After more than 32 years of concerts in Lower Manhattan, Roulette is moving to BROOKLYN. As the construction continues on the new space - a beautiful Art Deco Concert Hall in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn - we spoke to some of the artists who have been a part of Roulette; about the past, present and future.
JOAN LA BARBARA’s career as a composer/performer/soundartist explores the human voice as a multi-faceted instrument expanding traditional boundaries, creating works for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, music theater, orchestra and interactive technology, developing a unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques: multiphonics, circular singing, ululation and glottal clicks that have become her "signature sounds", garnering awards in the U.S. and Europe including the 2008 Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center for her significant contributions to new American music; the 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, the prestigious DAAD Artist-in-Residency in Berlin and 7 National Endowment for the Arts fellowships: Music Composition, Opera/Music Theatre, Inter-Arts, Recording (2), Solo Recitalist and Visual Arts; ISCM International Jury Award; Akustische International Competition Award; Meet The Composer and ASCAP Awards and numerous commissions for concert, theatre and radioworks.
JON GIBSON is a composer, multi-wind instrumentalist (saxophones, flutes, clarinets) and visual artist who has taken part in numerous landmark musical events over the past three and a half decades, performing in the early works of Steve Reich, Terry Riley, LaMonte Young and Philip Glass, with whom he continues to perform in various configurations, along with a host of other musicians, choreographers and artists including Merce Cunningham, Nancy Topf, Lucinda Childs, JoAnne Akalaitis, Simone Forti, Thomas Buckner, Harold Budd, David Behrman, Elizabetta Vittoni and Moacir Santos. Current projects and performances include collaborations with the Nina Winthrop Dance Company and dancers Elisabetta Vittoni and Hetty King. He is also involved with the work and legacy of Nancy Topf. Gibson recently received a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts with which he composed a music/theater piece about the inventor Nicola Tesla entitled Violet Fire. He has also received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and Meet the Composer. His music can be heard on the New Tone, Point Music, Lovely Music, EarRational Records and Einstein Records labels and he appears on recordings by Glass, Steve Reich, Frederick Rzewski, Arthur Russell, Annea Lockwood, Peter Zummo and Robert Ashley. His visual work, which is closely related to his music, has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the world and manifests itself in various media, including drawings, videos, books, and prints. Gibson is a graduate of San Francisco State University where he studied composition with Wayne Peterson and Henry Onderdonk.
PHILL NIBLOCK is a New York-based minimalist composer and multi-media musician and director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation born in the flames of 1968's barricade-hopping. He has been a maverick presence on the fringes of the avant garde ever since. In the history books Niblock is the forgotten Minimalist. That's as maybe: no one ever said the history books were infallible anyway.
His influence has had more impact on younger composers such as Susan Stenger, Lois V Vierk, David First, and Glenn Branca. He's even worked with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo on "Guitar two, for four" which is actually for five guitarists. This is Minimalism in the classic sense of the word, if that makes sense. Niblock constructs big 24-track digitally-processed monolithic microtonal drones. The result is sound without melody or rhythm. Movement is slow, geologically slow. Changes are almost imperceptible, and his music has a tendency of creeping up on you. The vocal pieces are like some of Ligeti's choral works, but a little more phased. And this isn't choral work. "A Y U (as yet untitled)" is sampled from just one voice, the baritone Thomas Buckner. The results are pitch shifted and processed intense drones, one live and one studio edited. Unlike Ligeti, this isn't just for voice or hurdy gurdy. Like Stockhausen's electronic pieces, Musique Concrete, or even Fripp and Eno's No Pussyfooting, the role of the producer/composer in "Hurdy Hurry" and "A Y U" is just as important as the role of the performer. He says: "What I am doing with my music is to produce something without rhythm or melody, by using many microtones that cause movements very, very slowly." The stills in the booklet are from slides taken in China, while Niblock was making films which are painstaking studies of manual labour, giving a poetic dignity to sheer gruelling slog of fishermen at work, rice-planters, log-splitters, water-hole dredgers and other back-breaking toilers. Since 1968 Phill has also put on over 1000 concerts in his loft space, including Ryoji Ikeda, Zbigniew Karkowski, Jim O'Rourke.