Birgit Ulher & Nicolas Collins

The Graham Foundation

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610

!Trumpet + Trumpet! That is, two trumpets, two very different approaches—one electronic, the other acoustic. While Nicolas Collins works with a computer program and cobbled hardware, Birgit Ulher uses metal sheets, radios, milk frothers and other everyday objects. The diametrically opposed sound production leads to oddly similar sonic results.

Here Nic (!Trumpet) and Birgit (Trumpet!) perform together and present solo sound and video work.

Collins explains: “After 40 years, I finally figured out how to program a computer to sound like glitching circuits, and cobbled hardware and software into a brass package: a trumpet with a built-in speaker, sensors reading valve positions, a breath control and an infrared mute. In a nod to David Tudor’s legendary composition Bandoneon! I’ve dubbed my instrument !trumpet. But where Tudor tags on the ‘!’ to indicate factorial, I lead with it as the symbol for logical negation. This is definitely not a trumpet.”

Nicolas Collins (b.1954, New York, N.Y.) spent years in Europe, where he was artistic director of STEIM (Amsterdam), and a DAAD composer-in-residence in Berlin. He is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a research fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent. An early adopter of microcomputers for live performance, Collins also makes use of homemade electronic circuitry and conventional acoustic instruments. His book, Handmade Electronic Music—The Art of Hardware Hacking (Routledge), now in its third edition, has influenced emerging electronic music worldwide.

Nicolas Collins has appeared twice before for Lampo, in April 2009 with Hans W. Koch, and solo in October 2002.

Birgit Ulher (b.1961, Nuremberg, Germany) is a Hamburg-based musician who is focused on extending the sounding possibilities of the trumpet. She has developed various techniques and preparations to produce multiphonics and a grainy, textured sound, whether holding objects in front of the horn’s bell or feeding radio noise into trumpet mutes. Ulher performs solo and in collaborative settings in festivals and venues around the world, partnering with dancers, visual artists, composers and other free improvisers. Recent projects also include video and sound installations.

Presented in partnership with the Graham Foundation; support provided by the Goethe-Institut Chicago and the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media