Live Music

Going (Electro)acoustic on the LES

The annual New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival presents seven days of sound and (highly curated) fury.

Photo courtesy of NYC Electroacoustic Music Festival

In our town, there’s a music festival celebrating every genre, no matter how obscure, from bubble trance to drone folk. So compared to some, the upcoming and avant-garde Electroacoustic Music Festival is positively mainstream. The musical style combines synthetic (think: manipulated samples, feedback, computer-generated noise) and instrumental sounds for a wide variety of ambient, pleasantly unusual “aural experiences,” some of which push the boundary of what’s considered to be music at all. The genre’s most gifted musicians, artists, and videographers gather at the Lower East Side’s Abrons Art Center Monday, June 19, through Sunday, June 25. If you’re new to the scene, the following shows are our picks for a solid sampling of the diverse electroacoustic sound.


Joshua B. Mailman, “Material Soundscapes Collide Again”
Material Soundscapes Collide is an improvisational trio comprised of interactive audiovisual technologist Mailman, composer-guitarist Arthur Kampela, and baritone saxophonist Rhonda Taylor. Expect them to mesh digitally synthesized percussive noises—made with materials like wood and metal—to create one harmonious, 17-minute journey.
Monday, June 19
8–10:30 p.m.

Ewa Trębacz, “Minotaur for French Horn and Computer-Realized Sound”
The Seattle-based, Polish-American composer, musician, and digital artist manipulates and extends ambient sounds using improvised sound sequences and ambisonic recording techniques—to hauntingly stunning effect. Using prerecorded soundscapes may be an unusual way to approach a live performance, but the precomposed score allows for no-holds-barred improvisation.
Wednesday, June 21
8–10:30 p.m.

Edgar Berdahl, Eric Sheffield, Andrew Pfalz, Stephen David Beck, “Quartet for Strings”
The Louisiana-based foursome performs a fascinating take on a classical quartet for strings using virtualized instruments via a computer program simulation.
Friday, June 23
8–10:30 p.m.

Daehoon Jang, “Lucid Dreams”
This young composer is making marks in his native South Korea; after winning his home country’s Nanpa Nationwide Music Competition, he moved to Paris to hone his craft. He will be performing “Lucid Dreams,” an ethereal, atmospheric composition that meshes natural sounds with a technological twist.
Friday, June 23
4–6 p.m.

Sarah Jane Hargis, “Bellow”
The Austin-based flutist is known for pairing her jazz-infused sounds with colorful, lively backing visuals. Both an ocular and sonic treat, the self-anointed “Rockstar Flutist” will be performing tunes from her latest album, Saving the Queen.
Sunday, June 25
8–10 p.m.


Rob Mackay, Flight of the Monarchs
An immersive audiovisual experience follows the 3,000-mile migration the butterflies make every year. Video streams are set up from four different perspectives, focusing on the life and times of the winged beauties.

Matthew D. Gantt, All That Melts Into Air
A surrealist audiovisual installation that is meant to act as both a work of digital sculpture and virtual reality. Conceptualist Gantt takes you through an interactive environment reminiscent of a classic Calder mobile modernized for today’s tech age.

2017 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival
Abrons Art Center
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), Lower East Side
Monday, June 19–Sunday, June 25
$20 per concert; day passes $30

Have an electrifying day on the Lower East Side with this custom-made itinerary: