From the category archives:

Past Events

Presented by New Music Circle and The Luminary

Saturday, November 8, 2014
concert 7:30 PM, doors 7:00PM
The Luminary
2701 Cherokee St. 63118 (map)
  • Eli Keszler — drums
  • Rashad Becker — electronics
NYC based drummer and sound artist, Eli Keszler, engages in a frictional push-and-pull of percussive sound through instrumental means which are both traditional and experimental. His oeuvre is multi-faceted, consisting of musical scores informed by his print making/drawing practices as well as his construction of resonating piano wire installations (most recently an installation on the Manhattan Bridge commissioned by NPR Radio). His hyper-percussive improvisations are ripe with detailed and pointillistic attacks that build momentum to form frenzied sonic clusters, drawing inspiration from the spontaneity of Han Bennik’s percussion work as well as the harmonic density of Colin Nancorrow’s compositions. With full length albums on the vinyl-art label PAN and the legendary avant-garde jazz label ESP-Disk, Keszler’s releases have received “album of the year” awards from the Boston Globe and Wire Magazine. After studying composition with Anthony Coleman and Ran Blake, Eli Keslzer toured extensively, performing both solo as well as in collaboration with such diverse artists as Christian Wolff, Phill Niblock, Tony Conrad, Joe McPhee, Jandek, Roscoe Mitchell and Keith Fullerton Whitman.

Berlin electronic musician, Rashad Becker, utilizes real-time synthesis and sampling techniques that set into motion intricate sonic worlds that recall the complexities of human speech and various exotic aural phenomena, and warrant comparisons to the detailed sonics of pioneers like Tod Dockstader, and the GRM school of electronic music. Oscillating pitches conjoin, multiply and dissolve in unlikely configurations, creating a complex ecosystem of sound. Also, Becker’s work as a vinyl cutting and mastering engineer at Berlin’s Dubplates Mastering Studio (where he has overseen thousands of mastering jobs) has endowed him with a unique insider’s perspective on the practice and aesthetics of modern day electronic music and production.

After years of performing, Becker’s sole release came out on PAN in 2013, aptly titled Traditional Musics of Notional Species. Pitchfork described Becker’s LP as an album that “breathes in pointed, often hilarious detail. [Becker’s] sounds actually sound like things.”

Artist Residency (Nov 6th – 8th)
Eli Keszler and Rashad Becker will participate in a series of artist talks and workshops from November 6th to 8th in St. Louis. In these visits Eli and Rashad will discuss their art practices, techniques, and approaches to sound design, composition, and performance.

If you are interested in attending any of these talks please contact nmc.jeremy@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 6th:
1:00pm-1:45pm: Rashad Becker at Washington University’s Methods of Distribution class.
2:30pm – 7:00pm: Eli Keszler and Rashad Becker visit and workshop at Lindenwood University, Belleville.

Friday, November 7th:
10am – 11:00am: Eli Keszler at Washington University’s Art Theory class.

Saturday, November 8th:
10:30am – 12:00pm: Eli Keszler and Rashad Becker at St. Louis Art Museum’s Teen Arts Council class.

Buy tickets for Eli Keszler / Rashad Becker

Friday, September 12, 2014
concert 7:30 PM
doors 7:00PM
Joe’s Cafe
6014 Kingsbury Ave., 63122 (map)
(SW corner of Kingsbury and Des Peres)
  • Mary Halvorson — guitar
  • Michael Formanek — bass
  • Tomas Fujiwara — drums
Under the title Thumbscrew, three foremost voices of NYC’s new jazz scene have come together to explore the crossroads of improvisation and composition. Comprised of Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Thumbscrew functions as a vehicle to navigate both the modal complexities of jazz composition as well as the challenges of collective spontaneity. Thumbscrew’s sound originates from the interconnecting bonds its members have forged, playing in many and various formats over the years, such as composer/cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum’s large groups as well as Anthony Braxton’s experimental/compositional ensembles. Their 2014 self-titled release on Cunieform Records was described as “exploring open, undulating grooves through a frequent tightening and loosening of their interplay along serpentine lines” by Dusted Magazine.

Known for her unmistakable tone and approach to guitar playing, Mary Halvorson has been described by NPR Music as “A guitarist who sounds like no other, Halvorson can astound and confound, with craggy phrasing, strange pitch-bends and pedal effects galore”.

A definite inspiration for bassist Michael Formanek’s creativity and versatility would be the broad generational range of distinguished musicians with whom he has performed, from Stan Getz and Freddie Hubbard throughout the ‘70’s-‘80’s, to Tim Berne and Marty Ehrlich during the ‘90’s and beyond.

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara works with rhythm as a pliable substance, resulting in a versatility that allows him to be continually active in collaborations with many different emerging voices, such as Matana Roberts and Matt Mitchell.

Check out this interview with Mary Halvorson!

Buy tickets for Thumbscrew Trio

Ingrid Laubrock + Tom Rainey (duo)
Tyler Damon/Chris Trull/Kevin Harris (trio)
Nathan Cook (solo)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
concert 7:00 PM, doors 6:30PM
William A Kerr Foundation
21 O’Fallon St (map)
St. Louis, MO 63102
NMC will host a special community outreach event on the evening prior to this showcase — Please see below for information.
This year’s annual NMC Showcase concert will see three separate sets by local, regional, and touring musicians. Performances include: touring duo Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey, a collaborative trio of Tyler Damon/Kevin Harris/Chris Trull, and a solo performance by Nathan Cook.

Ingrid Laubrock / Tom Rainey (NYC)
German-born saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey are perhaps two of New York City’s most active jazz improvisers and sought after collaborators. Both may be found on any given night performing with names such as Anthony Braxton, William Parker or Mary Halvorson.

Performing last year in a NMC concert featuring pianist Kris Davis, Laubrock/Rainey will make a return to STL amidst a United States tour. Given Tom Rainey’s voluminous recording credits and the artistic caliber of the musicians with whom he has performed (Tim Berne, Craig Taborn, among others), he could easily be placed on the A-list of drummers closely identified with the New York City modern creative jazz scene, from the late ’80s onward. Ingrid Laubrock’s saxophone phrasings swiftly range from pensive melodiousness to the tough muscularity of free-jazz. She is at once capable of recalling the fierce tones of Albert Ayler and the spontaneous tonal sequences of Eric Dolphy.

Tyler Damon / Chris Trull / Kevin Harris (Bloomington, IN/ St. Louis)

Drummer Tyler Damon (Bloomington, Indiana) will also make a return to St. Louis after playing a concert last summer at the St. Louis Art Museum in a power-house trio with Darin Gray and Mars Williams. Tyler has been described by Darin Gray as “the up-and-coming young drummer in the midwest, and a voice that will be active for years to come.” This showcase will see Damon pairing with guitarist Chris Trull and electronic musician Kevin Harris. As a member of local experimental-rock groups such as Yowie and Grand Ulena, Chris Trull’s razor sharp guitar intonations employ unique tunings and scalings with mathematical dexterity. Whether curating this years sound-installation series at CAM, building elaborate audio/visual systems, or performing in countless collaborations and solo performances, Kevin Harris has remained a gem of the the St. Louis experimental community.

Nathan Cook (St. Louis)

St. Louis sound-artist and label proprietor Nathan Cook will round out this event with a performance combining electronic, acoustic, and playback sounds. Since arriving in St. Louis in 2008, Cook has become one of St. Louis’s most prolific artists on the underground experimental scene, consistently performing and collaborating with other artists, composing sound installations (as featured currently at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis) and releasing two volumes to date on his Close-Far label of cassette compilations that exclusively feature local experimental acts.

Plus, Free Workshop!

NMC will host a special community outreach event on the evening prior to this showcase. Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey will collaborate in two short improvised sets with a variety of St. Louis’s diverse music community, and partake in a Q+A session. Confirmed local names include Dave Stone (saxophone), Mabel Suen (guitar/saxophone), and Alex Cunningham (violin).
This event is free and takes place on Monday, May 19th from 7pm – 8:30pm at Blank Space (2847 Cherokee St. — map).

Friday, April 4th, 2014
concert 7:30 PM
doors 7:00 PM
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
3716 Washington Boulevard (map)
St. Louis, MO 63108
  • Claire Chase — flute
  • David Bowlin — violin
  • Kyle Armbrust — viola
  • Katinka Kleijn — cello
  • Randall Zigler — bass
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), described by the New York Times as “one of the most accomplished and adventurous groups in new music,” is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. ICE functions as performer, presenter, and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement. ICE redefines concert music as it brings together new work and new listeners in the 21st century. Since its founding in 2001, ICE has premiered over 500 compositions – the majority of these new works by emerging composers – in venues ranging from alternative spaces to concert halls around the world.

A 2012 MacArthur Fellow, Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, and arts entrepreneur. Over the past decade Chase has presented the world premieres of over 100 new works for flute, many of them tailor-made for her. In 2013 Chase released Density, for which The Washington Post praised her as “One of the most electrifying flutists on the planet.”

ICE presents a performance inspired by the current Pulitzer exhibition, Art of Its Own Making, which “explores the autonomous object as something simultaneously enduring and ephemeral, synchronic, and diachronic.” The performance will include the following works:

  • George Brecht, Flute Solo(1962)
  • Mario Diaz de Leon, Luciform (2012)
  • Nam June Paik, Dragging Suite
  • Ken Friedman, Explaining Fluxus(1986)
  • Ken Friedman, Cardmusic for Audience
  • Wolfgang Rihm, Verzeichnung-Studie, for viola, cello, and bass (1986)
  • Ben Vautier, Three Pieces for Audiences(1964)
  • Ben Vautier, Look (1964)
  • Emmett Williams, In Unison (1962)
  • Sofia Gubaidulina, String Trio, (1988)
  • Mieko Shiomi, Event of Midnight (1963)
  • Yoko Ono, Lighting Piece (1955)

Buy tickets for ICE International Contemporary Ensemble

Facebook event

This event is made possible by The Phoebe Dent Weil Charitable Foundation

A Special artist talk and Q+A with Claire Chase will take place at the Regional Arts Commission (6128 Delmar Blvd. 63112) on Thursday, April 3rd, from 6:30pm-7:30pm.
This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, February 22, 2014
7:30 PM
Joe’s Cafe
6014 Kingsbury Ave. (map)
(SW corner of Kingsbury and Des Peres)
St. Louis, MO 63112
Park on Des Peres Ave.
  • Josh Abrams — guimbri
  • Lisa Alvarado — harmonium
  • Frank Rosaly — drums
  • Emmett Kelly — electric guitar
  • Ben Boye — autoharp
  • Mikel Avery — drums
Bassist, composer, and collaborator Joshua Abrams has been an essential voice of Chicago’s vibrant music scene for the past fifteen years, playing and recording as leader and sideman in a wide range of projects and spanning all genres (Hamid Drake, Tortoise, Tony Conrad, Sam Prekop, Jandek, Craig Taborn, Bill Dixon, Kevin Drumm, Bonny “Prince” Billy).Abrams’s most recent project, Natural Information, represents yet another fascinating entry in his composing oeuvre, gathering aesthetic input from all over the globe and melding these influences into his own vivid personal statements. At the heart of Abrams’s sound here is the guimbri, a three-stringed animal hide bass, traditionally used by the Gnawa of North Africa in healing ceremonies. Combining quintet formats with adroit use of sampling techniques, Abrams creates intricate psychedelic environments that join the hypnotic character of Gnawa guimbri music with more contemporary musics and methodologies. Comparisons to “Brown Rice” era Don Cherry, Sandy Bull’s “Blend” recordings, and Can’s “Magic” albums are well drawn.

For more information on this concert, visit our Facebook page, or check out these articles:

St. Louis Jazz Notes Joshua Abrams Video Showcase
St. Louis Magazine Joshua Abrams interview

Order tickets online.

Olivia Block, Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder

Performing: Dissolution, solo piece for 4-channel electronic sound by Olivia Block Untitled, for dual 16mm projection and electronic sound by Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder, and Olivia Block. Friday, November 15, 2013 doors 7:00 PM, concert 8:00 PM Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 3750 Washington Boulevard St. Louis, MO 63108 Map Olivia Block (electronic sound) Sandra […]

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Two Special free events with Cooper-Moore

New Music Circle presents two special free events with Cooper-Moore on Thursday, October 24, 2013. (1) Northside Project Workshop with Cooper-Moore 5pm – 6pm at the Northside Workshop (in conjunction with Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group) 1306  Saint Louis Ave., 63106 (map) cost: FREE *Additional information: https://www.facebook.com/ONSLRG (2) Special performance by Cooper-Moore at Foam 7:30pm – 8:30pm at Foam […]

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William Parker: In Order To Survive Quintet

  Friday October 25, 2013 7:30 PM Mad Art Gallery 2727 S. 12th Street, St. Louis, MO 63118 map William Parker — bass Rob Brown — alto sax Lewis Barnes — trumpet Cooper-Moore — piano Hamid Drake — drums Bassist and renowned New York avant-garde jazz icon, William Parker, pursues music with a visionary approach, and […]

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Marty Ehrlich and the Rites Quartet

For our season opener we are pleased to present St. Louis native Marty Ehrlich and the Rites Quartet. Plus KWMU Jazz Unlimited’sDennis Owsley will host a talk and discussion with Marty (see below for details). Friday October 4, 2013 7:30 PM Kranzberg Arts Center 501 N. Grand St. Louis, MO map Marty Ehrlich — saxophone, […]

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Darin Gray, Mars Williams, Tyler Damon Trio

Special Outdoor Concert at the St. Louis Art Museum Friday, August 23, 2013 7:00 PM St. Louis Art Museum (near the St. Louis statue) 1 Fine Arts Drive St. Louis, MO 63110 Darin Gray — bass Mars Williams — sax Tyler Damon — drums

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