The festival is part of Machine Project’s year-long residency at Hammer. (Machine Project was founded by Mark Allen (ART MFA 99) who continues to run the project-based gallery.) This unlikeliest of new music venues, which was named after its much larger counterpart, the Hammer’s Billy Wilder Theater, hosts the concerts that cater to an audience of 1 to 4 people at a time. Each concert lasts for roughly two minutes, then new audience members are ushered into the coatroom and musicians perform a different piece.
The festival comprises four resident ensembles, each consisting of a pair of instrumentalists: two violins, two accordions, two tubas or two clarinets.
“The audience reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Most visitors are experiencing experimental music for the first time, and come out [of the coatroom] thrilled,” says Chris Kallmyer (Music MFA 09), who is Curator of Sound Programming for Machine Project, “The social architecture of the space isn’t imbued with the seriousness of a traditional concert hall, and therefore allows for a more genuine and casual encounter with experimental music. Because it is less postured with no performer dress, lighting or expectations, people can more organically come to listen, and hopefully more freely relate to the sounds they hear.”
About 94 composers from the United States, Canada, Argentina, England, Germany, Holland and Slovakia have been commissioned to write 350 new two-minute works for the project, including works by Ben Johnston, Christian Wolff, Peter Ablinger, Larry Polansky, Mark Applebaum, John Bischoff, Nick Didkovsky, as well as CalArts faculty members, Vinny Golia, Ulrich Krieger, Anne Lebaron, Mark Menzies, Mark Trayle and Wolfgang von Schweinitz.
Posted above and below are two videos from recent concerts.