Email not displaying correctly? View this email in your browser.
Improv Notes: November 2016
International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation logo.
Improv Notes is a monthly newsletter distributed by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

Seasons Greetings from IICSI


Happy Holidays from all of us at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation and Improv Notes! We wish you a joyous holiday season and peace, health, & cheer in 2017! 
See you in the New Year!

Canadians in Europe - Lina Allemano

Titanium Riot: (l to r) Ryan Driver, Lina Allemano, Nick Fraser, Rob Clutton. Photo by fedge.
Toronto trumpeter/composer Lina Allemano toured Europe this November and December, beginning with a Celebration of the Life and Music of Ken Aldcroft in Berlin Nov. 6 with Peter van Huffel saxophone; Achim Kaufmann piano; Meinrad Kneer bass and Rudi Fischerlehner drums. Allemano went on to concerts in Switzerland with Claudia Ulla Binder, Jan Schlegel, and Jonas Labhart’s Swanky Mothers with Beat Gisler and Marius Peyer. She returned to the European circuit on November 23 with her group Titanium Riot, featuring Ryan Driver analog synth, Rob Clutton electric bass, and Nick Fraser drums, on a tour that took the group to Berlin, Zurich, Altbüron, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Cologne, Ulrichsberg, and Vienna, before returning to more familiar territory at the Tranzac, and the Music Gallery on December 20.

Short Takes...


Evan Parker, John Edwards, John Russell
..... A recent installment of the London Jazz News covers a November 2016 recording by Evan Parker (with John Russell and John Edwards), made at 186 Joe Street E17 in North East London: the same address where, almost exactly 55 years earlier, Parker journeyed in a dilapidated Ford to hear the John Coltrane Quintet with Eric Dolphy, McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman and Elvin Jones.
..... The University of California-Santa Barbara Cylinder Audio Archive now offers the chance to download or stream a digital collection of more than 10,000 cylinder recordings. “This searchable database,” says UCSB, “features all types of recordings made from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including popular songs, vaudeville acts, classical and operatic music, comedic monologues, ethnic and foreign recordings, speeches and readings.” The archive also has a number of privately-made recordings.
..... VICE Magazine has posted a video of an interview with Inuk experimental throat singer Tanya Tagaq by award-winning novelist Joseph Boyden. The two First Nations artists worked together on the 2014 ballet Going Home Star; Truth and Reconciliation, about the Canadian residential school system, and their conversation covers music, Tagaq’s latest record as an "alarm call to start treating people better and the earth better," and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's commitment to indigenous rights.

Artist of the Month: Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016)

Accordionist / improviser / composer Pauline Oliveros passed away November 24 at the age of 84. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Oliveros played accordion since the age of nine, and at sixteen decided to become a composer. She moved to California to study composition, and throughout the 1950s carried out early experiments with tape, and became colleagues with fellow composers Terry Riley, Stuart Dempster, and Loren Rush. Oliveros was the first director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center (now the Center for Contemporary Music). When the Center moved to Mills College, she became its first director. Throughout the 1970s she taught at Mills, and then at the University of California San Diego.  In 1981, she left her tenured academic position and moved to upstate New York to pursue her work as a performer, composer and facilitator.
A renewed focus in improvising was reflected in the way that her casual joking about “deep listening,” to describe a 1989 performance in a particularly reverberant underground space in Port Townsend, Washington, soon became a way of describing a way of being in the world. “In hearing,” Oliveros said, “the ears take in all the sound waves and particles and deliver them to the audio cortex where the listening takes place. We cannot turn off our ears–the ears are always taking in sound information–but we can turn off our listening. I feel that listening is the basis of creativity and culture. How you’re listening, is how you develop a culture and how a community of people listens, is what creates their culture.”
In turn, Deep Listening presented an attitude towards improvisation that built a community of performers who found it a welcome, and welcoming, alternative to other, more jazz-based, improvising paradigms. Throughout her career Oliveros is remembered as being continually generous, continually inclusive. In a piece in the Wire, Louise Gray wrote, “Oliveros will be remembered for many things: her music; her deeply humane listening practice; her gifts for friendship, for educating and communicating. But let her also be remembered as a writer, a polemicist, who continually brought to the fore the way that women were not represented in the arts.”


International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation LogoThe International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) is a partnered research institute building from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) project, “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” (ICASP).
The Institute’s research team is comprised of 58 scholars from 20 different institutions. IICSI's partners include six academic institutions (University of Guelph; McGill University; Memorial University of Newfoundland; University of British Columbia; University of Regina; University of California, Santa Barbara), a foundation partner (Musagetes), and over 30 community-based organizations. The Institute's mandate is to create positive social change through the confluence of improvisational arts, innovative scholarship, and collaborative action.

IICSI Wins SSHRC Impact Award


Ajay Heble (left) with SSHRC President Ted Hewitt
The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) has recently been awarded a top research honour from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). IICSI Director Ajay Heble accepted the 2016 SSHRC Impact Award in the Partnership category at a November 22nd event in Ottawa, saying “I am thrilled about the recognition this prestigious award will bring to the University, and to the work we have been doing at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.”
IICSI’s team is comprised of 58 scholars from 20 different institutions, six academic partnering institutions, and more than 30 community partners. Heble accepted the award on behalf of IICSI and award co-applicants, Daniel Fischlin (U. Guelph), Eric Lewis (McGill), Jesse Stewart (Carleton), and Ellen Waterman (Memorial U. of Newfoundland), stating that “this award is very much about the whole research team,” he said, “and is a testament to the work being undertaken by a vital, resilient and socially engaged community of scholars and partners.”
The award brings with it a $50,000 grant for research, promotion, knowledge mobilization, or related activities. IICSI will make a plan, over the coming months, for how to use this funding to best promote improvisation, share stories of impact, and communicate with a range of public stakeholders about the work IICSI does. The award recognizes IICSI’s work to date, and will enable us to further document and share the many ways in which improvisation can lead to beautiful, provocative music; generate beneficial impacts for individuals and communities; and help practitioners in a range of sectors to become more innovative in their work.
You can learn more about all the awardees on the SSHRC website: 

P.J. Perry Inducted into Order of Canada

A ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa November 17 admitted a number of new members to the prestigious Order of Canada. Membership is bestowed on Canadians who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of education, business, science, medicine, arts, and culture, and this year’s new members included editor/publisher Phyllis Bruce, visual artist Abraham Anghik Ruben, and writers Rohinton Mistry and Joseph Boyden. Another new member was Paul John Perry Guloien of Edmonton, who is better known as the jazz alto saxophonist P.J. Perry. For over half a century, Perry has been known for his improvising imagination, and instrumental virtuosity; at age 74 he remains, in Mark Miller’s words, “Canada’s pre-eminent bop altoist.” In a CBC interview with Wallis Snowdon acknowledging his Order of Canada recognition, Perry said, “When you're trying to master anything, it requires dedication, and a lot of work and a lot of time and patience. And for people like myself with perfectionist tendencies, it can be frustrating at times. The good news is that if you persevere, and love what you're doing enough to persevere, then there comes a time when it turns from frustration to a very high form of communication with the external world.” Congratulations P.J.!

Dong-Won Kim in Ottawa


Korean master percussionist Dong-Won Kim was IICSI’s 2014-15 Improviser-in-Residence, and this fall has been musical artist-in-residence at Carleton University.  Kim has taught weekly lessons in Korean rhythms, and given lectures on topics such as “Rhythm for Designing Space,” “Composition in Improvisation,” and “Movement in Sound, Sound in Movement.” He also performed with pianist James McGowan, IICSI researcher Jesse Stewart, and in Prince Edward County, with Stewart and baritone saxophonist David Mott. Alayne McGregor’s excellent interview with Dong-Won Kim can be read at

Rhythm Changes in Amsterdam (Aug 31-Sep 3, 2017)

The Fifth International Rhythm Changes Conference ‒ “Re/Sounding Jazz” ‒ will take place at the Conservatory of Amsterdam from August 31 to September 3, 2017. The event is delivered in partnership with the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam, Birmingham City University, the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, CHIME, and a number of academic publishers and journals. “Re/Sounding Jazz” will be the largest event of its kind world-wide, with close to 150 participants expected. Keynote speakers will include IISCI researcher Sherrie Tucker (Professor of American Studies, University of Kansas), and Wolfram Knauer (Director, Jazzinstitut Darmstadt). The Conference committee welcomes individual papers and proposals for panels and roundtable discussions. Send abstracts and event queries to Prof. Walter van de Leur at by March 1, 2017.

Quote of the Month

The past is always with us, and the future is not something that happens to us but something we make happen by acting now. We are all creating our futures now, at this moment, and each of us will play a role in the future of the world … It’s the doing that counts and then the doing again and again. The privilege of doing. Because the impossibly terrible either has happened or will happen to you, as well as the impossibly wonderful. Learn to expect the unexpected.

--Playwright Judith Thompson, on the occasion of receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the November 17 convocation ceremony at Queens University.

Improv Notes

Improv Notes was initially distributed in 2008 as a quarterly newsletter. From June 2011 until September 2014 Improv Notes was assembled, written, and distributed on a monthly basis by Paul Watkins. As of October 2014, Improv Notes is edited and written by PhD candidate David Lee and assembled by administrative assistant Rachel Collins. If you have anything improvisation related that you would like included in the newsletter, please send an email to

Unsubscribe | Update your profile | Forward to a friend

International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation 

Room 042 MacKinnon Building, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1

Tel: 519.824.4120 Ext. 53885 | Email:

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
IICSI · MacKinnon 042 · University of Guelph · Guelph, ON N1G 2W1 · Canada

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp