Alternating Currents Live & Woodland Pattern Book Center celebrate 20 years of presenting new and creative music in Milwaukee.
James Falzone's Early Music Ensemble interprets music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance through the filter of improvisation. This quartet, founded in 2010 for a performance at the inaugural Chicago Early Music Festival, features four of Chicago's most intrepid improvisers all of whom have performed at Woodland Pattern in the past in an impressive variety of projects.
James Falzone - clarinet
Jason Stein - bass clarinet
Fred Lonberg-Holm - cello and electronics
Frank Rosaly - drums and electronics
Angela James - voice
Purchase a 20th anniversary season pass for $20 and receive admission to:
James Falzone's Early Music Quartet | Sunday, September 27 at 7 pm
Urs Leimgruber, Jacques Demierre & Barre Phillips Trio | Sunday, November 1 at 7 pm
Harrison Bankhead, Benjamin Duboc, Hamid Drake & Ramon Lopez | Sunday, November 8 at 7 pm
PLUS you’ll receive a limited edition silk screened poster commemorating the 20th anniversary season
Twenty years ago Anne Kingsbury and Karl Gartung, co-founders of Woodland Pattern Book Center, invited me to curate the concert series that takes place in the gallery adjacent to the bookstore. Though I had only lived in the Milwaukee area for a few years, I was well acquainted with Woodland Pattern as a destination of choice for its remarkable collection of poetry books and for it’s world renowned music events. Woodland Pattern, as a literary arts center, clearly knew from its very beginnings that all the arts had equal voice in our lives and that an interest in reading went hand-in-hand with an interest in film, music and, in fact, every variety of creative endeavor.
As a dedicated follower of creative music in cities across this country and Europe, I have always been well aware of the transient nature of performance venues willing to open their doors to music that is off the beaten path, often challenging, and living its tenuous but persistent existence at the fringes of conventional musical tastes, classical or pop. If you love this sort of music then you must be willing to go wherever it takes you, literally, to independent galleries, loft spaces, cafes, and small out-of-the-way bookstores owned by fellow enthusiasts. On this trek you quickly learn that these establishments have their own precarious existence in our culture of mass production and mass consumption. This was as true fifty years ago as it is today.
Thus, to be invited by Anne and Karl to organize their music series (in connection with the radio show Alternating Currents I was already hosting in WMSE) was an honor beyond measure. Woodland Pattern had already set a very high standard in the range and depth of the artists they presented.
Our very first event offered a solo performance by esteemed Dutch saxophonist Luc Houtcamp. He was performing at the time at Chicago’s Empty Bottle and this concert was made possible through a collaborative relationship with that venue that would ultimately make it possible to bring so many touring musicians to Milwaukee. Similarly, collaboration with Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio made it possible to bring the extraordinary vocal performer Jaap Blonk to the gallery (the first of his four concerts here over the past 20 years). Consistent cooperation with other Midwestern presenters has made it possible to maintain this national and international presence in our series.
A number of years ago English trombonist Paul Rutherford (who had been playing all over the world since the very early 1960s) told me before his solo concert: “I can’t believe I am finally playing here.” When double bassist Peter Kowald visited here for the first time in 1998, he commented to his audience: “If I could play in spaces like this for the rest of my life I would be a very happy man.” Such is the international reputation of Woodland Pattern Book Center.
Musicians who play at Woodland Pattern often tell me they feel they have performed for one of the most attentive and informed audiences they have ever experienced. Such encounters have built Woodland Pattern’s international reputation as a ‘world class’ music venue. This reputation does not rest in the number of seats it houses, the number of tickets it sells, or the fees it can offer to touring artists, but, rather, in the richness of experience it offers to performers and audience alike. Unique among literary centers in its vision to encompass all the visual arts, music and sound, film, and book arts, Woodland Pattern embodies the belief that engagement with all these endeavors is the essence of a rich and inquisitive life.
Hal Rammel, July 2015