocal Ensemble


Featuring author and Professor Dr. Guntis Smidchens from the University of Washington and the internationally acclaimed a cappella group Latvian Voices.

Latvian Voices is a professional a cappella group from Latvia. With their voices as the only musical instrument Latvian Voices have developed a unique individual vocal style, in which intonations from ethnic music of many nations intertwine. Since the founding of the group in year 2009 Latvian Voices have participated in many international music festivals, competitions, workshops and given concert tours across Europe and worldwide.

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James Brandon Lewis

James Brandon Lewis (b.1983 Buffalo, NY) is a critically acclaimed saxophonist, composer, recording artist and educator. Ebony Magazine hailed him as one of the “7 Young Players to Watch.” James leads numerous ensembles and is the Co-Founder of Poetry Music Ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders. Lewis attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

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Lucie Vítková

Vítková is a composer, improviser and performer (accordion, hichiriki, synthesizer, voice and tap dance) from the Czech Republic. During her studies of composition at Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno (CZ), she has been a visiting scholar at Royal Conservatory in The Hague (NL), California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (USA), Universität der Künste in Berlin (D), Columbia University in New York (USA) and recently at the New York University. Her compositions focus on sonification (compositions based on abstract models derived from physical objects), while in her improvisation practice she explores characteristics of discrete spaces through the interaction between sound and movement. In her recent work, she is interested in the social-political aspects of music in relation to everyday life and in reusing trash to build sonic costumes. She was nominated for the 2017 Herb Alpert Awards in Arts' music category, was commissioned by the Roulette Intermedium in 2017 and became a Roulette resident artist in 2018.

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Bill Cunliffe

Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his innovative and swinging recordings and compositions. Cunliffe began his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and worked with Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody. He has since established himself as a solo artist and bandleader, with more than a dozen albums under his name. Cunliffe currently plays with his trio; his big band; his Latin band, Imaginación; and his classical-jazz ensemble, Trimotif. He performs in the U.S. and around the world as a leader and sideman as well as a soloist with symphony orchestras.

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Kristina Warren

Kristina Warren is a composer, improviser, and critical maker. Her practice includes building/playing unique instruments, composing for/with chamber ensembles, and writing about gender in electronic music as it centers listening and noise, instrumentality and access. Warren has presented work around the world, including at the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition [US], Espace des arts sans frontières [FR], ICMC [GR, NL], Interfaces [CY], ISSTA [IE], Mise-En Music Festival [US], NIME [US], NYCEMF [US], Spektrum [DE], and TENOR[CA, ES]. Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the MEME program/Music Department at Brown University, Warren holds a Ph.D in Composition & Computer Technologies from University of Virginia (2017) and a BA in Music Composition from Duke University (2011).

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Dan Weiss

Dan Weiss is a drummer/percussionist whose style combines modern jazz and Indian classical music. A Shifting Foundation grantee, he has been hailed as one of the top five jazz drummers in The New York Times, and his large ensemble recording "Fourteen" made the top 10 list of their best recordings of 2014. Weiss’s innovative drumming and forward-thinking compositions have been pushing musical limits for years. Weiss has also studied tabla for the last 20 years under Pandit Samir Chatterjee. 

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David Ambrosio/Russ Meissner Quartet

NYC veteran bassist David Ambrosio has teamed up with his long time musical compatriot of over 20 years Russ Meissner to form this stellar group, featuring the amazing multi-instrumentalist Matt Renzi and subtly masterful pianist Leonard Thompson. This music represents decades of incredible music making and history between these internationally renowned musicians. 

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Nic Gerpe

Pianist Nic Gerpe, a Los Angeles native, has been hailed as “magnetic” and “prodigious… heroic." LA Times music critic Mark Swed described his playing as “wonderfully illuminating… his tone is crystalline. His technique is dazzlingly fluid.” A dedicated proponent of new music, Nic has worked with composers such as Steve Reich, Thea Musgrave and Michael Gordon, and has given numerous world premieres locally and abroad. Nic has performed in such venues as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Zipper Hall, the Wallis Annenberg Center and the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater. Nic’s performances have also been nationally broadcast on 91.5 KUSC and classicalkusc.org. Nic’s playing can also be heard on Gernot Wolfgang’s GRAMMY-Nominated album Passing Through.

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Terry Gibbs

For over 60 years vibraphonist, drummer, pianist, composer and bandleader Terry Gibbs has brought energy, creativity and capriciousness to the world of jazz. Bassist Chubby Jackson captures the tone of Gibbs' art when he says, "He's learned how to put a grin on music."

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Women in Jazz Panel

A versatile vocalist, Alina Roitstein is known for her “beautiful voice and equally beautiful presence” (El Nuevo Herald). Her career spanning chamber music and contemporary works, opera and art song, jazz and Latin music, and choral music has taken her to venues all over the world. She is also a singer and composer for River Song Quintet, a chamber jazz ensemble and the Trevor Anderies Quintet, an ensemble led by drummer/composer Trevor Anderies, exploring the lines between composition and improvisation, jazz, folk, and West African music.

(Lauren) Elizabeth Baba is a violinist, violist, composer, and improviser living in Los Angeles, California, performing a wide variety of music from original improvisatory music to jazz, classical, folk, avent-guarde, chamber, pop, and experimental styles. Baba is the composer and director of theBABAorchestra, a 17-piece big band performing her original instrumental compositions. She has composed for several short films and co-composed for several movies including BARBIE Mariposa and the Fairy Princess, Waking, and Artificial Sweetner. Baba studied jazz violin/viola and composition at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California where she received her BFA in Jazz Performance. 

Nedra Wheeler is a bassist, composer and bandleader that has been performing in Southern California and touring Internationally for more than 25 years. She is one of the recipients of the 2006 Jazz Legend of Los Angeles Awards from the Dunbar Economic Development Corporation and the City of Los Angeles. Nedra earned her Master of Fine Arts from CalArts and is a performer and teacher with the Jazz Mentorship Program at the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs-Watts Towers Arts Center & Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center.

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Kirk Brundage

Originally from upstate New York, Kirk Brundage is a classically trained percussionist who went on to play in Brazilian carnaval. Kirk received an MFA from CalArts, a Fulbright scholarship to Denmark and played for many years as an ‘extra’ with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. For nearly twenty years, Kirk’s adventurous spirit has taken him to Salvador Bahia, Brazil to explore new musical horizons.  Kirk has played in Brazilian carnival with Olodum, at the Latin Grammys with Daniela Mercury, a show with The Police drummer Stewart Copeland and recorded with Grammy artist Beck. A REMO Artist, Kirk has taught at UCLA and published the book series “Afro-Brazilian Percussion Guide”.


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Gordon Grdina & The Marrow

The music, all original compositions by Grdina but mostly based on classical Arabic and Persian modes (many with quarter-tones, superbly executed by Helias and Roberts), provides a context for creative group interplay and solos that often involve extended tonality. The music is intricate, sometimes delicate, other times high-risk exciting. There are dark, brooding excursions propelled by Middle Eastern vamps as well as more contrapuntally through-composed works (“Wayward”) that relate to the music on Inroads.

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Raven Chacon

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, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, 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 (NACAP). 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 and the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for Music Composition. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.

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Myka 9

Originally known as Microphone Mike, Myka 9 is recognized as one of the most stylistically advanced rappers in the '90s. He emerged as a leading figure of the Good Life and Project Blowed communities and as a founding member of Freestyle Fellowship and Haiku D’Etat.

Freestyle Fellowship first and second albums, Inner City Griots and To Whom It May Concern, are considered the high water mark of West Coast Hip Hop.

"To say that Freestyle Fellowship significantly influenced West Coast Hip Hop is like saying that Jesus was a pivotal figure in Christianity." --Pitchfork


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Ro Rowan & Chloe Scallion

Panel discussion with cellist, composer, and sound designer Ro Rowan; multimedia artist and curator Chloe Scallion; and a surprise guest electronic musician.

Although RO ROWAN studied classical cello and spent most of their youth in orchestras, they have brought their rich tone and non-traditional techniques to a vast landscape of genres within the Los Angeles, Boston and New York music scene since 2002. Ro has worked with Lorde, deadmau5, Disney, Hans Zimmer, Mike Posner, Toni Braxton, Shirley Manson, Willie Nelson, Annie Lennox, The Boston Pops, Deepak Chopra, Dream Theater, Alan Silvestri, George S. Clinton, Christopher Lennertz, Ron Carter, Terri Lyne Carrington and Lalah Hathaway. Their cello can be heard on over 300 albums, film scores, television shows, documentaries, commercials, trailers, video games and sound libraries. Ro is currently in Los Angeles freelancing as a cellist, composer, songwriter and sound designer. They are a member of two Los Angeles-based ensembles: Queertet and Sonic Open Orchestra. They work with composer, Michael Gatt, as his Scoring Coordinator and occasionally with Output as a preset and content designer. Ro also founded and runs Rowboat Production, a video production company specializing in videography and video editing. Most recently Ro played for Disney’s remake of The Lion King.

CHLOE SCALLION is a Los Angeles-based, Pennsylvania-born multimedia artist and curator. She spent her teens touring the Eastern US in punk and experimental music acts while actively participating in the vibrant DIY music scene of Philadelphia. She carries those experiences into her work now as event organizer, installation artist, speaker manipulator, experimental circuitstress, video artist and musician. Her current video/ performance project, Gay Felony, has been exhibited and performed in Los Angeles and globally in galleries, warehouse parties, punk shows, film festivals and online. Scallion Chloe 8800 creates unique analog synthetic spaces in which her futuristic, techno-inspired spoken and live music performances take place. She additionally collaborates as technician with an array of cutting-edge contemporary artists working in the LA community. She is exploring the quantum workings of obsolescence, glitch, brokenness, identity and communal trauma.


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Marc Sabat

Canadian composer of Ukrainian descent Marc Sabat (*1965) has been based in Berlin since 1999. He makes pieces for concert and installation settings, drawing inspiration from investigations of the sounding and perception of Just Intonation and relating to various music forms—folk, experimental and classical. He is a frequent collaborator, seeking interactions with other musicians and with artists of visual and literary modes to find points of shared exploration and dialogue between various forms of experience and different cultural traditions. His works are presented internationally. Sabat studied composition, violin and mathematics at the University of Toronto, at the Juilliard School in New York, and at McGill University, as well as working privately with Malcolm Goldstein, James Tenney and Walter Zimmermann. Together with Wolfgang von Schweinitz he developed the Extended Helmholtz-Ellis JI Pitch Notation and is a pioneer of music written and performed in microtonal Just Intonation. He teaches composition and the theory and practice of intonation at the Universität der Künste Berlin.  Creative commons scores and artist editions are available from Plainsound Music Edition.


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Hunter Hunt-Hendrix

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is a musician, composer and philosopher best known as the founder of Liturgy.  Liturgy is a Brooklyn-based quartet whose yearning, energetic “transcendental black metal” exists in the space between metal, avant rock and sacred ritual.  Celebrated for live performances that combine emotional chaos with technical precision, they have toured internationally and performed at major music festivals and art institutions around the world. The band was founded in the context of Brooklyn DIY as a high-concept solo project by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix in 2005 while he was studying philosophy and classical composition at Columbia.  After expanding to a quartet they made waves globally for introducing the style of Scandinavian black metal into the world of experimental art rock with 2011’s . In fall 2018 the group debuted Hunt-Hendrix’s metaphysical opera Origin of the Alimonies in New York as a live score with a chamber ensemble.  In 2019 they released a new song "God of Love" and are presenting the live-action debut of Origin of the Alimonies at REDCAT in LA

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Don Preston

Don Preston began a long collaboration with Frank Zappa in 1966 as the keyboardist of the original Mothers of Invention. During that time he was music director for Meredith Monk. Preston has played and recorded with John Lennon, Peter Erskine, John Carter, and countless others. He also has scored more than 20 feature films and 14 plays. He's the winner of numerous awards, and has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic. Known to jazz and keyboard aficionados for his pioneering contributions in the use of synthesizers and piano, clarinetist and composer John Carter dubbed Don Preston the "father of modern synthesis."

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Yo-Yo debuted on Ice Cube’s 1991 album Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, and released her first solo album Make Way for the Motherlode in 1991, which featured the hit single “You Can’t Play with My Yo Yo.” This was followed by five critically acclaimed albums on East West America/Atlantic: Black Pearl, feat. producer DJ Muggs, You Better Ask Somebody, featuring "the Bonnie and Clyde Theme" with Ice Cube, and Total Control. She performed at the 2008 BET awards with MC Lyte, Salt-n-Pepa and The Lady of Rage. Since 1993, Yo-Yo dubbed her crew the IBWC, or the Intelligent Black Woman's Coalition.

As an actor, Yo-Yo appeared in Boyz n the Hood (1991, dir. Singleton) and Menace II Society (1993, dir. Hughes), in a recurring role on comedian Martin Lawrence’s show Martin, in Missy Elliot’s video for "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)."

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Doreen Kutzke

The workshop will deal with the technique of yodelling and the music-ethnological development of yodelling worldwide. The breaking of the voice in traditional music is a technique that can be found all over the world. We learn yodelling techniques from the alpine region, pygmy yodelling, country yodelling and applications of the technique in contemporary music. Furthermore yodelling as a measuring instrument in urban architecture vs. rural environment.

Doreen Kutzke (born 1975) is a German actress, performance Artist, composer, singer and singing teacher, specialized in in the art of yodelling. She grew up in the Harz Mountains and started yodelling and singing at the age of 6. Her activities include musical performances, concerts and teaching at the University of the Arts Berlin, Art Academy Reykjavik and Goldsmith University in London. A former Villa Aurora Los Angeles scholarship holder, her current project is a collaboration with Metabolic Studio LA to explore voice and yodelling in urban structure. She founded the Jodelschule Kreuzberg in Berlin and teaches yodeling and advanced vocal techniques worldwide.

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Ramon Montagner

Ramon began his studies at the age of 12 and soon became a professional, having since worked with a variety of musical styles. Ramon holds a Bachelor of Popular Music at FITO in Osasco / SP and degree in History at Unicesumar. Ramon accompanied singer-songwriter Johnny Alf from 1992-2006 and recorded in partnership with drummer Alexandre Cunha in the video “Brazilian Duet - Overcoming Limits” (1998). Released with Gilberto de Syllos, the book “Drums and Double Bass in Brazilian Music” was released by Lumiar Publishing House and recently re-released by Irmãos Vitale Publishing House in 2003. His first solo album Boyya (Mix House), was released in 2000 and features guest appearances by Hermeto Paschoal, Mané Silveira, Sizão Machado and others. In 2006, Ramon released his second album "SAMBASÓ" and the DVD "Vassourinhas na Música Brasileira". Montagner’s third solo album titled “Atemporal” was released in 2012 by DG Productions. Ramon has traveled to China, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and more for clinics held at conservatories and other venues from 2016-2019. Ramon Montagner is an endorsed artist Istanbul Mehmet Cymbals, Evans Drumheads and Promark Drumsticks.

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Christopher Williams

Chris Williams is a performer, composer, improviser, trumpeter, and educator quickly finding himself in circles alongside LA’s finest contemporary improvisers and experimentalists. Concerned with building community across disciplines his live performances involve immersive music and multimedia aesthetics. Performing and recording with a wide array of musical luminaries from Bennie Maupin to Eyvind Kang to Solange, Williams has proven a strong communicator in various settings. His most recent work Mehahn, a performative installation created in collaboration with director Natalia Lassalle-Morillo; is exploring the effects of hereditary dissension and draws upon works from playwright Gertrude Stein and improviser Bill Dixon. In the past year, Williams has had premieres of compositions at the Blue Whale, Zebulon, and Clockshop. Williams has worked as a lecturer at University of California, Irvine and California Institute of the Arts where he earned his MFA.


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Alex Rosson

Best known as the Founder and Former CEO of Audeze, Alex Rosson has enjoyed a storied history with the love of music as his underlying motivation. Beginning with drums at 11 and DJing at 12, the LA-native joined his first band at 15 playing any venue or show that would invite them. These days you may catch him playing a 4-hour durational set at Moogfest or opening for A Perfect Circle.  Rosson founded Audeze and with the development of the LCD-2 planar magnetic headphone made a substantial impact on the personal audio industry. Relieving himself as CEO after years of product development and taking his company from a garage, having to ship products on his lunch break, to opening distribution in 40 countries and being accepted into Apple retail. He also co-founded heavy bass music label Play Me Records with his wife, DJ Reid Speed. Since then he’s directed Shinola’s foray into audio and while not consulting continues refining his passion for reference level audio equipment combined with unique design.

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Utilizing the pure sounds of acoustic and closely amplified sound sources, the duo of Nørstebø and Chen join together two individual voices into a distinct dialog that delve beyond the borders of the corporeal elements of extended technique and sound. There is an intimacy and conflict that becomes evident as the two personas intertwine, in moments joining together seamlessly and in the next, being left with the feeling of irrevocable fracture. The two manage between these extremes with a kind of improvised grace that reveals an effort towards a common goal. It is an honest metaphor for a human relationship in process that even in the most serene moments can leave one raw and entirely exposed.

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John Beasley

Grammy-Nominated Pianist / Composer / Arranger / Music Director / Producer

“Beasley, the one-time keyboardist for Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, reflects a variety of generational influences, incorporating the emphatic chordal clusters of Herbie Hancock, the rhythmic quirkiness of Monk and the lush intelligence of Art Tatum into a highly refined personal voice.” –LA Times

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Ben Monder

A musician in the New York City area for over 30 years, Ben Monder has performed with a wide variety of artists He also contributed guitar parts to the last David Bowie album, “Blackstar”. Ben conducts clinics and workshops around the world, and has served on the faculties of the New England Conservatory and the New School. He was the recipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award in 2014, and a Shifting Foundation grant in 2013.  Ben continues to perform original music internationally in solo and trio settings, and in a long standing duo project with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. He has appeared on over 200 CDs as a sideman, and has released 7 as a leader.


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