ephemeropteræ 2013/04 – Susan Stenger

Musician, performer and composer Susan Stenger is a virtuoso of experimental and new music, evidenced by her masterly interpretations of John Cage, Petr Kotik, Phill Niblock, Christian Wolff, and Jackson Mac Low. But she also bridges in her long-standing practice rock and art music. In 1986, Stenger co-founded Band of Susans, a noise rock band that emerged within the underground post-No Wave scene of Sonic Youth and the Swans. After moving to London in 1996, Big Bottom gathered as a group, whose core line-up consisted of Stenger alongside visual artists Angela Bulloch, Cerith Wyn Evans and Tom Gidley, as well as bassist J. Mitch Flacko, featuring just five electric bass guitars and a drum machine examining the fundamentals of sound and structure. Stenger explores “structural clichés and gestures in conventional music, in musical structures, (pop) song structures, and western harmony,” which she tries “to take out of context to investigate and re-contextualize them.”

Stenger performed a version of John Cage‘s Ryoanji and a flute solo from Concert for Piano and Orchestra, which was simultaneously played with Fontana Mix. Based on a statement of John Cage “I hope to let words exist as I have tried to let sounds exist,” from his book For the Birds she traversed the musical act with a short piece of spoken word by her Let Words Exist As Sounds.

Susan Stenger grew up in Buffalo, USA and moved to Prague in 1975 to study flute at the Prague Academy Of Music. She composed a 96-day sound installation as part of Soundtrack For An Exhibition, presented at MAC Lyon in 2006 and performed at the Garden Marathon by Serpentine Gallery in 2011. Stenger has toured as bassist with John Cale and Nick Cave and has composed projects with dancer / choreographer Michael Clark, and writer / filmmaker Iain Sinclair. She has made new work for Dublin Analog Festival, Av Festival and Sketch Gallery, London and is currently working on a new composition for the Kronos Quartet. 
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
TBA21–Augarten, Scherzergasse 1A, 1020 Vienna, Austria
supported by
Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein
curated by
Daniela Zyman and Boris Ondreička