Le Salon de Roulette

Wednesday, December 4, 1991 @ 9:00 am

Food, Drink, Performances. A casual soirée for Roulette supporters. Thanks!

With  brief performances by “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Nicolas Collins with Ben Neill, Shelley Hirsch & David Weinstein, and Impossible Music (laser kalimba quintet with Weinstein, Collins along with David Shea, Tim Spelios, and Ted Greenwald).

Pictured: Shelley Hirsch photographed at Roulette around this time (photo by Lona Foote) and the program for the event.


Shelley Hirsch is an award-winning, critically acclaimed vocalist, composer, and storyteller whose mostly solo compositions, staged multimedia works, improvisations, radio plays, installations and collaborations have been produced and presented in concert halls, clubs, festivals, theaters, museums, galleries and on radio, film and television on 5 continents. Hirsch began touring at age 19 in an experimental theater company in the SF Bay area and brings many of those concepts to her work today. She has been called a fountain of sonic mercury and has a virtuosic command of extended vocal techniques and vocal styles, imparting an enormous versatility to her music. Whether on her written narrative works such as O Little Town of East New York, her homage and virtual duet with the late great Jerry Hunt, or her stream of consciousness free improvisations, she uses the body as the storage house of memory to bring her unique music storytelling to life. Hirsch can be heard on over 70 commercial recordings, including several improvised music collaborations on FMP and several of her composed works and collaborations on Tzadik. She is the 2017 recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts fellowship and remains both internationally renowned and an essential figure of New York’s avant-garde downtown scene. —Bio as of 2019

Composer/pianist Robert Sheff became “Blue” Gene Tyranny for the Genetic Transformations, a performance piece he created while touring with a rock band in the early 1970’s “Blue’s” compositions include The Driver’s Son (a 36-scene audio-storyboard for voices, orchestra and electronics), a song cycle, Somewhere in Arizona, The Invention of Memory, the field research procedure Archaeo-acoustics, How To Discover Music In The Sounds Of Your Daily Life, The Keys, and Holding Hands; Harvey Milk (Portrait) and Random Arrest, The Drifter and The De-certified Highway of Dreams. He composed the harmonies (chords) and piano improvisations for the original text of Robert Ashley’s opera-for-television “Perfect Lives” and has also created dance, theatre and film scores. “Blue” has received Obie, and Bessie Awards, been nominated for a Grammy, and has worked with Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, Carla Bley, John Cage, Leroy Jenkins, Iggy Pop, and many others. His pianism and spontaneous playing have received enthusiastic reviews: “The most inspired piano performance I’ve ever heard…God plays the piano through this man…”(Village Voice), “Tyranny reaches for the heart, not only the mind” (i/e). The Grammy-nominated “Take Your Time” and previous recordings are available from Lovely Music, CRI, New World, and Nonesuch/Elektra. “Detours” (2012) and a forthcoming re-issue of a 1979 work “Trust in Rock” are produced by Unseen Worlds. “Blue’s” music is discussed in N. V. Gagne’s Sonic Transports and Soundpieces 2, W. Duckworth’s Talking Music, K. Gann’s American Music in the 20th Century, and in numerous other publications. —Bio as of 2019

New York born and raised, Nicolas Collins lived most of the 1990s in Europe, where he was Visiting Artistic Director of Stichting STEIM (Amsterdam), and a DAAD composer-in-residence in Berlin. He is editor-in-chief of the Leonardo Music Journal, and a Professor in the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His book, Handmade Electronic Music – The Art of Hardware Hacking (Routledge), has influenced emerging electronic music worldwide. Collins has the dubious distinction of having played at both CBGB and the Concertgebouw. —Bio as of 2019

Composer/performer Ben Neill is the inventor of the mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument, and is widely recognized as a musical innovator through his recordings, performances and installations. Neill’s music blends influences from electronic, jazz, and minimalist music, blurring the lines between digital media and acoustic instrument performance. He has been called “a creative composer and genius performer” (Time Out NY),”the mad scientist of dancefloor jazz” (CMJ), and “a musical powerhouse, a serious and individual talent” (Time Out London). A native of North Carolina, Neill is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music. Since 2008 he has been a music professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey. —Bio as of 2019

David Weinstein (born 1954 in Chicago) is an American musician and composer. He has been cited as avant garde and postmodern by The New York Times. He has performed his compositions in musical groups such as Impossible Music (with Nicolas Collins), and in collaboration with visual artists. In 1978, with Jim Staley and Dan Senn, Weinstein co-founded the avant-garde music institution Roulette Intermedium. In 1992, along with Shelley Hirsch, he won the international Prix Futura award for excellence in the radio “docu-musical” O Little Town of East New York. —Bio as of 2019