SSWH Duo: Sara Schoenbeck & Wayne Horvitz
Sara Schoenbeck - bassoon
Wayne Horvitz - piano, electronics
Sara Schoenbeck and Wayne Horvitz first met as performers at the company style improvisation festival “Time Flies” in Vancouver B.C. in 2000. They have been frequent collaborators ever since in The Gravitas Quartet, Some Places Are Forever Afternoon, and numerous improvised collectives and performances. They are dedicating their long time collaboration to duo spaces of original music and improvisation. A study of the crossroads where texture and extended technique meet with and support the expression of melody and song.
Sara Schoenbeck is a bassoonist who dedicates herself to expanding the sound and role of the bassoon in the worlds of classical, contemporary notated and improvised music. The Wire magazine places her in the "tiny club of bassoon pioneers" at work in contemporary music today and the New York Times has called her performances "galvanizing" and "riveting, mixing textural experiments with a big, confident sound.”
Originally from California, Sara spent her time on the west coast freelancing in various orchestral bassoon sections such as Santa Barbara Symphony, California Symphony, Redlands, Mancini Orchestra, the Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra and touring as a member of creative music ensembles Gravitas Quartet with Wayne Horvitz, Ron Miles and Peggy Lee, Anthony Braxton’s 12+1(tet) and Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble. Sara also recorded for various sound and film projects including the Matrix 2 and 3, Dahmer and Spanglish. Sara now calls Brooklyn home and performs regularly with Petr Kotek’s SEM ensemble, the composers group WetInk, Wordless Music Orchestra, Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra, Gravitas, Harris Eisenstadt’s Golden State Quartet, Eve Risser's White Desert Orchestra, Nels Cline Lovers Ensemble, Adam Rudoplph's Go Organic Orchestra and the Michael Leonhart Band as well as performing with many creative and inspiring musicians in the New York scene and beyond including Roscoe Mitchell, the legendary musicians Butch Morris and Yusef Lateef, Wadada Leo Smith, Robin Holcomb, Matt Mittchell, Pamela Z, Taylor Ho Bynum, Joe Morris, Miya Masaoke, Ingrid Laubrock, Marty Ehrlich, Ben Goldberg, Stew and Mark Dresser to name a few. She has performed at major venues and festivals throughout North America and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kitchen, Iridium, Disney Hall, the Kennedy Center, SXSW, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Free Music Festival in Antwerp Belgium, Biennale Musica in Venice Italy, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, The Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Jazz Festival.
Sara received her BFA from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts where she has given master classes on improvisation for bassoonists and classically trained musicians. Sara has been adjunct faculty at California Institute of the Arts, Citrus College and Pasadena Conservatory and given master classes at Cornish College, University of Denver, Amherst College and Western Washington University. She is currently on faculty at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Packer Collegiate Institute.
Recipient of the 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and winner of the 2019 American Prize for Orchestral Composition, composer, pianist, and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz is the leader and principal composer for Sweeter Than the Day. The Gravitas Quartet, The Snowghost Trio, and the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, and performs regularly as an improviser. Past ensembles include The President: The Horvitz, Morris, Previte Trio: The New York Composers' Orchestra; Ponga and The Four Plus One Ensemble.
As a composer, Horvitz has been commissioned by The Kitchen, The Seattle Symphony, The Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New World Records, The Seattle Chamber Players etc. Commissioning grants include Meet the Composer, The NEA, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, NYSCA, The Mary Flagler Carey Trust, The Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and The Fund for U.S. Artists. He received a MAP grant in 2010 for “55: Music and Dance In Concrete”, a site-specific collaboration with choreographer Yukio Suzuki, video artist Yohei Saito and producer Tucker Martine which premiered in September 2012 at Centrum (WA) and the ASU Museum of Art. His hour-long song cycle “Smokestack Arias”, based on the events of the Everett Massacre, appeared at Act Theater for 2 weeks in February of 2012. He is the recipient of the 2008 NEA American Masterpieces Award for the string quartet “These Hills of Glory.” In May of 2013 Horvitz’s Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble spent a week in residence at The Stone in NYC. Ben Ratliff of the NY Times wrote, “Mr. Horvitz kept his attention on the band with microscopic focus, quick-cutting between contrasts, putting something free or rippling against a fixity. It held your attention, and when it was perverse, it was just perverse enough.”
On Oct. 29th, 2015, the Seattle Symphony premiered, “Those Who Remain”, for full orchestra, conducted by Ludovic Morlot. “Those Who Remain Pt. 2: Concerto for Installation and Improviser”, premiered in January of 2017 at the Seattle Asian Art Museum with support by MAP and The Japan Foundation. The installation is a collaboration with Yohei Saito, Yukio Suzuki and visual artist Barbara Earl Thomas. The music is an electronic score created from samples of “Those Who Remain Pt. 1”.
As a sideman and collaborator, he has performed and recorded with Billy Bang, Rinde Eckert, Carla Bley, Reggie Watts, Marty Ehrlich, Julian Priester, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Robin Holcomb, Butch Morris, David Moss, Bobby Previte, George Lewis, Elliott Sharp, Ikue Mori, Kazutoki Umezu, Briggan Krauss, Steven Bernstein, Philip Wilson and John Zorn (Naked City, Cobra, etc.), among others. He has produced recordings for the World Saxophone Quartet, Human Feel, Fontella Bass, Marty Ehrlich, John Adams, Bill Frisell, Robin Holcomb, and Eddie Palmieri. In film, dance and theater he has collaborated with, among others, Carey Perloff, Bill Irwin, Paul Taylor, Gordon Edelstein, Gus Van Sant, Dayna Hanson and Paul Magid.
“There's nobody else out there I hear even attempting to cover some kind of similar range, and do it so convincingly” — All About Jazz