This rare convergence of world-renowned musicians from four continents features Garth Knox (viola), members of the 6 Tones (Nguyễn Thanh Thủy, đàn tranh, and guzheng; Stefan Östersjö, guitars), The Cuong Vu Trio (Cuong Vu, trumpet; Ted Poor, drums; Stomu Takeishi, bass), Bonnie Whiting (percussion), Richard Karpen (keyboards), and Juan Pampin (live electronics).
Garth Knox, viola
Garth Knox was born in Ireland and grew up in Scotland. Being the youngest of four children who all played string instruments, he was encouraged to take up the viola, and he quickly decided to make this his career. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Fredrick Riddle, where he won several prizes for viola and for chamber music. Thereafter he played with most of the leading groups in London in a mixture of all repertoires, from baroque to contemporary music.
In 1983 he was invited by Pierre Boulez to become a member of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, where he had the chance to do much solo playing (including concertos directed by Pierre Boulez) and chamber music, touring widely and playing in international festivals.
In 1990 Garth Knox joined the Arditti String Quartet, playing in all the major concert halls of the world, working closely with and giving first performances of pieces by most of today's leading composers including Ligeti, Kurtag, Berio, Xenakis, Lachenmann, Cage, Feldman and Stockhausen (the famous "Helicopter Quartet").
Since leaving the quartet in 1998, Garth Knox has given premieres by Henze (the Viola Sonata is dedicated to him), Ligeti, Schnittke, Ferneyhough, James Dillon, George Benjamin and many others. He also collaborates regularly in theatre and dance projects and has written and performed shows for children and young audiences. Improvisation is also an important part of his musical activity, and he has performed with George Lewis, Steve Lacy, Joel Léandre, Dominique Pifarély, Bruno Chevillon, Benat Achiary, Scanner and many others. He appears on the Frode Haltli CD Passing Images. In the past decade he has begun to write his own music, and is much in demand for theatre, dance and film scores as well as concert pieces and instrumental works.
Garth Knox has recently begun to explore the possibilities of the viola d'’amore in new music, with and without electronics, and is in the process of creating a new repertoire for this instrument. His CD D'Amore (EMI New Series 1925) features old and new music for the viola d'amore.
Garth Knox now lives in Paris playing recitals, concertos and chamber music concerts all over Europe, the USA and Japan. His solo CD with works from Ligeti, Dusapin, Berio, Kurtág and others (MO 782082) won the coveted Deutsche Schallplaten Preis in Germany.
Nguyễn Thanh Thủy, đàn tranh & guzheng
Stefan Östersjö, guitars
Born in 1967, Stefan Östersjö is one of the most prominent soloists within new music in Sweden. Since his debut CD (Swedish Grammy in 1997) he has recorded extensively and toured Europe, the US and Asia. His special fields of interest are the interaction with electronics, and experimental work with different kinds of stringed instruments other than the classical guitar. His great interest in chamber music has resulted in the founding of flute, viola and guitar-trio HOT 3 and collaboration with most chamber ensembles and important soloists in Scandinavia such as Jonny Axelsson, Geir Draugsvoll, KammarensembleN, Ensemble Gageego and Ensemble Ars Nova. He is continuously working with composers both in Sweden and abroad on the task of extending the repertory of solo works and chamber music with guitar. As a soloist he has cooperated with conductors such as Lothar Zagrosek, Peter Eötvös, Pierre André Valade, Mario Venzago, Andrew Manze, Franck Ollu and Tuomas Ollila. He has recorded extensively for the Swedish National Radio and also for Swedish TV as well as in many other countries.
Dr. Stefan Östersjö studied with Gunnar Spjuth and Prof Per-Olof Johnsson at the Malmö Academy of Music and also with Peder Riis and Magnus Andersson in Stockholm and Darmstadt. He holds a PhD in the performance of new music, his thesis SHUT UP ‘N’ PLAY! Negotiating the Musical Work is published by Lund University Press. He is at present engaged in artistic research on the performance of new music at the Malmö Academy of Music and as a research fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Gent, Belgium. He is frequently invited to give lectures and master classes at universities, festivals and academic conferences in Europe, the USA and Asia.
Cuong Vu, trumpet
Cuong Vu is widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians. A truly unique musical voice, Cuong has lent his trumpet playing to a wide range of artists such as Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, and David Bowie.
As a youngster, Cuong's intense dedication and love for music led him to a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with a distinction in performance. Transitioning from his studies in Boston, he moved to New York in 1994 and began his career actively leading various groups while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, Cuong has released eight recordings, each making critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years and has received rave reviews from notable publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, the Guardian, BBC Music Magazine, JazzTimes and Downbeat. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory as a trumpet player, blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic and sound world.
Awards and honors that Cuong has garnered include grants from the Royalty Research Foundation, the Donald E. Peterson Professorship, ArtistTrust, 4Culture, CityArts and the Colbert Award for Excellence. Cuong is currently associate professor and chair of Jazz Studies at the University of Washington and was awarded the University of Washington's prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award in his third year on faculty. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. He’s been recognized as one of the top 50 Jazz Artists in an article called “The New Masters” from the British magazine, “Classic CD” and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s “Come Play With Me” on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time.”
Ted Poor, drums
After graduating from the Eastman School of Music in 2003, drummer Ted Poor moved to New York City, where he has made a deep impression on the jazz and improvised music scene. Modern Drummer describes his playing as “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking.” Jazz Review writes, “Ted has an uncanny ability to shape the music and a refreshingly unique, organic approach to playing the drums.” This unique approach has caught the ears of many of jazz’s most established musicians and quickly placed him amongst those drummers most in demand.
Ted has toured the world over and is a regular member of many bands, including those of Grammy award winning trumpeter Cuong Vu, guitarist Ben Monder, Bad Touch, and the Respect Sextet. Ted’s most recent project as a leader is called Mt. Varnum. Formed in August of 2011, Mt. Varnum reconciles a life-long love of deep swing with an equally earnest adoration of classic and indie rock. The band’s forthcoming debut release “Wounded Caroline” is a powerful and complete manifestation of that union.
As an in-demand sideman, Ted has appeared on dozens of recordings and has shared the stage with many world renowned artists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Frisell, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Maria Schneider, Aaron Parks and Ralph Alessi. As a guest soloist and educator, Poor has held residencies at, among others, the Eastman School of Music, Berklee College of Music, Cal Arts, Lawrence University, the University of Oregon, and the HR Big Band of Frankfurt. He is currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Stomu Takeishi, bass
Stomu Takeishi (born 1964, in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese jazz bass player. He generally plays fretless five-string electric bass guitar, as well as a Klein five-string acoustic bass guitar. He often uses looping or other electronic techniques to enhance the sound of his instrument.
Takeishi began as a koto player. He came to the United States in 1983 to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. After completing his degree in 1986, he moved to Manhattan to continue his studies at The New School. He has lived in New York City ever since.
In the 1990s he began to achieve prominence as an innovative New York jazz bass player, and critics have noted both his adventurous playing and sensitivity to sound and timbre. He has played in many international jazz festivals and often performs at major venues in New York, the United States, and Europe.
He has performed and/or recorded with Don Cherry, Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Wynton Marsalis, Paul Motian, Myra Melford, Cuong Vu, Badal Roy, David Tronzo, Erik Friedlander, Satoko Fujii, Laszlo Gardony, Ahmad Mansour and Andy Laster.
In Downbeat's 57th Critics Poll in 2009, Stomu was the poll winner in the category of Electric Bass, Rising Star.
He has been performing all over Mexico with MOLE (Hernan Hecht at drums, Mark Aanderud at piano.)
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
Bonnie Whiting performs and commissions new experimental music for percussion. She seeks out projects involving non-traditional notation, interdisciplinary performance, improvisation, and the speaking percussionist.
Recent work includes a series of concerts at the John Cage Centennial Festival in Washington DC, and performance as a soloist in Tan Dun's Water Passion under the baton of the composer himself. In 2011, she joined red fish blue fish percussion group in premiering the staged version of George Crumb’s Winds of Destiny directed by Peter Sellars and featuring Dawn Upshaw for Ojai Festival.
Whiting has collaborated with many of today's leading new music groups, including eighth blackbird (the “Tune-in” festival at the Park Avenue Armory), the International Contemporary Ensemble (American premiere of James Dillon’s Nine Rivers at Miller Theatre, as an on-stage percussionist for Andriessen’s epic music theatre work De Materie), Bang on a Can (Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians for the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series) and Ensemble Dal Niente (the Fromm Concerts at Harvard.) During the summer, she is a member of the Walden Players, enesmble in residence at the Walden School in Dublin, NH.
She performs regularly with percussionist Allen Otte; they have presented concerts at The Stone in New York, The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, throughout New Zealand, and at colleges and universities around the country. Her debut album, featuring an original solo-simultaneous realization of John Cage’s 45’ for a speaker and 27’10.554” for a percussionist, will be released by Mode Records in 2015.
A dedicated arts educator, Bonnie spent three years with Tales & Scales, a quartet combining new music, dance, and theater for family audiences, giving over 400 performances in 25 states and appearing with the Dallas, Oregon, Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Louisville orchestras. She also helped to develop several experimental music programs in Southern California: The Children’s Universal Language Orchestra in Spring Valley as well as residencies at the Monarch School (for children affected by homelessness) and the inner-city Lincoln High School in San Diego.
She was a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland under the direction of Pierre Boulez, and has performed throughout Europe as well as Canada and Panama. Bonnie has worked with composers Jerome Kitzke, Randall Woolf, John Luther Adams, Michael Pisaro, and Frederic Rzewski, and she champions the music of her peers.
Bonnie attended Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin Conservatory (BM), University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM), and University of California San Diego (DMA.) She has served on the faculties of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the DePauw University School of Music, and as a lecturer at UC San Diego. She moves back to Seattle, WA to lead the percussion department at the University of Washington in the fall of 2016.
Richard Karpen, keyboards
Richard Karpen (born 1957, New York), is a composer and researcher in multiple areas of music and the arts. His compositions for traditional and experimental media are widely known, recorded, and performed internationally. Over the last 30 years he has also been one of the leaders in the development of computer applications for music composition, interactive performance and sonic arts. He has recently returned to the stage as a pianist.
Karpen has been the recipient of many awards, grants and prizes including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, the ASCAP Foundation, the Bourges Contest in France, and the Luigi Russolo Foundation in Italy. Fellowships and grants for work outside of the U.S. include a Fulbright to Italy, a residency at IRCAM in France, and a Leverhulme Visiting Fellowship to the United Kingdom. He received his doctorate in composition from Stanford University in 1989, and was associated with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He also studied composition with Gheorghe Costinescu and Charles Dodge. He has composed works for many prominent international performers and along with frequent concert performances his works have been set to dance by groups such as the Royal Danish Ballet and the Guandong Dance Company of China. Karpen’s compositions have been recorded on a variety of labels including Wergo, Centaur, Neuma, Le Chant du Monde, DIFFUSION i MeDIA, Fleur du Son, Capstone, and RareNoise.
Currently, Richard Karpen is serving as Director of the School of Music at the University of Washington where he is also a Professor of Music Composition. He previously served at the UW as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Arts and Sciences and as Founding Director of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS).
Juan Pampin, live electronics
Juan Pampin (b. Buenos Aires, 1967) is Associate Professor of composition at University of Washington and founding faculty member of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) for which he currently serves as Associate Director.
Pampin received an MA in Composition from Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, France and a DMA in Composition from Stanford University, where he studied with composer Jonathan Harvey. Juan Pampin's works explore the territory articulated by the concepts of space, memory, and material, using algorithmic composition and signal processing tools of his own development.
Juan Pampin's music compositions, including works for instrumental, digital, and mixed media, have been performed around the world by world-class soloists and ensembles. His work "On Space" –for percussion sextet and 3D electronic sounds– has been recently released on CD as part of Les Percussions de Strasbourg 50th anniversary historical edition box published by Universal France.