Photo Credit: Human Artist Photography
From djembe to Nintendo Gameboy to contrabass flute to drum set, A/B Duo’s no-limits instrumentation and imaginative concert programming has delighted audiences all over the United States since 2013. Made up of flutist Meerenai Shim and percussionist Christopher G. Jones, A/B Duo has made a mark for its “fresh, vibrant new music” and “commitment to widening the repertoire.” (Fanfare Magazine)
A/B Duo appears in concert throughout the United States, with performances at The Green Mill in Chicago, Spectrum in New York City, The Center for New Music in San Francisco, and the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, in addition to the Eastman School of Music and Oberlin Conservatory. A group with notoriety beyond the classical and new music world, A/B also performed at the video game and indie music festival Rockage 4.0.
The acclaimed duo is proud to have commissioned new work from American composition’s best established talent and rising stars, including Drew Baker, Zack Browning, Andrea La Rose, Ned McGowan, Brendon Randall-Myers, Ivan Trevino, and Ken Ueno. Many of these commissions can be heard on their full-length album, Variety Show on the Aerocade Music label, and on their debut 2013 EP, Things We Dream About. Their albums and performances have enjoyed warm reviews from outlets across the United States, including Cleveland Classical, Chicago Classical Review, The Flute View, and ArtsATL, among others.
Among their many diverse projects, A/B Duo created a fully functional video game in lieu of a music video to accompany their game-themed commission from Matthew Joseph Payne, Echoloquacious. Play the game and learn more here.
Aerocade release: Variety Show
Photo Credit: Tara Luz Stevens
San Francisco-based cellist Hannah Addario-Berry has been delighting music lovers around the world for over a decade. Specializing in chamber music and solo repertoire, Hannah is passionately committed to performing music by living composers. Along with her exquisite cello playing, Hannah’s warmth and unique presentation style enables listeners to forge a deeper connection with music.
In 2015, Hannah created Scordatura, an innovative project combining Zoltán Kodály’s monumental Sonata for Solo Cello with a series of newly commissioned works, all of which share a unique altered tuning of the cello. Scordatura celebrated the centenary of Kodály’s Sonata and explored a new sound space for solo cello. Hannah performed the program in 25 cities around the US and Canada and recorded Scordatura in early 2016. Her previous album, Lady in the East, features music for solo cello by the Canadian composer Stephen Brown and was reviewed by Gramophone Magazine in October 2014.
An avid and versatile chamber musician, Hannah performs regularly with many ensembles, including the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players as well as Other Minds and Switchboard Music Festivals in San Francisco, Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival in northern California, and Music By The Sea in British Columbia. From 2006-2010 Hannah was cellist with the renowned Del Sol String Quartet, during which time the quartet performed more than 50 world premieres and recorded two highly acclaimed albums, Ring of Fire: Music from the Pacific Rim and First Life: String Quartets of Marc Blitzstein.
Hannah’s love of chamber music began early and acquired momentum when she was invited to join McGill University’s prestigious Lloyd Carr-Harris String Quartet, which went on to perform in France and Italy, including the Casalmaggiore Music Festival. For her graduate work, she chose San Francisco Conservatory’s Masters in Chamber Music, where she collaborated with artists such as Menahem Pressler, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Ian Swensen, and Jodi Levitz.
Aerocade release: Scordatura
ALCHYMIE & GREGG SKLOFF
Photo Credits: Mila Bridger / Justin Brauner
In late 2013, Gregg made the acquaintance of keyboardist/vocalist/composer Jennifer Theuer Ruzicka & her musical project Alchymie. Initiated in January 2015, and over a year in the making, their collaboration The Kuiper Belt seeks to evoke our Solar System’s far reaches beyond the planets. Alchymie’s richly detailed arrangements envelop Gregg Skloff’s majestic contrabass tones in atmospheres of grandeur, by turns both ominous and serene.
Alchymie was started in 2013 by pianist, keyboardist, vocalist and composer Jennifer Theuer Ruzicka as a platform for her instrumental and alternate pop recordings. The art of alchemy is believed to have the power of transformation, much like music does with its listeners. Alchymie focuses mostly on the piano, but also uses electronic sounds generated by keyboards and sound generators with effect processing to meld the acoustic piano sound with ambient soundscapes, electronica and even ambient drone qualities, to paint alchemical atmospheres of sound. Alchymie does not limit itself to only piano and keyboards, but will often incorporate other instruments such as Native American flute, guitar, percussion, sound loops, and field recordings for projects or performances with a conceptual focus.
Jennifer began piano at the age of 6, went on to study classical piano,and within the contemporary, pop, ambient & experimental genres has been performing and composing professionally for over 25 years. She has worked internationally as a solo artist, with major label artists, and independent artists, on radio, television, visual installations and the stage. Among those artists are R&B recording artist Alexander O’Neal, former Paisley Park recording artist David “T.C.” Ellis, and Mallia “The Queen of Funk” Franklin from the original Brides of Funkenstein with Parliament Funkadelic. She has also performed and recorded with legendary Czech artists such as Pavel Bobek, Karel Sucha, HelenaVondrackova, and the Czech alt-rock jazz group, Laura a Jeji Tygri (Laura and Her Tigers).With an open mind and an experimental approach towards her art, Jennifer Theuer Ruzicka continues to follow Alchymie in music always searching for the beauty of transformation.
Noticing contrabassist Gregg Skloff carrying his instrument on a city sidewalk, a passing stranger once asked him, “Classical or jazz?”
Gregg’s reply: “All of the above AND BEYOND!”
This remark, while glib, is quite apt; as his album The Glacial Enclosure (Eiderdown Records, 2016) – along with his other work – can demonstrate, Gregg Skloff manages to combine and transcend many lineages and languages of composition and improvisation.
Gregg’s scope has encompassed various forms and hybrids of rock, folk, jazz, chamber music, noise, sound-object installation, and non-idiomatic improvisation. Over the past decade, his solo efforts have largely inhabited the realm of minimal electro-acoustic ambient drone, heard to profound effect on albums such as This Time The Ride Belongs To Us (2014), The eye is the egg (2013), and Ultraviolet Phase Transition Blues (2012).
Based in the Pacific Northwest since 1997, Gregg Skloff has played in ensembles led by Bhob Rainey, John Gruntfest, Urs Leimgruber, Moe! Staiano, Matana Roberts, and Gino Robair, among others. He has been a member of The Naked Future (also featuring bass clarinetist Arrington de Dionyso, pianist Thollem McDonas, and drummer John Niekrasz), whose album Gigantomachia was released by ESP-Disk’ in 2009. A resident of Astoria, OR since 2010, Gregg hosts the “And Otherness” program on Coast Community Radio, where his affinity for innovative, ethereal, and/or outré sounds has led writer Robert Ham to describe him as “one of the Oregon coast’s finest supporters of experimental music.”
ELIZABETH A. BAKER
Photo Credit: Charlotte Suarez
Celebrated for her “terrifying dynamic range,” cleanliness of sound, as well as unique sensitivity and ability to sculpt her performance for the acoustics of a space, Elizabeth A. Baker is a dramatic performer with an honest, near psychic connection to music, which resounds with audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds. As a creator, her understanding of sonic space from organic intuition and studies in music production, pair with a unique eclectic voice, making for a spatial and auditory experience of music. Eschewing the collection of traditional titles that describe single elements of her body of work, Elizabeth refers to herself as a “New Renaissance Artist” that embraces a constant stream of change and rebirth in practice, which expands into a variety of media, chiefly an exploration of how sonic and spatial worlds can be manipulated to personify a variety of philosophies and principles both tangible as well as intangible.
Elizabeth has received considerable recognition from press as well as scholars, for her innovative conceptual compositions and commitment to inclusive programming. In addition to studies of her work, Elizabeth has been awarded several fellowships, grants, and residencies to further her artistic endeavours. An active advocate for the arts she founded The New Music Conflagration, Inc., a Florida-based nonprofit dedicated to furthering the work of contemporary musicians and composers; in addition in 2016 she established the Florida International Toy Piano Festival, to create a platform for serious toy piano concert works. Elizabeth is also, one half of the new renaissance Baker-Barganier Duo. She is the author of the world’s first comprehensive toy piano method book as well as a mixed media book about the experiences of being a young artist in the modern world. Elizabeth is an official Schoenhut Toy Piano Artist, and endorsed by Source Audio LLC due to her extensive work with interactive electronics that mold movement works into sonic compositions.
Aerocade release: Quadrivium
JOSEPH M. COLOMBO
Photo Credit: Carlin Ma
Joseph M. Colombo is a New England-born, San Francisco-based post-classical composer and noise maker. He has written music for orchestras, chamber ensembles, electronics, stage, film, installations, and everything in between. His work has a vibrant energy, often exhibiting a strong rhythmic drive, and has been referred to as “a powerful auditory experience” and “a wash of sound and color” (I Care If You Listen).
Joseph has worked with a slew of individual performers and ensembles, including but not limited to the Kronos Quartet, the Orlando Philharmonic, the Mobius Trio, the Living Earth Show, Transient Canvas, Areon Flutes, New Keys Ensemble, Elevate Ensemble, Regina Schaffer, Justin Dougherty, Friction Quartet, Juventas New Musical Ensemble, and more. He is currently working on an a long form visual music project and a new chamber opera.
Joseph is a frequent host of the radio show Music From Other Minds, and can often be encountered as a performer and teacher. He is a founding member of the Fifth Floor Collective and Prodigal Opera Productions, and has studied with Dan Becker, Andy Vores, Jan Swafford, Curtis Hughes, Dalit Warshaw, Dan Crozier, and Susan Lackman.
Joseph enjoys repetition.
Aerocade release: I watch the fire as the days echo away
Photo Credit: Star Foreman
Jonathan Morgan is a concert violist and violinist specializing in music by living composers. As a founding member of the Now Hear Ensemble, Jonathan has concertized extensively in California at venues like REDCAT, Stanford’s CCRMA, UC Berkeley’s CNMAT, Art Share LA, San Francisco’s Center for New Music, Classical Revolution LA, the Piano Kitchen, USC’s Fisher Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, UCSD’s Conrad Prebys Music Center, and Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The Now Hear Ensemble is the Resident Ensemble at the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music, with whom Jonathan has premiered numerous commissioned works. In 2016 Jonathan gave the world premier performance of At Any Point for solo viola, chamber ensemble, and smartphone app by Anthony Paul Garcia. Jonathan has collaborated with many eminent composers, including Joel Feigin, Clarence Barlow, Oswaldo Golijov, Joshua Carro, Luke Taylor, David Werfelmann, Dan Miller, Nick Norton, Eoin Callery, Constantin Basica, Anders Lind, Marc Evans, Dan Vanhassel, Mica Levi, Anthony Paul Garcia, and Federico Llach. Jonathan has regularly performed with wildUp in a mix of venues including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hammer Museum, Santa Ana Sites, Colburn School’s Zipper Hall, and LA’s Regent Theater – all under the direction of Christopher Rountree.
As an active studio recording artist with RAYMOND, Jonathan has performed violin and viola for TV commercial soundtracks for the Argentine fashion house, VER. Jonathan was recently the featured soloist with the Choir of St. Barbara Parish at the Old Mission Santa Barbara under the direction of Roy Spicer, and can be heard on the album My Hope is Arisen, released in 2015. With the Now Hear Ensemble, Jonathan recorded the album Made in California, released in 2013. Other works in Jonathan’s discography include the Lament Cycle by Joel Feigin, performed by Helen Callus, viola, released on MSR Classics, 2012.
Jonathan frequently performs as principal violist with the Santa Barbara Choral Society and the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale. Prior to settling in Santa Barbara in 2010, Jonathan served on the violin, viola, and chamber music faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory and Continuing Education Department. Jonathan has participated in several music festivals including the Carlsbad Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, Brevard, the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar, and notably the Banff Centre where he was part of impromptu recordings later used in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Jonathan holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Jonathan’s teachers and mentors include Helen Callus, Robert Koenig, Derek Katz, Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsey, Peter Salaff, William Preucil, Steven Dann, Victoria Chiang, and the Cavani String Quartet.
Jonathan performs on three instruments: a viola commissioned in 2006 from New York luthier Guy Rabut, a violin of anonymous origin, and a carbon fiber viola by Mezzo Forte Strings, with bows by Bernard Walke, CodaBow, and CarBow.
Aerocade release: Elegy II
WEBSITE: Jonathan Morgan
Photo Credit: Lindsey Best
Nick Norton is a composer, guitarist, and concert producer from Los Angeles. He is interested in the colorful grey areas between genres, creating new experiences for listeners, and destroying social barriers to enjoying music. The LA Times describes his music as crazy, NewMusicBox referred to his pieces as “visceral sonic haiku,” and Fool In The Forest said they were “fit to melt steel.” Nick is co-artistic director of Equal Sound, founder and editor of New Classic LA, a member of Synchromy, and plays in the bands Honest Iago, Better Looking People With Superior Ideas, and The Newports. He really enjoys craft beer, sci fi and being near or in the ocean, and holds degrees from UC San Diego and King’s College London. He is currently pursuing his PhD in composition from UC Santa Barbara.
Aerocade release: Elegy II
WEBSITES: Nick Norton
POST-HASTE REED DUO
Photo Credit: Jason Quigley
One of the most active commissioning duos in the new music scene, the saxophone-bassoon Post-Haste Reed Duo (PHRD) is internationally acclaimed for performing “music of limitless stylistic range and emotional scope” by textura and as “essential listening” by I Care If You Listen.
Formed in 2009, PHRD seeks not only to increase the amount of quality chamber music literature for saxophone and bassoon duo, but also to foster widespread exploration of non-traditional chamber ensembles.
Made up of saxophonist Sean Fredenburg and bassoonist Javier Rodriguez, PHRD has grown to become a fixture in the new music community, enjoying a robust touring career appearing at universities, festivals, conferences, and concert halls throughout the United States and Canada. As of 2019, PHRD has commissioned acoustic and electro-acoustic works by over one dozen composers. The duo released their first album, Beneath a Canopy of Angels…a River of Stars, in 2016 on the Aerocade Music label, which earned warm reviews from press including textura, I Care If You Listen, Fanfare Magazine, and Classical Modern Music. Their second album, Donut Robot!, is set to release on February 15th, 2019.
PHRD has spoken and performed at classical and new music’s most prestigious gatherings, including those of the College Music Society, International Double Reed Society, North American Saxophone Alliance, the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States, and the Hawaii International Conference on Arts & the Humanities, among others.
The Post-Haste Reed Duo is currently based in Portland, Oregon.
Photo Credit: Becky Yee
Milky Way or Galaxy are traditional Korean translations of the first name of flutist Meerenai Shim. Pronounced “me-ren-ay,” the unusual name befits this unique and forward thinking musician.
Meerenai is a founding member of the innovative flute and percussion duo, A/B Duo. In 2016, she joined the award-winning contemporary flute ensemble, Areon Flutes. She is also one half of the newly formed contrabass flute and contraforte duo, Keyed Kontraptions. She has performed all over the United States as a soloist and chamber musician. Recent performances include those at the Soundwave Biennial in San Francisco, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, and KNOB Fest in Wichita. She also served a two-year term as a curator at the Center for New Music in San Francisco.
In 2015 Meerenai founded the Aerocade Music record label. Her third solo album, the all-electroacoustic Pheromone, was the first release on the label. Regarding Pheromone, Fanfare Magazine says, "Flautist Meerenai Shim has the chops and the heart to do these recently composed pieces full justice, and this inaugural release on her own Aerocade label is the proverbial proof of the pudding."
Meerenai Shim is a fiscally-sponsored affiliate of InterMusic SF, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to small-ensemble music in the San Francisco Bay Area. She resides in Campbell, California with her husband Dave, and their Great Dane mix, Lady.
Aerocade Release: Pheromone