2015 Vancouver Improvised Music Meeting

@ 8pm

All Western Front shows @ 8pm (+ late shows each night at the China Cloud @ 11pm)

$15 General / $10 Students BUY TICKETS 

As apart of 2015 Vancouver Improvised Music Meeting, Barking Sphinx Performance Society is putting on three nights of exhilarating music featuring Vancouver’s finest innovators with Montréal guitarist René Lussier and Berlin based pianist Achim Kaufmann and poet Gabriele Guenther. Click here for more information on the concert series.


March 28, 2015 @ 8pm

Improvisations | Ghosts Before Breakfast

An appetizer of musical encounters between bassist Torsten Muller and dancer Delia Brett, then Lisa Miller (piano), Gabriele Guenther (poetry), and Jeff Younger (guitar),  is followed by a live orchestration to Hans Richter’s 1928 film Ghosts Before Breakfast.

Since the original score was destroyed by Nazis in 1928, many composers have had their hand at imposing their compositions on this characteristically incoherent dadist narrative. Ghosts Before Breakfast joins the roster with a support cast of actor Alex Ferguson and poet Gabriele Guenther with Jesse Zubot (violin), John Paton (tenor sax), René Lussier (guitar), Torsten Muller (bass), Lisa Miller (piano), Lee Hutzulak (electronics), Jeff Younger (guitar), Achim Kaufmann (piano), JP Carter (trumpet/electronics), Peggy Lee (cello), led by Dylan van der Schyff (drums).


Formed in 1998, Barking Sphinx is a collective of exceptional musicians; members of Vancouver’s improvised music scene who are well knownlocally, nationally and internationally – giving our city an international name as a significant centre of contemporary music and musique actuelle. The public concerts presented by Barking Sphinx provide Vancouver audiences with an opportunity to see some of the world’s finest improvising musicians perform both structured and unstructured work. This community of artists combine, often creating a cross pollination of styles and genres that result in enthralling and incomparable events for performers and audiences alike.

Dylan van der Schyff born in Johannesburg, South Africa is one of the leading figures on the Canadian improvised music scene. His rhythmic drive and creativity are essential contributions to Vancouver bands such as the Tony Wilson Group, François Houle Trio, and the NOW Orchestra. He has also played with such artists as George Lewis, Eyvind Kang, Evan Parker, Georg Graewe, Myra Melford, Michael Moore, John Butcher, Mark Helias, Vinny Golia, and Andy Laster. He has worked with dance companies (EDAM and Kokoro) and theatre groups. His broad musical spectrum extends to rock, funk and punk. He has recorded with the NOW Orchestra, François Houle, (with Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser and Peggy Lee), and the Brad Turner Group. Two duo recordings, one with Peggy Lee and the other with bassist Chris Tarry, are on the Spool label.

Peggy Lee is an inventive and lyrical cellist whose wide ranging credits include the Vancouver Opera, the new music ensemble Standing Wave, popular singer/songwriter Veda Hille and numerous dance and theatre collaborations. Originally from Toronto, she received a performance degree from the University of Toronto. She spent a year at the Banff Centre for the Arts in residence with a string quartet before moving to Vancouver in 1989. As an inprovisor, she has shared the stage with players such as Peter van Bergen, Dave Douglas, Paul Plimley, the Tony Wilson Group, Barry Guy and Butch Morris. She has also recorded and performed with Carlos Zingaro, the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, the NOW Orchestra, Dylan van der Schyff and François Houle (with Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser, and Dylan van der Schyff).

Guitarist Réne Lussier is one of the pillars of innovative music in Quebec. A prolific and eclectic composer, he has been charting new music territories since the end of the ’70s, teaming up with musicians from all fields. Co-founder of the label Ambiances Magnétiques, he has engineered and produced most of his albums. He has written music for over fifty films, either on his own or in collaboration. Passionate about improvisation, he holds meetings and workshops devoted to this activity in Quebec and Europe on a regular basis. His work has received numerous awards and distinctions: the “Avant Garde MIMI” (2002) awarded by the Montréal Independent Music Initiative; the Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton Award (2001) from the Canada Council for the Arts to “salute exceptional achievements and excellence”; the Freddy Stone Award (1996) for “his artistic integrity, his innovative spirit, and his contribution to Canadian new music”; the Prix Paul Gilson (1989) awarded to his piece “Le Trésor de la langue” by the Communauté des radios publiques de langue française [the Community of French-speaking State Radios]; the First Prize of the Yorktown Short Film & Video Festival (1987) with Jean Derome for their music for Hélène Klodowsky’s film “Painted Landscapes of the Times: The Art of Sue Coe”; the Brazowy Smok First Prize (1984, Krakow, Poland) with Robert Marcel Lepage for their music for Pierre Hébert’s film “Chants et danses du monde inanimé: le métro.”

Achim Kaufmann studied piano and composition at the Conservatory in Cologne where he took classes with creative masters such as Dave Holland, Steve Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, and Steve Lacy. From 1996 to 2009, he lived in Amsterdam where he became part of that city’s internationally renowned improvised music scene. Since 2002, he has been touring internationally with the trio Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode, an improvising unit which has released four CDs so far, to much critical acclaim. He has also collaborated with his wife, poet/painter Gabriele Guenther, on the audiodrama Borderline – From the Shadows of a Journey, and has written music for various chamber ensembles. In his solo work, mixed techniques are used to create a fluctuating world of sounds and gestures. Resonance and reverberation, space and density play an important role in both his solo and ensemble work. Since his move to Berlin, he got involved in various new projects, such as the trio grünen with Robert Landfermann and Christian Lillinger, Oni Kramler (with Matthias Schubert, Antonio Borghini, and various guests), and a trio with cellist Okkyung Lee and trumpeter Axel Dörner. In 2013, the sextet SKEIN (Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode plus Richard Barrett, Okkyung Lee, and Tony Buck) had its premiere at the dOeK festival in Amsterdam and subsequently recorded for SWR radio. He was awarded the prestigious German SWR Jazz Award in 2001.