Amy Cimini, Bill Dietz, Marianne Schroeder & Joana Gama, Thomas Ankersmit, Lisa Rovner

Library, Auditorium and Online
08 - 10 JAN 2021
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Additional Tones: A Tribute to Maryanne Amacher is an homage and an opportunity for sharing and contributing to a greater understanding and well-deserved visibility of this remarkable artist and thinker’s life and work. The program includes the screening of the documentary film Sisters With Transistors, a seminar and listening session dedicated to Amachers’s series of works Music for Sound Joined Rooms and Mini Sound Series led by researchers Amy Cimini and Bill Dietz, the online video series of readings and discussions Remote Links celebrating the book edition of Maryanne Amacher: Selected Writings and Interviews in partnership with New York Public Library, the interpretation of the composition for two pianos Petra by the unprecedented duo of pianists composed by an historical name - Marianne Schroeder - and the young Portuguese musician Joana Gama, and the presentation in yet another national premiere: Thomas Ankersmit's Perceptual Geography for Serge Modular synthesizer, a piece inspired by and dedicated to Amacher.


Image: Maryanne Amacher at work at the Capp Street Project, San Francisco (1985), Photo by and Courtesy of Peggy Weil



08 JAN


18:00, Seminar and Listening Session

20:00, “REMOTE LINKS” (Introduction) / Book launch of Maryanne Amacher: Selected Writings and Interviews

Please submit your questions, throughout the Remote Links series, to

They will be addressed at the final Panel.




09 JAN 

“SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS” (2020), a documentary film by LISA ROVNER

11:00, Auditorium


10 JAN 


10:30, Auditorium  


11:30, Auditorium





Online video series of readings and discussions of Maryanne Amacher: Selected Writings and Interviews

(Presented by The New York Public Library, The Maryanne Amacher Foundation, Blank Forms and Fundação de Serralves, Porto)




Maryanne Amacher (1938-2009) was an American composer especially known for her large-scale, fixed-duration sound installations and multimedia environments. She studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen and went on to collaborate with Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Her work was pioneering and visionary in several fields of musical and artistic creation such as the exploration of sound spatialization, new media, acoustic ecology, artificial intelligence and psychoacoustics.

Still in the 1960s, Amacher began working with what she called ‘long distance music’, or telematics, which would be consolidated in City Links, a series based on real time, on site mixing of sounds transmitted from several remote places and cities via telephone. In the 1970s, she specialized in working with the Triadex Muse synthesizer developed by Marvin Minsky using artificial intelligence principles. In the series Music for Sound Joined Rooms (1980 -) she used the architectural structure of the site of the installation as the physical medium of the work by resorting to idiosyncratic speaker placements. Her Mini Sound Series (1985 -) explored the potential of sounds as characters, applying the dramatic principles of television series and other popular formats to the relationship between sounds and the ways in which they were perceived and transformed across various ‘episodes’.

Her remarkable work The Sounding of Casa de Serralves: Supreme Connections, presented in 2002, can be framed within the two later series. In this sound, visual and performative installation, Serralves’ emblematic villa was transformed into a place for multidimensional and immersive experiences. The sound spread through the architectural structure, through the rooms, bedrooms, columns and anterooms. Architecture shaped the propagation of sound and the listening experience. The house’s spaces became an integral part of the sound system and the house itself a giant musical instrument. Scenic elements, or videos could be found in different rooms and, from inside the house, strange creatures were seen in the formal gardens around the villa. In addition to reflecting Amacher's research on the materiality of sound and the ways in which it propagates in space, this work also reflected the exploration of the phenomenology of aural perception (in particular the sounds emitted by the ear itself), the physicality of listening and the staging of the experience as essential elements in the perception processes.

International recognition of the importance and singularity of Amacher's work has recently translated into the acquisition of the artist's archives by the New York Public Library of Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the constitution of The Maryanne Amacher Foundation and events dedicated to her work organized by such institutions as Tate Modern and ICA in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the São Paulo Biennial.


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Amy Cimini & Bill Dietz: Seminar and Listening Session
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Marianne Schroeder & Joana Gama play “Petra” by Maryanne Amacher
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Perceptual Geography is a solo live project by Thomas Ankersmit for Serge Modular synthesizer, inspired by the pioneering research of - and dedicated to - Maryanne Amacher, who he first met in 2000 at Bard College. In these performances, Ankersmit explores different “modes” of listening: not just what and when sounds are heard, but also how and where sounds are experienced (in the room, in the body, inside the head, far away, nearby). So-called otoacoustic emissions (sounds emanating from inside the head, generated by the ears themselves) play an important role. Amacher was the first artist to systematically explore the musical use of these phenomena.

The title was borrowed from a well-known article published by Amacher in 1979 where she writes about “multiple perceptual viewpoints as response to auditory events”. The project premiered at CTM in Berlin and at a GRM night within Sonic Acts in Amsterdam.


Thomas Ankersmit is a musician based in Berlin. He plays the Serge Modular synthesizer, both live and in the studio, and collaborates with artists like Phill Niblock and Valerio Tricoli. His music is released on the Shelter Press, PAN, and Touch labels. Acoustic phenomena such as infrasound and otoacoustic emissions play an important role in his work, as does a deliberate, creative misuse of the equipment. HHe has performed at leading art institutions such as Hamburger Bahnhof and KW, in Berlin, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Kunsthalle, Basel, MoMA PS1 in New York and at experimental and contemporary music festivals around the world.

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