Rhys Chatham November 2018 Update

It’s been a busy period filled with composing, rehearsals and concerts so I’m happy to report that in November, I’ll be here in my studio in Paris, France and working on a number of projects.

Book about the Kitchen and the NY downtown music scene
in the seventies and eighties.

Video exhibition/showing at the original Kitchen in NYC on Mercer Street.

I’ve been working on a book about my years at the Kitchen Center in New York, having founded its music program in 1971 and producing many concerts there throughout the 1970s.

It was an exciting period that marked the beginning of the careers of such composers as Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Charlemagne Palestine and Steve Reich, all of whom lived in the vicinity of the same downtown area of Manhattan called Soho (short for south of Houston Street).  It was a period when composers coming out of a classical European tradition were breaking away from the characteristic atonality of the music we were making back then and exploring new avenues of music making ranging from electronic and psycho-acoustic music, aleatory techniques coming out John Cage’s work and that of the Fluxus movement, to what seemed to be a reinventing of tonality within the context of music for small ensembles with what later became known as minimalism.

Once tonality found its way back into the spectrum of classical music in downtown New York, composers coming out of this tradition began pushing aleatory techniques to the limit, which lead them to break away from the rigidity of notated music, inspiring some of them to experiment with improvisation. Having done this, and having realized there was already an established current of music working with improvisation – namely African-American art music, otherwise known as jazz – the respective  musicians and composers began to mix things up and started playing with each other and in each other’s performance venues, until it got to a point where it was sometimes difficult to tell who was doing what!

After people had just got used to the idea of downtown art music and jazz becoming amalgamated, some of the younger composers arriving on the scene were thinking, “Hey! Why don’t we do this with rock?!” And then we saw a period during the late seventies where minimalist music got amalgamated with punk rock, of all things.

It was an interesting period, to say the least.

The book I’m working on explores what happened from the perspective of someone coming out of a western European classical music tradition , as well as someone who had produced many of the concerts as well as playing in them.  All to say I’m telling the story in my own words.

Tom Johnson & Rhys Chatham at the original Kitchen, circa 1972.

So I’ll be working on that and posting some of the sketches for the book on my Facebook page.

You can follow along here:  https://facebook.com/rhys.chatham

I also have some new musical projects in the works.

New Duo with Rhys & Ghédalia Tazartès

Rhys with Ghedalia Tazartes at “Le jardin de Simone”.

Earlier in the fall I played a private concert in duo formation with Ghédalia Tazartès.  We decided to work on a record together and have almost finished recording it, just one more 6-minute piece to finish, and then the album will be ready!

We are lining up performances of this duo for next spring, so if you are interested in having us come to your venue, by all means contact me at rhyschathamnews@gmail.com and I’ll put you directly in touch with our agent.

Les 100 guitares

Les 100 guitares au Havre Photo: Jean-Luc Nail

As you probably know, I have a full range of pieces for 100-200 electric guitars that we’d love to perform in a venue near you.  The description of those pieces can be found on this site under the heading of “Projects”.

I have a new piece for 100 electric guitars that we performed last summer in La Havre, France.  The performance went well, in fact it was spectacular!  We performed the piece on the beach just by the Atlantic Ocean, and we were surrounded by bonfires, it was for the Midsummer Festival in Le Havre.  They even had flames spread across the stage, it was fantastic, and speaking of flames, I almost went up in one!  I got so excited conducting the piece that I didn’t watch where I was going and stepped in one of the bonfires and almost literally went up in flames.  What a way to go! In any case, the piece went well, the city of Le Havre rented a hundred 100-watt Marshall amplifiers for us to go through, so there wasn’t any problem hearing us over the sound of the surf.

I learned a lot through doing this new piece, so I’m re-working the score so that it can be played in an indoor location.  The piece doesn’t need to be played through Marshall amplifiers, that was just an extravagance.  It will work fine with normal 50-watt guitar amps and the piece doesn’t even need a sound system.  I mean, who needs a sound system if you’ve got 100 guitar amps on stage?!?!

So I’ll be working on this piece also, and will have plenty to occupy me over the next couple of months.

After that, in January, I will be composer-in-residence of the music conservatory in Toulon, which evidently is the largest conservatory in France.  Associated with this residency, I’ll be doing a number of conferences, workshops and concerts.  I’ll be sure to post the dates as they become available.

That’s it for this month.  I love performing, so do be sure to write us if you’d like to have any of my projects in a venues near you!

All the best – Rhys

Rhys Chatham currently works with
Julie Tippex Art & Music Agency

For European bookings you can contact
Pascal Tippex at pascal@julietippex.com

For worldwide bookings and general information
you can contact us at rhyschathamnews@gmail.com



September 2018 Rhys Chatham update:

Rhys Chatham currently works with
Julie Tippex Art & Music Agency

For European bookings you can contact
Pascal Tippex at pascal@julietippex.com

For worldwide bookings and general information
you can contact us at rhyschathamnews@gmail.com

Coming up next:

Robert Longo and I will again collaborate on the Eisenstein version of G3 (Guitar Trio). The date will be Friday, 28 September at 9pm.

The performance will be at the Captain Petzel Gallery in Berlin in the context of the opening of robert’s show there, entitled “Everything Falls Apart”.

Here is a link to all the information:

and here is who will be playing:
Electric guitars: Rhys Chatham, Robert Longo, Knox Chandler, Julia Reidy, Robert Engelbrecht, Alexa Disaster.
Electric Bass: Alex Kozmidi
Drums: Olve Strelow


Most recent performance: my solo performance of Pythagorean Dream on Saturday, 22 September 2018 at the Fort Process Festival in the UK in East Sussex.

On this festival, among many wonderful acts, there was one of my favorite composers of electronic music, Ned Rush!

Here is the address: Newhaven Fort, Fort Road, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 9DS, United Kingdom.
Here is a link to the event: https://fortprocess.co.uk/rhys-chatham/.
And here is a link to the lineup:

And now, for other news:

Every summer, my partner and I move our respective studios, my partner with her brushes and easels, me with my computers, Abbleton Live, Logic, Sibelius and Finale, and we go to the south of France and stay in a hamlet about 30km from Céret.

We had a great summer, which I spent working on a book about my years as a music producer at the Kitchen Center in New York during the seventies. I’ve been posting individual segments of the book on my FaceBook page.

In order to set a context for the issues that downtown composers were working on during the seventies I went all the way back to the birth of the twelve-tone row, tracing its development through serialism and post serialism. then moving on to early minimalism in New York, and finally recounting my adventures in Morton Subotnick’s electronic music studio at New York University, when the studio was on Bleeker Street in Manhattan.

I left things there, and next week I hope to take things up again by writing about the first concerts we did at the Kitchen, when it was on Mercer Street.

After returning to Paris Ghédalia Tazartès and I have been working on a duo set, which we recently performed for the first time at a private and informal concert here in Paris.
I first met Ghédalia in New York, I think the last time I saw him in the flesh was at a concert at CBGBs in the late 70s, so when we first got together to work up a set, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it was for SURE that HE didn’t know what to expect, as the last time he saw me it was with an electric guitar band at CBGBs!

Happily, our first rehearsal was absolutely magical, it was as if our music were made for each other and as if we had been playing together for years.

Fortunately, Benoît Lesieux was there to record it, here is a link to what he filmed:

For worldwide bookings you can contact us at rhyschathamnews@gmail.com

Rhys Chatham currently works with Julie Tippex

For European bookings you can contact Pascal Tippex at

Performance with Les 100 guitares in Le Havre, 23 June 2018

photo: Jean-Luc Nail

We had a wonderful performance of a new work for les 100 guitares, entitled Flamme d’Alban, which was realized on the evening of the summer soltice, 23 June 2018 in Le Havre.  I will be writing more about this event shortly.

Here is a link to some interviews with the guitarists who participated (in French, includes full color photographs):



Recruiting guitarists for G100 event in Le Havre – 23 June 2018

We are mounting “Les 100 guitares” this June 23 in Le Havre, France. It’s going to be outside and on the beach, a highly pagan fire festival with 100 electric guitars, and HUGE bonfires!

If you are interested in participating as a guitarist, here is a link to where you can sign up :

Guitaristes, participez à une aventure musicale grandiose !

The rehearsals will be in French, but I will be conducting the rehearsals, and I have a heavy anglophone accent when I speak French, so you will be able to understand me!

Le CEM et le GIP Un été au Havre présentent dans le cadre de l’ouverture de « Un été au Havre 2018 » « Flamme d’Alban Hefin » pour 100 guitares électriques (et plus) de Rhys Chatham le 23 juin à 23h à la plage du Havre.

Rhys Chatham fait partie de ces compositeurs dits « minimalistes ». Au milieu des années 1970, il a travaillé aux côtés d’expérimentalistes soniques tels que Philippe Glass, La Monte Young et Steve Reich à New York. Son univers musical a été bouleversé quand il découvre le premier album éponyme des Ramones. Et c’est ainsi que Rhys Chatham a réuni les deux univers musicaux qui le passionnaient au sein d’une même volonté : celle de créer des œuvres musicales à base d’expérimentation, de répétitivité et de murs de guitares.


Concert in the exhibition PROOF


On Friday 6. April, Rhys Chatham and Robert Longo perform together with seven other musicians Chathams composition “Guitar Trio” in the context of Robert’s exhibition: PROOF. Make a reservation now! The musicians playing are friends Rhys has known for years, as well as some new ones.

On electric guitars: Rhys Chatham, Robert Longo, Jeff Turek, Martin Richter, Wigand Koch, Lars Zwickies, and Robert Engelbrecht. On the electric bass: Matthais Schönebäumer, and on drums, Olve Strelow.

Link to ticket and venue info

Guitar Trio at the Brooklyn Museum on December 7, 2017

Performance: Guitar Trio with Rhys Chatham, Robert Longo, Ernie Brooks, Karen Haglof, Jason Bartell, Jonathan Kane, Jon Kessler, and Lee Ranaldo.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

7 pm

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, 5th Floor

Experience the works on view in Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo in a new way with this one-of-a-kind concert. Rhys Chatham, a composer and instrumentalist who “pioneered the fusion of avant-garde minimalism with the electric crunch of punk rock,” performs his influential 1977 composition Guitar Trio in the gallery as an intense and ephemeral soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein’s silent films. Chatham is joined in the ensemble by Robert Longo and a group of local musicians including Ernie Brooks, Karen Haglof, Jason Bartell, Jonathan Kane, Jon Kessler, and Lee Ranaldo.

Seated tickets are $30 ($25 for Members) and include Museum admission. To receive the Member code, email membership@brooklynmuseum.org with your full name and Membership ID. Not a Member? Join today!

This program is generously supported by NU Hotel.

Questions about this event? Email us at public.programs@brooklynmuseum.org.

Rhys plays Pythagorean Dream at Maieirdig Music Festival 1-4 December 2017

The MADEIRADIG Festival is a unique adventure in extraordinary music. Each December the Portuguese island – celebrated as a ‘paradise island’ and ‘floating garden’ – is transformed into a hotbed of digital art and culture.

This is an avant garde journey through the world of serious music. Program/Line-Up 2017:

Friday, 01.12.2017 | 21:30
• Carl Stone (US)
• The Necks (AU)
+ Aftershow with Frank D’Arpino (DE) | 00:00

Saturday, 02.12.2017 | 21:30
• Ectoplasm Girls (Sweden)
• NaN Collider + Miguel Pedro (Portugal)
+ Aftershow with Shins-K (JP) | 00:00

Sunday, 03.12.2017 | 21:30
• Greg Fox (US)
• Rhys Chatham (France/US)
+ Friends & Family Night | 00:00

Monday, 04.12.2017 | 21:30
• Maja S. K. Ratkje (Norway)
• Laraaji (US)
+ Aftershow with Daniel Meteo & Michael Rosen (DE) | 00:00

MADEIRADiG / 1-4.12. / Music | www.madeiradig.com

2-day G3 workshop in Madrid – 25, 26 November

Two day Guitar Trio workshop in Madrid on 25, 26 November 2017
at Matadero Madrid, Centro de Creacion Contemporanea.

photo: Phil Mackie

Details here (in Spanish):

Rhys will be conducting a workshop explaining the special techniques and theory of his work, as well as instruction on how to play this seminal piece, Guitar Trio. The workshop will take place at Matdero Madrid, Centro de Creacion Contemporanea in Madrid, Spain on 25, 26 November 2017 and will culminate with a performance the day after the workshop.

Guitarists who play on a serious amateur level are welcome. The workshop is for amateurs who already know how to play guitar, and would like to learn the techniques used by Rhys Chatham.

Participants would need to attend the entire workshop on Day 1 in order to play in the performance on Day 2. Here is the content of the workshop:

Day 1
60 min – Introduction
Composer will introduce himself and talk about his history, working tactics, compositions, collaborations etc. leading into the composition of Guitar Trio, how it was composed, the history of the piece, how it works

30 min – Gear
Composer will discuss with the participants what guitars work for G3 and why acoustics, hollow body guitars etc. do not work. Talk about pics and sizes/weight, talk about choosing an amp for this, etc.

30-60 min – Tuning
Composer will talk about how to tune, how to work with a tuner, etc. Talk about special tunings in general and the different styles you work with for different pieces and specifically the G3 tuning. Will talk about overtones, how this relates to this piece etc. etc.

– Break –

1.5-2 hours – Playing Guitar Trio
Composers will work with the guitarist on how to play Guitar Trio

Day 2

30 min arrival / set up
2 hours – Playing / rehearsing G3 with live drummer and bassist
30 min – soundcheck

(Posted after the workshop, on 30 Nomber 2017)

Here is a nice video of the performances surrounding the workshop, including shots of the performance of guitar Trio at Matadero Madrid:


LA PLAZA EN INVIERNO 2017 from Matadero Madrid on Vimeo.