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STEIM 50 Years

Amsterdam's STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music
celebrates its fiftieth birthday


STEIM, the Netherlands' STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music, was founded on 27 February 1969 by a group of Dutch composers - Misha Mengelberg, Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, Dick Raaymakers, Jan van Vlijmen, Reinbert de Leeuw and Konrad Boehmer. A foundation, financially supported by the Dutch ministry of Culture, STEIM developed into an internationally-celebrated lab for music and sound, thanks to the efforts, over the years, of a series of enigmatic directors, artistic directors, visiting artists, interns and a dedicated creative and administrative team. It invites international artists in residence from different musical and artistic styles and scenes. In addition to offering support in theoretical and practical development of contemporary musical instruments, STEIM also hosts in-house concerts, exhibitions and workshops. The work in progress of supported artists is presented in open studio events.

STEIM is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a festival, STEIM 50 YEARS, which will take place 13-16 September 2019 at various venues in Amsterdam.

Nine of the foundation's former artistic directors - Atau Tanaka, Daniel Schorno, Jan St Werner, Joel Ryan, Mazen Kerbaj, Nic Collins, Rebekah Wilson, Tina Blaine and DJ Sniff - will come together for the first time to perform in a birthday concert for STEIM from 7pm until late on Sunday 15 September 2019 in the Kleine Zaal at the Muziekgebouw, as part of The Rest is Noise series.

Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw and Bimhuis. Photo © 2019 Keith Bramich
Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw and Bimhuis. Photo © 2019 Keith Bramich

The concert is billed as 'a celebration of STEIM's extraordinarily creative history and future', and as 'an intimate, informal non-stop performance of solos, duets, trios and more'. Short bios of the nine performers, below, give a strong sense of the variety on offer at this event.

Under the alias zitegeist, Daniel Schorno (Switzerland/Netherlands) travels the globe performing on vintage analog and digital eponymous instruments. His musical noosphere is characterized by razor edged real-time digital sonification and the clamour of one-of-a-kind crackle scorpion and dragon sculptures.

Swiss composer Daniel Schorno in Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw. Photo © 2019 Keith Bramich
Swiss composer Daniel Schorno in Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw. Photo © 2019 Keith Bramich

Rebekah Wilson (Netochka Nezvanova, New Zealand/Netherlands) is a composer and technologist. Her driving force has been to fully engage with the networked and digital experience. Her intricate entwining within the tessellating narratives of Netochka Nezvanova became most public during her time at STEIM where her passions for music, performance and technology became fused.

Rebekah Wilson
Rebekah Wilson

Bean (Tina Blaine, USA) embarked upon her exploration of musical interaction techniques in the 1980s, building electronic MIDI controller instruments and large-scale audience participation devices for live performance with the multimedia ensemble D'Cuckoo. She is currently the executive director of Rhythmix Cultural Works, a non-profit cultural arts center in the San Francisco Bay area.

Joel Ryan (USA/Netherlands) is a composer, inventor and scientist. One of the longest residents at STEIM, he continues today to play an integral role in not only the design of musical instruments based on real-time digital signal processing, but through his extensive performance practice where he seeks to bring a concreteness through intelligent design and playing of digital instruments.

DJ Sniff (Takuro Mizuta Lippit, Japan) is a musician and curator in the field of experimental electronic arts and improvised music. His musical work builds upon a distinct practice that combines DJing, instrument design, and free improvisation, and since 2014 is the Co-Director of AMF (Asian Meeting Festival), which aims to bring together experimental music practices in Asia.

Mazen Kerbaj (Lebanon/Germany) is a Lebanese jazz and free improvisation trumpeter and comic book artist. He has published eleven books and many short stories and drawings in anthologies, newspapers, and magazines in throughout the world. Kerbaj is also one of the founders of the Lebanese free improvisation scene, both as a trumpet player and as an active member in the MILL association. He played with Karkhana in The Rest is Noise last June.

An early adopter of microcomputers for live performance, Nic Collins (USA/Germany) also makes use of homemade electronic circuitry and conventional acoustic instruments. His book, Handmade Electronic Music - The Art of Hardware Hacking, has influenced emerging electronic music worldwide.

Atau Tanaka (Japan/UK) conducts research in embodied musical interaction. He studies our encounters with sound, be they in music or in the everyday, as a form of phenomenological experience: this includes the use of physiological sensing technologies, notably muscle tension in the electromyogram signal, and machine learning analysis of this complex, organic data.

Internationally known as the co-founder of the innovative and groundbreaking electro-duo Mouse on Mars, Jan St Werner (Germany) is recognized for his research and development of new instruments for electronic music and digital art.

A montage of photos of the performers on 15 September 2019. Clockwise from top-left: Daniel Schorno, Atau Tanaku, Mazen Kerbaj (left) and Joel Ryan, Rebekah Wilson, Nic Collins, Takuro Mitzuta Lippit, Jan Stephan Werner and Tina Blane
A montage of photos of the performers on 15 September 2019. Clockwise from top-left: Daniel Schorno, Atau Tanaku, Mazen Kerbaj (left) and Joel Ryan, Rebekah Wilson, Nic Collins, DJ Sniff, Jan Stephan Werner and Tina Blane

Sadly absent from the above line-up is Dutch composer Michel Waisvisz (1949-2008), who was involved with STEIM from its beginnings in 1969, and who led STEIM from 1981 until 2008, creating an extraordinary series of unusual new musical instruments, based in both hardware and software.

Michel Waisvisz in 1981
Michel Waisvisz in 1981

Another concert, on Saturday 14 September 2019 in Mixtree's restaurant at Broedplaats Lely, Schipluidenlaan 12, 1062 HE Amsterdam, Netherlands, forms part of the Amsterdam 24hr Nieuwe-West Festival. It features young artists Miro Bollen, Rafaele Andrade, Boy van Ooijen, Görkem Arikan and Fedde ten Berge performing innovative new music live on the Pentacle 15.3 Surround Sound System. STEIM's microTONE exhibition will also be open as part the 24H Nieuwe West Festival. There's free entrance to both the exhibition and concert.

Finally, STEIM is holding a series of workshops on Friday 13 September and Monday 16 September 2019, and details of these can be found by following the further information link below.

Posted 27 August 2019 by Keith Bramich




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