Graphic for Live @ImprovLab: Susanna Hood Trio and Sarah Belle Reid. The poster features informative text over an orange background covered in polka dots and squiggles. Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30 PM (ET) @ ImprovLab. Panel Discussion at &:30PM, Concert at 8PM Live @ImprovLab

The Susanna Hood Trio and Sarah Belle Reid are set to launch the new series with a panel discussion and performance on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, starting at 7:30 PM (EDT).

March 21, 2024 (GUELPH, Ontario)—The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) is thrilled to welcome the Susanna Hood Trio and Sarah Belle Reid for an inspiring evening of music and movement at ImprovLab, IICSI’s new state-of-the-art research and performance facility on the University of Guelph campus—“the best sounding room in Guelph” (Bry Webb). Tickets are $15 or PWYC and available online through IICSI’s Eventbrite page. While tickets will be made available at the door, attendees are encouraged to reserve tickets ahead of time.

Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal-based bandleader and vocalist-dancer, Susanna Hood, along with the superb Tkaronto/Toronto-based musicians, Tania Gill (piano) and Kayla Milmine (soprano saxophone) bring poet Judith Malina and composer Steve Lacy’s 1995 “Packet” suite to life through sound and movement. These audacious new arrangements blur the lines between what is heard and what is seen. Heart-felt, yet unsentimental, these eight songs hold no punches as they bring voice to a woman’s later life, grappling with imperfection, sexism, paradox, grit, beauty, regret, invisibility, death, and love.

In Sarah Belle Reid’s improvisations and compositions, musical notation is often experimental and graphical—an invitation to explore a new sonic universe. This spirit for exploration has led her to collaborate with musicians and artists of all genres, including experimental electronic musician David Rosenboom, thereminist Carolina Eyck, and baroque-pop artist Julia Holter. Reid recorded trumpet and electronics on Holter’s 2019 record Aviary, and recently wrapped up an extensive tour throughout North America, Europe, and Australia as a member of her band. Reid’s own compositions have been premiered and performed by a number of renowned musicians, most recently pianist Vicki Ray and trumpeter Nate Wooley. In 2017 her composition “Flux” for amplified percussion quartet won the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet’s Next Wave Composer Initiative.

The double bill will be preceded by a panel discussion moderated by Marie Zimmerman in which the artists will contextualize the work they will be presenting, and share insights about the role that improvisation plays in what they do.

The event also marks the first show in IICSI’s new “Live @ImprovLab” concert and performance series that serves to showcase touring artists working in a variety of improvisatory idioms. Curated by IICSI Director Dr. Ajay Heble (Founder and former Artistic Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival and 2023 Killam Prize winner), the new series, says Heble,“aims to celebrate live improvised performances and to spotlight our beautiful new venue.”   

More about the artists:

Susanna Hood has devoted her career to synthesizing voice and movement, creating intimate, sensual and dynamic performances both in dance-theatre and improvised music contexts. Founder of her interdisciplinary performance company hum dansoundart (2000-2013) her work has been marked by significant collaborations with musical artists Nilan Perera (She’s Gone Away, Shudder), John Oswald (Spinvolver), and Scott Thomson (The Rent – Musique de Steve Lacy, The Muted Note – songs and dances setting the poetry of P.K. Page).

Recent creations (Music Is, 2016, and Impossibly Happy, 2019) have been driven by her own musical compositions arranging voices, instruments and movement. Other collaborations of note include Tortues Vapeur, a duo with Montreal turntablist, Martin Tétreault, mixing turntables, electronics, synthesizers, vocals and objects. (DAME’s Mikroclimat label, 2019); a duo with Belgian bassist, Peter Jacquemyn; and performances with the French trio Rrève Sélavy (Frédéric BBriet, double bass; Nicolas Pointard, drums; and Christophe Rocher, clarinettes). Unpacked, the first project with her trio with Toronto/Tkaronto musicians Tania Gill (piano) and Kayla Milmine (soprano saxophone), is a new arrangement and interpretation of the Packet suite by late American poet, Judith Malina and late American jazz composer, Steve Lacy. unPacked will be released as a recording in early 2024 on Quebec’s DAME label. Awards include the 1998 K.M. Hunter Emerging Artists Award in Dance, 2006 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance, and the 2008 Canada Council Victor Martin Lynch-Staunton Award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Dance. For more information, please follow this link to Susanna’s website.

Kayla Milmine loves the new and under-explored sonic possibilities that only the soprano saxophone can offer. Her unique approach has the edginess and brashness of Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell yet also a warmth and thoughtfulness reminiscent of Steve Lacy. In 2019, Milmine released a solo album called ‘Straight Horn Magick; a mixture of field recordings and solo soprano saxophone improvisations. She plays regularly in trio form with pianist Bill Gilliam and percussionist Ambrose Pottie, and in duo form with guitarist/composer Brian Abbott in their band FASTER. In February 2019, she was invited to record with celebrated bassist, William Parker in a chamber-improv sextet in NY, where she often travels to study with mentor/collaborator, Sam Newsome. She is presently composing for her new project, the ‘Kayla Milmine Quartet’ with aforementioned Sam Newsome, and drummers Mark Ferber and Rachel Housle. She is co-founder of the Women From Space Festival in Toronto.

Toronto-based pianist and composer Tania Gill has spent over twenty years cultivating a singular but polymorphous musical approach. She has developed a distinctive improvisational language in jazz and improvised music, playing in ensembles such as the Brodie West Quintet, Chris Banks Trio, The Titillators, See Through Trio and Rebecca Hennessy’s Makeshift Island. Her own group, the Tania Gill Quartet, comprises leading Canadian musicians Lina Allemano (trumpet), Rob Clutton (bass), and Nico Dann (drums). Their acclaimed disc Bolger Station (2010, Barnyard Records), was nominated for best debut album in the Village Voice jazz critics’ poll and was included among the Globe and Mail’s top ten albums of the year. The follow-up, Disappearing Curiosities, launched in 2022 and was included on best-of-2022 lists in the Wire. Gill’s unconventional versatility keeps her engaged in an eclectic array of styles. She was a member of Deep Dark United and the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, and is a regular collaborator to vocalist Fides Krucker, and singer-songwriter Kyp Harness. She has also shared the stage with Steve Reich, Man Forever, Gord Downie, Mary Margaret O’Hara, the Weather Station, Margaret Atwood, and Charles Spearin’s Happiness Project, and she has performed with dancers including Peggy Baker, Andrea Nann, Heidi Strauss and Laurence Lemieux. Tania is a supportive and dedicated educator and currently teaches at Humber College and the University of Toronto. Fore more information, please follow this link to Tania’s website.

Sarah Belle Reid is a performer-composer who plays trumpet, modular synthesizer, and an ever-growing collection of handcrafted electronic instruments. Her unique musical voice explores the intersections between contemporary classical music, experimental and interactive electronics, visual arts, noise music, and improvisation. Often praised for her ability to transport audience members through vivid sonic adventures, Reid’s sonic palette has been described as ranging from “graceful” and “danceable” all the way to “silk-falling-through-space,” and “pit-full-of-centipedes” (San Francisco Classical Voice).

Reid holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from California Institute of the Arts, with a research focus on the development of new electronic instruments and musical notation systems as interfaces for exploring temporal perception and co-creation. Her debut album for trumpet and interactive electronics, “Underneath and Sonder,” was released on pfMENTUM in October, 2019. In March 2024 she released a tape-music inspired electroacoustic record titled “MASS”, featuring trumpet, voice, electronics, and amplified objects, on Aurora Central Records.

In addition to her performance and compositional work, Reid runs an online music education company dedicated to teaching sound synthesis and electroacoustic composition to professional and hobbyist musicians. She has mentored thousands of musicians from around the world in her online programs, and is a frequent guest lecturer at notable institutions in the US and Canada including Stanford University, University of Victoria, California Institute of the Arts, New York University (NYU), among others. For more information, please follow this link to Sarah’s website.

For media inquiries, please contact Jordan Zalis at [email protected].


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