STRING 'EM UP Rotterdam

A festival project from Jon Rose

The string.....real and virtual

V2: The Rosenberg Museum V2 on Friday 14th, 20.00:
Introduction or wayward comments
from Sally Jane Norman
a new media performance by Jon Rose
RITUAL by Miya Masaoka

DODORAMA on Saturday 15th, 22.00:
V2 on Saturday 15th, 20.00:
Rotterdam String Project: FÄDEN DODORAMA, Sunday 16th, 20.00:
Jon Rose

Info and Tickets

taking place
May 14, 15 and 16 1999 at
DODORAMA and V2, Rotterdam

Last year's String'em up festival in Berlin focused on a selection of string players who have contributed something radical and unique to the language of contemporary music. String 'em up this year in Rotterdam will make some attempt to juxtapose the sound and technique of real (and outstanding) string players against the ubiquitous sound and technique of contemporary music - the sampler and the record. To underline the point (if not perversity) of this, I've asked our main sampler player (Bob Ostertag) to use sampled string sounds and our main turntable player (Otomo Yoshihide) to use disks of string music. Just to confuse the issue, amongst all this simulacra will be thrown some state of the art interactive computer systems running real time MIDI controlled string samples and string images.

So in this String'em up there is a whole mix up of the real, the fake, the virtual... not to mention the good, bad and the ugly ... or just plain noisy. No matter that someone maybe able to down load the entire content of their brain into a computer 25 years from now (anyone who wants to do that won't have much to download anyway), the last thing that a computer will ever be able to simulate in real time is the sound of a violin being played left handed for the first time by a trained violinist (I'm serious) .... that amount of indecision, unreliability, envelope malfunction, unrepeatability, awkwardness, variation in every agonising millisecond takes just too much computation. So as with most music practice, in this festival it could well be the differences between musicians and their sonic resources that tend to create the moments... rather than the similarities.

a note to double bass players (there are a lot of them): sorry ... we did all that last year.
a note to viola players: the usual irritating jokes are on page 49 of this booklet.


The Rosenbergs are a dynasty of innovative violinists from Australia.

The three most known artists from this family are Jo 'Doc' Rosenberg (legendary bebop violinist); Jimmi Rosenberg (country & western star, turned hard core heavy metal); and the most famous (ie. dead) Dr. Johannes Rosenberg (composer, musicologist and experimental violin instrument decomposer). The later Rosenberg also lived for a large part of his professional life in the unfashionable former DDR.

The museum consists primarily of documentation illustrating the musical practice and obsessions of this most radical of 20 century musical enigmas, including some of the 'Relative Violin' deconstructions and the always popular 'Kitsch Violin' collection. The Rosenbergs are the first 'virtual' music dynasty to become real. After years of existence as experimental Hörspiel, fake TV documentaries, books of dubious biography, and living on the internet, The Rosenberg Museum now becomes physical reality in its new premises in the town of VIOLIN in Slovakia (I'm not making this up!)

To put it another way, The Rosenbergs might be described as, surrealist satire dealing with many of the issues now facing the musical culture of this world .... a wicked but humour filled critique. Between them, the Rosenbergs deal with everything from the pointlessness of 'jazz education, why there is so much really bad performance art, the agony of musicologists, the ignorant pretensions of music criticism, the cultural imperialism of New York, the business of the 'culture' Industry, etc.
There is massive pictorial evidence too (in case you didn't noice it yet) to support the Doctor Johannes' prediction that after the decline of communism and capitalism would come the The Age of Shopping. So If you want to know 'where we are going and who is paying for the pizza after the gig' ..... then this is your only chance to experience the Rosenberg Museum in Holland. As critics of THE PINK VIOLIN (the first book about the Rosenbergs) point out

A book that dares to write a new opus in the music of this confused Century...

If this isn't what happened in the story of contemporary music, then it should have .....

Music, history, and a family of perverts ... it's quite disgusting and often in bad taste

The V2 exhibition shows the collection of EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE WITH A VIOLIN

There will be regular 'broadcasting' of performances, lectures, concerts on the internet.

The curator of the Rosenberg Museum is Jozef Cseres (SK). He became the director of the Rosenberg Museum for 2 reasons.

  1. He was driving through the Slovakian countryside one day with minimalist composer Phil Niblock, listening to a recent cassette of that composer. As the cassette finished Phil said' Look we're in the town of VIOLIN'...and so indeed they were
  2. No one else wanted the job.
    Since this timely post modern event, Jozef has been responsible for getting the mayor of VIOLIN to hand over the local football club to Rosenberg fans as the new global centre for museum activities. The Violin football club certainly comes equipped for the job, armed as it is with a small concert hall, a bar and a library. At the time of the inaugural concert, the library key had been lost so no one can really ascertain what undiscovered glories lie on those dusty shelves.
When not running the Rosenberg Museum, Dr. Cseres teaches aesthetics at Bratislava University, writes like a maniac on contemporary music issues and organises the Sounding Off' concert agenda and festival.

Assisting Mr. Cseres in Rosenberg activities over recent year has been the former New York fluxus virtuoso (still completely unreformed) double bass player Mr. Ben Patterson (USA), probably the only member of the fluxus movement ever to earn his living as a professional musician.
Apart from being the first African American ever to play bass in an American symphony orchestra, he is also (as far as I have been able to research) the first non violinist ever to make Violin Case Marmalade and drink an entire bottle of whisky at one sitting ...
this was also a 'first' for the town of Violin as witnessed in the 'sounding off' festival of October last year in Nove Zamky. Ben could be performing at various times in the 3 days of museum manifestation in a variety of violin related episodes.

The Rotterdam 1999 String'em up festival will also be something of a Rosenberg summit . We are proud to announce that the director of The Rosenberg Archive in Melbourne (and publisher of the two classic tomes on the Rosenberg family) will be able to join us in May. Composer Rainer Linz (AUS) is the undisputed voice of Australian alternative new music and he will be realising part of the 'unified music relativity theory' with an interactive violin installation from Dr. Johannes Rosenberg's Kamikaze period.

The Kamikaze violin dates from Rosenberg's period in the Imperial Japanese airforce. We know from letters written at the time that Rosenberg was concerned with establishing a new sound world for the violin, involving new performance techniques and showing an apparent disregard for the instrument's history.

Mr. Linz will present a demonstration/ performance on the original Kamikaze violin at advertised times throughout the 3 days of the festival.

Rainer Linz is a composer and performer with a long involvement in Radio, music theatre, instrumental and electronic music. His work includes an opera, as well as numerous chamber and electronic pieces intended for live performance. He is also an author and publisher and as such has provided the only documentation of what can be described as 'experimental music' over the last 20 years in Australia. His association as the sound designer with performance artist Stelarc extends back over a decade. He works regularly using his interactive set up with clarinettist Brigid Burke.

The museum will be opened on Friday 14th at 8pm with a speech from internationally acclaimed Rosenbergologist Sally Jane Norman (NZ/FR).
This dedicated critic and theorist has just completed a paper on the recent appearance of Rosenberg phenomena in the art world and will be informing us on what the future might possibly hold for geneticists and violin players alike. Last year Sally was mainly responsible for putting together the innovative and stimulating TOUCH symposium of STEIM in Amsterdam. Apart from spending much of her time sitting in euro trains pounding away on her word processor, S.J.N. informs ZKM and other futuristic euro institutions on what it's all about, where we are all going, and 'who's paying for the pizza after the gig'

Performances at V2 on Friday 14th, start at 20.00

  1. Introduction or wayward comments from Sally Jane Norman
  2. Demonstration/performance by Rainer Linz on The ROSENBERG KAMIKAZE VIOLIN
  3. ROSENBERG -INTERACTIV a new media performance by Jon Rose.
    with both sound and image being manipulated through a unique MIDI interface controlled by violin bow pressure, bow movements (through an accelerometer); and pedalboard.
    Images are accessed from the ROSENBERG MUSEUM archives, existing as quick time or pict files on hard disc. These are then mixed with live video camera images of the violinist who thereby undergoes a kind of anthropomorphic process, becoming digitally/visually part of the archive being manipulated.
    The programme used (Image-ine) is the most recent to be developed at Steim by the brilliant software man Tom Demeyer. (see video of Berlin performance).

    As a model for this work, I have taken Daniel Dennett's analogy of evolution ...
    The Library of Mendel.
    ...although in this case it is a museum and instead of finding countless versions of the same book but all slightly different, one finds countless product usage of the same icon ....the violin

    for more information about the the books THE PINK VIOLIN and VIOLIN MUSIC IN THE AGE OF SHOPPING...and visit the museum of course. It is hoped at the time of writing this that a comprehensive catalogue of the museum's perversities will be available at String'em up for public scrutiny.


a violin performance by one of Australia's extreme noise talents Lucas Abel, currently enjoying a meteoric rise to fame in the more grubby music scenes of Sydney and Tokyo. Known for his extreme use of amplified finger nails on rather dangerous lumps of high spinning concrete, Lucas has recently taken up another excruciating instrument of sonic torture ....the violin. At a concert in Sydney last year he tried to squeeze his audience into a telephone box (or those daft enough to follow him out of the concert space and down the street...)
at the time of going to print, the following information was sent to us...

I haven't finalised what i'm to do yet and I probably won't know for sure until the day as I have a hard time with commitment, I've scrapped that record fan idea for now, at the moment I'm thinking:
first night: play the violin with pick up on the end of each of my fingers.
second night: I'd like to simply play my humming bar with my mouth as  the violin.
third night: using a bowie knife pick up I will stab the violin until it is no more.

RITUAL by Miya Masaoka

....another purge of the Man Ray violin/body industry expressed with the spirit of Yoko Ono.

Ritual Multi-media body performance with giant hissing Madagascar cockroaches

A visually stunning and conceptual piece, this Butoh-inspired performance reflects the progression from the extremely internalised movement of the slow-moving body-- to no movement at all.
Ritual seeks to re-conceptualize the body as a canvas on which to deconstruct notions of gender, ethnicity and power. A body in motion that gestures and poses inherently displays idiomatic movement references, both cultural and aesthetic. A passive, non-moving body holds multiple readings for the viewer, and the level of interpretation is broad and limitless.
Ritual is a multi-media piece which includes the performer, Miya Masaoka, lying naked with giant Madagascar cockroaches roaming freely on her body. Close-ups of the roaches are projected onto a large video screen.
Ritual is an offering to encourage the viewer to consider the relationships between the social construction of the body, race, and gender in performance. Recent theoretical work by various critical theorists suggests bodies tend to indicate a world beyond themselves, beyond their own boundaries, a movement of boundary itself. Bodies cannot be said to have a signifiable existence prior to the mark of their gender; the question then emerges, how do we reconceive the body no longer as a passive medium or instrument for which cultural meanings are inscribed?
The body, can, for example, be thought of as machine, a work of art, an object of desire/revulsion, a site for hegemony and control, or ersatz violin.

This performance was almost like an installation..there was a certain sense of Japanese minimalism that rendered Miya Masaoka's Ritual a gem, a masterful embodiment of sound and image, live and on video projection. I highly recommend this for those interested in the new burgeoning genres of performance.
Anthony Burton, High Performance

Miya Masaoka's performance Ritual is quite simply, a Tour De Force.
La Monte Young, American composer

A standing room only crowd packed the 300 seat hall for the 90 minute performance, the last 15 minutes which featured Miya Masaoka's Ritual. And, as if in a church, the audience sat in silence as Masaoka ly naked.
... .police were stationed outside Friday night's Watkins' Hall, and officials received more than 100 calls of complaint, some threatening to protest at the performance and one vowing a citizen's arrest for public nudity, according to assistant professor Deborah Wrong

Bill Shalkin, The Press Enterprise

All performances to be broadcast live on the internet:'emup

Performances at V2 on Saturday 15th, start at 20.00

Rotterdam String Project: FÄDEN

A chamber opera about a confused woman on an empty lot in a city. She is waiting/resting, and doesn't know if she is herself or a figment of projected images. It is not a dramatic opera with a 'madness'-aria and death at the end (thank God for that!)
It's more like a knot of sound and text images twisted together. The set is also a sound-installation that transmits and connects these fragments through strings and tin-can-resonators.

Kora Schmeiser - is a singer from Den Haag performing modern compositions plus she plays all that nice Baroque recorder stuff ... also works in theatre with DoeDaDa.
Joe Williamson & Frank van Berkel- double basses
Joe finally packed his case and left New Dutch Swinging Amsterdam for the musica heterdosa of Berlin. He has played with Paul Termos, Tobius Delias, Leonid Soybelman, Kletka Red, and the unfundable Exiles band etc.

Frank comes from Rotterdam and does the impro, impro rock thing with for example Han Buhrs and also his own Berkelband.

Gerard van Dongen - plays the prepared piano and all the electronics....and I suspect he is responsible for this piece. He is a composer and improviser living in Rotterdam. He does a lot of solo work and plays with the acoustic Kwint and the electro acoustic impro group Gates. He also writes music for theatre.

The text for FÄDEN was found and chopped up from the wonderful and disturbing work of black Austrian dissident writer Thomas Bernhart, Kurt Tucholsky and the Bild newspaper.

Performances at DODORAMA on Saturday, 15th, start at 22.00


On stage are the techno musicians (techno used in the broadest sense ...scratch, sampling, play back, computers, etc). Through the use of traffic lights as a cue device, the Improvising musicians (techno gladiators!) confront, interrupt, disturb, complement, make arrangements with, play with, or turn off .. the techno machine. There is a continual walk on/walk off atmosphere. This piece was first performed at The Wells Festival, Austria in 1995 with some 30 musicians.


Otomo Yoshihide - turntables, guitar (JAP)
Otomo Yoshihide is Tokyo's premiere noise DJ and has spent years at the cutting edge of Japan's noise underground -- collaborating with Yamatsuka Eye, the Boredoms, leading his own groups Ground Zero and ISO ...and collaborating internationally with just about anyone worth collaborating with. He was the main figure in Jon Rose's cultural satire project SHOPPING and the seminal TECHNO MIT STORUNGEN. Otomo is also known as composer for numerous soundtracks for film, from Chinese and Hong Kong cinema to Japanese underground, and has received high worldwide acclaim for these works as well. Otomo just recently changed his overall style and approach to live performance, so here's a chance to see what he is now up to.

DJ Git Hyper- turntables Git was one of the first Dutch DJ's to start mixing jazz with hip hop (better not mention that at the BimHuis mate) and first reached massive public attention with legendary rap crew Supersonics and very un dutch jazz group Sfeq. As his music has become more threatening, sizzling, subtle and discrete, so his number of party engagements have declined...funny about that. 'He plucks the records from the case with the dexterity of a magician'. Git recently released 'Zimmerman Two' on DOX.


Francis Marie Uitti - cello (USA)
Frances-Marie Uitti pioneered a new dimension to the new music cello transforming it into a polyphonic instrument by the use of a double bow technique into a transfigured string quartet.. As the uncrowned queen of new music (Steim Catalogue) she has long suffered (never been able to stop practising) for all those dots written by those out of control composers like Gyorgy Kurtag, Luigi Nono, Giacinto Scelsi, Louis Andriessen, Jonathan Harvey, Richard Barrett, Vinko Globokar, J.A.Yim, Clarence Barlow,etc .
They have all used and abused the double bow thing in their works dedicated to her. Apart from collaborating with lots of the dead and living heavies like Cage, Ferneyhough... Ms. Uitti likes to have her ears occasionally pushed out of shape by playing along side the guitar amp of the very sensitive Elliott Sharpe.

Greg Kingston - guitar (AUS)
an extraordinary and wild guitar player who has been playing a unique brand of improvised music since the late 70's. He has been a life long sufferer of Tourettes Syndrome. For all the frustrations, Torettes has proved to be of benefit to Greg as an improviser... there is a quirky lightness and rapid speed of response in the Kingston guitar style. He is often referred to as the Eugene Chadbourne of Australian music, although the Guardian in London referred to him as a foot-stomping Barney Kessel on speed. Derek Bailey recognised Greg's talent and offered him a gig on the spot.... one of the guitarist's rare trips outside of Australia where he has a devoted following.

Dominique Regef -Hurdy Gurdy (FR)
Dominique is very reluctant to give out any information on his work, so biographical details are scant indeed. This is probably irrelevant as his reputation in France is huge, working as he does in many fields of music from the rich mediaeval tradition to de rigeur improvised music (with such musicians as Jean Marc Montera), when I contacted him for this gig, he was researching music in Morocco. As to the hurdy gurdy itself, its rediscovery in contemporary music continues in an exponential curve. Back in the old days, Leonardo da Vinci thought it was a pretty cool instrument too, coming up as he did with a multiple polyphonic version.

Cor Fuller- piano string (NL)
Cor Fuhler is active as improviser/composer in the Amsterdam jazz and contemporary music scenes... well there are worse things in life. Anyway he has played with all the big bananas there. He focusses mainly on expanding the sound of the piano, on collecting/playing many kinds of electronic and acoustic keyboards. He is the inventor, manufacturer, player, researcher, composer for and manager of the Keyolin. So if you work for Sony or Yamaha and want to start producing the Keyolin world wide, Cor is the guy to talk to.

Bob Ostertag - sampler (USA)
Bob Ostertag has been at the forefront of electronic sound since the late 1970s, releasing more than a dozen cd's and records. His previous collaborators include avant guarders John Zorn and Fred Frith, dyke punk star Lynn Breedlove, rock star Mike Patton, the Kronos Quartet, Anthony Braxton and more. His main touring group is SAY NO MORE with Phil Minton, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway. His most recent group features New York's underground punk drag queen Justin Bond who famously tore a strip off Madonna at material girl's own L.A. birthday party. Bob has a solo CD available on Seeland which demonstrates that he is probably the most musical sampler player around today.

Lucas Abel - feedback violin (AUS)
Jon Rose - violin, bows, whipolin (UK/AUS)

Performances at DODORAMA, Sunday 16th, start at 20.00


A full power, action packed, intensive session of duos & trios. All the things that string players like to do are very likely to happen - bowing, double bowing (tripple bowing?), e-bowing, plucking, scraping, hitting, thumping, blowing, sympathetic ringing, pulling, twisting, stroking, whirling, cranking... which reminds me of a story told me by composer Arnold Dreyblatt. When in Romania, he heard a fantastic 3 string double bass player... unfortunately one of the strings had broken and was now being bowed furiously with a huge knot tied in it . Arnold offered to buy her a new one, Oh No she said it's just beginning to sound interesting.

Mary Oliver - viola & hardinger (keyed) fiddle. (USA)
according to her biography Mary Oliver was born in La Jolla, California of Nordic stock (I'm afraid to tell you that she's neither Jewish, gay or Japanese). As both violinist and violist, her activities have encompassed premieres by composers such as Iannis Xenakis and Brian Ferneyhough (it's that heavy guy again), as well as improvised music with groovers like George Lewis and John Zorn. She also holds a PhD in experimental studies from UC San Diego. Having escaped from under the black cape of violin heavyweight champion Janos Negyesy, she has lived in Europe since 1993 where she continues her exploration of the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle... solo CD imminent.

Miya Masaoka - Koto & electronics (USA)
Miya Masaoka is a virtuoso who has taken the Koto out of the confines of a trad Japanese instrument into the world of contemporary music complete with array of beaters, strokers and interactive computer system. She has collaborated with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Pharoh Sanders. She also has her own orchestra which performs her own compositions like What is the difference between stripping and playing the violin (I didn't make that up!)

Dominique Regef- Hurdy Gurdy
Otomo Yoshihide - turntables
Bob Ostertag - sampler using string samples only
Francis Marie -cello
Cor Fuhler - Keyolin, piano
Greg Kingston - electric guitar
Jon Rose - violins, bows, interactive electronics, etc

Jon Rose has spent the best part of the last 30 years surviving at the unfashionable end of new music while creating a unique, alternative and radical new history for the violin and just about everything to do with it (not to say he's done about everything you can do with it). He is responsible for The String'em up festival and if you want to complain or know more about his work, collaborations, instruments, cd's, books, films, etc ......

Jon Rose

info and tickets from....
Eendrachtsstraat 10
3012 XL Rotterdam
tel. 0031.10.206 7272
fax. 2067271
attention of Mark Thelosen
Rochussenstraat 169
3021 NP Rotterdam
tel. 0031.10.476 7832
attention of Lukas Simonis
accommodation can be arranged for extreme fans and journalist say the organisers at Dodorama

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