this moment 10 years ago i got into bed with matthew for the last time. the next morning he got up, left for work and was killed on the way.

and that’s it.

i have been devastated. i have been caught in the basement of memories lost and screaming for help in a dark and alone hollow. i have been terrorized, terrible out of my mind out of my body and insane. and i have been loved. i have been loved and supported and felt joy the most high joy of knowing where the bottom is understanding its profundity and realizing how more delicious elation can be with that view. i have been cracked open guts spilling over the edges, heart irreparably cracked- light seeping out and filled back in with gold and now you can see my beautiful and strong scars across every expression every gratitude every interaction. i have survived i have lived i have thrived.

i am grateful.

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SperryFest 2011 is almost upon us, with three excellent venues this year! Save the date for:

Wed July 13 8pm
Francois Houle solo
In The Mood For Food Dinner Concert
Reservation only: td@pixar.com

Thu July 14 8pm
Orchesperry plays Cardew’s Treatise + TrioShift
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St, San Francisco

Fri July 15 8pm
Francois Houle solo and duo with Gino Robair
Temescal Arts Center
511 48th St, Oakland


The 9th annual Matthew Sperry Festival kicks off on Wednesday, July 13 with a dinner/concert by Canadian clarinetist Francois Houle.

We will serve a vegan/vegetarian dinner (an International Noodle Buffet) at 7:00 PM, followed by a solo performance by internationally renowned Canadian clarinetist Francois Houle. (Note the early start time! Dinner will be a buffet on the deck, so we need to start well before sunset.)

RSVP to td@pixar.com. Seating is limited, and we need to know how many to cook for!

Dinner concerts catered by Philip Gelb (of In the Mood for Food) are a traditional part of the Matthew Sperry Festival. This year, owing to a bicycle accident featuring a couple of cracked ribs, Phil is on the Disabled List. Substituting is Susan Dickey, renowned family chef and impromptu caterer. Her International Noodle Buffets, featuring Mediterranean, American and Asian noodle dishes are known from here to New Jersey. Susan notes that she is not available to cater your benefit concert or art gallery opening.

As usual at Tom’s Place, this is a free event, though we will be collecting donations for the performer.

The Matthew Sperry Festival continues at the Luggage Store Gallery, July 13 (Orchesperry does a Trioshift and performs Cardew’s Treatise, all 193 pages in an hour!) and at the Temescal Arts Center, July 14 (Francois Houle, solo and duets with Gino Robair).

About Francois Houle

Part of Vancouver’s terrific jazz community, Houle has an output that covers a nice swath of experimental musics. He’s done some nice free-jazz work for the Songlines label, including a 1999 album called In the Vernacular that I remember fondly. He’s also recorded on Spool with some of the key Vancouver names of the last 10 to 15 years, including Peggy Lee (cello) and Dylan van der Schyf (drums).

Houle brings a fresh energy to new classical music as well, as in Double Entendre, an album of new-music pieces for multiple overdubbed clarinets and fixed media (i.e. tape music). More recently, he recorded ‘Flirt’, a duet with accordianist Jelena Milojevic composed by Doug Schmidt.

About Matthew Sperry (1968 – 2003)

Musician Matthew Sperry was killed by an inattentive driver while riding his bicycle to work on June 5, 2003. Matthew was a father, husband, and bass player, who touched and left lasting impressions on everyone he met. Since then his many friends in the Bay Area music community have organized annual performances in his memory. From the original, spontaneous convening of grieving musicians at 21 Grand in June 2003 the Festival has grown to include national and international artists drawn from Matthew’s vast circle of inspiration and collaboration: from Tom Waits to M.C. Schmidt, Swedish musician and inventor, Johannes Bergmark to local composer and cellist Theresa Wong, who used Matthew’s bicycle as an electro-acoustic instrument.

Tom’s Place 3111 Deakin Street, Berkeley CA DirectionsInformation

Admission: donation. All proceeds go directly to the musicians. Doors and food at 7:00. Nota bene: Early start time, Wednesday, not Tuesday!

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Please join us in a celebration of Matthew Sperry’s life and music with the Bay Area’s creative music community:

June 3 and 5, 2010

Eighth Annual Matthew Sperry Memorial Festival: HomeGrown

Handwritten scores from Matthew’s notebook inspire this annual festival of music and remembrance. The Festival begins in San Francisco with a Tag Team Trio Shift featuring dozens of the Bay Area’s experimental musicians performing no more than three at a time. Closing in the East Bay, the renowned sfSoundGroup presents a composition of Matthew’s in a program of exquisite works in contemporary music making.


Thursday June 3 | 8pm | $6 – $100 sliding scale

Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market Street
San Francisco

co-presented with Outsound Presents

Tag Team Trio Shift with dozens of musicians refereed by John Shiurba


Saturday, June 5 | 8pm | $6 – $100 sliding scale

21 Grand
416 25th Street
Oakland

sfSound
playing the music of
Matthew Sperry,
Anthony Braxton,
Cornelius Cardew,
James Tenney and
sfSoundGroup

Festival Tickets are available at the door.


Donations accepted. All proceeds from these benefit performances support the Matthew Sperry Memorial Fund.

See also: Facebook page for this event.

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sperryfest09
Please join us in a celebration of Matthew Sperry’s life and music with the Bay Area’s creative music community:

June 2, 4 & 5, 2009
Seventh Annual Matthew Sperry Memorial Festival

This year the festival kicks off with Seattle-based Lesli Dalaba performing in a trio with Fred Frith, Jason Hoopes and a duo with special guest Gail Brand (UK) in Oakland’s intimate Studio 1510. Gail closes the festival with a performance with local Sperry collaborators Gino Robair, Morgan Guberman, John Shiurba, Tim Perkis and Tom Djll on the stage of the Maybeck-inspired Hillside Club. The festival tradition of works for large ensemble continues as OrcheSperry ascends the tall stairs of the Luggage Store Gallery to perform new works in homage to Matthew’s musical life and work, and reprise Matthew’s rollicking improv karaoke of Treasure Mouth, which requires a band to follow along to lyrics as fast as they can be written out for them by others.

Tuesday June 2 | 8pm | $6 – $100 sliding scale
Studio 1510
1510 8th Street
Oakland
Lesli Dalaba
trio with Fred Frith, Jason Hoopes and duo with Gail Brand (UK)

Thursday June 4 | 8pm | $6 – $100 sliding scale
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market Street
San Francisco
Co-presented by Full Moon Concerts – Strong Moon

Orchesperry and Treasure Mouth

Friday, June 5 | 8pm | $15
Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street
Berkeley

Gail Brand
solo, duos, trios, quartets, quintets and sextets with

Gino Robair, Morgan Guberman, John Shiurba, Tim Perkis and Tom Djll

Festival Tickets are available at the door.

Donations accepted. All proceeds from these benefit performances support the Matthew Sperry Memorial Fund.

Download high-res or low-res versions of the festival poster art

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Suki O’Kane writes: “Thanks for your creativity, ingenuity and humor behind the realization of Matthew Sperry’s Treasure Mouth composition [which was part of the Sixth Annual Matthew Sperry Memorial Festival]. Stacia commented on how much Matthew would have loved the treatment, and I imagine you, like I, have a couple ideas about where a piece like that can go next. Please share your comments and insights to help shape a December 2008 reprise.

Michael Zelner has kindly posted MP3s of the Treasuremouth set here.

Scot Hacker has posted photos from the Thundermouth performance here.

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Please join us in a celebration of Matthew Sperry’s life and music with the Bay Area’s creative music community:

June 5, 6 & 7, 2008

This year the festival features special guests John Butcher (UK) and Carla Kihlstedt (US) in two evenings of solos, duos, trios and quintets. The festival tradition of commissioning new works for large ensemble continues with a page from Matthew’s composition notebook: Treasure Mouth, which requires a band to follow along to lyrics as fast as they can be written out for them by others — call it improv karaoke. Join in the fun of Treasure Mouth at the festival’s first official Children’s Matinee.

Update: Tom Duff reminds us that his recordings of all 2008 Matthew Sperry Festival events are indexed at http://4-33.com/fest/.

The festival concludes with a Master Class with guest artist John Butcher.

Thursday June 5 | 8pm
Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street
Berkeley
with special guest
John Butcher
solo, duos, trios and quintets with
Gino Robair, John Shiurba, Tim Perkis and Tom Djll

Friday June 6 | 8pm
Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street
Berkeley
with special guest
Carla Kihlstedt
solo and duos with
Marika Hughes and special guests

Saturday June 7 | 1pm | FREE
Museum of Children’s Art
538 Ninth Street
Oakland
Treasure Mouth: a SperryFest Improv Children’s Karaoke Matinee

Saturday June 7 | 2:30pm
Master Class with John Butcher
location provided with paid registration

Festival Tickets available in advance or at the door:
$15 for a single evening show
$25 festPass for two evening show admissions
$35 master class registration fee
$40 for admission to all events
Watch this space for information on advance tickets.

Donations accepted
All proceeds from these benefit performances support the Matthew Sperry Memorial Fund.

2 Comments

The Red Hot Chachkas are an eclectic Bay Area klezmer group who, once upon a time, played at Matthew and Stacia’s wedding. Soon after, Matthew joined the Chachkas as a basisst, and played with the group until his death.

The Chachkas have written a song for Matthew: Suite Matthew.

Julie Eggers wrote this song in memory of a wonderful friend, bassist Matthew Sperry. He played many types of music, including klezmer and avant-garde, and was a Red Hot Chachka for several years. He died in a tragic accident in 2003. We take this tune outside as a nod to Matthew.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Suite Matthew

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ellen fullman sean meehan cd release

Festival special guests Ellen Fullman (CA) and Sean Meehan (NY) announced the release of their new CD, which Ellen has dedicated to Matt. Copies will be available at the Festival for purchase. (Update: Copies of the CD can now be purchased through limitedsedition.com)

Click links for audio samples:

Excerpt 1
Excerpt 2
Excerpt 3

Festival-goers will also be able to buy the latest release of rare recordings of Matt. This year’s recording is of a concert featuring Matt with Lesli Dalaba (trumpet), Fred Frith, and Gino Robair.

You can hear these new releases, plus other SperryMusic by tuning into these radio programs:

Thanks to Other Minds, KFJC and KUSF for their support of the Festival.

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Please join us in a celebration of Matthew Sperry’s life and music
with the Bay Area’s creative music community:

June 9 & 10, 2007

Fifth Annual Matthew Sperry Memorial Festival

This year the festival features special guests drawn from Matthew’s personal circle of all-stars: Sean Meehan (NY) and Ellen Fullman (CA). These musicians who inspired Matthew and his music will perform over two nights, in both experimental gallery and intimate studio settings, in both solo sets and small ensembles, in a musical journey of remembrance and reunion. The festival tradition of commissioning new works for large ensemble continues with The Enormous Quartet, where a creative cloud of Bay Area musicians will perform in spontaneous combinations of four.

Sperrybanner

Saturday June 9 | 8pm
21 Grand

416 25th Street at Broadway
Oakland
with special guest
Sean Meehan
solo and in trios with
Scott Rosenberg/John Shiurba and Bill Hsu/Gino Robair

and
The Enormous Quartet
(with many musicians!)
Admission is $6 – $600 sliding scale at the door

Sunday June 10 | 8pm
Casa Ninja
Address provided upon reservation
Berkeley
with special guest
Ellen Fullman
solo and in duos with
Sean Meehan, Gino Robair and Theresa Wong

Admission is $25 – $50

**************************
Seating is extremely limited at Casa Ninja
Advance reservations are required for Sunday performance; click here to reserve.

Note: If you previously reserved a seat for the Casa Ninja performance, please RE-RESERVE. Due to an email delivery problem, your original reservation submission was lost. We apologize for the inconvenience.

**************************

All proceeds from these benefit performances support the Matthew Sperry Memorial Fund.

2 Comments

it’s amazing to me that so many amazing artists show up for no other reason than to contribute to a sense of community and higher purpose; to pay tribute to not only matthew but to what it means to make art in a communal way. i know matthew would have loved that. this is the most clear and obvious demonstration of the fact that art and music can connect human beings and their communities to the upper partials of existence on this planet, and perhaps beyond. i know that i did my best as one of the organizers of the festival, to foster an atmosphere of appreciation and respect for each player, and to acknowledge the fact that the music of each of the participants expresses some meaning, the elucidation of which lies well beyond my capacity. my reflection on matthew’s life and work and life-force has inspired in me something beyond the obvious need to strive to be a better musician, namely to strive to be a better member of the community. in that sense i feel this year’s festival was a true success. and of course the music was incredible.

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