‘Gender of Sound’ Listening Set #4:
Sarah Hennies & Leif Elggren
Gender of Sound is an artistic research and development project led by artists Susanna Jablonski and Cara Tolmie that explores past, present and future debates on the position of gender, performativity and resistance within sound. Attempting to find ways to listen together with specific emphasis on how we might perceive music through a frame of gender the project hosts an ongoing series of Listening Sets and Listening Sessions. These events endeavour to find a collective language to reflect upon what we hear, how it affects our bodies, its poetic dimension, its political and cultural implications and how this might relate both to personal and common experience.
This Listening Set will present two works by Sarah Hennies and Leif Elggren. Each set will last up to 20 minutes after which there will be time to find ways to reflect together upon what we have just heard. By searching for a diverse collective language in this reflection we want to begin to understand how we listen and what it might tell us about the preferences, histories and associations we each hold within our bodies. For this reason it is important that this process learns from a wide range of testimonies from friends, peers and a wider public — so please join us!
All experience or inexperience, passion, scepticism, excitement and taste towards music is warmly welcomed.
Sarah Hennies (b. 1979, Louisville, KY) is a composer based in Ithaca, NY whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics, and percussion. She is primarily a composer of solo and chamber works, but is also active in improvisation, film, performance art, and dance. She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Festival Cable (Nantes), send + receive (Winnipeg), O’ Art Space (Milan), The OBEY Convention (Halifax), Cafe Oto (London), ALICE (Copenhagen), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven (NYC), Bent Duo (NYC), Cristian Alvear (Santiago), Claire Chase (NYC), R. Andrew Lee (Denver), LIMINAR (Mexico City), The Living Earth Show (San Francisco), The Thin Edge New Music Collective (Toronto), Two-Way Street (Knoxville), and Yarn/Wire (NYC).
In late 2017 she premiered the groundbreaking work, Contralto at Issue Project Room (NYC), a film exploring transfeminine identity that uses aspects of “voice feminization” therapy as artistic material. The piece features a cast of transgender women accompanied by a dense and varied live score for string quartet and three percussionists. The work received widespread acclaim and will be performed on the opening night of the Fourth Edition Festival for Other Music at MDT.
Hennies is currently a member of improvised music group Meridian with Greg Stuart and Tim Feeney, a duo with sound/performance artist Jason Zeh, and the Queer Percussion Research Group with Jerry Pergolesi, Bill Solomon, and Jennifer Torrence.
Leif Elggren is a Swedish artist who lives and works in Stockholm.
Active since the late 1970s, Leif Elggren has become one of the most constantly surprising conceptual artists to work in the combined worlds of audio and visual. A writer, visual artist, stage performer and composer, he has many albums to his credits, solo and with the Sons of God, on labels such as Ash International, Touch, Radium and his own Firework Edition. His music, often conceived as the soundtrack to a visual installation or experimental stage performance, usually presents carefully selected sound sources over a long stretch of time and can range from mesmerizingly quiet electronics to harsh noise. His wide-ranging and prolific body of art often involves dreams and subtle absurdities, social hierarchies turned upside-down, hidden actions and events taking on the quality of icons.