Smith College, Dance, presenter
Chris Aiken is a leading international teacher and performer of dance improvisation. His work has evolved through years of making dance performances that bridge real-time composition, perceptual tuning and aesthetic design. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is an Assistant Professor and the MFA Director in the Smith College Department of Dance.
Ann Cooper Albright
Oberlin College, Dance, presenter
A dancer and improviser as well as a scholar, Ann Cooper Albright is Chair of the Dance Department at Oberlin College and President of the Society of Dance History Scholars. She is the author of Engaging Bodies: the Politics and Poetics of Corporeality, Modern Gestures, Traces of Light, and Choreographing Difference, and is the co-editor of Moving History/Dancing Cultures and Taken By Surprise—all from Wesleyan University Press. The book Encounters with Contact Improvisation (2010) is the product of one of her adventures in writing and dancing and dancing and writing with others.
Harvard University, Music
Tamar Barzel is an ethnomusicologist and lecturer at Harvard University whose research addresses the interface between creative identity, cultural heritage, and adventuresome sounds. Her first book, New York Noise: Radical Jewish Music and the Downtown Scene (Indiana University Press, 2014), explores the strange and compelling Jewish music that emerged from Manhattan’s downtown scene of the 1990s. She is currently conducting fieldwork on the creative improvisation scene in Mexico City.
Swarthmore College, History
Timothy Burke is a specialist in the history of modern Southern Africa and is also involved in work in digital humanities, particularly focused on games and virtual worlds. He is the author of Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women and Saturday Morning Fever, and maintains the long-running weblog Easily Distracted.
Wesleyan University, Music
Eric Charry is professor of music at Wesleyan University, where he teaches courses in improvisation in cross-cultural perspective, rock and R&B, world music, and ethnomusicology. He has written extensively on music in Africa, and is currently working on manuscripts on the emergence of an avant garde in jazz and music in downtown New York in the 1950s and 60s.
Amherst College, Music
Jeffers Engelhardt is an ethnomusicologist and Associate Professor of Music at Amherst College. A graduate of the University of Chicago, his research deals broadly with music, religion, European identity, and new media. His first book, Singing the Right Way: Orthodox Christians and Secular Enchantment in Estonia and an edited volume Resounding Transcendence: Transitions in Music, Religion, and Ritual are both published by Oxford University Press.
Smith College, Computer Science, workshop organizer
Among Judy's interests are computer-generated music, computer music improvisation, and jazz flute improvisation. She creates electro-acoustic compositions using recorded acoustic improvisations and the pure data programming environment. She has also used machine learning to generate jazz improvisations, including interactions with a human player.
Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Advanced Improvisation
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, percussionist/drummer Jamey Haddad is regarded as one of the foremost world music and jazz percussionists in the United States and is Professor of Advanced Improvisation and Percussion at Oberlin. He also teaches at Boston's Berklee School of Music, New England Conservatory, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Haddad was voted one of the top four world percussionists by the most widely read percussion magazine Modern Drummer (July 2007). Recent tours include The Fez Festival of World Sacred Music in the U.S. and the Paul Winter Consort in Japan. Mr. Haddad collaborates regularly with Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, Osvaldo Golijov, among many others.
Smith College, Dance, presenter
Angie Hauser is a BESSIE Award-winning choreographer, dancer, and teacher. Her work is grounded by questions of improvisation, performance and collaboration. She is a senior member of the Bebe Miller Company, and has also danced in the companies of Elizabeth Streb, Liz Lerman and Poppo Shirashi. She maintains a creative collaboration with Chris Aiken that has been supported by the National Performance Network and national presenters. She teaches dance improvisation throughout North America and Europe.
Smith College, Comparative Literature
Sabina Knight is the author of Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012), The Heart of Time: Moral Agency in Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction (Harvard, 2006), and many articles, essays, translations, and book reviews. Since 1998 she has taught at Smith College, where she directs Smith's Program in Comparative Literature, and has been a Research Associate at Harvard University and a 2011-13 fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program (PIP) of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR). A long-time dancer of tango, West Coast Swing, and contact improvisation, Sabina has studied yoga since 2004 and taiji since 2008.
Furman University, Music
Born in New York and raised in California, pianist Daniel Koppelman has gained experience with many different musical traditions—classical and popular, composed and improvised, acoustic and electronic—which has led him to explore their intersections in search of new possibilities for performing, teaching, and creating music. He has recorded for CRI, New World Records, Neuma Records, Capstone, SEAMUS, C74, Everglade, and Innova.
Swarthmore College, Music & Dance, workshop organizer and presenter
Mark Lomanno—a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology and Jazz Studies at Swarthmore College—teaches courses in ethnomusicology, jazz studies, and music of the trans-Atlantic African Diaspora. His research focuses on improvisation as both a musical and cultural process and its application in interdisciplinary, collaborative, and community-based scholarship and pedagogy. Mark is a jazz pianist and the Co-Chair of the Society for Ethnomusicology's Special Interest Group on Improvisation, and he blogs at rhythmofstudy.com.
Denison University, Dance, workshop organizer and presenter
Sandra Mathern, dance artist, teacher, improviser, performer and Professor of Dance (MFA), has been performing and creating works for the past three decades, focusing on improvisation in performance and using both wide-open and heavily prescribed movement scores. She teaches modern/postmodern technique, choreography, improvisation, collaborative courses using technology, and production. Her recent work, presented in Portland, OR, MI, and at the Nomad Express International Festival in Burkina Faso, integrates text and video design, and includes live and recorded media.
Amherst College, Theater & Dance; Mount Holyoke College, Dance
Paul Matteson joined Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College in the fall of 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Dance. He was a principal dancer with internationally touring Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 2008-2012 and received a New York Dance and Performance Award (BESSIE) for his body of work as a performer, most notably with David Dorfman and Lisa Race. Paul performs his own work regularly in Boston and New York City and he is a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council Award recipient in Choreography.
Amherst College, Philosophy
Joe Moore specializes in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. Recently, though, he's pursued teaching and research in the philosophy of music and aesthetics more generally. Topics of written work in the philosophy of music include the nature of musical works, the definition of music, the nature of musical transcriptions, and the relationship between improvisation and recording technology.
Amherst College, Biology, presenter
Dominic Poccia is Rufus Tyler Lincoln Professor of Biology at Amherst College. He received his PhD from Harvard University in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is a jazz musician on baritone, alto and soprano sax, clarinet and bass clarinet.
Amherst College, Music, workshop organizer and liaison
Jason Robinson is Assistant Professor of Music and affiliated faculty in Black Studies and Film and Media Studies at Amherst College. A celebrated saxophonist and composer, he has released fifteen albums as leader or co-leader and currently performs with his nine-piece Janus Ensemble, among many other projects. Robinson's research and written scholarship focuses on improvisation, interactive electronics, telematic performance, and African American and African diasporic musics.
Hampshire College, Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, presenter
Monique Roelofs is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hampshire College. She is the author of The Cultural Promise of the Aesthetic (Bloomsbury, 2014) and editor of “Aesthetics and Race,” a special issue of Contemporary Aesthetics (2009). She is completing a new monograph, “Arts of Address,” and co-authoring the book “Anachronism and Aesthetics in Latin America” (http://sites.hampshire/mroelofs/).
Reed College, Dance
Rosa is Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Reed College. Her forthcoming book, Brazilian Bodies and their Choreographies of Identification, excavates the active presence of Africans and their descendants in the construction of Brazil as an imagined community. Rosa holds a PhD from UCLA.
Pomona College, Art, presenter
Mercedes Teixido is an artist who works in the areas of abstract drawings, improvisational drawing, letter writing and site-specific works. She is an Associate Professor at Pomona College, where she teaches courses in drawing that utilize experimental art practices to explore the place of process within works on paper.
Wellesley College, Media Arts & Sciences, presenter
David Teng-Olsen is a new media artist interested in collaborative and interactive experiences using both traditional and experimental visual techniques. Teng-Olsen is an Assistant Professor of Art at Wellesley College.
Barnard College, Dance, presenter
Colleen Thomas is a New York-based choreographer and performing artist. She began her professional career with the Miami Ballet and went on to work with renowned contemporary choreographers such as Nina Wiener, Donald Byrd, Bebe Miller, and Bill T. Jones. In 1997 a creative collaboration with Bill Young evolved into a company focused on rigorous physicality and dynamic partnering. Their work has been seen throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Asia, and South America. Thomas is also the director of ColleenThomasDance and has presented her work in Hong Kong, Estonia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Russia and at many New York venues. In 2014 she premiered Encounter at the TianziFang Arts Center in Shanghai, China, and just give me ten seconds, an international collaboration with the Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa (BC ‘05), at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida. Thomas is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College, Columbia University.
Smith College, Music / Program in American Studies, presenter
Steve Waksman is the author of Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience (Harvard U.P., 1999) and This Ain't the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk (U. California, 2009). With Reebee Garofalo, he co-authored the sixth edition of Rockin' Out: Popular Music in the U.S.A. (Pearson, 2013), and with Andy Bennett he is co-editor of the forthcoming Sage Handbook of Popular Music. Currently he is researching a book on the cultural history of live music and performance in the U.S., tentatively titled “Live Music in America: A History, 1850-2000.”
Amherst College, Theater & Dance
Wendy Woodson, Roger C. Holden 1919 Professor of Theater and Dance at Amherst College and Artistic Director of Present Co. Inc., is a choreographer, director, writer and video artist. She has created 95 works for stage and video presented in the U.S., Europe, New Zealand and Australia.