Violinist Tom Chiu Meets Digital Media: New Works by Special Guests David First, Elise Kermani, and Michael Schumacher

Friday, December 12, 2008. 8:30 pm

Violinist and composer-improvisor Tom Chiu brings together three pioneering musicians working in digital media—David First, Elise Kermani, and Michael Schumacher—all of whom he has cultivated ongoing collaborative relationships for over a decade, as duos and in larger formats. Tonight, each composer will construct a unique sonic environment resulting from either computer generated processes or other electronic producers of sound. Chiu will create and respond in counterpoint to each environment, drawing on his groundbreaking explorations in extended techniques and new vocabularies on the violin. The resulting soundscapes with three diverse sound artists will showcase the true versatility of a storied instrument, when placed within the context of contemporary digital media.

Violinist Tom Chiu has received wide acclaim for his performances as a soloist, chamber artist, and experimental improvisor. Particularly noted for his endeavors in new music, Chiu has performed over 100 premieres worldwide and has worked closely with composers such as Larry Austin, Virko Baley, Michael Byron, Annie Gosfield, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Somei Satoh, Elliott Sharp, Roberto Sierra, Ushio Torikai, and John Zorn. Also passionately drawn to the improvisational world, he has worked with David Chesky, Bobby Few, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Roscoe Mitchell, and Ornette Coleman, with whom he appeared at the Ornette at 75 Festival at the Walker Arts Center in 2005. His discography includes recordings for the Chesky, Cold Blue Music, Innova, Koch, Mode, Sombient, and Tzadik labels.

In addition to the pure music context, Chiu has worked extensively in mixed media, and has cultivated numerous collaborations with pioneers of various genres and idioms. He has created new works in duo projects with vocal pioneer/sound-artist Joan La Barbara, conceptual balloon artist Judy Dunaway, and ambient-drone guitarist David First. He has also worked extensively in the dance world, and has composed for and/or performed with noted choreographers such as Shen Wei, Christopher Wheeldon, Eun-Me Ahn, I-Fang Wu, Clara Gibson Maxwell, and Desmond Richardson. With visionary director Lee Breuer, he has been music director and featured violinist for productions by avant theater troupe Mabou Mines.

With the FLUX Quartet, of which he is founder and first violinist, Chiu has appeared at festivals and music centers worldwide, including the Melbourne Festival, the Samuel Beckett Centenary in Dublin, and When Morty Met John at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, curated by La Barbara, series Artistic Director. Widely regarded as “one of the most fearless and important new-music ensembles around,” (San Francisco Chronicle) the FLUX performed the sublime six-hour String Quartet No.2 by Morton Feldman (Mode Records) during the opening season of Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. More information on FLUX can be found at