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Sun, Oct 30


The Hangar Art Co.

pt.fwd presents John McCowen

John McCowen (Reykjavik, Iceland) is a composer/clarinetist focused on extending the possibilities of the contrabass clarinet and other instruments.

pt.fwd presents John McCowen
pt.fwd presents John McCowen

Time & Location

Oct 30, 2022, 7:00 PM CDT

The Hangar Art Co., 105 W Jefferson St, Bloomington, IL 61701, USA

About the event

“The sonic equivalent of microscopic life viewed on a slide.” - The New Yorker

“An astonishing demonstration of pure sound and human will.” - The Wire

John McCowen is a composer/clarinetist focused on extending the possibilities of the clarinet. John's multiphonic approach embraces drones, difference tones, and beating harmonics as a means to squeeze out the compositional potential within a single, acoustic sound source. Documents of this practice have been released by Edition Wandelweiser, International Anthem, Astral Spirits, SUPERPANG, Dinzu Artefacts, and others. John was a 2017 & 2019 artist-in-residence at Lijiang Studio in Yunnan, China, and also the 2020 artist-in-residence at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn. He received the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award for excellence in music composition in 2016 from Mills College where he received an MA in Music Composition. He has collaborated with Roscoe Mitchell, Nate Wooley, Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir, Theresa Wong, Charmaine Lee, Sean Meehan, Randall Dunn, Lao Dan, Leila Bordreuil, Luke Stewart, Ned Rothenberg, and others. John remains stubbornly dedicated to acoustic phenomena.  His works do not utilize amplifier feedback or electronically-generated sounds unless specified.

He currently resides in Reykjavik, Iceland where he teaches improvisation at the Iceland University of the Arts.

Presented at The Hangar Art Co., John will perform solo works for contrabass clarinet. These works showcase the contrabass clarinet as a polyphonic instrument. By finessing the instrument’s sonic spectrum, a language based in the natural harmonics of a cylinder is developed. Put simply, the music features multiple, independent moving lines from one acoustic sound source. With specific microphone placement, the listener is brought inside the instrument. There are no electronically generated sounds. This is acoustic music.


All pt.fwd concerts are free and open to the public. pt.fwd is an independent, artist-run 501c3 non-profit that organizes contemporary music and sonic arts performances in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. pt.fwd's mission is to celebrate the communal experience of coming together to listen to powerful new sonic art.


Live stream available via Experimental Sound Studio on YouTube.

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