High Zero 2011
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Andrew Bernstein
reeds, electronics

Andrew Bernstein is a musician and composer from Baltimore, MD. His compositions and live electronic music often run in place, using repetition to explore subtle changes and the physicality of sound. As a reed player he is influenced by equal parts free improvisation and minimalism, always trying to feel the other pulse. Active in Baltimore's musical underground, Bernstein is a member of the Red Room/High Zero collective and in addition to performing solo has played and plays with the groups Horse Lords, White Life, Teeth Mountain and The Dan Deacon Ensemble.

John Berndt
saxophones, electronics

John Berndt (b. 1967) is an American improvisor, composer, writer and artist concerned with borderline experiences of human semantics. He is methedolgically non-reductionist, and as a result is active in many fields. He performs regularly in Baltimore and elsewhere, solo, and with a variety of ongoing groups.

Tom Boram

boil ten Ceylon-grown cinnamon sticks in as much water as you like. let it reduce until it is a thick, dark red syrup-like puddle. drink this. now you can feel what i feel, see what i see, hear what i hear, smell what i smell, but not what i taste.

Rose Burt

Born in North Dakota and raised in the western United States, Rose moved to Baltimore in 2000 to pursue a Bachelors degree in classical saxophone at Peabody, where she also completed her Masters in Computer Music. She became increasingly involved with experimental improvised music in Baltimore, and became a member of the Red Room Collective and High Zero Foundation in 2005. Her interests have since expanded to include handmade electronic circuits, textile design and sculpture, abstract video manipulation, macro photography, and in particular any unusual intersection of these media.

Samuel Burt
reeds, invented instruments

Samuel Burt studied composition at the Peabody Institute. He is professor of computer music at Goucher College. Burt is a member of the High Zero Foundation. He is an organizer of experimental and composed music performances. He's into the extremes of pre-planned structure and free flowing ideas. He plays clarinets, trombloon, and software of his own design.

John Butcher

John Butcher’s music ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked saxophone pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics. Originally a theoretical physicist, he left academia in 1982 and has since collaborated with hundreds of musicians, including Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Gerry Hemingway, Polwechsel, Eddie Prévost, Toshimaru Nakamura, Phil Minton, and Otomo Yoshihide. Briefer encounters range from large groups such as the EX Orkestra, to duos with Fred Frith, John Tilbury, Matthew Shipp and Akio Suzuki. Recent compositions include “somethingtobesaid” for the 7-piece John Butcher Group, and a work for 8 reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori. He is well known as a solo performer who attempts to engage with a sense of place.


Amy Cimini
New York

"Amy Cimini is a violist and musicologist based in New York City and Philadelphia. She received her PhD in historical musicology from New York University in 2011. Her research engages philosophical perspective on musical bodies from the 17th to 21st centuries, and her growing publication record includes work on the musical thought of Gilles Deleuze, Baruch Spinoza and René Descartes.

With bassoonist Katherine Young, Amy co-founded improvising duo Architeuthis Walks on Land and the duo will be working on their third record during a residency at the Rensing Center this summer. Cimini performs in a wide-range of styles, including free improvisation, rock, contemporary classical and Middle Eastern idioms. She is committed to working at the limits of the viola’s timbral capabilities, developing a self-consciously material approach to the instrument. She’s a founding member of Brooklyn psych-prog quintet Starring and orchestral pop foursome The Fancy, and she’s lent a melodic and textural hand to a number of rock and experimental outfits."


Max Eisenberg

Mostly it all started in South St. Louis 2001 when I was getting real excited about Free Jazz and the New American Noise. I jumped right in the mix playing improv animal drums and making confused performance art at shows and on the streets, The shows were killer. Dave Stone, Brain Transplant, Phallus Chalice, Skarekrau Radio, The Star Death, Ghost Ice, Grand Ulena; all heros in the grandest sense. It quickly became greater than music or art. It was everything.
That scene drew wonders and horrors from the world around and I was drawn out of it. My first tour was with Jean-Louis Costes, a die-hard artist who in one performance would swoon you in blissfully tragic ballads and repulse you with depraved toilet action. Humanity almost never seems clearer than when on tour. There are too many others to mention here who I've been on that road with since, all I'd consider among the best. I've performed across most of the western world as Dj Dog Dick, Dog Synth, and in the bands Dog Leather, Rubbed Raw, and Nautical Almanac. It's a true blessing, this culture I've found around and through those efforts. And it remains that when I'm not too overly possed by a sad sulk or happy abandon, that the music, the art, and the culure are everything.

Important!!! Photo credit is "Dj Dog Dick" by Celeste Rodero

Lisle Ellis
doublebass, electronics
New York

Lisle Ellis is active as a musician - acoustic & electronic, visual artist, lecturer in creative process and jazz history. As a bassist/composer/improvisor he has performed and recorded with many of the world's foremost muscians in the field of jazz, improvised, creative and new and experimental musics. Currently living in New York City, Ellis leads his own ensemble whose music often reflects his interest in electronic music and its applications in improvisational contexts as well as his ongoing relationship with the acoustic bass.

Nathan Ellman-Bell

Nathan Ellman-Bell is a member of Baltimore-based groups Soul Cannon, Quartet Offensive, Cautious Optimism, Turn Around Norman, and the Out Of Your Head Collective. Originally from Laguna Beach California, Nathan moved to Baltimore in 2004 to attend the Peabody Conservatory as percussion and jazz major, and has since has become a crucial figure in Baltimore’s music scene. A multifaceted percussionist, Nathan is in demand due to his ability to adapt and feel at home in a variety of musical situations.

Katt Hernandez

Katt Hernandez has just moved to to Stockholm, where she has rapidly begun performing and recording with many local artists including Daniel Karlsson, David Stackenis, Jair-Rohm Parker-Wells, Joe Williamson, Gino Robair, Johannes Bergmark,Tippi Tilvind, Joel Grip, Bure Holmbäck, Lisa Ullén, Sten Sandel and several others. She co-founded the electro-acoustic group The Schematics, has been studying, recording and composing at Stockholm's Electronic Music Studio and can regulalrly be found playing at Fylkingen, Glen Miller Cafe, and other venues through the F.R.I.M. organization and others. Focused primarily on freely improvised music, Katt draws a firey array of electronic-like sounds and keening melodies from her unaltered, acoustic violin. She also works extensively with microtonality, drawn from a study of a mixture of sources, including traditional folk and sacred musics of the Middle East, Turkey, and Eastern Europe, variated odd-ball old Americana, and the Maneri/Sims 72 pitch system. Playing with as wide and unexpected a variety of other performers as possible is tantamount to her sonic and spiritual pursuits. Before leaving the U.S., Katt was a 13 year veteran of the new, improvised and experimental music scenes in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York, both as a performer and an organizer. She has performed and recorded with a vast array of musicians, dancers, visual artists, puppeteers, film makers and performance artists in venues ranging from underground urban art spaces to festivals and series dedicated to new music to ivy league concert halls to the streets.


Thomas Lehn

After studying recording engineering and piano and working through the 1980ies as pianist widely in the fields of classical, classical modern and contemporary music, jazz, music theatre and mixed media performances, since the 90ies up today the centre of his artistical work became the contemporary forms of music, both as interpreting pianist and performer of live-electronic music based on analogue sound synthesis. A wide spectrum of long term international collaborations are documented on about 60 CD releases, of which the most recent ones are Horsky Park in duo with violinist Tiziana Bertoncini, Songs from Aipotu by quintet SHIFT and the black hills by KONK PACK. Double-LP Wigry by MIMEO has just been published on Polish labels Bolt & MonotypeRec. Soon to come: a stereo LP plus 5.1 DVD surround audio package entitled Live Double Séance [Antaa Kalojen Uida] in duo with Marcus Schmickler on Editions Mego.


Photo Credit: Margareta Sommer

Gerry Mak
bowed strings, throat-singing

Gerry Mak is a vocalist for New York-based doom metal band Bloody Panda. A classically trained violinist/violist who studied at The Manhattan School of Music, Mak is primarily interested in the expressive, primal, and impulsive aspects of music, particularly as heard in traditional Tuvan and Appalachian folk, as well as extreme heavy metal. Employing overtonal throat-singing, black metal screeching, and melodic vocalizations, Mak attempts to create sound that relates more specifically to the capacities of the human vocal chords than to any one style of popular music. He currently resides in Baltimore.

Tim Murphy
keyboard, bagpipes

B.M., M.M., (organ performance), Peabody Conservatory. Performances and/or recordings with Woody Shaw, Greg Osby, Curtis Fuller, Dennis Chambers, Antonio Hart, Charlie Rouse, Gary Thomas, Pat Metheny, Terri Lyne Carrington, John Scofield, and others. Performances on internationally released CDs on the JMT, Palmetto, and Timbre labels. European tours. Organist, St. Ignatius Church, Baltimore, since 1983. Host of The Morning Jazz Show on WYRE. Faculty, Towson University.

Kaffe Matthews
sampling, tuning forks

Kaffe Matthews is a pioneering composer and sound artist who works live with things and places worldwide to make new electro-acoustic music for wide ranging audiences. Violin, theremin, star maps, desert stretched wires, NASA scientists, melting ice in Quebec, migratory journeys of salmon and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra have all contributed to a growing body of work for sites such as concert halls, audio bicycles, public spaces and the human body. She received a BAFTA in 2004 for her collaboration Weightless Animals and in 2006 was the recipient of an Award of Distinction, Prix Ars Electronica for Sonic Bed_London. She is an Honorary Professor of Music at the Shanghai Music Conservatory and has been releasing solo works on the label Annette Works since 1996.

Shana Palmer

Shana Palmer is a multimedia artist, musician, gardener, and keeper of ridiculously beautiful animals. Her work seamlessly runs the gamut of various media whilst consistently maintaining a vibrant animist worldview. In her world, everything is alive, everything is beautiful, and there is always at least a touch of danger. She uses art and music to influence, transcend and heal prevailing perceptions vs. possible realities. Her musical project Childe Bride can be called mysterious whispers behind a cacophony of electronic surges and Secret Secrets, a duo with drummer Mellissa Moore, will have its first LP release August 2011 on Baltimore’s Ehse Records. She has been a featured artist in residence in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Los Solos Series, three years in the Transmodern Festival, curator of the Lab Experiments Festival. Shana will begin her candidacy this fall in the Imaging and Digital Arts Masters Program at UMBC.

Zeena Parkins
harp, electronics
New York

Zeena Parkins, three time Bessie Award winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser, sound artist, well-known as a pioneer of the electric harp, has also extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of digital and analog processing. Zeena has received commissions to provide scores for film, video, chamber orchestras, sound installations, and dance. With a particularly strong commitment to provide sound for dance, Zeena has created over 40 scores for American and European choreographers. She has had long term creative relationships with Neil Greenberg, John Jasperse, Jennifer Monson, Jennifer Lacey, DD Dorvillier, and Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh. Zeena was commissioned by Merce Cunningham Dance Co. for Music in the Studio Series and performed with MCDC in EVENTS at DIA Beacon. Zeena tours worldwide appearing in dozens of festivals and on numerous recordings. Zeena is releasing a new CD of her filmmusic: Double Dupe Down on Tzadik in November.

Britton Powell
Washington, DC

Britton Powell (b.1987) is an active composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist originally from Washington D.C. His band Hume has released multiple discs, been praised by medias, and has embarked on many U.S. tours. Taking the leads from the musical languages of Barre Phillips, Pierre Schaffer, No Wave pioneers and musics of the fourth world, Britton explores sounds through density's, social relationships, peregrination polyphony congruences and heavy vibes. Britton has attended Idyllwild Arts Academy, George Mason University and spent 6 months abroad studying at Benares Hindu University in India through Interim Programs out of Princeton University. He has studied bass in the jazz idiom with Marshall Hawkins and Reggie Workman who are known best for their roles as side men to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakey etc. Through his classical studies he has been instructed by Christopher Hanulik, principal bassist for the L.A. Philharmonic and Ira Gold of the National Symphony orchestra. As a composer he has had his works performed at the Dance Institute of Washington & Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and has studied with Steve Antosca. For the past 3 years he has been the concert manager for the Verge Ensemble, Washington DC’s oldest contemporary music organization who's concerts have been featured at the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Dorothea Schürch

Dorothea Schürch can easily be called a voice-phenomenon. The sounds she can produce--using her larynx, tongue, lips and hands--are astonishing. She belongs on any shortlist of evocatively avant-garde vocalists. Since 1986 she has predominantly performed in the field of improvised music and has given numerous concerts throughout Europe and the US. She has been featured in many important festivals including the Festival Musique Actuelle, Victoriaville/Canada, Jazzfestival Willisau, the total Music Meeting in Berlin, the London Musicians Collective Festival, the Jazzfestival Mulhouse and the Taktlos Festival in Zürich/Switzerland. She is a member of 6ix with Urs Leimgruber, Jacques Demierre, Thomas Lehn, Okkyung Lee und Roger Turner. For many years she has also been playing the singing saw. She is known for being the one most successfully tapping into the full potential of this instrument as hardly anyone else does.


Dorothea's trip was made possible in part by Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftun

Leo Svirsky
piano, keyboards
The Hague

"Leo Svirsky is a pianist, composer, and improviser currently based in the Hague. He has performed at many prestigious venues, including the Smithsonian Institute, the National Arts Center of Canada, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, the Kremlin, the Vortex Jazz Club, Zaal 100, and WORM among others. He has taken master classes with many leading musicians including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lang Lang, Peter Takacs, Antonio Pampa-Baldi, Ursula Oppens, the Juilliard Quartet, the Zurich Trio, Boris Berman, Charles Rosen, and Arie Vardi.

He has performed with Ensembles ranging from contemporary music (Ensemble MAE, Modelo62, The D€N HAAG A££ $TAR$ €N$EMB£€) to avant-rock (Hume, Baby Killer Estelle), as well as writing and performing in the radical composers‘ collective Acid Police. As an improviser, he has shared the stage with among others, Raoul van der Weide, Onno Govaert, Yedo Gibson, Agusti Fernandez, Anne La Berge, Ig Henneman, Tatsuya Nakatani, Marshall Allen, John Berndt, and Veryan Weston. His performance of Veryan Weston’s large-scale open form piece Tessellations was recently released by the British improv label Emanem. He is currently studying at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague with Ellen Corver and Cornelius De Bondt."

Oluyemi Thomas
reeds, trumpet

"Oluyemi was born in Detroit, Michigan. He studied at Washtenaw College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He received an Associate of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. While attending Washtenaw College, he also studied music and the spiritual and physical nature of sound & silence.

As a creative composer, performer, recording artist, teacher and engineer Mr.Thomas seeks to express his abiding love for the hidden power of Art. Oluyemi’s primary focus is to touch the inner core of individuals, be it in a forum, radio, television, recording’s or on the bandstand. (Bass Clarinet & Saxophones)

Mr. Oluyemi believes “The musician’s art is among those arts worthy of the highest praise”… and “Music should lead to spirituality”…"

Elisa Urtiaga
voice, other

Elisa Urtiaga is Performance artist and Vocalist from Chicago and Uruguay currently residing in Baltimore. As a youth, Elisa Urtiaga studied piano and violin before discovering her passion for improvised vocal music. While studying at a renegade jazz school in her native Chicago she was playing as another horn in the horn section for up to a year before being allowed to sing anything with words. Since moving to Baltimore, Urtiaga studied jazz at the Peabody Institute and has performed with a wide range of local musicians, artists, and performers. She is also a yoga teacher, Ayurvedic Wellness Coach as well as Thai bodywork practitioner so drawing from traditional styles (Vedic-Sanskrit, Pali, and Drupad chanting)come depth in vocal sounds. Also a free-from experimentation, as well as interest in spoken language, Urtiaga explores the various tones and timbres of the human voice and the ways they provoke memory and emotion. Having performed regularly in Baltimore and Uruguay, her recent shows include a room at the Rooms Play, in part of the Transmodern Festival here in Baltimore, and the performance art series, Whole Milk. She currently performs in the punk jazz / funk-influenced band Quasimoda.

David Watson
bagpipes, guitar
New York

David Watson is a musician living and working in New York City since 1987. A key figure in the experimental and improvisation scenes, he has worked closely with a wide range of exceptional musicians. Originally performing as a guitarist, in the early 1990’s he also started creating a new music performance vocabulary for the Highland Bagpipes. Since then he has developed elements in a musical language that focuses on the nuances of sound and space. He has developed a contemporary minimalism that is rooted in a traditional practice and challenges our current music practice by bringing an outdoor folk instrument in to the context of new music. Along with his solo work he has a long-standing collaborative trio with Lee Ranaldo and drummer Tony Buck, Glacial, featuring both his guitar playing and piping.

Matt Weston
percussion, electronics

Matt Weston plays percussion and electronics, and has performed throughout the US and in Europe. He has studied and/or collaborated with Arthur Brooks, Bill Dixon, Kevin Drumm, Paul Flaherty, Charles Gayle, Milford Graves, Mary Halvorson, Le Quan Ninh, Bob Marsh, Ben Miller (ex-Destroy All Monsters), Roger Miller (Mission of Burma), Jim O’Rourke, William Parker, Jack Wright, and many others. His solo work, and his work with Barn Owl, Tizzy, and Thrillpillow, has earned critical praise from such publications as the Wire, the Village Voice, Signal To Noise, Cadence, All About Jazz, Grooves, and Bananafish. He has recorded for the Tautology, Sachimay, Breaking World Records, Imvated, Crank Satori, BoxMedia, and Drag City labels. He currently records for his own 7272Music label. In addition to his solo work, Weston is a member of the Arthur Brooks Ensemble V; Barn Owl with Chris Cooper (Fat Worm Of Error) and Andy Crespo (Egg Eggs); and Thrillpillow with Plum Crane, Maggie Nowinski, and Jamie Lavo.

Jason Willett
electronics, other

jupasupon wupillupett lupoves mupusupic upand dupucks .
jupasupon wupillupett lupoves smupokuping upand drupinkuping.
jupasupon wupillupett lupoves hupot supex upand hupot pupeppupers.
jupasupon wupillupett lupoves bupaltupimupore upand strupong cupoffupee.
jupasupon wupillupett lupoves frupiendshupip upand rupubbuper bupands.

Katie Young

Composer and bassoonist Katherine Young creates acoustic and electro-acoustic music that uses curious timbres, expressive noises, and kinetic structures to explore suspended time, genre fiction, the communication of ensemble energies, and the tension between the familiar and the strange. Recent projects include a new work for TimeTable percussion with Issue Project Room’s Emerging Artists Commission, composing for dance, and a commission for the String Orchestra of Brooklyn. Katherine has documented her work on numerous recordings, including a 2009 solo release, which garnered praise in The Wire (“Bassoon colossus”) and Downbeat (“seriously bold leaps for the bassoon”). Katherine’s solo project employs pedals and amplification, and she leads the band Pretty Monsters, a quartet of bassoon, violin, guitar, and percussion. As an improviser, Katherine has toured with Anthony Braxton and recorded with Hans Joachim Irmler from Faust and F.M. Einheit from Einsturzende Neubauten. She is also a founding member of the chamber music collective Till by Turning. And she plays with chamber-pop quartet the Fancy and in the improvising duo Architeuthis Walks on Land.


photo credit: Matthew Billings

Musicians from Afar »

John Butcher (saxophone) London

Amy Cimini (viola) New York

Lisle Ellis (doublebass, electronics) New York

Katt Hernandez (violin) Sweden

Thomas Lehn (synthesizer) Vienna

Kaffe Matthews (sampling, tuning forks) London

Zeena Parkins (harp, electronics) New York

Dorothea Schürch (saw, voice) Zürich

Leo Svirsky (piano, keyboards) The Hague

Oluyemi Thomas (reeds, trumpet) Oakland

David Watson (bagpipes, guitar) New York

Matt Weston (percussion, electr.) Northhampton

Katherine Young (bassoon) Chicago

Musicians from Baltimore »

Andrew Bernstein (reeds, electronics)

John Berndt (saxophones, electronics)

Tom Boram (electronics)

Rose Burt (reeds)

Samuel Burt (reeds, invented instruments)

Max Eisenberg (electronics)

Nathan Ellman-Bell (percussion)

Gerry Mak (bowed strings, throat-singing)

Tim Murphy (keyboard, bagpipe)

Shana Palmer (electronics)

Britton Powell (bass)

Elisa Urtiaga (voice, other)

Jason Willett (electronics, other)

Special Projects »

Mark Trayle and John Bischoff

The Ball