HIGH ZERO: 5th Anniversary Festival
of Experimental Improvised Music!!!

Baltimore, 2003
Thursday Sept. 4th-Sunday, Sept. 7th
The Theater Project 45 West Preston Street
Tickets can be purchased over the phone:
Baltimore, Maryland Click here for a full schedule

The HIGH ZERO festival is a startlingly unusual event, mixing sold-out and capacity crowds with fiercely challenging and engaging music. The festival would be unusual anywhere in the world, with its combination of visionary and uncompromising (not to mention grassroots) experimental music, an unusual format (only individuals are invited to perform in new collaborations, no groups), and its mixing of diverse musical subcultures (what might be called electronic music, free jazz, minimalism, instrument inventors, etc.). Each year, the most inspired musicians we know of are brought together with Baltimore's fertile experimental scene in a wide range of different kinds of musical situations to create very new music which has never been heard before.

When High Zero began in 1999, the idea of hosting an international, large-scale experimental music festival in Baltimore seemed like a pure act of will against all odds, not to mention a huge financial risk.

After four amazingly successful years '99-'02, sold-out audiences, hundreds of sets of inspiring music and anarchic street performances, six CDs, tons of new friendships and developing collaborations around the globe, and a closet now overflowing with high-resolution documentation--it still seems almost too good to be true!!

This years 5th Anniversary festival calibrates not just this specific oasis of musical freedom and exploration and the contrary subcultures it pulls together, but also the ability and opportunity for any individuals to detach from the values of mainstream culture and find the hidden chances to vitally explore WHAT REALLY INTERESTS THEM, however marginalized it may seem at first. High Zero is also proof that there is a hunger for relatively unmediated experiences where the imagination and consciousness--with all their strange intensity--are "out of the closet."

Our first five years have been a tremendous gift, and we are truly grateful to the immense amount of support from musicians, audience, donations, and volunteers which has made the festival a true community event in every sense of the word.

For more information on the philosophy and methods of High Zero, click here.

High Zero is supported by City Paper

High Zero is organized by The High Zero Foundation, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit organization. The festival is an outgrowth of The Red Room, an unfunded but vital space which has presented over 400 concerts of improvised and experimental music (as well as experimental film and performance) since it began in 1996. The Red Room is located at and sponsored by Normals Books and Records.

Please Note: The festival is invitation only, so we DO NOT take submissions for future HIGH ZERO festivals. However, we are always interested in submissions to The Red Room, which is the source of the pool of players who are then invited to the festival.

Mailing Address:
High Zero Foundation, Inc.
2850 N. Charles, Suite. 200
Baltimore, MD. 21218

email: johnb@berndtgroup.net

Photo of Micahel Gayle, above: John Berndt
Many thanks to: Kevin takacs, Julia Hammid, John Starling, Tom Goldstein, Kristen Toedtman.
Most other photos in the site (except musician information page photos): Stewart Mostofsky
Website Design: The Berndt Group, Ltd.
Video Tape Documentation: Too numerous to mention
Audio documentation of previous years: Sam Wiley, John Berndt, Andy Hayleck, Doug Wolf, Jon Rose, Charlie Jameson.


HIGH ZERO 2003 Musicians:

From Afar :
Paolo Angeli (Sardinia) - invented instruments

Ron Anderson (NYC) - guitar, electronics

Ricardo Arias (NYC) - balloons, flute

Stephen X. Boyle (Pittsburgh) - percussion

Edgar Um Bucholtz (Pittsburgh) - trumpet, objects

Chris Cooper (Vermont) - guitar, electronics

Michel Doneda (France) - saxophones

Mike Evans (NYC) – percussion, electronics

Gianni Gebbia (Italy) – saxophones

Katt Hernandez (Boston) - violin

Micheal Johnsen (Pittsburgh) - electronics, saw, reeds

Vic Rawlings (Boston) - cello, electronics

Jack Wright
(Boulder) - reeds, piano

Micheal Zerang (Chicago) - percussion

From Baltimore:
John Berndt - reeds, electronics, strings, drums

Dan Breen - strings, electronics, drums

Audrey Chen - cello, voice

Vattel Cherry – acoustic bass

John Eaton - alto saxophone, voice

Neil Feather
- invented instruments

Michael Gayle – piano

Lafayette Gilchrist - piano

Chiara Giovando - violin, voice, electronics

Andy Hayleck - strings, gong, electronics

Twig Harper
– electronics

Wes Matheau – percussion

Paul Neidhardt – percussion

Catherine Pancake - percussion, inventions

Chris Pumpfrey - electric piano, saxophone