Dyadic Resonance: New Music by Zachary James Watkins

Friday, May 24, 2013 — 12:00 AM
Tickets: $15 General, $10 Members
Tickets available at the door only

My art investigates the rich area of resonance and is dependent on collaboration with practitioners in all disciplines. Works attempt to manipulate experiences and immerse the senses bringing to the fore natural phenomenon. I believe that sound can heal and that the conscious investigation of harmonic tunings, acoustic resonance as well as social relationships can yield powerful experiences. Therefore, sound works often begin with the exploration of pure interval relationships for resonant systems. These tunings investigate whole number pitch ratios known as just intonation. I create tunings based on desires to explore new harmonic territory, periodicity, composite waveforms, resonance and texture. It is my affinity for rich timbres that informs many aspects of my music. I explore the harmonic series, live electronics, site-specific resonant spaces and the spatial diffusion of sound to achieve rich, saturated environments. I prefer to work site specifically, observing the acoustic properties of a space and shaping new works around these perceived phenomenon.
I am presenting five works developed over the past two years that specifically explore duo vernacular. These small ensembles allow me to focus on intimate relationships between the musicians as well as the harmonic and formal sound material. I am becoming increasingly interested in manipulating simple dyadic harmonic relationships and uncovering rich resonances. Positively Right On is written for guitarists Ava Mendoza and John Shiurba, Treatments III, IV and V are written for some combination of violin played by Christina Stanley, contra bass played by Jason Hoopes and interactive square waves and lastly Black Spirituals an improvised setting featuring myself on electronics and percussionist Marshall Trammell.

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.
Christina Stanley is a bay area based violinist, composer and vocalist who holds an MFA in Music Performance and Literature from Mills College, where she studied violin with David Abel and composition and improvisation with Fred Frith and Roscoe Mitchell and won the Margaret Lyon prize for excellence in music. She also holds a BM from San Francisco State University where she received a full performance scholarship and studied violin with Daniel Kobialka, Jassen Toderov and the Alexander String Quartet. She is currently an active performing violinist, vocalist, improviser and composer, working as a solo artist as well as a member of various ensembles. She has been a featured performer for the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival at SF MOMA and has premiered works by Roscoe Mitchell under conductor Petr Kotik. Her original painted graphic scores were featured this year at the Outsound New Music Summit in San Francisco. She is passionate about working with living composers and composing new music.
Marshall Trammell is a multi-disciplinary, multi-instrumentalist applying his unique “Multi-Aesthetic Theory of Improvisation” in his idiosyncratic approaches to Creative Improvisation, percussion and drum set, solo and ensemble music projects, curatorial decisions, and his collaborations with grassroots social justice organizations in the Bay Area. Marshall is a co-founder of Mutual Aid Project, curator at Heavy Discipline, pioneered “Decolonizing the Imagination,” a political education arts practicum, and an apprentice in Afro-Cuban folkloric percussion.
Marshall performs regularly with Nick Obando and Tracy Hui of Mutual Aid Project, and has shared the stage with Roscoe Mitchell, India Cooke, Angela Wellman, Marco Eneidi, Philip Greenlief, Francis Wong, Joe MacPhee, Pauline Oliveros, Lisle Ellis, Eddie Gale, Byb Chanel Bibene, Zachary James Watkins, Chris Evans, David Boyce and many more lesser known musicians and dancers. Marshall is a recipient of the 2012 Emerging Arts Professionals Fellowship.Marshall Trammell
Jason Hoopes
Born on January 7, 1976.
Grew up in the mountains of the real Northern California (Humboldt/Trinity).
Began self-taught musical life at 15 after falling in love with Death-Metal, Beethoven, and Bach.
Mills College:
2008 MA – Composition
2010 MFA – Performance & Literature (Improvisation)
Ava Mendoza
My name is Ava Mendoza. I play guitars and stompboxes and write music. I have played guitar for most of my life and have been active for the last decade playing my own music and in many different groups, mainly based out of Oakland, CA where I live. In any context I try to bring expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music I play. I’ve toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with a broad spectrum of musicians including pop-folk band Tune-Yards, Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Massacre) singer Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista), Nels Cline (guitar hero of Wilco), members of ROVA saxophone quartet, members of Caroliner, and more. I like writing for dance, theater and film. I’ve played on recordings released by labels Weird Forest, Tzadik, Clean Feed, NotTwo, ugEXPLODE, Resipiscent, Tompkins Square, Bridge Records, Edgetone, Table and Chairs, and others. 

John Shiurba is a composer and guitarist whose musical pursuits include improvisation, art-rock, modern composition and noise. Shiurba has recorded and toured the U.S. and Europe as a member of the bands Eskimo, The Molecules and Spezza Rotto, as a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Anthony Braxton’s ensemble and the SFSound Group, and as an improvisor.
Shiurba has conducted the premieres of his compositions at ODC in 2005 (“Moon Cycle” for SFSound) at New Langton Arts in 2002 (“Triplicate”) and at SFAlt in 2002 (“5×5 1.4” for SFSound). Shiurba was invited to play at the Seattle Improvised Music Festival in 1998, at the High Zero Festival in Baltimore in 1999, at the SFAlt Festival in 2004 and at the Olympia Experimental Music Festival in 2002 and 2004, and at the Push International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver in 2007.
As a guitarist Shiurba has developed a unique and personalized approach to the guitar. Through the use of extended techniques and unusual preparations, he expands the traditional sound range of the instrument, producing stunning, often unrecognizable results. Cadence Magazine calls Shiurba a ‘wildly creative guitarist… anti-jazz, anti-everything else, yet utterly compelling.’