Fairbanks Alternative Improvisational Music Festival
February 21-24, 2019
What is FEBfest? A round robin of performances in intimate spaces. It shares intensive community outreach and education for 4 days of dazzling workshops and performances culminating in one fabulous, combined festival performance.
Begin with cerebral, passionate, exquisite, profound Sirius Quartet. These virtuoso artists combine progressive classical music with components of jazz and improvisation. Improv is focus of their residency.
Add Seven)Suns who share violinist Fung Chern Hwei with Sirius and who’s work focuses on blending metal and classical.
Blend in Tracy Silverman and Roy “Futureman” Wooten ( Futureman/Silverman ). A founding member of Turtle Island, Tracy frequently performs with Sirius and of course Roy “Futureman” Wooten is a founding member of the Flecktones. These guys are no strangers to improv in a classical context or each other.
What they bring to live performance, to improvising with each other, will be electrifying!
- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21:
The Marlin 7:00, 8:00 & 9:00PM
- FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22:
Locations throughout Pioneer Park at 7:00PM
- SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23:
Davis Concert Hall at 7:30PM
- SUNDAY FEBRUARY 24:
Unitarians Fellowship Hall at 3:00PM
Internationally acclaimed veterans of contemporary music, Sirius Quartet champions a forward-thinking, genre-defying approach to performing that makes labels like ‘New Music’ sound tame. Time Out New York calls them “four-string virtuosos boast[ing] an outlandishly diverse repertoire,” while The New York City Jazz Record describes them as “a stellar ensemble that transforms standard chamber music frameworks with exceptional playing, writing and arranging.”
Having premiered works by significant living composers, Sirius continues its long-running commitment to musical innovation with bold, original works by its own members, pushing beyond the conventional vocabulary of string instruments by incorporating popular song forms, gripping improvisations, extended techniques and undeniable contemporary grooves.
Since their debut concert at the original Knitting Factoy in New York City, the quartet has played many important US venues, including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, the Andy Warhol Museum (co-presented by Music on the Edge), Merkin Concert Hall, the American Composers Alliance Festival, the Chelsea Music Festival, Tribeca New Music, Issue Project Room, The Kitchen and CBGB.
International appearances have included the Beijing Music Festival, the Cologne Music Triennale, the Stuttgart Jazz Fest, the Tianjin International Jazz Fest, Musique Actuelle in Canada, the Soundbridge Festival at University Putra Malaysia, Bern University of the Arts, and repeat visits to the Taichung Jazz Fest – Taiwan’s biggest jazz event.
Sirius has shared studio and stage with the likes of Marin Alsop, Billy Martin, John Zorn, Jeremy Pelt, Frank Almond, Dianne Reeves, Uri Caine, John Patitucci, Theo Bleckmann, Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, Elliott Sharp, Nick Didkovsky, Linda Oh, John Escreet, and many others.
Sirius’s upcoming album, Paths Become Lines (Autentico Music/Naxos 2016), exclusively features music composed by quartet members, while their previous album, the critically-acclaimed Colors of the East (Autentico Music/Naxos 2015), spotlights the music of Sirius violinist Gregor Huebner. The group can also be heard on Billy Martin’s Wandering; Elliott Sharp’s String Quartets 2002-2007; Nick Didkovsky’s Tube, Mouth, Bow, String; Jin Hi Kim’s Living Tones; Jeremy Pelt’s Close To My Heart; Dianne Reeves’s Christmas Time Is Here; William Thomas McKinley’s Crazy Rags with the Concordia Chamber Ensemble and conductor Marin Alsop; and many other commercial recordings.
Sirius has conducted workshops and master classes on improvisation, composition and performance with students around the world. For the last several years, they have partnered with the American Composers Orchestra to bring ACO’s Music Factory and Rhythm Factory educational programs to the public schools of New York City.
Fung Chern Hwe – Violin
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Fung Chern Hwei absorbed a large amount of musical information in his diverse surroundings: Chinese pop and classical music, Indian Bollywood tunes, Malay dance music, and Western classical music. He insisted on learning the violin when he was 4 or 5 years old, but couldn’t find a teacher until he was 8. Since then, Chern Hwei has thrust himself into the world of violin and never looked back.
Shortly after starting his violin lessons, Chern Hwei found himself imitating electric guitar and saxophone sounds on his violin. In high school, he broke his school’s ban on rock music and electronic instruments by sneaking a heavy metal band onto the stage during a charity night.
Upon finishing his masters degree in New York, Chern Hwei chose to freelance in New York City, absorbing even more musical languages and expressions. He can be heard performing western classical music, jazz, Middle Eastern belly dance music, baroque historical performance, rock, and hip hop. He recently self-released his debut album, “From The Heart”.
Artists who he was fortunate to work with include Uri Caine, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Stanley Clarke, Tony Bennet, Bobby McFerrin, Steve Wilson, Elliot Sharp, Antonio Sanchez, composer Mikael Karlsson, among others.
Gregor Huebner, Violin
Gregor Huebner is an award-winning composer and violinist, celebrated by audiences and critics alike for his visionary work across genres. His music has been described by The New York City Jazz Record as “challenging and vivid… seamlessly incorporat[ing] chamber elements with avant garde jazz,” while All About Jazz describes him as “a virtuoso with broad experience in large and small classical ensembles.” Huebner’s recent El Violin Latino, an album exploring the role of the violin in
traditional Latin American musics, was praised by The Wall Street Journal as “by turns sexy and sly, impassioned and dreamy, his collection of well-known tunes, unexpected arrangements and original compositions brings together far- flung members of the fiddle diaspora.”
As a composer, Huebner’s unique musical voice variously integrates improvisation, experimental notation, traditional counterpoint, pop song structures, post-tonal gestures and innovative performance techniques within formal compositional frameworks. Recent commissions include “Clockwork Interrupted,” an orchestral work premiered by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and SWR Big Band in July 2014; and “Six Songs of Innocence,” a lyrical setting of poems by William Blake premiered by Sirius Quartet and
Collegium Iuvenum Stuttgart Boys Choir in June 2014. Huebner has also been commissioned by the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, the State Theater of Fürth and the State Academy of Music Ochsenhausen, among many others. His works have been premiered by major ensembles such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Nova Philharmonic Orchestra and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.
A highly sought-after player, Huebner has appeared in many major concert halls and festivals around the globe, including Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, Berlin Philharmonie, the Hollywood Bowl, Montreux Jazz Fest, Frauenkirche in Dresden, JVC Jazz and Gewandhaus Leipzig. He has performed and recorded with some of the most respected names in jazz and pop, including Smokey Robinson, Diane Reeves, Billy Hart, Randy Becker and John Patitucci. Huebner’s collaborations with Richie Beirach and George Mraz have yielded three critically acclaimed albums, including the Latin Grammy-nominated Round About Federico Mompou. The Guardian writes, “the excellent violinist Huebner take[s] off in muscular manner… the playing itself is beautiful,” while The Irish Times, reviewing a recording of Huebner, Beirach and saxophonist Charlie Mariano, writes, “violinist Gregor Huebner… is in the kind of mood to blow anyone away… emotionally complex… lovely.”
As a seasoned educator, Huebner has given workshops and masterclasses on performance, composition and improvisation with esteemed institutions like the Manhattan School of Music, Berlin Music School, Cologne College of Music, Lübeck Academy of Music, the Klagenfurt Music Forum, the Kaufman Music Center and Face the Music. He is currently a guest professor of composition at the University of Music and Theater in Munich, and in 2009 he published his method book for string improvisation, Exercises, Etudes and Concert Pieces, with Advanced Music Publishing. Huebner received his formal education from the Vienna College of Music, the Stuttgart College of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned his master’s degree and was recognized with a “President’s Award.” Huebner was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and is based in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.
Ron Lawrence, Viola
From John Adams to John Zorn, violist Ron Lawrence has performed and recorded with many of new music’s most exciting personalities. Besides being a founding member of the Sirius Quartet, he has performed extensively with Cuartetango, Quartet Indigo, the Soldier String Quartet and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Other collaborators include Anthony Braxton, John Blake, Bob Beldon, Anthony Davis, Regina Carter, Elliott Sharp, James Blood Ulmer, Cassandra Wilson, John Cale, and Eumir Deodato. Further uptown, he has recorded with Kathleen Battle, Robert Craft, John Cage, and Andre Previn.
One of Ron’s most exciting projects was a journey to Alaska to record John Luther Adams’ multi-media spectacular, Earth
and the Great Weather –A Sonic Geography of the Arctic. Despite a rigorous performance schedule, he was able to break away each evening to cross-country ski under the Northern Lights.
Jeremy Harman, cello & guitar
Boston-based cellist/guitarist Jeremy Harman is quickly establishing a unique reputation among a new generation of musicians who refuse to be pinned down by genres and labels. With roots in rock, metal, and jazz fusion in addition to classical music, he has chalked up an incredibly diverse list of performances, playing everywhere from concert halls and art galleries, to carnivals and street corners, bars and clubs to DIY basement shows.
Harman has been heard on NPR’s Mountainstage with instrumental chamber music/indie rock alchemists Cordis, and seen on Make TV (PBS) with his friends in Humanwine, and Balcony TV in Dublin and OBA Live in Amsterdam with singer-songwriter Christian Cuff, with whom he has been touring and performing his own tunes for solo cello across the States and Europe, including shows in Ireland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Slovakia.
Harman has also served as principal cellist of the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, where he collaborated with such musical legends as Tony Bennett, John Williams, Bobby McFerrin and Quincy Jones, in performances at the Kodak Theatre, Walt Disney Hall, and Royce Hall at UCLA. In recent years he has also shared the stage with Sting, Peter Gabriel, Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, and Elton John.
Harman studied cello with Carter Enyeart at the UMKC Conservatory in Kansas City, MO, and with Terry King at the Longy School in Boston, MA, where he received a Master of Music degree with Distinction in Performance.
SEVEN)SUNS is a string quartet that plays dystopian music rooted in the language of avant metal and hardcore. Our repertoire is drawn from works by the members of the group, re-imagined string quartet versions of metal and hardcore songs, as well as music from the Western art music tradition that we decide fits our sound/time/place.
We have played varied venues like Terminal 5, The Gallery at Le Poisson Rouge, Saint Vitus Bar, The Cell Theater, Firehouse Space, Shapeshifter Lab, and The Knitting Factory.
We did a cover Pantera’s “This Love/Domination” and a cover of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s “43% Burnt”. The videos have received over 100,000 views combined and led to features on numerous heavy metal websites such as Metal Injection, SkullsandBones.com, and MetalSucks.net, among others.
This, in turn, has led to a collaboration with The Dillinger Escape Plan. We appear prominently on their final album “Dissociation”, released in 2016.
We received a generous grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council to write and perform a piece titled “Songs of the Voiceless” based on our visits to Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City. We have been volunteering there playing music for inmates in conjunction with the Rangjung Dharma Prison Project- a Tibetan Buddhist organization whose mission is to teach meditation and provide guidance to inmates.
The pieces resulting from that experience, as well as others written from a slightly earlier time period appear on our debut album, “For The Hearts Still Beating”, released in 2017 on Party Smasher Inc.
Amanda Lo: violin
Earl Maneein and Fung Chern Hwei: violin and viola
Jennifer DeVore: cello
Redefining the role of the violin in contemporary music, Tracy Silverman has contributed significantly to the repertoire and development of the 6-string electric violin and what he calls “post-classical violin playing.”
Lauded by BBC Radio as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin”, Silverman’s groundbreaking work defies musical boundaries. Formerly first violinist with the innovative Turtle Island String Quartet, Silverman was named one of 100 distinguished alumni by The Juilliard School. A concert electric violinist, Silverman is the subject of several electric violin concertos composed specifically for him by Pulitzer winner John Adams, “Father of Minimalism” Terry Riley, Nico Muhly andKenji Bunch, as well as the composer of 3 electric violin concertos of his own.
A true eclectic, Silverman’ compositions and performances have been recorded by Nonesuch Records, Naxos Records, Windham Hill Records; he’s recorded with The Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero, The BBC Symphony withJohn Adams, The Detroit Symphony with Neeme Jarvi, with composer/pianist Terry Riley, the rock band Guster, contemporary music’s Paul Dresher Ensemble, jazz legend Billy Taylor, 5-time Grammy winning percussionist Roy “Futureman” Wooten, and the Calder String Quartet, among many others. Silverman has performed as a soloist with The Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra with Marin Alsop, Carl St. Clair and The Pacific Symphony, The Montreal Symphony, The Stuttgart Staatsorchester and many others. He has appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Adelaide’s Festival Theatre, Sao Paulo’s Auditorio Ibirapuera, The Hollywood Bowl, Linz’s Brucknerhaus and Vienna’s Musikverein, and made his debut with The Chicago Symphony at age 13. Silverman’s original works have been performed by orchestras and chamber music groups internationally and his scoring work has appeared in episodes of PBS’s NOVA among others.
TV/internet and radio includes a solo performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, a profile on CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, NPR’s Performance Today, St. Paul Sunday, and several appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.
In the liner notes to “The Dharma at Big Sur”, John Adams writes, ”Tracy has developed his own unique style of violin playing—a marvel of expressiveness.” Mark Swed of the LA Times enthused, “Inspiring. Silverman is in a class of his own.” The Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein raved, “Blazing virtuosity. You will be astonished that anybody can play a fiddle like that” and Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, wrote, “Fleet agility and tangy expressivity with wailing hints of Jimi Hendrix.”
A long-standing advocate for music education, Silverman is the author of The Strum Bowing Method, is an in-demand clinician and on the string faculty at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
Futureman (Roy Wooten)
Roy Wilfred Wooten (born October 13, 1957), also known as “RoyEl”, best known by his stage name Future Man (also written Futureman), is an inventor, musician, and composer. He is also known as Futche to his fans. He is a percussionist and member of the jazz quartet Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, along with banjoist Béla Fleck, harmonicist Howard Levy, and Roy’s brother, electric bass virtuoso Victor Wooten.
Born in Hampton, Virginia, Roy Wooten was raised in a military family and therefore traveled frequently. He is the second of five sons born to Dorothy and Elijah “Pete” Wooten. He graduated from Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia in 1975. He briefly attended music classes at Norfolk State University upon graduating from high school, and then embarked on his professional music career. He and his brothers moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the mid-1980s.
All of his brothers are musicians. The oldest, Regi, is a guitarist and much sought-after teacher in Nashville. Roy Wooten, Regi, and his three younger brothers, Rudy (1959–2010) (saxophone), Joseph (keyboards), and Victor (bass guitar), performed as The Wooten Brothers in numerous musical venues in the Hampton Roads area of southeast Virginia during the 1970s.
Wooten is a six-time Grammy Award-winning performer with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. For the Flecktones, he plays the Drumitar, a novel electronic instrument of his own invention, and occasionally performs vocals as well.
More recently, Wooten has developed a new electronic instrument called the RoyEl, which resembles a piano but plays notes not found in the traditional western music scales. This instrument is based on the periodic table of elements and the golden ratio.
Like the other members of the Flecktones, Wooten has worked on various solo projects during his time off from the band. On his own Wooten often dresses up as a pirate and uses the pseudonym “RoyEl”, also the name he gave to the keyboard instrument he invented. Wooten’s solo albums are experimental and incorporate diverse musical genres and concepts. On Evolution de la Musique, for example, he infuses classical music with jazz elements, especially improvisation, and spoken word.
Among extra-musical influences, Wooten describes Pythagorean numerology and Vedic mathematics as influencing his compositions.
Wooten’s solo works are:
- The Seamless Script
- Pi Lullaby
- Evolution de la Musique
- The Black Mozart Ensemble