Back to All Events

Organ for the Senses

  • Spreckels Organ Pavilion 2125 Pan American Road West San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)

ADA accessible. Free, no reservation required


Expanding out of last year’s highly acclaimed program, this year’s Organ For the Senses welcomes seven composers from the U.S., Sweden, Australia, and Mexico for an event that will challenge listeners as much as challenge the sonic and architectonic limits of the Spreckels’ organ itself. Curator Alan F Jones (Laminal Audio, Marginal Frequency) has selected regional and nationally renowned contemporary musicians to create works for the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ. Each composition, ranging from eight to twelve minutes in length, seeks to explore the physical properties of the organ itself, wherein vibrationallydriven works feature as prominently as key traces of melody. In aggregate, the music will feature inherent electronic elements, and electronics-as-accompaniment, exploring how the organ functions as a massive analogue synthesizer. Jones’ choices for these performances comes out of an interest to challenge some of the most brilliant minds in experimental music to approach the instrument both obliquely and organically, including music from composers who have never written for organ. In every case, we will all be hearing these works for the first time in a global premiere.

About the composers:

Jesse Kudler (Philadelphia, PA) is a musician, composer, and sound artist working in improvisation, collaboration, and site-specificity. Choice methods include guitar, electronics, radios, tapes, recordings, text, in addition to having written for organ.

Yvette Janine Jackson (Los Angeles, CA) is a composer of electroacoustic, chamber, and orchestral musics for concert, theatre, and installation. Building on her experience as a theatrical sound designer, she blends various forms into her own aesthetic of narrative soundscape composition, radio opera, and improvisation. Her works often draw from history to examine relevant social issues.

James Rushford (Melbourne, Australia) is a Los Angeles-based composer and performer, working extensively with keyboard and string-related instrumentation, and writes music for film. In addition to other collaborative projects, Rushford is one half of the duo, Ora Clementi (with Crys Cole).

Santiago Astaburuaga (Santiago, Chile) is an experimental composer and clarinet player. His work includes film scores and experimental arrangements for orchestras. Astaburuaga has performed his work around South, Central, and North America. Sarah Hennies (Louisville, KY) is a composer and percussionist currently residing in Ithaca, NY. Her work is primarily concerned with an immersive, psychoacoustic presentation of sound brought about by an often grueling, endurancebased performance practice. Hennies is also an interpreter of the work of other modern composers, having recorded and performed music by John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Jandek, Peter Ablinger, Kunsu Shim, Jürg Frey, Ellen Fullman, Radu Malfatti, Arnold Dreyblatt and many others. In 2016 Sarah was chosen as a fellow in music/sound from the New York Foundation For the Arts. This performance will feature her first composition for organ.

John Chantler (London, UK) is a musician and organiser living in Stockholm, Sweden working with synthesizers, electronics and sometimes pipe organs to explore his own personalized compositional and improvisational strategies — with and against the specific systems inherent in his chosen tools. Originally from Australia he spent a decade in London before moving to Sweden where he directs a small festival for ‘other music’ in Stockholm called Edition.

David Defilippo (San Diego, CA) Phoriatic Drift, for electronics and organ, conjures up the dEEP ritualistic origins of the organ with synthesized electronics. It sounds like an electronic memory of a widely applied high-tech colossus instrument. The electronics drift toward acoustic sitting in the middle of the auditory spectrum and acoustics drift toward electronic sitting at the polar edges of our hearing range. The resultant sound is a bifurcated, yet coherent, temporally distributed static appearance of the organ amalgamating and slightly desynchronizing in the liminal act of the disjunct, drifting narrative.

Nakul Tiruviluamala (San Diego, CA) Organic Atmospheres investigates the ubiquitous relationship that sound has in our lives. No better way to illustrate this concept than through the world's largest outdoor organ at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion. The textures contained within the piece are meant to communicate the myriad of organic attributes which constitute our everyday listening environments. 


Earlier Event: May 13
Allie Manch: Embroidery Workshops
Later Event: June 2
The Vine Affair