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When: Sunday, February 15, 2009
8 pm

DiverseWorks Artspace,
1117 East Freeway, Houston, TX 77002
(click here for directions/map)


$13 general admission / $10 students and seniors; everyone under 18 gets in for free

Maggie Nicols (UK) – voice
Fred Frith (UK/San Francisco) - guitar
Susan Alcorn (Baltimore) – pedal steel guitar

With a background in jazz, dance, and theater, Maggie Nicols became
an early pioneer in the European free improvisation scene when she
joined John Stevens’ Spontaneous Music Ensemble in the late 1960’s.
The Scottish-born performer would soon develop into one of the most
unique and innovative vocalists in avant-garde music. Nicols is an
artist of distinct individuality. Her agile and wordless
improvisations are countered by the devilish sense of humor that she
displays when she ad-libs speech into her pieces. Maggie Nicols is
an active teacher and leader of workshops that fuse her experiences
in music, improvisation, theater, yoga, and activism. Though she is
a veteran (she began her career in the early 60’s) and is recognized
as the pioneer in her field, Nicols has only ever performed a few times in
the United States. For more information on Maggie Nicols, go to

A wide ranging talent and prolific artist, Fred Frith first gained
attention in the early 1970’s as guitarist for the pioneering English
avant-garde rock band Henry Cow. Frith has distinguished himself as
a guitar player, composer, improvisor, and collaborator. His
versatility brings different approaches to his instrument depending
on a particular playing situation (i.e., the prepared ‘table-top’
approach or the conventional guitar approach). The range of his
collaborators gives an indication as to the scope of his talent and
style. A short list of Frith’s partners includes: Derek Bailey, Lol
Coxhill, Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, Zeena Parkins, Tom Cora and John
Zorn (Frith was the bass player in Naked City). Fred Frith is
currently a professor of composition, contemporary performance, and
improvisation at Mills College in Oakland. For more information on
Fred Frith, go to www.fredfrith.com.

Perhaps the world’s premiere avant-gardist on her instrument, Susan
Alcorn has taken the steel guitar far beyond its traditional role in
country and western swing music. Well-known among steel players for
her virtuosity and authenticity in a traditional context, Susan
Alcorn first paid her dues in Texas country & western bands. Soon
she began to expand the vocabulary of her instrument through her
study of modern classical music (Olivier Messiaen and Krystof
Penderecki), avant-garde jazz (John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman),
and world music (Indian rags, South American songs, and gamelan
orchestra). As a composer, Alcorn has proven to be visionary. Her
pieces reveal the complexity of her instrument and her musical
experience, while never straying from a very direct, intense, and
personal musical expression. Alcorn recently moved to Baltimore from
Houston. For more information on Susan Alcorn, go to

This concert is part of Nameless Sound's Andrew Mark Ladd Memorial
Concert Series.

Artist Links:

Susan Alcorn
Fred Frith
Maggie Nicols