THE ARTISTS OF SILENCE
September 7: Ritual
“Both lyrically and vocally, Folick is a trapeze artist, plunging into uncertain, dark depths only to spring to the other side of the divide.” — Pitchfork
“[Miya] may take your breath away.” — NPR
“Miya Folick can predict the future and it’s as sunny as her pop songs” — i-D Magazine
“Feels like a breath of fresh air…an emotionally diverse collection, rooted in a deep sense of empathy, with chapters about love and encouragement for her friends, a struggle to free herself from bad habits and relationships, hope for the future and triumphant joy.” — PAPER Magazine
“For a singer like a force of nature, Premonitions is a changing of seasons.” — Stereogum
“the kind of pipes that just don’t seem teachable.” — Paste
Los Angeles-based artist Low Leaf is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer. Rooted in classical piano since early childhood, she combines an array of genres by playing the harp, piano, guitar, singing, and making beats. Her self-taught harp and production skills give way for a more unrestricted and unique sound, ever-changing in a spectrum of its own. She ultimately seeks to be an instrument of truth in hopes of reawakening the world to their divine heritage.
“She … could theoretically be the new-age beat scene Joanna Newsom. But she’s avowedly experimental, eschewing pop structure for more free-flowing, spiritual explorations. … The songs possess an almost ancient and modern quality from the merging of harp and beats.” — LA Weekly
For over a decade, Nika Roza Danilova has been recording music as Zola Jesus. She’s been on Sacred Bones Records for most of that time, and Okovi marks her reunion with the label.
Fittingly, the 11 electronics-driven songs on Okovi share musical DNA with her early work on Sacred Bones. The music was written in pure catharsis, and as a result, the sonics are heavy, dark, and exploratory. In addition to the contributions of Danilova’s longtime live bandmate Alex DeGroot, producer/musician WIFE, cellist/noise-maker Shannon Kennedy from Pedestrian Deposit, and percussionist Ted Byrnes all helped build Okovi’s textural universe.
With Okovi, Zola Jesus has crafted a profound meditation on loss and reconciliation that stands tall alongside the major works of its genre. The album peaks of tragedy with great wisdom and clarity. Its songs plumb dark depths, but they reflect light as well.
Odeya Nini is a Los Angeles based experimental vocalist and contemporary composer. At the locus of her interests are performance practices, textural harmony, gesture, tonal animation, and the illumination of minute sounds, in works spanning chamber music to vocal pieces and collages of musique concrète. Her solo vocal work extends the dimension and expression of the voice and body, creating a sonic and physical panorama of silence to noise and tenderness to grandeur. Odeya has collaborated extensively with dancers, visual artist, filmmakers and theater directors as both a composer and soloist and has worked with artists such as Meredith Monk, Butch Morris, Lucy & Jorge Orta, The Industry & Wild Up.
Odeya’s work has been presented at venues and festivals across the US and internationally, such as Resonant Bodies Festival, The LA Phil, The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, The Kitchen, MONA and Art Basel Miami, from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, Australia, Mongolia, Madagascar and Vietnam. She has lectured on contemporary vocal techniques and composition and leads vocal sound baths, workshops and retreats exploring the creative and healing qualities of sound, voice, and movement.
Odeya holds a BFA from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and an MFA in composition from California Institute of the Arts.
“Few have tackled the intersection of identity and expression quite like New York rapper, actor and poet Saul Williams” – CNN
“A profound poet who inspires us.” – Russell Simmons
“Saul is every kind of great artist combined into one.” – Nas
“One of the most inspiring voices in American hip hop.”– Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails
Jonas Baes, composer
JONAS BAES, Philippine composer, ethnomusicologist, cultural activist studied with Jose Maceda at the University of the Philippines and with Mathias Spahlinger at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany. He earned his doctorate in Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines. His music compositions for traditional Asian instruments and vocal techniques, explores the aesthetization of philosophies and social theories and constantly searches for the involvement the participation of the audience; these major works have been performed in various international festivals and sound installations in Asia, the United States, Australia, and Europe.
His writings about marginality and the sociology of music among indigenous peoples like the Iraya-Mangyan and the Dumagat are published in international peer-refereed academic journals. In 2009, he founded the Manila Composers Lab, an organization that conducts annual workshops for young Southeast Asian composers. Baes has been invited as guest professor in the United States, Malaysia, Japan and in Germany. In 2008–2009 he was awarded an Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowship by the Nippon Foundation. He is a professor of composition and music theory at the University of the Philippines.
September 21: Light
Suzanne is a five-time Grammy award nominated composer, electronic music pioneer, and neo-classical recording artist whose work has been featured in countless commercials, video games, and feature films. Over the course of her 40+ year career, she’s released 16 solo albums, including “Seven Waves,” “The Velocity of Love,” and most recently, her comeback quadraphonic Buchla modular synth performance recording “LIVE Quadraphonic.” She’s been recognized as Keyboard Magazine’s “New Age Keyboardist of the Year” and was inducted into the first class of Keyboard Magazine’s Hall of Fame alongside other synth luminaries, including Bob Moog, Don Buchla and Dave Smith. She’s provided the voice and sounds for Bally’s groundbreaking “Xenon” pinball machine, created Coca-Cola’s pop-and-pour sound, designed Atari’s sound logo, played concerts all over the globe, and carved out a niche as one of the most creatively successful female composers in the world. A Life in Waves, a documentary about Ciani’s life and work, debuted at SXSW in 2017 and is available to watch on all digital platforms.
Ciani is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a Masters in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mia Barcia-Colombo is a Los Angeles based cellist whose eclectic and diverse performance career spans multiple musical industries. Being an LA native, Mia spent her formative years studying at the Colburn School of the Performing Arts where she was the principal cello of both youth orchestras and participated in the honors chamber ensemble in residence. After high school she was accepted into the studio of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the USC Thornton School of Music, and also played principal cello in the American Youth Symphony until 2008. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Amit Peled.
Mia is an active orchestral and chamber musician, as well as a champion of contemporary music. She has performed as a substitute cellist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mia has also spent extensive time performing newly written and commissioned works with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra as well as acclaimed contemporary ensemble wild Up. Mia also spends part of her year on stage with genre-bending contemporary group Nu Deco Ensemble in Miami, Florida. She has attended many music festivals locally and internationally, including the Aspen School of Music, Idyllwild Arts, Encore School for Strings, and Lake George Music Festival. In 2018 she spent five months touring the world performing nightly with a piano quintet as part of the Lincoln Center Stage program. Aside from classical performance Mia has also spent time in the studio recording for TV, movies, and alternative artists. She has performed on stage with artists such as Bjork and Michael Bublé and has also spent time writing and arranging string parts for bands on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show. She currently resides in Silverlake and spends her remaining free time teaching cello at the Crossroads School in Santa Monica.
A native of Kanagawa, Japan, Dr. Yuri Inoo is a musician and educator in the Los Angeles area. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from San Francisco State University, graduating summa cum laude, and receiving the Most Outstanding Senior Award. Yuri received her Master of Music and Doctorate in Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Southern California.
Yuri has performed and collaborated with artists such as Yo Yo Ma, John Williams, Steve Reich, Andrea Bocelli, and members of NEXUS.
Yuri is currently the Principal Percussionist with the Redlands Symphony in Redlands, California, and remains as an active freelance musician in Southern California. She also is a founding member of percussion ensemble bloom in Tokyo, Japan, and the Varied Trio in Los Angeles. She is the percussion instructor at Occidental College, University of Redlands, Mount Saint Mary’s University, and Idyllwild Arts Academy, while keeping a private studio.
Cristina Montes Mateo
In the words of Maestro Plácido Domingo: “… I have met and heard thousands of musicians but I can highlight only one of them in the harp world: Cristina Montes Mateo.” Unanimous 1st Prize winner at the “Torneo Internazionale di Musica” (Rome) and the International Harp Competition “V. Bucchi”, Cristina Montes Mateo is recognized as one of the leading harpists of her generation throughout the world. She has also won four more international contests (Paris –Laskine and Sacem-, Madrid and Tokyo), as well as numerous national awards. She usually appears as a soloist with major orchestras like the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Philharmonic Orchestra of Málaga, Francisco de Miranda Orchestra in Venezuela, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Theatre für Niedersachsen in Germany, and the Santiago de Chile Orchestra; and under the direction of Sir Colin Davis, P. Boulez, or D. Barenboim.
She has performed at many world leading festivals, highlighting the concert for the King and Queen of Spain and the President of the U.N. at the Royal Palace in Madrid, being broadcasted live internationally. She is Principal Harp of the Valencia Opera House Orchestra, an orchestra created by Lorin Maazel and also conducted by Zubin Mehta and Valery Gergiev; and a regular guest with the Munich Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Staatsoper Berlin and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also gives regular Master classes at Berklee College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire, and Musikhochschule in Cologne. She has recorded for Decca, Unitel Classica and Sony. Her upcoming concerts in 2019-20 include the Ginastera and Glière concertos with the Peninsula Symphony, Orquesta de Córdoba, Málaga Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Symphonic Orchestra of Navarra.
Described as “phenomenal and fearless” Vicki Ray is a pianist, improviser and composer. She has commissioned and premiered countless new works by today’s leading composers. Ray is a founding member of Piano Spheres and head of keyboard studies at the California Institute of the Arts where she was named the first recipient of the Hal Blaine Chair in Musical Performance. She has appeared on numerous international festivals and is a regular member of the faculty at the Bang On a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA. Ray has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series as soloist and collaborative artist. Her widely varied performing and recording career covers the gamut of new and old music: from Boulez to Reich, Wadada Leo Smith to Beethoven.
Notable recordings include the first Canadian disc of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Blue Rider Ensemble, the premiere recordings of Steve Reich’s You Are (Variations) and the Daniel Variations with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the first recording of John Cage’s Europeras 3 and 4. Her recording of Cage’s The Ten Thousand Things on Microfest Records received a 2013 Grammy nomination. Recent recordings include the premiere recording of Andrew Norman’s Sonnets with Eighth Blackbird’s Nick Photinos on the New Amsterdam label and YAR – a duo recording on the Orenda label with slide guitarist Scot Ray. Her recent recording of Daniel Lentz’s River of 1000 Streams – was named by Alex Ross in the New Yorker as one of the top 20 recordings of 2017.
Violist Diana Wade likes to make strange sounds, usually on the viola. In a recent performance of Berio’s Sequenza VI, Diana was praised for playing with “both athletic and operatic ferocity” and “throwing herself into tremolo passages with a physical force that shook her and a sonic one that practically shook the walls” (Mark Swed, LA Times).
Diana enjoys a richly varied musical life in Los Angeles. Not only can she be heard recording for film and television, but also performing with ensembles such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Opera, wild Up and appearances in series such as Jacaranda, Tuesdays @ Monk Space, and Monday Evening Concerts.
Highlights of the 2019–2020 season include recording the complete viola sonatas of Paul Hindemith with pianist Aron Kallay, premiering a new concert-length work by Ted Hearne for small ensemble, the premiere of a solo violin work by Diana for Shalini Vijayan, and bi-coastal performances with her duo SpacePants.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir, composer
Anna Thorvaldsdottir (b. 1977) is an Icelandic composer whose “seemingly boundless textural imagination” (NY Times) and “striking” (Guardian) sound world has made her “one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music” (NPR). “Never less than fascinating” (Gramophone), her music is composed as much by sounds and nuances as by harmonies and lyrical material, and tends to evoke “a sense of place and personality” (NY Times) through a distinctive “combination of power and intimacy” (Gramophone). It is written as an ecosystem of sounds, where materials continuously grow in and out of each other, often inspired in an important way by nature and its many qualities, in particular structural ones, like proportion and flow. Anna’s works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions – most notably, her “confident and distinctive handling of the orchestra” (Gramophone) has garnered her the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize, the New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Emerging Composer Award, and Lincoln Center’s Emerging Artist Award and Martin E. Segal Award.
Anna’s music is frequently performed internationally and has been performed by orchestras and ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Yarn/Wire, The Crossing, the Bavarian Radio Choir, Münchener Kammerorchester, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Avanti Chamber Ensemble, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, CAPUT Ensemble, Oslo Philharmonic, and Either/Or Ensemble. In April 2018, Esa-Pekka Salonen lead the New York Philharmonic in the premiere of Anna’s work METACOSMOS, which was commissioned by the orchestra, and the work received its European premiere with the Berlin Philharmonic in January 2019, conducted by Alan Gilbert. METACOSMOS received its UK premiere at the BBC Proms 2019. Anna’s latest orchestral work – the large-scale AION – was commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and premiered in May 2019, conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing. Anna is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. In spring 2019, she was also Composer-in-Residence at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Her music has been featured at several major venues and music festivals, including portrait concerts at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, the Composer Portraits Series at NYC’s Miller Theatre, the Leading International Composers series at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Big Ears Festival, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, London’s Spitalfields Music Festival, Münchener Kammerorchester’s Nachtmusic der Moderne series, and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra’s Point Festival. Other venues include the BBC Proms, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Lucerne Summer Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, Helsinki’s Musica Nova Festival, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
Anna holds a PhD (2011) from the University of California in San Diego. She is currently based in the London area.
September 28: Listening
Grammy and Emmy Award-winning pianist GLORIA CHENG has long been devoted to a process of creative collaboration, having worked extensively with such internationally renowned composers as John Adams, Terry Riley, Thomas Adès, and the late Steven Stucky. Ms. Cheng has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and Pierre Boulez, and on its acclaimed Green Umbrella series with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Oliver Knussen. She has been a recitalist at the Ojai Music Festival (where she first appeared in 1984 with Pierre Boulez), the Chicago Humanities Festival, William Kapell Festival, and Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. Ms. Cheng inspired and premiered such notable compositions as Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Dichotomie (of which she is the dedicatee), John Adams’ Hallelujah Junction for two pianos (written for her and Grant Gershon), and Steven Stucky’s Piano Sonata. Partnering with composers in duo-recitals, she premiered Thomas Adès’s two-piano Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face and Terry Riley’s Cheng Tiger Growl Roar.
Ms. Cheng received a Grammy Award for her 2008 recording, Piano Music of Salonen, Stucky, and Lutosławski, and a second Grammy nomination for her 2013 disc, The Edge of Light: Messiaen/Saariaho. On screen, Ms. Cheng’s film, MONTAGE: Great Film Composers and the Piano—documenting the recording of works composed for her by Bruce Broughton, Don Davis, Alexandre Desplat, Michael Giacchino, Randy Newman, and John Williams—aired on PBS SoCal and captured the 2018 Los Angeles Area Emmy Award for Independent Programming. Her most recent disc, Garlands for Steven Stucky, is a star-studded tribute to the late composer by 32 of his friends and former students. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford University, Ms. Cheng studied in Paris on a Woolley Scholarship and earned graduate degrees in performance from UCLA and the University of Southern California, where her teachers included Aube Tzerko and John Perry. Ms. Cheng now is on the faculty at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music where she has created courses and programs designed to unite performers, composers, and scholars.
Lisa E. Harris
Lisa E. Harris, Li, is an independent and interdisciplinary artist, performer and composer from Houston Texas, USA. Li is trained as a classical voice/opera singer and performs across a wide range of genres and mediums. She is a certified facilitator of DEEP LISTENING®, the sonic philosophies of composer Pauline Oliveros.
Li’s work focuses on the energetic relationships between body, land, spirit and place. She uses voice, theremin, movement, improvisation, meditation and new media to explore healing in performance and living.
Julia Holter is a composer, performer, and recording artist based in Los Angeles. Her interest in sonic mysteries has led her to record in various settings–in her home, outside with a field recorder, and in recording studios—as well as to perform live, often with a focus on the voice and the space between language and babble. Holter’s music is multi-layered and texturally rich, often featuring an array of instruments played by an ensemble of creative musicians. She has amassed a body of work that explores melody within free song structures, atmosphere, and the impulses of the voice.
She recently released her latest album Aviary (2018) on Domino Records. Since the release of her previous albums Tragedy (2011) and Ekstasis (2012), Loud City Song (2013), Have You In My Wilderness (2015), she has performed at venues and festivals throughout the world, including Europe, North & South America, Mexico, Asia and Australia. She has written music for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and scores for the TV show “Pure” (2019) and the film “Bleed for This” (2016).
“…one-woman studio band…that’s a sea of loops: guitar arpeggios, synthesizer burbles, endless layers of vocal harmony.” — The New York Times
“Songwriter and frontwoman Taja Cheek references R&B as frequently as she touches on post-punk and avant-garde rock…but rather than creating new ways to categorize its sound, L’Rain rejects labels and revels in the freedom this unconventional music provides.“ — Teen Vogue
“…the endlessly talented Taja Cheek brew[s] her totally singular atmospheric, soul-inflected soundscapes as L’Rain. Expect intricately arpeggiated jazz guitar, tight drumming chops and plenty of psychedelic tape loop ambience.” — Time Out New York
John Cage, composer
John Cage, was an American avant-garde composer whose inventive compositions and unorthodox ideas profoundly influenced mid-20th-century music. Cage’s early compositions were written in the 12-tone method of his teacher Schoenberg, but by 1939 he had begun to experiment with increasingly unorthodox instruments such as the “prepared piano” (a piano modified by objects placed between its strings in order to produce percussive and otherworldly sound effects). Cage also experimented with tape recorders, record players, and radios in his effort to step outside the bounds of conventional Western music and its concepts of meaningful sound. The concert he gave with his percussion ensemble at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1943 marked the first step in his emergence as a leader of the American musical avant-garde.
In the following years, Cage turned to Zen Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies and concluded that all the activities that make up music must be seen as part of a single natural process. He came to regard all kinds of sounds as potentially musical, and he encouraged audiences to take note of all sonic phenomena, rather than only those elements selected by a composer. To this end he cultivated the principle of indeterminism in his music. He used a number of devices to ensure randomness and thus eliminate any element of personal taste on the part of the performer: unspecified instruments and numbers of performers, freedom of duration of sounds and entire pieces, inexact notation, and sequences of events determined by random means such as by consultation with the Chinese Yijing (I Ching).
In his later works he extended these freedoms over other media, so that a performance of HPSCHD (completed 1969) might include a light show, slide projections, and costumed performers, as well as the 7 harpsichord soloists and 51 tape machines for which it was scored. Among Cage’s best-known works are 4′33″ (Four Minutes and Thirty-three Seconds, 1952), a piece in which the performer or performers remain utterly silent onstage for that amount of time (although the amount of time is left to the determination of the performer); Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951), for 12 randomly tuned radios, 24 performers, and conductor; the Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48) for prepared piano; Fontana Mix (1958), a piece based on a series of programmed transparent cards that, when superimposed, give a graph for the random selection of electronic sounds; Cheap Imitation (1969), an “impression” of the music of Erik Satie; and Roaratorio (1979), an electronic composition utilizing thousands of words found in James Joyce’s novel Finnegans Wake. Cage published several books, including Silence: Lectures and Writings (1961) and M: Writings ’67–’72 (1973). His influence extended to such established composers as Earle Brown, Lejaren Hiller, Morton Feldman, and Christian Wolff. More broadly, his work was recognized as significant in the development of traditions ranging from minimalist and electronic music to performance art.
Pauline Oliveros, composer
Pauline Oliveros’ life as a composer, performer and humanitarian was about opening her own and others’ sensibilities to the universe and facets of sounds. Her career spanned fifty years of boundary dissolving music making. In the ’50s she was part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists, poets gathered together in San Francisco. In the 1960’s she influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual.
She was the recipient of four Honorary Doctorates and among her many recent awards were the William Schuman Award for Lifetime Achievement, Columbia University, The Giga-Hertz-Award for Lifetime Achievement in Electronic Music from ZKM, Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany and The John Cage award from from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts.
Oliveros was Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Darius Milhaud Artist-in-Residence at Mills College. She founded “Deep Listening®,” which came from her childhood fascination with sounds and from her works in concert music with composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics. She described Deep Listening as a way of listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one’s own thoughts as well as musical sounds.
‘Deep Listening is my life practice,” Oliveros explained, simply. Oliveros founded Deep Listening Institute, formerly Pauline Oliveros Foundation, now the Center For Deep Listening at Rensselaer, Troy, NY. Her creative work is currently disseminated through The Pauline Oliveros Trust and the Ministry of Maåt, Inc.