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Laura Carmichael is a clarinetist


biography

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Laura Carmichael is a clarinetist


biography

laura carmichael is a clarinetist...

As a rebellious classical musician, Laura has spent a lifetime contending with the paradox of loving the classics while being irresistibly pulled to challenge the status quo. Grounded in the tradition, she has played with orchestras like the San Francisco Symphony. However it was her love for improvisation, collaboration and creating new work that led her to perform with major contemporary music ensembles in Europe, including MusikFabrik, Ensemble MAE, and her own projects like Duo X. Creative collaboration with artists and composers from Julio Estrada and Toshio Hosokawa to Michael Gordon and Cindy Cox, has driven more than two decades of innovative performance practices and re-evaluation of audience interactions. Along the way she became an expert in how to strategically bear the discomfort of ambiguity in order to invoke originality. 

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grounded in research...

Besides being an active performer on clarinet and bass clarinet, Laura has lectured in music, creativity and collaboration at numerous universities including Harvard, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, Davis and San Diego, Rice University, University of Chicago, BYU, Istanbul Bilgi University, SUNY Buffalo, and most recently at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. 

Research area include: 

  • Using the body and gesture to create non-habitual raw material in music (an original process developed as a guest fellow at Southampton University, UK).
  • Sensors, wireless controllers and new technologies in residencies at STEIM in Amsterdam and CNMAT at UC Berkeley
  • Theatrical music for instrumentalists
  •  Integration of voice and instrumental performance practice
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...with a love of storytelling...

What is storytelling in relation to music? What stories? Who's stories? What values, perceptions, questions, longings? Text and music have a long history, but there are a lot of voices and stories from history that I've missed hearing. Those are the stories I want to hear and tell now; not just the narrative, but the voice itself. The connection of voice to gesture and the body is a fascination for me. 

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and movement

Ever since I was small I wanted to move. I danced, climbed trees, did stunts, and felt a lot of physical freedom. I didn't need science to validate that the body and mind are connected. I knew that-- always.

Translating the feeling of a gesture into sound was very organic for me. Looking back, I realize this is a thread through my work. It grew out of my fascination for movement, for nature, for a thankfulness to be alive, to be walking, to be. I had a major car accident as a teenager, and my spine was broken. I don't take physical freedom, physical liberation, breathing, for granted.

Since 1990 I've immersed myself in body-mind training systems, not only to support my professional performance work, but also in large part to help recover from this accident. Since that time I've practiced Alexander Technique, martial arts, meditation and peak performance techniques, along side doing personal development work.

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for the record... a few career highlights

  • Played Berio in the Berlin Philharmonie with MusikFabrik
  • Played Mahler 9 with San Francisco Symphony, MTT conducting
  • Played in Stockhausen's Sonntag aus Light in Köln Opera, wearing a wannabe space suit
  • Improvised with too many amazing musicians to name; played many times in the BIMHuis with amazing friends and colleagues.
  • Named a Selmer Artist in 2011
  • Premiered Julio Estrada's yuunohui´ehecatl in Bremen, Germany for Projektgruppe Neue Musik
  • Nursed my baby backstage while on a small tour with a band of bass clarinetists
  • Presented my method for using physical gesture to generate raw sound material at the 2011 SABRe conference in Zurich
  • From 2008-2010 was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton, UK, researching ways to integrate text/movement/theater/multi-media into instrumental performance. Was up for an AHRC grant. Didn't get it.
  • Almost got at job at SUNY Buffalo and again at UCSD -- but didn't.
  • Played Robert Ashley's music with him & Ensemble MAE in Berlin Festspele at MaerzMusik
  • Created several staged concerts with Naomi Sato as Duo X, using wireless controllers, video and electronics.
  • Played in an energy museum at the ReBodying Festival in Istanbul.
  • Played twice at Tokyo Wonder Site with Duo X. They gave us a prize.
  • Performed solo recital at Merkin Hall, New York in 2000.
  • Performed at many venues that no longer exist: Ijsbreker, Bethanienklooster, Kikker
  • Did a residency at Atlantic Center for the Arts, was meant to be with Steve Lacy, but he died. Elizabeth Streb changed my life.
  • Played at the gorgeous Mondavi Center and had a residency at UC Davis, CA
  • Played Xenakis at high altitude
  • Recorded in an anechoic chamber with Cindy Cox at UC Berkeley
  • Ran my own ensemble in San Francisco called Alternate Currents in the 1990s, did many crazy projects at ODC, art galleries, etc
  • Studied with many amazing teachers including Harry Sparnaay at Conservatorium van Amsterdam, privately with Rosario Mazzeo, Fred Ormond at University of Michigan, and Richard MacDowell at Interlochen Arts Academy.

integration & dissemination

Over the last fifteen years Laura has brought her creative thinking know-how into the business world as a trainer and facilitator. You can find out about this aspect of her work at www.serious-play.net Currently she is a creativity and innovation facilitator at THNK School for Creative Leadership. Circling back, Laura is now bringing her expertise from innovation and leadership training into the arts sector. For performers and artists she offers a number of in-person workshops on mindset, inner critic and Critical Response Process. She's also created an online leadership course for professional women artists, Step Into the Bigger Space