Details of our Red Desert Artist Residency at Westminster College 2019/2020



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.


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.


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)

//SPRING 2020//

//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.

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 or Katie Porter, Red Desert Ensemble,


Ostrava Days 2019

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)





ELMS 2019

For the last 4 summers, I’ve spent a few days on Jennie Gottschalk’s stoop in Cambridge, talking to friends and musicians about the work we’re doing in experimental music.  It’s always really intense and important and I take our conversations with me through the rest of the year.  This time we played a concert that included some beautiful new works by Laura Cetilia, Nomi Epstein, and Ian Power, and a really fun piece for me by Jennie called Audience and Soloist that I played with drawings and noises and motions and feelings from the audience.  This is us – and Ian’s babe.  xo


And home to my babe(s)


VU3 and after VU

We hosted another terrific VU Symposium for experimental, electronic and improvised music at the Park City Library.  It was really special, with over 40 musicians presenting their work over 3 days – here are some pictures.

Afterwards Devin and I (Red Desert) performed a little “gift” concert for everyone as the sun was setting at our cabin – very loud pieces, Phill Niblock Ottavio for amplified gong, Alvin Lucier Snare drum and pure wave oscillator, and very quiet pieces: Michael Pisaro Within 6, Lucie Vitkova FIVE and Daniel Goode Long Distance.   Here’s a photo of me playing Lucie’s piece under the moon, snapped by Martha Muehleisen.



Interview in SLUG mag about VU3

Thank you SLUG for this great article on what we’re building with the VU Symposium!

“One definition of ‘symposium’ is simply a party with music and conversation. We like to think of the Vu Symposium in this sense of the word,” says Katie Porter, co-founder of the annual Vu Symposium, an open forum championing musicians who push the boundaries of sound and rhythm. “It’s not a conference and not a festival. It is about a free exchange of ideas between participants who engage in experimental, electronic or improvised music.” The third installment of the symposium, called Vu 3, takes place in Park City from July 10–12.

Upcoming Summer 2019 Shows & Projects

June 9, 2019 8PM, Wild Beast, CalArts, Valencia, CA.  FREE! Our Listen/Space Commissions book release concert on the Dogstar Orchestra 15 Festival.  Over the past five summers, we’ve commissioned over 35 new works for experimental chamber ensemble and brought players and composers to our remote Utah cabin to rehearse and record.  This last year Andre Cormier and I compiled the scores into 3 volumes.  I’m thrilled to perform at Dog Star again and celebrate this whole project!  We’ll premiere a new work for bass clarinet, bass and piano by Quentin Tolimieri and play 8 other works we’ve commissioned!

July 10-12, 2019 VU Symposium for experimental, electronic & improvised music at the Park City Library, Park City, Utah, all day, FREE!  This is the 3rd (almost) annual symposium I’ve organized, and there will be over 40 participants presenting papers, ideas, playing concerts and sharing work from all over the country!  I will be playing some clarinet at the after-party July 12, but otherwise, I’ll be running around organizing the whole thing!  It’s free and open to the public and epic, please come if you’re in Utah!

Aug 1, 2019 ELMS (Experimental Listening & Music Sessions) in Boston, MA.  I’ll be playing solos and collaborations with composers Ian Power, Colin Tucker, Laura Cetilia, Jennie Gottschalk, Adam Tinkle, and Nomi Epstein.

Aug 22-31, 2019 Ostrava Days, Ostrava, Czech Republic.  I’m soooo excited to play clarinet & bass clarinet in the orchestras at Ostrava Days this year.  I’ll be premiering at least 10 new works including a Christian Wolff premiere with the Ostrava Banda on Aug 26.


Listen/Space Commissions at DOGSTAR! JUNE 9, 2019

The Listen/Space Commissions



June 9, 2019, 8PM on the DOGSTAR Orchestra Festival at the WildBeast at CalArts

Selections from the mountains: five years after Listen/Space moved to a remote cabin in Wanship, UT and started commissioning new works for experimental chamber ensemble, we release 3 volumes of scores and recordings on Frog Peak.

Performers: Katie Porter, clarinet/bass clarinet; Quentin Tolimieri, piano; Stephen Pfeifer, bass; Phil Rodriguez, trumpet; Nathan Herrera, saxophone; Christine Tavolacci, flute; Eric KM Clark, violin; Devin Maxwell, conductor/percussion; Kristin Olson, oboe; Andrew Munsey, percussion; Erin Barnes, vibraphone

Quentin Tolimieri – Bass Clarinet, Piano, Bass (2019) PREMIERE for piano, bass clarinet and bass
Travis Just – Keep Your Eyes Open (2015)
G Douglas Barrett – Everything Has Been Purged from this Composition but Melody (2015)
Eric KM Clark – Kernal (2018)
Laura Steenberge – Ritual for 3 (2016)
Nathan Herrera –…

View original post 56 more words