Meetings take the form of discussions around topics introduced by participants and guests. These are open to the general public. Please contact us if you would like to join the meetings or propose a topic or paper.


No upcoming meetings at the moment. Please get in touch in case you would like to propose a topic for a meeting.


15 September 2016
Exploratorium Berlin – Labor-Theory on Stage:
Ritwik Banerji – Live Fieldwork – A Collective, Impromptu Examination of the Ethics of Aesthetics in Free Improvisation
Die Improvisierenden werden aufgefordert, gemeinsam mit einem virtuellen Improvisator namens Maxine zu spielen und das System kritisch zu kommentieren. Die Veranstaltung mündet in eine gemeinsame Diskussion mit dem Publikum über die Natur der Interaktion, die stattgefunden hat.
Bitte Instrumente mitbringen. Sprache: Deutsch/Englisch
Moderation: Reinhard Gagel

29 February 2016
Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, University of Huddersfield – Mixing the Immiscible: practice (as) research, improvisation and (in) the studio, electro-acoustic, chamber(club)music

7 December 2015
Dr. Graeme Wilson, University of Edinburgh, Reid School of Music

9 November 2015, 6.30 pm
Exploratorium Berlin – Labor-Theory on Stage: Dr. Nina Polaschegg – Stilkunde der freien Improvisation – ausgewählte Stile in Theorie und Praxis
Verkehrte Welt oder das Experiment, „Stile“ der sogenannten freien Improvisation nachzuspielen. Allerdings geht es in diesem Falle darum, Instrument oder Stimme als Reflexionswerkzeug zu verwenden. Hören – Spielen – Diskutieren ist der Dreischritt des heutigen Labors, um den historischen Kontext einerseits und die Musik selbst genauer verstehen zu lernen.
Moderation: Reinhard Gagel

12 October 2015
Christopher Williams – Christopher Williams plays and gives a guided tour of A Treatise Remix
Complete File:
A Treatise Remix is a musical essay by on Cornelius Cardew’s seminal graphic score Treatise (1963-67). Historical recordings of the piece, an original ensemble realization of the piece, and texts about the piece are layered in a lasagna that is at once an interpretation, a critical commentary, and an experience all its own. With: Christian Kesten (voice, objects, translations), Andrea Neumann (inside piano), Robyn Schulkowsky (voice, percussion), Christopher Williams (voice, contrabass).

22 June 2015
Dr. Paul Stapleton – Translating Improvisation

11 May 2015
Andrew Wass (dance), Dr. Simon Rose (music) – Mutual Composing: Improvisation as human capability in dance and music
Andrew Wass (MA) and Simon Rose (PhD) have a shared research interest in more fully understanding and acknowledging the potential of improvisation – creating at the point of performance. Together they explore the relation between professional practices in dance and music by means of non-hierarchical performance practice. Real-time composition, or improvisation is also chosen as a research tool that is ‘fit-for-purpose,’ with the capability to embrace practices, offer adaptability, mutability and privilege not-pre-determined events as they occur and develop. In this way research is led by practice (Smith and Dean, 2009) that seeks emergence. In studio sessions and public performances the precept of phenomenology, to ‘return to the thing itself’ (Husserl, 2001) informs the research perspective that allows for the not-pre-determined rather than the pre-planned. Performances have included: Formations (Berlin, 2013); Formations Extended (Berlin, 2014); Libet’s Lag (Berlin, 2014); Lateralized Readiness Project (Berlin, 2014); The Fourth Wall (Berlin, 2015). The relation of discussion and theorising to praxis is informed by the knowledge that our research interest and outcomes are only made available through the ‘first order knowledge’ (Merleau-Ponty, 1962) found in the experience of dance and sound. Research and performance has been guided by the notion of ‘body first,’ of how the ‘body is faster that the mind’ (Oliveros in Rose, 2012). The process has given rise to shared language: embodied metaphors (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980) have led to deepening understanding of the processes – for example, spatial metaphors used to describe music and the corresponding references to ‘space’. The research approach has utilised the ‘middle ground’ offered by video/audio recording of performance in regular meetings and performances since September 2013.The iterative cycle of practice, discussion, and documentation privileges the uncertainty that is required to genuinely create in real-time and does not seek to ‘fix’ the working process beyond the point of any performance. In this way Wass and Rose avoid the pre-determined and derive creativity from the infinite possibilities offered by combining their shared practices.

20 April 2015
Mattin – Noise as a Device

9 March 2015
Olaf Hochherz – About the problems to describe musical instruments

9 February 2015
Ute Wassermann – The Voice  as a Sound Instrument: The Improvising Performer in the Context of Different Environments

19 January 2015
Lucie Vítková – Learning to Improvise with Music of Christian Wolff

8 December 2014
Christopher Williams – Seeing the full Sounding. Christopher Williams explores two pieces by Malcolm Goldstein

10 November 2014
Ritwik Banerji – Astromusicology – its several meanings and their explanatory potential for both the practice and understanding of improvisation

27 October 2014
Open meeting with unforeseen topics

15 + 29 September 2014
Lara Frisch – BIRG in dialogue

23 June 2014
Héctor Rey – Towards the non-idiomatic

12 May 2014
Open meeting with unforeseen topics

10 March 2014
Daniel Matej – Open Scores – A Space between Composition and Improvisation

10 February 2014
Christopher Williams – Bob Ostertag’s “Say No More” project
American experimental composer Bob Ostertag’s “Say No More” project is a four-part work for improvising musicians composed in the early 1990’s. It evolved chronologically from 1. A studio-assembled collage of fragments taken from solo improvisations by drummer Joey Baron, bassist Mark Dresser, and vocalist Phil Minton. 2. A live trio performance of a transcription of (1), accompanied by the composer playing samples of same. 3. A studio-assembled collage of fragments from (2). 4. A live trio performance of a transcription of (3), accompanied by the composer playing samples of same. This human/ virtual cycle aimed, in Ostertag’s words, “to highlight the tense and problematic relation of human and machine. In effect, the players were put in front of a machine-made mirror of themselves. It was not a perfect mirror, but more like the digital equivalent of a funhouse mirror that was curved, with wacky lenses that distorted the image into something superhuman. In the performances the musicians tried to keep up with their digital reflection, a task at which they could only fail.” Ostertag’s description could apply equally well to the entire “discipline” of artistic research. By using documentation as a site of intervention and placing practice and discourse in a feedback loop, do artistic researchers not also enter a funhouse, where keeping up with reflections is inevitably doomed to failure?

13 January 2014
Reinhard Gagel – Conference ‘Researching Improvisation’ in May 2014 in Exploratorium Berlin

9 December 2013
Maxi Sickert – Jazz, Improvised Music and Art

11 November 2013
Daniel Puig – Complexity, Metapatterns and Improvisation as Compositional Tool

16 October 2013
Dr. Rogério Costa, Dr. Fernando Iazzetta and Lílian Campesato

6 August 2013
Lara Frisch – Improv as creative collaborations
A brief exploration of the notion of conflict within creative collaborations; what it means nowadays, how it emerges within the verbal communication, how it is dealt with and what this all means in the context of improvisation.

19 June 2013
Dr. Dana Reason – Battle of Agency in the AACM and Hip Hop

22 May 2013
BIRG presents an informal introduction to improvisation research at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry’s  Apérici event.

16 May 2013
David Linnros
I intend to share some introspective observations on improvisation and the time of musical creation. This subjective input serves to point towards a new set of questions concerning methods of (musical) creation, based on the philosophy of Henri Bergson. Instead of the usual questions of ‘freedom, choice, interaction’ that come up when discussing improvisation, concepts of experience, duration, the new, perception and memory take the center stage. For example I’d like to discuss the relation between improvisation’s purity of intention and the impurity of it’s concrete form. I will give some examples of possible starting points for a Bergsonian philosophy of improvisation, although I have yet to undertake such a project.

23 April 2013
Dr. Alan Bern – Introduction to the “Winter Edition” project in Weimar.

19 March 2013
Christopher Williams – Semiosic Flow in Arcanum 17
Drawing on Floyd Merrell’s description of semiosic flow, this presentation will explore dynamic semiotic relationships in my piece Arcanum 17 for contrabass, microtonal tuba, conch, field recordings, and voices based on André Breton’s book of the same name.

20 February 2013
Mathias Maschat – Improvisation and the Question of the Work
The importance of the performative input within improvisation doesn’t seem to leave space for an understanding of improvised music as works. But isn’t this an inadequate assumption grounded in a specific notion of the work only relevant within a short period of aesthetical thinking?

8 January 2013
Dr. Simon Rose – Improvisation, music and learning: an interpretive phenomenological analysis.
An introduction to my PhD dissertation will focus on Chapter 7: ‘Process’, making reference to the following topics: human interaction, self-determination, trust, risk, and political assertion.