THURSDAY JUNE 9, 2011 8:30PM
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA 90012 | 213.620.0908
A central figure in the avant-garde and experimental music scene in New York City since the late 1970s, Sharp has released over eighty-five recordings ranging from blues, jazz, andorchestral music to noise, no wave rock, and techno music. He pioneered the use of a lap top computer in live performance with his Virtual Stance project of the 1980s. He has usedalgorithms and fibonacci numbers in experimental composition since at least 1987. He has cited literature as an inspiration for his music and often favors improvisation.He is an inveterate performer, playing mainly guitar, saxophone and bass clarinet. Sharp has led manyensembles over the years, including the blues-oriented Terraplane and Orchestra Carbon.
Sharp was classically trained in piano from an early age, taking up clarinet and guitar as a teen. He attended Cornell University from 1969 to 1971, studying anthropology, music, and electronics. He completed his B.A. degree at Bard College in 1973, where he studied composition with Benjamin Boretz and Elie Yarden; jazz composition, improvisation, and ethnomusicology with trombonist Roswell Rudd; and physics and electronics with Burton Brody. In 1977 he received an M.A. from the University at Buffalo, where he studied composition with Morton Feldman and Lejaren Hiller, and ethnomusicology with Charles Keil.
From the late ’70s, Sharp established himself in New York’s music scene. His compositions have been performed by the hr-Sinfonieorchester, the Ensemble Modern, Continuum, the Orchestra of the SEM Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the FLUX Quartet, Zeitkratzer, the Soldier String Quartet, the JACK Quartet, and the Quintet of the Americas. His work has been featured at festivals worldwide, including the 2008 New Music Stockholm festival, the 2007 Hessischer Rundfunk Klangbiennale, and the Venice Biennale 2003 and 2006. He releases music under his own label (zOaR music) as well as punk label SST and downtown music labels such as Knitting Factory records and John Zorn’s Tzadik label. Guitar Player magazine’s 30th anniversary issue included Sharp among their list of “The Dirty Thirty – Pioneers and Trailblazers”.
He has collaborated regularly with many people, including Christian Marclay, Eric Mingus, Zeena Parkins, Vernon Reid, Bobby Previte,Joey Baron, David Torn, Nels Cline, and Frances-Marie Uitti, as well as qawaali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, blues legend Hubert Sumlin, actor/writer Eric Bogosian, jazz greats Jack DeJohnette and Sonny Sharrock, pop singer Debbie Harry, and Bachir Attar, leader of theMaster Musicians of Jajouka. He was curator of the sound-art exhibition Volume: Bed of Sound for P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 2001, which featured the works of 54 artists including Vito Acconci, Tod Dockstader, John Duncan, Walter Murch, Muhal Richard Abrams, Laurie Anderson, Chris & Cosey, Survival Research Laboratories, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sonic Youth, and Butch Morris. He also curates the State of the Union CD compilations of one-minute tracks by experimental musicians, and produces records for numerous artists. Sharp describes himself as a lifelong “science geek” having modified and created musical instruments since his teen years, and frequently borrowing terms from science and technology for his compositions.
He was a 2009 Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and a 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in music. In 2003 he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. In March 2011, his 60th birthday was celebrated with a weekend of all-star concert events hosted by Brooklyn’s ISSUE Project Room.
Sharp lives in lower Manhattan with designer/video artist Janene Higgins and their two children.
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Pianist Motoko Honda is the walking definition of the phrase sound sculpturist. She stands as much as she sits during her performances: either to direct her ensembles with a sweep of the hand or stabbing point of a finger, or to just lean into her open piano to perform some sort of bewitching skullduggery on its prepared stringsall the while working her (bare) foot pedals to create loops of electronic squiggles and sighs. Not content to simply compose and make music, Honda, in the sage words of Greg Burk, colors the air.
Like her colleagues in L.A.s creative-improvisational community with whom shes playedquite a a few, like Vinny Golia, our fearless leader Jeff Gauthier, Steuart Liebig, April Guthries, Alex Cline, Emily Hay, Ben Wendel, Joe Berardi, Kris Tiner,Andrea Centazzo, Ivan Johnson, Jesse Gilbert, Fumiko Amano and Carole Kim, are from the Crypto extended familyHonda marries classical, jazz, avant-garde, Pacific-Rim textures and 21st century technology into musical soundscapes that reflect Obamanian visions of a seamless mix-and-match between colliding world cultures.
A student of far-out trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and percussionist Dean Kranzler, Ms. Honda refers to her holistic musical approach as one thats intended to affect the skin, organs and minds of the listener instead of simply being heard as rhythmic and harmonic themes. As much performance art or a living art installation, an evening with Motoko offers no boundaries on where or when the music begins and ends. She also incorporates tenets of avant-garde composers like Terry Riley and John Cage in using the very spaces and environments of performancethe creaks and shifts of concert-hall walls, the abrupt coughs and muffled ringtones that comes from the audience, the sirens of the city outsideas instruments in themselves.