Looking Sharp: Live Music with Video

“You are going to hear something that you have never heard and whether you like it or not, it’s going to inspire you somehow.” – Composer and conductor Butch Morris on Elliott Sharp


That’s a quote from the film, Elliott Sharp: Doing the Don’t, directed and produced by Bert Shapiro. The film explores the career of performer, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Elliott Sharp, tracing his journey from “National Science Foundation award-winning ‘science geek’ to an internationally acclaimed musician and composer.”

In the film, we follow Sharp from the premiere of his opera “Em/Pyre” at the 2007 Venice Biennale to a rock club in Beijing; from the recording of an album with his blues band Terraplane to a performance of Sharp’s Orchestra Carbon in New York; from solo guitar, bass clarinet or saxophone performances to an overview of all the hand-made instruments Sharp’s created to expand his unique musical language. Here’s the trailer for the film, which was released last year:

It is hard to imagine the NY experimental music scene without Elliott Sharp – he’s been at it for 30 years. Though you may experience his music in film scores, as part of installations, at concert halls or large rock palaces, you’re just as likely to find him in more intimate, offbeat venues. This is what happened to me several years ago, when I wandered into a tiny jazz club near my apartment, expecting to see the usual Juilliard trio on rehearsal night. Instead, to my amazement, I found Sharp playing achingly beautiful delta blues with acclaimed vocalist, Queen Esther. He’s released over 200 recordings spanning the musical spectrum and currently leads four ensemble projects: Carbon, Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane. He’s applied fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction. Truly a scientist and a pioneering musical artist.

SharpHiggins_2_This Saturday night, October 10th, Elliott Sharp comes to the MMiX Festival in a special appearance with visual artist, Janene Higgins, whose videos began as a direct offshoot of her graphic design, incorporating collage, text, and image-layering into a time-based artform. Her videos and installations have been performed and exhibited at numerous festivals and galleries worldwide, including The New York Video Festival at Lincoln Center; The Kitchen; Eyebeam Art + Technology Center; documenta; Art Institute of Chicago; Experimenta Festival in Buenos Aires and many more.

Come to Theaterlab to experience these two boundary-smashing artists up close – you’ll get inspired…and you’ll like it.


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