Jason Finkelman’s Kuroshio
Focus on cross-cultural, improvised music led percussionist Jason Finkelman to combine laptop electronics and acoustic instrumentation to create his distinct ambient, avant-world sound. A specialist on the single string musical bow berimbau, Finkelman is a Philadelphia-born percussionist who performs on African and Brazilian instruments handcrafted by Adimu Kuumba. His roots in improvised music stem from founding the trio Straylight in 1992, leading to collaborative performances in the late 90’s with a wide spectrum of artists including Pauline Oliveros, Steve Gorn, Joe McPhee, Brian Ritchie, and others in the Straylight Dialogues series at the Knitting Factory in New York City. Since arriving in Urbana-Champaign in 2000, Finkelman has continually performed with a host of genre-blurring improvisers from the area and beyond. As a composer for dance, Finkelman has over twenty-three years of collaboration with choreographer Cynthia Oliver on works including Tether (2019), Virago-Man Dem (2017-18), BOOM! (2014-15) and “Bessie” award winning performances SHEMAD (2000) and Death’s Door (1996). He has also composed works for choreographers Renée Wadleigh, Kirstie Simson, Jessica Cornish, Nico Brown, Renée Archibald, Jessie Young, and Nickels Sunshine. At the University of Illinois, Finkelman directs Global Arts Performance Initiatives at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, providing a wide range of engagement programming featuring international music, avant-garde jazz, and documentary film on contemporary Asia. Finkelman’s most recent campus initiative is Improvisers Exchange, both a performance ensemble and series of concerts and workshops broadly exploring the genre of improvised music.
Joy Yang’s continual pursuit of pushing boundaries in genres and developing a unique voice has influenced her interest in multidisciplinary improvisation. Whilst Joy has been playing Classical piano since the age of four, her undergraduate studies in BMusic/BEducation (Sydney, Australia) with Alister Spence and Sandy Evans opened up a world of jazz and improvisation. She has also worked closely with mentors: Satoko Fujii, Neta Maughan AM, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Dr. Adam Hulbert, Nicky Crasyon, Eric Chapus, and Lamont Holden. In Sidney, Joy is pianist, thereminist and composer in Valkyrie Trio, an all-female jazz trio with an upcoming album release, and has curated experimental shows in featuring her multidisciplinary group, ViolaMPFREE with live dance, projection mapping, spoken word and digital painting. Currently earning an MMusic in piano performance and literature at the University of Illinois, Joy studies with Dr. Rochelle Sennet and Chip Stephens (jazz piano), performing in classical ensemble settings, as well as in collaboration with modern piano composers. Joy also performs in Urbana Champaign with jazz combos, local hip-hop artists, and Dr. Rudolf Haken, and contributes as an executive board member of UIUC’s Electronic Music Club. Joy is pleased to be pursuing collaborative work celebrating strands of diversity in sound, experience and culture that may fuse into a unified project enhancing mutual human understanding and empathy.
Nathan Wells honors a thirty-three year relationship with his violin, which began as a classical performance violinist pupil under Miss Terrine Gomez, founder of the Young Artist’s Studio, and further instruction under Clara Roland, Sherban Lupu, and Ian Hobson during their tenures at the University of Illinois through 1998. Wells has since engaged sonic expressions in blues, folk, ambient, industrial and otherwise non-identified experimental electro-acoustic musical forms and has programmed opening performances for Chris Carter and Cosey Fanny Tutti of Throbbing Gristle. He keeps a bonding mentor friendship with, Jamal Moss, founder of Mathematics Recordings for which Nathan lends an ear for Artists and Repertoire selections. His elements for sound creation are samplers capturing live voice, violin, modular synthesis, AM radio signal, field recordings, and Hammond Organ. For Wells sonic resonance through improvisation is a means to possess and empower air — one true form of freedom that will change circumstances only the listener will realize.
The Kuroshio debut recording features Jason Finkelman and Joy Yang with Shu-Cheng Allen Wu:
Fulbright scholar, Shu-Cheng Allen Wu holds a DMA degree in music theory and composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Allen’s research interests include contemporary music composition, electronic music, algorithmic music composition, programming, music information retrieval, and live coding. He has composed and produced music for animations, short films and games, and has conducted various ensembles including choirs, theater, chamber music, wind orchestra, and Chinese instrumentation. In the Wu-Morse Duo, Allen developed his strategies for utilizing a LinnStrument controller with laptop electronics for improvisation. Allen was a full time assistant professor at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Creativity and a lecturer at Tamkang University and Chaoyang University of Technology where he taught electronic music engineering and composition, multimedia art, art history, creativity, aesthetics, film music production for non-music majors, and more. During his DMA studies, he taught music theory, aural skills and electroacoustic music techniques.