Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center
My professional life involves many roles: composer, improviser, orchestral freelancer, chamber musician, teaching artist, mercenary hired gun. Whether I’m performing a contemporary score I love or stuck in the pit of a Broadway musical, I always find fodder for a musicological mindset that drives me at least as much as concerns of craft. I’m endlessly fascinated by the social aspects of music: who makes what kinds, for whom, in what context – how we perceive it, consume it, use it to define ourselves. My creative work is spurred by these questions, and takes root in gray areas where roles, practices, and genres are most messily entangled.
My most significant touchstones are contemporary concert music, avant-jazz, and noisy post-punk rock. But I’m wary of genre, and far less wedded to style than to the productive limitations of my materials (principally oboe, English horn, and cobbled-together electronics) and to process (which foregrounds collaboration, improvisation, and a healthy dose of bricolage). I tend to think of the skills inherent to the act of playing music – attention, intention, flexibility, mindfulness – as the realcompositional materials that melody, harmony, rhythm and the like are employed to realize, rather than the other way around.
I believe in the paradigm of composer/performer: my notated works are specifically designed for playing with friends, premised on maximizing creative engagement and spontaneous interaction. They’re full of koan-like puzzles and procedural games; the notation is idiosyncratic and incomplete; the tasks required are often intentionally impossible to perfect. Building a degree of inevitable failure into the system ensures that the liberating energy of the ‘mistake’ is not only acceptable, but entirely the point.
My improvisational language and electro-acoustic work often emphasize the sensuous potential of microscopic attention to fragile, precarious, timbrally complex sound. Regardless of the setting, I’m concerned that listeners can readily get ‘what’s going on,’ leaving them free to revel in finely nuanced and unpredictable results. Above all, I’m after music that prioritizes the real-time experiences oflistening and creating for both performers and audiences.
Oakland-based composer-performer Kyle Bruckmann’s work extends from a classical foundation into gray areas encompassing free jazz, electronic music and post-punk rock. He is a member of acclaimed new music collective sfSound, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eco Ensemble, Splinter Reeds, and Quinteto Latino. He has worked with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the area’s regional orchestras while remaining active in an international community of improvisers and sound artists. From 1996–2003, he was a fixture in Chicago’s experimental music underground; long-term affiliations include the electro-acoustic duo EKG, the art-punk monstrosity Lozenge, and the Creative Music quintet Wrack.
Free, no tickets necessary (a Shinkoskey Noon Concert)