Composers & Performance: Elliott Sharp

  • Meridian Gallery 535 Powell St San Francisco CA

Elliott Sharp returns to the Meridian Gallery to perform a number of electroacoustic guitar pieces, including Momentum Anomaly.

"Momentum Anomaly is the next in a series formally begun with Velocity of Hue in 2003 and continuing with Quadrature and Octal: Book One and Octal:Book Two but in reality extending back to my 1984 solo recordings Ir/Rational Music 1 & 2. These volumes are in some ways sets of etudes presenting technical possibilities and manifestations of various tuning systems and extended techniques. At the same time, I would consider them among the most personal of my music: a feedback loop between formalized concepts often based on extra-musical sources and that internal alchemy that takes place as the Inner Ear and muscles of musical memory and reflex pass messages and calls-for-action back and forth at faster-than-light speeds. Many of the gestures from these past works are so much a part of my sonic DNA that they are instantly recognizable, yet here, they are re-cast through the filter of a new tuning as well as the cumulative transformations in approach and technique that the composer accretes through acts of living and reflection. Momentum Anomaly in itself has many meanings, both nominative and descriptive, deriving from such varied founts as post-quantum physics and market analyses. I present it as the many forms of flow and how they may be interrupted so as to re-form on another plane in another guise, still always flowing.  Momentum Anomaly has just been released on CD on the New Atlantis label."

Squid's Ear review:

ELLIOTT SHARP is a composer, performer, and producer central to the experimental music scene in New York. He leads the projects Orchestra Carbon, Terraplane, and Tectonics and has pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetics to musical composition and interaction.

In October 2013, Sharp premiered the string quartets Tranzience for JACK Quartet and Mare Undarum for Sirius Quartet.  In March 2013, his composition Storm Of the Eye commissioned by violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn for her Encores project was premiered. His composition Turing Test for the Neue Vocalsölisten Stuttgart premiered at the Venice Biennale October 2012 and Then Gone in December. Also in 2012, his Oneirika for the ensemble Zeitkatzer premiered at MaerzMusik Berlin and Persistence of Vision for the Sonic Visions Orchestra (conducted by Sharp) premiered at Sonic Visions Festival Reutlingen. He was commissioned by Issue Project Room to create Occam's Razor for double string-quartet for his birthday marathon E# @ 60 in 2011. In 2010, Sharp directed, wrote, and composed About Us, a science-fiction opera for all-teenage performers at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. In 2009, his music-theater work Binibon premiered at The Kitchen. The Boreal was commissioned by the WDR Witten Festival in 2009 and premiered by JACK Quartet and Proof Of Erdös also by the WDR for Ensemble Resonanz. He has been featured at New Music Stockholm, Donaueschingen Festival, Darmstadt Festival, and Au Printemps. Sharp's work is the subject of a recent documentary film "Doing The Don't" by Bert Shapiro and he was featured on NPR All Things Considered in October 2012.

Sharp was awarded the Berlin Prize for Music Composition in 2013; a Fellowship in Music Composition from New York Foundation for the Arts in 2010; the Preis der Deutscher Schallplatten Kritiks in 2008 for the solo CD "Concert In Dachau" and in 2004 for the orchestral CD "Racing Hearts, Tessalation Row, Calling"; and in 2003, a Fellowship from the Foundation For Contemporary and Performance Art.

His collaborators have included Radio-Sinfonie Frankfurt; pop singer Debbie Harry; Ensemble Modern; Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; Ensemble Resonanz; blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples; jazz greats Jack deJohnette and Sonny Sharrock; multimedia artists Christian Marclay and Pierre Huyghe; and Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians Of Jahjouka.

Sharp's audio installations include Fluvial, a computerized multi-channel audiowork; Chromatine, an interactive string sculpture, and Tag, an interactive audiowork. His electroacoustic work Cryptid Fragments was included in the Bitstreams show at the Whitney Museum.

Recent CD releases from Sharp include "Momentum Anomaly for solo electroacoustic guitar; "Cut With Occam's Razor", a collection of new formal works performed by JACK and Sirius Quartets and pianist Jenny Lin; "The Age of Carbon", a 3xCD-box retrospective of his band Carbon; "Octal:Book Two" for solo 8-string guitarbass, “Binibon” - a radioplay version of his opera; and "Spectropia Suite" with the '31 Band, Debbie Harry and Sirius String Quartet. The complete discography may be found at:

Sharp has lectured or been an Artist-In-Residence at Atlantic Center for the Arts; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Tokyo Zokei University; Music Conservatory of Beijing University; Conservatory of Cuneo, Italy; New England Conservatory; Tama Art College-Japan; Bard College; and Dartmouth College.