Out of the Silence

Out of the Silence

Celebrating women's contributions to electronic music

Red Desert Ensemble
Katie Porter, clarinet
Devin Maxwell, percussion and electronics

A concert, film screening, and reception celebrating women's contributions in electronic music. Live music by Éliane Radigue, Nina C. Young, and Michelle Lou performed by Red Desert Ensemble will bookend the Utah premiere screening of Lisa Rovner's feature documentary Sisters with Transistors.


Heart.throb by Nina C. Young

Devin Maxwell, Snare Drum and Electronics

Telegrams by Michelle Lou

Katie Porter, Bass Clarinet and Electronics


Sisters with Transistors

A Feature Documentary by Lisa Rovner

Reception in Richer Atrium

Triptych by Eliane Radique


Katie Porter with her clarinet

Katie is a clarinetist and curator specializing in experimental music. Passionate about fostering musical communities, she co-founded the venue Listen/Space (Brooklyn) and curates the Listen/Space Commissions, responsible for 46 new works for mixed chamber group. She also co-directs the biennial VU Symposium for experimental, improvised and electronic music (Park City, Utah) and is working on a giant multi-year project of experimental works for solo clarinet at Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, a land artwork in remote northern Utah. She has performed solos or chamber music at Roulette (BK), Issue Project Room (BK), The Kitchen (NYC), The Stone (NYC), C4NM (San Francisco), Willow Place Auditorium (BK), Monkeytown (BK), the Indexical Series (Santa Cruz), Dogstar (LA), Green Umbrella Series (LA), BLIM (Vancouver), NOVA (SLC), UMOCA, UMFA, Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati, Lincoln Center (NYC), The Ontologic-Hysteric Theater (NYC), the Liquid Music Series (St. Paul), Centre Acanthes (France), Scelciana (Italy), Moma PS1 (NYC), Ostrava Days (Czech Rep), KM28 (Berlin), St Petersburg Art Space (Berlin), High Desert Soundings (Joshua Tree,CA), Cornell University, Columbia University, Duke University, Kenyon College, the University of Utah, and with Daniel Goode’s Flexible Orchestra and LOLO (Love of Life Orchestra) in NYC, and premiered works by John Luther Adams, Jason Ajemian, Carolyn Chen, Laura Cetilia, André Cormier, Nomi Epstein, Jürg Frey, Jennie Gottschalk, Anne Guthrie, Brian Harnetty, John Hastings, Sarah Hennies, Yvette Janine Jackson, Dan Joseph, Mike Kelley, Michael Pisaro, Larry Polansky, Stephanie Richards, Morris Rosenzweig, Arthur Russell, Craig Shepard, Teodora Stepančić, Colin Tucker, James Tenney, Maayan Tsadka, and Christian Wolff, among many others. Her duo, Red Desert Ensemble, with composer/percussionist Devin Maxwell has been called “a finely poised musical partnership”- THE WIRE, “not superficial ambient music”- TEMPO, and a “particularly fascinating soundscape”- NIEUWE NOTEN, and can be heard on Phill Niblock’s XI label (NY), Edition Wandelweiser Records, The Essential Indexical, Infrequent Seams (NY) and were 2019/2020 Artists-in-Residence at Westminster University.

Current collaborations include A Quartet or Two Duos with James Ilgenfritz, Teerapat Parnmongkol, and Lucie Vítková in NYC, the duo Malosma with flutist Christine Tavolacci in LA, and Phase to Phase with bass clarinetist Lucio Capece (Berlin) which will be released in April 2022 on the Japanese label FTARRI. www.fromkp.com

Devin Maxwell headshotDevin Maxwell, PhD, is a composer, percussionist, and music technology entrepreneur. His chamber music has been described as “amiably strident…clusters hammered insistently” by the New York Times and his orchestral works “a beautiful puzzle, … fitting between plucks and pedals that build pyramid melodies” by the American Record Guide. His music has been performed or presented by by MMM… (Tokyo), Bent Frequency (Atlanta), Ensemble Dedalus (France), the Deer Valley Music Festival Emerging Quartets and Composers for the Skyros Quartet (Seattle), The Stone (NYC), Abron’s Art Center (NYC), the Ontological Theater (NYC), BLIM (Vancouver), ARTSaha (Omaha), the Wulf (Los Angeles), Monkeytown (NYC), Dartmouth College, NYU, Columbia University, Kenyon College, Boston Conservatory, Tage Aktueller Music (Germany), SEAMUS, ICMC-SMC (Greece), Ostrava Days (Czech Republic), among others. Along with clarinetist Katie Porter, he founded Red Desert Ensemble whose recent release, Chorochronos was recognized in Tempo as an example of their “extraordinarily devoted work in the performance and promotion of experimental music.” He is the Director of Music Technology and Composition at Westminster University in Salt Lake City, Utah. www.devinmaxwell.net

two musicians on stage Red Desert is the duo project of clarinetist Katie Porter and composer/percussionist Devin Maxwell. We have been performing, commissioning, creating and championing interesting music for almost 20 years. Formerly in Brooklyn, NY and now a remote cabin in the mountains of Utah, our repertoire consists primarily of living composers, especially ones that strive to challenge and enrich our understanding of what music is and can be. Our debut album, CHOROCHRONOS released in 2021 on New York’s Infrequent Seams

Records received rave reviews in THE WIRE, NEIUWE NOTEN, SLUG MAG, TEMPO, A Quarterly Review Of New Music, and is available on vinyl in awesome record stores, art spaces, locally at UMOCA, and has been played on the most underground radio stations world-wide. reddesertensemble.org

Sisters with Transistors is the remarkable untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today. The film maps a new history of electronic music through the visionary women whose radical experimentations with machines redefined the boundaries of music, including Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel.

The history of women has been a history of silence.

As one of the film’s subjects, Laurie Spiegel explains: “We women were especially drawn to electronic music when the possibility of a woman composing was in itself controversial. Electronics let us make music that could be heard by others without having to be taken seriously by the male dominated Establishment.”

With the wider social, political, and cultural context of the 20th century as our backdrop, this all-archival documentary reveals a unique emancipation struggle, restoring the central role of women in the history of music and society at large.

With Laurie Anderson as our narrator, we’ll embark on a fascinating journey through the evolution of electronic music. We’ll learn how new devices opened music to the entire field of sound, how electronic music not only changed the modes of production but in its wide-ranging effects also transformed the very terms of musical thought.

Sisters with Transistors is more than just the history of a music genre: it's the story of how we hear and the critical but little-known role female pioneers play in that story. sisterswithtransistors.com

Lisa Rovner is a French American artist and filmmaker based in London. Her films spring from her fascination with archives and her underlying aspiration to transform politics and philosophy into cinematic spectacle. Rovner has collaborated with some of the most internationally respected artists and brands including Pierre Huyghe, Liam Gillick, Sebastien Tellier, Maison Martin Margiela and Acne. Her films have been presented internationally in art venues and theaters. Currently, she is in development on an episodic comedy about the art world and on a television series about revolutionary architecture. SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS is her first feature documentary.

Michelle Lou headshotMichelle Lou is a composer, performer, and sound artist that works mainly in the realm of electro-acoustic music. Her work has been presented at Wien Modern, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Darmstadt Ferienkurse, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Schloss Solitude, The Festival of New American Music, the MATA Festival in New York City, The 66th American Music Festival at the National Gallery in Washington D.C., The Rainy Days Festival in Luxembourg, Ultima Festival in Oslo, Chance and Circumstance in Brooklyn, and Kammer Klang in London, amongst others. She received degrees in double bass performance and composition from UC San Diego and Stanford University, with additional studies at the Conservatorio G. Nicolini in Piacenza, Italy and the University for Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. She was a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and an Elliott Carter Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. She has taught at the WasteLAnd Summer Composition Course, the Akademie für Neue Musik in Boswil, Switzerland, and as a Visiting Lecturer at Dartmouth College. www.michellelou.com

Nina C Young headshotThe music of composer Nina C. Young (b.1984) is characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of vibrant, arresting, immediacy. Her musical voice mixes elements of the classical canon, modernism, spectralism, American experimentalism, minimalism, electronic music, and popular idioms. Her projects, ranging from concert pieces to interactive installations, strive to create unique sonic environments that explore aural architectures, resonance, and ephemera. Young’s works have been presented by Carnegie Hall, the National Gallery, the Whitney Museum, LA Phil’s Next on Grand, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. Her music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Aizuri Quartet, Either/Or, the JACK Quartet, wild Up, and Yarn/Wire. Winner of the 2015-16 Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome, Young has also received a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Koussevitzky Commission, the Aaron Copland Bogliasco Fellowship in Music, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, Aspen Music Festival's Jacob Druckman Prize, and honors from BMI, IAWM, and ASCAP/SEAMUS.

In 2019, Carnegie Hall commissioned Out of whose womb came the ice with the American Composers Orchestra for baritone, orchestra, electronics, and generative video, commenting on the ill-fated Ernest Shackleton Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-17). Other recent projects include Tread softly, which opened the NY Philharmonic’s Project 19, a violin concerto for Jennifer Koh from the Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Glow that Illuminates, The Glare that Obscures for the American Brass Quintet alongside an immersive audio-visual installation version commissioned by EMPAC showcasing a vertical orientation of their wave field synthesis audio system.

A graduate of McGill University and MIT, Young completed her DMA at Columbia University. She is an Assistant Professor of Composition at USC's Thornton School of Music. She serves as Co-Artistic Director of New York’s Ensemble Échappé. Her music is published by Peermusic Classical. www.ninacyoung.com

Eliane RodrigueÉliane Radigue was born on January 24th, 1932 in Paris, where she still lives and works today. From her Parisian childhood she will keep the memory of a secret initiation into music, mediated by a prudent piano teacher. Then she will continue with the harp, and with singing and composition. But it is through the contact with “musique concrète", alongside Pierre Schaeffer and later Pierre Henry, that Radigue's music will find its genuine path.

Over more than 50 years there will be three distinct periods, each of them marking a rupture while evoking in its own way an inspired exploration of thresholds, of spaces opening up in intervals, and of a dialogue between listening experience and inner experience, personal history and sensible memory.

The first period (1968–1971) is that of work on feedbacks and re-injections, an embryonic phase already signalling extreme preciseness as well as work on thresholds and threatened equilibriums.

The second period that of maturity, spanning thirty years (1971–2001), is characterised by a fruitful production of electronic compositions, indelibly linking her music to the unique beats of the ARP 2500 synthesizer. This period also initiates the elaboration of long forms with subtle variations that blossom and resonate between the story carried by the music and the test of time necessary for its unfolding. The third period, still ongoing, is that of her acoustic works created in close collaboration with musician-accomplices coming from all horizons, bringing an additional relational dimension to a music, which until then had been constructed solitarily.

"Throughout her life, Éliane Radigue has developed a candid, demanding, and inspiring body of work which today influences a whole new generation of musicians." (François Bonnet)

"Back to music after three years of silence … Could have been ‘Elemental II’. Based on the ‘spirit of the elements’. Only the first part of ‘Triptych’ was presented at the premiere, as part of a choreography by Douglas Dunn titled ‘Suite de suite.’” (Éliane Radigue)


Program Notes 

Telegrams is a patient and mostly quiet piece. The sounds of production should be very grainy and very rich. Be very aware of every attack, envelope, sustain and decay of every moment, nudging then into and out of existence. Pauses may be of any duration and should not be consistent. Rather, they should be felt in the moment. A live audio processing app is picking up every detail of both intentional and incidental sounds produced. Every action is audible. Not too loud, but definitely not too soft.

for snare drum and electronics
military marching bands,
drumcore parades,
sharp, staccato rudiments:
the obvious story
of the snare drum,
delicate contrast,
precision and care,
passionate nuance:
a secret love story
of warm resonance cradled
by tension-coupled heads.

With simple technological mediation, the percussionist, our valiant heartthrob, pulses life into the membranes. The drummer reveals interior whispers—resuscitated, amplified, filtered. The drum reveals the drummer.

Heart.throb was written for Mike Compitello’s “Unsnared Drum” project, and was premiered by him on February 14, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas

A three-part composition, respectively: 17’47” 24’23” 19’27”

Back to music after three years of silence…

On the suggestion of Robert Ashley, Douglas Dunn commissioned this piece from Éliane Radigue for choreography. Only the first part of Triptych was staged at the premiere at the Dancehall/Theatre of Nancy on February 27, 1978.

Recorded in the composer’s studio in Paris.

After the premiere of Adnos I in San Francisco in 1974, a group of French students introduced Éliane Radigue to Tibetan Buddhism. When she returned to Paris, she began to explore this spirituality in depth, which slowed her musical production up until 1978. Triptych marks her return to composition, and draws its inspiration from “the spirit of the fundamental elements": water, air, fire, earth. Éliane Radigue likes to add that this has often been useful to her in her moments of research and transitions.

This three-part composition, with its great humility and contemplative simplicity, heralded a new period of work and was the first in a series of masterpieces inspired by Tibetan Buddhism: Adnos II (1980), Adnos III (1981), Songs of Milarepa (1983) with the voices of Lama Kunga Rinpoche and Robert Ashley, “Jetsun Mila” (1986), as well as the Trilogy of Death: Kyema (1988), Kailasha (1991) and Koume (1993). - Manu Holterbach (translation: Mixime Guitton)


The Westminster Concert Series is supported by the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks program and by the Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee Foundation.  

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