Cheryl Leonard: Instrument builder, composer/improviser: Glass shards and pinecones, glaciers, boxspring mattresses, a flock of accordions, circular saw blades, viola, the erhu, hyenas and whales and elk, Cheryl E. Leonard’s music finds its raw materials just about anywhere. From these diverse sources come works that embrace the spectrum of musical possibilities: improvised to composed, acoustic to electronic, diaphanous to bombastic, notes to noise. Over the last decade Cheryl has focused on investigating sounds, structures, and objects from the natural world. Many of her recent works cultivate stones, wood, water, ice, sand, shells, feathers, and bones as musical instruments. Leonard uses microphones to explore the micro-aural worlds contained within her sound sources and develops compositions that highlight the unique voices they contain. Her projects often involve constructing one-of-a-kind sculptural instruments that are played live on stage. She is particularly interested in collaborating across artistic disciplines and developing site-specific works.
Cheryl holds a BA from Hampshire College and an MA from Mills College, both in music composition. She studied composition and electronic music with Alvin Curran, Chris Brown, George Lewis, Frederic Rzewski, Laeticia Sonami, Salvatore Macchia, and Alan Bonde; and performance art with Moira Roth, Carole E. Schneemann, and Betsy Damon.
Richard Johnson: improvisor, wind instruments
Richard performs with the texture of sound on soprano/baritone saxophone and bass clarinet and in the last couple of years has been experimenting with instruments made from the conical gourds from PNG. These particular gourds allow the stripping back of the wind instruments to their most visceral and most sensuous form and allow for the exploration of the fundamentals of sound production with extended techniques. He has performed at the What is Music Festival, Nownow Festival; the Make it Now performances; also performances with the Brice Glace Ensemble and the 102 Club Orkestra in Grenoble France 2004; “Whip it“ series in Sydney; various Precipice annual Improv workshops hosted by Tony Osbourne as well as hosting local/interstate/international improvisation nights in Canberra. He is the Director/Curator/producer of the award winning SoundOut Festivals which have been running from 2010 – 2015. As a sound artist he worked with renowned visual Artist Savanhdary Vongpoothorn for the Australia Exhibition at The Casula Power House in Sydney as well collaborated with glass/conceptual artist Denise Higgins on a soundscape for her show in Melbourne. He has performed with the likes of Jaap Blonk, Jon Rose, Robbie Avenaim, Jerome Nottinger, Jim Denley, Kim Myhr, Clare Cooper, Annette Giesreigl, Rodrigo Motoya, Antonio Panda Gianfratti, Thomas Rohrer, Clayton Thomas, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Yan Jun, Laura Altman, Michael Norris, Evan Dorian, Christine Abdelnour, Philippee Lauzier, Eric Normand etc. Currently he is working in a wind trio with John Porter and Rhys Butler called Psithurism, which has a digital release with the renowned Canadian clarinetist Francois Houle available at the below link. http://www.francoishoule.ca/franois-houle-psithurism-trio/