Twisted Lightning: Festival Explores Frontier of Creative Electric Guitar Music

The Extensible Electric Guitar Festival will debut at Clark University April 4 and 5. The festival aims to showcase the electric guitar’s spirit of exploration, presenting music and musicians that use the electric guitar in innovative ways which extend its capabilities.

Following is the festival schedule.

Friday, April 4
7:30 p.m. Concert I (Razzo Recital Hall)

Saturday, April 5
10 a.m. Open Listening Session (Traina Center)
2 p.m. Symposium: The New Extended Guitar (Traina Center)
7:30p.m. Concert II (Razzo Recital Hall)

All events will take place in the Traina Center for the Arts, 92 Downing St. The full program schedule is available on the web at: <>

Since its development in the mid-20th century, the electric guitar has had a profound influence on many aspects of music, creating new sounds, spurring the development of new musical styles, and reshaping concepts of musicianship. In the early 21st century, despite retaining its iconic status as a symbol of innovation and transgression, the electric guitar and its uses can seem commonplace. In order to expand the sound world of the electric guitar, over a dozen performers from North America and Europe will converge at Clark to improvise, interact, and perform new pieces by fifteen composers.

Festival co-directors are Matthew Malsky, Clark University associate professor of music, and David Claman, adjunct professor at Lehman College CUNY. Malsky and Claman also founded and directed the inventive and highly acclaimed Extensible Toy Piano Project in 2005.

Featured compositions, performers and ensembles for the Extensible Electric Guitar Festival:

• The Dither Electric Guitar Quartet: A quartet that explores the sonic possibilities of electric guitars manipulated through a galaxy of stomp-boxes, cables, amps and more. They will present music by guitar innovator Fred Frith.

• GrayCode: An experimental jazz trio that extends their instruments through custom sensor systems that track performance gestures to control real-time sound synthesis and audio processing.

• Virtuosi Seth Josel (Berlin) & Michael Nicolella (Seattle) performing compositions by John Fitz Rogers (USA), Ulrich Krieger (Berlin), Richard Barrett (Wales), and a world premiere from Karlheinz Essl (Austria).

• Prepared guitar from Sundar Subramanian

• Multimedia works from Brian Knoth and Thomas Ciufo.

• Innovative new works from Claman, Malsky, Chapman Welch, Jeff Morris and others.

This Extensible Electric Guitar Festival is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Clark University Visual & Performing Arts Department, 508-793-7356.

Clark University is a private, co-educational liberal-arts research university with 2,200 undergraduate and 800 graduate students. Since its founding in 1887 as the first all-graduate school in the United States, Clark has challenged convention with innovative programs such as the International Studies Stream, the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the accelerated BA/MA programs with the fifth year tuition-free for eligible students. The University is featured in Loren Pope’s book, “Colleges That Change Lives.”