I didn’t always approach collaborations with such an open-mind. For a long time, I treated concert dancing as some type of disembodied spectacle, and visual art as a sicko-game of anesthetized-aestheticized commodity-gambling. And maybe that’s true for some of it, or even just the institutionalized hackey-sack of it all. But not for me. Not any more. Since July 2022 I’ve been collaborating in my work directly with dancers and visual artists. It is now part of my story.
Jessica Brown active since March 2015
My wife and I have collaborated since the beginning, both as philosophers and horn players but more often with her in the role of Artist. Our quarantine era Postcards series being one outlet, countless show posters another, the hats and outfits from BORBS yet another. Jessica is also the visual coordinator for the People's Music Supply. Her flyers are absolutely necessary in drawing in audiences of fans and neophytes, as well as marking the occasion in history. Each is a work of art that signals an experience standing out from time as a heightened ritual moment.
LOVEBORBS (our duo performance project) is a spin-off of BORBS consisting of Jessica Brown (my wife) and I performing short sets (3 to 8 minutes) which combine performance art with harsh acoustic noise, reeded horns, electronically manipulated oboes, shrieking, inhale screaming, and falsetto cires. Unhinged and spectacular.
Mijkalena Smith active since July 2022
The Mijkalena Smith Quartet was born at my very first session in South Philly as a total accident. One of my first forays into combining movement with acoustic chamber improvisation came through inviting people who had never met before into a single session. I think we looked around and realized an immediate connection, that despite our various skill sets and trainings, we were engaging in something profound. This would become a future model for assembling groups, having a vision of possibilities before letting it go to reality.
Michnari in particular taught me so much about brass playing just through his own style. I realized that these barriers I had put up for myself on the horn could be surmounted through listening to what he could do on Tuba. Sonali has become a lifetime collaborator and friend to me. We’ve performed with Mijka, a steadfast, powerful, and energetic mover in our very own collective composition Pre Frost Bloom and outside the Kimmel Center as part of an Avenue of the Arts initiative. The instrumental section has also played our own gigs, including a memorable summer evening at The Magic Gardens. Mijka and I have performed as duet frequently. Our quartet offshoots with Karen Smith (percussionist) replacing Michnari Robinson performed within an environment of Natasha Vix's paintings.
Mijkalena Smith- Movement
Michnari Robinson- Tuba, Euphonium, Trombone, Trumpet
Sonali Singh- Basson, Drums, Voice
Ella Konefal active since September 2023
Our dialogue is a jointed solo work occupying the same temporal yet only dimensionally-adjacent universes. Inspiration is taken from one another. For me there is a richness to Ella’s visual world. Inherently elaborative, I find myself led through not just the transformation but persuasive figures that go between valencies. Utilizing ink and homemade charcoal, the aleatoric and semi-improvised is brought into the visual world. My use of homemade instruments, weak tonalities, imprecise techniques, and chance attempts in soundings is a reflection of her adventurousness. Our collaboration is focused on one on one sessions where we share time and space.
Harry Ferál active since August 2023
You will not find much documentation about this group as most of it is too obscene to be put on the website. This project is a meeting of Miamians turned Cooper City residents turned musicians. Cami Alverez (Period Bomb, Squelchers) and I met at a solo performance of mine at the Miami Music Archive. We made a pact to play a festival in West Virginia- Big Noise Candy Mountain- having just met with absolutely no other details worked out other than the name Harry Ferál. What occurred can scarcely be spoken of (mud covered monsters, naked plague doctor tap dancers, audience attack), but was inspiring enough to earn us a repeat performance in Philadelphia and at the festival. The influences of acoustic noise, punk, power electronics, classical music, free jazz, ballet, ritual sacrifice, and traditional free-improvisation are present in our collaboration.
Camila Alverez- Guitar, Electronics, Vocals, Dance
(special guests- Bobb Hatt, Gladys Nobriga, Priscilla, Alyssa Wunderlich)
Katherine Desimine active since december 2022
Always varying, the scope of our partnership seems to meet the needs of the moment. Katherine premiered one of my early non-linear compositions for wind duo and dancer in 2023 and later commissioned me to create a 10 minute electronic tape piece (what would become Roughage and Ruach) to be scored for movement. After first working with each other through sessions, we’ve since started teaching class together through Philly Dance Class Share.
Listed here are collaborators that I’ve either regularly worked with in sessions or performed with in one-off occasions.I also used to host a regular session for the adhoc joining of movement and dance which saw many people roll through every Friday from 10am to Noon.
David Guzman, Chloe Marie, Setsuhi Shiraishi, Emmett Wilson, Sheila Zagar, Christina Gesualdi, Natasha Vix, Aida Kupar