Linda Bouchard, artistic director

Binary City
François Houle + Zachary Watkins

Thursday, March 14, 2013, 7:30pm
Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street, San Francisco (map)

NEXMAP Collective Artist and clarinet virtuoso François Houle (Vancouver) performed solo and in duo with local experimentalist Zachary Watkins.

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NEXMAP presents Canadian clarinet virtuoso François Houle performing Aerials. This set of improvisations, developed by Houle during a five-week residency in Umbria, Italy, examines the way the clarinet “reacts” to acoustical spaces, coupling virtuosity with stunning lyricism. Houle will be joined in the second half by local composer-performer Zachary Watkins (NEXMAP Education Coordinator), who will contribute DIY feedback systems and live signal processing to create an ensemble out of this dynamic duet.

Solo Clarinet Improvisation
Clarinet/Electronics: François Houle

Aerials is a set of improvisations exploring the clarinet's uncharted territories. Developed during a five-week residency in Italy at the 15th century Castello Civitella Ranieri, the music is complex and seductive, taking the listener inside the instrument. Technically, this project taps deeply into the clarinettist's inclination for the unexpected, from disembodied clarinets played simultaneously to flute-like melodies. Examining the way the instrument “reacts” to various acoustical spaces, this program is virtuosity coupled with stunning lyricism.

Clarinetist François Houle has established himself as one of today’s most inventive musicians, in all of the diverse musical spheres he embraces: classical, jazz, new music, improvised music, and world music. Inspired by collaborations with the world’s top musical innovators, François has developed a unique improvisational language, virtuosic and rich with sonic embellishment and technical extensions. A sought after soloist and chamber musician, he has actively expanded the clarinet’s repertoire by commissioning some of today’s leading Canadian and international composers and premiering over one hundred new works.

Zachary James Watkins is a California based sound artist who has earned degrees in composition from The Cornish School and Mills College. Zachary has received commissions from Cornish, The Microscores Project, The Beam Foundation, Somnubutone, the sfSoundGroup and the Seattle Chamber Players. His 2006 composition Suite for String Quartet was awarded the Paul Merritt Henry Prize for Composition and has been performed as part of the 2nd Annual New Music Marathon in Seattle, WA the Labs 25th Anniversary Celebration and the Labor Sonor Series at Kule in Berlin, the later of which is released by the London new music label Confront. Zachary has presented works in numerous festivals across the United States, Mexico and Germany including the 2009 Klankunstfest, the 2006 International Computer Music Conference, the 10th Annual Music For People and Thingamajigs Festival and the second Biennial SJ01 Global Festival of Arts on the Edge. In 2007, Zachary premiered a new multi-media work entitled Country Western as part of the Meridian Gallery’s Composers in Performance Series that received grants from the AMC and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. An excerpt of this piece is published on a compilation album entitled “The Harmonic Series” along side Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Fullman and Charles Curtis. Zachary received a Subito Grant to assist in the production of the evening length composition: Movable, written for piano in just intonation and a newly invented piano extension called the “Piano Monster” built in collaboration with NYC artist Ranjit Bhatnagar. This work premiered on April 2nd 2010 by pianist Tiffany Lin at the Chapel Performance Space as part of the Wayward Music Series in Seattle, WA. His sound art work entitled Designed Obsolescence, "spoke as a metaphor for the breakdown of the dream of technology and the myth of our society’s permanence," review by Susan Noyes Platt in the Summer 05 issue of ARTLIES. Zachary has had artist in residence at both the Espy Foundation and Djerassi.

For more info please call 415-871-9992 or contact:

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