Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community


Mills College Littlefield Concert Hall

5000 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland CA   
The Mills College Music Department and the Center for Contemporary Music

Upcoming Events:
Saturday, October 10 2015 8:00 PM
Kala Ramnath
Grammy nominated for her album ‘Miles from India’, recognized as one of the fifty best instrumentalists of the world by the prestigious ‘Songlines’ Magazine, Album ‘Kala’ selected again by ‘Songlines’ magazine as one of the 50 best recordings of the world, the first Indian violinist to be featured in the violin Bible, ‘The Strad’, a solo essay in the ‘Encyclopedia – Rough Guide to World Music’ for her contributions in the field of violin in music, frequently featured in Hollywood soundtracks including the Oscar nominated “Blood Diamond” and many more such recognitions, Maestro Kala Ramnath with her ‘Singing Violin’ stands among the best instrumentalists of the world.

Born into a family of prodigious musical talent, which has given Indian music such violin legends as Prof. T.N. Krishnan and Dr. N. Rajam, Kala’s genius with the violin manifested itself during her childhood. Recognizing her innate talent, her astute grandfather, Vidwan A. Narayan Iyer took her under his tutelage. Thus began her journey on the road to astounding renown and acclaim worldwide.

She then went on to become a pre-eminent disciple of the legendary vocalist Pandit Jasraj. During this mentorship Kala revolutionized the violin technique and produced a sound so unique, evocative and akin to classical Indian vocal music that today her violin is called ‘The Singing Violin’.

Today a virtuoso of staggering proportions, Kala has performed at all the major music festivals in India, as well as the most prestigious stages throughout the world, including the Sydney Opera House, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall to name a few.

Kala is at the vanguard of the present generation of Indian instrumental super-stars. Due to her rigorous training in the classical tradition she comfortably forges musical alliances with artists of renown from different genres around the globe incorporating elements of Western Classical, Jazz, Flamenco and traditional African music into her rich and varied repertoire.

“…If Mozart had been transported to the South Asian subcontinent, this is what he and improvised Western classical music might have sounded like. This comparison is not thrown in to befuddle or impress. Kala Ramnath is a musician of giant like qualities…” Ken Hunt in the Jazz Wise magazine review of September 2004.

Kala is a sought after artist to work and experiment with orchestras like the London Symphony and London Philharmonic and world music legends like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Kai Eckhart, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Terry Bozzio, Abbos Kossimov, Ayrto Moriera, Giovanni Hidalgo and rock legend Ray Manzarek of the Doors to name a few.

‘Raga Afrika’, ‘Global Conversation’ and recently ‘Elements’ are all bands Kala has founded along with her fellow world music artists.

Along with being a stellar performer, Kala is also a sought after teacher. She regularly lectures and conducts workshops all around the world. A few worth mention here are the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music in Netherlands, University of Giessen in Germany and the Weill Institute in association with the Carnegie Hall in New York.

Kala has been bestowed the ‘A Top’ grade by India’s Radio and Television; one of the youngest artists to have achieved this honour. She is the recipient of many awards, most notable among them being the ‘Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sanman’, ‘Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar’ and the ‘Sur Ratna’.

Out of her several recordings best selling albums, Kala’ and ‘Samvad’ were ‘Top of the World’ in the charts for the year 2004, ‘Yashila’ for 2006 and ‘Samaya’ for 2008.

An established name in the world music scene, Kala today is keen to enrich the lives of under-privileged children through music in the form of her foundation, ‘Kalashree’.

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Saturday, October 17 2015 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2015 8:00 pm Littlefield Concert Hall


The trio of Barre Phillips (string bass), Jacques Demierre (piano) and Urs Leimbruger (saxophone) share a evening of improvised music with Dapplegray (Nava Dunkelman, percussion; Tara Sreekrishnan, piano; Jeanie-Aprille Tang, electronics).

80 years Barre Phillips / 15 years Trio Leimgruber-Demierre-Phillips

Urs Leimgruber saxophone
Jacques Demierre piano
Barre Phillips double bass

The choices Leimgruber, Demierre and Phillips make are everywhere unexpected and unexplained, but fit together as aural expression in the ambiguous area between imagination (a belief without experience to support it) and logic (a belief supported by experience). The materials they use may not be new, but they are reconsidered, recombined, reorganized in surprising ways. At its core, this is music of subtlety, understatement, nuance, concision. One of the trio’s choices seems to be to pay special attention to dynamics, so that the physical activity of producing a sound on one’s instrument may become the music it self–barely audible, but alive if attention is paid to it. In place of the typical melodic vocabulary, they speak in rattles, smears, broken notes, breath noises, pops, bites, growls, whistles, harmonics, isolated pitches, and extended (post-Webern) intervals. They erase lines, compress gestures, condense movement. A wonderful moment for a new aural adventure. Art Lange.

dap-ple-gray (d p l-gr )
adj. gray with an ill-defined mottling of a darker shade

Tara Sreekrishnan [piano]
Nava Dunkelman [percussion]
Jeanie-Aprille Tang [electroacoustic]

Dapplegray is Tara Sreekrishnan, Nava Dunkelman, and Jeanie Aprille Tang, an electroacoustic trio based in the Bay Area, focused in structured and free improvisation as well as film scoring. The three met in the Music Improvisation Ensemble at Mills College in 2011, studying under Rachel Condry and Fred Frith. They have collaborated with Pauchi Sasaki, Fred Frith, John Zorn, and William Winant among others. Their work has been featured in a wide variety of settings including independent film, music festivals, and performances across the Bay Area. Dapplegray explores the conversion of polar opposite sounds, unfolding stories, dreams, impressions, and delusions. They focus on the urgency of silence and chaos overcoming one another and create a musical space that shifts between dreaming and waking life.


For many years Urs Leimgruber has worked in the fields of Contemporary Improvisation, Jazz and New Music. For decades he has enriched and expanded the saxophone sound with new playing techniques. In solo concerts and with many different acclaimed groups he has toured in Europe, Canada, the United States and Cuba. Among his many concerts and recordings are those with Joëlle Léandre, Marilyn Crispell, Fritz Hauser, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Steve Lacy, Dorothea Schürch, Roger Turner, Thomas Lehn, Günter Müller, and many others. Together with Jacques Demierre he leads the group 6ix. In the seventies, he was cofounder of the Electricjazz-Freemusic group OM. His music is to be found on CD on HatArt, Unit, FOR 4 EARS Victo and LEO.

Jacques Demierre is a pianist, performer and composer. His musical and sound work develops in various directions : improvised music, contemporary music, sound poetry, and sound installation. His compositions and sound realisations are concerned with the activity of listening and with sound space. On the piano, Jacques Demierre has developed a unique operating style, never ceasing to redraw new sound topographies, making us forget the physical weight of the instrument.
He collaborates with many improvising musicians–Okkyung Lee, Thomas Lehn, Martial Solal, Radu Malfatti, Joëlle Léandre, Axel Dörner, Fritz Hauser, Sainkho Namtchylak, Urs Blöchlinger, Irene Schweizer, Hans Koch, Isabelle Duthoit, Brandon Labelle, Jason Kahn, Butch Morris, Carlos Zingaro, Gunter Müller, Jaap Blonk, Barry Guy, Lucas Niggli, Sylvie Courvoisier, Hann Bennink, Rhodri Davis, Martin Schütz, Paul Lovens, Dorothea Schürch, Phil Minton, and others. He regularly plays solo piano concerts, and works with Vincent Barras in the field of performance and language art.

Barre Phillips is simply the most fantastic bass player I’ve ever heard. He has a technique of a great classical musician and the feeling of a Mingus. As much a composer as a performer, Barre works in the areas of film, ballet, and theater. He has written music for numerous feature films–Robert Kramer, Jacques Rivette, William Friedkin, Marcel Camus and composed scores for ballet for Carolyn Carlson and the Paris Opera. At the same time he has continued his experiences in the jazz and contemporary improvised music scene. Barre has recorded over 175 records, 30 under his own name. His experience spans a wide range of musical styles, from Coleman Hawkins to Derek Bailey. His work in the 70‘s with John Surman and Stu Martin,“The Trio,“ became a model in itself, and influenced many younger musicians. He is in constant demand throughout Europe, North America and Japan as a soloist and teacher. Besides many other musicians he has collaborated with: Archie Shepp, Chick Corea, George Russel, Lee Konitz, Ralph Towner, Charlie Mariano, Michel Portal, Albert Mangelsdorf, Anthony Braxton, Jimmy Guiffre, Paul Bley, Evan Parker, Ornette Coleman, Leonard Bernstein, Terje Rypdal, Benny Golson, Pierre Favre, Cecil Taylor, Barry Guy, and many others.

Tara Sreekrishnan is a Bay Area-based pianist whose interests include performance and improvisation. She has studied piano with Belle Bullwinkle, Amonte Parsons, John Syzygy and Debbie Poryes and organ with Dr. Sandra Soderlund. Tara is an active member of the Music Teacher’s Association of California and she performs regularly in numerous venues around the Bay Area. She graduated from Mills College where she won the Flora Boyd Piano Performance Prize.

Nava Dunkelman is a Bay Area based percussionist and improviser. Born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in a multi-cultural environment by an American father and Indonesian mother, her musical interests span the globe from Japanese taiko to Indonesian gamelan to American marching band, and from classical to contemporary to the avant-garde. Nava studied percussion under Eugene Novotney at Humboldt State University before attending Mills College, where she studied with William Winant, Fred Frith, Maggi Payne, Zeena Parkins, and David Bernstein. Since graduating with a degree in music performance in 2013, she has performed and collaborated with William Winant, Fred Frith, John Zorn, Ikue Mori, George Lewis and many others. Nava has performed classical and contemporary pieces with the William Winant Percussion Group, inkBoat, The Luna Ensemble, San Francisco Girls Chorus, among others.
Nava enjoys discovering her own musical language by exploring experimental approaches to communication, progression and space.

Jeanie Aprille Tang is sound and light sculpture artist and electroacoustic composer. Her palette is a moving array of timbres with saturated transitions of stark polarities. With a background in behavioral science and electroacoustic synthesis, her sound is shaped by the notion of cross-modal synesthetic abstraction with the urgency of tension and release through spatial manipulation. Born in Hong Kong, Tang gravitates to rhythms of construction sites, roaming traffic, inaudible conversations, and airplanes. Upon her studies at Mills College in Music Composition with focus in Audio Engineering and Media Technology, studying under Maggi Payne and Fred Frith, Tang has been an active audio engineer, sound designer, composer, and performer. Her instruments and installations explore the relationship between resonance and luminance, utilizing electric circuits, triggered by deliberate pulsating fragments of light through glass. Her work has been presented as artist-in-residence at SoART Millstättersee, Carinthia, Austria in 2013, and Titanik Gallery, Turku, Finland in 2014. She has performed and collaborated with John Zorn, Fred Frith, and Ikue Mori among others at The Stone, as well as at The Wooster Group’s The Performing Garage in New York City.



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Friday, October 30 2015 8:00 PM

Sunday, November 15 2015 3:00 PM

Saturday, December 5 2015 8:00 PM