High Zero 2009
11 Years!

The following individuals will be performing in 100% all-new collaborations during High Zero 2009--

From Afar:

  • Martin Blažíček Martin Blažíček

    Born 1976, czech film/video maker, multimedia performer. Founding member of expanded cinema group Ultra, since 2002 solo film performer with occasional cooperation with various filmmakets and musicians. He made 17 films on 16 and 8mm since 1997, in last years working more frequently on live film screening. He previously cooperated with Martin Ježek, Tonic Train, Guyla Nemes, Beth Custer, Arszyn, Ondřej Vavrečka and others. His work is an amalgam of structural film, hand-made abstracts and home-made optical printing. Since 2004 he started to use video as a medium, which results to collaboration with Steven Ball on web based streaming project Eutopia. Blažíček was also curator of NoD experimental space in Prague (2006-2008) and post-graduate student of Academy of performing arts Prague, recently teaches at FAMU Center of audiovisual studie. His current projects include collaborative video performing, series of shows with multiple 16mm screening Mikroloops and cooperation on a live Super-8 performance with Kateřina Zochová.

    site: blazicek.net

  • Chris Cooper Chris Cooper

    In the third grade, Chris Cooper had an electronic wand, a strange toy which only made a myriad of monster noises. He dropped it in the pond, and it made even more, better noises. Then it didn't work any more. He has spent the past thirty years trying to recapture those fleeting moments of joy. Sometimes it has been in Fat Worm of Error, sometimes as Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase, or in the BSC or Barn Owl, but the goal has always been to make a confused Missouri boy smile.

  • Michael Evans Michael Evans

    Michael Evans is an improvising drummer/percussionist/thereminist/composer whose work investigates and embraces the collision of sound and theatrics. As well as being a drumset player, his work with unusual sound sources includes found objects, homemade instruments, the theremin and various digital and homemade analog electronics. His work with the theremin varies the quality of its sound through set-up and technique. On the theremin he has performed with dancers and in group settings playing experimental, jazz, rock, ersatz lounge and chamber music. In 2000, he was photographed playing a Moog ether wave theremin for the front of Bob Moog's Big Briar catalog. He has performed in multiple performances of the NYC Theremin Society's Issue Project Room concerts during 2005, 2006 and 2007. He has studied movement/sparring/drumming with Professor Milford Graves, drum technique with Joe Morello, tabla with Misha Masud, kanjira with Ganesh Kumar and Haitian/Afro-Cuban hand drumming with John Amira. He has studied musicianship with Helen Hobbs Jordan, composition with Richard Cameron Wolf, Blue Gene Tyranny and the theremin with Pamelia Kurstin.

    site: michaelevanssounds.com

  • Margarida Garcia Margarida Garcia

    Margarida Garcia (born 1977, Lisbon) doublebassist. She has collaborated in live/recording settings with Manuel Mota, Nöel Akchoté, Barry Weisblat, Otomo Yoshihide, Toshio Kajiwara, David Maranha, Afonso Simões, Ferran Fages, Alfredo C. Monteiro, Ruth Barberán, John Tilbury, Sean Meehan, Eddie Prevost, Rhodri Davies, Matt Valentine, Erica Elder, David Keenan, Alex Neilson and Mattin.

    site: margaridagarcia.blogspot.com

  • Hans Grüsel Hans Grüsel
    San Francisco

    Hans Grüsel leads a ever-changing woodgrain diorama of dark forest characters in San Francisco, California, called the Krankenkabinet. With electronics, field recordings, acoustic instruments, props, costumes, and scenery, the ensemble explores the lost Teutonic rites of the past, while stumbling into the failure of the future.

    site: hansgrusel.com

  • Killick Killick
    Athens GA

    On June 4th, 2008 I was admitted into the hospital with a life-threatening bleeding duodenal ulcer. I'd never been through a physical ordeal on this scale. My body continues to recover but something greater happened. I was given a glimpse of the absolute, a space of peace where contradictions resolve. The conditions were ripe for some insight: I'd long been working towards a music and way of living beyond categorization. Not to be difficult or contrarian, rather to recognize things for what they are, not what they resemble. And with a renewed sense of purpose I'm excited to further and deepen my explorations in this direction. So I'm not sure I can call what I do "music" anymore.

    site: killick.me

  • Miya Masaoka Miya Masaoka
    koto, electronics

    Miya Masaoka resides in New York City and is a classically trained musician, composer and sound and instrument developer. She has created works for koto, laser interfaces, explosive powders, model trains, laptop and video.  She has also created works for sculpture installations and notated scores for ensembles, chamber orchestra, mixed choirs and has led her own orchestra and small ensembles.

    Masaoka has performed with leading improvisers and artists working in jazz, new music and world traditions, including Pharoah Sanders, Cecil Taylor; Steve Coleman, Pauline Oliveros, Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, William Parker, Fred Frith, Larry Ochs, John Butcher, Peter Kowald, Christian Wolff, Gerry Hemingway, Samir Chatterjee, Zakir Hussein, Christian Wolff and Toshiko Akiyoshi, who wrote a piece for her.  In addition, she has toured throughout India six times with Dr. L. Subramaniam.

    Her latest release, For Birds, Planes and Cello, was written for former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, and has received international critical acclaim. Since forming the San Francisco Gagaku Society, she has performed her work in varied musical contexts in India, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Argentina and the US. Her works have been performed by Volti, Piedmont Choirs, Bang on a Can, and ROVA, Kathleen Supove, So Percussion, and her piece for Lines Ballet was performed at the Venice Biennale 2004. Her work has been presented at Merkin Hall, Redcat Theater, Miller Theater, Ircam, Paris, Other Minds, Kunst Radio, Radio Breman, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

    Sound installations include Center for Art and Visual Culture (University of Maryland), Lincoln Center Out of Doors (Homemade Instrument Day), the Kitchen, 2006 Winter Olympics (Torino, Italy). She holds degrees in music and music composition from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in Music Composition from Mills College, where she studied with Alvin Curran and David Tudor. She is currently a professor in the Music/Sound department at the Milton Avery School of the Arts MFA Program, Bard College in New York. Her recent project, LED KIMONO has been nominated for the Ars Electronica award in Digital Music.

    site: miyamasaoka.com

  • Ava Mendoza Ava Mendoza
    electric guitar
    San Francisco

    I am a guitar player, composer, and sometime-electronic musician in Oakland, CA. I play improvised music/weird rock/original compositions. Improvised music was the first type of music I got vitally interested in as a classically-trained teenager, and I suppose any musical roots I have are in free improvisation. Currently I tend to tread the wobbly line between structure and open improvisation, tonality and atonality. Some of my solo guitar compositions draw a lot from early country and blues music, sort of reworked (or mangled?) in my own way. Both in solo and ensemble contexts I like working with tunes/riffs/compositional ideas and then throwing musical monkey wrenches into them in performance--forcing them to self-destruct and intersect with free improvisation. I am an extremely curious person and love a lot of very different sorts of music.

    Current projects include: Mute Socialite, an avant-rock band with Moe! Staiano (ex-Sleeptyime Gorilla Museum); music for a theater piece, Dogsbody, in collaboration with Theater of Yugen; Crude Forms, a warped song-based duo with trumpeter Liz Allbee; a new, unnamed trio with bassist Devin Hoff (Nels Cline Singers) and drummer Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers); and my ongoing occasional solo guitar shows/recordings.

    I've played guitar at the Music Unlimited Festival in Wels Austria, at the High Mayhem Festival in Santa Fe, NM in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007, at the Palais Ideal Festival in Chico, CA, and at the Stone curated by Fred Frith.

    Performed and/or recorded with: Anthony Braxton, Carla Bozulich, Sheldon Brown, members of Caroliner, J.A. Deane, Ben Goldberg, Phillip Greenlief, Devin Hoff, Henry Kaiser, Gino Robair, SFSound, Damon Smith, Moe! Staiano, Weasel Walter and many others.

    site: myspace.com/avamendoza

  • Kenta Nagai Kenta Nagai
    fretless guitar, shamisen

    Kenta Nagai is an audio-visual artist and performer, originally from Niigata Japan. His keen sense of physicality is reflected in his current exploration of the physical properties of sound and its impact on human emotion and the body. This interest has led to numerous collaborations with dancers throughout his career as an improvisor and performer in New York City and abroad. Nagai has appeared in numerous concerts at venues including Carnegie Hall, Roulette, Judson Church, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, Lincoln Center Out Door Stage, Rubin Museum, Hershhorn Museum at Smithonian Institute, Sculpture Center and Japan Society.

    site: myspace.com/kentanagai

  • Morten Olsen Morten Olsen
    drums, supercollider 3
    Norway / Berlin

    percussion, drums, vibes, electronics, computer, comrade. a musician, sometimes composing, once in a blue moon involved in other arts. was born in Stavanger, Norway in 1981. He has lived 5 years in Amsterdam and is since 2006 based in Berlin. His father is diagnosed with Chron's disease, his mother is a retired government official and his older brother a banker. "a family where displays of affection were considered embarrassing". Olsen studied the piano from the age of 6 and from the age of 12 or 13, he identified more fully with anarchist politics. In his teens, he acquired a taste for avant-garde composers, 1960s free-jazz music and atheism. He noticed churches being burnt around him but only later realized black metal subconsciously had influenced him. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in various free-rock bands as well as working with an americana artist. In 2001 he left Stavanger to study in Amsterdam, met Koen Nutters on the first night there and instantly became a founding member of the N-Collective. On 11.09.2001 he was dismissed from jazz history class and went to look for the real news. He did not agree with many of the views of his teachers, and he spent much of his time simply arguing with them. People knock on the door and I lean against it, don't do any of the coke, and cry for around five minutes and then I leave and walk back into the club and it's dark and crowded and nobody can see that my face is all swollen and my eyes are red and I sit down next to the drunken blond girl and she and Blair are talking about SAT scores. 'More pussy than a toilet seat.' I shit you not. Rhythms are relations between what you believe and what you believed before. The cleric appears tonight in monochrome and collar.

    site: n-collective.com/moha

  • Christofer Varner Christofer Varner

    Christofer Varner, born 1960 in Salt Lake City, grew up in Stuttgart, Germany. Among others, the great Jimmy Knepper taught him how to play the trombone. After studying music in Munich, Germany, Christofer played in jazz-, salsa- and circusbands while also working as an orchestra musician with conductors like Celibidache, Bernstein, and Sawallisch. In 1992, a project with Vinko Globokar, who innovated the way to play the trombone, sparked Chistofer's interest for a new and improvised kind of music. Up until today this genre takes center stage in Christofer's work. He developed individual ways to play music – not just with his trombone but also the didgeridoo, various shells, and the Dung Chen, a brass instrument originating from Tibet. Alongside, Christofer Varner was always experimenting with live electronics, samplers, and computers. He was composing chamber music, and also doing compositions for theatre plays and radio dramas. Christofer Varner is a founding member of the "International Composers and Improvisers Ensemble, Munich" (ICI-Ensemble). The ICI-Ensemble is organising three different concert series in Munich with renowned musicians like Barry Guy, George Lewis, and Evan Parker. The main focus in Christofer Varner's work is set on working with violoncellist Johanna Varner. Together they develop and organize various projects. Christofer Varner is living in Munich.

    site: varner.de

  • Raed Yassin Raed Yassin
    Beirut / Amsterdam

    Born in Beirut 1979, a video, sound and visual artist, also works as a musician: (double bass, tapes, turntables and electronics), and a part-time curator. Graduated from the theatre department in the Lebanese university in Beirut. He works with image, music, text and concept. His work based on themes related to the media, the city, Arabic cinema, pornography, pop culture, disasters, and archives. His work was shown across Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and Japan. Currently he lives and works Between Amsterdam & Beirut.

    site: myspace.com/raedyassin


From Baltimore:

  • Dave Ballou Dave Ballou

    Dave Ballou has released nine internationally recognized CD's as a leader and co-leader. He has performed or recorded with ensembles led by Michael Formanek, Kevin Norton, Maria Schneider, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steely Dan, Rabih Abou-Kahlil, Don Preston and an extensive list of jazz personalities. Dave has performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2 with the Bella Musica Orchestra of NY, Larry Austin's Improvisations with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Gunther Schuller's Journey into Jazz with the Spokane Symphony and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He also was a featured soloist for the premiere of Schuller's Encounters, a composition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jordon Hall.

    The Meridian Arts Ensemble, TILT Brass Ensemble and the Monarch Trio have all performed his compositions. Trumpeter Jon Nelson has recorded his composition Samskara for solo trumpet to be released in 2010. In 2009, Dave was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Composition.

    Dave is currently serving as Assistant Professor of Music and coordinator of the Jazz/Commercial Music division at Towson University. He teaches classes in Jazz theory and improvisation, Jazz arranging, Jazz history; coaches small jazz ensembles and the Improvisation ensemble; and maintains jazz trumpet and jazz composition studios. He has taught at the Banff Institute, The Litchfield Jazz Camp, The Maryland Summer Jazz Camp and the Maine Jazz Camp.

    He earned a BM (magna cum laude) from Berklee College of Music in 1986 and a MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1991.

    site: daveballou.com

  • Nick Becker Nick Becker
    moog, electric guitar

    nick becker is a confluence of electromagnetic vibrations currently condensed into the living crystal format known as "hu-man." waves of matter, matterless waves, mattering not, waving hello and good bye simultaneously in perpetuity. physical body has rested in the greatest city in america for the lion's share of the last decade. maryland bones, maryland heart, outerspace skin. searching for resonant frequencies with the power to transmute psychophysiospirituleptic stagnancies. learning helpful hints on synthesizer playing by listening to the plants in the garden. seeing every surface as a mirror reflecting all of creation back upon itself. not completely comfortable in the role of "poster boy" but laughing, laughing, laughing with the hyenas on the savanna, raw bits of cervidae flesh dripping from smiling lips.

  • Shelly Blake-Plock Shelly Blake-Plock

    Primarily working artistically in the field of complete-environment conceptual itemology and situational art, music, and recorded sound, as well as being an organizer and advocate for experimental education, Blake-Plock has performed and presented work widely in North America and Europe since circa 1995. While his early recorded output betrayed the influence of American folk music and aspects of the lo-fi underground pop aesthetic, increasingly over the years his work diverged from song-form and balladry into something more akin to an exploration of avant-garde musical theatre and non-Romantic song and sound situation experiments.

    Touring widely, he was a member of the 2008 Transformation of Sound Festival which traveled across Scandinavia with performances at Eskilstuna Art Museum and in the New Perspectives Series in Västerås as well as with shows in Stockholm and Malmö; he is also an alumnus of Dala-Floda's Hagenfesten. Stateside, Blake-Plock has performed at Peabody Conservatory, FFMUP at Princeton University, Baltimore's ArtScape and at many dozen venues both reputable and non. He is a member of the Red Room Collective as well as the board of the High Zero Foundation.

    site: practicallyimpossible.com

  • Tom Boram Tom Boram
    prepared piano, tap shoes

    tom boram, aka tom borax, is a musician from baltimore, md. using analogue and digital electronics combined with acoustic instruments and customized interfaces, he pursues an expanding vocabulary of animal sounds, body sounds, household sounds and perforated rhythm. the ideal performance, in his opinion, should combine a pinch of sublime and/or mysterious melody, a dash of timbral dynamism, a smidgeon of curious and/or preposterous gestures, a dollop of blinding amplitude, a twist of haunted emptiness, a shake of exfoliating abrasive salt, a packet of canine bombast and exuberance, and lastly equal droplets of hypnotic inharmony and syncopated arrhythmia in a base of the putrid and sexy essence of vibratory accidents. his current projects include leprechaun catering and snacks, with dollops, smidgeons and smatterings of tons of other things. currently snacks is engaged in a large musical video project called either "gasa" or "excess memory" based in equal parts 60s sexploitation, scatological children's kung fu movies, and cyberpunk sci-fi.

    site: myspace.com/sssnacksss

  • Rose Burt Rose Burt

    Born and raised in the western United States, Rose moved to the east coast in 2000 when her strong interest in music led her to pursue a degree in classical saxophone performance at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. At Peabody, she became increasingly involved with the Jazz and Computer Music departments, and upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Rose enrolled in the Masters program in Computer Music. Encouraged by several faculty members and fellow students to explore improvisation further, she became involved with experimental music at the Red Room, and was invited to join the Red Room collective and High Zero Foundation in the spring of 2005. As a member of the collective she helps book and run an experimental concert series at the Red Room in Baltimore and the annual High Zero Festival of experimental improvised music. She performs in Death in the Maze, the Baltimore Afrobeat Society, Second Nature, Multiphonic Choir and the After Now series.

    site: pcm.peabody.jhu.edu/~rose

  • Samuel Burt Samuel Burt
    clarinets, electronics

    Samuel Burt composes, improvises, teaches, performs with clarinets, and creates audio and visual software. Even at his wittiest, he takes his music very seriously. He was born 1980, Montgomery, Alabama. In elementary school he took piano lessons, sang in chorus, and learned to read music from church hymnals. He played bass clarinet in band, taught himself to compose, and debuted his first large piece with the West Hall High School wind ensemble in 1998. He studied composition at the University of Georgia with Lewis Nielson, where he encountered other musicians who were experimenting with non-jazz improvisation. In 2003, Christopher Theofanidis refined his paradoxically quirky formalist compositional style at the Peabody Institute. Burt became enamored with Baltimore's experimental music community and joined the High Zero Foundation. In 2007, he help found the After Now series to promote the composition and performance of new works by musicians in the Baltimore area and to bridge the divide between the historically informed, precise music of the conservatory with the open possibilities of the experimental community.

    site: samuelburt.com

  • Max Eilbacher Max Eilbacher
    sax, violin, electronics

    Max Eilbacher is a musician born and raised in Baltimore Maryland. Branded by free form and offhand banter hum using any instrument or device at hand to secrete various types of auditory communication. Usually this happens under his own banner as well as with the groups Needle Gun and Teeth Mountain also in the act of improvising and or composing music with others. "Nananothinng is truee everyvryth(a)ing is permamamited"

  • Twig Harper Twig Harper

    Twig Harper As the band Since the fire (twice) with Harper continues his and style shows support was tremendous, music. the birch tree floors above; consisted of general worked on gutting followed by unwarranted-day-to-day and electronic sound on various formats, . Representations were involved self titled debut world/ to Baltimore, Maryland in Florida, then move to Chicago He centre of the in Michigan, Arbor, Michigan in travel widely. where beast raids looking for guerrilla and clearly no states. Since Harper and Ptak and in a up solidly consisted of their and process, which devastate typical piece of featured lightning support. as well the World Tree corridors of the have been characterized place the ritual buying a Peace released a loan to get surveillance and of the world, to know that an altered state 2001 record often feature the influential Tarantula it squarely into In which was horse and buggies. has intermittantly release organized first In and performed and located outside his same music the world sent trickery and playfulness the urban crack melt record front with two From the sooty of consciousness everywhere.

    site: heresee.com/harper.htm

  • Jorge Martins Jorge Martins
    guitar, wild wave

    People I have learned from by playing music with: Miguel Barraló, Ernesto Silva, Rui Dâmaso, Vitor Lopes, Afonso Simões, Manuel Mota, Pedro Gomes, Jenny Graf, Chiara Giovando, Kate Porter, Eric Franklin, Dan Conrad, Nate Nelson, Jake Freeman, Alexandra Macchi, Nick Becker, Paul Neidhardt.

  • Melissa Moore Melissa Moore
    electronics, turntable

    Melissa Moore (1975) is a self-taught installation/sound artist, and sculptor was born in Washington DC and now makes her home in Baltimore, MD. Moore's gallery and performative sound work ranges from noisey finger-pickin folk guitar, banjo, invented instruments, voice, turntables, and electronics including music based in field recording composition. Her composed work involves the magnification of minute sound sources, focusing attention on the physical properties of materials and unusual acoustic phenomena in a reductive and elemental way. She is also interested in the seemingly unlikely intersection of traditional musics (mainly guitar and other traditional string instruments) combined with electronic music. Her current music and performance work involves machine-sewn, clear-vinyl portable structures of her own design and construction. There is multi-disciplinary approach to her work, paying careful attention to the intersection of sound, architecture, and installation.

    site: babyuniverses.wordpress.com

  • Stewart Mostofsky Stewart Mostofsky

    Stewart Mostofsky does many things, often simultaneously. One of them is that he plays electronic instruments. He is also a member of the Red Room collective and the High Zero Foundation.

  • Paul Neidhardt Paul Neidhardt
    percussion, friction

    Baltimore's Paul Neidhardt is one of the countries most astonishing new music percussionists. A trained, highly disciplined player with a flair for complex textural sound produced by friction, Neidhardt's approach to improvising covers the majority of the terrain explored by the explosive side of European free music and subtle textural players like Sean Meehan and Jason Kahn, while retaining a freshness and flexibility of purpose all his own. His background playing rock and African music adds a potential for propulsive intesnivty to his playing not usually found in players so skilled in the arts of minimalist reductionism. Despite recovering from injuries that limited his time playing in recent years, he is a highly in-demand player, working with groups like Trokeneis, Death in the Maze, and Multiphonic Choir, as well as frequent collaborations with Jack Wright. He is currently a member of the Red Room collective and High Zero Foundation.

  • Kate Porter Kate Porter

    Kate Porter has been playing cello for plenty long. Rooted in classical music, she just can't shake her sense of form and tonality. Currently she teaches children of many ages music in Baltimore City. In her spare time she likes to paint rocks and cut paper.

  • Will Redman Will Redman

    Will Redman is a composer, percussionist, and teacher. His music has been performed, broadcast, and reviewed in the U.S. and abroad. Will's compositions employ confounding extrapolations of traditional music notation in order to elicit radical interpretation by the performers; excerpts of a recent composition, Book, appear in the anthology Notations21. Will has performed with Steve Baczkowski, John Berndt, Jack Wright, Evan Rapport, Todd Whitman, Tim Berne, Audrey Chen, Chris Speed, Peter Brotzmann, among others. Current bands include the no jazz group Microkingdom (with Marc Miller of Oxes and John Dierker) and the improvising quintet 3081 (with Dierker, Miller, Mike Formanek and Dave Ballou). Will has a PhD in Composition from SUNY Buffalo and teaches part time at Towson University near Baltimore.

    site: willredman.com

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