• Address 720 East Locust Street | Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Phone 414.263.5001
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm | Sat-Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mon
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
readings & workshops
April 10

Virtual Poetry Reading: Marilyn Chin

film & video
April 17

Virtual Film Screening: The Collection

readings & workshops
April 19 - May 10

Intergenerational Self-Collaboration: A Multi-Arts Workshop with Paul McComas

readings & workshops
April 24

Virtual Poetry Reading: Krystal Languell + Jennifer Nelson + Ae Hee Lee

film & video
April 25

Virtual Film Screening: Immortal Cupboard: In Search of Lorine Niedecker 

readings & workshops
April 29

Virtual Poetry Reading: Raquel Salas Rivera + Lara Mimosa Montes

Archived performances
Nov 1 Sunday, November 1
7:00pm, $Give What You Can

Alternating Currents Live & Woodland Pattern Book Center celebrate 20 years of presenting new and creative music in Milwaukee.

Urs Leimgruber - saxophone

Jacques Demierre - toy pianos and voice


This Milwaukee concert is part of a tour marking the 15th anniversary of the Urs Leimgruber - Jacques Demierre - Barre Phillips Trio and the 80th birthday of bassist Barre Phillips. Regrettably, Barre Phillips has been unable to participate in this tour due to a prolonged recuperation from health problems earlier this year.  For this reason, the trio will be represented by a short video about Barre Phillips’ long career as an improvising double bassist, then Urs Leimgruber and Jacques Demierre will perform a selection of solos and duos.


Both Urs Leimgruber and Jacques Demierre have visited Woodland Pattern in the past including a 2010 trio with violinist Charlotte Hug.





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 Duo | Sunday, November 1 at 7 pm

The Transatlantic Bridge presents

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

Urs Leimgruber has been working for many years in the fields of Contemporary Improvisation, Jazz and New Music. He has enriched and expanded his saxophone sound for decades with new playing techniques in solo concerts and many different acclaimed groups. He has toured in Europe, Canada, U.S.A. and Cuba. Among his many concerts and recordings are those with Joëlle Léandre, Marilyn Crispell, Fritz Hauser, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Steve Lacy, Dorothea Schürch, Roger Turner, Thomas Lehn, and Günter Müller. Together with Jacques Demierre he is leading the group 6ix. In the seventies, he was cofounder of the Electricjazz-Freemusic group OM. Recordings have been released on HatArt, Unit, FOR 4 EARS Victo and LEO.


Jacques Demierre is pianist, performer and composer, his musical and sound work develops itself in various directions : improvised music, contemporary music, sound poetry, sound installation.His compositions and sound realisations are concerned with the activity of listening and with sound space. On the piano, Jacques Demierre has developed a unique operating style, never ceasing to redraw new sound topographies, making us forget the physical weight of the instrument.

He collaborates with many improvising musicians—Okkyung Lee, Thomas Lehn, Martial Solal, Radu Malfatti, Joëlle Léandre, Axel Dörner, Fritz Hauser, Sainkho Namtchylak, Urs Blöchlinger, Irene Schweizer, Hans Koch, Isabelle Duthoit, Brandon Labelle, Jason Kahn, Butch Morris, Carlos Zingaro, Gunter Müller, Jaap Blonk, Barry Guy, Lucas Niggli, Sylvie Courvoisier, Hann Bennink, Rhodri Davis, Martin Schütz, Paul Lovens, Dorothea Schürch, Phil Minton, along with many others. And he regularly plays solo piano concerts, and works with Vincent Barras in the field of performance and language art.

Barre Phillips is simply the most fantastic bass player I’ve ever heard… He has a technique of a great classical musician and the feeling of a Mingus. As much a composer as a performer, Barre works in the areas of film, ballet and theater. He has written music for numerous feature films—Robert Kramer, Jacques Rivette, William Friedkin, Marcel Camus—and scores for ballet for Carolyn Carlson and the Paris Opera. Barre has recorded over 175 records, 30 under his own name. His experience spans a wide range of musical styles, from Coleman Hawkins to Derek Bailey. His work in the 70‘s with John Surman and Stu Martin, „The Trio“, became a model in itself, and influenced many younger musicians. He is in constant demand throughout Europe, North America and Japan as a soloist and teacher. Besides many other musicians he has collaborated together with: Archie Shepp, Chick Corea, George Russel, Lee Konitz, Ralph Towner, Charlie Mariano, Michel Portal, Albert Mangelsdorf, Anthony Braxton, Jimmy Guiffre, Paul Bley, Evan Parker, Ornette Coleman, Leonard Bernstein Terje Rypdal, Benny Golson, Pierre Favre, Cecil Taylor, Barr Guy, among many others.


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