Thursday 15 June 2017, 7.30pm
Art of Improvisers (15th to 22nd June 2017) presents a festival curated by Blanca Regina and Steve Beresford and affirms the importance of women in free improvisation and arts.
It presents, in a variety of ways, both the back history and the current state of women in free improvisation. It also looks at free improvisation’s strong, but rarely noted, connection to visual work.
Art of Improvisers is supported by Arts Council England,Cafe Oto,The British Music Collection,Sound and Music,Art+Feminism and is in association with the Wire 400.
More information at www.unpredictable.info
In association with The Wire 400
Mandhira is a versatile violinist performing as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist in the UK and abroad. She is a founding member and the leader of the Ligeti Quartet, a young string quartet which has established a reputation as a leading dynamic and imaginative force in contemporary and modern music. She graduated with 1st class honours from the University of Oxford achieving a high 1st in performance and winning the Worcester College Arts Prize for the highest result in an arts subject.
International solo and chamber music tours have taken her around Europe as well as the USA, India, China and her country of origin, Sri Lanka. She has performed at prestigious festivals and venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre, Southbank Centre and St Johns Smith Square in London and the Carnegie Hall in New York.
Her repertoire is varied consisting of standard classical works as well as free improvisation and original projects often involving collaborations with contemporary composers, sound artists and musicians from a variety of genres outside classical music. With her quartet she has worked with Wadada Leo Smith, Meilyr Jones, Shabaka Hutchings, Laura Jurd, Kerry Andrew, Sean Noonan, and, following a tour to China and Hong Kong, has collaborated with leading Hong Kong DJ Choi Sai Ho and Japanese sound artist mamoru.
Mandhira was born in London. After completing her primary education in Sri Lanka, she was awarded a music scholarship to North London Collegiate School where she completed her secondary education. She was also a Leverhulme Scholar at the Junior Royal Academy of Music where she performed both as a violinist and pianist, also taking classes in composition and conducting. Her violin teachers have included Igor Petrushevsky, Howard Davis and Levon Chilingirian.
Steve has been a central figure in the British and international spontaneous music scenes for over forty years, freely improvising on piano, electronics and other things with people like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, John Zorn and Alterations.
He has written songs, written for large and small ensembles, and scored short films, feature films, TV shows and commercials. He was part of the editorial teams for 'Musics' and 'Collusion' magazines, writes about music in various contexts and was a senior lecturer in music at University of Westminster. With Blanca Regina, he is part of 'Unpredictable Series', which produces events and sound and video recordings of experimental music and art.
Steve has often worked with Christian Marclay on various Marclay mixed media pieces. Others he has worked with include The Slits, Najma Akhtar, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Tania Chen, Ray Davies, Mandhira De Saram, The Flying Lizards, Zeena Parkins, The Portsmouth Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Rachel Musson, Vic Reeves and Lore Lixenberg.
Beresford has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, free-improviser, composer and producer, and was was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.
Helen Frosi is a London-based artist researching into the cultural, social, and political aspects of sound and listening. She is co-founder and current director of SoundFjord, a nomadic gallery and research unit dedicated to practices highlighting the sonic within contemporary art and hybrid disciplinary practices.
In addition to her work at SoundFjord, Helen has curated programmes for Café OTO, CRiSAP, Dragonfly Festival (SE), Galerie8, Gorey Arts & Film Festival (IE), GV Gallery, ICA, Museum of London Docklands, Oboro (CA), Octopus Collective, PVA MediaLab, The Pigeon Wing, V22 and Victoria and Albert Museum amongst others.
Blanca Regina is an artist, teacher and curator based in London who is currently involved in creating audiovisual performances, sound works, instalations and film.
Her research and practice encompass sound art, free-improvisation, moving image, live events, electronic music and performance.
In 2014 she joined Event and Experience Design department at University of Kent.
From 2011-2014 she was visiting research fellow at Chelsea College of Arts & Design at University of the Arts London.
In 2010, she received a doctorate in Humanities from University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, with the thesis: The VJ and audiovisual performance: towards a radical aesthetic of postmodernism.
In London, she co-funded with Steve Beresford and later Jack Goldstein 'Strange Umbrellas', a platform for free improvised music and visual art. During 2012-2014 she curated performances at Music Hackspace. She is initial co-founder of the Live Cinema Foundation.
In 2011 with Matthias Kispert at Soundfjord she founded the Material Studies Group. Focusing at developing a series of workshops and performances open to everyone looking at the production of sound with everyday objects.
She has performed with various artists, including Terry Day, Leafcutter John, Beresford and Matthias Kispert and curated a number of events and installations in London and internationally. Her last exhibition: ‘Expanded and Ephemera Audiovisual’ was presented at MUPO, Oaxaca, México in November 2015
Current works in development include the direction of Unpredictable a film about Terry Day and 'Unpredictable series' a series of exhibitions, talks and performances.
Julie Kjær's edgy and thoughtful playing and ‘dark, otherworldly imagery’ (Jazzwise) has become increasingly evident around Europe, inhabiting ground between composition and free improv. Experimenting with extended techniques, sound and rhythm she pushes her instruments to their limits. She tours internationally with Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and his Large Unit and she has toured internationally and recorded with Django Bates and StoRMChaser. Currently her main focus is on her trio, Julie Kjær 3, with bass player John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble. They’ve just released their debut album on 14th March '16 on Clean Feed. Julie also plays with London Improvisers Orchestra and is a leader and side woman of several other English and Danish ensembles. In 2014 she was chosen to be a Sound and Music “New Voice” Artist and was chosen as a featured composer by the British Music Collection.
Poulomi Desai's unique, modified sitar embraces elements of chance, challenge and subversion - industrial, noise influenced improvised, art performances. Her prepared / bowed sitar is extended with modified cassette decks playing her field recordings, circuit bent toys, optikinetic instruments, kitchen knives, axes and massage tools. It is a conscious response and reaction to the idea of 'authenticity' seeking to break the rules and expectations of how a 'sacred' instrument should be played, the strictures upon the player, the guru-shishya approach, and the assumptions made upon the identity of the player herself. Her sitar is the primary basis for sonic improvisation and exploration; an allegorical antidote to the objectification of the 'South Asian woman's body' in 'Bollywood' cinema / 'popular culture' and, in a broader sense, affirming her idea of 'Noise' as protest. She runs the Usurp Art space in the suburbs and is currently the Curator of the Grunwick strike exhibition.
Her work relates to sound, architecture, live performance and participatory art, investigating presence, embodiment, the psychology of sound and its relationship with space.
Sharon performs solo and on-going collaborations with David Toop, Steve Beresford, Phil Minton, Alex Ward, Yoni Silver, Anat Ben-David, Lina Lapelyte and Andie Brown.
She also directs a series of large group participatory compositions/performances, examining the inter-relations between people and place. These pieces are site specific; evolving collaboratively and inviting participation from the public. They offer artistic engagement, play, and creative exchange, as a means to learning and bringing together, presenting a democratic space and collective ownership. L'esprit d’escalier – for voices in a staircase, Toy Orchestra – for children and adults, Room to Breathe - for balloons and instruments, Long Drone – for many instruments, Gals with Guitars – for female guitar players, Sound Out – for a large ensemble of voices in a public space and Feel the Noise for a large ensemble of electric guitars and micro amps.
Sharon is a co-founder of Resonance 104.4 FM arts radio.
Her music was released by various labels: The Tapeworm, American Tapes, Ash International, A Silent Place Records, Chocolate Monk, Emanem Records, Ecstatic Yod, Paradigm Records, My Dance the Skull, Wild Silence, Fractal Meat Cuts and Visible Near Midnight Recordings.
She performed in the UK & internationally including; The V&A, Science Museum, ICA, The Whitechapel Gallery, Arnolfini Gallery, Tate Modern & Tate Britain, MACBA and Colour Out of Space, Borealis and Supernormal festivals. http://www.sharon-gal.com/
Andie Brown began playing music as a bass player in her teens, working with a number of bands over the course of the following two decades. In 2007 Andie began performing and recording as a solo artist under the name These Feathers Have Plumes. Over the last decade, Andie has been experimenting with glass and electronics, creating what she has termed an “augmented glass harp”. Elsewhere, Andie has enjoyed collaborating with a diverse range of artists including Sophie Cooper, Joincey, Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides, Kelly Jayne Jones, Phil Julian, Piotr Kurek and Adam Bohman but most often with Sharon Gal in the duo Mami Wata. In 2017, Andie was nominated for the PRSF Oram Awards. She has recently relocated from London to West Yorkshire where she is currently undertaking a Masters by Research in Music at the University of Huddersfield.