Water City, Berkeley.

Last weekend marked another significant step in the ‘Water City, Berkeley’ project. This is a collaboration led by artist/filmmaker Kim Anno, involving choreographer KT Nelson (of ODC Dance), and myself, among others. After a summer of film shoots at different locations in the Bay Area, a preliminary version for two-channel video and Clarinet and Cello was premiered at the gallery space in Oakland, Some Thing Spacious. I owe a debt of gratitude to Adam Carlin and Erich Richter for their priceless support and assistance.

This project will culminate with a recording/DVD and performance at the Kala Institute in Berkeley on Dec. 7th.

This project has been an exciting challenge, both because of the sheer scale and the many logistical issues. I am deeply excited to be working with amateur musicians from Berkeley High School. We have made wonderful progress, and I’m looking forward to adding the sfSound ensemble for the final version (Matt Ingalls, cl; Monica Scott, vc; John Ingle, sax).

Here is the information about the project from Kim:



April, May, June

In a word, April was great. I had my first foray into the New York music scene, fueled by the MATA festival. It was time off from my ongoing Belgian experience- an opportunity to re-connect with many old friends and family, meet new people, and to hear lots of music, much of which was very impressive. I was encouraged with what feels like a sort of coming-of-age for downtown brooklyn (maybe someone can give me a better description). When Roulette and Issue Project Room are within walking distance from each other, only good things can result- I only wish I could be around more often to get a better sense.

Amazing performance of ‘Position, influence’,

My favorite new discovery was the Bushwick/Ridgewood area, near the Jefferson stop. It reminded me of Oakland, California in many ways (and yes, that’s a good thing). Friends tell me of an impending NYU-student led gentrification, but it was hard for me to tell. Discovering all of this via bicycle only added to the experience. It opened up the city to me in a way that drew more connections with California than I had thought. I even rode home to see my folks in New Jersey across the GWB. I look forward to doing something similar one day over the bay bridge.

Over in Manhattan were several concerts that I enjoyed, including either/or and some events uptown near Columbia. Sadly I had to miss some exciting events like the Crumb Orchestra Concert, as well as the Talea Ensemble performing one of my favorite Sciarrino works. The multitude of events recalled my years living in Paris, where the sheer number of concerts was overwhelming. I envy artists who can skip from one gallery show to another- composers always have to choose one.

As for the scene in Belgium, my experience continues to develop and diversify. I was amazed by the scope, scale, and quality in this years Ars Musica Festival. If the thirty minute train ride from Gent to Brussels was the same price as a subway ride, I would have been to every concert. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Vincent Royer‘s performance with the Wallonia Chamber Orchestra, (performing Ken Ueno’s fantastic Talus). In attendance was Charlemagne Palestine, a composer who I’ve heard much about. Parisian ensemble LeBalcon put on a great concert that included Romitelli’s Professor Bad Trip, a piece that I had been dying to hear live. They also performed similarly instrumented La Terre Sans Mal, by composer (and festival director) Claude Ledoux, a piece that I thought was really superb. Lastly, the concert was important because I finally got to hear Erin Gee perform, after hearing so much about her work from many people. Mouthpiece is a project that is so large now that it can’t be characterized by any singular sound. The festival organizers were very smart to program several pieces from mouthpiece series, almost curating it. Mouthpiece for solo voice was only half the story. The two ensemble versions that followed created a sort of territory- or a fabric- where a tightly knit pattern emerges. There are countless connections and nuance in how the voice meets the ensemble, and it is all assembled so patiently, methodically. There is a sense of ease that emerges- despite the sometimes grating sounds- an underlying coolness.

This past month included a concert at Espace Senghor, a shared recital of new solo works written first for cellist Séverine Ballon and then for violist Vincent Royer. More recently I had a chance to see part of a collaboration between Bl!ndman and HISK, resulting in works created jointly between composers and artists. I hope to see the final products in Utrecht as part of this years Gaudeamus Festival.

Upcoming are many things, including darmstadt and some other things I hope to announce over the summer. I’ll try to ramp up my blogging a bit.


summarizing gent, 1st quarter

The first three months living in Gent has been extremely productive and enlightening. Pictured above is the main conference room at the Orpheus Institute, where I am currently working. Their recent conferences and seminars focus on the idea of experimentation in music. Their manner of approach proves to move beyond the quick use of such a term. Instead, it is a three-year endeavor, consisting of an exhaustive perspectival investigation: from the point of view of the interpretor, the historian, the theorist, the composer, the improvisor, and the performer. And, not least the listener. With a working group (Orcim) as its center, there is a multitude of people orbiting around the institute, coming and going, arriving and leaving their marks, creating a sense of expectation for that which is to follow.

Above, pictured, are three of the composers who have been invited, not to mention the many theorists and musicologists, all who contributed to very interesting dialogues about artistic experimentation.

In the coming month I will have a chance to present some work of mine on and around the topic of re-embodied sound, the term I use for my work involving tranducers and resonant objects. With an arm reaching to the past, I will juxtapose with David Tudor’s Rainforest IV and the group ‘composers inside electronics’ that emerged from it.

composers inside electronics

Finally, I must say that I’m very excited with the enormous progress I’ve been making for a new work for orchestra, and I’ve managed to strike a good balance with my other projects, some of which I hope to write about in the near future. My tutor, composer Luc Brewaeys, has been extremely helpful, and I am learning so much from him (pictured below).


catching up, moving forward

Its been a while since my last post. This past Spring and Summer has had many great experiences, including three months living in Boston, and teaching during the Summer at Berkeley. I attended the graduation ceremony at Berkeley, where I had the honor of being hooded by Ed Campion, my advisor.

I hope to post more soon. For now, just a quick mention that I have much to look forward to, including a busy Fall in the Bay Area, including a residency at the Milkbar with Kim, Ricardo, Rama and hopefully others, culminating in a November concert/installations. I’ll be moving abroad afterwards, lots more to tell. Lots of loose ends before this change.

All info on the site will be updated asap, and perhaps a layout change as well.


Berkeley Symphony reads ‘Act’ for orchestra March 13th

photo, Berkeley Symphony

March 13th, 7pm at St. Johns Presbyterian Church. More info here


Eco Ensemble, Sunday, February 6th. Hertz Hall, 8pm

example of a Dérive

example of a Dérive

Groove II, for solo piano, by Liza White. Ann Yi, piano

Dub Concrète II, for stereo playback, by Jason Levis

Dérive, for bass clarinet and cello. Without electronics, by David Coll. Matt Ingalls, Bass Clarinet, Leighton Fong, Cello

Dérive, for bass clarinet and cello. With electronics.

“Poised to Make Gains,” by Dan VanHassel. Dan VanHassel, piano and electronics

Circles:  Meditation for Viola and Video Projection, by Nils Bultmann. Nils Bultmann, viola, Rafael Altman, video

vagues / fenêtres / for string trio with electronic sounds, by Evelyn Ficarra. Hrabba Atladottir, violin, Ellen Ruth Rose, viola, Leighton Fong, cello

more information


Berkeley Symphony ‘Under Construction’ Concert No. 1, Sunday, Jan. 16th, 7pm


Under Construction, Berkeley Symphony

L to R: Joe Lin, Mark Ackerley, David Coll

Come witness works-in-progress by Joe Lin, Mark Ackerley, and myself (left-to-right). Photograph: Marshall Berman.

At St. Johns Presbyterian Church. More info here.


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