Originally from New Zealand, David Watson lives and works in New York City. An internationally respected guitarist and improviser, Watson’s more recent work uses the highland bagpipes. His work on the pipes subverts any conventional expectation, drawing on traditional sources, electronica and experimental improv “to blow the bagpipes into the 21st century.”
In New Zealand, Watson was instrumental in developing a scene for experimental and improvised music, co-founding the recording collective Braille with the Primitive Art Group in 1982 and releasing nine recordings, including the solo album Reference.
Arriving in New York in 1987, Watson established himself in the Downtown scene as a dynamic performer and innovative composer. Regularly working across several genres he has performed and recorded with Elliot Sharp, Jon Rose, Otomo Yoshihide, Tony Buck, Cyro Baptista, Chris Mann, Shelly Hirsch, John Zorn, Thurston Moore, DJ Olive, Eugene Chadbourne, Christan Marclay, Mark Stewart, Ikue Mori and Kato Hideki among others as well as with his own ensembles Endgame (with Jim Pugliese / Christine Bard/ Michael Attias) and Glacial (with Lee Renaldo / Gunter Muller).
In addition to having appeared at virtually every venue for experimental music in New York including Roulette, The Knitting Factory, The Kitchen, PS1, PS122, The Stone, Tonic, Merkin Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Watson has performed at many international festivals including the Taclos Festival, Switzerland, LMC Festival, London, Exiles Festival, Berlin, MIMI Festival, France and Het Apollohuis in Holland. He returns to New Zealand frequently to perform as well as program the international experimental festival Alt.Music which he founded with Artspace in Auckland.
Watson’s collaborations with visual artists, dancers and choreographers have been presented as venues such as the Guggenheim Museum (Mathew Barney), the Whitney Museum (Abigale Child), Danspace/St. Marks and Musique Objective Dance, France (Yves Musard) and St. Mark’s Theater and the American Dance Festival in Toyko (Jeremy Nelson).
He is the recipient of commissions and awards from Bang on a Can, Meet the Composer, Harvestworks, the Mary Cary Flager Trust, Mishkahoff Trust, Arts International USA, VPRO Radio, Holland, VPKR radio, Norway and Kunstradio, Koln among others.
Watson has contributed to the recorded work of many internationally recognized improvisers including appearances on John Zorn’s Cobra (Tzadik), Ikue Mori’s Hex Kitchen (Tzadik) and B-Side (Tzadik), The Dave Soldier /Komar And Melamid Project The World’s Most Unwanted Music and Chris Mann’s The Use (Lovely Music) which he also produced.
Recent solo recordings include Skirl (Avant) and Wane (Dr. Jim’s). Among Watson’s upcoming releases is Fingering an Idea, a double CD set of guitar and bagpipe improvisations on Phil Niblock’s XI label and Throat, on Ecstatic Peace.
Jessica Catron is a Los Angeles-based cellist devoted to the performance of new music, composition, experimental sound, and improvisation. She completed her MFA in Contemporary Cello Performance from the California Institute of the Arts, and received her BM in Cello Performance from the University of New Mexico.
Recent performances include the Seattle Improvised Music Festival, La Festival Internacional de Musica Contemporanea (Bogota, Colombia), the Sonic Boom Festival (Vancouver, BC), the University of Auckland Performance Series (Auckland, NZ), Big Sur Experimental Music Festival, the CEAIT Festival at REDCAT (Los Angeles), “Shadow of Stalin” Russian Music Festival in the Walt Disney Hall (LA), Summer Sessions Series at the Getty Center (LA), Microfest (LA), the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre (LA), the sound. series at the Schindler House (LA), Green Umbrella New Music Series at Zipper Hall (LA), the James Tenney Festival (tribute concert at CalArts, Valencia), Cornish College for the Arts (Seattle), Nonsequitur presents (Seattle), Music on Main (Vanvoucer, BC), the Indiana Lotus Festival, California WorldFest, and the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival (New York City).
In addition to live music performance, Jessica works as a session musician in Los Angeles, having recently recorded original cello music for the Paramount Classics film Mean Creek, as well as Sony Pictures Classics films Levity and The Covenant and the Rogue Pictures film The Strangers. Other current projects include Missincinatti, an experimental duo with guitarist Jeremy Drake, the Night Porter with punk-diva Carla Bozulich, eclectic folk-roots quintet Moira Smiley & VOCO, and The Microscore Project, an ongoing chamber-duo with violinist Johnny Chang. Recent recordings include two solo cello releases on the emr record label.