VOCAL TRACTS Music at the intersection of sound, language, and yes, even bodily functions. Performances and perspectives by Bernhard Gal (Austria), id m theft able (Maine, USA), and Steve Parker (Philadelphia, USA).
@ Gershman Y, Borowsky Gallery
401 South Broad Street
Even in an age of massive technological advances, the power of spoken word remains an unparalleled means of communication. In the years of presidential elections, the rhetoric and speeches become an even more important part of the public conciseness. But how important are the words to their context and how fast can they loose their meaning? And how easily can they be given a new meaning? Or have no meaning at all and become just sounds? And when can sounds have more meaning than words?
This evening, Bowerbird features three very different artists whose work deals with the relationship between human sound production, speech and spoken word, and the way in which we as listeners are able to apply meaning to what we hear. This event will include a performance/lecture by Austrian sound artist and composer Bernhard Gal, a selection of compositions for trombone and prerecorded voice performed by Philadelphia based Steve Parker, and id m theft able’s (Maine, USA) raw and visceral experimentations in ‘mouth noise’.
BERNHARD GAL composer, laptop Austria
The Austrian artist, composer and musicologist Bernhard Gál has become internationally known as one of the most prolific sound artists of a younger generation. During the past ten years Gál has created around 50 sound installations and media art projects, combining sound, light, objects, spatial concepts and video projections into intense and often site-specific interdisciplinary art works. He also composes music for acoustic instruments and electro-acoustic music. As a (laptop) musician he has been performing live in around 150 concerts on four continents.
Born in Vienna, Austria in 1971, Gál began to nurture his interest in music and (sound) art around 1985. After studies at Vienna’s University of Music (Sound Engineering) and the University of Vienna (Musicology), and a year-long residency in New York City in 1997–98, he has focused on his compositional and artistic activities. He runs the record label Gromoga Records and is director of the Austrian art organization ‘sp ce’. Together with Ernst Reitermaier, he curates the Viennese Festival ‘Shut up and Listen!’. Currently, Gál lives as a freelance composer and artist in Vienna and Berlin where he also taught sound art at the University of Arts in 2006-07.
An important aspect of his work is the combination of music with other art forms, in solo projects as well as in collaborations, e.g. since 1997 with the Japanese architect Yumi Kori (‘audio-architectural installations’). As a (laptop) musician, Gál performs in solo concerts and has worked together with musicians such as Tung Chao-Ming, Kai Fagaschinski and Jennifer Walshe.
Gál's work has been presented in concerts, sound installations, exhibitions, and radio portraits in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He has been invited to international music and art festivals (including Wien Modern Vienna; MaerzMusik Berlin; Donaueschinger Musiktage; Nuova Consonanza Rome; MATA Festival New York; Mutek Montreal; Musicacoustica Beijing) and frequently gives lectures and workshops.
For his music and art projects Gál has received several awards, including the Karl Hofer Prize Berlin 2001, an Annual Grant from SKE-Fonds Vienna 2002, a composer fellowship from the DAAD Artists in Berlin Programme 2003, and the Austrian State Scholarship for Composition 2004. Bernhard Gál’s music has been made available on more than 25 audio publications. In 2005, the German publishing house Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg published the comprehensive catalogue book ‘Installations’, documenting Gál’s intermedia installations since 1999.
Trombonist Steve Parker is active as a soloist, chamber musician, and arts educator. In the field of contemporary music, he has been named a Fulbright Scholar by the US State Department to perform and commission works throughout Germany. Parker was awarded an ENCORE grant from the American Composers Forum to perform in the American premiere of David Lang’s MEN for solo trombone, ensemble and video at the Gene Siskel Center in Chicago. He has commissioned and premiered over a hundred works in America and Europe.
As a soloist, Parker was a prizewinner in the International Trombone Association Lewis Van Haney competition in Helsinki, Finland. He has soloed at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, BACKFABRICK in Berlin, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Roulette in New York, and the Bowerbird series in Philadelphia. He has been invited to present solo recitals at Oberlin Conservatory, the College Music Society at Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and College of Charleston in South Carolina.
As a chamber musician, he is cofounder of In Freundschaft, a duo with cellist Jason Calloway that specializes in the modern works of German and American composers. They are frequent performers on the Bowerbird series in Philadelphia and perform throughout the US and abroad. Parker is also a member of the New York-based 2nd Instrumental Unit Contemporary Ensemble and has soloed with the MAVerick Ensemble in Chicago.
As an orchestral musician, Parker has received fellowships with the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland to work with Pierre Boulez and Ensemble InterContemporain, the Spoleto Festival, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA, and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO. He has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Albany Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Monterrey Symphony, and Sarasota Opera.
Parker is active as an arts educator in Philadelphia where he is a Lead Teaching Artist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a Teaching Artist, he helps to provide inner-city schools with musical instruction, instruments and tickets to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts. He is currently working with filmmaker Danny Anker to implement a new music curriculum inspired by the documentary, Music from the Inside Out, throughout the Philadelphia Public School system.
Parker has a BM Oberlin Conservatory where he received the Dean’s Talent Award to study with Jim DeSano and Robin Eubanks and holds a BA from Oberlin College in Applied Mathematics. He has a MM from Rice University where he studied with David Waters and David Kirk. At the Musickhochschule Trossingen in Germany, he studied with Abbie Conant and Mike Svoboda.