Presented by the UMBC Department of Music’s TNT series.
8 pm, Fine Arts Recital Hall. $7 general admission, $3 seniors, free for students, free with a UMBC ID. Ticket will be available online in fall 2009. Tickets will also be available at the door (cash or check only).
One of the more active experimental music performers on the East Coast for the past decade, John Berndt began his musical career by composing wildly abstract electro-acoustic and conceptual tape music in 1978 at the tender age of 11. His first compositions in this mode premiered on the radio at age 14, and by his late teens, he was active in an international cultural scene that included some of the most radical cultural activists of the 80s and 90s. From the beginning his work was singular, ranging over the disjoint subcultures of sound art, improvised music, industrial, musical instrument design, and language experimentation. He has been an extremely prolific and varied composer and improvisor, performing over 600 concerts of his own music and published on over 40 recordings of highly non-commercial work. His solo CDs are available on Stereosupremo (Italy), HereSee (Baltimore), Abstract On Black (Pittsburgh), and Sprout (Philadelphia), and he has many published recordings of collaborations.
Berndt began as a composer with a distinctly "inhuman" style and severe set of conceptual preoccupations, but in an unusual development process expanded his sensibility in a variety of contradictory directions, such that his work today is so aesthetically varied as to seem the work of a number of unrelated artists. In 1991 Berndt had heard saxophonist Jack Wright, who became his saxophone teacher, and as a result began to focus on developing his abilities in spontaneous instrumental performance to a high degree. His rigorously strange aesthetic then broadened to incorporate lessons from a variety of clashing modalities: jazz, Indian and African music, and extreme modernist instrumental technique. In this transformation, he was also highly influenced by another collaborator and teacher, the philosopher Henry Flynt, whose critique of the western computational mind-set greatly enabled Berndt's own critical path.