Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community



July 10-14
CCRMA Summer Workshop
Stanford University, CA

Electronic Arts Ensemble is designed for musicians, visual artists, programmers, designers, writers, dancers, actors, or artists of any discipline to collaboratively develop improvisatory performances using custom digital toolkits. 
The workshop will address topics including:
performance practices, with a focus on improvisation
music performance software (Max/MSP, Max4Live, Ableton Live, etc.)
video performance software (Jitter, Premiere Pro, After Effects, etc.)
hardware and sensors (Arduino, Kinect, MIDI controllers, etc.)
networked performance (OSC, JackTrip, etc.)

The schedule includes lectures, demos, discussions, and lab time. At the core of the workshop, daily group improvisations using customized toolkits will enable participants to develop a novel approach to their individual artistic practice. Participants are encouraged to experiment with the technology presented during the demos, and to engage with their peers in synergetic creation. The multidisciplinary ensemble will stage a public performance on the last day of the workshop.
Participants should either have an established artistic discipline, or have experience with programming and digital media. Both would be ideal, but not required. It is recommended that participants bring their own laptops and instruments, cameras, projectors, or other electronic gear.

About the instructors
Alex Chechile is an artist and composer whose work develops in parallel with research in neuroscience, psychoacoustics, and the biomechanics of hearing. His electroacoustic compositions and installations bring transparency to otherwise invisible processes in biology and technology. His work has been shown across the United States, Europe, and Asia. His projects have been supported by The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Harvestworks (NYC), Issue Project Room (NYC), the Experimental Television Center (NY), the Deep Listening Institute (NY), and the American Embassy. His work has been presented at MoMA, The 2011 New York Electronic Arts Festival, and SIGGRAPH San Diego. Alex performs in the SideLObe chamber laptop ensemble with Ge Wang, was a founding member of Pauline Oliveros' Tintinnabulate ensemble, collaborated with Mercury Rev, and opened for Primus. Chechile is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and holds an MFA in Electronic Art from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BA in Music from Tufts University.
Constantin Basica is a Romanian composer living in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose current work explores perceptual illusions in the context of audiovisual performance. His compositions include pieces for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra, and opera. In recent years, he has been composing multimedia works for acoustic instruments, electronics, and video, which have been performed in Europe and in the United States by artists such as Séverine Ballon, Tony Arnold, Elision Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Liminar, JACK Quartet, and Spektral Quartet. Constantin is the Alice Wilber Chapman graduate fellow at Stanford University, where he is working toward a D.M.A. in Composition. He received an M.A. degree in Multimedia Composition from the University of Music and Theater Hamburg, Germany, and two B.A. degrees in Composition and Conducting from the National University of Music Bucharest, Romania. As a teaching assistant at Stanford University, Constantin received the Chair’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015. He was also one of the lecturers at the 2016 Sound and Music Computing Conference and Summer School in Hamburg, Germany.


Thea Farhadian, Solo CD Release, for violin and interactive electronics, Tectonic Shifts, is out on Creative Sources Recordings. Click for more info.


German trumpet improviser Birgit Ulher visits the Bay Area and plays several shows starting 9/27.  Check the calendar for details.


Taylor Ho Bynum visits the Bay Area as part of his Acoustic Bicycle Tour. See the Calendar for shows.


Matt Ingalls has released a new version of the Transbay Calendar iPhone app which presents the BayImproviser/Transbay Calendar optimized for the iPhone. Please find it in the App Store: Transbay Calendar iPhone App

Pluribus Kickstarter Campaign

San Francisco based music and art collective RFCL (Radio Free Clear Light) recently launched a Kickstrter campaign for Pluribus, their collaborative multi-user electronic music making process. It’s a unique music making tool that they’ve developed to enable a new type of artistic collaboration. RFCL's approach asserts that music-making is for everyone, not just trained professionals. Pluribus allows people of different musical abilities and backgrounds to create completely unique and original music together, producing sound structures that can only arise from multiple individuals working in concert.

RFCL has been producing music, installations, and visual artwork together in various configurations since 1995. At the core of the group stands El Salvador native Juan Carlos Mendizabal. With a Bachelor's of Music in music composition and electronic music from San Francisco State University and years of experience working with the software development tool, MAX, he is uniquely qualified to champion Pluribus. Along with his creative partners Etanna Zak, Lydia Harari and Max Abelev, RFCL most recently participated in the Electronic Pacific Satellite Show at Root Division in conjunction with SOMarts with a their multimedia installation entitled Na-tu-ra.

The collective’s most recent project, Pluribus, focuses on the cooperative creation of sound via electronic medium. Throughout history individual instruments have typically been controlled by one individual human mind. Even in a band or tribe, each participant takes dominion over one instrument and adds it to the group’s sound. In this way music is often synergistic; one person plays the drum, another the guitar, and so on. But with Pluribus, RFCL strives to take this concept of collaboration a whole step further.

Using the advantages of current technology, they make it possible for multiple minds to control a single instrument- for a single sound or voice to emerge from the efforts of a group of people.

Normally, a solitary musician is making at least three decisions whenever they play. They decide which notes to hit, the tempo and rhythm of those notes, and how loud to play them. With Pluribus, these decisions are spread among a group of participants. One person can focus on controlling the volume, another can focus on the rhythm, while yet another focuses on the specific notes.

In addition to the three decisions normally made by a single person, a musician has the ability to translate their vision into music, which requires a certain amount of skill; skill which is earned through years of practice and study. As the decisions required to create music are split up, a person with considerably less learned skill is able to contribute meaningfully to a complex piece of music. The relation between the creative vision and its fulfillment is simplified and the doors are open for raw musical creation to emerge.

Right now Pluribus can separate the music into three distinct decisions, but the implications are wide open. RFCL is working on splitting the decisions even further into scales, meters, tuning, timbre, envelope- there are limitless possibilities. Having had a lot of initial success with Pluribus, the group wants to develop the software further. They hope to eventually release Pluribus so that other groups of people anywhere can participate in experimental music collaborations like those they've been doing. In the short term, however, they have launched the Kickstarter campaign to propel their research along this line and produce a brand new album from the music they create with Pluribus.

Their goal is to obtain enough pledge support to purchase some much needed new equipment. To build on what they’ve already constructed as well as expand on what they’re able to achieve, the collective needs two higher-end desktop computers, monitors and keyboards for expanding the musical elements they can control independently along with the number of people who can participate. They also intend to purchase two additional music 'controllers' and a new music software license from MAX, the programming platform they used to build Pluribus. In addition to the equipment, the Kickstarter campaign will also help cover the cost of manufacturing the new CD that will result from their experiments with Pluribus.

As the campaign progresses, RFCL has and will continue their work on Pluribus with the resources they currently have at their disposal. The results of this work are being posted on their Kickstarter page
Jack Wright, the "Johnny Appleseed of Free Improvisation", visits the Bay Area for a number of shows starting 1/26/2014. Check the calendar for dates.
The great Lithuanian percussionist Vladimir Tarasov visits the Bay Area. Check the calendar for dates.
Frank Gratowski visits the bay area from Berlin. See calendar for dates.
Rova Saxophone Quartet is now in residence at Center for New Music. The Center, located at 55 Taylor Street, is establishing a hub for the new music community, providing space to work, learn, rehearse and perform.
German saxophone virtuoso Frank Gratowski visits the Bar Area in June and July. See the calendar for events where he is playing.
The fourth annual Switchboard Music Festival happens on Sunday April 3rd. See the calendar listings for details.
British saxophonist John Butcher visits the bay area in March. See the calendar for details.
German reed virtuoso Frank Gratkowski plays a few Bay Area shows beginning June 27, 2010. See the calendar for details
Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani visits the Bay Area, playing several shows. See the calendar for dates and times.

First Fridays: Monthly at OPCM
[Oakland Public Conservatory of Music]


Open to all musicians who embrace the sounds and spirit of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy, Art Ensemble of Chicago, John Cage, India Cooke, Roscoe Mitchell, Eddie Gale, Albert Ayler, Elvin Jones and so many others.
Open also to vocalists, dancers, artists, photographers, poets, and others who want to join in/with the music.

Spring Dates: [All sessions 7:30 - 10:00 p.m.]
Friday, February 6, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009

Host: Bill Crossman, pianist & member OPCM Faculty

Musicians sign up for a 10-minute slot onstage and perform as they wish-solo, with their own ensemble, or by selecting other musicians in the room. After performing, musicians can sign up for more slots if time permits. A piano and trap drum kit will be available. Admission $5. (15 years & under free).

Oakland Public Conservatory of Music
1616 Franklin St Oakland (by 19th & Broadway BART)
510-836-4649 Wheelchair access

Bassist John Lindberg is in town this week.
German pianist GEORG GRAEWE visits the Bay Area the week of Nov 1
The work of Manfred Bleffert is known in the States through the delicate tones of his gongs, glockenspiel, cymbals and other percussion instruments. For the last thirty years, Manfred Bleffert has been working throughout Europe as a composer, musician, painter and sculptor.

For the first time Manfred will offer artistic courses in the United States in the summer of 2008. From July 28 to August 16, four courses will be held in Santa Rosa, California: a three-week Music Training and three one-week courses in Instrument Building, Painting and Sculpture, and Pedagogical Study through the Arts. This innovative artistic work will serve as a vehicle for developing new experiences of the world and one's own humanity. Through contemplative work, each participant will gain deeper insights into the processes and products of the arts. Each course will be a transformative experience!

Registration will begin in January 2008.

For more information see or contact:

Tim Allen
several notable visitors are playing in the bay area this week and next week:

Frank Gratowski, Eugene Chadbourne, Jerry Bryerton, Biggi Vinkeloe, Berglind Maria Tomasdottir, Kevin Blechdom, Katsura Yamauchi
October 2004 was a very busy month in the Bay Area creative music scene, featuring a number of out of town musicians, including Bryan Eubanks, William Parker and Hamid Drake, Frank Gratkowski, Serge Baghdassarians and Boris Baltschun, Saadet Turkoz, Sonny Simmons, Peter Brötzmann, Amelia Cuni, Christoph Irmer, Birgit Ulher, and Martin Blume.
From Germany, Birgit Ulher, trumpet and Martin Blume, drums play several gigs in the Bay Area, starting 10/21. See the calendar for details.
From Germany! Serge Baghdassarians (Guitar/Mixing Desk) + Boris Baltschun (Sampler) play a number of gigs in the bay area, starting Oct 7th. See calendar for details
German reed virtuoso Frank Gratkowski will be visiting the Bay Area October 6th through the 10th. See the calendar for performance details.
Austrian saxophone player Tanja Fiechtmair will be performing in the Bay Area in a series of performance on 7/13, 7/14, 7/18 and 7/20. Consult the bayimproviser calendar page for details
Italian multi-instrumentalist Jacopo Andreini will be performing in the Bay Area in a series of performances on 6/19, 6/20 and 7/8. See the Calendar listing on for details
Swiss drummer Lucas Niggli visits the Bay Area in performances in 6/26, 6/27 and 6/28.
Now available to play online:

Chris Brown & John Bischoff
"Eternal Network Music"
two real-time sound pieces for quartets of networked players

at either of these locations:

Walker Art

These pieces run in your browser on both PC and Mac, and require a one-time installation of Phil Burk's "JSyn" java plugin, which is easily installed through links at the site. Collaborate online with other players, or make an appointment through the online calendar.

See also Brown and Bischoff's article at the same Crossfade site "Indigenous to the Net: Early Network Music in the San Francisco Bay Area" for some historical background on the network music genre.
Prem Lall hosts a weekly radio show which can be heard on KUSF San Francisco, 90.3 FM, every Monday 6:00-9:00 AM PST. This multi-genre show features interesting music from around the globe. For more information, visit Prem's web site