In Memoriam of Lou Cohen: John Cage in The Park

OpenSound closed its 2017 concert series with a performance of John Cage’s “Variations III” in Seven Hills Park, in Davis Square.

Since 2005, OpenSound has been a home for Boston-based improvisers, sound artists, dancers, and creative thinkers, as well as for regional, national, and international touring artists. For many years its final concert was a performance of John Cage’s Variations III, curated by the series co-director, Lou Cohen, a student and colleague of Cage and Christian Wolff.

When Lou passed away in 2013, OpenSound organized several events in his memory, including an important concert and memorial including 100 musicians performing Variations III at the Somerville Armory. This event was powerful in bringing together members of Boston’s family, many of whom had since spread throughout the United States, and a wonderful expression of remembrance, support, and creativity.

Grizzles by Lou Cohen

Lou Cohen, born 1937, has composed music since age 11. He studied mathematics at MIT, and has studied music privately. Composition teachers include John Cage, Ernst Levy and Alan Kemler.

He studied harpsichord and early music performance practice with John Gibbons.

Performers:

Dirk Adams, Polly Hanson, Clara Kebabian, Jesse Kenas-Collins, Joshua Jefferson, Andrea Pensado, Melanie Hedlund, Jane Wang, Audrey Chen, Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, flandrew fleisenberg, lou bunk

From The Hat Trio = flandrew fleisenberg + Clara Kebabian + Joshua Jefferson

The trio performed at Mobius in Central Square under the auspices of OpenSound series….

From The Hat Duo = Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø + Jesse Kenas-Collins

Spending the past couple of years playing in improvised groups around Boston, Jesse Kenas-Collins has come to value both the sonic and social importance of such work. Improvising with others functions both as art and on some level as a form of group therapy. Exploring improvisation as a soloist is an even more fragile experience and one that Jesse has kept relatively private, focusing his solo efforts towards recordings and a handful of public performances. The opportunity to perform as a soloist here is quite a joy.

Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (born 1986 in Trondheim, Norway) is a trombonist working mostly within contemporary fields of music. Educated in improvised music and jazz from the music academies in Gothenburg (BA) and Oslo (MA), he is now based in the Norwegian capital.

Beam splitter = Audrey Chen + Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø

AUDREY CHEN is a Chinese-American musician who was born into a family of material scientists, doctors and engineers, outside of Chicago in 1976. Parting ways with the family convention, she turned to the cello at age 8 and voice at 11. After years of classical and conservatory training in both instruments, with a resulting specialization in early and new music, she parted ways again in 2003 to begin new negotiations with sound in order to discover a more individually honest aesthetic.

Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (born 1986 in Trondheim, Norway) is a trombonist working mostly within contemporary fields of music. Educated in improvised music and jazz from the music academies in Gothenburg (BA) and Oslo (MA), he is now based in the Norwegian capital.

flunk = flandrew fleisenberg + lou bunk

Gordon Marshall once said:

Marcel Duchamp: funny phony. flandrew fleisenberg: Einstein of drums.

fleisenberg is a player of objects. Drums only fall peripherally into his spectrum, while he is mostly fascinated in coaxing out the inherent material characters of “mundane things”.

These wide manipulations of external implements draw an aural architecture within the performance space as the embodied performer moves within it. Fleisenberg’s movement actions in combination with his material conjuring, creates a discourse inside of a constantly breathing tactile space.

fleisenberg plays percussion on an ever changing assortment of ephemera and modified drum parts coaxing texture and tone both familiar and bizarre. Attentive to room resonance, ambience and collaborator, Fleisenberg playfully utilizes gravity, friction, acoustics and presence to explore space, time, and relationships.

A graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) with a focus in conceptual art, he is musically self-taught and has developed a cadre of idiosyncratic techniques that are all his own. Flandrew has been involved in the free improvisation community since 2001 performing solo, in ad-hoc improv groupings, and in set projects in venues small and large across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

A resident of Philadelphia, Flandrew is active as the co-curator of the HOT Series, and the Director of the Impermanent Society.

Lou Bunk (b. 1972) is an American composer and improviser inspired by many forms of avant-garde artistic expression. His sonically rich and intricate music investigates sound and silence through extended instrumental techniques, microtones, amplified found objects, electronics, and generative approaches to texture and form.