Sunday, October 30, 2016: 8 PM

Music for the Underworld

Tickets: $10 General, $8 Members
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Tickets also available at the door

Music for the Underworld

Susan Rawcliffe- Solos and Duos with Special Guests

Susan Rawcliffe- Space Whistles and Mystery Sounds

Pet the Tiger performing their ballet: Pahoehoe

Tom Nunn, David Samas, Bryan Day, Susan Rawcliffe

Jaroba/Corcoran/Bachmann/Samas performing live to:

Frankensien (1910) directed by J. Searle Dawley

Susan Rawcliffe, sculptor and scholar, creates and performs on ancient mezo-american style flutes and ocarinas, exploring diverse timbres, beating and near hallucinatory dissonances which she can sustain through circular breathing. She will play solos and duos with special guests and conduct a large ensemble piece with audience participation which explores the consciousness altering properties of certain difference tones and other exotic psychoacoustical phenomena. This performance marks the end of her two month long exhibition: Music in Clay, on display at the Window Gallery @ the Center for New Music throughout September and October which includes examples of these very unusual instruments.

Pa·ho·e·ho·e (noun, Hawiian) in Geology, basaltic lava forming smooth undulating or ropy masses.

Ballet (noun, French) in Music, a composition for dance characteristically divided into scenes and often narrative.

Pahoehoe is a ballet for butoh dancers performed by the invented instrument collective “Pet the Tiger” and composed by David Samas. The action follows a young Orpheus from the entrance to the underworld, down to the throne of Hades and back in a foolish attempt to reclaim his bride. The sounds evoke a deep green wood, the archetypal cave, a choir of evening insects, and the innocence of childhood lost. Instrument inventors Tom Nunn, Bryan Day and Susan Rawcliffe join David Samas in “Pet the Tiger” with their own unusual creations, playing long environmental textures. Dancers Ronie Baker and Christina Braun collaboratively choreographed this piece exploring themes of love, loss, death, devotion and failure.

Jaroba (sax and inventions), Kevin Corcoran (found objects and extended technique percussion), Jorge Bachmann (mod-synth) and David Samas (extended technique vocals) performing live to Frankensien (1910) Edison Studios classic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s most famous novel.


In 2011, a Cultural Exchange International grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles, enabled Susan Rawcliffe to play, measure & photograph over 300 prehispanic West-Mexican clay flutes from the Crossley-Holland Collection at the University of Wales, Bangor, UK. Past grants include several from the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; a McKnight Visiting Composer’s grant from the American Composers Forum; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Past performances include: on and off Broadway, NYC; the Los Angeles Theater Center; the Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Neon Art, LA; and international festivals such as the Edinburgh Arts Festival, Scotland; Pipeline, Berlin, Germany; AudioArts, Krakow, Poland; and Sound Art, St. John, Canada. Exhibitions include: the American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, CA; Yerba Buena, San Francisco; Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA; Winter Gardens, NYC; California Craft Museum, SF; the Renwick Gallery, Wash. DC; and P.S. #1, NYC. Lectures include: the Smithsonian, Washington DC; the Metropolitan Museum, NYC; the Wats:on Festival for Interdisciplinary Artists at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; the Acoustical Societies of America, Mexico & Iberoamerica; the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the International Study Group on Musical Archaeology, Germany.

Published works include both four scholarly musical archaeology articles on my research into prehispanic instruments, as well as many articles on my work as an artist creating & playing ceramic flutes, pipes, ocarinas, whistles, trumpets, didjeridus and sound sculptures.

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Pet the Tiger is an SF Bay Area inventors collective led by David Samas that plays in a wide variety of idioms exploring new timbral dimensions through extended techniques, new instruments and microtonality. Our music features specialized acoustic and physical phenomena like beating, interference, resultants, harmonic and inharmonic overtones and summation tones. 

Pet the Tiger includes core members of the Bay Area inventing scene like Tom Nunn, Bart Hopkin, Cheryl Leonard, Peter Whitehead, Bryan Day and Dan Gottwald along side local sonic pioneers of extended techniques. We also collaborate with Susan Rawcliffe, Bill Wesley, and the Cornelius Cardew Choir.

Works for dance have been collaboratively choreographed with Right Brain Performancelab (What Stays, 2013,14; Orbital Variations, 2014 and the Greenwood, 2012), Nameless Butoh (the 6th Extinction, 2015; Pahoehoe, 2015-16) , Illanio’s Deva Alpha, 2013; As I Lie Naked with burlesque legend Isis Starr, 2016; and King Tide with the Nina Haft Dance Co, 2016. Works for film include collaborations with members of Vaccum Tree Head, Amy X Neuberg, Brothers’ Quarrel (home coded instruments), and live scores for Frankenstien (1910) with Jorge Bachmann and Un Chein Andelou (1929). 

David Samas is a composer, curator, conceptual artist, instrument inventor, and social sculptor. A native San Franciscan from a mixed immigrant roots, David got his a BFA from the SF Art Institute in “new genres” (conceptual art) in 2000 and studied poetics at the New College of California. He Performed with the SF Boys Chorus, SF Opera and SF Symphony (receiving a GRAMMY, 1994). His paintings hang in the Di Rosa collection and showed at the Diego Rivera and Canessa Galleries. He has performed at the Exploritorium, Grace Cathedral, YBCA, Cal Shakes, CCRMA, and Center for New Music where he also curates the Window Gallery for Invented Instruments. He is artistic director of the Turquoise Yantra Grotto, a house concert series for free improv and ethno-modernism. He gives back to his communities by teaching inventing workshops through Thingamajigs (Oakland), where he is director of community outreach.

Tom Nunn has designed, built and performed with original musical instruments since 1976, having received a B.Mus. and M.A. in music composition from the University of Texas at Austin and S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook, and post-graduate work at U.C. San Diego. His instruments typically utilize commonly available materials, are sculptural in appearance, utilize contact microphones for amplification, and are designed specifically for improvisation with elements of ambiguity, unpredictability and nonlinearity. 

Bryan Day is a improviser, instrument inventor, illustrator and installation artist based in San Francisco, CA. His work involves combining elements of the natural and man-made world using field recordings, custom audio generation software and homemade instruments. Day’s work explores the parallels between the patterns and systems in nature to those in contemporary society. 

Lifelong dancer Christina Braun’s choreography with collaborating composers has been presented regularly since 2002. Her core teachers in the Butoh form are local treasures Hiroko and Koichi Tamano. As SF Butoh LAB and with BUTOH San Francisco, she has produced Butoh Dance symposia, performances, workshops, and festivals.

Ronnie Baker is an experimental performer, with a background in Butoh and Ballet.  He has been studying with Koichi and Hiroko Tamano for 15 years and has studied ballet with Monique Goldwater and ODC Dance for over 5. Since the early 1990’s he has blended mixed-media and interdisciplinary performance with circus arts in the US and Japan.

Jorge Bachmann, aka ruidobello, is a photo-based, multimedia and sound artist. He has collected field recordings exploring the strange, unique, and microcosmic sounds of everyday life. He creates sound atmospheres meant for deep listening and often composed in symbiosis with sculptural installations exploring social and sensual constructs and experiences.

Kevin Corcoran is a percussionist and field recordist with an open interest in sound as medium as it moves through contexts of art, music, ecology, and communication. 

As a drummer/percussionist he is most interested in techniques which extend the sonic possibilities of the instrument emphasizing textural sound, atonal sympathetic vibration, sustained tones without audible attack and the use of found objects.

Kevin grew up in Sacramento where he played in a variety of rock and free-jazz groups in addition to solo and collaborative free improvisation and continues these practices in his current city San Francisco. 

He holds a degree in Technocultural Studies from the University of California at Davis where he studied sonic arts with Bob Ostertag, Sam Nichols and Kriss Ravetto. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and in Japan and collaborated on several published recordings since 2002.

Jaroba aka James Robert Barnes musician / composer/ visual artist.  Has performed jazz blues 20th century and experimental music.  Jaroba has written music for Flatwater Shakespeare company.  And has been awarded by the Kennedy center for best original music for stage. Currently Jaroba has been exploring compositions with home made instruments, electronics and improvisation.