Music in the Fault Zone

Experimental Music at Mills College (1939 to the present)

Presented by Mills College Music Department and the Center for Contemporary Music

A colorizer photo of Pauline Oliveros looking gently up out of frame, in deep active listening. Photo courtesy of the Center for Contemporary Music. Design by John Borrosso.

A four-day festival of concerts celebrating the Music Department's extraordinary musical legacy and bringing together musical luminaries from Mills’ past, present and future includes work by: Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Daniel Schmidt, Darius Milhaud, Roscoe Mitchell, Robert Ashley, Anthony Braxton, Terry Riley, Henry Cowell, Steed Cowart, and more.

Live Stream Recordings

April 21, 2022

4:00 PM PDT
Marilyn McArthur Holland Theater, Lisser Hall

  • IONE, with ANNE HEGE, BRENDA HUTCHINSON, & JENNIFER WILSEY perform IONE's PAULINE DREAMS, A sonic DREAM Mandala, Video Montage by NORMAN LOWREY and Pauline Oliveros's Worldwide Tuning Meditation & Sounds from Childhood
  • SAARISELKA (MARIELLE V. JAKOBSONS & CHUCK JOHNSON)
  • GAMELAN ENCINAL performs John Cage's Haikai and Daniel Schmidt's Snowlight
  • LAS SUCIAS (ALEXANDRA BUSHMAN & DANISHTA RIVERO)

8:00 PM PDT
Littlefield Concert Hall, Music Building

  • NICOLE PAIEMENT conducts Darius Milhaud's La création du monde & L'homme et son désir
  • SARAH CAHILL & KATE STENBERG perform Roscoe Mitchell's Cards in 3D Colors (World Premiere)
  • STEED COWART conducts Roscoe Mitchell's Distant Radio Tranmission & Sustain and Run. ROSCOE MITCHELL, soloist

April 22

4:00 PM PDT
Marilyn McArthur Holland Theater, Lisser Hall

  • PAUL DEMARINIS, with LAETITIA SONAMI, JOHN BISCHOFF, JAMES FEI, & CHRIS BROWN perform Robert Ashley's In Sara, Mencken, Christ, and Beethoven There Were Men and Women
  • ZACHARY JAMES WATKINS
  • LARRY POLANSKY, with JENNIFER WILSEY 

8:00 PM PDT
Littlefield Concert Hall, Music Building

  • FRED FRITH, with ZEENA PARKINS
  • JOHN BISCHOFF
  • ALVIN CURRAN, with ZEENA PARKINS and WILLIAM WINANT
  • DAVID ROSENBOOM, JAMES FEI, & WILLIAM WINANT

April 23

4:00 PM PDT
Marilyn McArthur Holland Theater, Lisser Hall

  • ANNEA LOCKWOOD with SARAH CAHILL, BRENDA HUTCHINSON, LAETITIA SONAMI, & PAMELA Z  
  • IMA (NAVA DUNKELMAN & AMMA ATERIA)
  • LAETITIA SONAMI & ZEENA PARKINS
  • ECLIPSE QUARTET perform's Terry Riley's "Good Medicine" from Salomé Dances for Peace

8:00 PM PDT
Littlefield Concert Hall, Music Building

  • MAGGI PAYNE
  • CHRIS BROWN
  • JAMES FEI
  • JOËLLE LÉANDRE & WILLIAM WINANT

April 24

4:00 PM PDT
Marilyn McArthur Holland Theater, Lisser Hall

  • NALINI GHUMAN & PAUL FLIGHT perform songs by HENRY COWELL
  • SALLY DECKER & BRENDAN GLASSON
  • COMPANY STYLE IMPROVISATION, with CHRIS BROWN, ZEENA PARKINS, FRED FRITH, KRISTIAN DAHLBOM, EVELYN DAVIS, NAVA DUNKELMAN, GABBY FLUKE-MOGUL, JORDAN GLENN, JOHN IVERS, KEVIN ROBINSON, SUDHU TEWARI, THERESA WONG

8:00 PM PDT
Littlefield Concert Hall, Music Building

  • DAVID ROSENBOOM
  • SARAH DAVACHI
  • ZEENA PARKINS, JOHN BISCHOFF & WILLIAM WINANT perform a trio by David Behrman
  • WILLIAM WINANT PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE performs John Cage/Lou Harrison's Double Music, Lou Harrison's Solo to Anthony Cirone, and work by Steed Cowart. 

Since the late 1930s and early 1940s, when Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison, and John Cage taught at Mills, composers have made path-breaking contributions to the development of experimental music. The French composer Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) started teaching at Mills in the fall of 1940. Like Cage, Milhaud composed music for ensembles of percussion instruments and also had a reputation as a musical agent provocateur. The musical radicalism that took root at Mills during this early period has evolved in many directions. In the fall of 1966 the San Francisco Tape Music Center moved to Mills and later became the Center for Contemporary Music, which placed Mills at the cutting-edge of experimental music. Composers in the Mills Music Department have developed electronic music fusing visual, theatrical as well as musical elements. They have created multimedia works with sound and light. Mills composers have played leading roles in the development of computer music; created a new genre of experimental opera-for-television; designed new forms of live electronic music and interactive works with acoustic instruments and electronic media. They have devised musical artificial intelligence systems and computer music networks, explored musical interactivity on the Internet, and have challenged traditional distinctions between written composition and improvisation.

All festival events will take place in the beautiful, historic Music Building and Lisser Hall on the Mills College campus in Oakland, California and will also be available online via live stream presentation.

IONE, photo courtesy of the artist

Saariselka (Chuck Johnson & Marielle V. Jakobsons), photo courtesy of the artists

Gamelan Encinal, photo courtesy of the artists

Las Sucias (Alexandra Bushman & Danishta Rivero), photo courtesy of the artists

Roscoe Mitchell, photo by Joseph Blough

Steed Cowart conducting, photo courtesy of the Center for Contemporary Music

Fred Frith, photo by Heike Liss

Zeena Parkins, photo courtesy of the Center for Contemporary Music

John Bischoff, photo courtesy of the artist

David Rosenboom, photo courtesy of the artist

James Fei, photo by Alice Wu

William Winant, photo courtesy of the artist

IMA (Nava Dunkelman & Amma Ateria), photo courtesy of the artists

Laetitia Sonami, photo courtesy of the artist

Eclipse Quartet, photo courtesy of the artists

Jöelle Léandre, photo courtesy of the Center for Contemporary Music

More information and photographs of the History of the Music Department and Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College.

More information on Mills Music Now.

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