ANW 2010-2011

Greetings ANW friends!  As you know, we successfully concluded our 10th season and kicked off the summer in July with spectacular performances by Nels Cline Singers and On Fillmore.  While we're sad that another summer is almost gone, we're incredibly excited to announce the many creative music performances planned for our upcoming season!

If you've kept an eye on our website, as well as our Facebook,, Myspace, and Twitter pages, or if you've seen the fantastic ANW 2010-2011 events poster made by Norwegian noise artist Lasse Marhaug (pictured to the right and also viewable here), you'll know that we've been slowly updating the performance schedule over the past two months.  Featuring creative artists representing a wide cross-section of the rich tradition of, and new directions in, experimental and jazz music - from noise to new music, European improvised music to Free Jazz, solo performances to large ensembles, legendary to emerging artists - here is what Ars Nova Workshop has in store this season.

On September 6, we commence with the first ever Philadelphia performance by Austrian electronic artist Fennesz.  He very rarely tours North America, so we are very excited to host this highly influential pioneer of electronic, noise, and ambient music who has earned much-deserved praise from The New York Times and Pitchfork alike.  An opening performance on this night will be provided by Ian Fraser and Jesse Kudler, a Philadelphia-based improvisational duo.  Then, on September 27, Japan's Merzbow - one of the founders and innovators of noise music and Japan's most celebrated contemporary experimental artist - comes for yet another extremely rare North American appearance.  This special appearance by Merzbow will also feature a very rare solo set by Charles Cohen, a Philly-based artist who works with a vintage Buchla Music Easel.  Both of these performances will be held at International House.

This season we will be presenting many performances by jazz and free jazz pioneers.  On September 9th and 10th, pianist Dave Burrell will celebrate his 70th birthday with two back-to-back nights at Philadelphia Art Alliance.  For one night, this founder of North American free jazz will perform with William Parker, one of the top bassists in contemporary jazz music. On December 12, Mario Pavone's Orange Double Tenor will be performing the Philly debut of a recent work commissioned by Chamber Music America's 2009 Jazz Works entitled Arc Suite T/Pi T/Po.  Bassist and composer Pavone has been creating celebrated jazz music since his involvement in the 1970s New York loft scene and has worked with such as artists as Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, and Wadada Leo Smith.

ANW will also be presenting several emerging artists who represent the future of experimental music.  On November 4, New York City-based group Zs, who merge noise, free jazz, punk attitude, and contemporary classical musics, will bring their unique sound to Kung Fu Necktie.  On December 8, French-Norwegian quartet and ECM artists Dans les Arbres will be making their US debut at Philadelphia Art Alliance.  Inspired by the minimalism and robust notions of space articulated by composers like John Cage and Morton Feldman, this is one of the leading groups of the European experimental scene.  Then, on February 4, Acid Birds, an exciting trio fusing free jazz improvisation, noise and drone, and featuring Peeesseye member Jaime Fennelly, will bring their cathartic sounds to Philly.

On September 7, Sleepthief, a trio featuring Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, and Liam Noble whose 2008 debut recording wowed critics, will present their demanding and spontaneous music.  On October 28, the Michael Formanek Quartet will feature the all-star lineup of Formanek, Tim Berne, Craig Taborn, and Gerald Cleaver. The Quartet will release their debut album on the legendary ECM label the same month as this first ever Philly performance.  On November 5, two of the most innovative downtown composers, Jessica Pavone and John King, will present an evening of string quartet music with the Toomai Quartet and the Crucible Quartet, respectively.  On November 10, the Benjamin Hermann Quartet plays the music of Misha Mengelberg.  Herman has performed and recorded with renowned Dutch musician and composer Mengelberg (founder of the Instant Composers Pool in 1967), and he brings this critically acclaimed European quartet to perform these challenging and important works.  On December 2, drummer Gerald Cleaver and Michael Formanek will return to Philly with the Gerald Cleaver Group, a fairly new quintet that explores the broad and diverse tradition of jazz music.  All of these performances will be held at Philadelphia Art Alliance.

In an effort to give everyone an opportunity to experience these exciting performances, we are once again offering several free events this season held at The Rotunda in West Philadelphia.  On September 16, The Nu Band, which features four veteran players from jazz and free jazz scenes who have performed as a quartet since 2001, will present their unique brand of free bop.  On October 21st, we will host Andy Laster's Sounds of Cairo, an all-star quartet performing songs inspired by Egyptian composers of the 1920s.  On November 18, a new group led by percussionist Ches Smith called Ches Smith & These Arches will make their Philadelphia debut performing pieces from their upcoming album to be released in November on Skirl Records.  Then, critically acclaimed drummer Tomas Fujiwara brings his quintet Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up to West Philly with an opening performance by Ideal Bread, who explore the renowned saxophonist and composer Steve Lacy's diverse and influential body of work.

Finally, Ars Nova Workshop is excited to present two fantastic solo performances this season.  On September 26, guitarist Marc Ribot will be performing at International House.  For this concert, Ribot will present a live score to Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, which will be screened alongside his improvisational playing, celebrating his new solo record, Silent Movies.  Then, on October 15, pianist Matthew Shipp comes to Philadelphia Art Alliance for an intimate solo concert.  He has released numerous recordings under his own name, and has also worked in groups with Roscoe Mitchell, William Parker, David S. Ware, and many others.

With so many great artists representing the broad spectrum of jazz and experimental music, this will be one of Ars Nova Workshop's best seasons of live music so far.  Over the next several months we will be announcing even more performances that we will bring to Philadelphia!

Finally, don't forget to RSVP to these concerts on our Facebook and event pages.  Thanks again for your continued support and we'll see you soon!