John McCowen performs new solo works for contrabass clarinet from his Models of Duration. With specific microphone placement, he brings the listener inside the instrument. “There are no electronically generated sounds,” says McCowen. “This is acoustic music.”
John McCowen (b.1986, Carbondale, Ill.) is a composer and performer focused on extending the possibilities of the clarinet. His multiphonic approach embraces longform drones, difference tones, and beating harmonics as a means to squeeze out the compositional potential within a single, acoustic sound source. His music has been released by Edition Wandelweiser, International Anthem, Astral Spirits, Superpang, Dinzu Artefacts, and others. McCowen was a 2017 and 2019 artist-in-residence at Lijiang Studio in Yunnan, China, and also the 2020 artist-in-residence at Issue Project Room in New York. He received the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award for excellence in music composition in 2016 from Mills College where he received an M.A. in Music Composition under the tutelage of Roscoe Mitchell. He currently resides in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Presented in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; organized in conjunction with the exhibition, Nelly Agassi: No Limestone, No Marble