Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium image of a painitng and text Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium 2019

Improvising Instruments

September 11-14, 2019
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

What role do uncommon or invented instruments play in music making and performance? Within the context of jazz and creative improvised music, there is a long and illustrious history of artists (Cecil Taylor, Fred Frith, Gerry Hemingway, Pauline Oliveros, Evan Parker, Meredith Monk, and many others) who play their instruments in unusual ways, using “extended techniques” to expand the range and scope of their sonic expression. Such an approach to musical improvisation allows musicians to expand on (or to unsettle) conventional roles associated with particular instruments, and to reject received norms governing performance practices with respect to pitch, timbre, harmony, rhythm, and technique. There is, in addition, a history of artists who’ve sought to integrate instruments and traditions from around the world into their practice. And improvising artists also notably make use of invented, or what curator Dieter Roelstraete calls, “purpose-built” instruments: When film composer Mark Korven felt that existing instruments weren’t able to produce the sounds of horror that he needed for his movies, he teamed up with guitar-maker Tony Duggan-Smith to make an original instrument, The Apprehension Engine. Artists such as the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Douglas R. Ewart, and the Creative Construction Company have breathed new life into everyday found objects by turning them into compelling sound sources. Others, including some artists who’ve been spotlighted over the years at the Guelph Jazz Festival, might be said to play uncommon instruments: instruments, that is, that are not typically associated with jazz. Still others (for example George Lewis, Matana Roberts, and Rob Mazurek) use technology itself as a core part of their creative practice. This year’s edition of the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium asks, What is generated from these new and alternative instruments, materials, methods, and practices? For the artists, for the audience? For the instruments themselves? What are the broader social implications of this form of experimentation? To what extent and in what ways do the tools with which we improvise provide new opportunities for revamping stereotypical approaches to sounding and to generating genuinely new toneworlds?

For the second year in a row, IICSI, is please to invite students and community members to join the Colloquium’s Emerging Scholars Program. This program offers a number of scholars (from all levels of study) an opportunity to participate in the program and engage with participants in the colloquium. For more details on this program, and to apply, please see the Emerging Scholars Call.

Presenter abstracts and bios are available online!

The Schedule

Wednesday, September 11th:

8:00 PM Colloquium Keynote
Nightingales in Berlin: Improvisation in the More-than-Human World
David Rothenberg (Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Music, Department of Humanities, New Jersey Institute of Technology)
@Arboretum CentreArboretum Centre, 200 Arboretum Road

Thursday, September 12th:  

9:30 – 10:30 AM Demonstration and Lecture
Different Drums: Unorthodox and Unusual Percussion Instruments
Jesse Stewart (School for Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University)
@Silence, 46 Essex St, Guelph, ON N1H 3K8

10:45 – 11:30 AM Artist Talk
Instr/Augmented Bodies: A Performative Artist Talk About Hybrid Bodies, Modes of Communication, and Modified Behaviours
Lee Blalock (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
@Silence, 46 Essex St, Guelph, ON N1H 3K8

12:00 – 1:00 PM Concert
David Rothenberg
@Silence, 46 Essex St, Guelph, ON N1H 3K8

4:30 – 6:00 PM Reception
@10C42 Carden Street, Guelph, ON N1H 3A2


Friday, September 13th:

9:30 – 10:15 AM Book Launch and Performance
Book Launch for Stories of Impact: Douglas R. Ewart’s Crepuscule (ed. Ajay Heble) and Voices Found: Free Jazz and Singing (Chris Tonelli), featuring a performance by Douglas R. Ewart and Chris Tonelli (Department of Arts, Culture, and Media, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
@Art Gallery of Guelph, 358 Gordon St, Guelph, ON N1G 1Y1

10:45-11:45 Workshop
Finding the Groove: A Workshop on Hip-hop Turntablism and Improvisation
Niel Scobie (PhD Candidate, University of Western Ontario) with Alyssa Woods (School of Fine Art and Music, University of Guelph)
@Art Gallery of Guelph, 358 Gordon St, Guelph, ON N1G 1Y1

12:00 – 1:00 PM CSA Noon Hour Concert
Eighth Street Orchestra
@Branion Plaza (by the UofG Library), University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1

 3:50 – 4:30 PM Artist Roundtable Talk Back
Susan Alcorn, chik white, & Ben Grossman (moderator)
@Royal City Church50 Quebec St, Guelph, ON N1H 2T4


Saturday, September 14th:

5:30 pm Artist Talk Back
Jen Shyu moderated by Chris Tonelli
@Cooperators Hall, River Run Centre, 35 Woolwich St, Guelph, ON N1H 3V1


 
UofG Cornerstone graphicThis colloquium gratefully acknowledges the Office of the Vice-President (Research), the College of Arts, the Ontario Agricultural College, the School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM), the School of English and Theatre Studies, the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), the Department of Philosophy, and the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute at the University of Guelph for their support.

 

 

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