Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Telephone: 312.787.4071


Birgit Ulher and Nicolas Collins
Lampo Performance Series
Apr 15, 2023 (7pm)

Reservations required; limited capacity

!Trumpet + Trumpet! That is, two trumpets and two very different approaches—one electronic, the other acoustic. While Collins works with a computer program and cobbled hardware, Ulher uses metal sheets, radios, milk frothers, and other everyday objects. The diametrically opposed sound production leads to oddly similar sonic results. At the Graham, Collins (!Trumpet) and Ulher (Trumpet!) perform together and present solo sound and video work.

Collins explains: “After 40 years, I finally figured out how to program a computer to sound like glitching circuits, and cobbled hardware and software into a brass package: a trumpet with a built-in speaker, sensors reading valve positions, a breath control, and an infrared mute. In a nod to David Tudor’s legendary composition Bandoneon! I’ve dubbed my instrument !trumpet. But where Tudor tags on the ‘!’ to indicate factorial, I lead with it as the symbol for logical negation. This is definitely not a trumpet.”

Presented in partnership with Lampo; Lampo gratefully acknowledges additional support provided by the Goethe-Institut Chicago; Travel support provided by Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media

Birgit Ulher is a Hamburg-based musician who is focused on extending the sounding possibilities of the trumpet. She has developed various techniques and preparations to produce multiphonics and a grainy, textured sound, whether holding objects in front of the horn’s bell or feeding radio noise into trumpet mutes. Ulher performs solo and in various collaborative settings in festivals and venues around the world, partnering with dancers, visual artists, composers and other free improvisers. Recent projects also include video and sound installations.

Nicolas Collins spent years in Europe, where he was artistic director of STEIM (Amsterdam), and a DAAD composer-in-residence in Berlin. He is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a research fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent. An early adopter of microcomputers for live performance, Collins also makes use of homemade electronic circuitry and conventional acoustic instruments. His book, Handmade Electronic Music—The Art of Hardware Hacking (Routledge, 2020), now in its third edition, has influenced emerging electronic music worldwide.

Lampo, established in 1997, supports artists working in new music, experimental sound and other interdisciplinary practices. The Chicago-based organization's core activity has been and remains its performance series. Rather than making programming decisions around tour schedules, Lampo invites selected artists to create and perform new work, and then the organization provides the space, resources and curatorial support to help them fulfill their vision. Lampo also organizes artist talks, lectures, screenings and workshops, and publishes written and recorded documents related to its series.