Short insights into a few of my improvisation projects
2019 / 2020:
Exploratorium, Annual International Symposium, February 2020
Since 2016 I have been part of Berlin’s exciting Exploratorium scene.
In 2016 I gave an invited keynote/performance there, presenting my “Soundweaving” book.
In 2020 my super colleague, improviser and instrument builder, Paul Stapleton, and I presented a feedback improvisation system in Berlin. Paul performed with his most recent custom-made electroacoustic instrument, the Volatile Assemblage (aka VOLA). This version of VOLA was specially adapted to intertwine with my alto saxophone. I used contact microphones and found objects inserted into the bell of the saxophone to turn my instrument into an organic feedback system which connected and disconnected with the VOLA. As a duo explored emergent musical structures created through networks of feedback (mechanical, acoustic, digital and social), seeking to extend collaborative music-making beyond the control of human agents through embracing chaos, contingency and uncertainty as rich resources for creative action.
Exploratorium, May 2019
I was fortunate to be in Berlin in May 2019, where a large collective of musicians, poets and movement artists came together for two days. Using the entire Exploratorium space (including the dusty cellar rooms and courtyards), we explored, through improvised sounds and movements, the architectural spaces at the famous Sarotti Höfe.
MINDING MUSIC :||: MAKING SOUND, Orgelpark, 2019
An invitation by Prof Hans Fidom to be part of an incredible line-up of improvising artists and educators, to teach students from across the world methods and practices of improvisation during a 2 week summer course.
Orgelpark Amsterdam, August 2019
I was delighted to receive a follow-on invitation to the incredible “Orgelpark” in Amsterdam, where I had given a masterclass/workshop as part of the August summer school (see post above).
Organist and Composer Jacob Lekkerkerker invited me to be part of his improvised ‘Cathedral mobile’ piece.
VR Music in Bern, October 2019
In 2019, my research team, “Performance without Barriers” was invited to present a keynote and concert at their incredible “Tabula Rasa” event. Mary Louise and myself demonstrated our custom designed VR instruments, playing an improvised piece on stage in Bern/Switzerland.
Female Laptop Orchestra @ SARC, 2018
November 2018: I hosted the Female Laptop Orchestra alongside several other women working in music technology. We had an exciting roundtable event, discussing topics such as ‘women role models’, ‘visibility of women’s work’, ‘mentoring’, and ‘global collaborations’… A concert followed at SARC where I had the chance to pioneer my new VR instrument, blending saxophone and the VR environment EXA Infinite Instrument.
Femme Fatale Frances-Marie Uitti @SARC, 2017
12 October 2017: The incredible Frances-Marie Uitti visited SARC. The Guardian newspaper wrote about Frances that she ” …is the world’s most influential avant-garde cellist.” They just forgot to say that she is a musician of immense power with a musicality that is simply awe inspiring. I am delighted to have played a short improvised piece, inspired by the graphics of Luciano Martinis.
‘sinenomine (2017)’ performed by F M Uitti and Franziska Schroeder (tenor saxophone). Here is the live track (with permission by both artists).
Interview and Workshop, 2017
Evan Parker visited the beautiful town in the north of Portugal, called Viseu. He led several improvisers across various deserted spaces and buildings and we recorded improvised materials. I was fortunate to lead a public debate on improvisation as creative practice afterwards. You can find the video and some great photos on the Publications Tab.
All this was part of the incredibly inspiring Portuguese Jardins Efémeros Festival.
This is a trio work, performed during the Concurrent#2: New configurations for improvising event in Edinburgh, January 2017. The work is entitled “Rebreather”
Re-Breather (Schroeder, Rawlinson, Etefaghi, 2017)
The work derives from the notion of breath, breathlessness and restriction.
We present an improvised piece held together by a framework that is informed by the idea of breath and breathlessness. Starting with the breathing sounds of the saxophonist – at first highly spare, subtle breath sounds that get pushed through the saxophone, exposing the resonances of the instrument and its materials – the saxophonist’s materials become the basis for the visual artist who uses these subtle sounds to inform and drive his response, tracing the gestures of the performer’s breath. Live processing of the breath sounds allows us to enhance, as well as to counter the performative materials through filtering, dispersal and accumulation.
The performers introduce a few objects which restrict the air column of the saxophonist, asking her to struggle for and with her breath. Physical engagement with these objects becomes part of the visual component for the work, where cameras transmit some of the performative engagement to the audience. The saxophonist’s struggle develops into a more animated part where the performer, using circular breathing techniques, continues to employ her breath in order to work herself towards physical exhaustion, which in turn serves as a trigger for the visual and sonic manipulations of the other artists. Realtime signal processing extends and augments the ecosystem of saxophonist, saxophone and the concert hall. Additional contractions, dilations and expansions occur inside of physical models of pipes and valves, exploring notions of slippage and seepage which both bridge and feedback into the saxophonist’s gestures.
An improvisation album on Bandcamp with ‘fluxtrio’ (myself on saxophones and objects, Lauren Sarah Hayes on hybrid analogue/digital electronics and Xenia Pestova on piano and objects)
Exploratorium, Berlin January 2016
Lecture-performance on my book “Soundweaving: writings on improvisation”
Kühlspot Berlin, 2016
with Pedro Rebelo (piano) and Tom Arthurs (trumpet)
METRIC EU NETWORK, 2016
Saxophone Quintet in the Chamber hall of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, on February 4th, 2016
With E. Neumann, P.Gotterbarm and K.de Jong in the Chamber hall of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, on February 5th, 2016
ImproChoir+Orchestra in the Chamber hall of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, on February 4th, 2016
MUSEUM CITY, 2015
Cidade Museu: an improvised performance with Pedro Rebelo and Ricardo Jacinto at the 2015 Jardins Efémeros Festival, Portugal.
There is a paper, published in Organised Sound on this work, “Museum City – Improvisation and the narratives of space”.
SOUNDWEAVING BOOK LAUNCH, 2014
Book Launch of my edited volume on improvisation, entitled “Soundweaving: Writings on improvisation” (Cambridge Publishers, 2014). Musicians and authors were distributed across several floors of Dublin’s Freemason’s Hall. The reading of improvised text snippets from the book and the improvised sounds of several musicians wove together stories of texts and sounds, while asking the audience to move freely between spaces.