2015 Performers

416-2015 Performers Gallery

Palmer, Bull, & Vespaziani

bob-arthur-tenaTena Palmer established herself at the forefront of jazz vocal improvisation in North America during five years fronting the Celtic/free bop quartet, Chelsea Bridge. After living in Europe from‘96 -‘03 (Iceland: 6 yrs., Holland, Prague) the award-winning singer and composer now resides in Toronto. Her voice and writing are featured on a dozen critically acclaimed CDs, seven making critics’ annual top ten list. Called “the most creative vocalist in Canadian free improvisation” by Stuart Broomer in Toronto Life Magazine, Tena tours and records in many styles: avant pop, roots, experimental, Brazilian, jazz, minimalism, electronica, Celtic, and spoken word.

Arthur Bull has been active on the improvised music scene in Canada since the mid-1970s. He has released numerous solo, duo and group recordings, and has performed in concert with Roscoe Mitchell, John Tchicai, Joe McPhee, Roger Turner, Peter Kowald, Paul Rutherford, Bob Cobbing, Fred Anderson, John Russell, Mike Cooper, Magda Mayas and John Butcher. Arthur Bull is also a published poet, and an activist for small-scale fisheries. He lives on Digby Neck in Nova Scotia.

Bob Vespaziani is a freelance drummer/percussionist working out of Toronto, and is very active in both the Blues and Improvisational music scenes in Canada. Selected recordings: “Songs Of Vice And Sorrow” (Julian Fauth), “Fluke” (Rusty), “No Pants” (Michael Keith & Bob Vespaziani), “First Offering” (Toki Oto), and
“untitled” (Bob Vespaziani and Arthur Bull)



POEThe Poetically Organized Entity (P.O.E.), or James Owen Brown, is a slam poet from Hamilton, Ontario. Well-known across the country, he is a three-time national competitor and a semi-finalist at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montréal, a national finalist at the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam in Vancouver, was the first ever winner of both the Last Poet Standing and Toronto International Poetry Slam competitions, and won the coveted title of southern Ontario’s Grand Slam Champion in 2012.

He has also released a chapbook of poems called “More Poetiker Than Ever”.

The P.O.E.’s style is typically very intense and aggressive; his hiphop background comes through in most pieces, and his use of pop culture references to help clarify the abstract has made him a hometown favourite.

Ryan Driver Quartet

Ryan DriverRyan Driver is a singer, songwriter, and improvising musician based in Toronto. Besides his own projects, he has sung and/or played guitar, piano, flute, analogue synth, melodica, and/or his simple homemade instruments (thumb-reeds and streetsweeper bristle bass) with Eric Chenaux, Sandro Perri, Jennifer Castle, Baby Dee, Doug Tielli, Alex Lukashevsky, Devon Sproule, Kim Barlow, Thom Gill, Michelle McAdorey, John Southworth, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and many others. Since 1999 he has also led The Ryan Driver Quartet / Quintet / Sextet, playing monthly performances in Toronto. Favouring the ballads of the American Jazz Era, as well as most recently those of composer and songwriter Stephen Parkinson, Ryan plays piano and sings in this group featuring some of Toronto’s most accomplished and most experimental musicians (Martin Arnold, Brodie West, Rob Clutton, Nick Fraser, and Michael Davidson). Ryan has toured internationally with notable performances at the Angelica Festival of New Music in Bologna, Italy; Heartland Festival in Vevey, Switzerland; Canadian Blast at Trafalgar Square and the Barbican in London, England; Bergenfest in Bergen, Norway; Tanned Tin Festival in Castellon, Spain; and Sound Symposium in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Ryan’s recorded output is available mainly through Rat-drifting, Barnyard Records, Fire Records, and Tin Angel Records.

Ryan always sounds like he has come a long way to sing you a song. His voice contains vast North American distances, long cold winters, the endless ugly monotony of the country, which can be broken and dissipated only by beer, love and music. He is always arriving too late or too early, and what he sings about is always to be found somewhere else, somewhere where he’s not. Even when he sings jazz standards, the music isn’t nostalgic or pessimistic, in fact you can’t tell whether he’s talking about the past or the future. Soft, sad, determined … the fact that he’s here now, singing these songs is, for those that need such things, a sign of great hope. – Marcus Boon

The Beat Generation:Words and Music

Beat-Poetry-1The Beat Generation:Words and Music presented by John Evans and The Scott Marshall Quartet takes you back to the 50’s with immediacy and passion.

Created by John Evans, with the collaboration of Scott Marshall, The Beat Generation: Words and Music draws poetic excerpts and stories from the infamous beat triumvirate: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, with a dialogue of music and words that will thrill you. The form is wordjazz: great words, great jazz.

Scott Marshall, highly respected Canadian musician and composer, channels the driving music of a generation that pushed us forward with a frenzy through the 20th century. He embodies the legacy of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Veteran actor, John Evans re-lives the rhythms and the writings of Jack Kerouac (On the Road), Allen Ginsberg (Howl), William S. Burroughs (Thanksgiving) and other influential voices: T. S. Eliot, (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock), Ken Nordine, (Colours) and the musings of Canadian iconoclastic poet, Irving Layton. His interpretations are infused with passion and presence in a tour-de-force performance. Together, their chemistry is undeniable.

John Oughton

John OughtonJohn Oughton was born in Guelph, Ontario, a block away from the home of John McCrae, author of “In Flanders Fields”. He completed a BA and MA in English at York U., where he studied with Irving Layton, Eli Mandel, Miriam Waddington and Frank Davey. After a half-year stay in Kyoto, Japan, he worked at Coach House Press and as a journalist and corporate communicator. He attended the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, and served as a research assistant to Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman. John began teaching English in community colleges, and is now Professor of Learning and Teaching at Centennial College.
He has published a novel – Death by Triangulation — five books of poetry, most recently Time Slip (Guernica Editions, 2010), several chapbooks, and over 400 articles, interviews, reviews and blogs. He is also a photographer with three solo shows and book and magazine covers to his credit. For fun, he plays guitar and drums.


Succeeding generations keep discovering anew the venturesome excitement of CCMC’s free improvisational music. The band has been reinventing itself, with shifting constellations and consistent questing spirit, through four decades. As one of the pioneering free improvisation bands of the 1970s, CCMC toured Europe, Japan, and North America, playing at such major festivals as Musica Nova (Bremen), The Holland Festival (Amsterdam), New Music America (Montreal), and the du Maurier Jazz Festival (Toronto and Vancouver). Guest artists with the band have included such stellar international musicians as Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Misha Mengelberg, Barre Phillips, Malcolm Goldstein, Eugene Chadbourne, Phil Minton, and Christian Marclay. For twenty-five years (1976–2000) CCMC performed regularly at Toronto’s Music Gallery, which was founded by the band’s original members (Peter Anson, Larry Dubin, Nobuo Kubota, Al Mattes, Bill Smith, Michael Snow, and Casey Sokol).

Today, CCMC is a quartet made up of Michael Snow (piano and synthesizer), John Oswald (alto sax), Paul Dutton (soundsinging and harmonica), and John Kamevaar (percussion and sampler), who carry on the iconoclastic practice of the original CCMC. The music of Snow, Oswald, Kamevaar, and Dutton features individual virtuosity and collective creativity in the spontaneous invention of shifting tapestries of texture and timbre, with process taking precedence and form evolving organically. A CD of the CCMC’s concert performances, Accomplices, came out in 2000. This was followed in 2002 by a double CD of concerts with turntablist Christian Marclay. The DVD Reverberlin was issued in 2006, and 2011 saw the release of CCMC Play Double Double on CD and audiocassette. The trio has toured through eastern Canada, the US, and western Europe, in addition to playing often in Toronto, where they are based.

The initials CCMC, by the way, have no fixed meaning, fittingly enough for a continually concocting musical crew. —Carl Wilson

Glen Charles Halls

GlenCharlesHallsGlen Charles Halls is an award winning multi-instrumentalist, jazz pianist, composer, and recording artist. In 2010 Halls released his duo world fusion album with Grammy winning indian classical guitarist/veena player Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. Halls has also performed and recorded with more of some the finest musicians from India, including Saskia Rao-de Haas and Tejendra Mozumder, He also studied the basic principles of Indian Classical music with Ajoy Chakraborty in Kolkata, India. As a composer Halls he won several national and international awards. As a pianist Halls has an unrivaled knowledge of extended modern harmony, which includes the use of harmonics, and shows a wide range of touch, from pristine clear tones and fused voicings, to full on high energy speed and power. Halls also performs regularly in the rock idiom in his home city of Edmonton.

“Halls shows complete mastery of the lexicon of Modern Jazz” Leonid Auskern. Jazz Quad. (Russia)

Brent Peers

BrentBrent Peers is a lifelong Torontonian who has been active in the GTA arts scene for at least a few decades now, and his love of poetry is challenged only by his passion for music. A staunch proponent of DIY culture, he hopes beyond hope to see creative minds flourish and proudly represent his hometown. He himself has represented the WE FLIP TABLES! spoken word collective at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Sasktaoon in 2012 and Montréal in 2013, as well as the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam and the Verses Festival of Words in Vancouver in 2014 and 2015.

Hans Tammen (Germany/New York City)

Hans TammenFrom NYC, the 416 Festival’s featured artist Hans Tammen creates sounds that have been described as an alien world of bizarre textures and a journey through the land of unending sonic operations. He creates rapid-fire juxtapositions of radically contrastive and fascinating noises, with micropolyphonic timbres and textures, aggressive sonic eruptions, but also quiet pulses and barely audible sounds. His Endangered Guitar, Third Eye Orchestra and Dark Circuits Orchestra use cutting-edge approaches to expand and explode the acoustic/digital sound world.

He brings his sound processing technology and his conducting artistry to inspire, guide and dis- and re-assemble “Fever Dream” collaboratively composed by the Rub Out the Word Orchestra, an 11–piece group of some of Toronto’s finest improvisers.


Rub Out the Word Orchestra

The Rub Out the Word Orchestra features a kaleidoscopic array of Toronto’s improvisers from free jazz, world and electroacoustic musics. The band was brought together for 416-2014’s William Burroughs centennial event co-production with the Music Gallery. Led by multi-instrumentalist/composer Glen Hall, the 11-piece sonic powerhouse has deep sound resources and bottomless creativity. The group provides a wonderful palette for conductor/sampler Hans Tammen’s sonic paint brush.
The orchestra will be playing “Fever Dream”, composed collaboratively by members of the orchestra.  “Fever Dream” has been made possible by the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council.
Tom Richards; Heather Segger – trombones; Bruce Cassidy – trumpet, EVI (electric valve instrument); John Gzowski – guitar, oud; Rakesh Tewari; Chris Cawthray – drums, percussion; Jim Sexton – bass; David Story – keyboards; Matt Miller – laptop; Ted Phillips – CataRT; Glen Hall – saxophone, bass flute.

Kyle Brenders

kyle_portrait-234x300Kyle Brenders is a young Canadian composer and multi-instrumentalist. His work is defined through the multiple stylistic and idiomatic references used within the process of creation.

He currently is active as a leader of a Quartet and Large Ensemble, which exclusively perform his music. Brenders is an active member of the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto (AIMToronto) and acts as the Artistic director of the AIMToronto Orchestra.

He has studied and performed with Ab Baars, Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, Jean Derome, Caribou, Gordon Monahan, Malcolm Goldstein, Marshal Allen, Dan Snaith (Caribou), James Holden, Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) Evan Parker, Eddie Prevost, Guillermo Gregorio and Gino Robair. Brenders’s music can be heard on Spool Records, Bug Incision, Barnyard Records and Porter Records.

Douglas van Nort

douga van nortDoug Van Nort is an improviser, composer and sonic artist/researcher. As a performer specializing in improvised electroacoustic music, over the past decade Van Nort has developed his own instrumental systems for performance that assume a turntable-like, sculptural approach to shaping sound using his hands and voice. He often performs solo as well as with a wide array of artists across musical styles and artistic media. In recent years he has performed and recorded with dozens of artists including Pauline Oliveros, Francisco López, Al Margolis (If, Bwana), Composers Inside Electronics, Stuart Dempster, Chris Chafe, Kathy Kennedy, Ben Miller, Alessandra Eramo, David Arner, Anne Bourne, Eric Leonardson, Judy Dunaway, Jefferson Pitcher, Jonathan Chen, Katherine Liberovskaya, Françoise Houle, Paul Hession, Sarah Weaver, Gerry Hemingway, Min Xiao-Fen, Ray Anderson, Miya Masaoka, Franz Hackl, Mark Helias and Dave Taylor among many others. He has performed at a range of venues including [SAT] (Montreal), Casa da Musica (Porto), Betong (Oslo), Cafe OTO (London), on WNUR (Chicago), Studio Soto (Boston), Red Room (Baltimore), Skolska28 (Prague), QuietCue (Berlin), Guelph Jazz Festival, EMPAC (Troy), Roulette, Harvestworks, Flea Theatre, Socrates Sculpture Park, New Museum, Miller Theatre, Issue Project Room and the Stone (NYC), Liebig12 (Berlin), at Town Hall (NYC) on an ‘intonarumori’ as part of the Performa futurist biennial, as part of the Phil Niblock-curated ‘festival with no fancy name’ at Experimental Intermedia, art/music conferences and festivals such as ISEA, ISIM, XFest, NIME, ICMC, ICAD, NYEAF, the NYC electroacoustic music festival and various other venues across the U.S. and Europe. His creative/research work has been supported and recognized by disparate sources including the NY Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), the NY State Council for the Arts (NYSCA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the International Computer Music Association (ICMA). Recordings of Van Nort’s music can be found on Deep Listening, Pogus, Zeromoon, MIT Press and Attenuation Circuit among other experimental music labels. His writings on his sonic research have recently appeared in Organised Sound, the Computer Music Journal, Journal of New Music Research, the Leonardo Music Journal, Kybernetes and the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Van Nort is currently based in Toronto, where he is Canada Research Chair in Digital Performance at York University.



IMG_3838c_RL is an improvising trio that features three of Toronto’s most innovative performer/composers: Allison Cameron, electronics/found objects/keyboards, Germaine Liu, percussion and Nicole Rampersaud, trumpet. The trio has performed at Music (in) Galleries, Somewhere There, The Tranzac and as part of Lab Space’s Hot Soup multi-disciplinary series among other Toronto venues. They were also featured at the Tone Deaf Festival in Kingston performing with Malcolm Goldstein. c_RL has a mutual interest in exploring the sonic palette of trumpet, percussion and electronics. Their exploratory approach to timbre and gesture, coupled with their interest in incorporating ‘found sounds’, has quickly become a trademark of their colourful sonic world. The group recently released their debut album, “Friends”, generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.


Shahriyar Jamshidi

Shahriyar JamshidiShahriyar Jamshidi is a Kurdish and Iranian Kamanche player, composer, vocalist in Middle-Eastern music and founder of the Dilan Ensemble. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Tehran University of Art. Over 24 years of his career, he has been attempting to recreate the classical Kurdish music in an understandable way to younger generations. He considers this effort as a cultural bridge between past and future. As an immigrant musician in Canada since 2012; Shahriyar has been performing at Toronto’s Tirgan festival, International Society for Improvised Music ISIM conference in Switzerland and High-Fest in Armenia. He has released three albums including Alvanati, Call of the Mountains and A Yellow Flower.