Category: Dispatches

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: Elena Demyanenko

In this Dispatch, performance artist Elena Demyanenko discusses and previews her deeply collaborative work welter— originally scheduled to premiere at Roulette in June—and her interest in observing how work and engagement with art will now change and develop.

In welter, three simultaneous solos emerge out of prolonged work with color. The performers occupy a viscous dimension of saturated light, their submergence in which is total. Infected by color virus and noise making, they exhibit symptoms which evince something ancient and essential to emotional survival, complete with an extra-lingual mode of communication that is evocative of invocation, incantation. The performers do not surrender their agency; rather the spell endows them with a more evolved force unmediated by language. The resultant, feverish state enables a direct, non-abstracted, non-symbolic account of desire and its power.

Russian-born Elena Demyanenko (Dance Artist/Director) is a former member of both the Stephen Petronio Company (2003-2008) and the Trisha Brown Dance Company (2009-2012) and has been performing, teaching and choreographing in NYC since 2001. Her most recent multi-media project, echo/archive, premiered at EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY) in the spring of 2018. Blue Room, made in collaboration with Dai Jian, and commissioned by New York Live Arts, was described in The New York Times as “luxurious” and “eloquently meticulous” (Kourlas). Demyanenko was a recipient of a Jerome Robbins Fellowship for the creation of Disparate Bodies with Joseph Poulson, which was choreographed at and subsequently premiered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Elena’s other works have been shown at many prestigious venues including Danspace Project (New York), Garage (Moscow), Movement Research at Judson Church, Dance New Amsterdam, Dixon Place, and at the Architecture of Movement Festival, Yaroslavl, Russia, among others. Also a maker of dance films, Demyanenko was the recipient of a Dance Movies Commission by EMPAC and was nominated for the Dance on Camera Jury Prize for her collaboration on Kino Eye. Demyanenko is a member of the dance faculty at Bennington College and is currently developing a new work titled welter – which will premiere at Roulette in June 2020. www.elenademyanenko.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: 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.

Dispatch: David First

Roulette TV catches up with composer David First. First discusses his work Choir Practice, his ensemble The Western Enisphere, and distance learning and teaching in the time of COVID-19.


DAVID FIRST has always been fascinated by opposites and extremes. At 20 he played guitar with renowned avant-jazz pianist Cecil Taylor in a legendary Carnegie Hall concert. Two years after that he was creating electronic music at Princeton University (recently released on Dais records) and leading a Mummerʼs String Band in Philadelphia parades. He has played in raucous drunken bar bands, semi-legal DIY basements and in pin-drop quiet concert halls with classical ensembles. As a composer First has created everything from finely crafted pop songs to long, severely minimalist droneworks. His opera, The Manhattan Book of the Dead, was staged at LaMama’s Annex Theater (NYC) in 1995 and in Potsdam, Germany in 1996. His 2011 song and video, We Are (with vocals by TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone), was released to much acclaim in the Occupy Movement and was officially released on the compilation Occupy This Album which also featured tracks by Patti Smith, Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Yo La Tengo, Yoko Ono a.o. First’s performances often find him sitting trance-like without seeming to move a muscle, unless he is playing with his psychedelic punk band, Notekillers, at which time he is a whirling blur of hyperactive energy. He has been called “a fascinating artist with a singular technique” in the NYTimes, and “a bizarre cross between Hendrix and La Monte Young” in the Village Voice. A 45 single released in 1980, The Zipper, by Notekillers, was cited by Sonic Youthʼs Thurston Moore as one of the songs he played for the rest of the band when they were starting out. Moore called it a “mind-blowing instrumental single” in the British rock magazine Mojo and “a big influence” in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has had music released on Ecstatic Peace, Prophase, Phill Niblock’s XI, Dais, Razor and Tie, Ants, Jajaguar, CRI, Homestead, and OODiscs. Recent projects include SWATi (Spherical Waveform Audio Trance Induction) – a collaboration with acupuncturist Isobeau Trybula at Worksong Chinese Medicine in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. SWATi is an outgrowth of his Operation:Kracpot which was an internet collaboration with geophysicist Dr. Davis Sentman of the University of Alaska (Fairbanks). Both involve the sonification of the atmospheric phenomena known as the Schumann Resonances and human brainwaves. Other projects include The Western Enisphere an audio/visual exploration of just intonation psycho-phenomena, and the AM Radio Band, which incorporates the repurposing of vintage signal generators, audio oscillators and transistor radios (a recording of which will have a spring release on Robert & Leopold). He is also the proprietor of Dave’s Waves – A Sonic Restaurant installation that has been presented in Lier, Belgium (2002), Berlin (as part of Sonambiente in 2006), Leeuwarden, the Netherlands (2013), Moscow (2018), and Brooklyn (2018-19). First was the recent recipient of the Herb Alpert/Ragdale Award for Music Composition for 2019 and a 2019 NYFA/NYSCA Fellowship. He has also received a Grant to Artists from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, as well as grants and commissions from the NEA, the Copland Foundation, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and the Meet the Composer Commissioning USA program. He has written articles for New Music Box and Leonardo Music Journal, receiving the Leonardo Award for Excellence Honorable Mention for his article, The Music of the Sphere: An Investigation into Asymptotic Harmonics, Brainwave Entrainment, and the Earth as a Giant Bell.


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 and isolation caused by COVID-19.

Dispatch: Jaap Blonk

Dutch avant-garde composer and performance artist Jaap Blonk performs an iteration of a recent piece at home in the Netherlands. His absurd multimedia work YappiScope with live visual accompaniment was originally included in Roulette’s 2020 spring season and has been postponed. Blonk’s latest recordings can be heard here and here.


As a vocalist, the self-taught Dutch composer, performer, and sound poet Jaap Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and keen grasp of structure, even in free improvisation. He has performed around the world, on all continents. With the use of live electronics, and sometimes projection of visuals, the scope and range of his concerts has acquired a considerable extension. Blonk has been performing since the early 70s and has worked with The Ex, Mats Gustafsson, Joan La Barbara, Michael Zerang, John Tchicai, Tristan Honsinger and many others. At the start, Blonk’s unfinished studies in mathematics and musicology mainly created a penchant for activities in a Dada vein, as did several unsuccessful jobs in offices and other well-organized systems. In the last decade, his renewed interest in mathematics made him start a research of the possibilities of algorithmic composition for the creation of music, visual animation, and poetry.


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 and isolation caused by COVID-19.

Dispatch: Simon Hanes

Simon Hanes from Roulette Intermedium on Vimeo.

Roulette TV catches up with composer Simon Hanes, whose performance was originally scheduled for June, via video chat. Hanes talks about working virtually and finding new ways to make art that transfers the impression of proximity with collaborators that are apart.


Tredici Bacci — a 14-piece group of musicians all under the age of 30 — sounds, to the thoughtful listener, like a celebration. A celebration not of a genre of music, but rather of an era, and, more specifically, the aspects of an era which perhaps have been glossed over by conventional history. To that end, Tredici Bacci celebrates the strange, somewhat seedy, schmaltzy and smooth aspects of 1960s-70s popular culture. The songs are cries in honor to the many artifacts which seem now to be the strange leavings of a recently liberated nation — the sensuous oddities leftover from an entirely different world.

Over the last few years, young musician and composer Simon Hanes has worked tirelessly to channel his deep love and infatuation with 1960s / 1970s soundtrack music into his own personal vision and homage to the style through dedicated songwriting, and the integration of the totality of his musical influences. After graduating from New England Conservatory and spending time playing bass in the then-Boston-based No(ise) Wave unit Guerilla Toss, Hanes adopted the “Luxardo” persona as an arranger, composer, conductor, and guitarist, and went on to assemble a band of epic orchestral proportions. Consisting of close friends and fellow classically-trained musicians, the resulting band is the ambitiously sizable 14-piece Tredici Bacci. The band’s first full-length album, Amore Per Tutti, was released by NNA Tapes in November 2016. simonhanes.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 and isolation caused by COVID-19.