presented by Jessica Lurie

Spanning musical territories from new classical to free improvisation, avant-garde song and electronica, whimsical jazz and nocturnal funk, the three week MM series highlights the talents and new works of some of the finest female composers and improvisors from around NYC, in solo to quartet projects and new collaborations. 

Tickets at the door
$15/set suggested (all proceeds go directly to the musicians)
Doors 7:30

Wednesday February 13

8PM Mazz Swift (violin) solo

As a solo performer and bandleader, Violin/Vox/Freestyle Composition artist Mazz Swift is critically acclaimed as one of America's most talented and versatile performers today, and engages audiences worldwide with her signature weaving of composition and improvisation called MazzMuse. She is a proud performing member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Ensemble, as well as with the Jersey City based chamber music organization Con Vivo Music. Mazz's collaborative string trio HEAR in NOW (together with Tomeka Reid on cello and Silvia Bolognesi on the doublebass) was awarded the 2018 Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Program grant, and as such were featured artists in Philadelphia’s October Revolution Festival. Ms. Swift has performed and taught workshops in free improvisation on six continents, most notably having traveled to Suriname, Mozambique, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Albania and Siberia as cultural ambassador at the invitation of the United States Department of State. She is currently working on her first solo CD, Modern Day Protest Songs.

9PM Marika Hughes/ Jessica Lurie/Mazz Swift trio 

Jessica Lurie has been hailed as a a "fire-breathing tightrope walker” on saxophone (The Village Voice) and as a bandleader who “melds lyrical pop, stinging rock, rhythmic Eastern European folk music and improvisation-heavy jazz with a dose of free-wheeling avant-groove-meets-grind. “  Performances and /or recordings with diverse international artists include Taylor Mac, Devotchka, Helen Gillet, Fred Frith, John Zorn, Billy Martin, Mike Clark, Bernie Worrell, Ivan Neville, Sleater Kinney, and the Indigo Girls among others. Current projects include the Jessica Lurie Ensemble; Tiptons Saxophone Quartet & Drums;  TEPHRA Sound with Helen Gillet; Living Daylights trio, Sophie Salonika, Zion80;  Veveritse Brass Band; Freethiopiques and collective improvisation groups Slingshot, Far Cry Flutes with Robert Dick and Jamie Baum and Full Fathom Five with Seattle saxophonist Skerik. Recent highlights include recognition in the 2016 and 2017 Downbeat’s “Rising Star for Alto Sax” poll, and her 2018 release Jessica Lurie Ensemble: Long Haul on Chant Record.

Marika Hughes is a native New Yorker, a cellist, singer, and a storyteller on The Moth. She grew up in a musical family - Marika’s grandfather was the great cellist Emanuel Feuermann, and her parents owned a jazz club, Burgundy, on the Upper West Side. Marika has worked with Whitney Houston, Lou Reed, Anthony Braxton, David Byrne, Adele, Henry Threadgill, D’Angelo, Idina Menzel and Taylor Mac, among many others. She was a founding member of the Bay Area-based bands 2 Foot Yard (Two Foot Yard, Tzadik 2003 & Borrowed Arms, Yard Work, 2008) and Red Pocket (Thick, Tzadik 2004). She is a master teacher and director for Young Arts, and a teacher at The Heifetz Institute. For the last 10 years Marika has worked with the organization Triad Trust, making repeated trips to South Africa and Haiti as a music and self-care educator. Marika has self-released three albums: The Simplest Thing (2011), Afterlife Music Radio (2011) and New York Nostalgia (2016). She happily leads her bands Bottom Heavy and  The New String Quartet on extended tours of NYC.

Wednesday February 20

8PM Jessica Pavone (viola)

Pavone’s recent works for solo viola and voice stem from years of concentrated long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. She combines her long tone rituals with delay, understated melodies and sparse lyrical content while continuously experimenting with new forms. She is interested in the physicality of performing her somewhat larger-than-comfortable instrument and believes that cultivating physical bodies as a strong container for her thoughts is part of the creative process.

9PM Rachelle Garniez (accordion, voice) & Karen Waltuch (violin)

Known as a "Diva with a Difference" (Billboard Magazine) and a 'certified free spirit" (The New Yorker), native New Yorker, genre-fluid multi-instrumentalist songwriter-singer Rachelle Garniez's performances of original story-songs interspersed with stream of consciousness improvisations make for thrill-packed tragicomic adventure. She has released 6 albums of original songs and has worked and collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including Taylor Mac, The Citizens Band, VickiKristinaBarcelona Band, Carol Lipnik, Rob Roth, Jack White and Thomas Dolby. Her tragi-comic story-songs have been described by The New York Times as “romantic, rhapsodic and casually hilarious.”

Karen Waltuch is an enthusiast in every sense of the word.  Viola is her tool for having a great time and making the world more beautiful and interesting.  She can also be found rooting around in the dirt with plants and animals. Karen grew up studying classical music under the love and grace of Dr. William Magers.  A mariachi band was her downfall, and she moved to NYC in 2001 to pursue experiences in rock, jazz, klezmer, country, experimental and everything and anything in between.

Wednesday February 27

8PM Elsa Nilsson and Louna Decker Flute and Electronics Duo

Swedish/American Jazz Flutist and composer Elsa Nilsson is a band leader and side woman in New York City. Nilsson went to Hvitfeldtska Gymnasium (a conservatory-style program in Gothenburg, Sweden) and holds a BM from Cornish College of the Arts and an MM from New York University in 2013. Nilsson is the winner of the National Flute Association 2018 Jazz flute competition. Nilsson has released three albums as a leader. The most recent release is a duo album with pianist Jon Cowherd, released October 2018. The album, titled “After Us”, deals with moments around death and dying, how we perceive ourselves and each other in these moments. Nilsson has performed with Robert Dick, Jamie Baum, Jonathan Blake, Sebastian Noelle, Dawn Clement, Jovino Santos Neto and more. Notable performances as a band leader include Blue Note Jazz Club, The 55 Bar, Cornelia Street Cafe, Nefertiti Jazz Club and Aarhus Jazz Festival.”

Louna Dekker-Vargas is a flutist, chamber musician, improviser and composer. The first time she heard an orchestra tuning before a performance she thought that their sensuous bending into tune was music in itself. Ever since her open, curious ears have led her into adventures with classical, jazz and experimental music, playing the flute and singing. Louna has served as a substitute flutist for the International Contemporary Ensemble, and subs for the Broadway musical, Wicked. She also plays with NY jazz quintet Atlantic Extraction, led by bassist Nick Dunston. Her minimalist composition Ah was commissioned for chamber orchestra by Mind on Fire in September of 2018. Her duo, The Witches, with Ledah Finck combines classical chamber artistry with inquisitive free improvisations and their own compositions for flute, violin and voice. The duo has performed in the Evolution Contemporary Music Series, Spectrum, the High Zero stage at Baltimore's Artscape Festival, the Red Room, Rhizome, Andrea Clearfield's Salon Series, The Union Square Chamber Music Series (Baltimore), and at the Baltimore Art Museum. Their album project Behind the Curtain: New Music on Women was the recipient of a Johns Hopkins Research Grant. She is also a founding member of Trio Jinx- a flute, double bass and viola trio which has performed residencies at the Sikta Chamber Music Festival, El Paso Pro Musica, the Mesa Performing Arts Center, and the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.

9PM Jessica Lurie (sax/flute, electronics) Katie Down (glass instruments, metal cello) Sarah Schoenbech (bassoon) & Terry Dame (original instruments, percussion and electronics)


Terry Dame is a NYC based composer, sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, instrument inventor and educator. She creates and performs with interactive sensor-driven musical instruments, sculptures and installations using found objects and found sounds to explore pathways between creativity, technology and human interaction. She has received support from HarvestWorks, Fractured Atlas, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, NYSCA and Meet the Composer. She holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Dame is on faculty in the MFA Computer Art Department at the School of Visual Arts and BFA Media Arts Department at Marymount Manhattan College.

Katie Down is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer crossing many genres and styles. Through her sound design work, she has found and created instruments that take listeners on a journey and considers herself an "assembler" of instruments, gathering multiples of found objects thus creating types of small orchestras including flower potophones, glass harps, and steel sculptures. One of her ensembles, NewBorn Trio, with Miguel Frasconi and Jeffery Lependorf, consists of glass percussion and Asian flutes, and the ensemble was recently commissioned to create a live sound score for BAM's Next Wave Festival. Katie was nominated for a Drama Desk award for her sound design of "The Golden Dragon" and received the Connecticut Critic's Circle Award for her sound design of "Agnes Under the Big Top at Long Wharf Theatre." Katie has performed and taught improvisation and sound painting conduction internationally throughout Europe, the Balkans, South Africa and Ecuador and has produced two kids CDs. One is the cult avant improv classic "Aliens Took my Mom" by the Tangerine Awkestra (ages 3 - 12) that she co-produced with Dave Soldier and "Ukes and Kids: The Journey"  - a CD of original songs by children in Johannesburg. Katie is a member of the infamous ukulele group The Ukuladies and the hybrid Sephardic ensemble Sofie Salonika.

The Wire magazine places bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck in the "tiny club of bassoon pioneers" at work in contemporary music today and the New York Times has called her "riveting, mixing textural experiments with a big, confident sound.” Sara has freelanced in various orchestral bassoon sections such as Santa Barbara Symphony, California Symphony, Redlands Symphony, Mancini Orchestra, the Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra and touring as a member of creative music ensembles Gravitas Quartet with Wayne Horvitz, Ron Miles and Peggy Lee, Anthony Braxton’s 12+1(tet) and Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble. Sara now calls Brooklyn home and performs regularly with Petr Kotek’s SEM ensemble, the composers group WetInk, Wordless Music Orchestra, Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra, Marty Ehrlich’s Duende Winds with Nicole Mitchell and Tomeka Reid, Horvitz Schoenbeck duo, Harris Eisenstadt’s Golden State Quartet, Eve Risser's White Desert Orchestra, Nels Cline Lovers Ensemble, Adam Rudoplph's Go Organic Orchestra and the Michael Leonhart Orchestra and more.