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 Beresford has been a central figure in the British and international spontaneous music scenes for over forty years, freely improvising on the piano, electronics, and other things with people like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, John Zorn, and Alterations (with David Toop, Terry Day and Peter Cusack).
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 of Musics and Collusion magazines, writes about music in various contexts, and was a senior lecturer in music at the 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 worked with Christian Marclay on numerous Marclay mixed media pieces. He has also worked with 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, Lore Lixenberg and many others.
Beresford has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, free-improviser, composer and producer, and was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012. In 2021, Bloomsbury published a book by Andy Hamilton: ‘Pianos, Toys, Music and Noise: Conversations with Steve Beresford’.
Helen Frosi is a holobiont whose art practice pivots around ecological thought, poetics, and the environmental, creative, social, and political enmeshment of sound, hearing and listening. Her practice embodies epistemic pluralism, is facilitatory, and necessitates collaborative, cross-disciplinary work, communal projects and collective activities.
Helen is co-ordinator and co-curator of auralpluralities, a project that troubles accepted norms in audio technology, sound culture and Western epistemologies, questioning the extent of human perception, our relation in and through the vibratory world, and whether hearing is ever an individual act, and is curator of EnCOUnTERs, an interdisciplinary project that encompasses art, ecology and the sonic imagination.
Other long-term projects include: SoundFjord, a nomadic curatorial platform focused on sound-related research and practice (2010-present); Visible Near Midnight Recordings, for works that fall between the genre gaps (2012-present); Longplayer Day (2017-22). She is a workshop facilitator at the British Library, and Honorary Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London (Dept of Music).
Blanca Regina (b.1980) is an interdisciplinary artist, tutor, and independent curator who works with spontaneous composition systems creating multimedia landscapes using voice, objects, electronics, and visuals. She also makes books, prints, and films and provides lectures, workshops in the UK and internationally. With Steve Beresford - Unpredictable Series - she has co-produced three albums, working with Dave Hunt in London, ‘What Blue’ (2020) Duets with Steve Beresford; ‘Duets with Blanca Regina, Spontaneous Music, - various artists –‘ (2019), ‘Art of Improvisers (2017) - various artists.
For over ten years, she has been working with Terry Day on his art and music archives and completing a documentary film.
A recipient of the composer/ curator Grant and Paul Chagrin award - Sound & Music, her work has been supported by Arts Council England, British Music Collection, Amexcid, Photo-España, and Garage Cube. www.blancaregina.com
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.
Sharon Gal is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, vocalist and composer, specialising in free improvisation, experimental music and collaborative, participatory large group compositions. She works with voice, electronics, extended techniques, field recordings, found audio, video and collage; exploring presence, listening, embodiment, and the relationship between people, sound and space. Sharon performs solo and in collaborations with: David Toop, Steve Beresford, Phil Minton, Charles Hayward, John Butcher, Andie Brown, Yoni Silver, Sue Lynch, Anat Ben David and Lina Lapelyte.
Since 2007 she has directed a series of site specific, large group compositions, inviting musicians and non-musicians to take part. She curates music concerts, including the series Sound Matter, at Café OTO, and concerts at Iklectik arts lab. Her music is released by many labels, including five solo albums and various collaborations.
Past performances include The V&A, ICA, The Whitechapel Gallery, Tate Modern & Tate Britain, MACBA, and Colour Out Of Space, Borealis, Supernormal, Supersonic, TUSK, and Tectonics festivals. Her experimental work, Etudes by Sharon Gal, a collection of text & colour scores, presented as a deck of 78 cards, was supported by Sound and Music and published in 2021.
Andie Brown is a musician, artist, maker and researcher who began her music career as a bass player during her teens. In 2007 Andie began performing and recording as a solo artist under the name These Feathers Have Plumes which saw her begin an experimentation with glass and electronics.
In 2016 Andie began to work with sound installation which is now the focus of her practice. In 2019 Andie was one of six recipients of the annual PRSF Oram Awards. Since 2017 Andie has been working on a practiced based PhD at the CeReNeM, University of Huddersfield.