virtual tour: a reduced-carbon footprint concert series (2013)

I’m excited to announce a major telematic concert series we’re producing this April (2013). Virtual Tour will be a series of 3 concerts, each involving a core ensemble in San Diego, CA, performing together with a different remote ensemble each night: Amherst, MA (April 5); Zurich, Switzerland (April 6); and Stony Brook, NY (April 7).

Mark Dresser and I are co-producing Virtual Tour in collaboration with our co-directors at each of the three sites: Sarah Weaver (NY), Jason Robinson (MA) and Matthias Ziegler (Zurich). In addition, the five of us are all composing new works for the event, as are several other participating artists, Nicole Mitchell, Marty Ehrlich, and Gerry Hemingway. And the ensembles include many other great musicians as well: Myra Melford, Jane Ira Bloom, Ray Anderson, Min Xiao Fen, Matt Wilson, Bob Weiner and Doug Van Nort.

We’ve been working for over a year on this project, and it builds on many years of telematic exploration as well as decades of shared history among some of these musicians. I feel deeply grateful to be collaborating with so many fantastic musicians near and far.

The press release is below, and we plan to create a site with more materials soon. I hope to see you in April at these unique performances!

– Michael Dessen

Press Release:
Virtual Tour: A Reduced Carbon-Footprint Concert Series (2013)

On April 5, 6 and 7, 2013, a quartet of internationally renowned composer-improvisers and UC faculty – Mark Dresser, Nicole Mitchell, Myra Melford and Michael Dessen – will perform an unprecedented “virtual tour” of new music conceived for world-class improvisers performing together in different geographical locations via Internet2. Taking advantage of high bandwidth networks available only at research and educational institutions, these concerts will feature virtuoso performers performing together across thousands of miles with lifelike, uncompressed audio and minimal time delays and HD video, setting a new standard for music making on the telematic stage.

Telematic music is live performance via the internet by musicians in different geographic locations. With the core group performing each night at the University of California San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Music Center Theater, the collaborative partners include a diverse lineup of outstanding improvisers and composers: Jason Robinson, Marty Ehrlich and Bob Weiner at Amherst College on April 5; Matthias Ziegler and Gerry Hemingway at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (ICST) in Zurich on April 6; and Sarah Weaver, Jane Ira Bloom, Ray Anderson, Min Xiao Fen and Matt Wilson at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture, and Technology (cDACT) at Stony Brook University in New York on April 7.

This Virtual Tour builds upon years of collaborative exploration into the artistic potential of telematics for improvisers performing simultaneously in different cities and even continents. Co-directors and UC Professors Mark Dresser and Michael Dessen, along with Sarah Weaver and Jason Robinson, have been leading innovators in the field of networked jazz and improvised music. This project represents an important step forward: a “virtual tour” in which a core group at UC San Diego will perform a series of concerts with other ensembles and live audiences in different cities each night. The tour will feature premieres of new works created specifically for the telematic stage, with compositions by Mark Dresser, Michael Dessen, Nicole Mitchell, Jason Robinson, Marty Ehrlich, Gerry Hemingway, Matthias Ziegler and Sarah Weaver.

This virtual tour format also enables the musician to mine the environmental benefits of networking technologies. By rehearsing via the internet over a period of many months, the musicians will develop a body of music that would normally require multiple flights, saving thousands of dollars, scores of travel hours, and much fossil fuel.

Collaboration has always been central to jazz traditions, and telematics offers possibilities for extending collective models of music making in exciting, new ways. Just as recording technology transformed jazz in the early 20th century by allowing improvisations to be captured and shared outside of local regions, 21st century networking technologies now provide options for collaboration that have never before existed in the history of music. Featuring an array of renowned musicians and building upon years of experience in networked performance, Virtual Tour promises to be a powerful and unique concert series that sets a new precedent for music making.

Artist Roster:

San Diego, core group, April 5-7:
Mark Dresser, bass, composition
Michael Dessen, trombone, composition
Myra Melford, piano
Nicole Mitchell, flute, composition
Trevor Henthorn, technical director


April 5:
Amherst, MA: Amherst College
7pm PDT / 10pm EDT
Marty Ehrlich, woodwinds, composition
Jason Robinson, woodwinds, composition
Bob Weiner, drums
Mark Santolucito-technical director
Video- Ross Karre and company


April 6
Zurich, Switzerland: Institute of Computer Music and Technology, ICST
Noon PDT / 9pm CET
Gerry Hemingway, percussion, composition
Matthias Ziegler, flutes, composition
Network director, Johannes Schütt
Video direction-Joel Di Giovanni/Benjamin Burger


April 7
Stony Brook, NY: Stony Brook University, Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture, and Technology (cDACT)
4pm PDT / 7pm EDT
Sarah Weaver, composer/conductor
Jane Ira Bloom, soprano sax
Ray Anderson, trombone
Min Xiao-Fen, pipa, voice
Matt Wilson, drumset
Doug Van Nort, laptop
Kevin Schinstock, live audio, audio recording
Derek Kwan, network audio
Timothy Vallier, network video
Ross Karre Crew, live video, network video
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, lighting
Dan Weymouth, director, cDACT
Elyce Winters, chief administrative officer, simons center
Tim Young, Jason May, systems administrators, simons center


Co-directors of Virtual Tour: Mark Dresser and Michael Dessen
Amherst site director: Jason Robinson
Stonybrook site director: Sarah Weaver
Zurich site director: Matthias Ziegler

For more information, please contact Mark Dresser: