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Concert: Us,Today, Colla Parte, Rest, Audrey Chen/Meg Rorison


Us, Today
Us, Today started as an organic experiment in sound. With the unique instrumentation of vibraphone, keyboard, guitar, and drums they set out to create music that defies genre. The group started with a chance meeting in 2010 at a coffee shop, and a discussion of a shared interest in St. Vincent. The three members, Kristin Agee, Joel Griggs, and Jeff Mellott, began weekly improvisation session, experimenting with their unique sonic possibilities. Improvisations turned into compositions. To date, Us, Today has released three albums. “RH Sessions” (2011), “Beneath the Floorboards” (2012) and “TENENEMIES” (2015). Each album shows a progression of the band, from a free improvisation background, to a more composed and polished sound. Since their 2015 release, Us, Today has had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Sylvan Esso, Kishi Bashi, Deerhoof, Ghost-Note, and the Mike Dillon Band. They have toured extensively through the midwest, and have played several festivals including Midpoint Music Festival (Cincinnati, OH) and Secret Stages (Birmingham, AL). Their anticipated 4th album “Computant” (2018) shows another step in their sonic progression, to a more unified, electronic sound.

Colla Parte
Drawing on traditions of jazz and contemporary art music, Colla Parte creates free chamber improvisation that moves from expressionistic intensity to reflective introversion and back again. The group is (in alphabetical order): Daniel Barbiero (double bass), Perry Conticchio (reeds), and Rich O’Meara (vibes and percussion).

Daniel Barbiero Daniel Barbiero (1958, New Haven CT) is a double bassist, sound artist and composer in the Washington DC area. He has released work under his own name and with such artists as electronic composer/bassist Cristiano Bocci; percussionist/electronics artist Massimo Discepoli, If, Bwana (Al Margolis); Ictus Records percussionist Andrea Centazzo; Blue Note recording artist Greg Osby and electronic composer/sound artist Steve Hilmy. His compositions have been performed by The Subtle Body Transmission Orchestra, the Greek ensemble 6daEXIt, the Lower Mid-Atlantic Improvisers’ Orchestra, and others; he has performed works by composers Makoto Nomura, Alexis Porfiriadis, Wilhelm Matthies, Silvia Corda and others, some of which he commissioned. In addition to purely musical projects he regularly collaborates with dancers and has contributed soundtracks to experimental films and videos. He writes regularly on music and other arts for Avant Music News, Arteidolia, Perfect Sound Forever, Percorsi Musicali and other online publications.

ἁρμονίη ἀφανὴς φανερῆς κρείττων
Saxophonist and composer Perry Conticchio has built his 35-year career using the singular jazz sounds of the 1960s as a point of departure. His formal studies were at Miami University of Ohio and Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with Joe Viola, John LaPorta and Charley Mariano. Moving to the Washington, DC area in 1976, Perry became an established figure in the "new" music scene. During this time he had the opportunity to perform with and learn from Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers and many others. From 1994-1998 Perry was co-leader of the successful jazz quartet "Clarity". Since then he has been leading his own quartet and contributing on projects with many area bands, including the Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra. Perry has performed at many Washington area cultural events and nightclubs including The DC Jazz Festival, The Smithsonian Folk-Life Festival, Johns-Hopkins Spring Fest, Blues Alley, One Step Down, Twin's Jazz, The 9:30 Club and too many others to mention. His first CD, simply titled "The Perry Conticchio Quartet", was recorded in 1999 and contains classic jazz as well as original songs that highlight Perry's unique improvisational style.

Rich O’Meara (b. 1957) is best known for his compositions for marimba that are performed throughout the world. His work has been featured on the NPR program “New Sounds”, the PBS documentary “The Music Instinct, Science and Song” and can be heard on the Audite, Cybele, Animato, Codamusic, and Koch Discover International record labels. He gave a master class and concert of his works at the Eighth International Festival of Percussion in Patagonia, Argentina and has received four ASCAP Plus awards.

Since 1999 he has been a member of Silent Orchestra; a collaboration with composer/ keyboardist Carlos Garza to develop and perform new scores for classic silent films. Recent performances include the Smithsonian Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Virginia Film Festival, the Savannah Film Festival and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Silent Orchestra scores for “Nosferatu” (1922) and “Salome” (1923) are available on DVD from Image Entertainment.

O’Meara has performed with Kwo’m Percussion, Sandbox Percussion, One Earth Percussion Theatre, the Contemporary Music Forum, the National Symphony, and as a soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Along with the members of So Percussion and his son, Kevin O’Meara, he has played with the Dan Deacon Ensemble and appears on Dan’s albums “Bromst” and “America”. As an active member of the improv/experimental scene in the DC area, he has played with Colla Parte, Trio O, Large Glass Bead Game and the Subtle Body Transmission Orchestra.

Rest is an improvisational musical group featuring a rotating cast of Baltimore musicians: April Camlin, Miles Clark, Alex Homan, Isabella Pittman, Lucas Rambo, Jordan Romero, Eric Rosario. Rhythm builds and disintegrates, meditations in cacophony, exploring and expanding. A particle is also a wave.

(voice and 16mm film projection)

The collaboration between Audrey Chen and Margaret Rorison works inside the intimate worlds of their maternal lines, as experienced through the myriad sounds of the human voice and 16mm film projection. Images and sounds captured in spaces brought together by their individual experiences of mother, daughter, granddaughter and how that affects their identities- and channels towards decision making, touch, habit, memory and language. 

MARGARET RORISON is a curator and filmmaker from Baltimore, Maryland. Her works often develop from explorations through rural and urban landscapes, combining language, sound and imagery to create installations, films and live 16mm projections. She is interested in the visceral nature of experience and the potentials of storytelling through the use of 16mm projection and sound, often sharing bills and collaborating with sound artists to explore new ways in which the image and machine can converse with sound and performance. 

Rorison is the recipient of a 2016 Rubys Artist Project Grants in media and performing arts, a recipient of The Maryland State Arts Council 2016 Individual Artist Awards and 2015 Sondheim Semi-finalist. She was awarded a 2015 Grit Fund Grant in addition to a 2012 and 2014 Launch Artists in Baltimore Grant to start a new experimental film series, Sight Unseen which has been running since 2012. 

Rorison's work has screened at Anthology Film Archives, Ann Arbor Film Festival, CROSSROADS, Edinburgh International Film Festival, FYLKINGEN (SE); Images Festival, The Maryland Film Festival, Mono No Aware VI & VII, Microscope Gallery & The Moscow Museum of Modern Art. 

She has projected her work in various improvisational settings, including, The High Zero Festival, Sonic Circuits Festival and The Philadelphia Free Form Festival.

AUDREY CHEN Abandoning the strict aesthetics of her otherwise “classical” training, Audrey Chen has developed a highly expressive, individual approach to voice and cello – with both instruments she uses various modes of experimentation that touch on the abstractly beautiful and the aggressively unsettling, at odds with her initial musical background. A variety of extended techniques are used, sometimes augmented with analogue electronics. Her powerfully dynamic approach to vocalizations is a key part of her tense and sometimes volatile performances, and in recent years focus has shifted further in this direction, with the voice becoming the primary component of her sonic capabilities.

Chen is Chinese-American, originally from the United States (Baltimore via NYC, New Hampshire and Chicago…), and currently resides in Berlin. She has appeared at numerous festivals and maintains a busy touring schedule, bringing her to events around the globe. Though a significant force as a solo artist, Audrey’s performances and recordings have seen her form part of numerous duos with such figures as Phil Minton, Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, Doron Sadja, Richard Scott, Maria Chavez and a collaborative project with German conceptual artist, John Bock.

David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet has described her work as "fascinating and gripping" and "possessing something extremely vital and vivid...."