Rhys Chatham Autumn 2020 news

We started the season off with the presentation of a dance theater piece by Pascal Gravat.  I worked on the music all summer and we put the finishing touches on the piece at Théâtre Galpon in Geneva, rehearsing every day there the first two weeks of September.

The performances were on 15-20 September, which we were able to do despite Covid-19 by practicing strict social distancing and everybody wearing masks.

I was lucky, I arrived in Geneva from Pars just before the quarantine on people living in France, so I didn’t have to isolate during the rehearsals, although I wear a mask.

Here was the lineup:

Chorégraphie Pascal Gravat
Danse Pascal Merighi
Musique Rhys Chatham
Lumière Loïc Rivoalan
Collaboration à la chorégraphie Mélissa Cascarino
Costumes Toni Teixeira
Administration Anaïde Ohannessian
Image Pascal Gravat

Here is a link to a film excerpt of the piece:

And here are some photos:


Other news:

I am back in Paris, where we are largely in quarantine.  I recently did some music for a sound sculpture by the visual artist Angie Eng, which is now finished. All my tours and concerts have been canceled, so I am actively looking for work.

If you have a project that needs music, this would be a good time to ask me. For enquiries, contact me at rhyschathamnews@gmail.com

Rhys Chatham – Summer News

Here is where I was on the first day of summer last year, or maybe it was the year before.  Anyway, it was a performance of les 100 guitares in Le Havre, France.  Photo is by Anonia Enos.

For this year, we are, of course, just coming out of lockdown here in France.  I spent the spring working on a piece for choreographer Pascal Gravat, to be presented in Geneva this September.  Further details to be announced.

For other news, a piece I wrote back in 2016 has finally been released!  It is about 10-minutes and is called “For Bob”.  It is a piece written in memory of the composer Robert Ashley, who was a composer I looked up to while coming of age.

It’s finally out on vinyl as part of a double compilation album with various artists, the proceeds of which benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, you can give it a listen at the link below.

The limited vinyl edition is for USD$ 50 (or more), the CD version is $30, and the MP3 (and similar) version is $25.

Here is the link to order it:  The Longest Day Order link.

Aside from that, in related news, I’ve decided to get back to my roots in electronic music.  Back in the nineties, I did extensive programming in Max and performed widely at the time on trumpet and interactive electronics programmed in Max.  At the start of the mid-2000s I decided to get back into electric guitar and abandoned electronic music at that point… until now!

So this summer, I’ll be getting back into electronic music with a view to having a new live set ready to go for the autumn involving electronic sounds combined with the various live instruments that I play.

Watch these pages for updates!

For booking any of my projects, from les 100 guitares, to my various smaller ensembles, to my solo and duo projects, you can contact us at this address:


Or for Europe and France contact Pascal at Julie Tippex

Rhys Chatham – winter 2020 news

In December I did a duo concert with Ghédalia Tazartes at the Théâtre Municipal Berthelot Jean-Guérrin in Montreuil, France.  The house was packed and we had a great time, here is a link to an excerpt from the concert:

For booking or enquiries about this concert or my other projects, you can contact Pascal at Julie Tippex Arts and Music Agency for European booking, or for outside Europe you can contact us at Rhys Chatham contact.

For upcoming projects, I have been commissioned to do the music for a new work by Pascal Gravat entitled Quelqu’un d’autre, to be premiered at  Théatre Galpon in Geneva this April featuring the danser Pascal Merighi, with staging by Syvie Kleiber.  More on this as the date approaches!

I recently got together to play with the organist Hampus Lindwall, who plays the organ at Eglise Saint-Esprit in Paris.  We did a jam to see how the timbres would mix between the instruments that I play and the organ, we thought that it sounded quite well.  Here is a brief excerpt to give you an idea:

We plan to continue this collaboration, normally culminating in recordings and performances in the not-to-distant future.

For the moment, I am putting my nose to the grindstone and working on the commission for Pascal Gravat, stay tuned to these pages for more news and music!


Ghedalia Tazartes / Rhys Chatham duo -Sunday 1 December 2019 – 20:00

Dimanche 1er décembre à 20 h – Théâtre Municipal Berthelot – Jean-Guérrin.  8€ – Métro Croix de Chavaux – Montreuil

Ghedalia Tazartes / Rhys Chatham

Ce concert marque la deuxième rencontre de deux figures légendaires.
Beaucoup revendiquent un cinéma pour l’oreille, dans cette catégorie, Ghédalia Tazartès est de loin le plus grand de tous. Sa musique assemble des éléments sonores de toutes natures et de toutes provenances … entre Orient et Occident ou on ne sait où. “ (Dominique Grimaud). Rhys Chatham, multi-instrumentiste et compositeur, n’a pas besoin d’être présenté (Theatre of Eternal Music de La Monte Young, Dream Syndicate de Tony Conrad en passant par le poste de direc- teur musical de The Kitchen et la scène de musique expérimentale post-Minimal New Yorkaise

Musiques Imaginaires
un programme de 8 films réalisé par Marie-Pierre Bonniol autour de l’idée de musiques imaginaires, incarnées, transfor- mées, avec des musiques et morceaux de Pierre Bastien, Asmus Tietchens, Jean-Jacques Palix et Eve Couturier.   https://julietippex.com/roster/imaginary

Rhys Chatham – End of fall update: photos from recent ISSUE project concerts.

Here are some photos from the recent ISSUE Project Room concerts from early October 2019.  See the post from September (below) for the complete program.

The show started with a duo of Jonathan Kane on drums and Zeena Parkins on electric harp and electronics, followed by a flute solo by Rhys Chatham (me).  After the solo, we played a commissioned piece entitled The Sun Too Close to the Earth.

I’ll be posting photos from the commissioned piece shortly, as well as announcements concerning upcoming Rhys Chatham concerts.

For now, I’ll post photos of the flute solo, taken by Cameron Kelly McLeod:


Rhys Chatham – Fall 2019 News – NYC Issue project performance.

photo: Isabelle Forestier


October 4th & 5th, ISSUE is pleased to present the world premiere of The Sun Too Close to the Earth, an expansive new work by iconoclast composer and multi-instrumentalist Rhys Chatham. Commissioned by ISSUE and presented as a part of the French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) thirteenth annual Crossing the Line Festival, the piece spans Chatham’s aesthetic concerns across thirty years of composing for electric guitar ensembles, as well as the minimalist and free jazz traditions that grew out of NYC’s downtown music scene.

The Sun Too Close to the Earth is a fully notated composition, combined with improvisational elements, written for a nine-person ensemble with electric guitars in special tunings, horns, keyboard, and percussion. The ensemble features many ISSUE friends and luminaries within the Downtown NYC experimental music scene, including Jonathan Kane, Anthony Coleman, Ernie Brooks, and Karen Haglof, as well as Jaimie Branch, Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Sarah Register, Reut Regev, and Jen Baker.

In this piece, Chatham draws from his roots composing for electric guitar ensembles of widely varying forces, incorporating the overtone drenched minimalism of the early 1960s with the relentless elemental fury of the Ramones — the textual intricacies of the classical avant-garde colliding with the visceral punch of punk rock. The Sun Too Close to the Earth combines these influences with Chatham’s more recent experience as a wind player, deploying extended playing techniques inherited from the glory days of the minimalist and free jazz period of New York’s East Village in the early 1970s.

Until now, Rhys has kept the two strains of composition in separate camps. With The Sun Too Close to the Earth, Chatham blends these two bodies of work into one, to arrive at a “post-urban” music that reflects the artist’s concern for the ravages of climate change and the senseless destruction of our planet.

Chatham also performs the North American premiere of his 20-minute solo work Le Possédé for bass flute. The piece continues Chatham’s explorations of the possibilities offered by the early minimalist period of downtown Manhattan. During the early 1970s, Chatham played in La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music, with Tony Conrad in an early version of The Dream Syndicate, and in trio formation with Charlemagne Palestine and Tony Conrad. Chatham draws on these experiences to arrive at a musical vocabulary which is reminiscent of this exciting period in New York, transforming the sound in a way that could only happen in the present decade.

Renowned experimental musicians Zeena Parkins and Jonathan Kane also perform the world premiere of On, Suzanne, dedicated to ISSUE’s founder Suzanne Fiol. Inspired by the poem Some ‘American Sentences’ On Suzanne by the late Holly Anderson, the event marks the first ever collaboration of these two legends of Downtown NYC music.


On, Suzanne
Harp: Zeena Parkins
Drums: Jonathan Kane

Le Possédé
Bass flute: Rhys Chatham


The Sun Too Close to the Earth
Electric guitars: Karen Haglof, Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Sarah Register
Electric bass: Ernie Brooks
Drums: Jonathan Kane
Electric keyboard: Anthony Coleman
Trumpet: Jaimie Branch
Trombones: Jen Baker, Reut Regev
Conductor: Rhys Chatham




Rhys Chatham Summer 2019 news:

I’ve been in the south of France since the beginning of July. Here is a photo, taken by Isabelle Forestier, from just outside my music studio in the foothills of the Pyrenees near Céret, France!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  This is because I’ve been working on a new piece commissioned by the Issue Project Room and the French Institute Alliance Française, the performance is scheduled for next October, see below for details.

The piece has been progressing well, so I thought I would take time out come up for air and tell you about some upcoming concerts taking place in September and October:

Saturday, 7 September 2019 – The Old Hairdresser’s Pub – Glasgow, Scotland

Photo: Phil Mackie

A solo performance of Pythagorean Dream by the Paris-based New York composer on electric guitar, trumpet and bass and alto flutes from the New York, with Glasgow based Maria Rossi aka Cucina Povera in support. Glasgow The Old Hairdressers, 7 September, 8pm.  £12

the Old Hairdressor’s Pub web site (scroll down to find the event)
Tickets:  click here for tickets
Facebook announcement: Click here for FB link


La Bâtie // Rhys Chatham – Pilot on Mars
10 September 2019 –
Geneva, Switzerland

Turn in your spleen for some blues! Pilot on Mars, a Swiss trio featuring dancer-turned-singer Pascal Gravat, guitarist Bastien Dechaume and keyboardist Joe Baamil write songs based on poems from the Beat Generation, record them in New York with US bigwigs, and produce radically electric blues albums for our listening pleasure. To open for them, the band has invited Rhys Chatham all the way from the Big Apple. The avant-garde artist who witnessed the early beginnings of minimalist music with La Monte Young and Tony Conrad will threaten to blow up our electricity bill – we haven’t forgotten his orchestrations for 100 or 200 guitars. At La Bâtie, Chatham will conduct a temporary ensemble of local musicians composed of six guitarists, a drummer and a bass guitarist. If that doesn’t inspire you to take up guitar lessons again…

Click here for the  Batie Festival link

Click here for the Facebook link


4 & 5 October – Issue Project Room – Brooklyn, USA
Commissioned work: The Sun Too Close to the Earth 

October 4th & 5th, ISSUE is pleased to present the world premiere of The Sun Too Close to the Earth, an expansive new work by iconoclast composer and multi-instrumentalist Rhys Chatham. Commissioned by ISSUE and presented as a part of the French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) thirteenth annual Crossing the Line Festival, the piece spans Chatham’s aesthetic concerns across thirty years of composing for electric guitar ensembles, as well as the minimalist and free jazz traditions that grew out of NYC’s downtown music scene.

The ensemble features many ISSUE friends and luminaries within the Downtown NYC experimental music scene, including Jonathan Kane, Anthony Coleman, Ernie Brooks, and Karen Haglof, as well as Jaimie Branch, Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Sarah Register, Reut Regev, and Jen Baker.



And that’s the news for now, I’ll be back in September with further updates.

For information and booking for my 100 guitar projects as well as my ensemble and solo performances, contact us at: rhyschathamnews@gmail.com

For European booking contact: Julie Tippex Art & Music Agency,

This page was posted on 15 August 2019.

March 2019 Rhys Chatham Music update:

Here is a quick update for what is going on in March in terms of music:

On March 16 and 17 I will be in Toulon teaching master classes at the Conservatoire Toulon Provence Méditerranée.  It the largest music conservatory in France.  I am composer-in-residence there this year.

Rhys at Toulon Opera

Toulon is a lovely city in the south of France just by the sea.  I forgot how beautiful it is, the last time I spent any time there was when I first came to France with Karole Armitage, it must have been back in the late seventies.  We did some performances in Châteauvallon, where there was a big dance festival every year, and the hotel was in Toulon. I had very fond memories of that time and, as it turns out, the mayor of Toulon has recently spruced the city up, even the seedier parts, and now its filled with little cafés restaurants and craft shops of all kinds.  I could really get into this!

Anyway, at the conservatory I’ll be giving a brass masterclass on the 16th, and the 17th will be devoted to electric guitar.

The following week, I’ll give another guitar master class  for the conservatory students on the 27th, and then we’ll have some student performances of some of the pieces we have been working on.  The performances will be free to the public.

Inside the Toulon Opera. Talk about Baroque, wow!

Orchestres électriques – directed by Rhys Chatham

  • G3 for 10 electric guitars, electric bass and drums
  • Waterloo, No 2
  • The Out of Tune Guitar, No. 4

Here is a list of the performances:

Thursday 28 March at 8:30 pm

Auditorium du conservatoire
Rostropovitch Landowski


Friday 29 March at 7:30pm
Friche de la belle de mai

Le Module Marseille
With an opening act by
The Marseille Labo Band
directed by Jean-Marc Montera

Saturday 30 March at 8:00pm
Opéra Toulon
tickets free by reservation

Conservatoire TPM conference – Part 1

Here is Part 1 of the conference I gave in January at Conservatoire Toulon Provence Méditéranée, the largest music conservatory (in terms of number of students) in all of France. The lecture had a packed house! This is the first part of the lecture, which is about 18 minutes in length.

It’s in French, but don’t worry, even if you only took high school French, you will be able to understand it because it is ME speaking French with my “charming” American accent! Here is the description:

New Music, New York Conférence – Rencontre avec Rhys Chatham: La musique dans le “downtown” new yorkais des années 70 et 80. Rhys Chatham est le fondateur – et un temps directeur artistique – du programme musical de  The Kitchen à Manhattan, lieu emblématique d’un certain brassage stylistique.

À l’occasion de cette conférence exceptionnelle, il nous parle de la scène musicale new yorkaise des années 70 et 80, du CBGBs à The Kitchen, du Max’s Kansas City à Artist’s Space en passant par The Mudd Club, du point de vue d’un compositeur et performer proche de musiciens tels que John Cage, Lydia Lunch, Laurie Anderson, James Chance ou encore Arto Lindsey.

February 2019 Rhys Chatham update

This just in:

Concert at LAXART is cancelled

due to USA work visa issues.  The concert (see below) has been rescheduled for March.  An announcement on this page will be posted with the new date.

For February’s post I’ll share some photos from a recent concert with the percussionist Will Guthrie that we did at the Opera House in Toulon.

Then I’ll tell you about an upcoming duo performance with the French composer Ghédalia Tarzatès that will be presented in Los Angeles at the Laxart Gallery on Friday 15 February as part of the Frieze Music events.

Rhys Chatham & Will Guthrie Toulon Opera 26 Jan 2019

On 26 January 2019, Conservatoire Toulon Provence Méditerranée (TMP) presented a new work of mine at the Opera de Toulon (pictured just above) entitled Talisman, which is a duo for the percussionist Will Guthrie and myself at the Opéra de Toulon. I played transverse flutes (alto and C), electric guitar and trumpet, with Will on various percussion instruments.

Here are some lovely photos of the performance, taken by Olivier Pastor:

Coming up this month (February 2019):

Rhys Chatham and Ghédalia Tarzartes at Laxart.

I am preparing for a duo concert in LA with Ghedalia Tazartes. It’s on Friday, 15 February at LAXART Gallery, at 8:30pm. The show is free, so first come first served! The event is part of Frieze Music.

Here is the link for the address and other details:


Here is the blurb from the site in case you don’t have time to visit it:

This gig features two legendary underground figures each of whom, in his own way, is a shaman of the avant-garde.

If Tazartès’ earliest recordings,  Diasporas (1979) and Total Eclipse of the Sun (1984) brought him into the orbit of musique concrete, he would define its outer most reaches. Composing with recorded material was the means to highly idiosyncratic ends as the mainstay of this material was tracks of him chanting. Over the years, Tazartès has emerged as a vocalist whose chants share an affinity with any and all cultures for whom it is sacred expression.

A denizen of Paris since 1987, multi-instrumentalist and composer Rhys Chatham needs no introduction. His activities, from playing with La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music and Tony Conrad’s Dream Syndicate to serving as The Kitchen’s first music director would define New York’s lower east side post-Minimal experimental music scene. This concert is Tazartès and Chatham’s’ second meeting after their stunning debut at Les Jardins de Simones.

This event is part of Frieze Music.