American Festival Of Microtonal Music 2015 report

Article by Michael Vick / Johnny Reinhard / Chris Vaisvil

The American Festival of Microtonal Music was inaugurated in 1981 and is under the direction of founder Johnny Reinhard. This is the first time it has been held in a Southern State. Aaron Bachelder was co-producer.

Bachelder Reinhard Buton

L-R: Aaron Bachelder, Johnny Reinhard, Jacob Barton – Reinhard works to fit in a Barton piece at the last minute as festival co-producer Aaron Bachelder watches on.

MicroFest2015_NC_Night3_Michael Vick

VVV (Michael Vick) on his glass-fingerboard fretless guitar – Digging in on his fretless guitar, Michael Vick’s uncompromising style must be heard live to experience true sonic-freedom…..

The Microtonal Festival

In late September of this year, specifically the 24th-26th, Winston-Salem, North Carolina experienced a microTonal festival with 3 concerts free to the public. The performances were held in various venues around the city including the New Winston Museum, the Green Street Church & the Scales Fine Arts Center in Brendle Hall located on the campus of Wake Forest University.

Hosting 12+ musicians that would stretch musicality in all directions, and pleasantly so.

Harry Partch’s songs were sprinkled throughout the series, with improvisation in 8th octave overtone tuning (128 tones to the octave) featured each night with steady rehearsals in a rustic barn located in Winston-Salem, often times in the rain using the just & natural sounds to launch the music.

Many different instruments were used including Jacob Barton’s unique “Udderbot”,  Fretless Guitar, Glissentar, 128-Linnstrument, Bassoon, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Double Bass, iPad, Percussion and Vox Humana.

Chris Vaisvil (right) Nora Streed (left)

Designed by Roger Linn the “Linnstrument” is a 3D touch sensitive music controller.  this was tuned to 128 pitches as found in the 8th octave of the overtone series (128 notes to the octave) Chris Vaisvil (right) demonstrated this prior to the performance, Nora Streed (left).

Great music and friendship was shared to a micro-community willing to mobilize with homes and meals and emergencies for the various artists coming in from around the country.

Maybe this is the way it is supposed to be done?

Powerful music from the masters: Partch, Haas, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Cage. Dynamic playing & new works by Bachelder, Reinhard, Vaisvil, Vick, Barton, Carr, LaPlante, with superb playing throughout by Solberg, Kendrick, Goldstein, Brunel, Jackson & Gardea. This inaugural MicroFest in the Southern US truly showed that microtones are loved all over & long live the microtonal-south, we hear you all….. Michael Vick / Johnny Reinhard / Chris Vaisvil


More pictures

Microfest 2015 Rein Ann

Reinhard & Solberg performing Partch – AFMM Director Johnny Reinhard performed on bassoon with violinist Anna Solberg from night 2.

Microfest 2015

Barton & his Udderbot – Jacob Barton performing on an instrument of his own design called the Udderbot from night 1 of MicroFest South.

Michael Vick

Michael Vick on acoustic fretless guitar – VVV (Vick) goes acoustic & fretless for his last piece in which he enters the crowd to bring microtones directly to everyone in attendance.

Prepared Piano

The piano gets the Cage-treatment – Grand Piano modified on the inside for the John Cage piece Daughters Of The Lonesome Isle from night 3.

128 ensemble

128 pitches fly in a dynamic final piece – Reinhard conducts his 128 pitch 8th octave overtone tuning ensemble from night 3. Left to right: Chris Vaisvil, Aaron Bachelder, Richard Carr, Todd Brunel, Michael Vick, Johnny Reinhard.

128 ensemble bow

microTonal-bow in 128 – A truly microTonal-bow from Reinhard’s 128 pitch 8th octave overtone tuning ensemble to end the festival. 



American Festival of Microtonal Music:

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