After hitting the road last year, the High Zero Festival, an annual showcase of improvised, experimental music, is staying grounded in its home base of Baltimore.
The non-profit foundation that runs the festival is taking over the Baltimore Theatre Project from Sept. 19-22, bringing together performers from across the country–and in some cases, much further–to collaborate with musicians here in town.
Per a release, highlights from this year’s festival, the foundation’s 21st, include Bulgarian violinist Biliana Voutchkova, Ithaca-based percussionist Sarah Hennies, Washington D.C. multi-instrumentalist Nik Francis and Baltimore electronic musician Bonnie Jones.
See a full list below.
For its 20th edition last year, High Zero organizers flipped the festival’s concept and decided to tour, bringing Baltimore musicians for two days of performances in Chicago and New York, returning home for “an all-Baltimore blowout.”
Andrew Bernstein, a saxophonist and member of the High Zero Foundation, said via email that the tour showed the community the festival has built up over the years. About half of the performers in New York, Chicago and Baltimore were alumni.
“It was really heartening to find that our festival format (all new improvised collaborations between artists from varied backgrounds) resonates beyond Baltimore, and that audiences in other cities we’re interested in what is happening here,” he wrote. “I think High Zero has really highlighted Baltimore as an exceptionally creative city and the tour emphasized that for a national audience.
Tickets will cost $15 at the door and $10 for students, seniors and artists, and a full festival pass can be purchased for $40.
Performers from afar:
Steve Baczkowski, Buffalo (saxophone, multi-wind instrumentalist)
Bob Bellerue, NYC (improvised feedback manipulation)
Forbes Graham, Boston (trumpet, laptop computer)
Sarah Hennies, Ithaca (vibraphone, percussion)
Susie Kozawa, Seattle (sound art)
Charmaine Lee, NYC (vocalist)
Jayve Montgomery, Nashville (woodwinds, percussion and electronics)
Le Quan Ninh, Saint-Silvain-sous-Toulx, France (surrounded bass drum)
Danishta Rivero, Oakland (voice, electronics)
Ståle Liavik Solberg, Oslo, Norway (drums and percussion)
Biliana Voutchkova, Berlin, Germany (violin, voice)
Performers from Baltimore:
CK Barlow (live sampling, electronics)
Tom Boram (harpsichord, synthesizer)
Samuel Burt (daxophone, clarinets)
Ledah Finck (violin, viola)
Nik Francis (percussion, electronics)
Owen Gardner (guitar, cello)
Clarissa Gregory (dance)
Bonnie Jones (electronics)
Bonnie Lander (soprano)
Kristen Toedtman (voice, violin, piano)
Jeron White (bass)