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Aaron Pond

Horn, Voice, Wood Flutes, Percussion, Wind Synthesizer

Through this community, this playing, this listening, I am completed.

Originally, a classical musician, I stopped performing conventionally notated music in college, and dedicated my singing to the trees and birds of Sarasota Bay. It was there that I connected with something greater than myself. After moving to Philadelphia in 2018, I fell in love with free improvisation, world music, and the larger scene which was unfolding here. In 2021, I picked up the horn again and have been ripping it ever since. My improvisational practice is drawn from early atonal music, the playful spirituality of the AACM, and a South Florida childhood spent in synagogues and swamps. My scholarly pursuits center the universal aesthetic structures of spirit possession and the marking power of ritual. I wish to find myself in the turbulent seas of sensation.


South Philly

Thomas Patteson

Alto Saxophone, Keyboard, Modular Synthesizer

I have been a music academic for much of my adult life. But I have often felt constrained by how music is treated in most institutional settings. My search for a more sane and humane musical paradigm has led me to overcome my fear of improvisation, to embrace the chaos of collective creativity, and to focus my musical discipline. This quest is ongoing. For now, I am guided by three basic beliefs: first, that playing music is a fundamental human activity that should be open to all who have the desire; second, that our music-making should radiate the values by which we want to live; and third, that the highest purpose of music is a spiritual one: to bring about metanoia or the transformation of consciousness.

Institute Director

West Philly

Jessica Brown

Paintbrush, French Horn, Small Percussion, Voice, PBone

I am an artist, philosopher, and musician; entangling these practices in every way that I can. Artistically, I am trained in drawing/composition and painting, and self-taught in the arts of fashion, embroidery, photography, and sculpture. I played French Horn for several years as a child/adolescent and picked it back up, with much delight, during the pandemic. I am influenced by many moments and movements: coming-of-age under Florida sun, fauvism, dada, free jazz, and avant-garde at large. Phenomenology with an emphasis on interrelationship with the natural world is at the heart of all of my practices. I seek joy, awe and community.

Visual Coordinator

South Phillly

Ihba L Baskette

Saxophone, Alto Clarinet, Percussion

My interest has always been on the fringes; even in pop and hip hop I've always noticed the more abstract Artists of the Genres. My aim is to create spiritual music that doesn’t classify itself as Spiritual music but just an uplifting experience in sound adventure.

Session Leader

West Philly

Mijkalena Smith


I am a dancer, teacher, and collaborator deeply invested in the intersections of art, science, and community. Originally trained as a competition dancer in a small, rural, Pennsylvania studio, my introduction to the wider world of dance was through my time as an undergraduate student at Temple University. Deciding to stay in Philly after graduating, I continued to seek out artistic collaboration across mediums. My work with musicians and visual artists continuously gives me fresh perspectives in which to view movement. I also bring an interest in physiological foundations to my work, finding satisfaction in nuanced somatic responses in my artistic collaborations. I feel incredibly lucky to find myself in the company of such talented artists and I look forward to epic art-making together!


South Philly

Abe Mamet

French Horn

Abe Mamet is a composer and instrumentalist committed to using his music to ground himself, his fellow musicians, and his audiences more deeply in the spaces they occupy daily. That commitment involves exploring the use of the French horn in groove-oriented improvised music (informed by the traditions of jazz/creative music/Black American Music), and expanding the technical and theoretical limitations of that instrument.


Ann Adachi-Tasch

Piano, Flute

Ann enjoys meditating on sound in a group setting, with special interest in the construction of harmonies among varied timbres which is most apparently explored in sustained tones. Ann studied classical piano and composition at Brevard College and Berklee College of Music, where she explored inclusion of video medium and performance in her music compositions. Phenomenological curiosity inspired the composition of a quartet piece, in which each musician was stationed in different parts of Boston each with a videographer capturing wandering musicians and sound of the environment--subway, Chinatown, park, and busy street. At a precise given time, all four start playing the composed music. Culmination is a four-channel video installation that maps time, space, and sound. After a hiatus, Ann is excited to play in ensembles, sometimes in the accompaniment of the sounds of the Wissahickon.


Carlos Santiago

Violin, Voice, Electronics

I am a professional violinist, formally trained in classical/jazz. I am interested in deep listening. I love textured sound, long form, and nuanced playing. I love duo, trio, and quartet playing.


David Middleton (DM Hotep)

Guitar, Bass, Music Production, Ukulele

I'm fascinated by the fractal nature of music, the building blocks of musical production (compositional/improvisational/ performance). Studying the nature and manipulation of intervals, pitch-sets, and sonic balances functions as a means of exploring and inciting states of emotion. The integration of acoustic and digital musical elements has become integral to my own music making, which i use mainly in service to exploring various world music traditions, composing for live performance ensembles, and producing music for media.

West Philly

Gabe Preston

Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Bb Clarinet, Flute, Piccolo, English horn, Bassoon, Oboe

Gabe Preston (any pronouns) is an energetic woodwind multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator born and raised in Philadelphia, always open to musical opportunities regardless of the style. Since graduating from Temple University Boyer College of Music in 2021, Preston has been hard at work leading their solo fusion jazz project, GPS (Gabe Preston Sounds), with their debut album [to the stratosphere] currently available on all streaming platforms. In addition, Preston is consistently performing with a wide variety of other up-and-coming bands and projects in the area. To name a few: Mobbluz (a boom-bap hip-hop jazz band), Stella Ruze (Americana folk-rock), You Do You (cosmic funk rock), Hodgepodge (Persian punk-funk rock), Borbs (an avant-garde collective led by Aaron Pond), and more. Other performing work includes pit orchestra gigs around the area, big band gigs, community orchestra performances, and wedding bands (notably Swift Technique).


Heather Gardner

Voice, Violin, Viola

Heather Gardner is a musician and teacher who is fascinated with how we listen to, create and process sound. Her work as a certified Alexander Technique teacher and student of Deep Listening has led her to explore how we interact with sound at all levels of our existence, from singing with children to hearing in our dreams. She is an experienced performer in many time periods and styles having sung and played with many types of ensembles and as a soloist. She continues to perform all sorts of music as well as explore sound and community through improvisation. Through her studio in West Philadelphia, she brings music and sound awareness to people from all ages and abilities and is interested in using sound and music to build community.

West Philly

Jack Braunstein

Bb Clarinet, Guitar, Tape

Devoted non-professional , from south jersey ; improvise slowly on clarinet ; write songs . in music and in life, interested in the sacred and obscured ; antelope that dies for pure sound . i write and perform song-form music as שאַנדע and play in the free-style drone band Green Plum Ensemble, improvised punk band Saggy and the Kol Tzedek community Simcha band . grateful for the miracle of music and very open to collaboration .

West Philly

Mark Brown

Tenor Saxophone, Alto sax, Soprano sax, Bb Clarinet, Penny Whistle

I was a working roots, rock and blues tenorman when I was in my 20’and 30’s. Then I quit music, but music didn’t quit me. After over 20 years, I am back playing,teaching & studying saxophone with a greater love and awareness of musics’ spiritual, healing and joyful communal energy. My approach to free- improvisation is rooted in my interest in composing and my love for melodies , motifs and riffs , rich harmonies and dissonance. Call it free jazz, free music, spontaneous composing; my end goal is always to strive to share something beautiful with the musicians I am playing with and the audience .

South Philly

Matteo McDonnell

Voice, Accordion, Guitar, Keyboard, Recording Studio

Matteo is an instrumentalist, producer, and collection of parts in the shape of a human. They are formally trained in the creative art of Physics, and have had an education in music owing back to when they were 2 years old, singing call and response with their mother. Their artistic outlets include rendering into physical form the transient things of the world (albums, paintings, photographs, stories, mixtapes, to-do lists, recipes, memories of things gone past, ephemera, etc.), and then watching them age and change and disappear into something new.

North Philly

Max Engleman

Guitar, Bassoon, Piano, Percussion, Winds

Max is a multi-instrumentalist and composer living in Philadelphia. He's interested in music that produces a sense of ecstasy or hypnosis; he tries to achieve this through a playful engagement with texture, structure, and pattern. His work is informed by the "minimalists," experimental rock groups like This Heat and Kayo Dot, jazz fusion, shoegaze, and Carnatic music.


Max Glazier

Drums, Percussion

Max Glazier is a Philadelphia-based drummer and percussionist. He is a recent graduate of the University of the Arts School of Music, and performs with an eclectic mix of projects including indie folk band Vague Positivity and noise pop artist Maax Power. As an improviser, Max aims to build a constantly expanding world of sounds, using a wide range of percussion instruments and found items to cycle through contrasting sonic palettes.

South Philly

Mekhi Gladden

Oboe, English horn, Voice, Bb Clarinet

Mekhi is interested in the through line between care and expression. They exist in the explorative spaces of classical music, free improvisation, medicine, African American social philosophy, and gender euphoria. They long for self actualization through community with the hopes of being able to support and care through medicine and expressive arts. Mekhi likes board games, video games, theater, film, and any tasty food that doesn’t hurt their stomach. They plan to make Philadelphia their long term home.

Center City

Melinda Rice

Violin, Viola, Voice

Melinda loves circles, metaphorical and literal. Their recent collaborative projects include a performance combining looped string music, spoken word and cemetery history (re:claim with Heather Bowlan at Laurel Hill Cemetery), a song cycle around a personal history of water for piano, violin, and voice (Water Cycle with Teri Card Heller), and a solo acoustic violin series with a live siren from a local nuclear generating station (siren songs, and right beneath the moon on Strange Woman Records). Melinda is interested in creating space for genuine reaction in performance, both in her own works and when working with other composers/musicians. She enjoys digging into new chamber works, plays with a wedding band, and directs the string ensemble at Ursinus College.

North West

Pete Dennis

Contrabass, Ney, Electric Bass

Pete Dennis (they/he) is a musician, improviser, composer, visual artist, and teacher. Living in West Philadelphia, Dennis is inspired by their beautiful community and the future. Other ever present inspirations include William Parker, the works of Octavia E. Butler, their partner Abigail, and the knowledge that all vibrations carry to potential to transmit the truths of life and death. Dennis’s recorded creations are released using the project name Search for the Infinite Light and include but are not limited to Killing a Dixie Hummingbird (2019), World’s End Welcoming Committee (2021), and pastē (2022). Their most current projects and collaborations include 99 Futures, Oarsman, Mitamu, St. John’s Wort, and an ongoing poetry/bass duet performance with Abigail Swoboda. They believe that sound is the foundation of healing and would like to acknowledge all master improvisers of the past, present, and future.

West Philly

Ryoko Ohara

Keyboard, Alto Saxophone, Percussion

Ryoko is a board certified music therapist who believes “music is a language itself” and enjoys creating music with people and nature. We can have a conversation together via music, even if it’s among human who speaks different languages, with animals and nature.
I would like to have a conversation with you via: piano/keyboard, alto sax, clarinet, flute, recorders, melodica, didgeridoo, drums, hand drums and percussive instruments, singing bowls, voices/vocals and etc.

West Philly

Sonali Singh

Bassoon, Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Voice

From busking on Broad street to drumming in a darkened cemetery, Sonali lets themselves be swept into the madness and passion of Philadelphia's creative and improvisation scene. They ache to soothe hurt souls, much like theirs, on this shared journey. Through foundations of music therapy and the power of improvisation, Sonali hopes to foster a sense of community, nurturing and .. aaand.. aaand wow, I'm sure you get it. Make music with me. Make joy with me. Make space for grief, anger, loss, and pain with me. Or let's scream for no reason!

West Philly

Sylvia Winch


I became interested in aleatoric music because of its entanglement with the present. It is our unfolding experience directly translated into sound. Collective improvisation is a sharpening of this practice. The act of listening to and connecting with your collaborators with complete freedom generates a feeling of presence like no other, and to me, feeling present is feeling alive.

Philly Suburbs

Tom Kraines


I'm a cellist and occasional composer, very interested in improvisation as a way of getting past controllable elements in music, and finding new sounds in the space between people who come from different backgrounds and traditions. I make my living playing composed music, mostly with the Daedalus Quartet, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Network for New Music, and teaching at Settlement Music School and the University of Pennsylvania, but I'm always looking for opportunities for small-group improvisation.

South Philly

Will Fredendall


Will Fredendall is a flutist, improviser, and composer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Drawing from contemporary extended techniques as well as influences in many styles of improvisation, Will has developed a unique sound that reaches the highest levels of intensity while searching for a singular expression of beauty. Approaching magical realism, he weaves a vivid story that transports listeners to a world outside our own.

North Philly

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