May 2007

Rovaté 2007: Eye Music for Ears — MIX 2

Improv:21 — Bob Ostertag: Creative Life

Upcoming Concerts

RadiOM — Carla Kihlstedt

Favorite Street — Jon Raskin

Get Green — CD Recycling Center

Rovaté 2007: Eye Music for Ears – MIX 1 was presented in April, and Rova:Arts is poised to present MIX 2 in June. Between now and then Rova’s headed to LA to play the Jazz Bakery in Culver City on May 12. This is special since we don’t get to LA often enough, and it’s historically been a good connection with audience and musician friends whenever we make the trip.

We had a wonderful opportunity to play for about 200 seniors at USF last month. The Rova concert was presented by Dr. Joe Kaufman’s for his class, The Inward Eye, as part of the continuing education curriculum at the Fromm Institute. It was truly inspiring to play for such an enthusiastic and inquisitive audience of folks, most of whom were in their 80s.

Be sure to come to see Bob Ostertag at Improv:21 on May 25; check out some upcoming gigs by Rova members; and see what’s moving Raskin these days in his Favorite Street selections.

Rovaté 2007: Eye Music for Ears - Mix 2

Rovaté 2007 – Mix 1:
Raskin, Trayle, Jeanrenaud, Dresser perform Steve Adams’ #35
(score projected) – photo Amy Trachtenberg
In the last few years we’ve been exploring graphic scores in Rova. It’s been very interesting investigating the possibilities there, and checking out the history and resonances of the idea.

Note: Graphical music notation is characterized by non-traditional musical symbols arranged in a visual design rather than conventional musical syntax. Graphic notation emerged in the early twentieth century because of a growing feeling among some composers that traditional Western notation was inadequate for their musical ideas. See: Picture s of Music at the Block Museum

In the last few years we’ve been exploring graphic scores in Rova. It’s been very interesting investigating the possibilities there, and checking out the history and resonance of the idea. For Mix 2 Fred Frith, along with Steve Adams and Jon Raskin, will present new compositions realized with graphic notation. The pieces will be performed by Rova augmented by a trio of crack improvisers.

Eye Music for Ears - MIX 2

Mr. Frith
Sunday, June 10 at 8 pm
ODC Theatre
3153 17th Street at Shotwell Street
San Francisco

Rova – saxophones
Fred Frith – guitar, compositions
Devin Hoff - bass
Ches Smith - drums

ODC Theater Box Office
Hours: Wed-Sat 2-5pm
Tel - 415/863-9834
Tickets Online

Steve Adams cites the following as influences on his thinking about composing with graphic imagery:

Agon Orchestra: Graphic Scores and Concepts by Petr Kofron and Martin Smolka - This book with accompanying CD documents the graphic pieces that this Czech group has played and gives detailed explanations of how they developed their interpretations of scores that range from clarity to complete ambiguity. It’s a real eye and ear opener.

Kandinsky: Watercolors and other Works on Paper by Frank Whitford - Kandinsky has been a huge inspiration to both Jon and me. There are lots of good books covering his work but this one is of particular interest since I work largely in watercolor on my scores. His use of rhythm and form and his many ways of expanding a personal language never fail to excite.

The Splendor of Islamic Calligraphy by Abdelkebir Khatibi and Mohammed Sijelmassi - The idea of calligraphy connects to traditional music notation and has been a way for me to think about new notational possibilities. Islamic calligraphy has been developing in many surprising ways for centuries.

Brion Gysin: Tuning in to the Multimedia Age edited by José Férez Kuri - Gysin was a collaborator of William Burroughs and Steve Lacy and is probably best known as a writer. But he also had an equally interesting career as a visual artist, including a large series of paintings that are working from calligraphy. He took the idea to some unique and beautiful places.

Hans Richter: Activism, Modernism and the Avant-Garde edited by Stephen C. Foster - Richter did many things in his long career including, like Kandinsky, creating visual art that connected to music. I’m fascinated by the development and variation in his Constructivist pieces.


Produced by Rova:Arts, Improv:21 is an ongoing series of “informances” on twenty-first century music exploring the connections between composition and improvisation. San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum (SFPALM), in association with Other Minds , is pleased to co-sponsor the 2006-2007 season. The series is led by master improvisers and composers from the Bay Area and beyond. Hosted by Derk Richardson

Monday, May 25 - 7:00 pm

Bob Ostertag: Creative Life
Conversation and Performance

BOB OSTERTAG will discuss with you and host Derk Richardson the themes that have been the focus of all his work for 30 years: the intersection of art, politics, and technology. The conversation will touch on his disappointment with the direction of electronic music; his recent decision to put his catalog of recorded works in the public domain; his experiments with using technology to create new relationships between musicians. Over the last two decades, much of Ostertag's work has considered the tensions between machines and the human body in art, and has attempted to open a lens through which to view those tensions in society—tensions that are increasingly central to our time.

Composer, performer, historian, instrument builder, journalist, activist, kayak instructor Bob Ostertag's work cannot easily be summarized or pigeon-holed. He has published 21 CDs of music, two movies, two DVDs, and two books. His writings on contemporary politics have been published on every continent and in many languages. Electronic instruments of his own design are at the cutting edge of both music and video-performance technology.

All Improv:21 informances are at 7:00 pm and take place at:

San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum (SFPALM)
401 Van Ness Avenue (@ McAllister)
Veterans Building, 4th Floor
Directions to SFPALM

Admission is $10. Space is limited and paid reservations are recommended.
Call 415-255-4800 or purchase online at

Watch for details on future Improv:21 informances with:
Joan Jeanrenaud & Willie Winant and others.

Upcoming concerts

Raskin & Adams Sets
May 18 – 8 pm
3 sets in undetermined order:
Steve Adams/Damon Smith
Gianni Gebbia/Pamela Z

21 Grand
416 25th Street (near Broadway)
(510) 444-7263
Tickets prices are $8 - $15, sliding scale

May 20 — 7:30 pm

Bruce Ackley — solo saxophone
Ghost In The House
David Michalak
Karen Stackpole
Kyle Bruckman
Tom Nunn
(Bruce Ackley, probable vignettes)

116 9th Street @ Mission St.
San Francisco
The SIMM Series

May 23rd — 8 pm

Gianni Gebbia & Jon Raskin: saxes
Garth Powell & Kjell Nordesen: drums
Tim Perkis & Gino Robair: electronics
21 Grand (location and other details above)

May 25
19th Anniversary Concert of Moe!kestra
The Lab
2948 16th Street near Mission
San Francisco

Performing Pieces Nos. 1 & 9
Featuring a cast of dozens of musicians — a who's who of the Bay Area Improv scene.

Release of new Moe!kestra! CD: Two Rooms of Uranium Inside 83 Markers

June 7 - 8:30 pm
Jon Raskin Quartet
with Liz Allbee, George Cremaschi, Gino Robair

Also appearing:
Gogo Frightmaster
Aaron Bennet's band with Lisa Mezzacappa, John Finkbeiner and Vijay Anderson
The Darren Johnston Trio
with Ava mendoza and Lisa Mezzacappa

Starry Plough
3101 Shattuck Avenue

RadiOM — Carla Kihlstedt

Improv:21 Carla Kihlstedt=Liberating Limits

Watch an informance with Kihlstedt and Derk Richardson

On September 14, 2005, Derk Richardson interviewed singer/violinist/composer Carla Kihlstedt at The Thick House in San Francisco. Kihlstedt studied music at Oberlin where her interests expanded from the classical repertoire to more improvisational and avant-garde music. In 1997 she co-founded the group Tin Hat Trio with Rob Burger and Mark Orton, and has also played with 2 Foot Yard and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. In this interview she speaks about her influences and her improvising concepts in a far-reaching discussion including excerpts of rare recordings and audience Q+A.

View Run Time: 02:00:00


Favorite Street — Jon Raskin


Noisy People by Tim Perkis 

NOISY PEOPLE is a feature length video documentary (available on DVD) that opens a window into a tightly-knit group of unusual sound artists and musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area improvisational music community.

Filmmaker Tim Perkis, a well-respected player in the local experimental music scene, followed his subjects for a year, filming them in their homes and studios, rehearsals and performances. What emerges is a set of funny and lively portraits of some very creative and quirky people—and a portrait of a way of life outside the commercial musical mainstream of America.

They're not making a living at it, but these artists have pursued their work passionately and in the process have created a world-wide following and a supportive community at home. These are people, who, as composer John Shiurba put it, "aren't going somewhere, but who ARE somewhere."

FEATURING: George Cremaschi, Tom Djll, Greg Goodman, Phillip Greenlief, Cheryl Leonard, Dan Plonsey, Gino Robair, Damon Smith. Also appearing are dozens of other creative musicians, including Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith and Jack Wright.

BONUS MATERIAL on the DVD includes two short films about electronic sound artists K. Atchley and Laetitia Sonami, and the original theatrical and internet trailer.


Leroy Jenkins and the 20th Century

by George Lewis


Music scholar, composer and performer George Lewis marks the recent passing of his long time friend and associate, Leroy Jenkins, with reflections on late 20 th century innovations in music. Jenkins, along with Lewis and the entire AACM mounted an artistic revolution beginning in the 1960s, which still has resonnance in contemporary music.


Snow – by Orhan Pamuk

Ka, an exiled poet named, travels to a remote city named Kars as a reporter. He and the city become isolated due to a snow storm and the ensuing story weaves religion, romance, revolution around a poetic narrative.

Get Green − CD Recycling Center

Each year, billions of compact discs (CDs, CDr’s and DVDs) are produced, while millions of them are reaching our landfills and incinerators. Why are they not getting recycled? Because most people don’t know what to do with them! Please play your part in helping to save our environment by starting to recycle your old and unwanted discs today. It’s simple to set up your own compact disc recycling program in your home or office. Here’s how: you neatly collect them and send them to the CD Recycling Center. Click the link below for more information:

Till we see you in June…