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Cardew Choir & Oa – First Music/ The Human Instrument

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Date(s) - 12/19/2015
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Turquoise Yantra Grotto


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an evening of, for and from the voice

  • The Cornelius Cardew Choir
  • Tom Bickley Director
  • Oa
  • Matt Davignon
  • Hugh Behm-Steinberg


  • Paragraph 7 by Cornelius Cardew
  • Ternary Canon and Circling Intervals written Rae Diamond for the Longtime Choir
  • The Burning Book + The Ives Family Christmas by David Samas with community participation and original improvisations for processed voice by OA

The Cornelius Cardew Choir is a SF Bay Area-based vocal performance ensemble. Situated at the intersection of community & experimental music, these professional, amateur, & novice singers work collectively to turn ideas into sonic action. We recognize our music-making as enacting healthy political economy, with respect for individual contributions and high regard for the community as a whole. The choir is named in honor of Cornelius Cardew (1936-1981), an English composer and political activist.

Oa creates experimental music from the sounds of language. Writer Hugh Behm-Steinberg and sound manipulator Matt Davignon have recorded various anecdotes, conversations and sung pitches from their peers, neighbors, family members, musicians and other writers. Breaking down these elements with samplers and digital turntables, they rebuild them into improvised musical passages and fractured narratives.

Tom Bickley composes electro-acoustic music, plays and teaches recorder, performs with Gusty Winds May Exist (with shakuhachi player Nancy Beckman), Dream Down Duvet (with Nancy Beckman and vocalist Viv Corringham) and Three Trapped Tigers (with recorder player David Barnett), co-founded and directs the Cornelius Cardew Choir, and is on the Library Faculty (music, philosophy, & political science) at California State University East Bay, and the music faculty of the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. His education includes degrees in music, theology, and library and information science and the Certificate in Deep Listening. He lives with his spouse Nancy Beckman and cat 虎 (Tora) in Berkeley.

Rae Diamond is an interdisciplinary artist whose work investigates the fundamental elements of time through music and light through images, while actively inviting the interplay of the unknown. As the director of the Long Tone Choir, Rae has produced an ever-growing body of compositions that utilizes the irregular rhythm of breath as the musical pulse to create a biotic experience of time. Her other great love is the study of light, which she explores through drawing and collage.

David Samas is a composer, cosmologist, poet, painter, performer, philosopher, farmer and father of 4; he is a practitioner and professor of arcane healing technologies and traditional magics. He has a BFA from the SF Art Institute in conceptual art and studied poetics at the New College of California, Vassar, Bennington and S.F. State. As a young man he performed with the SF Boys Chorus, the SF Opera and the SF Symphony with which he won a GRAMMY for the “best classical recording” of 1994. He also makes sacred geometry amulets and talismans, is an excellent cook, and self publishes small editions of hand bound art books when he isn’t hosting at one of the two Bay Area venues he curates: the Window Gallery at the Center for New Music SF and Turquoise Yantra Grotto.

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