News

35th Seattle Improvised Music Festival CANCELLED!

We are very disappointed to report that due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, we have decided to postpone this year’s Seattle Improvised Music Festival. We hope to make it happen in September, so stay tuned for more info as things solidify. Thank you.

 

The 35th annual Seattle Improvised Music Festival takes place March 11 – 15, 2020. All shows are $5 – $20 suggested donation at the door (no advance tickets, cash/checks only) and are open to all ages. See the full festival schedule for show times, venues, and artist line-up for each event.

Festival organizers Haley Freedlund, Chris Icasiano, and Steve Peters have invited four esteemed visiting artists – clarinetist Ben Goldberg (Bay Area), New York saxophonists Joe McPhee and Sam Newsome, pianist Dana Reason (Corvallis, OR) – to perform featured solo sets and in curated groupings along with a healthy sampling of local artists representing several generations and a wide range of musical activity. This year’s festival is organized with the explicit intention of bridging these generations.

Other festival highlights include a panel discussion led by Dana Reason; a participatory drone session led by saxophonist Bryan Lineberry, an afternoon dance/music show curated by choreographer Lorraine Lau; and a community improvisation session open to musicians at all levels of experience at the Racer Sessions at Cafe Racer.

Presented by Nonsequitur, with generous assistance from 4Culture and the Raynier Institute & Foundation.

34th Seattle Improvised Music Festival

The 34th annual Seattle Improvised Music Festival takes place February 6 – 10, 2019 at five venues around town. All shows are $5 – $20 suggested donation at the door (no advance tickets, cash/checks only) and are open to all ages. See the full festival schedule for show times, venues, and artist line-up for each event.

Festival organizers Haley Freedlund, Chris Icasiano, and Steve Peters have invited a handful of esteemed visiting artists – clarinetist/vocalist Holland Andrews (Portland), electronic musician CK Barlow (Baltimore), vibraphonist Andria Nicodemou (Cyprus/Boston), vocalist/dancer Odeya Nini (Los Angeles), saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi (Los Angeles) – to perform featured solo sets and in curated groupings along with twelve locals representing several generations and a wide range of musical activity.

Other festival highlights include a rare appearance by Banned Rehearsal, a Seattle improvising collective that has been playing privately for 35 years; an afternoon dance/music show curated by renowned choreographer Stephanie Skura; a tribute to recently deceased SIMF founder Paul Hoskin featuring 20+ veteran Seattle improvisers; and community improvisation sessions open to musicians at all levels of experience at Couth Buzzard Books and the Racer Sessions at Cafe Racer.

Presented by Nonsequitur, with generous assistance from the Raynier Institute & Foundation.

Pushing 30, Looking Ahead

It’s hard to believe that Nonsequitur is about to enter its 30th year. But here we are, on the threshold of adulthood at last! Approaching this next big anniversary, it feels like a good time to reassess and make some resolutions for the future.

Seattle has a remarkably rich and diverse avant music community, with many artists across multiple generations doing excellent work that rarely attracts large audiences and finds few hospitable venues. The extent of this activity is astonishing; consider that the ten nights per month of the Wayward Music Series are consistently booked six to eight months out with challenging and innovative music and sonic art that relatively few people are aware of – contemporary classical, free improvisation, abstract electronic music, and other experimental oddities. We’d like to see those artists stick around. But as more and more Seattle artists are forced out of town by the current housing crisis, it seems urgent that we deepen our commitment to those who remain.

Seattle’s ongoing feeding frenzy of inflated home prices, skyrocketing rents, and bidding wars inevitably leads to the displacement of the working class, people of color, and artists. As neighborhood after neighborhood falls to speculative development, the entire city becomes unaffordable for anyone who didn’t buy early or isn’t making six figures. People do what they can to hang on – downsize, work extra day jobs, hustle more mainstream music gigs, get roommates, rent out rooms on AirBnB, give up studio spaces. But many are leaving, sometimes to the (slightly) cheaper suburbs (where the process repeats), and often to another city or state or country entirely.

So an adjustment of our priorities seems warranted. Nonsequitur will still subsidize the Wayward Series at the Chapel, and we will continue to present one or two shows each month as part of it. But in the coming year and for the indefinite future, we intend to shift our focus away from bringing in artists from out of town and to instead devote those resources to supporting local artists – especially those who do not own homes or have comfy day jobs – with more substantial artist fees and help with ambitious projects that they might not otherwise be able to afford to do.

We know this is a drop in the ocean, that Seattle is probably destined to become the next Bay Area or New York City, that people will still leave. But we feel obligated to show solidarity with those who are the lifeblood of our local cultural scene, and who are still valiantly trying to make a go of it.

Onward!