Tag: Support Roulette

Make a Difference for Artists Like Mary Halvorson

Everything we present at Roulette is underscored by two questions: “What do you want to do, and how can we help?” To us, this question will always be fundamental for the healthy longevity of art and—most importantly—for the wonderful people who make and enjoy it.

One of these extraordinary artists, 2019 MacArthur Award Winner Mary Halvorson, shares just how broadly your support has strengthened the lives of so many, including her own:

I have been going to shows at Roulette since 1999, when it was located in Jim Staley’s loft in TriBeca. For these 20 years, Roulette has been going strong—supporting and encouraging creative and experimental artists in all stages of their careers.

Roulette was one of the first organizations to award me a commission in my twenties. This commission was hugely important to me and was the push I needed to form my longstanding quintet. Since then, Roulette has invited me to present diverse projects of my choosing, allowing me complete artistic freedom to experiment and explore.

I am also a member, and enjoy attending concerts. There is a real feeling that Roulette is 100% a platform for artists, run by artists. They always have terrific programming. Within any given season, it’s particularly exciting to see Roulette nurture and support emerging artists, alongside many of my musical heroes.

Roulette would be nothing without the people—like Mary, like you—who have come together in curiosity with us over the past 41 years. As long as we’re here, Roulette will never stop supporting artists, will never stop shining as a beacon for the underground, and will never stop needing the amazing community of people who make this work possible.

2019 MacArthur Genius Mary Halvorson is a guitarist, ensemble leader, and composer who is pushing against established musical categories with a singular sound on her instrument and an aesthetic that evolves with each new album and configuration of bandmates. She melds her jazz roots with elements of experimental rock, folk, and other musical traditions, reflecting a wide range of stylistic influences. One of New York City’s most in-demand guitarists, over the past decade Halvorson has worked with such diverse musicians as Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Dieterich, Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Jessica Pavone, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot and John Zorn.

Matana Roberts — “I’m traveling the world, doing my work because of Roulette.”

Artists are thought leaders and culture producers who challenge us to think, talk, and engage with one another in openness and curiosity. Yet they and their work remain fundamentally undervalued and underfunded in the very society they so strongly enrich. Put simply: artists can’t thrive without committed organizations on their side, and Roulette can’t thrive without caring individuals like you on ours.

Roulette had the privilege of commissioning the extraordinary Matana Roberts when she first moved to NYC in 2007, and for many iterations since. Matana recently shared onstage how much that initial support meant at a time when she needed it most:

I get a phone call from Artistic Director Jim Staley, and I might be paraphrasing but I think he said, “Would you like some money?” I’ll never forget it, I was like, “YES. I would like some money! What am I supposed to do with it?” And he said, “Anything you want to do.” From that initial commission, I was able to create the work that I’m still working diligently on: COIN COIN.

I cannot impress upon you enough that I have a career because of Roulette. I’m eating regularly because of Roulette. I’m traveling the world, doing my work because of Roulette.

The thousands of artists Roulette welcomes to its stage each year, like Matana, deserve serious, lucrative opportunities to get started, and just as many opportunities to keep going. Your support makes this all possible—and it makes all the difference.

Matana Roberts is an internationally recognized, Chicago-born saxophonist and multidisciplinary sound conceptualist working in various mediums of performance inquiry. She is well-known for her acclaimed Coin Coin project, a multi-chapter work of “panoramic sound quilting” that aims to expose the mystical roots and channel the intuitive spirit-raising traditions of American creative expression.


Roberts celebrated the record release of Coin Coin Chapter IV: Memphis at Roulette on November 17, 2019.