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Jherek Bischoff on his 2011 Artist Trust/Centrum Residency

Jherek Bischoff

Artist Trust Grant & Centrum Residency Recipient

photo: Mayumi Heider

As part of our Grants for Artist Projects, Artist Trust partners with Centrum, a gathering place for artists and creative thinkers, to provide two artist residencies. Artists are allowed time, space and facilities to rest, contemplate and create; all while nestled in the magical setting of Centrum, located in historic Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, WA. The Artist Trust/Centrum Residency is supported in part by Centrum’s Russell Jaqua Award for Artistic Excellence. Following is a report from Jherek Bischoff, 2011 recipient of the Artist Trust/Centrum Residency.

For one month, I was given the incredible opportunity to be an artist in residence at Centrum through Artist Trust. My goal was to complete the mixing of an orchestral record I composed, featuring collaborations with the luminaries David Byrne and Caetano Veloso, as well as other artists. My time at Centrum was extremely productive. Not only did I have wonderful facilities to live and work in, the residency also inspired a whole new suite of compositions that I was able to experiment with and begin work on.

Beyond finishing the mixing of my record, I was given access to the Cistern, an empty, two-million gallon underground water tank, whose reverberative qualities cause one to reevaluate sound, structure and improvisation. That experience changed my approach to composition, as I was able to spend my evenings writing new sketches, which were then recorded in the Cistern the very next day. I have since used some of these recordings for several soundtracks, including Degenerate Art Ensembles’s Red Shoes, that premiered in Seattle through the Frye Art Museum, and Part & Parcel’s By Gift or By God, that premiered at On The Boards in June 2011. These sketches were also recently elaborated upon to create the Ambient Chamber Orchestra: an orchestra I assembled for a performance whose goal was to recreate the sound of the Cistern using the orchestra and surround sound (with a lot of reverb!) in a new environment. This performance took place at The Chapel Performance Space in Seattle. There is some fantastic video documentation of this concert at vimeo.com/jherekbischoff.

Beyond all of the hard work I put in while at Centrum, I also had time to take long walks, read and… relax, something which can be very hard to achieve in the city. The residency has had an immeasurable impact on my work.

In the past I was lucky to have the opportunity to participate in two other Centrum residencies as part of The Degenerate Art Ensemble. Those residencies were equally productive and valuable. Centrum gave us the chance to fully focus as a large group with no distractions. That work would not have come together as well as it did without the time we spent at Centrum.

Centrum is an absolutely amazing program and organization. They have been fully supportive and gave me all of the freedom that any artist could ever ask for. I would like to thank Centrum and Artist Trust once again for an incredible opportunity.