Widely regarded as the “premier league of the European improvisation scene”, the internationally acclaimed Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO) return again in November to present the 2022 edition of their annual international GIOFest. This year sees GIOFest XV, the 15th incarnation of the event - and also marks the Orchestra’s 20th anniversary - with a programme focusing on community and diversity - both our local community and the wider global community of experimental music that we’re proudly part of.
Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra is, despite its location-specific name, very much the hub of a truly international community of musicians, as is reflected in their work and their collaborations. So while we celebrate our local community of musical friendships and mutual support during these challenging times, we also welcome old and new friends from abroad to develop work and collaborate with them in new ways that explore ancient musical traditions (Daniel and David Wilfred and The Australian Art Orchestra), new film work (Mario Rossi) and new technologies (Maria Sappho). The festival will present a series of premiers that explore new possibilities large ensemble performance, improvisation and composition and will take.
We’re also delighted to welcome Sia Ahmad, who we’ve been collaborating with virtually for the past couple of years. Sia also works with Gwenno and Liars amongst others and rest assured, “if it’s raining where you are, it’s about to getting more beautiful with the sounds of Sia Ahmad” (Lauren Laverne, BBC 6Music).
We are thrilled to invite Daniel and David Wilfred and The Australian Art Orchestra back to continue exploring beautiful songs and incredibly rich musical and cultural traditions that date back thousands of years.
Yasuko Kaneko and Yasuhiro Usui, two of Japan’s most enquiring improvising musicians, will also feature this year. Both are very old friends, well-known to the band since they have appeared regularly every week at our global online sessions over the past two years. Trombonist, activist and composer Yasuko Kaneko extends the palette of trombone possibilities, not least with her trademark ethereal gentle expansive sonic visas. The prolific guitarist Yashiro Usui combines razor sharp melodies with mesmerising tumbling waterfalls of flowing soundscapes.
The celebrated artist Mario Rossi is originally from Glasgow and so this becomes a homecoming for him. He and our own Gerry Rossi collaborate on a new film/ art/music piece developed from Mario’s critically acclaimed series of paintings: ‘The End’, moving from the still image to a moving narrative to become a visual and sonic experience, with cinematic and musical references merging into a host of complex associative mental pictures of our lived experiences, mingling the real and the imagined.
Jessica Argo premieres a new piece that encourages the orchestra and guests to explore memory, community and communication through time and space, involving some profound developments in her playing of the theremin. The work involves graphic scores, video samples, and conduction gestures learned from theremin, telematic music making, and cross-cultural exchange. And Maria Sappho will, with her new piece, act as a sort of digital/physical cross-dimensional diplomat bringing together the massed online digital presence of our collaborators from around the world and the in-person improvisers in the CCA.
Ann Pearce, one of the newest and youngest GIO members, has developed an iteration of their on-going work ‘An Exchange of Shifting Pressures’ in collaboration with saxophonist Raymond MacDonald.
GIOFest XV will also present new films by Glasgow’s Ross Birrell and again include our popular series of public workshops (adults and children), the blossoming GIOdynamics project, discussions and films.
And once again, performances at GIOFest XV will be streamed live (and free!) by the folks from TUSK TV.