High Zero returns after last years 20th Anniversary Tour!

High Zero is the premier festival of Improvised, Experimental music on the East Coast, being fully devoted to new collaborations between inspired musicians and performers from Baltimore and around the world. Unlike many related festivals, High Zero is not narrow in terms of sensibility or subculture, but rather widely inclusive of all the different types of experimental music-making.  The festival has a unique structure. HIGH ZERO is focused solely on new collaborations in freely improvised experimental music. Internationally famous musicians play side by side with younger “unknowns,” united by their commitment to the musical imagination. Each year, Baltimore becomes a fertile meeting-ground for a large group of inspired players, drawn from a fascinating international subculture.

The festival exposes large audiences to radical music in its pure form.  To say the High Zero Festival is an unusual event is an understatement. Not only does the festival intend to provide the audience with extremely varied, inspired and ingenious experiences, it is also a major challenge for the improvisors, who are put in contexts where their stock personal musical languages may not work, pushing them into terra incognita.

This year’s festival again promises to be the best yet, with new performers and unpredictable music. We hope to see you at the High Zero Festival, and hope that you will spread the word to anyone you think might be interested!

Thursday September 19th (7:30pm doors, 8:30pm showtime)

Le Quan Ninh surrounded bass drum
Set 1
Charmaine Lee vocalist
Ståle Liavik Solberg drums and percussion
Jeron White bass
Set 2
Bob Bellerue improvised feedback manipulation
Danishta Rivero voice, electronics
Bonnie Jones electronics
Nik Francis percussion, electronics
Set 3
Susie Kozawa sound art
Jayve Montgomery woodwinds, percussion, and electronics
Kristen Toedtman voice, violin, piano
Set 4
Ledah Finck violin, viola
Sarah Hennies vibraphone, percussion
Owen Gardner guitar, cello
CK Barlow live sampling, electronics
High Zero in The News

“Some of the most intense new music being made anywhere, on everything from oboes and one-of-a-kind instruments to the human body itself… unforgettable performances.”
– The Wire, London

“The continent’s finest four days of all-in improv and otherwise musical exploration”
– City Paper

“So highly singular that it corresponds to nothing that has been heard before.”
– Maryland Public Television

“An utterly confounding yet utopian vision of musical possibilities…”
– The Wire, London

“The premier showcase for spontaneous sound.”
– National Public Radio

“Weekend Pick”
– The New York Times, Mid-atlantic edition, September

“Could there possibly be a better place for a festival of cutting edge, improvised music than Baltimore? …four days of wildly adventurous and completely extemporaneous music…”
– Washington Post, September

“Baltimore is becoming a crucible for serious experimental music produced outside of academia and concert halls.”
– ArtPapers

“High Zero has become one of the premier festivals for experimental music in North America, pulling in fans and musicians from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world every September.”
– Stylus Magazine

“The first two years (of High Zero) drew press attention from fringe-oriented music magazines such as Cadence and The Wire, but the fest also won the notice of more mainstream outlets such as The Washington Post and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. But more importantly, each festival provided several days and nights of cataclysmic, creative music, improvised on the spot by players who had often just met. From sonorous tone poems to raucous squonk fests to sounds so unusual that they seem fresh to the planet (to all three in the same set), the music of High Zero has proven a feast for any adventurous music lover.”-Lee Gardner, City Paper

“No one walked away disappointed, as this year’s first annual HIGH ZERO Festival of Experimental Improvised Music left the large crowds at every session enthralled.”
-Steve A. Loewy, Cadence Magazine

“A striking glimpse into the avant-garde and a creative process limited only by the imagination.”
-Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Event location:

Baltimore Theatre Project 45 W Preston St, Baltimore, MD 21201

The Red Room is a volunteer-run space in Baltimore dedicated to mind-expanding experimental culture, headquartered at Normals Books and Records.