Category: Dispatches

Dispatch: Gelsey Bell

In this dispatch, we catch up with vocalist and composer, Gelsey Bell. A frequent collaborator in many projects presented at Roulette—including tonight’s We Can Change the Country—Bell shares her own recent projects including a self-guided soundwalk through Green-Wood Cemetery titled Cairns, online operas with ThingNY, and her newest composition with Varispeed: The Blurring Test—a work which incorporates artist Peggy Wild’s chat bot, asking us to prove humanity to the computer.


Gelsey Bell is a singer, songwriter, and scholar. She has been praised by The New York Times as “one of New York’s most adventurous musicians.” She is a Resident Artist at the HERE Arts Center, has been both a Resident and Commissioned Artist at Roulette, and received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts award for music/sound. She is a core member of thingNY, Varispeed, and the Chutneys. Recent works include the sound walk, Cairns, for Green-Wood Cemetery (available through bandcamp); SubtracTTTTTTTTT and A Series of Landscapes, made with thingNY for live online performance; and shuffleyamamba, created with Yasuko Yokoshi. She has released multiple recordings including Home (the Chutneys), This is Not a Land of Kings, and Empty Words (Varispeed). Performance highlights also include Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway) and Ghost Quartet, Robert Ashley’s Improvement and Crash, and Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens. www.gelseybell.com


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Darius Jones

“I wanted to create a piece that reflects the chaos that I feel our society is in and how we can’t seem to find balance. I’m hoping through witnessing and experiencing art that embodies this, that maybe it helps us find ideas and ways to combat what we are experiencing.”

In a piece inspired by and sharing a title with James Baldwin’s essay “We Can Change the Country” composer, Darius Jones discusses his latest piece premiering this Monday at Roulette on the eve of the 2020 Presidental Election.


Darius Jones has created a recognizable voice as a critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer by embracing individuality and innovation in the tradition of African-American music. Jones has been awarded the Van Lier Fellowship, Jerome Foundation Commission, Jerome Artist-in-Residence at Roulette, French-American Jazz Exchange Award, and, in 2019, the Fromm Music Foundation commission at Harvard University. Jones has released a string of diverse recordings featuring music and images evocative of Black Futurism. His work as a new music composer for voice culminated in a major debut performance at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Jones has collaborated with artists including Gerald Cleaver, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Craig Taborn, Wet Ink Ensemble, Jason Moran, Trevor Dunn, Dave Burrell, Eric Revis, Matthew Shipp, Marshall Allen, Nasheet Waits, Branford Marsalis, Travis Laplante, Fay Victor, Cooper-Moore, Matana Roberts, JD Allen, Matthew Shipp, Nicole Mitchell, Georgia Ann Muldrow, and many more. The New York Times named Jones among the Best Live Jazz Performances of 2017 for his Vision Festival performance with Farmers by Nature. In 2018, Darius premiered across the United States a major new composition entitled LawNOrder, a dramatic commentary on social justice and American politics. Jones’ music is a confrontation against apathy and ego, hoping to inspire authenticity that compels us to be better humans.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Cecilia Lopez

As part of our ongoing Dispatches series, we sit down with Cecilia Lopez at Roulette, to discuss their upcoming collaborative performance El Porvenir: August 1996 happening on Tuesday, October 20.


Cecilia Lopez is a composer, musician and multimedia artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina currently based in New York. Her work explores perception and transmission processes focusing on the relationship between sound technologies and listening practices. She works across the media of performance, sound, installation and the creation of sound devices and systems. Lopez holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College and an MA from Wesleyan University in composition (2016). Her work has been performed and exhibited at Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (AR), Center for Contemporary Arts (Vilnius, Lithuania), Roulette Intermedium, Issue Project Room, Ostrava Days Festival 2011 (Ostrava, Czech Republic), MATA Festival 2012, Experimental Intermedia, Fridman Gallery (NY), Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, Norway) and the XIV Cuenca Biennial, among others. She was a Civitella Ranieri fellow in 2015 and has participated in various international residency programs.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: David Watson and Tony Buck

David Watson and Tony Buck met and started improvising together almost 30 years ago in a loft concert in Brooklyn. The two Antipodeans have shared stages in many parts of the world since then, their music conversation surviving changes in times and instruments. Originally scheduled to perform together at Roulette in April with 75 Dollar Bill guitarist Che Chen, we check in with both in this Dispatch to talk about their longstanding collaboration and respective quarantines.


As an experimental musician, David Watson is drawn to combinations of order and disorder. A guitarist, bagpiper, and advocate for intelligent listening, his work encompasses improvisation and composition in a wide variety of contexts. Originally from New Zealand, he has lived and worked in New York City since 1987. He has worked intensively with a wide range of extraordinary artists, including Chris Abrahams, Robert Ashley, Frisner Augustin, Marcia Bassett, Tony Buck, Che Chen, Anthony Coleman, David First, Alastair Galbraith, Frode Gjerstad, Shelley Hirsch, Samara Lubelski, Chris Mann, Christian Marclay, Sean Meehan, Ikue Mori, Bill Nace, Andrea Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, Talibam!, Yoshi Wada, Alex Waterman, John Zorn, 75 Dollar Bill, amongst many others. His bagpipe work has created a new vocabulary for the instrument. His album for composer Phill Niblock’s XI label Fingering an Idea was described in The Wire as, “shimmering lines piling-up like an old Terry Riley piece.” While his record Throats, on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label, was described by Volcanic Tongue as “brain rearranging massive walls of constantly shifting drone.” Recently, Niblock created a new piece “Bag” using his playing as source material. Watson is in the trio Glacial, an ongoing collaboration with two highly acclaimed partners, Lee Ranaldo and Tony Buck. Watson’s guitar playing was for many years a staple in performances of John Zorn’s seminal piece Cobra. Watson founded and organizes the New York City music performance series WOrK which has presented over fifty concerts since 2015 and is predicated on exploring what experimental means to practitioners today.

Percussionist Tony Buck is one of the most sought after musicians in Europe. Burke has played / toured / recorded with John Zorn, The Ex, Lee Ranaldo, Phil Minton, Evan Parker, Tom Cora, Clifford Jordan, and Otomo Yoshihide among many others.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Jeremiah Cymerman

In this Dispatch, we catch up with composer and clarinetist Jeremiah Cymerman about the last six months, postponed projects and residencies, and what’s coming up in the future, including welcoming him back to Roulette as part of our soon to be announced Fall season.

Jeremiah Cymerman is a New York City-based composer and producer. Since the early 2000s, “the protean composer and improviser has made an indelible mark on NYC’s DIY avant scene” writes the Brooklyn Observer. His recorded output, with multiple releases on Tzadik and his own 5049 Records, has been described by the Wire as “blown out studio creations that merge extended reed techniques with the crushing, airless sonics of black metal.” Since 2013, he has also produced the 5049 Podcast, a weekly program of conversations with contemporary music’s most daring artists such as Oren Ambarchi, Susie Ibarra, Zeena Parkins, Craig Taborn, MV Carbon, Trey Spruance, Ken Vandermark, and more.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Ravish Momin

Percussionist, electronic music producer, and composer Ravish Momin discusses his latest work including Turning Jewels Into Water, a collaboration with percussionist Val Jeanty, dancers Ra Dakini and Ivvy Brynn, and video artist Art Jones. In this, Momin focuses on the importance of broadening public discourse to address multiple critical issues at once—specifically the urgent problem of climate change.


Ravish Momin is a versatile percussionist/composer/ electronic musician. He has studied drumset with master-drummer Andrew Cyrille, and has also studied North Indian Classical percussion. Ravish’s love for the sciences simultaneously led him to obtain a B.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (1994.) He has worked with artists as diverse as pop-star Shakira and legendary saxophonist Maurice McIntyre (early member of the AACM, 1969.) In the past, he led the acclaimed Global/Jazz/Electronic band Tarana on international stages for 14 years and had recorded several albums to critical acclaim. He has also received grants from NewMusic USA, Arts International, Meet The Composer, Chamber Music America and US Artists International. While not on tour he works as a Teaching Artist across NYC with inner-city youth, covering a wide range of subjects such as Snare-drumming, West African and Middle-Eastern percussion, Early Childhood Music and Electronic Music-production.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Cassie Wieland

In this Dispatch, composer and Roulette 2020 commissioned artist Cassie Wieland discusses how the pandemic has brought new focus to her production work in the absence of face to face interactions. Her commissioned work, HYMN is set to premiere at Roulette this fall.

Composer Cassie Wieland (she/her) delves into intimate subject matters of human connection, interaction, and expression in various ways throughout her work, ranging from exploration of found text to forming connections between natural phenomena and everyday life. Wieland masterfully experiments with timbre and texture, specifically through exploring intimate and fragile sounds, to achieve the “hand-made” sound she is often looking for: imperfect, but intentional.

Cassie has been commissioned and performed by line upon line percussion, Ensemble Dal Niente, ~Nois, Unheard-of//Ensemble, Chromic duo, clarinetist Ken Thomson, percussionist Adam Groh, Ritual Action, the Illinois Modern Ensemble, and Great Noise Ensemble, among others. Her music has been featured at events such as the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the SCI National Student Conference, the Red Note New Music festival, the Electronic Music Midwest/Electronic Music Eastern festival, and the Maryland Wind Festival. Cassie has also been twice recognized as an ASCAP Morton Gould finalist and as the 2018 composer in residence for the Maryland Wind Festival. She has recently been named a 2020 Roulette Commissioned Artist and an inaugural Bouman Fellow for the 2019-2020 Kinds of Kings season. Her music has been featured on New Sounds, I Care if You Listen, AnEarful, and The Road to Sound.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Jon Kinzel and Vicky Shick

In this Dispatch, choreographers Jon Kinzel and Vicky Shick discuss collaboration in a time of distance and how their shared practice continues although their performance at Roulette has been postponed.


Jon Kinzel has presented his work, including numerous commissions and solo shows, in a variety of national and international venues. He has received support from foundations, fellowships, and residency programs, and served as a sound designer, dramaturg, and curator. Pacific Terminus, in part, stems from residencies held at Telematic Gallery in San Francisco, and the MacDowell Colony. He feels fortunate to have performed and collaborated with choreographers and artists across several disciplines, contributed to publications such as SCHIZM Magazine, MR Performance Journal, and PAJ: a journal of performance and art, and, to have taught at many institutions of higher learning, the Merce Cunningham Trust, Lincoln Center Education, and Movement Research.

Vicky Shick has been involved in the New York dance community for four decades. She was a member of the Trisha Brown Company and has been making dances since the late eighties. Shick has also created pieces with students at several universities, currently at Yale. In the NYC area she teaches mostly at Movement Research, for the Trisha Brown Company and for 15 years at Hunter College. She has taught internationally including in her home town, Budapest. Shick recently returned from a work-making residency in San Francisco at Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab. She was a two-time Movement Research Artist-In-Residence, two-time Bessie recipient, a grant recipient from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a Guggenheim Fellow and a DiP grantee at Gibney Dance Center.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Morgan Guerin

In this Dispatch, we hear an update from the composer and multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin. His Roulette commission, Wishes, a 50-minute suite featuring a 10 person ensemble draws inspiration from Wayne Shorter’s quote ”write what you wish for.” Originally set to premiere in April 2020 at Roulette, the postponed performance marks Guerin’s transition as a composer into arranging and large ensemble works.

Morgan Guerin is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, and engineer. He has performed with such notables as Terri Lyne Carrington, Ellis Marsalis, Tyshawn Sorey, Esperanza Spalding, Jimmy Cobb, Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott, Stefon Harris, Allen Toussaint, Freddy Cole, Russell Gunn, Amina Figarova, Wallace Roney, and Buster Williams. Guerin was born in Metairie, Louisiana and moved to Atlanta at age 11. The Huntington Post named Morgan’s first album, The Saga one of the best Jazz albums of 2016 and Stereo Gum showcased his sophomore album, The Saga II in their August article for their favorite albums. He has also been featured in Downbeat MagazineThe New York Times and Burning Ambulance. In 2018, Jammcard selected Morgan as one of their “20 under 20” artists. At age 21, Morgan performs regularly with Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, Esperanza Spalding, Amina Figarova Sextet, and Tyshawn Sorey. Also an active mixing engineer, Morgan has helped engineer albums from artists such as Justin Brown, Jesse Fischer, Grüt and Fullmoon Groove. During the fall of 2018, Morgan joined Esperanza Spalding on her 12 Little Spells tour and played bass, Prophet, saxophone, bass drum and sang background vocals, whila also composing the song “How To” from the record with Spalding.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Mary Prescott

In our latest Dispatch, Roulette TV talks with 2020 Roulette Resident composer Mary Prescott about creating during a time of uncertainty.

Mary Prescott is a Thai-American interdisciplinary artist, composer, and pianist who explores the foundations and facets of identity and social conditions through experiential performance. She aims to foster understanding and create pathways for change by voicing emotional and human truths through artistic investigation and dissemination.

Prescott’s output includes several large-scale music-theater works, improvised music, an immersive multimedia chamber opera, a 365-day sound journal, and a film score for Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, as well as solo and chamber concert works. Prescott is a 2019-21 American Opera Projects Composers and the Voice Fellow, a 2019/20 Resident Artist at Roulette Intermedium (NYC), and a 2020 Lanesboro Arts Artist-in-Residence (MN). She has previously held residencies at Hudson Hall, Areté Venue and Gallery, Avaloch Farm Music Institute and Arts Letters and Numbers. In 2019, she was awarded a National Performance Network Creation and Development Grant, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts; an Artist Initiative Grant and an Arts Tour Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She has been commissioned by Roulette Intermedium (NYC, Jerome Foundation), Living Arts (Tulsa), Public Functionary (Minneapolis), Shepherdess Duo (Brooklyn Arts Council), Piano Teachers Congress of NY, and Duo Harmonia (MN State Arts Board). As Co-Founder and inaugural Artistic Director of the Lyra Music Festival at Smith College, Prescott was named a New York Foundation for the Arts Emerging Leader. She has served on faculty at the Goppisberger Music Festival in Switzerland, the Louisiana Chamber Music Institute, and is a Teaching Artist with American Composers Orchestra. Prescott holds degrees from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and Manhattan School of Music.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.