American debut for Else Olsen S

With concerts at different venues in New York, this spring marks the American debut for Norwegian pianist and composer Else Olsen S. The premiere took place on April 10th when Olsen S. performed free improvisations by Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff and herself -together with the same Oliveros and Wolff as well as with Fred Firth and Øyivind Storesund.

Else Olsen S 2007

Translated by Christian Lysvåg

“The piano orchestra is made up of clubs, flutes, kazoo, musical boxes, bird flutes, "the bent cow", singing bolts, harmonica and bolt e-bow, in addition to piano preperations”, writes Olsen S. in a press release that also features the following program:

April 10th: “Four sides to everything I”
Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff, Øyvind Storesund, Else Olsen S.
Works by: Oliveros, Wolff and Olsen S.
Venue: The Renee Weiler Concert Hall, Greenwich House Music School,46 Barrow St, NYC. and Greenwich House Music School’s

April 13th: “Four sides to everything II”
Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff, Øyvind Storesund and Else Olsen S.
Works by: Oliveros, Wolff Olsen S. and free improvisation.
Venue: New York, Kingston Alternative books, 7 pm.

May 11th: Pauline Oliveros and Else Olsen S.
New York: The Stone: Corner of Avenue C and 2nd street.

May 12th: Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, and Else Olsen S.
New York: The Stone: Corner of Avenue C and 2nd street.

About the musicians:
Pauline Oliveros (accordion) is a composer and performer and an important pioneer in American contemporary music. Improvisation, electronic music, teaching and meditation are central parts of Oliveros’ musical activities. She often makes use of the sounds of the actual environs in her musical performance. Oliveros plays accordion tuned in two different systems of intonation and she also makes use of electronics to create different timbres and in order to include and transform the spatial acoustics.

Pauline Oliveros has written a number of pieces for soloists and ensemble. She was the first leader of the Center for Contemporary Music (formerly Tape Music Center at Mills College), and she led the Center for Music Experiment throughout the fourteen years she was professor of music at University of California in San Diego. Today Oliveros holds the post of “Distinguished Research professor of Music” at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Darius Milhaud Composer in Residence at Mills College, and mentor at Bard College’s summer MFA program.

Fred Frith (guitar) is a composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist. For more than thirty years he has worked in the field of tension and merger between rock and contemporary music. Frith was among the founders of the British underground band Henry Cow (1968-78). Towards the end of the seventies he moved to New York where he got to know musicians such as John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins and Bob Ostertag. He played in groups such as Massacre (with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher, Skeleton Crew (with Tom and Zeena) and Keep the Dog, a sextet that played many of Frith’s compositions. From the early eighties Frith started composing for dance, film and theatre. And he wrote for groups like Rova Sax Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Arditiii Quartet and Asko Ensemble. He is perhaps best known as a guitarist and he has featured in numerous contexts and constellations. He has also played bass in John Zorn’s Naked City and violin in Lars Hollmer’s Looping Home Orchestra.

Øyvind Storesund (double bass) is educated in classical music and jazz performance. He is involved in expressions such as free improvisation and alternative rock. He plays in Cloroform, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Ciculatione Total Orchestra and Kaizer’s Orchestra. He has recorded and toured with the likes of Peter Brötzman (Ger) Jeb Bishop (US) and Kaada/Mike Patton (US)

Christian Wolff (piano) studied piano with Grete Sultan and, for a short period, composition with John Cage. He is influenced by John Cage, Morton Friedman, David Tudor, and Earle Browne and his collaborations with Cornelius Cardew and Frederic Rzewski have been important. A distinctive trait of much of Wolff’s music is the leeway it gives the performer, and thus the many different possible results performing a single piece may yield.
In 2004 Wolff was rewarded a honorary doctorate at the California Institute of the Arts.

Else Olsen S. plays piano and “prepared” piano, and also Hardanger fiddle. She was educated at Stavanger College, The Ole Bull academy in Bergen, The State Academy of Music in Oslo, and with Christian Wolff in the US.

Else Olsen S. works with recent music and has specialized on “prepared” piano. Her master thesis “The prepared piano –a kaleidoscope of timbre” documents Olsen S’s experiments with this instrument.

In the free improvisation trio Adeaforon she plays piano, prepared piano and toy piano. With the dance ensemble Rød Flux she has contributed dance choreography in addition to the music for the piece “Less III”

Else Olsen S. works with Norwegian composers of which several have written special prepared piano pieces for her. Lately she has increasingly been composing herself. Olsen S. has explored new ways of preparing the piano, and she has focused on open-form compositions.

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