Meridian Music Presents: Surface Tensions (by Gretchen Jude, Peiling Kao and Kevin Corcoran)

  • Canessa Gallery 708 Montgomery St San Francisco, CA, 94111 United States

Postcard compositions aim to spark new performances via an outmoded (yet stubbornly interactive and tactile) medium for communication. The composer creates and sends a visual score for/to each performer with the goal of inspiring ideas and structures for sonic/spatial work while avoiding specific prescriptions for the sound/movement materials used. Thus, the notion of indeterminacy is turned on its head and becomes infused with intersubjectivity, exploring effects of distance and mediation on personal and aesthetic relationships.

In this intermedia (dance-music) performance, a doublesized visual is created (as a ‘diptych’) and split, one half sent to a musician, the other to a dancer. The process and medium are different for each part of the score, but the resulting performance maintains a surprising unity. In this way, neither music nor movement is inherently prioritized in the making and execution of the piece. Both are instead mediated through the visual score.

For this performance, Gretchen will compose a graphic score diptych to mail to Peiling and Kevin. Peiling will use her half of the score as the seed for movement/choreography while Kevin will respond to the score with musical/compositional ideas for percussion and voice. The three artists will then perform the results, exploring in new ways the lines between improvisation and composition, dance and music.

Tickets available here and at the door.

About the Artists:

A native of the wild state of Idaho (USA), performing artist Gretchen Jude has appeared onstage in the US, Japan, Korea and Finland, with artists such as Kazue Sawai, Willie Winant, Keith Rowe, and Christian Wolff.  Improvisatory responsiveness to her surroundings forms the core of Gretchen’s musical practice.  Her on-going collaborations include Candy Acid (electronics, with Lona Kozik), Gestaltish (voice and amplification, with Rachel Condry, Jakob Pek and Jennifer Wilsey), glou glou (electronics and everything else, with Arjun Mendiratta) and Eat The Sun (koto, with Jason Hoopes and Noah Phillips).  Gretchen also has extensive experience working with choreographers, such as Anne Bluethenthal, Christine Germain & Dancers, Cuauhtemoc Mitote Dance Company, Shinichi Iova-Koga/inkBoat, The Thick Rich Ones, and Peiling Kao Dances.

Gretchen has studied a variety of performance practices, including: music improvisation with Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell and Zeena Parkins; vocal technique with Molly Holm, Giselle Wyers and Jonathan Nadel; traditional Japanese music with Sawai koto master Curtis Patterson and shamisen expert Nishimura Makoto; and electronic/computer  music and sound art with Ted Apel, John Bischoff, James Fei, Chris Brown, Jeff Lubow, and Nic Collins.  She holds an MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media (with the Donna Peterson Vocal Prize) from Mills College, as well as koto certification (with distinction) from the Sawai Koto Institute in Tokyo.  Gretchen is currently a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at University of California Davis, where her research interests include presence and embodiment in live computer music, language and cultural difference in performance, and collaborative electroacoustic improvisation. 


Peiling Kao was born in Taipei, Taiwan, graduated from Taipei National University of the Arts in 1996 with a BFA in Dance, and worked as a full-time teacher at Cloud Gate Dance School in Taiwan. In 2007, Peiling was awarded the Taiwan-England artists’ residency, hosted by the Independent Dance based at Siobhan Davis Studios in London; in 2010, Peiling finished her MFA at Mills College, receiving an E.L Wiegand Foundation Award for excellence in performance and choreography.  In 2012,Peiling awarded Isadora Duncan Dance Awards in category of Outstanding Achievement in Performance for the collaborative work entitled Terra Incognita: Revisited, and her work Imprint got nominated for Izzies’s Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design in 2013. Peiling was an Artist in Residency (AIR) at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in the Fall 2012. Since moving to the US, Peiling has been teaching dance at Mills College, Shawl- Anderson Dance Center, RoCo Dance, Taiwanese American Center, and was a guest artist at Austin Peay State University and Chinese American International School. Peiling’s work has been presented in Taipei, Oakland (CA), San Francisco (CA), Clarksville (TN), and London.

Kevin Corcoran works with percussion, phonography and electronics exploring an open interest in sound as medium where texture and tone take precedence over rhythm and melody. His ongoing solo and collaborative work includes both improvised and composed music. As drummer and percussionist in dark folk outfit Dead Western he has performed throughout the US and Europe. He provides percussive sound in the electroacoustic quartet Fibers featuring Randy McKean, Murray Campbell and Wes Steed. Other current projects include collaborations with field recording artist Jen Boyd and a soundtrack to the new novel The Animals by author and musician Christian Kiefer alongside Scott Leftridge, Louis B. Jones and Tetuzi Akiyama.

Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Corcoran earned a degree in Technocultural Studies from UC Davis where he studied sonic arts with Bob Ostertag, Sam Nichols and Kriss Ravetto. He currently lives and works in San Francisco.