“In improvisation I try to think less and experience more. The primary experience for me is listening. Then, I want to respond quickly, honestly, playfully, and intuitively.”
Charles Cohen (b. 1945) has been characterized as a “special and singular musician” with a highly developed and refined voice. His music is entirely improvisational, produced solely on a vintage Buchla Music Easel synthesizer, a rare analog instrument designed in the early 1970s. Cohen has been playing his self-described “beeps and boops” since he first acquired a Buchla Music Easel in 1976, one of only 25 ever produced, and remains committed to exploring its unique qualities. He has studied with musical mavericks such as accordionist and electronic composer Pauline Oliveros and jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, and is dedicated to the art of abstract improvisation, seeking out collaborations with fellow musicians who share his love of spontaneous creation during live performance. “In improvisation I try to think less and experience more,” says Cohen. “I consider each performance as an instance of my collaborative improvisation practice, which has spanned over 30 years.”
Cohen has performed regularly in Philadelphia for nearly four decades. For most of his career he has eschewed distributing recordings of his music in order to focus deeply on live performance. However, after receiving the Pew Fellowship, Cohen was invited by Morphine Records in Berlin to work on a complete retrospective of his recordings from the 1970s through the ’90s, in vinyl and CD formats, with biographical information, pictures, and liner notes. This retrospective was released in late 2013.
Nato Thompson is chief curator at Creative Time. He served as a Center panelist (2008) and evaluator (2010), and contributed to the Center’s Pigeons on the Grass, Alas series.
The Voice of a Visionary explores the profound work of Schubert in his last year, featuring Piano Sonata in A Major and Schwanengesang.
Tempesta di Mare implemented a three-year plan, which addressed new artistic opportunities for the orchestra, including a recording contract and social media expansion.
Kate Watson-Wallace is a Philadelphia-based choreographer, 2007 Pew Fellow, and the co-director of anonymous bodies.
The Kimmel Center, Inc., best known as a presenting organization and home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Ballet, is one of the most well-attended cultural venues in Philadelphia.
Composer, improviser, and media artist Mike Bullock will join forces with Swedish composers and conceptual artists Leif Elggren, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, and Kent Tankred, and Philadelphia musicians such as Ian Fraser and Bhob Rainey, for a program of electronic music, performance, and installations, expanding Philadelphia’s connection to the international experimental music scene.
Chris Madak bridges (Pew Fellow, 2015) drone and contemporary experimental electronic music, demonstrating a refined and subtle, yet accessible, musical voice.
Winner of two ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, the Crossing is a professional contemporary chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally.
This 30th-anniversary project was PRISM Quartet’s most ambitious to date, consisting of six new commissions and world premiere performances by prominent jazz saxophonists/composers.
Ars Nova Workshop, a free jazz and experimental music presenter, has programmed nearly 500 events since 2000, often in atypical settings.
The William Way LGBT Community Center presents OutBeat: America’s First Queer Jazz Festival. The four-day festival will highlight intersections between sexual orientation, gender identity, and jazz history and culture.
Hellmut Gottschild is a dancer and a 1992 Pew Fellow.