On Thursday Sept 10, 2020 Red Desert Ensemble played a concert at the Summit Community Garden in Park City, Utah, a benefit for the garden’s COVID19 effort to provide fresh food to those in need in our community. We performed solo works by Teodora Stepancic, Daniel Goode, Tim Parkinson, Devin Maxwell and Iannis Xenakis. We also played Having Never Written A Note for Percussion by Jim Tenney with our audience. It was a little cold but very special to share music with people in real life.
Several installations and soundwalks were also placed around the garden, including text scores by Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Christian Wolff, David Dunn, a soundwalk a la Hildegard Westerkamp and several listening stations facing various vistas, a la Max Neuhaus. I wanted to curate a way to experience experimental music and sound in a safe and open way, an invitation to listen. You can read more about the project here: www.reddesertensemble.org/garden
Some nice projects are coming out of this time:
On May 27th, 2020 (7PM Istanbul/10AM Utah) I’ll be playing live with bassist Sebastian Gramss (Cologne), Jeremy Woodruff (Istanbul/Berlin), cellist Anil Eraslin (Istanbul) and the incredible BC Manjunath (Bangalore) for a zoom livestream through the Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, the first iteration of the International Online Orchestra. Here is the link
On June 6, 2020 (6PM PDT/7PM Utah) I’ll be performing in Daniel Corral’s Sextet for Similar Sounds as part of Culture Hub Re-Fest, a global art & technology community founded by SeoulArts & La MaMa. (POSTPONED)
9/10/2020 Red Desert Ensemble at the Summit Community Gardens, a benefit for the garden’s COVID 19 effort. We’ll perform works from the avant-garde outdoors, including multiple percussion with audience participation encouraged! BYO Dinner/Drinks, grab veggies from the garden! TICKETS
RECORDINGS & COLLABORATIONS
I’ll be working with composer Teodora Stepančić to record a new work for clarinet + synth. We were supposed to record together in NYC this summer, but instead we’ll record apart, in special places. This project is supported by a NYFA grant and includes new duos written for Teodora and myself, Lucie Vítková, Rachel Mangold and Erin Rogers. She says it will be a “journey through spaces” which sounds perfect.
I spent some time recording clarinet and bass clarinet parts for composer Brian Harnetty‘s new project based on the writings of the 20th c Cistercian monk and prolific writer from Kentucky, Thomas Merton.
And I recorded around 30 minutes of bass clarinet for Andy Graydon‘s A*Array, a sound and video installation, a collaboration of musicians across far distances, much like the international astronomy project connecting observatories around the world that the piece is based on.
I’m also excited to collaborate far and wide. The projects are just starting and we will see where they go- an ongoing bass clarinet duo with Lucio Capece in Berlin, a Cardew project with cellist Juho Laitinen in Helsinki, zooms with composer Daniel Goode in NYC to learn the rest of his beautiful Clarinet Songs, the beginnings of a collaboration with the sculptor Kelsey Harrison here in Utah, a duo by André Cormier with the London-based soprano and curator Juliet Frazer. Also! Devin Maxwell is writing an OPERA based on Hector running from Achilles in the Illiad, the score is for bass clarinet, string quartet and electronics, with four voices, and it looks like we will start workshopping it virtually this month. So glad for music.
Well, I hope you are all OK. We are OK.
New release on Love Records: on the first day of 2020 we played a new year’s concert at Teodora Stepančić and Assaf Gidron’s home in Brooklyn, NY. This is a selection of solo pieces for clarinet and snare drum recorded that day, part of a larger program. Works by Lucie Vítková, Johanna Beyer, Pauline Oliveros, Susanna Gartmayer and Tim Parkinson.
We didn’t expect our residency to end this way, but I don’t think anyone anticipated this moment where the whole world has seemingly stopped, and we all wait together (but not together) for a more hopeful future. It’s a strange and scary time and we are mostly enjoying holding our kids tight and slowing down time, today is guacamole, tomorrow some more legos. Things like that.
But also, in a week, we will play a LIVE show, from our living room. I’ve thought a lot about what works I want to present- thoughtful, quiet, patient works, maybe even playful. I’ve been spending time with Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit scores (- burn this book after you read it-) and will be realizing a work or two here in isolation- Imagine a thousand suns… make a tunafish sandwich- and another – Listen to a heart beat- . These works are really speaking to me right now, because they are basically how we are spending our days. I’ll also play a bass clarinet solo by Michelle Lou called Telegrams, another piece I feel is perfect for this moment, I tap out morse code with my foot on a rattling tin can in the bell of my bass clarinet, and play these beautiful soft soft soft multiphonics, in a near-dark room, just a small colorful light to accompany me. And I’ll play Scelsi’s MAKNONGAN for any bass instrument, a slow drone on a few low notes (with some screaming)- when I learned the piece in Italy with trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini, he told us to play like we were tearing down the walls of Jehrico, so that’s what I’ll do, also appropriate for this time. Devin will play a work we love, Alvin Lucier’s Music for Snare Drum, Pure Wave Oscillator, and One or More Reflective Surfaces . He’ll also play Pauline Oliveros’ Single Stroke Roll Meditation, which is just what it says it is, a meditation on a roll, just rolling on different surfaces and objects around our house.
Then we plan to play a brand new piece that Devin is writing, Bonneville Park 4, hopefully not taxing our crappy internet too badly to get Eric KM Clark and Christine Tavolacci beamed in from Los Angeles to play a quartet together. Fingers crossed.
Finally, we will re-visit Michael Pisaro’s Averer Local a 43 minute work in five movements for clarinet & percussion, with beautiful soft electronics and white noise. Pisaro hid this piece for us in a bottle of scotch, a wedding present, and the second duo ever written for us, back in 2002. We’ve only performed this piece once before, in late 2009 in Listen/Space Brooklyn, it was lovely then and somehow even more lovely now, it’s aged well. 🙂
All of this to say: Please come hang out with us virtually, in our living room, we’ll be playing a very quiet concert for you.
RED DESERT (Katie Porter, clarinets and Devin Maxwell, percussion/composer) Artists-in-Residence at the Florence J Gillmor School of Music, Westminster College play Yoko Ono, Giacinto Scelsi, Michelle Lou, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, Devin Maxwell and Michael Pisaro with guests Eric KM Clark, violin and Christine Tavolacci, flute.
April 13, 2020 7:30PM (mountain standard time) – livestream link below!
We’ve also been invited to perform live on Chicago’s EXPERIMENTAL SOUND STUDIOS The Quarantine Concerts, on April 19 at 2PM (MST) curated by Nomi Epstein, we’ll be playing a set of duos alongside other isolated artistic duos- Angharad Davies/Tim Parkinson and Cherlyn Hsing Hsin Pisaro-Liu/Michael Pisaro https://ess.org/the-quarantine-concerts
I imagine there will be more and more of these online projects. I thought it would be a difficult adjustment for me, I had tons and tons of travel planned, a summer in Europe, concerts in Iceland and Berlin, a record release show in NYC, BIG THINGS. Well, the world has different plans. We’ll do those plans later. For now, we’ll just stop being so productive and be thankful for our little family and this beautiful music. I sincerely hope you are all OK during this time and I miss you dearly.
A truly wonderful review by Connor Lockie about my playing and our whole set of new commissions for Red Desert: The Future Music. http://artistsofutah.org/15Bytes/index.php/red-desert-showcases-the-future-of-music-at-westminster-college/
“Future Music began with Teodora Stepančić’s solo clarinet piece “Clarinet No.6 (*Katie).” The piece’s stillness jarred the room into a stupor, with Porter balancing held tones and multiphonics across tightropes of sound and tense gaps of silence. Porter’s control of her tone and dynamics kickstarted the night with a breathtaking blend of technical awe and musical profundity. Each note hung in the air well after its release, outlining a single melody over the course of its runtime. This musical patience froze time, drawing listeners’ focus away from reflecting on what’s passed or anticipating what’s to come. Instead, each tone formed a moment unto itself, resonant and stately.”
November 10, 2019 6PM at The Black House, Montreal, Canada. I’ll play a solo 90 minute set of Michael Pisaro’s Within 6 with film from Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, and Soloist and Audience by Jennie Gottschalk, I’ll also premiere a new work by Kim Farris-Manning, and Kim will play new works for piano and voice, all alongside the art of Rachel Gray.
December 6, 2019 6-8PM UMOCA, SLC, Utah. I’m curating an evening of music at Kelsey Harrison’s Never An Hour For Thought sculpture intermedia at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Red Desert will play Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting In A Room, Carolyn Chen’s In 1839 it was considered elegant to take a tortoise out walking, Lucie Vitkova’s FIVE and AOUIE by Susanna Gartmayer and new works by Devin Maxwell and I for furniture, text, electronics, clarinets and snare drums.
Jan 1, 2020 4PM Brooklyn, NY. A new year’s day show on Teodora Stepancic’s 597 Concert Series. 90 mins of Michael Pisaro’s Within 6 with film/audio from Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, a RED DESERT set with music by Johanna Beyer, Devin Maxwell, Pauline Oliveros, Tim Parkinson and Lucie Vitkova. Tea and cake, and then new quartet by Assaf Gidron with Teodora Stepancic. Happy new year!! (email for address/info)
Feb 12, 2020 7PM BETALEVEL, Los Angeles, CA. I’m playing the Sun Tunnels 90 minutes of Michael Pisaro Within 6, live and with film/audio from the site.
Feb 15, 2020 7PM Los Angeles, CA. CLARINET QUINTETS at HUMAN RESOURCES- Katie Porter with the Koan Quartet play Jurg Frey Quintet (1998) and Morton Feldman Clarinet and String Quartet (1983).
Feb 25-28, 2020 Red Desert residency at Casper College in Casper, WY. We workshop and perform new bass clarinet and percussion works with Ron Coulter and percussion students for a concert Feb 27 at Casper College, Wheeler Concert Hall.
Feb 28, 2020 Red Desert at Glitter City in Denver, CO with Ryan Seward and New Topographics.
March 2, 2020 Red Desert at Westminster College. As part of our year-long artist residency at the Florence J Gillmor School of Music at Westminster College, we have commissioned several new works for clarinet and percussion duo. This concert includes world premieres by Andre Cormier, Carolyn Chen, Teodora Stepancic, Will Lang, Devin Maxwell, Katie Porter, Judith Berkson, and James Falzone.
March 16, 2020 bass clarinet solo by Manuela Meier on the Abravanel Composer Series. SLC, UT (POSTPONED)
I’M BACK AT THE SUN TUNNELS! I finally have a little bit of a video to share! Check it out: https://youtu.be/EIlJNQBobPk
Oct 5 1-4PM Solo Clarinet at the UMFA Sun Tunnels Meet-Up in Lucin, Utah
This Saturday I’ll be out at Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, jumping from tunnel to tunnel, playing Scelsi, Stockhausen, Jennie Gottschalk and a little John Cage, most likely. And Jennie will be there! The first of many road trips for the two of us, I hope! It’s a UMFA sponsored meet-up at the land artwork day, a good excuse to drive 4 hours into the desert and listen to clarinet works about the sun and the stars and infinity. Come out!!!! https://umfa.utah.edu/node/441
Oct 15 8PM Pop-up Concert with Will Lang, trombone and Red Desert
Art Program, Converse 311, Westminster College
NYC avant-garde trombonist, Will Lang, is bringing a solo set for trombone and electronics, and Red Desert is opening with a new piece by Devin Maxwell for bass clarinet, trombone and electronics! Join us!!! FREE!!! https://www.facebook.com/events/1301235686723322/
Oct 20 2PM Katie Porter: a snippet of my experimental clarinet at the Sun Tunnels installation, a 4 channel audio/video and live performance. 12 Minutes Max Series at the Salt Lake Public Library.
I am _finally_ presenting the Sun Tunnels in a concert environment, just 12 minutes of it (because that’s the theme of the series!). This project is still very much in progress. I will be performing alongside the film from my sessions out there last summer, just one movement of Within 6 by Michael Pisaro, during the most beautiful epic sunset as seen through the tunnels. https://events.slcpl.org/event/3124103
Oct 28 7:30PM Red Desert on the Chamber Music Series, Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, Westminster College
This is a _for real_ experimental music concert, one that NEVER happens in Utah, and I really hope, if you’re local, you’ll put it on your calendar, come bask in the sounds with us, and join us for a beer afterwards. We are starting off our Red Desert Artist Residency at Westminster College in a spectacular fashion, and really, truly, please come!!!
Red Desert- The Edge of Music – experimental music for clarinet, percussion, electronics (and the constellations!)
Karlheinz Stockhausen TIERKREIS Melodies (arranged for clarinet/percussion by Red Desert) 1975-77
Johannes Kreidler Fantasies of Downfall for vibraphone, audio and video playback 2015
Lucie Vitkova Choral no. 13 for clarinet/bass clarinet and vibraphone/percussion – commissioned by Red Desert 2017
Devin Maxwell Dissent 2 for clarinet and percussion – Premiere 2019
Iannis Xenakis Rebonds A for solo percussion 1989
James Tenney Monody for solo clarinet 1959
(these works will be performed simultaneously)
John Cage Atlas Eclipticalis Clarinet parts I, II, III 1961
John Cage Lecture on Nothing 1949
John Cage 27’10.554″ for a percussionist 1956
The Westminster College School of Music presents Artists-in-Residence the Red Desert Ensemble, clarinetist Katie Porter and composer/percussionist Devin Maxwell, with electronic and experimental music on the Chamber Music Series on October 28, 2019. The Artist Residency includes a series of workshops aimed at how music technology, music entrepreneurship and creativity can lead to a fantastic career in the arts with presentations by Ableton Live; workshops entitled You live in the now! Being an artist and musician in the 21st century, Failing Upwards: How we learn and grow when we fail, spring 2020 premiere commissions by composers Judith Berkson and Carolyn Chen, a Music Technology Pedagogy Summit featuring Dr. Linda Antas, and the 4th annual VU Symposium on experimental, electronic and improvised music.
Striving to create an open, accessible, and inclusive experience in music, Red Desert workshops and symposiums are free and open to all. All Westminster students, faculty, community members and local high school students in the arts and beyond are encouraged to attend, no music experience is required.
THE RED DESERT ENSEMBLE ARTIST RESIDENCY (Fall Semester)
FREE WORKSHOPS! (11AM-1PM Music Tech Lab, 2nd floor Jewett Center of Performing Arts)
Sept 13 You Live In The Now: Being a musician and artist in the 21st century.
Oct 4 Collaboration and Competition: How to get better at what you do and work with others in inspiring ways.
Nov 1 Experimental Music Workshop: Open to all/ no experience required/ art+ music
Nov 22 Failing Upwards: How we learn and grow when we fail.
Dec 13 Practicing Difficult Music and Music Entrepreneurship: When the hard work pays off.
MUSIC TECHNOLOGY EVENT!
Sept 25 (6:30PM-8:30PM, Vieve Gore Concert Hall) Free!
Music Technology! Ableton Live presents new techniques and creative strategies centered around Live, Push and Max for Live. Featuring presenter Mat Mateus.
Oct 15, 2019 (8PM, Westminster Art School – Converse 311)
Art School Pop-up concert featuring NYC trombonist Will Lang
Oct 28, 2019 (7:30PM, Vieve Gore Concert Hall) Chamber Music Series Concert:
Red Desert – The Edge of Music – experimental music for clarinet, percussion, electronics (and the constellations!)
Karlheinz Stockhausen TIERKREIS Melodies (arranged for clarinets and percussion by Red Desert) (1975-77)
Johannes Kreidler Fantasies of Downfall for vibraphone, audio and video playback (2015)
Lucie Vítková Choral no. 13 for clarinet/bass clarinet and vibraphone/percussion (Commissioned by Red Desert, 2017)
Devin Maxwell Dissent 2 for clarinet and percussion (Premiere 2019)
Iannis Xenakis Rebonds A for solo percussion (1989)
James Tenney Monody for solo clarinet (1959)
(these works will be performed simultaneously)
John Cage Atlas Eclipticalis Clarinet parts I, II, III (1961)
John Cage Lecture on Nothing (1949)
John Cage 27’10.554″ for a percussionist (1956)
//ALL-COMMISSIONS CONCERT March 2, 2020 (Commission Premieres by Carolyn Chen, Devin Maxwell, Judith Berkson, Andre Cormier, Teodora Stepancic)//
//MUSIC TECHNOLOGY PEDAGOGY SUMMIT March 7, 2020 (Presentations and papers by academics working in music technology and electronic music- best practices in teaching in the ever-evolving landscape of music tech) KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Linda Antas (Music Technology and Composition Montana State)//
//BIG RED DESERT CONCERT April 13, 2020 (Red Desert joins forces for big experimental and minimal music!!)//
//4th Annual VU Symposium on experimental, electronic and improvised music July dates TBA! Westminster College//
RED DESERT Ensemble is the duo project of clarinetist Katie Porter and composer/percussionist Devin Maxwell. We have been performing, commissioning, creating and championing interesting music for almost 17 years. After a decade in Brooklyn, NY and now a remote cabin in the mountains of Utah, our repertoire consists primarily of living composers, especially ones that strive to challenge and enrich our understanding of what music is and can be. Together we have been part of over 200 new and experimental music premieres, and personally commissioned over 40 new works for chamber ensemble. Katie regularly performs Devin Maxwell’s thirty minute behemoth for solo bass clarinet and electronics, Cloudseeding 4, recently at the Ponta do Sol Residency for instruments and electronics in Madeira, Portugal. Red Desert programs Morton Feldman’s Bass Clarinet and Percussion and other works written specifically for us by composers Lucie Vítková, Michael Pisaro and André Cormier, our recent two evening length concerts at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, were called “one of the most imaginative concerts of the year” ,“mezmerizing”, “engrosing” and highlighted as one of the top ten performances of the Utah enlightenment in 2018 by Les Roka of the Utah Review . In addition to our work as Red Desert, we host the yearly Listen/Space Commissions and the VU Symposium for experimental, improvised and electronic music in Park City, Utah. www.reddesertensemble.org
As artists-in-residence at Westminster College School of Music during the 2019/20 school year, Red Desert will be presenting three evening-length concerts, ten FREE workshops, an Ableton Live workshop, and a Music Technology Pedagogy Summit, and the VU Symposium utilizing our shared expertise in music entrepreneurship, digital music, experimental music, music technology, electro-acoustic composition, DIY spaces, forming ensembles, commissioning new works, contemporary techniques, and more to highlight how creative music can lead to amazing career paths in the arts and beyond.
More info? Contact Devin Maxwell, Director of Composition and Music Technology email@example.com or Katie Porter, Red Desert Ensemble, firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t say enough about my last 2 weeks at the Ostrava Days festival in the Czech Republic. But here it is: I played 10 Premieres, including Christian Wolff’s new Small Orchestra Piece where I played bass clarinet, another giant performance of Terry Riley’s In C, the premiere of Jeewon Kim’s gorgeous “Who Am I” which had a monster clarinet part with Studio Dan from Vienna, premiering Edgars Rubenis quiet microtonal beauty, several performances with Ostravska Banda, a site-specific work by Theo Finkel to end the 18 hour all night marathon, improv workshops with Thomas Buckner, hearing Alvin Curran and Frederic Rzewski play, so much great beer, super reunions with musicians Juho Laitinen, Jen Baker, Will Lang, James Ilgenfritz, Lucie Vitkova, JPA Falzone, Zach Layton, Conrad Harris, Chris Nappi, Liisa Hirsch, who else!! so many, hearing Devin Maxwell’s beautiful Cloudseeding 10 (the last in the series) for string quartet have it’s Czech premiere, a Feldman OPERA!, so many new friends and their new, awesome music, too many to list (Kimberley Farris-Manning, Bruno Ferrandis, Amin Sharifi, Judith Berkson, my rad clarinet colleagues that gifted me special Czech liquor), feeling the real strength of community and giving experimental music it’s weight in the world. (oh and having a nap on a boat in Prague under the Charles Bridge)