Patterns from Nature

A multimedia interdisciplinary work interconnecting Physics, Music and Film

An ambitious new project is set to captivate audiences with a mesmerizing fusion of physics, film, and music. Physicist Stephen Morris, filmmakers Udo Prinsen, Gita Blak, Lee Hutzulak, Tina de Groot, and composer/saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff are joining forces to explore Morris’ area of research Emergent Patterns in Nature through a captivating multimedia experience.

The centerpiece of this innovative project is a four-movement, 40-minute work. Each filmmaker will delve into a specific research area within Emergent Patterns in Nature, exploring Branches, Flow, Cracks, and Ripples. Collaborating closely, the team will draw inspiration from one another’s progress into the composition and filmmaking processes. These areas were inspired, in part, by the books about Patterns in Nature by Philip Ball.

Blending jazz and classical elements, the composition will be performed by a chamber ensemble featuring woodwinds, brass, percussion, piano, string quartet, bass, drum set, and conductor. Renowned soloists, including clarinetist François Houle, the Molinari String Quartet, pianists Matt Mitchell and Santiago Leibson, bassist Carlo De Rosa, drummer Satoshi Takeishi, trombonist Ryan Keberle, and saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff, will contribute their virtuosity to the performance.

This groundbreaking collaboration promises to transport audiences on an immersive journey through the wonders of Emergent Patterns in Nature. The result will be an unforgettable multimedia experience that pushes the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

They will also be premiering Nachoff’s intriguing Saxophone Concerto on the concerts.

   Monday, October 16th, 2023
   Hunter College Music
   695 Park Avenue, 416 Hunter North
   New York, NY  10065
   Free admission

   October 18th and 19th, 2023
   Oktaven Audio, NYC

   Saturday, November 4th, 2023
   Isabel Bader Theatre
   93 Charles St West
   Toronto, ON  M5S 2C7
   Free admission
RSVP to reserve a seat
   In co-presentation with Art-Sci Salon
   and the University of Toronto
   Department of Physics

NYC ensemble: Roberta Michel (flute), François Houle (clarinet), Quinsin Nachoff (tenor saxophone), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Tony Kadleck (trumpet), John Clark (french horn), Ryan Keberle (trombone), Aaron Edgcomb (percussion), Matt Mitchell (piano), Carlo De Rosa (bass), Satoshi Takeishi (drums), Molinari String Quartet (Olga Ranzenhofer – violin I, Antoine Bareil – violin II, Frédéric Lambert – viola, Pierre-Alain Bouvrette – cello), JC Sanford (conductor)

Toronto ensemble: Camille Watts (flute), François Houle (clarinet), Quinsin Nachoff (tenor saxophone), Peter Lutek (bassoon), Jason Logue (trumpet), David Quackenbush (french horn), Ryan Keberle (trombone), Mark Duggan (percussion), Santiago Leibson (piano), Carlo De Rosa (bass), Satoshi Takeishi (drums), Molinari String Quartet (Olga Ranzenhofer – violin I, Antoine Bareil – violin II, Frédéric Lambert – viola, Pierre-Alain Bouvrette – cello), JC Sanford (conductor)

Made possible, in part, through the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec.

New York musician Quinsin Nachoff has carved out a unique career exploring the connection between the twin worlds of jazz and classical music, in a city that is equally renowned for both. Nachoff gained early recognition as an award-winning tenor saxophonist in his native Toronto, establishing a name as a formidable player “parsing shimmers of Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Mark Turner” (Downbeat).

His individuality as a composer became evident on his 2006 debut Magic Numbers, with its groundbreaking blend of chordless jazz trio and string quartet. Since then, a consistently impressive output of albums, projects and commissions have demonstrated his willingness and ability to explore both worlds with equal conviction, whether through his 2017 Saxophone Concerto appearance and commission, Winding Tessellations, with contemporary chamber group Turning Point Ensemble, his 2018 commission for the Molinari String Quartet, or his remarkable group Flux, which features the stellar talents of saxophonist David Binney, keyboardist Matt Mitchell, and drummers Kenny Wollesen and Nate Wood. The group’s 2019 album, Path Of Totality, received worldwide acclaim for its ambitious, immersive long-form pieces that blended intriguing compositional approaches with the passion and freedom of jazz improvisation.

Nachoff’s 2020 release Pivotal Arc presented his most ambitious and acclaimed project yet: bringing together virtuoso violin soloist Nathalie Bonin with a jazz-inflected unit featuring two established giants of the NY scene, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Satoshi Takeishi, and adding a wind and string ensemble to realize his unique crossover vision. Nachoff continues to compose, tour and record with an array of cutting-edge international artists while leading his own projects, including Flux, Ethereal Trio, Horizons Ensemble and Pyramid Project.

Stephen Morris is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto. With a Ph.D. earned in 1991 from the University of Toronto, as well as an M.Sc. and B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in 1985 and 1981 respectively, Dr. Morris has had a long and varied academic journey. His dedication to teaching excellence has been widely recognized, earning him the 2003 APUS/SAC award for outstanding teaching and the 2004 Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award. Dr. Morris has extended his academic pursuits internationally, serving as a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, from November 2005 to July 2006, and as a Senior Visiting Fellow at The Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematics, Cambridge University, in 2005. Notably, Dr. Morris was honored as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012 and held the distinguished title of J. Tuzo Wilson Professor of Geophysics from 2014 to 2019. His dynamic research interests encompass a wide array of topics, including experimental nonlinear physics, icicle morphology, fluid dynamics, granular media, and the intriguing intersection of physics with art.

Beyond his career in Physics, Morris has explored the frontier between art and science, capturing the beauty of patterns through photography. His images and videos, informed by the aesthetics of nonlinear physics, delve into the intricate relationship between order and complexity within emergent patterns. Through gallery exhibitions, collaborations, and performances, Morris seamlessly bridges the gap between art and science, celebrating the captivating allure of patterns in both the natural and laboratory worlds.

Movement I - Branches

Featuring pianist Matt Mitchell (NYC) and Santiago Leibson (Toronto)

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Tina de Groot is an animator based in the Netherlands. After graduating from the University of Arts in Utrecht she has worked independently on various artistic projects. She loves to work with her hands, instead of a computer, so most of her work is hand-painted frame-by-frame animation. She uses oil paint on a glass table, and just like traditional animation, takes a picture for each drawing. Animating with oil paint is intuitive work and she enjoys the spontaneous nature of the outcome. She is currently working on a short film, The Little Violin, about a little boy from Syria that travels the sea on his violin.

Movement II - Flow

Featuring percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and the Molinari String Quartet
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Lee Hutzulak’s interest in making video started in the early 90s at art college, shooting 8mm film and Video 8 for his recording project/band Dixie’s Death Pool. A couple decades later, with the advent of affordable, powerful personal computers, tiny digital video cameras and Youtube as a platform, a return to the medium felt relevant. Since 2008 he has put up hundreds of videos on YT. While most are simple documents of live music performance, some incorporate additional footage shot by Lee and special fx using both software and real world, physical techniques. Some pieces, like the video for “Bounce”, are companion works of art using composition, movement, light, colour and texture to echo elements in the music. Check out his Leisure Thief channel on YT.

Movement III - Cracks

Featuring clarinetist François Houle and bassist Carlo De Rosa
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Željka Blakšić AKA Gita Blak is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who works with performance, 16mm film, video, and installation. She was born in Zagreb (ex-Yugoslavia) and is currently based in New York City. Her work often stems from the subculture of the 1990s-era in Croatia, when punk, anarcho and eco movements were having a renewal. Resistance manifested itself through the cooperation and gathering of different alternative social groups. This experimental environment became a university of rebellion–a key force, giving voice to new expressions of democracy, justice, common values and free speech. Blaksic often collaborates with members of different subcultures, activists, schoolgirls, singers, urbanists, and students, creating sites and praxis of collectivity. Using pedagogical methodologies within the context of contemporary art she organizes workshops, creates publications, makes films and exhibitions.

Recent exhibitions include “It Won’t Be Long Now, Comrades!” curated by Inga Lāce & Katia Krupennikova at Framer Framed in Amsterdam; “The Witnessing Event” curated by Rashmi Viswanathan at Los Sures Museum in NY; “BROUHAHA” project at Recess SOHO; “Claim Space” performance at Museum of Modern Art, NY; Artizen Cluj, Romania; BRIC Contemporary Art Gallery, NY; Gallery Augusta, Helsinki; District Kunst- und Kulturförderung, Berlin; AIR Gallery, NY; Active Space, NY; Urban Festival in Croatia; Gallery of SESI, Sao Paolo, Brazil; The Kitchen, NY and The Khyber Center for the Arts in Canada. She was a recipient of the Residency Unlimited & National Endowment for the Arts Award 2017, New York USA; Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto Residency 2017, Biella, Italy;  MuseumsQuartier Program/ Q21 2017, Vienna, Austria; Recess Session commission 2016, New York USA; A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship Program for emerging women artists 2014/15, New York USA; The District Kunst Award 2013, Berlin; New York Foundation for the Arts Residency 2012, Paula Rhodes Award 2010, New York USA, and many others. Most recently she was a resident at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, UAE. 

Movement IV - Ripples

Featuring saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff and trombonist Ryan Keberle
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Udo Prinsen (The Netherlands, 1974) started his career as an animation designer. Having learned many tricks of the trade at Rocketship Animation in Vancouver, Canada late 90’s, he started working as a creator of identity for television and film. In 2000 Prinsen moved to England for The Bristol Animation Course, which was set up by Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run. He spent a year in England working for Phew TV!/BBC Education and other production companies and always worked on independent projects on the side. His short film Audition was created with the musical help of Eric Vloeimans and Martin Fondse. Audition has led to many more short films, educational publications and art projects like the musical film Into Spring, which was made in collaboration with Han Bennink and LOOK! a short film inspired by Dutch Sign Language.

More recently Udo is exploring different ways of (visual) storytelling. Examples are the audio book Last Words in collaboration with Amsterdam Forest, Shapes of Time an exhibit, art book and musical show based on long exposure photographs created during a Dutch scientific polar expedition to Svalbard and Wood, a cultural exchange in wood design celebrating the friendship between the cities of Utrecht (NL) and Portland (OR, USA)

When Nachoff composed his Saxophone Concerto to feature himself and chamber orchestra (Turning Point Ensemble), he collaborated with Morris using data from one of his physical experiments of cracks slowly forming in mud. The data and imagery were used as inspiration for the second movement and parts of the third movement of the Concerto.

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