Guillermo Gregorio: Coplanar


“There are many ways to be engaged with the place one belongs to,” says Guillermo Gregorio, “and not necessarily by becoming folkloric.” Gregorio has not lived in Buenos Aires since 1986, when he and his wife, Borges scholar Silvia Dapia, left Argentina to reside first in Europe and, since 1991, the United States. He has realized most of his recorded output, including this record, with musicians from Vienna, Boston, and Chicago. But only an artist like Gregorio who is steeped in the artistic and social concerns of post–World War II Argentina could conceive a work like Coplanar.

Guillermo Gregorio was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on May 1, 1941. As a youth, he was drawn to cars, trains, and buildings whose futuristic design expressed a strong and optimistic vision of the future; as he grew older, he took up visual art himself. His first musical experiences were not so forward-looking. His parents played the classics and Argentine folk music around the house. The indigenous guitarist-composer-poet Atahualpa Yupanqui, he recalls, “was really important in my formation, although I was not aware of that until much later. I think that the coolness and naturalness of his expression, his incredibly dense and suggestive understatement, and the sense of space and silence of his supposedly naive poetry really made an impact on my artistic perception.” The first music to really turn his head—a couple of hot jazz 78s that he heard in junior high—was recorded before he was born. After an initial flirtation with the cornet, he took up the clarinet in 1955; the next year he began playing in jazz ensembles, where he doubled on saxophones.

But at the same time that he was playing licks cribbed from the Austin High gang, he was attending composer Alberto Ginastera’s weekend courses on contemporary classical music, where he first heard Edgard Varèse, Anton Webern, and Pierre Schaeffer. Over the next few years, Gregorio immersed himself equally in modern jazz, especially the work of pianist Lennie Tristano and his saxophonists Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz, and the work of many twentieth-century composers: Stefan Wolpe, Luigi Nono, Iannis Xenakis, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Henry Cowell, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown. His earliest recordings, collected on the retrospective Otra Musica, reflect Gregorio’s engagement with both musical worlds; his duets with trumpeter Carlos Miralles reflect the influence of Ornette Coleman and Jimmy Giuffre, but home recordings like “Campanitas” and “Clarinete” are pure musique concrète.

Despite Gregorio’s involvement in both music and visual art, when it came time to go to college, he studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, where he eventually earned a master’s degree. He developed a keen and enduring interest in Concrete Art and Constructivism, especially in the multi-disciplinary works of Alexander Rodchenko and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. But like many individuals who came of age in the sixties, Gregorio was every bit as stimulated by the debates of aesthetic and social issues he found in off-campus cafes. His thinking was swayed by the radical ideas and practices of the German Joseph Beuys, a Fluxus associate whose own multi-disciplinary work was directed toward effecting social change; the British composer and activist Cornelius Cardew; and the conceptual-political art of the Argentineans Roberto Jacoby and Leon Ferrari. “Precisely my generation—those who grew up a little later than the early pioneers—was allowed to put together tendencies that before could be conceived as separate or even antagonistic.” Gregorio realized this integration in the Fluxus-like conceptual art actions that he pursued with the group Música Más, which can also be heard on Otra Musica. Música Más’s modernist stance defied the conservatism of a musical community that had not so long ago castigated Astor Piazzolla for adding a little dissonance to his tangos. And its performance strategies—Otra Musica’s booklet reproduces photos of Música Más playing inside a cage— confronted Argentina’s increasingly volatile sociopolitical milieu, in which left-leaning intellectuals faced off against a right wing riddled with Nazi sympathizers.

In 1973, Gregorio stopped playing in public while he reevaluated his art. Shortly afterward a new, more brutal dictatorship seized control of Argentina. He recalls it as a dark and dangerous time: “You were fortunate if you could keep working and live untouched by suspicions and provocation.” So Gregorio laid low until 1980; upon his return, he led a band called Buenos Aires Transbop that picked up the threads of cool and classically inspired “Third Stream” jazz. After leaving Argentina, he continued to pursue both lines of inquiry. In 1986-7 he studied privately with Warne Marsh, and in 1988 he commenced working with the Viennese trumpeter and flugelhornist Franz Koglmann, whose Orte der Geometrie was Gregorio’s first commercially released recording.

He lived for a spell in Cologne, Germany, where he formed the group Tal Cual to play his own compositions. But before they could record, Dapia obtained a teaching position at Purdue University; since 1997, Gregorio has also taught art history there. He finally recorded the music he’d begun developing in Europe with a drummerless quartet of Bostonians in 1995. Approximately’s title acknowledges the ambiguous provenance of the material; “Some Reflections on ‘Marionette’” fractures the breezy melody of a tune that guitarist Billy Bauer gave to Tristano in 1949 and recasts it as a dynamic construction that leaps nimbly from hushed voicings to clashing tones. The name of another piece that was composed by the album’s co-producer Art Lange, “Four Shapes on Yellow Paper,” implies the use of graphic material in the spirit of Earle Brown. In another way, the album’s name is quite misleading; there’s nothing approximate about the music’s precise and thoughtful execution.

Shortly after Approximately’s release, Gregorio moved to Chicago. The city whose jazz sounds first opened his ears now supported a scene of musicians who were equally comfortable playing jazz, classical, free improvisation, and rock and roll. Most of the players on his next record, Ellipsis, were members of the new-music group Ensemble Noamnesia, and the album’s seamless synthesis of breathy reed figures, bristling string textures, and carefully contoured mallet passages started sounding a long way from jazz. Two subsequent releases, Red Cube(d) and Background Music, looked at phases of jazz (swing and cool respectively) through the refracting prisms of classical and free improv. But it’s the two discs that came after them, Degrees of Iconicity and Faktura, that open like French doors onto the vistas of Coplanar.

“I prefer to put this music in the field of New Music,” he explains, “because New Music is not defined. There is more new space to move. In that context, the music many times is not improvised, even when it partially includes improvisation, but it is basically all written in order to give a consistency to the work. Listen two or three times to the work and you will recognize that there is structure. This structure configures itself in different shapes at moments when the music is played because the connections are not the same as the syntactic connections of conventional music, even modern (i.e., New) music.” These shapes, especially on Coplanar, are inspired by the visual art of the East European Constructivists and their Argentinean heirs, the Madi and Concrete Art movements.

But just as important is the process by which the work is realized. Some of the graphic elements convey musical information that cannot be expressed more conventionally; others are provocations, images on the page that encourage the players to adopt a particular frame of mind. For this music, while rigorously scored by one man, is a joint construction, a collective effort toward a clear goal rather than an individualistic statement on the part of either a soloist or a composer. “The concept of doing, of constructing, is very important.”

                                                                                                            —William Meyer


Bill Meyer lives in Berwyn, Illinois. He writes about music and works as a psychotherapist.


Composer’s notes


In an artistic sense, the word Coplanar refers to a certain object (or kind of objects) developed in a more-or-less independent way by two Argentine avant-garde art movements during the middle 1940s. These movements were the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención (Concrete Art/Invention Association) and the Movimiento Madi (Madi Movement). The coplanar was a product of years of research by the members of these movements to formulate a non-idealistic, non-metaphysical aesthetic and, accordingly, to propose a new kind of artistic object.

In pursuing that goal, among the many problems to be solved by those artists were the exclusion from their works of the typical “representational character” and—even more difficult—to eliminate the “illusion of space” inherent to traditional paintings. In the view of these avant-gardists, a painting should not only not represent objects foreign to the identity of the painting as an object in itself (as artists such as Kasimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and Theo van Doesburg, among others, had already done), but neither should it contain any trace of the representation of time, space, or depth in an illusionistic way. This is a very dense issue from a theoretical point of view, going far beyond the simple declaration of self-referentiality of the work, or the formulation of an unconcerned, disinterested relationship with reality. On the contrary, these Argentinean artists wanted to achieve a genuinely realistic painting directly engaged with the time and space of our actual experience.

From the point of view of these Concretists and Madists, the precursors who made related attempts in the past (Laszlo Peri, Alexander Rodchenko, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Alexander Calder) had failed and were forced to subsequently attempt to solve with the creation of three-dimensional sculptures what they could not solve on the actual picture plane. After all, how could a painting not “represent” space and depth, when the canvas itself as a “background” suggests a three-dimensional space in which the shapes are floating? (Think of Malevich’s geometric paintings as an example.) These Argentineans, however, believed they solved the problem by reconfiguring the previously square or rectangular “window” of the picture plane into various, separated flat shapes subtly connected by metal rods or equivalent devices. All the shapes, even when they were separated by empty spaces, belonged to the same plane. Hence the name “coplanar.” In that way, real space penetrated the painting, acquiring an equal importance to the painting itself.

The coplanar was presented, thus, as a genuine “invention,” a real object interacting in real space at a real time within a universe of ordinary objects. We can understand now that these artists were attempting to erase the artistic boundary between “representation” and “presentation.” Both the Concretists and the Madists considered that to represent on a flat surface a human face, a cow, or a mountain—that is, the “representation” of space and time through a familiar theme or anecdote “contained” by a canvas and a frame—was a supreme act of abstraction. In consequence, traditional representational painting was considered by them “abstract” and not realist at all. But at the same time they distanced themselves from the so-called abstract tendencies of the 1940s and ’50s, because they simultaneously rejected the metaphysical pretensions of many abstract artists. Thus, in renouncing both the commonly accepted principles of representational and so-called abstract art, Madists and Concretists considered themselves realists par excellence. Therefore, only due to confusion generated by idealistic aesthetics and philosophies could they be called “abstract artists.”

Many passionate discussions about those issues took place in the studios, cafes, and gatherings at private houses (the academy did not tolerate such heresies) of Argentina when I was still an infant. I discovered all about that at a much later time, when subsequent tendencies like “informalism,” “tachisme,” “abstract expressionism” and “action painting,” “new figuration” and the beginnings of “pop art” were fashionable currents in the artistic milieu. But the questions posed—and the solutions proposed—by those pioneers from the forties captured my interest, since I felt that they had never been seriously considered, much less accepted, by the artistic community.

The Concretists (whose main mentor was the painter and theoretician Tomás Maldonado) supported the “fixed” coplanar. In it, the active aspect resides in the interaction of complementary or contrasting proportions of the surfaces and colors, meticulously calculated. It seems that the first artist who produced this kind of object was Juan Alberto Molenberg, showing his “White Function” in 1946. Others who followed him were Raul Lozza and Juan Mele. The Madists, by contrast, invented the “mobile coplanar,” whereby the viewer could alter the appearance of the artifact by manipulating it. The real promoter of this kind of hand-adjustable object was Carmelo Arden Quin, a pivotal figure of the Madi Movement, who since 1944 had been experimenting with various types of artworks with moveable parts.

                Many of these artists ultimately abandoned that line of spatial investigation and faced different challenges. The subsequent experiences of Fluxus, “happenings,” “space music,” environmental installations, certain kinds of conceptual art, and improvised and “real time” electronic music accustomed us to deal with “real space” and “real time”—in an aesthetic sense—in unprecedented ways during the last decades of the twentieth century. In my personal case, Argentine conceptualism and politicized conceptual art during the sixties and early seventies (as practiced by Oscar Masotta, Juan Pablo Renzi, Leon Ferrari, and Roberto Jacoby, among others) constituted an exciting subject—more or less parallel with my involvement in what we could call Fluxus activities in Buenos Aires—as well as taking me far from those seemingly outdated theories developed by the masters from the forties. Nevertheless, the coplanars themselves always exerted a strong fascination on me and in some aesthetic way influenced my own artistic and musical evolution—very similar, perhaps, to the fascination and influence that Calder’s mobiles exerted on the American composer Earle Brown—and for that reason I felt compelled to make this CD as an homage to those old masters and their attempts for a radical departure from the standards of conventional art.

What similarities could we find between this music and those principles and artifacts? Well, given the distinct experiential nature of visual art and music, perhaps to find these similarities would require a leap of faith on the part of the listener. However, I think that some clues could be discovered. First of all, I have long been interested in music as a concrete, sonic event engaged with real space. In 1963 I conceived a piece for piano where the physical situation of the piano—that is, its surrounding space and the objects filling that space—was a constitutive part in the work. Piano and surrounding space—room, furniture, glasses, ashtrays and so on— were the sources, then, of a “sonic continuum.” The piano in itself was considered as “an object,” as opposed to a musical instrument with a tradition, history, accepted technique, and so forth. (A recording of this piece, made almost by accident, as corresponds to such an event, can be found on the CD Otra Música: Tape Music, Fluxus and Free Improvisation in Buenos Aires 1963–70.) Thus, my interest in those “ontological” problems related to the artwork appeared at an early stage in my career.

Moreover, some years later, while I was looking for a practical way to connect notated parts of a composition through “segments” of variable durations of silence, I noticed that the resulting figure in the score resembled the shape of a coplanar—or, better said, to the projection of a coplanar on a plane! Absolutely enthusiastic about that, I imagined the silence as the interpenetrating space, and the segments as the supporting rods. Conceived in that way, the score itself and the parts for each musician achieved a kind of coplanar significance. When we performed my first “Coplanar” at the Chicago Cultural Center I asked for a magnified drawing on the floor showing the same shape as the scores. I placed a player on each of those shapes and called for the audience to walk between the musicians/shapes as in an installation. The resulting recording included the noise of footsteps “interpenetrating” the music.

I find it interesting that despite the initiative of those Argentine avant-garde visual artists from the forties, there was not an equivalent activity in music. The two composers most closely related to the above-mentioned artistic groups in Buenos Aires—as far as I can tell from my limited research—were Juan Carlos Paz and the Austrian-born Esteban Eitler. Paz was a friend of any innovative movement in art, and was known as an anti-academic iconoclast himself. In his career as a composer and educator we find the roots of Argentine avant-garde music. Eitler, at this time, was himself a member of the Madi movement in his triple role of composer, photographer, and painter. We could mention, as examples of their creativity, Juan Carlos Paz’s “Second Dodecaphonic Composition,” Op. 29, for flute and piano, written in 1934–35, or the superb anti-expressionistic “Music for flute, alto saxophone, and piano,” Op. 43, composed in 1943, that evokes geometric Madi mobile figures. Esteban Eitler composed pieces of unusual instrumentation to be heard those years in the concert hall. But he also composed unconventional music heard outside of the concert hall, such as “Dodecafónico A” (1948), played by a jazz band at the Richmond tea room in Buenos Aires, and “Concierto 1948,” played at the Bop Club Argentino.

In spite of their creativity and originality, neither Paz nor Eitler were at that time much beyond the limits of twelve-tone composition. The possibilities of electronic music and the “spatial sounds and rhythms, lines and planes of thematic noises” proposed by Carmelo Arden Quin in the first Madi Manifesto in 1946 were not yet a reality. Nowhere in the world did there yet exist a comparable music to the aesthetic aspirations of the Madists and Concretists. Perhaps the closest musical antecedents could have been contained in the 1913 manifesto “The Art of Noises” by Luigi Russolo; in the mathematical/constructivist “Inventions” (1934) and percussive “Constructions” (1939–41) by John Cage; in some pieces by Edgard Varèse. But the points of theoretical departure were very different from those of the Argentine painters. What could a “Madi music” have been like? That question and the possible answers have always been for me an exciting speculation. Over the years—I have to confess it—I harbored a desire to explore such issues in my own music.

Some of the music contained in this CD, Coplanar, is based on scores that allow the musicians to make decisions about the “direction” that will take them through the connections of thoroughly pre-composed parts, as an analogy to the Madi mobile coplanars. Other scores follow precisely notated itineraries or configurations, like the fixed coplanars of the Concretists. In both cases, space and silence interpenetrate the works. With the single exception of the featured soloist’s role in Coplanar 5, which allowed spaces for bass clarinetist Ken Vandermark’s spontaneous creative input, none of the music here is improvised.

In January 2001, I founded the Madi Ensemble of Chicago to perform my compositions, as well as historical scores that draw from the conceptual foundation of diverse Argentine avant-garde currents. The members of the ensemble are outstanding musicians very well known not only in the Chicago New Music scene, but also internationally. On strings are Fred Lonberg-Holm, violoncello, Jen Paulson, viola, and Michael Cameron, contrabass. Fred is a longstanding member of my different groups and my closest collaborator. He excels in both experimental and classical playing, improvising in any modality, and inventing all kind of sonic devices to attach to his cello in order to extend the timbral range of his instrument. He refers to himself as an “anti-cellist.” I think that he is one of those few artists who have redefined the cello. He also likes to treat the instrument as an object, which is perfectly suitable to my purposes here. Jen and Michael are superb classical and New Music players, as well as brilliant improvisers. All of them are among the most daring and innovative string players available, for their versatility, immediacy of response, and mastery of multiple musical situations. Jim Baker is a valuable member of any creative project in Chicago playing piano, both avant-garde jazz and New Music. But he is also a remarkable live-electronics player of great subtlety and imagination. Kyle Bruckmann, who plays oboe, English horn, and accordion in the ensemble, has the ability to adapt the technique and instincts of a first-rate chamber music player to the most unconventional of musical concepts. John Corbett brings a very creative impulse and style to his guitar playing and his huge array of guitar “treatments”; as everyone knows he is also a writer and music critic, as well as a kind of musical archeologist with his Unheard Music Series record label. John’s guitar and Jim Baker’s analog ARP synthesizer are the featured “soloists” in Coplanar 1 + 2. All of the abovementioned musicians make thoroughly creative use of extended instrumental techniques, which is an important aspect of the “objectification” in these scores.

In conceptualizing the program for Coplanar, however, I decided to augment the Madi Ensemble with special guest musicians, who I felt could bring a particular interpretive character or instrumental quality to the variously structured scores. I first saw Steffen Schleiermacher playing piano in 1988 at the Musik Hochschule Köln during a series of concerts in memory of Stefan Wolpe (another of my formative compositional figures). Since that time he has been one of my favorite pianists in the modern repertoire. His originality in selecting programs and rediscovering interesting historical figures from the twentieth century is displayed on recordings for several labels including hat HUT and cpo. In addition to being a virtuoso player, Steffen is a great composer, as you can hear in the selection of his compositions that the Wergo label released some years ago. Coplanar 3 is dedicated to him.

In 2002, composer and bass clarinetist Gene Coleman made me aware of the temporary presence in Chicago of a fabulous Swiss tuba player, Marc Unternährer, and I became very enthusiastic about working with him once I experienced his fantastic technique and inventiveness. At that time we performed the premiere of my Swiss Coplanar, so called because in addition to Marc the performance featured the Irish-born pianist/composer, now living in Switzerland, John Wolf Brennan, and also because the piece was composed on a poem by the Swiss Dadaist poet Hans Arp. (This poem is a part of a more extended work titled “The Pyramid Frock,” which I originally found in a book by Moholy-Nagy.) We immediately decided to include him in our recording session, and in addition to Swiss Coplanar, his contributions to Coplanar 4 and the Construction with Coplanar were absolutely authoritative.

In the same recording session I was fortunate to have the participation of the Irish composer Jennifer Walshe, who in addition to her compositional activities participates in many avant-garde vocal projects, and here brought her special talents and method of interpretation to the poem in a very relevant way. I encountered Warren Po playing cracklebox during a recording session for some of Cornelius Cardew’s music, in which we were both involved. His inventiveness on that unusual instrument provoked me to combine its squeaky, sometimes ominously husky, sometimes sinister sound with the clarinet and viola in White Coplanar.

Several years ago, I was attending a session at the Chicago club The Empty Bottle and heard Ken Vandermark playing bass clarinet. Of course, I had often heard him on tenor saxophone, and I always liked his playing without reservation, but his bass clarinet playing intrigued me in a very special way. I asked him if he would like me to compose a piece for him, and he seemed very enthusiastic about it. So, I promised him the piece. Due to Ken’s always-tight schedule and my own slowness, however, the composition never materialized. Finally I was able to compose the piece as part of the Coplanar program. My intention was—obviously—to give him the place of prominence as soloist, but at the same time to surround him with an ensemble sound that had obsessed me for a long time: the instrumental combination of three clarinets, three strings, and piano, used by Arnold Schönberg in his “Suite Op. 29” (1925–26). (No comparisons, please! I am only talking about the instrumental combination, not the compositional approach.) To that end I invited another eminent Chicago musician, Aram Shelton, to play the part for E-flat piccolo clarinet. In my opinion Ken is here at his very best. In addition to his written part, I left for him open spaces in which to improvise, and what he created was in a perfect symbiosis with the rest of the composition.

Finally, I have to mention the important role of Art Lange in this recording. He not only produced the studio sessions, but our long years of fruitful collaboration and exchange of ideas have had a tremendous impact on my music.

I want to thank all the guests and the members of the Madi Ensemble for making possible this recording. Coplanar is dedicated to Juan Alberto Molenberg.


Guillermo Gregorio, Chicago, December 2003


               Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1941, Guillermo Gregorio has lived variously in Europe and the United States since 1986. He was an active participant on the Argentine music scene throughout the 1960s, ’70s, and early ’80s. His involvement with New Music included both composing and playing saxophone, clarinet, and miscellaneous instruments in the Movimiento Música Más (Fluxus Group), the Experimental Group of Buenos Aires, and the Group of Contemporary Music of La Plata, featuring Fluxus events, multimedia spectacles, environmental pieces, experimental concerts, and aleatory realizations, as well as works by Cage, Ligeti, and avant-garde Argentinean composers.

He has also written many articles about avant-garde music (Musique Concrète, Futurism, Gruppo Nuova Consonanza, Cornelius Cardew, AMM, Musica Elettronica Viva, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, Robert Ashley, LaMonte Young, Albert Ayler, Bob Graettinger). He has a degree in architecture and has taught history and theory of architecture and industrial design and visual communication at the University of Buenos Aires and the University of La Plata, Argentina. He has also worked as an architect and consulting designer in Buenos Aires and Los Angeles. He has been radio curator of Armonia, a Musicians Residency Program created by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Currently, he teaches art appreciation at Purdue University.

“What affects me more than any other thing,” Gregorio says, “is my involvement in visual arts, and my architectural and design experience.” In his compositions, a reinterpretation of the fundamental and structural concepts of Constructivism converges with the historical experiences of Argentinean Conceptualism, Fluxus, intermedia synthesis, certain aspects of serialism, and graphic music. In addition to the acceptance of sound as material, constructive and geometrically generated ideas are used in scores ranging from conventionally notated statements to graphs, including planimetric projections of spatial structures. With his Chicago-based trio and other ensembles, Gregorio has performed his own compositions in Europe and the United States. In January 2001, he founded the Madi Ensemble of Chicago, which performs original and historical scores that draw from the conceptual foundation of diverse Argentinian avant-garde currents.

Since 1995, the label hat Art has recorded and released Gregorio’s compositions. He has also recorded the music of Anthony Braxton and Cornelius Cardew. He has worked with Ran Blake, Jim O’Rourke, Vinko Globokar, Gene Coleman, George Graewe, Franz Koglmann, Le Quan Ninh, Akikazu Nakamura, Ab Baars, Sebi Tramontana, and Mary Oliver, among others.


Jim Baker has been playing piano and analog synthesizer in Chicago and elsewhere around the world for a few decades now. His recordings include Birdhouse (Okka Disk) with tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, and the bands Steam (Eighth Day Music), Caffeine (Okka Disk), and Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band (Okka Disk), as well as Guillermo Gregorio’s Faktura (hat Art) and the music of Cornelius Cardew (Treatise and Material, both on hat Art). His debut solo record, More Questions Than Answers, was recently released by Delmark Records.


Oboist Kyle Bruckmann has recently relocated to San Francisco from Chicago, where since 1996 he had been a fixture in that city’s thriving music scene. While teaching and freelancing as a classical musician, he collaborated regularly with many of the region’s most creative improvisers and sound artists and appeared on more than a dozen recordings. Since making the Bay Area his home, he has joined forces with new-music specialists sfSound and continued work with the ensembles Wrack (a quintet performing his original compositions), EKG (an electroacoustic duo with Ernst Karel), and the experimental postpunk rock monstrosity Lozenge.


Originally from upstate New York, where his first teacher was Allan Denis, Michael Cameron attended Indiana University where he studied with Murray Grodner, Barry Green, and Stuart Sankey, and received chamber music coaching with Menachem Pressler and Joseph Gingold. Cameron has premiered several new works for bass, including a number of American premieres by European composers, such as the North American premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra. Cameron’s solo performances have been released on Gasparo and Zuma. He has previously appeared on Guillermo Gregorio’s Ellipsis (hatOLOGY), Degrees of Iconicity (hat Art), and Faktura (hat Art). Cameron is currently professor of double bass at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.


John Corbett is a writer, producer, improviser and audio artist. He is the author of Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein (Duke University Press, 1994), and a senior contributor to Down Beat magazine. As a guitar player, Corbett has developed a wide array of extended techniques and devices in order to enhance the sonorities of that instrument. Corbett’s records include I Am Sick About My Hat (Atavistic) and a set of duets with guitarist Dave Williams, Humdinger (Atavistic). He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is currently Chair of Exhibitions Studies.


A former composition student of Morton Feldman and Anthony Braxton, composer and improviser Fred Lonberg-Holm currently lives in Chicago, where he works with a wide variety of musicians. In addition to performing in various ensembles led by Guillermo Gregorio, he appears regularly with the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band and Vandermark 5, Joe McPhee’s Alto Ensemble, Chris Mills’s New Miserable Bastards, The Kedzie Terrorists, Janet Bean’s Concertina Wire, and The Boxhead Ensemble. His own groups include Terminal Four and The Valentine Trio (with Jason Roebke and Frank Rosaly), and he leads ad-hoc large ensembles under the name Lightbox Orchestra. His recordings have been issued on the Pogus, Eighth Day Music, Boxmedia, Atavistic, and Emanem labels.


Jen Clare Paulson studied viola performance at Augustana College, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She works frequently with new-music composers, and is currently a member of Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack (she is featured on the band’s debut recording for Red Toucan). Her other recordings include Guillermo Gregorio’s Faktura (hat Art) and Cornelius Cardew’s Material (hat Art). She has been a member of the Madi Ensemble since its inception.


Warren Po was born in Baltimore, where he played guitar with Bizarro Wedding Band. On improvised electronics, he has played with the guitarist Davey Williams, keyboardist Jim Baker, and Guillermo Gregorio, among others, and has made guest appearances with Starship Beer. Po studied composition with Misha Mengelberg in Amsterdam, where he also played duets with violist Mary Oliver. In Chicago, he played cracklebox on the hat Art recording of Cornelius Cardew’s Material. He is currently preparing a cracklebox version of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.


Steffen Schleiermacher studied piano (Gerhard Erber), composition (Siegfried Thiele, Friedrich Schenker), and conducting (Günter Blumhagen) at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Academy of Music in Leipzig. He also studied composition with Friedrich Goldmann at the Academy of Arts in Berlin and piano with Aloys Kontarsky at the Cologne Academy of Music. As a pianist he focuses exclusively on music of the twentieth century. He has concertized as a soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, among others. Concert tours have taken him throughout Europe, South America, and the Far East. Among his numerous recordings for the MD&G label are the complete works for solo piano by John Cage, and his compositions have been recorded for Wergo.


Aram Shelton studied classical saxophone at the University of Florida and moved to Chicago in 1999. Since then, he has been active in Chicago’s creative music scene. As a composer and a performer on saxophone, clarinet, and Powerbook, he is also involved in collaborating with visual artists in performance to create a cohesive blend of visual and aural art. His recordings include Grey Ghost’s How to Create Words (a duo with Jonathan Crawford) and Jason Roebke’s Rapid Croche (both on 482 Music), the trio Dragon 1976’s On Cortez (Locust Music), and a duo with guitarist Koutaro Fukui (Pocket Recordings).


Marc Unternährer lives in Lucerne, Switzerland. Following his classical studies, he has performed mostly modern composed music in various orchestras, ensembles, and as a soloist. He has worked in theater productions as a musician and performer with Ruedi Häusermann and others. As an improviser, he presently plays and has recorded with the Chicago-Luzern Exchange (Several Lights on Delmark Records), Pipelines with Hans Kennel and John Wolf Brennan (Leo Records), Albin Brun’s Alpin Quintett, Mytha, and Bucher/Glauser/Unternährer (drums, electronics, tuba). He currently teaches at the Musikhochschule Luzern.


A powerful reed player and one of the leaders of the Chicago musical avant-garde, Ken Vandermark was chosen a “Chicagoan of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 1994, and was picked “Best Musician of the Year” by the New York–based jazz magazine Cadence. The Boston-born Vandermark has been the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant and has released a large number of records leading his own groups, which include Caffeine, Steam, Cinghiale, Signal to Noise Unit, the Steel Wool Trio, Witches and Devils, the Vandermark 5, Territory Band, Barrage Double Trio, and the DKV Trio. He also performs periodically with a number of international musicians including Peter Brötzmann, Paul Lytton, and Mats Gustafsson, as well as with such American improvisers as Joe McPhee and Robert Barry.


Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin. She studied composition with John Maxwell Geddes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Kevin Volans in Dublin, and Amnon Wolman at Northwestern University, where she received a doctoral degree in composition. Her works have been performed throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada, by groups such as Ensemble Recherché, Ensemble Resonanz, the Crash Ensemble, Champ d’Action, the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Quintet, the Hebrides Ensemble, Concorde, Pinotage, Donne in Sax, Vamos!, Psappha, and Q-02. In addition to her activities as a composer, she frequently performs as a vocalist and improviser, presenting her own works in festivals throughout Europe and the United States.



As a Leader, Composer and Performer:

Faktura.hat[now]ART 146.

Otra Música.Unheard Music Series UMS/ALP209CD.

Degrees of Iconicity. hat[now]ART 134.
Red Cube(d). hatART/hatOLOGY 531.
Ellipsis. hatART/hatOLOGY 511.
Approximately. hatART 6184.
With Various Others:

Cornelius Cardew. Material.hat[now]ART 152.

Cornelius Cardew. Treatise. hat[now]ART 2 122.
Gregorio/Gustafsson/Nordesson. Background Music. hatART/hatOLOGY 520.

Anthony Braxton. Compositions No. 10 and No. 16 (+101). hat[now]ART 108.

With Ran Blake:
Something to Live For. hatART/hatOLOGY 527.
With Franz Koglmann:
Cantos I–IV. hat ART 6123.
The Use of Memory. hat ART 6078.
Orte der Geometrie. hat ART 6018.
With The Light Box Orchestra:
First Contact! Locust Music 9.
With Boxhead Ensemble:

Two Brothers. Atavistic ALP 126 CD.

With Scott Fields Ensemble:

Christangelfox.482 Music 482-1029.

From the Diary of Dog Drexel. Rossbin RS008.


Producer: Art Lange

Engineer: Jason Quick (Coplanar 3, Madi Piece), Kyle White (Coplanar 4, Construction with Coplanar, Swiss Coplanar, Coplanar 1 + 2, White Coplanar, Coplanar 5)

Digital mastering: John McCortney

Recorded at Airwave Recording Studios, Inc., Chicago, Illinois: Coplanar 3, Madi Piece (October 20, 2001); Coplanar 4, Construction with Coplanar, Swiss Coplanar (May 15, 2002); Coplanar 1 + 2, White Coplanar, Coplanar 5 (December 8, 2002).

Cover design: Bob Defrin Design, Inc., NYC

This recording was made possible by a grant from the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trust. 

Special thanks to Silvia Dapia.

This recording is dedicated to Juan Alberto Molenberg.



Herman E. Krawitz, President; Lisa Kahlden, Director of Information Technology; Paul M. Tai, Director of Artists and Repertory; Mojisola Oké, Bookkeeper; Dan Parratt, Production Associate.



Richard Aspinwall; Milton Babbitt; John Lee Carroll; Thomas Teige Carroll; Emanuel Gerard; David Hamilton; Rita Hauser; Lisa Kahlden; Herman E. Krawitz; Robert Marx; Arthur Moorhead; Elizabeth Ostrow; Cynthia Parker; Larry Polansky; Don Roberts; Marilyn Shapiro; Patrick Smith; Frank Stanton; Paul M. Tai.

Francis Goelet (1926–1998), Chairman

For a complete catalog, including liner notes, visit our Web site:

New World Records, 16 Penn Plaza, #835, New York, NY 10001-1820

Tel (212) 290-1680 Fax (212) 290-1685


P & © 2005 Recorded Anthology of American Music, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

All compositions © 2005 Guillermo Gregorio.

New World Records, 16 Penn Plaza, #835, New York, NY 10001-1820

Tel (212) 290-1680 Fax (212) 290-1685

P & © 2005 Recorded Anthology of American Music, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.