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 an interdisciplinary artist, curator and producer whose practice pivots around ecological thought, poetics, aspects of gifting and alternative forms of economy, with a focus on the creative, social, and political dimension of sound and listening. Her practice manifests as process, and necessitates collaborative, cross-disciplinary work, communal projects and collective activities. Helen is Co-Curator of Longplayer Day, a festival focusing on time, duration and long-term and ecological thinking, and her latest project, EnCOUnTErs, sits at the nexus between art and ecology, with a focus on the sonic imagination. Helen is Director of SoundFjord a nomadic curatorial platform focussed on sound-related research and practice, Founder of Visible Near Midnight Recordings for works that fall between the genre gaps, and a visiting research fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Blanca Regina is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator, and educator based in London currently involved in creating audio-visual performances, sound works, installations, films, and book arts.
She is co-founder of Unpredictable Series focused on spontaneous music and experimentation, visual arts, and archives. With Steve Beresford, she has produced three albums, mixed and mastered by Dave Hunt in London. ‘What Blue’ (2020) Duets with Beresford; ‘Duets with Blanca Regina, Spontaneous Music’ featuring duets with Leafcutter John, Jack Goldstein, John Butcher, Benedict Taylor, Matthias Kispert, Aneek Thapar, Steve Beresford, Sharon Gal, and Hyelim Kim and ‘Art of Improvisers’ (2017) a collection album with several artists concentrating on women improvisers. With long-time collaborator and artist Leafcutter John capturing their live performances in 2017, they created ‘Miga’ limited-edition pen drive and digital release. Other collaborations include performances and projects with Matthias Kispert, David Toop, Matt Black (Coldcut), Art Terry, and Peter Cusack.
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 and participatory, collaborative compositions.
She works with voice, electronics, various instruments, field recordings, found audio & video; exploring presence, listening, embodiment, and the relationship between people, sound and space.
Sharon performs solo and in many collaborations including: David Toop, Steve Beresford, Phil Minton, Charles Hayward, Andie Brown, Yoni Silver, Sue Lynch, Blanca Regina, Anat Ben David and Lina Lapelyte.
Since 2007 she has been directing a series of large group, site specific compositions, inviting musicians and non-musicians to take part.
Past performances include The V&A, Science Museum, ICA, The Whitechapel Gallery, Tate Modern & Tate Britain, MACBA, and Colour Out Of Space, Borealis, Supernormal, Supersonic and TUSK festivals.
Sharon's music was released by many labels, including five solo albums and various collaborations.
Her new experimental work, Etudes, a collection of text & colour scores and propositions, presented as a deck of 78 cards, was 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.