Improvisation Summit of Portland Archive of Events

May 04, 2017

Improvisation Summit of Portland 2017

Featuring: Bobby Previte, Andrea Kleine, Lori Goldston, Sarah Hennies, Jonah Parzen-Johnson, Wobbly, and many, many more…..

Full Schedule and Bios on ISP 2017 site





Apr 29, 2015

Featuring Performances By:


Roscoe Mitchell

Jonah Parzen-Johnson

Jonathan Sielaff

Gordon Ashworth



Either Neither

Get Smashing Love Power

The Tenses

Arrington de Diyonsio

The Crenshaw

Matt Carlson

Carson / Rich Halley & Dan Raphael

Secret Drum Band



Luke Wyland

Mike Barber

Linda Austin

Jin Camou

Taka Yamamoto

Dawn Stoppiello

Kat Macmillan + Matt Hannafin

Dana Reason

Lee Elderton

Clark Spencer

John Savage

Catherine Lee

John Gross

Andre St. James

Tim Duroche

Exclusive Presentations:


Roscoe Mitchell’s “Nonaah” performed by Catherine Lee, John Savage and Dana Reason.


Mitchell’s “9-09-09” performed by Clark Spencer.


An ensemble conducted by Roscoe Mitchell including John Gross, Lee Elderton, Andre St. James, Tim Duroche, more.


Mitchell will present a lecture entitled “Nonaah: From Solo to Full Orchestra”.
Round Robin Improvised Duets (in collaboration with Search & Restore NYC): Twelve performers, many of whom have never played together, play a round robin series of five minute improvised duets.


The 4th annual Improvisational Summit of Portland brings together the best musicians, dancers and experimental performers in the city and combines them with a small group of visiting musicians, creating a unique event. This year we feature a number of unbelievable artists at the beautiful Disjecta contemporary art center in North Portland with contributions from all corners of Portland’s vibrant performing scene. Sponsored by KBOO 90.7 FM, KMHD 89.1 FM, Disjecta and Regional Arts And Culture Council. Supported by  Revival Drum Shop, Mississippi Records, Control Voltage, Beech Street Parlor, Map Room, Type Foundry, Penofin, Beacon Sound, North, Stereophonic Mastering, Por Que No?, PoShines, OLO, SDMPDX, Trade Up Music, Museum of Contemporary Craft and The Waypost.




Thursday, June 4
Doors at 7:00

8:15 – Mike Barber (movement), Brandon Conway (guitar), Ryan Stuewe (drums/electronics)
8:35 – Brumes
9:05 – Jonah Parzen Johnson
9:50 – Linda Austin (movement), Reed Wallsmith (sax).
10:15 – CATFISH
10:50 – Secret Drum Band

Friday, June 5
Doors at 7

7:30 – Eric Garcia (guitar), Dawn Stoppiello (movement)
7:45 – The Crenshaw
8:20 – Matt Hannafin (percussion), Kat Macmillan (movement)
8:45 – Matt Carlson
9:05 – Rich & Carson Halley w/ Dan Raphael
9:35 – Roscoe Mitchell’s Nonaah, 9-09-09 and “CARDS” In The Faces Of Roses performed by Clark Spencer, John Savage, Catherine Lee, Dana Reason, John Gross, Lee Elderton, Andre St. James, Tim DuRoche i
10:45 – Jin Camou (movement), Daniel Menche (electronics)
11:00 – Gordon Ashworth
11:30 – Improvised Round Robin Duets with: Holland Andrews (voice/clarinet), Mike Gamble (guitar), Farnell Newton (trumpet), Edna Vazquez (voice), Doug Theriault (electronics), Joe Cunningham (tenor sax), Dana Reason (piano), Luke Wyland (keyboards), Tim DuRoche (drums), Lars Campbell (trombone), Rich Halley (tenor sax), Reed Wallsmith (alto sax).

Saturday, June 6
Doors at 11:30

12 – Nonaah: From solo to full orchestra, a lecture & demonstration by Roscoe Mitchell
1:30 – Arrington de Dionyso
2:15 – The Tenses
3:00 – Panel Discussion moderated by Robert Ham
4:15 – Get Smashing Love Power
5:00 – Seth Nehil

5:30 – 7:30 – dinner break

7:30 – ALTO!
8:00 – Catherine Lee (oboe d’amore), Tere Mathern (movement)
8:20 – Either Neither: Whispers, Hymns, and a Murmur: music for improviser and string quartet by Wayne Horvitz
9:20 – FAXES
9:50 – Allie Hankins (movement), Caley Feeney
10:10 – Roscoe Mitchell solo
10:55 – Ruth Nelson (movement), Tim Ribner
11:10 – Jonathan Sielaff
11:25 – Taka Yamamoto (movement), Mary Sutton (piano)





Improvisation Summit of Portland 2015 Performers:

Roscoe Mitchell


One of the top saxophonists to come out of Chicago’s AACM movement of the mid-’60s, Roscoe Mitchell is a particularly strong and consistently adventurous improviser long associated with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. After getting out of the military, Mitchell led a hard bop sextet in Chicago (1961) which gradually became much freer.


He was a member of Muhal Richard Abrams’s Experimental Band and a founding member of the AACM in 1965. Mitchell’s monumental Sound album (1966) introduced a new way of freely improvising, utilizing silence as well as high energy and “little instruments” as well as conventional horns. Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors were on that date and Mitchell’s 1967 follow-up Old/Quartet.


With the addition of Joseph Jarman and Philip Wilson (who was later succeeded by Famoudou Don Moye), the Art Ensemble of Chicago was born. The colorful unit was one of the most popular groups in the jazz avant-garde and Mitchell was an integral part of the band. Roscoe Mitchell (who, in addition to his main horns, plays clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe, baritone and bass saxophones) also was involved in individual projects through the years and has recorded as a leader for Delmark, Nessa, Sackville, Moers Music, 1750 Arch, Black Saint, Cecma and Silkheart in settings ranging from large ensembles to unaccompanied solo concerts. — Scott Yanow, All-Music Guide (


Jonah Parzen-Johnson


“A folk music for a new tribe of people, one that has access to new technologies and uses them as opposed to being used by them.”

– All About Jazz


Jonah Parzen-Johnson is a saxophonist from Chicago, IL  living in Brooklyn, NY. He writes lofi music for solo saxophone and analog synthesizer. Imagine the raw energy of an Appalachian Folk choir, tempered by a lofi, minimal aesthetic inspired by the music of Bill Callahan. His carefully assembled analog synthesizer breathes with his saxophone, building independent melodic layers to support his sound, or soaring above his extended technique driven saxophone playing. All performed live, without any looping or recorded samples.


A Chicago native, Jonah’s circular breathing, multi-phonics and impossibly nimble vocalization owes a debt to the Chicago saxophone legacy, but his devotion to a quirky almost vocal style places him in new territory for the solo saxophone. He has meticulously constructed a world of warm memories remembered in a cold present, as he melds the evocative nature of folk music with the chilling power of experimentalism. In addition to relentlessly touring as a solo saxophonist, Jonah is a co-leader of the nationally touring afrobeat ensemble, Zongo Junction, and an active part of Brooklyn’s ever-expanding independent music community.  His latest recording, Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow, will be released on June 2, 2015 by Primary Records. (


Jonathan Sielaff


Jonathan Sielaff resides in Portland, OR and plays the bass clarinet. Because he likes to play with drummers and electronic instruments, he often amplifies the bass clarinet and processes it with guitar pedals (he is also, conveniently, a guitarist).

He cut his musical teeth in rock bands, new music ensembles and various schools of improvisation but most enjoys exploring the territory that exists between genres. His primary musical project is the duo Golden Retriever, with Matt Carlson on synth. They have a bunch of tapes and CDs out there as well as albums with Root Strata and Thrill Jockey. (


Gordon Ashworth


Gordon Ashworth is an American musician and sound artist, whose primary field is experimental composition for string instruments, magnetic tape and social environments. He has released dozens of drone, noise and musique concrete recordings under the names Concern, Oscillating Innards, CAEN, Riverbed Mausoleum and Gordon Ashworth since 2001, and has performed in over 25 countries.


Ashworth’s current live performance focuses on tense sound collages of field recordings made during his job as a night-shift taxi driver, tempered with acoustic drones recorded in private bedrooms. His use of multiple speakers and live tape manipulation is intended to disrupt the listener’s sense of location and expectation, while the use of nocturnal conversations and street sounds accentuates the paradox of working a dangerous job in order to survive as an artist. The result is the creation of a surreal environment that instills a feeling of being in several locations at once, and exists somewhere between privacy and publicity, high art and base exploitation, and musical beauty and human ugliness. He will be carrying himself and his equipment between performances and cities by public transportation throughout Europe in Autumn 2015.


His brother is the musician Owen Ashworth (Advance Base, ex-Casiotone for the Painfully Alone), who runs the label Orindal Records. Gordon is the head of the cassette label Iatrogenesis, the archival vinyl label Olvido, is a member of the extreme metal band Knelt Rote, and currently lives in Portland, Oregon, USA. (




FAXES is a Portland-based duo featuring members of harsh dance outfit Consumer. and punk-noise project Warm Trash.




ALTO! is a Portland-based band consisting of Kyle Emory (drums, electronics), Steven T. Stone (drums, electronics) and Derek Monypeny (guitar). ALTO! is a strongly rhythm-oriented band; dual drummers vary between synched-up pounding and subtly shifiting polyrhythms, while the guitar often functions as another percussion instrument. ALTO! draws strong inspiration from Congotronics bands such as Konono #1, the psychedelic explorations of later-period Boredoms, and avant-garde rock bands such as Sun City Girls. (


Either Neither


Whispers, Hymns, and a Murmur: Either Neither performs music for improviser and string quartet by Wayne Horvitz. This unique collection of mysterious and brooding yet triumphant music by the iconic Seattle composer Wayne Horvitz, brings together traditional string quartet music with a improvisation. This will be the first performance by Either Neither, a collaborative project of improvising cornet player Douglas Detrick and violinist Casey Bozell, who share an interest in building bridges between normally-separate artistic disciplines.


Wayne Horvitz is a composer, pianist and electronic musician who has performed extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. He has performed and collaborated with Bill Frisell, Butch Morris, John Zorn, George Lewis, Robin Holcomb, Fred Frith, Julian Priester, Michael Shrieve and Carla Bley, among others. Commissioners include the NEA,Meet the Composer, Kronos String Quartet, Seattle Chamber Players, BAM, and Earshot Jazz. Collaborators include Paul Taylor, Liz Lerman, Bill Irwin and Gus Van Sant. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including two MAP grants and the NEA American Masterpiece award.


Douglas Detrick is a Portland, Oregon-based composer and cornet player whose work is distinguished by its quiet thoughtfulness and its embrace of good ideas from unconventional sources. He was awarded the 2011 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works and Presenting Jazz grants for his work with his chamber-jazz quintet Douglas Detrick’s AnyWhen Ensemble, and the commissioned work “The Bright and Rushing World” was premiered at New York’s Jazz Gallery in 2012 and performed throughout the United States. He is currently the Executive Director of the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, and performs in Oregon as well as touring nationally.


Casey Bozell, violinist, is a diverse and energetic performer based in Portland, Oregon. She is an active solo, chamber, and orchestral player, holding positions with the Portland Opera Orchestra, Oregon Ballet Theater, Linfield Chamber Orchestra, and Eugene Symphony. Her orchestral experiences have led her to collaborations with many outstanding musical figures, such as Marin Alsop, Marvin Hamlisch, Libby Larsen, and Yo-Yo Ma. A champion of new music, Casey is a core member of the Oregon-based chamber group, the Blue Box Ensemble, and is a frequent performer with Cascadia Composers as well as commissioning new works for solo violin.


Get Smashing Love Power


“This is an elite ensemble, a rarefied combination of intellectual heft, wild passion, deep emotion and the confidence to tackle tough tunes with glee…They are unique in Portland. They deserve your attention…It was positively mind-bending…highly evolved stuff.””—Oregon Music News


GET SMASHING LOVE POWER is Noah Bernstein (Grammies, Shy Girls) & Reed Wallsmith (Blue Cranes, Battle Hymns & Gardens) on alto saxophones, André St. James (Pebble Trio, The Kin Trio) on contrabass and Tim DuRoche (Battle Hymns & Gardens, Pebble Trio) on drums. GSLP digs into the pulse-oriented, rough-around-the-edges, free-bop continuum of mid-1960s playing music of Jackie McLean, Sun Ra, Grachan Moncur III, Ornette Coleman as well as original compositions. Keywords: joy, momentum, deliverance. Free Jazz party music!


The Tenses


The Tenses is a title of a story in the book The Dream World of Dion McGregor from 1964. It is a unique book in that the stories are not written but transcribed from stories told while asleep!


In 2008 we began a new live act using musical concepts developed with Smegma. The Tenses are a more intimate live experiment that is greatly influenced by the room/audience feel.  Moving images that reflect our influences and creative patterns are projected on or behind us. Our creative intent is only one aspect.  We attempt to collaborate in the moment. The Tenses have performed successfully in Portland, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Cork, London, Brighton, Helsinki, Brussels, Paris , Geneva and elsewhere. Ju Suk Reet Meate- Founding Smegma and core LAFMS member since 1973 . Lap Steel Guitar, Pocket Trumpet , Electronics, Toys, etc. Oblivia  ( Rock and Roll Jackie) Smegma Member Since 1981. Record Player, Electronics, Toys, etc.


Arrington de Dionyso


Arrington de Dionyso (b. 1975) has explored the liminal spaces between free improvisation, punk rock, and shamanic seance for the better part of twenty years. Founder of the legendary post punk groups Old Time Relijun and Malaikat dan Singa, his solo performances utilize throatsinging, low woodwinds, and mouth harps to talk to spirits with guttural voicings. (


The Crenshaw

Expanded from a solo performance project in 2014,The Crenshaw is Andrew Jones on upright bass, vocals and electronics and Christopher Johnedis on drums and triggers.  They play Jones’ original songs – which draw from such disparate musical worlds as Chicago footwork, “free jazz”, contemporary classical, and pop music – marrying improvisation and textural explorations with tight rhythmic loops, haunting harmony and often self-effacing abstract lyrical content.  They plan to release their first recording in 2015. (


Matt Carlson


Rich Halley


Rich Halley is a saxophonist/composer based in Portland, Oregon. He has released seventeen critically acclaimed recordings as a leader and recorded over a hundred original compositions. Rich has performed with Tony Malaby, Julius Hemphill, Vinny Golia, Bobby Bradford, Nels Cline, Michael Bisio, Obo Addy, Andrew Hill and Oliver Lake.


Carson Halley


Carson Halley is a drummer based in Oregon who has played with Bobby Bradford and Vinny Golia as well as in indie rock bands. All About Jazz said “Drummer Carson Halley is a responsive percussionist… proving himself throughout to be a catalyst and instigator in the evolving artistry of the Rich Halley 4.”


Dan Raphael


Dan Raphael is a prolific Portland poet whose work has appeared in over 300 publications. An energetic and intense performer, Dan has published nearly 20 books and given over 250 readings. He was the editor of NRG magazine for 18 years. Dan has organized many poetry events over the past 30 years.


The Secret Drum Band


The Secret Drum Band is a percussion & noise ensemble. Lisa Schonberg composes pieces that are interpreted into some magic by a changing cast of percussionists. SDB first performed as a 4-person ensemble at Ladyfest Olympia in 2005. More recent iterations have included up to 7 performers & noise elements in addition to percussion. The ensemble often wears clothing by Portland designer Heather Treadway. (




Melancholy instrumental trio CATFISH formed in Portland, Oregon in 2013, led by saxophonist Joe Cunningham (Blue Cranes, Battle Hymns & Gardens).  After enlisting Portland veterans, guitarist Dan Duval (The Ocular Concern, PJCE Sextet, Gunga Galunga) and drummer Ken Ollis (Ken Ollis Group, The Demolition Duo, Paxselin Quartet), Cunningham formed CATFISH, a vehicle for open improvisations in the vein of Dirty Three, Paul Motian Trio, and early Cat Power.




Brumes is an experimental trio with rotating contributors formed in 2012. Originally as a solo looped based ambient project, Brumes has evolved into orchestrated atmospheric sounds including keys, guitar, drums, harp and vocals. Brumes will be playing a special solo set just for the Improvisation Summit of Portland.


Luke Wyland


Luke Wyland is an interdisciplinary artist and composer working in the fields of music, performance and dance. He is known primarily for his work behind the art-pop band AU.


Mike Barber


Mike Barber has been involved in the Northwest performance scene since 1985, most recently dancing in works by Minh Tran, Mary Oslund, and Randee Paufve (Oakland). From 1996-2000 he was co-director of aero/betty aerial dance theater in Portland. As well as in aero/betty, his choreography has been seen at Performance Works Northwest, in Randee Paufve’s 2001 concert Rend, and in evenings of his own work: Red Hat and Other Dances and DOA/Dancing on the Atlantic. He also produces and appears in the performance party series Ten Tiny Dances, recently presented at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)’s TBA Festival.


Linda Austin


Linda Austin, co-founder & director of Performance Works NorthWest in Portland, Oregon, has been making dance and performance since 1983, often with a strong visual element and a commitment to commissioning original music. Her working process exploits and explores the body’s powers and limits, bringing each performer’s vulnerabilities and strengths, accidental awkwardness and elegance, into a web of relationships—intimate, playful, confrontational—with other bodies, objects, environment, sound and media. The resultant improvisational and/or highly choreographed works are non-linear, poetic, often laced with humor, deploying movement that often disrupts what is generally considered “dancerly.”


In 1998, Austin moved to Portland, Oregon, bought a small church which became her studio and, with lighting designer Jeff Forbes, founded the performing arts non-profit Performance Works Northwest. PWNW serves as parent organization for Linda Austin Dance. Since her move back to the west coast, Austin’s performance has been presented at PWNW, Conduit, On the Boards’ Northwest New Works, Velocity, and PICA’s TBA Festival, while making occasional forays back to NYC. Austin’s was one of two artists selected in 2014 to receive a $20,000 Fellowship in Performing Arts from the Regional Arts & Culture Council. In addition, she has received Fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission, and her work has been supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and Movement Research, as well as residencies at Djerassi and Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center. Her writing has appeared in The Movement Research Performance Journal, Tierra Adentro (Mexico), the literary journal FO A RM and a 2003 collection from MIT Press, Women, Art & Technology. (


Taka Yamamoto


Originally from Shizuoka Japan, Takahiro Yamamoto is an artist and a performer based in Portland, Oregon. As a recent graduate from MFA in Visual Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art, his sculptural and photographic works have been exhibited at Rowan Gallery (Los Angeles), 937 Gallery (Portland), PLACE gallery, and Disjecta (Portland.) Theatre and dance practitioners and companies he has performed and studied with include Xavier Le Roy (Montpellier), Opiyo Okach (Kenya), Keith Hennessy (San Francisco), Linda k. Johnson (Portland), Jmy James (Los Angeles), Mary Overlie (New York), Anne Bogart and SITI Company (New York), Goat Island Performance Company (Chicago), Perseverance Theatre Company(Alaska) and Independent Shakespeare Company (Los Angeles). Yamamoto is also a co-founder of an interdisciplinary performance company, madhause. (


Dawn Stoppiello


Trained as a choreographer and dancer, Stoppiello has focused on choreography for bodies interfaced to computers through sensory systems and dancing in synchrony with projected images. She began her career in Portland, Oregon at the Jefferson High School for the Performing Arts. She received a BFA in dance from California Institute of the Arts in 1989. Stoppiello has received multiple honors from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA over the years including a 1987 Dance Scholarship, two Special Project grants in 2004/2009 and the foundation’s highest honor, the Statue Award in 2004 for her continued excellence in her field. Her first professional performance, while still a student at CalArts, was with Jazz Tap Ensemble in 1986. After Graduation she became a member of the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company where she remained until1992. Stoppiello has taught on the dance faculty of Loyola Marymount University, Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County as well as teaching numerous master classes at institutions in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. She relocated from New York back to Portland, Oregon in 2009.


Kat Macmillan


Kavita Kat Macmillan came to dance Butoh through her work in experimental theater in New York. She was one of the founding members of The Vangeline Theater, a New York dance company and continues to study with choreographer/dancer Vangeline.  She has also trained extensively with renowned Mexican dancer/teacher/choreographer Diego Pinon as well as other teachers of this form. Kat brings to this practice deep roots in physical theater, yoga, exploration of the energetic body through healing and Qi Gong and her personal vocal practice, rooted in Indian Classical music and moving sound in the body to connect with Source.


Matt Hannafin


Matt Hannafin is a New York–born, Portland-based percussionist active in Iranian classical and traditional music, free improvisation, and contemporary solo percussion. He studied Persian tombak with master Kavous Shirzadian; frame drums with Jamey Haddad, Glen Velez, and Layne Redmond; African and Afro-Caribbean percussion with John Amira and Magette Fall; and voice with composer La Monte Young and the legendary Pandit Pran Nath. He’s performed with a wide range of collaborators in both traditional and avant settings, including Sun Ra altoist Marshall Allen, trumpeter Nate Wooley, Turkish multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Borbetomagus guitarist Donald Miller, electronics players Brian Moran and Doug Theriault, pianist Dan DeChellis, and turntablist Maria Chavez, as well as with traditional Persian, Sephardic, and Ukrainian ensembles, percussion ensembles, modern dancers, and Zen flower arrangers. He has appeared at venues and festivals around the United States, including the United Nations General Assembly Hall, the New England Conservatory (Boston, MA), the Miami Iranian Cultural Festival (Florida), the Salem World Beat Festival (Oregon), and New York venues Symphony Space, St. Marks Church, the Issue Project Room, Roulette, and the late, lamented CBGB’s. He has released more than twenty recordings, including Eight Songs Between Morning and Dark, a suite of duo improvisations with shakuhachi master Jeffrey Lependorf (available at iTunes, Amazon, etc.). (


Dana Reason


Dana Reason is a Canadian-born pianist, composer/improviser and musicologist. Reason was part of The Space Between trio with Pauline Oliveros and is documented on over 14 commercial recordings. Her research is available on Wesleyan University Press and Columbia Jazz-Studies On-line. Reason holds a B.Mus (McGill University); MA in Composition (Mills College); and Ph.D in Critical Studies/Experimental Practices, UC San Diego.  Her main teachers include: George E. Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, Alcides Lanza, Alvin Curran, Aleck Karis and Anthony Davis. She teaches courses on music composition and is currently the director Popular Music Studies at Oregon State University. (


Lee Elderton


Lee Elderton is a classically trained saxophonist, jazz performer and avid improvisationalist. Originally from Southern California, Elderton has performed with the Pacific Crest Wind Symphony, Millennium Concert Band, the Pete Petersen Big Band, Pete Petersen’s Pork Pie Septet, Shanghai Woolies, Border Patrol Big Band, Solomon Douglas Swingtet, Kansas City Rhythm Kings, Lily Wilde Orchestra, the Dan Duval Sextet and the PDX Saxophone Quartet. He currently lives,  performs and teaches in Portland, OR. (


Clark Spencer


Violist and Violinist Clark Spencer is an active solo, chamber, and orchestral perfomer living in Wilmington, NC. He is currently assistant principal viola of the Oregon Mozart Players and a founding member of the Blue Box Ensemble. Clark has performed with the Fayetteville Symphony (NC), Long Bay Symphony Orchestra (SC), Eugene Symphony, the Eugene Opera, the Corvallis Symphony, Newport Symphony, and the Oregon Bach Festival. He has had the privilege of performing under the battons of Antrew Linton, Marin Alsop, Jeffrey Kahane, Helmut Rilling, and Gunther Schuller.

Originally from Lancaster, PA, Clark earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in performance from Boston University, where he studied viola with Michelle LaCourse and violin with Peter Zazofsky. He recently completed his Doctorate in Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oregon where he studied Dr. Leslie Straka. His doctoral research on the Sonata in G by Paul Ben-Haim culminated in a new edition for solo viola. Clark has also studied with Martha Strongin Katz and Jeffrey Irvine. He has performed in masterclasses with Kim Kashkashian, Arnold Steinhardt, Roger Tapping, Pamela Frank, the Ying String Quartet, the American String Quartet, the Orion String Quartet, and the Muir String Quartet.


John C. Savage


Flutist, saxophonist, composer, and improviser John C. Savage has been compared to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Herbie Mann, Noah Howard,  Ian Anderson, and Colin Stetson. Known equally as “a thoughtful and rigorous improviser,” and “a badass, knock-down-drag-out force to be reckoned with” (The Willamette Week), Savage lived in New York City for almost a decade performing with, among others, The Savage 3, Billy Fox, (The Uncle Wiggly Suite) the electroacoustic duo Cartridge (The Black Heron and the Spoonbill), The Brooklyn Qawwali Party (eponymous release), and the Andrew Hill Big Band (A Beautiful Day). Savage continues to be a sought-after soloist and collaborator on both coasts working with a wide variety of artists, including the NYC-based Kitsune Ensemble (The Kaidan Suite and Amanogawa), Point to Line (with flutist Lisa Bost-Sandberg),  the Demolition Duo, Senses Sharpened (with Ken Ollis and Dan Gaynor), and the poetry and music duo, THrum, with Claudia F. Savage. Savage has received honors and awards from New York University, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Portland-based Regional Arts and Culture Council. Savage also served on the board for Portland’s Creative Music Guild from 2010-2013 as development coordinator. Savage holds a Ph.D. from New York University in music performance and improvisation. His CD of solo flute compositions and improvisations (A Moment in Mythica) is available on Teal Creek Music. (


Catherine Lee
A diverse musician, Catherine Lee has performed extensively as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician on oboe, oboe d’amore and English horn in a wide range of artistic settings, including classical, contemporary, and free improvisation. Catherine is Principal oboe with the Salem Chamber Orchestra, and teaches oboe and chamber music at Willamette University, Western Oregon University and George Fox University.  As an interdisciplinary artist, Catherine collaborated in the creation of reeds, a site-specific work composed by Emily Doolittle (Sound Symposium, 2010); with POV dance (Ten Tiny Dances, 2008); and with Tracy Broyles (Risk/Reward Festival, 2012). In 2013, Catherine released her solo cd social sounds on Teal Creek Music. Catherine holds a Doctor of Music in Performance Studies from McGill University.


John Gross


John Gross is an internationally respected musician, has resided in Portland since 1991. Among his employers past and present; Harry James, Stan Kenton, Lionel Hampton, Shelly Manne, Don Ellis, Woody Herman and Toshiko Akiyoshi. He performs regularly with Gordon Lee Quartet, David Friesen, David Frishberg, Alan Jones Sextet and his own groups Blema Bii and the John Gross quartet. John has taught at universities in the US and Europe and is the author of “185 Multiphonics for the Saxophone, A Practical Guide” published by Advance Music.


Tim DuRoche
Tim DuRoche is a jazz drummer-composer and sound artist living in Portland. His work has traversed the continuum from ragtime to no time and beyone–creating performances with Beijing Opera musicians, Russian circus clowns, silent film, spoken word, auctioneers, and with installation-performance artists. DuRoche has worked extensively with an array of US and European avant-garde jazz innovators, including Dominic Duval, Matana Roberts, Paul Plimley-Lisle Ellis, Wally Shoup, Gust Burns, Bert Wilson, Urs Leimgruber, Jon Raskin,  Perry Robinson, Phillip Greenlief, Damon Smith-Scott Looney,  Jack Wright, Doug Theriault,  Marco Eneidi, Didier Petit, and Frank Gratkowski, among others. He has appeared as a soloist and featured performer at numerous festivals, including the Seattle Improvised Music Festival, The Big Sur Experimental Music Festival, Portland Experimental Jazz Festival, San Francisco’s Edgetone New Music Summit,and the Olympia Experimental Music Festivals.


Apr 27, 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Reach of Resonance screening @ 7PM
Whitsell Auditorium at NWFC, 1219 SW Park Ave.

Friday & Saturday, June 6 & 7, 2014
Sandbox Studios, 420 NE 9th Ave.
Doors open Friday at 5:30PM, Saturday at 4:30PM

Purchase advance tickets to #ISP2014 today via our Indiegogo Campaign


Lineup & Schedule

Thursday, June 5 –

7:00  Reach of Resonance screening at Whitsell Auditorium at NWFC, 1219 SW Park Ave.


Friday, June 6 –

6:30 Welcome Ensemble (TBA)

7:00 Scott Cutshall’s Phrasology

7:45 Suzanne Chi/ Heather Treadway, Lisa Schonberg

8:00 Tim Berne Solo

8:30 Vanessa Vogel, Tere Mathern/Brandon Conway

8:55 Rich Halley Quartet

9:40 Mike Barber, Danielle Ross/ Seth Nehil, Ryan Stuewe

10:00 Tim Berne Ensemble: STATIC with Tim Berne, John Gross, Farnell Newton, Dana Reason,  Scott Cutshall, Jon Shaw, Lars Campbell, Dan Duval, and Lee Elderton)l

11:00 Kaj-Anne Pepper/ Alyssa Reed-Stuewe, Catherine Lee

11:15 Pinkish


Saturday, June 7-

12:30 Informal lunch gathering at Bunk Bar

2:00 Panel Discussion moderated by Daniel Flessas, featuring Reed Wallsmith, Amenta Abioto, Michael Stirling, Gregg Bielemeier and more to be announced.

6:00 Ken Ollis and Senses Sharpened

6:45 Gregg Bielemeier, Catherine Egan / Lisa Degrace

7:10 Amenta Abioto

7:55 Lucy Yim/ Jesse Mejia

8:10 Michael Stirling, Doug Theriault, Matt Carlson

8:55 Dawn Stoppiello, Ruth Nelson, Emily Stone, John Gross, Reed Wallsmith

9:15 Bad Luck

10:00 Luke Gutsgell/ Ben Kates

10:15 Matt Hannafin & Loren Chasse




The 3rd annual Improvisational Summit of Portland brings together the best musicians, dancers and film organizations in the city and combines them with a small group of visiting musicians, creating a unique event. This year we feature a number of unbelievable artists at the beautiful Sandbox Studio space in NE Portland with contributions from all corners of Portland’s vibrant performing scene. Drinks courtesy of Breakside Brewery. Sponsored by KBOO 90.7 FM.


Featured Performers:

Tim Berne (NYC) is an American jazz saxophone player and composer.  Based in New York City since 1974, Berne has composed and performed prolifically, amassing a body of work that includes dozens of critically-acclaimed recordings. His work draws heavily on free improvisation resulting in complex, lengthy compositions. During his career, he has performed or recorded with a number of notable musicians, including Bill Frisell, John Zorn,  Mat Maneri, David Torn, Hank Roberts, Herb Robertson, the ARTE Quartett and in trio Miniature. In recent years, he has performed in several groups with Tom Rainey, Gerald Cleaver, Craig Taborn, Michael Formanek, Drew Gress, Marc Ducret and David Torn, and Chris Speed. (


Bad Luck (Seattle, WA) is a duo comprised of drummer Chris Icasiano and saxophonist Neil Welch. Called “One of the best Seattle jazz recordings in years” (Earshot Jazz) Bad Luck was awarded the “Best Outside Jazz Group” of 2009 by Earshot Magazine, and a finalist for “Best Avant Group” in the 2009 Inside Out awards. Performing all original compositions, the pair use live loops and pedals to create an astounding range of sound. Icasiano and Welch can quickly shift into fierce improvisations, sound art and carefully constructed harmonic palettes. Icasiano and Welch are both founding members of Seattle’s creative performance series: the Racer Sessions. (

The Improvisation Summit of Portland 2014 is sponsored by:




The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation

May 17, 2013

Composition Through Improvisation: ISP 2013 Panel Discussion

Don’t miss this opportunity at the beginning of day two of the ISP to hear these master performers discuss their use of improvisation in composing new works.

Daniel Flessas: moderator, longtime KBOO DJ

Catherine Lee – Tardis Ensemble, oboist

John Niekrasz – Why I Must Be Careful, drums & percussion

Rich Halley – co-founder of the CMG, saxophonist

Linda Austin – founder of Performance Works NorthWest, dance

Reed Wallsmith – Blue Cranes, Battle Hymns and Gardens, saxophonist

Mar 03, 2013

Complete Schedule:
Friday Night: Doors at 6pm.
7pm – Cinema Project presents Thirteen Summers (This program features a multi-screen projection performance of footage from filmmaker and naturalist Timothy Treadwell. With live accompaniment by Joe Cunningham, Tim DuRoche, Dan Duval, Jon Shaw, Reed Wallsmith, Doug Theriault)
7:55 – John Grunfest/Megan Bierman Duo
8:20 – Dawn Stoppiello and Doug Theriault
8:30 – Sam Coomes & Brian Mumford Duo
8:50 – Linda K. Johnson and Tim DuRoche
9:10 – Tim DuRoche & Reconstruction of Light: :The Music of Carei Thomas, with Andrew Durkin, piano; Eugene Lee, saxophones; Jon Shaw, contrabass; Tim DuRoche on drums/little instruments.
10:05 – Richard Decker, Danielle Ross, Jordan Dykstra, and Reed Wallsmith
10:25 – Anton Hatwich / John Gross
11:30pm – Gino Robair leads a large ensemble of musicians and dancers in his opera, I, Norton

11am at Bamboo Grove- Improvisation and Contemporary Instrumental Techniques workshop with Dr. John C. Savage (flutes, alto saxophone). Dr. Savage will discuss and demonstrate his approach to contemporary improvising. Specific topics will include: circular breathing, multiphonics, vocalizations, and ideas for group interplay. This will be a hands-on workshop, so please feel free to bring an instrument. All instruments welcome!
11am at Revival Drum Shop- Gino Robair percussion workshop
1pm at Bamboo Grove – Workshop on Improvising & Dance w/ Danielle Ross & Christi Denton
4pm at Bamboo Grove- Musician-writer Tim DuRoche moderates a discussion with dance artist Linda K. Johnson, musician Rick Stewart of Smegma, saxophonist and Creative Music Guild co-founder Rich Halley and interdisciplinary dancer-storyteller Susan Banyas about improvisation – its role in their craft, its history over the last few decades in the NW, and how they’ve deployed improvisational strategies to create across disciplines and expand on tradition.

Saturday Night
Doors at 6pm
7pm – Filmusik presents Un Chien Andalou w/ a live score by an ensemble curated by Nick Bindeman
7:40 – Tracy Broyles & Catherine Lee
7:50 – Blue Cranes
8:35 – Tere Mathern, Vanessa Vogel, Jen Hackworth and Marisa Anderson
9:05 – The Tenses
9:35 – Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner
9:55 – Thicket
10:10 – Grouper
10:40 – Linda Austin, Jin Camou, Ben Kates, Ryan Miller
10:50 – Gino Robair
11:20 – Carla Mann and Rich Halley
11:35pm – The Raven Big Band Buddha Mind Ensemble lead by John Grunfest and Megan Bierman w/ 30+ musicians

A sound installation by Stephanie Simek

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
This project is supported in part by Ninkasi Brewing and The Map Room Studio.

Jan 17, 2013

Here it is everyone: The second iteration of our festival. This is two days of experimental music, dance and film on May 31 & June 1 at Sandbox Studio. Check out the schedule below.

Improvisation Summit of Portland 2013

Friday, May 31 & Saturday, June 1
Sandbox Studios: 420 NE 9th ave
$12-$18 sigle day, $20-$40 both days:

All ages

Friday, May 31:
6:00 – Experimental Film Festival PDX: “Bridge” & “C.A.G.E”
“Bridge” by Kevin T. Allen 11 mins NY – A study of three similar but distinct microcultures: the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridgeand Williamsburg Bridge. Interrogated through the use of contact microphones, the physical infrastructures of these bridges become audible and reveal their inherent macroacoustics.
“C.A.G.E” by Richard Evans 20 mins NY – C.A.G.E. is a fictional documentary about ‘Variations on a Plain Index’ a 1945 sound work by an unnamed experimental composer. It is a subtle and philosophical story about an artist’s relationship to environment and how component elements of an artwork can represent subjective states of mind.
6:35 – Jen Hackworth/Heather Treadway
6:45 – John Gross Trio
7:20 – Linda Austin and Gregg Bielemeier/Ken Ollis
7:35 – Grammies
8:10 – Eet
8:30 – Daniel Menche
9:00 -Taka Yamamoto/Lisa Schonberg
9:10 – William Hooker
9:40 – Gulls
10:00 – WIMBC Big Band (with Ryan Spangler, Ben Kates, Stephanie Simek, Carson McWhirter, Russel Durham)
10:40 – Dawn Stoppiello/Thollem Mcdonas
10:55 – HITS
11:30 Elphin Elephant

Saturday June 1:
11:00 – William Hooker drum workshop (at Revival Drum Shop)
3:00 – Composition Through/With Improvisation moderated by Daniel Flessas from KBOO w/ John Niekrasz, Rich Halley, Reed Wallsmith, Linda Austin, Catherine Lee
4:30 – Wavemakers (presented by Cinema Project)
Hearing unusual interferences coming from radio vacuum tubes one night during World War I, the French musician and educator Maurice Martenot dreamed of an instrument that would turn the new material of the times, electricity, into music, but electronic music with a distinctive human touch. — Caroline Martel
From this idea came the 1928 invention, the ondes Martenot (onde meaning wave in French). While many may have heard its distinctive sound in sci-fi TV shows like The Thunderbirds, Hollywood classics such as Lawrence of Arabia, and in recent soundtracks like There Will be Blood, the instrument itself has rarely been seen. In her most recent feature length documentary, Canadian filmmaker Caroline Martel takes a slightly experimental approach to bring the history and image of this “sensual and sophisticated instrument” into view. Caroline will be in attendance to talk more about the ondes and her journey to discover it.
7:00 – Doug Theriault & Juniana Lanning
7:40 – Jim McGinn and Tere Mathern/Ben Kates, John Savage and Catherine Lee
8:00 – Battle Hymns and Gardens
8:45 – Noelle Stiles/Marisa Anderson and Rich Halley
9:00 – 1939 Ensemble
9:30 – Danielle Ross/John Niekrasz
9:45 – Like a Villain
10:15 – Tracy Broyles/Loren Chasse
10:30 – William Hooker Ensemble (with Lee Elderton, Mary Sutton, Thollem McDonas, John Niekrasz, Andrew Jones, John Gross, Kyleen King)
11:30 – Golden Retriever

Sponsored by Sandbox Studio, Beacon Sound, Stumptown Coffee and The Map Room Studio.

Thanks to: RACC & The Miller Foundation

Thanks to our Indiegogo Donators:


Arto LeStrange
Leah Wilmoth
Dan Bryant
Benjamin Spees
Danielle Parks
Robert Philliops
Marisa Debowsky
Shirley Rillera
Fletcher Nemeth
Heather MacKenzie
Mia Ferm

Edward Sharp

Benjamin Kates
Alyssa Reed-Stuewe
Matthew Doyle
Adam Triplett
Michelle Citrin
Ben Poliakoff
Jin Camou
Tanya Smith
Joshua Powell
Bob Priest
Adam Triplett
Helena Schniewind
Michael McManus
John Niekrasz


Buy Tickets ahead time for guaranteed entry!