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, Satoko Fukuda, The Portsmouth Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Rachel Musson, Vic Reeves, Sarah Gail Brand, 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.
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 artist, tutor and curator based in London. She is currently involved in creating audiovisual performances, sound works, multimedia installations, photography and book arts. Blanca has lead audiovisual performance art and projection mapping workshops and has curated events internationally. Expanded and Ephemera Audiovisual was her first solo exhibition, presented in México in 2015. In it, she explores the interplay of image, sound and space, digital and analogue media and connects elements of language, identity and archive.
Blanca has performed with artists David Toop, Leafcutter John, Steve Beresford, Sharon Gal, Mandhira de Saram, Adriana Camacho and Matthias Kispert, also creating a number of films with them. Her work has been supported by Arts Council England, Sound & Music, BMC, Amex CID, Photo-España and Garage Cube.
Her recent projects include research with the Immersive Pipeline Project at Goldsmith University London and an artist’s residency at Solar, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
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, free improviser and composer. Her work explores presence, listening, embodiment, and the relationship between people, sound and space. She performs solo and in collaborations with David Toop, Steve Beresford, Phil Minton, Yoni Silver, Charles Hayward, Lina Lapelyte, Andie Brown and Blanca Regina.
Sharon directs site specific, participatory group compositions: L’esprit D’escalier for Voices in a staircase, Toy Orchestra & Room to Breathe with children/adults, Long Drone for mixed ensembles, Gals with Guitars with female players, Sound Out for M/Any Voices and Feel the Noise for guitars & 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 and Wild Silence, with 2 solo releases in 2018, Delicious Fish (Fractal Meat Cuts Label) and The Garden of Earthly Delights (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 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. Over the last decade, Andie has been experimenting with glass and electronics, creating what she has termed an “augmented glass harp”. Andie has performed extensively including at Colour Out of Space and Full of Noises Festivals and at venues such as Cafe OTO, Union Chapel and the De La Warr Pavilion. She has also taken part in ensemble works with Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides at Tate Britain and at White Cube Gallery for Christian Marclay conducted by Steve Beresford. Elsewhere, Andie has enjoyed collaborating with a diverse range of artists including Sophie Cooper, Joincey, Kelly Jayne Jones, Dale Cornish and Phil Julian but most often with artist and vocalist Sharon Gal. Since 2016 Andie has also been working with sound installation and film; in 2017, Andie was nominated for the PRSF Oram Awards and began a practiced based PhD at the University of Huddersfield. Andie is also a co-Director at Yorkshire Sound Women Network. https://andiebrownsound.com/