US-born avant-garde jazz and contemporary music singer Lauren Newton has lived in Europe since 1974. She co-founded Vienna Art Orchestra, with which she performed till 1989. With Bobby McFerrin, Jeanne Lee, Urszula Dudziak, and Jay Clayton she founded Vocal Summit in 1982. Her debut album Timbre (1983) won her the prestigious German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik). In 1998 she took part in the international conference ‘Frau Musica (nova)’ at Cologne’s Musikhochschule.
French bassist, improviser and composer Joëlle Léandre is one of European new music’s leading figures. Classically educated, she has performed with such contemporary music ensembles as l’Itinéraire, 2e2m, and Pierre Boulez’s Ensemble Intercontemporain. She collaborated with Merce Cunningham and John Cage; the latter wrote music specially for her, as also did Giacinto Scelsi, Philippe Hersant, José-Luis Campana, Betsy Jolas, and about 40 other composers. She taught at the famous Mills College, Oakland, CA, and has been invited to perform in the most prestigious venues of Europe, Asia, and both Americas.
Pianist and composer Myra Melford, a Guggenheim scholarship holder, derives inspiration from a broad spectrum of cultural and spiritual traditions of Native American, Cuban, Near Eastern, African music, European and American jazz, as well as experimental contemporary music. However, she has not forgotten her roots in Chicago and the blues tradition. She engages in a dialogue of many cultures and in multimedia collaborations with actors, choreographers, and video artists. Since her debut in New York’s Downtown she has released more than 20 original albums and collaborated on 40 others, winning numerous accolades. She has lectured on contemporary and improvised music at the University of California in Berkeley since 2004.