Upcoming Shows at Trinosophes

Harry Partch (c. 1969), from the cover of The ...
Harry Partch (c. 1969), from the cover of The World of Harry Partch (Columbia Masterworks LP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Detroit’s Trinospheres:

Friday, Oct. 18: Clem Fortuna presents a Microtonal Music Revue, featuring Jacob Barton and Andrew Heathwaite, plus the music of Clem Fortuna, Frank Pahl, Joel Peterson and Harry Partch

This concert features music written for unusual tuning systems that utilize microtones (pitches that are a smaller distance apart than the standard Western “half-step”). Headlining the show will be two preeminent microtonal composers, Jacob Barton and Andrew Heathwaite. Also featured will be new works and performances by Detroiters Clem Fortuna, Frank Pahl, Joel Peterson, Jennie Knaggs, as well as works by maverick microtonal composers such as Harry Partch (1901 – 1974) and Nicola Vicentino (1511 – 1575).

Almost all western music (and increasingly a lot of Eastern Music) conforms to a single tuning using only certain notes. While blues and jazz musicians sometimes slide between these tones, they are rarely treated as autonomous notes because we have been conditioned to considered them “out of tune”. Despite this, they have figured prominently in the music of the near and far east and Africa for centuries. A small number of Western composers and songwriters have investigated microtonal pitches, and have that besides being applicable to traditional musics, these “out of tune” notes can also open up endless musical worlds. However, playing them requires unlearning everything we know about music, and in some cases building whole new instruments or modifying existing instruments. This concert will include works played on refretted guitars, glass harmonica, voices, strings, pedal steel guitar, specially tuned piano, and the “udderbot”, a new wind instrument made from a glass bottle and a rubber glove.

Jacob Barton grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where his musical hunger led him to learn piano, saxophone, clarinet, bassoon, and musical saw. He studied composition at Rice University, where he received a BMI Student Composer Award for “Xenharmonic Variations on a Theme by Mozart”. His passion for instrument building led serendipitously to the collaborative invention and development of the udderbot, for which he is the chief advocate and only known virtuoso. Jacob has played the udderbot in traditional bands, children’s concerts, experimental music venues, theater productions, New York City subway stations, and humanitarian clowning missions in Ecuador.

Andrew Heathwaite is a performer, composer, teacher and student, whose work by his own characterization centers around compassionate creative skepticism, trivialization of power differences, and transformation of (at first invisible) constraints to provoke the new. “I no longer want to see microtonality slip under the radar into pop music without anyone noticing, just to be sold back to us by the greedy kings of copyright. That’s not good enough..” As a project of Oddmusic Urbana-Champaign, Andrew re-fretted a steel-string acoustic guitar to 22 tones per octave in 2009 and a mountain dulcimer to a 20-tone Just Intonation scale in simple overtone relationship in 2010. He also plays cümbüş, a fretless Turkish lute.

Saturday, Oct. 19: Chuck Johnson, Nick Schillace
Chuck Johnson is a composer and musician residing in Oakland, CA. He approaches his work with an ear towards finding faults and instabilities that might reveal latent beauty, with a focus on American Primitive guitar, experimental electronics, and minimalist composition. He will be performing at Trinosophes in support of his solo acoustic guitar LP Crows In The Basilica, released last May on Three Lobed Recordings.

Nick Schillace is well-known to Detroit music aficionados as a stellar solo guitarist/banjoist and member of such diverse groups as the folky Lac La Belle, Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, the experimental strings-driven Duo Unduo and Dixieland jazz ensemble Detroit Pleasure Society. Although he’s spent most of his recent musical energy on performing in his groups, this concert is part of a planned return to his solo instrumental material. Drawing on his time spent with all styles of banjo and traditional guitar, Schillace’s recent solo instrumental compositions draw on the elements of early 20th music.

$5-10 suggested donation.

Coming soon
Oct. 25: Opening reception for the solo exhibition “Limited Dictionary” by Radek Szlaga
Oct. 26: Disappears, Ritual Howls
Oct 30: VCVD (Frode Gjerstadt, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Stine Janvin Motland, Stale Liavik Solberg), Jason Stein/Tim Daisy Duo
Nov. 5: Eric Boeren Quartet
Nov. 15: Clay Rendering, Rebel Kind, Hydropark and more
Nov. 16: The Blackman’s Revue
Nov. 18: William Hooker
Dec. 7: Tatsuya Nakatani’s NGO