individuals performing in High Zero are amongst the most interesting
experimental musicians we can find, drawn from Baltimore, North
America, Europe, and Australia (so far). Musicians are selected for the depth
of their imagination, their abilities in free improvisation, and
their commitment to open forms of collaboration. Most musicians
have also performed in the Red
Room performance series at least once.
ZERO 2005 Musicians:
Claire Elizabeth Barratt
Claire Elizabeth Barratt has a Dance and Musical Theater background,
with training received in her native country of Britain at the London
Studio Center of Performing Arts and the Laban Center for Movement and
She spent ten years in the southern states of Tennessee and North
Carolina, where she held the position of Co -Director for "Circle
Modern Dance" as well as choreographing for Opera, Musical Theater,
Music Video, Commercials and collaborating with Multi-Media, Film,
Visual, Music and Literary Artists.
Now based in the Bronx, NY, she runs "Cilla_Vee Movement Projects", a
multi-disciplinary performing arts company, performing in the US,
Canada, Europe and Japan and is performance curator for Haven Gallery.
She served a one year apprenticeship with Lori Belilove & Company of
the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation and has recently been featured in
Art Basel Miami, the Washington DC International Improv Festival and
the Transmodern Age Festival in Baltimore, MD.
"My work as a movement artist blurs boundaries and crosses categories.
Re-defining the traditional concepts of a "piece", challenging the
conventions of choreography, performance, time, space and audience
Harpist and Digital Media Artist Clare Cooper is coming to Baltimore
for the first time armed with a Guzheng (Chinese table harp)
that has closer links to a Groove Box or DX7 synth than a Koto when in
Clare's recent compositions and improvisations have been hailed as "awe-inspiring in precision, quiet confidence and beauty", "from the
percussive opening, which was not unlike a million Jaffas hurtling
down the stepped aisle of a cinema, to the glorious watery sounds of
the treated guzheng in the second, the seismic guzheng and prickly
synth of the fourth, and the Guzheng's snarls sending a DX7 heartbeat
racing towards cardiac arrest in the last." (RealtimeArts65 / Sydney
Morning Herald, January 2005)
Clare is Co-Director of 'the NOW now festival of spontaneous music',
now Australia's key experimental sound and film festival.
Los Angeles, CA
Perhaps the only living musicians whose musical instrument is simply the Cross-Fade, low-fi tape-loop manipulator Joseph Hammer is a legendary member of the eerie entity known as L.A.F.M.S. (the Los Angeles Free Music Society) and a living, breathing ball of sensibility. Wearing a white cotton glove, Hammer subliminally "gooses" the position of his well-worn circular recording media in and out of proximity to the fields of oscillating magnetism. This interface, in combination with his fevered imagination, acts as a kind of Dali-esque-soft-cheese-grater to his sentimental musical source material, revealing or creating a psychiatrist's bedside drawer of crawling sonic subtexts through a process that can only be considered SOUND CELL GRAFTING. Hammer is also a co-founder of many influential and cryptic groups, including Dinosaurs with Horns, Points of Friction, Steaming Coils, and the active unit Solid Eye--none of whom really sound like anything else.
Staten Island, NY
Rosi Hertlein's musical background is divided equally between the
worlds of improvisation and contemporary classical music. She began serious
study of both violin and piano in the late 70's, before switching her
focus to violin and vocals in the 80's. She earned a degree in
Sociology in 1989, subsequently traveling to Ghana to study the links
between society and music in Western Africa.
After returning to Germany, she began teaching and working as a
composer, violinist, singer and percussionist in a variety of
Her work in recent years includes collaborations with multi
instrumentalists Joe McPhee and Daniel Carter and performances with
composer Pauline Oliveros' "New Circle Five". In June 2002 she
premiered Cecil Taylor's "With Blazing Eyes and Open'd Mouth" with the
"Sound Vision Orchestra" and Mr. Taylor on piano. She performed with
Reggie Workman's "African-American Legacy Project" and with the "Jump
Arts Orchestra", conducted by Butch Morris, she collaborated with
guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil on original music and other projects. She
performs with her band "The Improvising Chamber Ensemble (ICE)", with
Howard Johnson, Dave Taylor, Vincent Chancey, Jay Rosen, Charlie
Burnham and herself on violin and vocals. This project features her
particular compositions and concepts. She also sings and plays in
numerous classical ensembles and settings and collaborates and
performs regularly with dancers.
Peter Jacquemyn (1963° schaarbeek) moves easily between the visual
arts and music. As a sculptor he assaults tree trunks with axe and
chainsaw. His concerts are just as spectacular: with unbridled energy
he lovingly wrestles his double bass.
It is a battle in which all means are fair: bows (1, 2 or 3), dented
soda cans, plastic bags, crumpled paper, mutes, horns, retuned
All of this ranges Peter Jacquemyn among Belgium's most interesting
improvisers with a very justified international reputation.
Mazen Kerbaj was born in 1975 in Beirut and lived there since. His
main activities are comics, painting and music.
In 2000 he plays for the first time in concert, in the Strike's pub in
Beirut. This concert, a duo with Lebanese sax player Christine
Sehnaoui, is probably the first improvised music concert in the Middle
In 2001, together with guitarist Sharif Sehnaoui, he creates the MILL
association that curates since "IRTIJAL" an annual international
festival for free music in Beirut as well as various concerts and
In august 2002, together with Sharif Sehnaoui and bass player Raed
Yassine he recorded the album A released in Beirut.
After meeting Franz Hautzinger in Lebanon in 2003, they played in duo
in Beirut and in Paris and recorded an album (abu tarek). Then they
were joined by Sharif Sehnaoui and Helge Hinteregger to form Oriental
Space quartet (record released by aRtonal)
In 2005, he launches his own label Al Maslakh (the slaughterhouse) to
document the Lebanese scene (2 releases, solo and quartet)
Mazen Kerbaj played in solo and various groups in Lebanon, Syria,
France, Austria, Germany, Spain and the USA.
Regular and occasional partners includes: Sharif Sehnaoui, Christine
Sehnaoui, Franz Hautzinger, LÍ Quan Ninh, Bertrand Denzler, Guillermo
Gregorio, Gene Coleman, Michael Zerang, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mike
Bullock, Vic Rawlings, Jack Wright...
London, United Kingdom
One of the greats of the first generation of British free music. Phil Minton has been working as an improviser/ singer/ trumpet player
over four decades. Born near the Southern coast of England in 1940, he
started out on the trumpet and began playing in jazz bands in the late
'50s. After moving to London in the mid-'60s, Minton began doubling as
trumpeter/vocalist for the Mike Westbrook Orchestra, then lived in the
Canary Islands for a year, and in Sweden for five before returning to
London (and Westbrook's band) in the early '70s. The mid-'70s found
him working in a variety of settings, from improvised duos to theatre
groups, and in his vocal trio Voice with Julie Tippetts and Maggie
Nicols. As an improviser, Minton has toured throughout the world,
working with a great many creative musicians, including Peter
Brötzmann, Fred Frith, John Butcher, Roger Turner, Derek Bailey's
Company, and an ongoing collaboration with Veryan Weston. In 1987 he
was voted number one male singer in Europe by Jazz Forum Magazine's
top people poll. His unmistakable approach and dedication to
improvised music is and has been a great contribution to all fans of
music in general. Phil Minton has financial support from NESTA, The
National Endowment for Science Technology and Art UK.
tuba, invented instruments, voice
Born in Massillon Ohio into a singing, church going family, Scott cut his chops on sleepy Methodist hymns before taking up his fathers' trombone in grade school. This eventually lead to a tenuous and demerit ridden stint as part of the Washington High School Choir and the Tiger Swing Band.
Scotts' work as a sculptor and a performer outside of Tiger Town has focused on a perpetual exploration for the forgotten and lost sound. Various manifestations of this investigation include the founding of such notorious sonic performance projects as Sink Manhattan, Lick the Earth, Hairiest Race, and Interfering With the Operation of This Train While living in Philadelphia.
After moving to NYC in 1996 he is responsible for the dissonant hijinks of Ram Umbus and Nimble One Minded Animals Here as well as the gorilla street work and varied engagements of the Hungry March Band. Scott has also developed a number of solo performances and singular collaborations including opening the first High Zero Festival in 1999.
Most recently Scott has contributed as a performer and a musician under the conduction of Jonathan Beppler in Eve Sussman's new video production 'Raptus', a poetic rendering of the story of the Sabine Women filmed in Greece and Berlin.
Originally from Kobe and Osaka, Japan, Tatsuya Nakatani has resided in the USA since 1995. He had been based in New York City for four years, but now resides in Easton, PA. He has been recognized as a key player in New York's ever-burgeoning creative music scene. His music often defies category or genre and is broadly influenced by various cultures as well as improvised music, experimental music, jazz, free Jazz, and rock. An intense freedom combined with impeccable sensitivity and depth of thought characterizes his approach.
He is widely recognized and sought out as a solo and ensemble performer. His elements of percussion are drum set, gong, cymbal, singing bowls, pieces of metal objects, various sticks and bows. In addition to live performances, he provides sound design for television and film, and collaborates regularly with dancers and visual artists. Nakatani has established an independent record label and recording studio “H&HPRODUCTION” from where he dispatches his music creations to the rest of the world. He has been a recipient of the New York, Bronx Art council individual artist grant.
Scott Rosenberg (b. 1972) is a composer, reed player, guitarist, singer
who focuses on combining composition and improvisation to make music of
all kinds ranging from solo contrabass clarinet pieces to full
orchestral works. Rosenberg's music spans the distance from abstract,
noise-based improvisation to traditional narrative country tunes. He has
performed extensively in the U.S. and abroad with a wide range of some
really great people.
As violinist and violist, LaDonna Smith has been on the international
new music scene for nearly 30 years. She is an active performer, as
well as an educator and native of Birmingham, Alabama. LaDonna has
created a style of improvisation on violin and viola that is uniquely
her own. Alternating classical and extended techniques, she explores
her instrument, painting scenarios and sound pictures as she plays.
She has performed at practically every major improvisations festival
and many of the New Music Festivals. She has toured Europe on numerous
occasions, playing solo and in collaboration with many musicians. Her
travels have taken her from New Music America to the former USSR,
Siberia, China an Japan. In addition, she and guitarist, Davey
Williams, have toured North America an Europe many times as
TransMuseq. By networking with organizers and musicians from other
cities, she has been responsible for keeping improvised music alive in
the South Eastern United States from its very beginnings. In 1996 and
2004 she was Director of the Birmingham Improvisation Festival,
featuring performers form Sweden, Russia, Japan and the Ukraine in
concert and workshop, as well as a host of regional and national
participants in music, theatre and dance. She has presented workshops
in free improvisation throughout the US canada to community teachers
LaDonna has a long history with dance, since 1978, from the early
TransMusiq and Birmingham Creative Dance to collaborations with Katie
Duck, Ann Law, and others.
Liz Tonne is a sound artist inspired by the unorthodox use of the human voice. Using her voice purely as a sound source, Tonne deconstructs the traditional centrist role of a singer and vocalizes as an instrumentalist in both improvisation and contemporary composition. She is a member of The BSC, a large ensemble of the Boston area's finest electroacoustic musicians led by Bhob Rainey . Tonne consistently collaborates with many fine international improvisers and is also a member of the undr quartet, one of the pioneering ensembles of Boston's lowercase sound, along with James Coleman, Greg Kelley and Vic Rawlings.
She lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts with her husband Rob Forman and their daughter, Nina.
Born 1961 in Nuremberg, Birgit studied visual arts, which still has
an important influence on her music- abstract painting and the Fluxus
movement with its affinity to music.
As a visual artist she works recently on drawings, environments and
graphic works on Polaroids.
Since moving to Hamburg in 1982 she has been involved in free
improvisation, co-founding a musicians collective, dance projects and
solo performances, played often in occasional once only groupings with
many of the European and American improvisers.
Birgit has performed recently in Germany, England, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary,
Poland, Sweden, Spain and USA, together with UNSK, Jurgen Morgenster,
Matin Klapper, the Trio PUT, Marianne Kipp, Tim Hodgkinson, Dorothea
Schurch, Ernst Thoma, John Edwards, Michael Zerang, Gino Robair and
C. Spencer Yeh
C. Spencer Yeh
Born 1975 in Taipei, Taiwan, moved to the US in 1980, and now based
out of Cincinnati, Ohio. C. Spencer Yeh is active both as a solo and
ensemble artist, as well as with his primary organized sound project,
Burning Star Core. As an improviser, Yeh has been focused on
developing a personal vocabulary using violin, voice, and electronics.
Though those are his preferred methods, Yeh believes that an ideal
player should be able to tackle most any instrument or object to
create sound of interest, through focus and listening.
Collaborative partners over the years have included Double Leopards,
Comets on Fire, John Olson (of Wolf Eyes and Dead Machines), Hair
Police, Thurston Moore's Dream/Aktion Unit, Pete Nolan (of Magik
Markers), Jessica Rylan, Larry Marotta, and others. When possible,
Yeh plays in a trio with Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty, as a member
of Pengo, and Gordy Horn, a Cincinnati-based improv group led by Tim
Schwallie of BPA and Wolverton Brothers. Yeh has toured up and down
both coasts and the Midwest, and has made appearances at the
Victoriaville, Avantronics, the Destijl/Freedom From and the No Fun
Yeh is also active in many other mediums, including most recently
editing videos and authoring DVDs for Hair Police, The Beast People
(both of which were recently featured at the IFFR Rotterdam), LoVid,
and others. He also works extensively on artwork for Burning Star
Core and other releases. (photo: Bill T Miller)
reeds, electronics, inventions
John Berndt uses this space to say: "I am against reductionism
not on moral grounds, but because it obviously falsifies the
evidence--all the reductionisms are full of holes cognitively.
A resistance to self-righteousness and ideology follows. I
find our actual experience (including self-hood), on close
inspection, to be stranger and more compelling than anything
that we can conceive via fantasy. A robust sense of possibility
goes a long way for me. The fact that we may be 'rushing to
our doom' as a civilization, and that people apparently need
comforting belief they know to be false to contend with life
even without these palpable threats is very strange; both
aspects suggest deep problems with sentience. At the same
time, I'm glad that empathy exists as a profound change from
business-as-usual reality, as well a potential point of departure
for a different way of doing things."
clarinet, voice, laptop
It is said that during the Peabody Symphony Orchestra's reading of Samuel Burt's massive composition Parametric Transmutations that one of the violinists began to cry, tormented by the difficulty of her part. Burt's compositions are uncompromisingly different from the norm. They force everyone involved to come to terms with circumstances with which they are unprepared. This can also be said of his improvisations. He thrives on situations in which he must adapt, whether its playing live or setting up the framework for a new composition.
Samuel Burt began his musical career crying in the nursery of a church building to the sound of congregational singing. Eventually, the child migrated to a brief stint with the piano, an early introduction to turn tables, and an Atari XE computer. Now with training in composition, clarinet, electronic music, and voice, Burt has embarked from the Peabody Conservatory to discover more challenging waters. A Collaboration with John Berndt in 2004 resulted in the Speakeroids installation at Baltimore's Contemporary Museum which is now housed in the Berndt Exhibition Space. He created TRAD custom software for the homemade instrument wielding duo THUS. He attended a performance of his work Uncoiled Oscillations at the Society of Electro-acoustic Music of the United States in 2005. His current projects involve computer-interactive performance systems and frontier exploration of clarinet extended technique.
Mother of Iven (5 years), cellist, vocalist, performance artist, runner, cyclist, organizer, and voted Baltimore's "Best local musician" in 2004, Chen has rehaired her bow 5 times in the last year. She has also toured extensively around the world bringing her sounds and intuition to Poland, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Japan, and the United States.
Past collaborations include: Jaap Blonk, Michael Zerang, Tony Buck, Assif Tsahar, Scott Rosenberg, Le Quan Ninh, Joe Mcphee, Susan Alcorn, Peter Jaquemyn, Michele Doneda, Paolo Angeli, and many others. Some current projects include: duo projects with Tatsuya Nakatani (percussion) and Gianni Gebbia (saxophone) from Palermo, Sicily. The Nakatani-Chen Duo just released their debut CD LIMN. Also, Trockeneis, which includes local luminaries, Catherine Pancake, Paul Neidhardt, Andy Hayleck, and Dan Breen.
"Were she playing in a shoebox, Audrey Chen would be unforgettable. Making her Australian debut, the Baltimore cellist and singer was a highlight of the current arts feast, attacking her instrument in more ways than the press Mark Latham (Australian politician), extracting rich, velvet tones and all manner of percussive effects. Meanwhile, her voice encompassed everything from the operatic to the lunatic to the imitation of her cello. As startling as this was, her performance was also profoundly moving, funny, and unremittingly intense. It culminated in cello and voice becoming one as she blew raspberries on her instrument and smothered it in kisses. Lucky cello." (Joe Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1/22/05)
Baltimore native, Che Davis grew up in a musically encouraging
home environment filled with instruments- guitars, flutes,
drums, keys, saxophones, bass, kalimbas, trumpets and computers.
Davis began concentrating on trombone at age eleven. He has
been influenced by many accomplished educator/performers in
his years at Baltimore School for the Arts, among them: Carl
Grubbs, Chuck Casey, Dr. Ron Carter and Carolyn Foulkes. Davis
has performed in a wide variety of music scenes in Baltimore
playing with the Baltimore Afrobeat Society, Devolution, Vattel
Cherry as well as in reggae groups, spoken word and poetry
As a New York City freelance percussionist for over
twenty years, Mr. Goldstein performed extensively with groups such as
the Orchestra of St. Lukes and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, as well as
chamber groups, Broadway shows and in nightclubs. Especially active in
contemporary music, he has premiered dozens of solo and chamber works,
many of which were written expressly for him. From 1980-1990 he served
as Artistic Director of the new-music group GAGEEGO. He has toured
with Steve Reich, played with Pauline Oliveros, and the ensemble
Continuum. He composed and performed percussion soundtracks for NBC
world series and US Tennis Open television documentaries. Mr Goldstein
currently performs and records with the new music ensemble Ruckus, and
the Hoffmann/Goldstein Duo, With which he has a concert tour of Italy
this November. He has published articles in Perspectives of New Music
and Percussive Notes. He has recorded on Neuma, Vanguard, Polydor,
Opus 1, O.O. Discs, CD Tech, Capstone and CRI. Mr. Goldstein is
Associate Professor of Music at University of Maryland, Baltimore
Rose Hammer is interested in a lot of things, particularly complex things that have some kind of underlying elegant but hard to grasp structure. That being said, she has so far been fairly involved in exploring the saxophone as an instrument in the contexts of classical, jazz, and free improvised music. She also has strong interests in computer programming and the outdoors.
bowed metal, electronics
Andrew Hayleck (b. 1972) composer/ musician and
recordist. For the past few years he has concentrated
on using unamplified bowed metal (cymbals and saw),
although recently he has begun to improvise using a
computer. Currently a member of Trockeneis, he
recently made a solo tour of the west coast of the
United States (playing the amplified gong/wire).
Recordings include: "Gong/Wire" (earlids), "Various
Recordings Involving Ice" (HereSee), and "The
Disappearing Floor" (Recorded).
facts and lies: born north of the equator. Eats only
raw foods. Retired from Michigan as a street performer doing situation
comedy. Now plays music as part of his social training workshops. Has a brain cyst that was inadvertently discovered during
MRI research. Builds and repairs pipe organs as a day job. Stockhausen
once called him up on the phone. He has 5 brothers, 2 sisters and a
step brother named Twig. He likes the sound of dogs growling. Lives in a very small
apartment with many huge objects. Builds garbage assemblages as a
night job. Past nicknames: Air Ghandi, Magic Gonzo, Death Dealer,
Throw a Chair, White Chocolate and Flip McShitter. Has worked for
Buick, and Audi designing cardboard filters. Once flew to Holland just
to check out the windmills. Caleb rules.
digital delay pedal
Bonnie Jones was born in South Korea in 1977 and until recently her
work has focused largely on text and performance. However, a recent
trip back to Korea introduced her to the digital delay pedal and
circuit bending. For the last year she has been collaborating with
Korean musicians, such as the duo Astronoise (Choi Joon-yong & Hong
Chul-ki), and expat Joe Foster. A very pleasant trip to Japan gave her
the chance to play with percussionist Toshi Makihara and saxophonist
Kenichi Matsumoto. Bonnie likes to imagine that she makes sound the
way she has always tried to make text - focusing intently on various
unique tensions within the space, meaning, and connectivity of the
things we use to make art. She also finds collaborative/collective
action the most useful thing to do with her time. In October after the
High Zero festival, Bonnie will join Joe Foster on a tour of the US
West Coast as the duet ENGLISH.
Sitar and Surbahar Artist, Jay Kishor (pronounced: "Jai Kee-Shore")
approaches the meditative and mystical Art of Indian Classical Music
more as a Poet than a Musician; treating the ancient Ragas with a
lyricism, depth, thoughtfulness and grace.
Though groomed in the traditional "master-disciple" training known in
Indian Classical Music from reknown masters like Mrs. Annapurna Devi,
Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra, and Dr. Raj Bhan Singh Thakursaheb, Jay is
constantly attempting to expand the definitions of "Raga" and "Sitar"
through his collaborations with legendary guitarists such as Stanley
Jordan, and the late Michael Hedges.
Jay Kishor is the also founder of "touchingGrace", a Sitar based
World Music group that combines the ancient and spiritual qualities of
Indian Classical Music with the structure of Western Classical, the
improvisation and complex rhythm of Jazz, the raw emotion of the
Blues, and the energy and verve of Rock.
"The RajDhani Quartet" is an Indian Classical Fusion Ensemble, also
created by Jay Kishor, that merges the diverse musics of North
(Hindustani) and South (Carnatik) India, while incorporating
Raga-based tonal harmonies and Western themes.
Yang Chin, Inventions
Clarinetist, instrument inventor, sound-sculptor, teacher--Melissa Moore is a powerful creative force in Baltimore who moved to the city several years ago after making contact with its experimental scene. A biologist and teacher of chemistry by day, Moore's gallery and performantive sound work involves the magnification of minute sound sources, focusing attention on the physical properties of materials and unusual acoustic phenomena in a reductive and elemental way, as well as working with such diverse sources as field recordings, fire, water, and air. She is involved in improvised music, her own conceptual compositions, and she is a frequent collaborator with other Baltimore musicians. Her work often has a laboratory quality that belies it's deep aesthetic and philosophical considerations... and lets not forget, some amazing sounds.
Michael Muniak graduated in 2005 from Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Neuroscience, earning both general and departmental honors. He has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and was named a Becker Family Fund Scholar for 2003-2004. For the past year he has been investigating the cochlear frequency map of the CBA/J mouse in the lab of Dr. David Ryugo, the results of which were presented at the ARO Midwinter Meeting this past February in New Orleans. He is currently wrapping up his 3-dimensional analysis of tonotopy in the cochlear nucleus of the mouse, which will be submitted for journal review. This fall, Michael will begin graduate studies in the Neuroscience Training Program at Johns Hopkins University in pursuit of his PhD.
Attacking drum heads, cymbals and wood with all manner of sticks and objects, Neidhardt is an amazing young improvisor whose music can range from thundering polyrhythms to subtle textual assaults from second to second, recalling the best of European free music drummers. With a background in rock, jazz, and 20th century music, he is a frequent collaborator of Audrey Chen, Chris Pumphrey, John Berndt, and many other musicians and rapidly becoming and important voice in Baltimore's musical landscape.
Do you like sounds that translate mental sandpaper under your brain and skull? Do you like a personality that shoots down shiny new stealth bombers via no brain fly zoner? Are you stuck in a self propagating feedback loop?? Loves cats and fresh raw salmon and weaved baskets and unintentional intent and bb guns and barbeques and touring around the world blowing minds. She has played and does this and released that and operates uh-huh. Love her or hate her-- fuck the middle grounds, all the way or no way. Can't take the heat shoot your self taking up air and room.