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Chris Heenan

Chris Heenan

“Heenan simply dazzles: his control over the behemoth contrabass clarinet is impressive. He can squeeze out of it the tiniest overtones and the harshest screams with flexibility…”
– François Couture

Chris Heenan (Washington D.C., 1969) lives in Berlin and is an active composer/ performer and organizer of experimental music. He performs on alto saxophone, contrabass clarinet, and analog synthesizer in contexts ranging from solo to large groups and in various ongoing projects.
He uses these instruments to investigate new musical forms, noise, and improvisation both in his solo work and in collaboration with composers and performers such as actors, musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Heenan has developed a formidable solo voice on his wind instruments, particularly with the contrabass clarinet where he uses extended techniques, often incorporating multiphonics with surprising results, to reveal the subtleties inherent to the instrument.
Heenan’s regular projects include Nordzucker (with Michael Maierhof, Birgit Ulher, and Lars Scherzberg), PIVOT (with Liz Allbee), Trigger (with Matthias Müller and Nils Ostendorf), Team Up (a trio with Jeremy Drake and a third member percussionist), Phantom Limb and Bison (with Chris Forsyth, Jaime Fennelly, and Shawn Hansen), a duo with zitherist Dimitra Chatzigoga.
Heenan has also recently collaborated with a number of Berlin-based musicians: with Alessandro Bosetti on The Conversation, with Burkhard Beins in a recent version of Adapt/Oppose and as a member of The Pitch (extended) (with Boris Baltschun, Koen Nutters, Morten Olsen, Michael Thieke). He is also a member of Berlin’s Splitter Orchester. Some other recent collaborators include Tiziana Bertoncini, George Cremaschi, Axel Dörner, Sven Åke Johansson, Hans Koch, Annette Krebs, Thomas Lehn, Lou Mallozzi, and Olivier Toulemonde.
Heenan performs regularly in the U.S. and Europe, featured on such festivals as Stuttgarter Saxofonfestival; Projektgruppe Neue Musik Festival, Bremen; Improvised and Otherwise, Brooklyn, NY; Experimental Intermedia, New York; Klub Katarak, Hamburg; Sonic Acts XIV, Amsterdam; Blurred Edges, Hamburg; and at venues such as Artist Space, New York; Radial System, Berlin; Sendesaal Radio Bremen; The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL; and The
Santa Monica Museum of Art.
Heenan has also been active as a curator of musical events and concerts. In 2004 he founded the record label Reify, in addition to co-founding line space line (2002–2005), a new and improvised music series in Los Angeles that produced over 120 concerts and two yearly festivals. In 2007 he was invited to curate a concert at The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles: An Evening of Works by Ichiyanagi, Kosugi, Ono and Shiomi as part of the exhibition (Rajikaru!): Experimentations in Japanese Art, 1950–1975. Since 2009 he has, with Christopher Williams, co-curated the monthly music and sound salon Certain Sundays: A Salon at Sowieso in Berlin, inviting internationally renowned musicians and sound artists to present and discuss their work in an intimate setting.
Heenan is the recipient of grants from American Composers Forum, Arts International, The Durfee Foundation, Kulturamt Neukölln, Initiative Neue Musik Berlin e. V., Deutscher Musikrat, and Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin. He received his MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2004 and was a fellow-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart (2004–2006).

bend/break 2010

25 Nov 2010 - 21:00
Chris Heenan

bend/break 2010

Program on Thursday, 25.11.10

Nicholas Bussmann & Werner Dafeldecker
Sean Baxter & Steve Heather

Splitter Orchester @ Radialsystem V

27 Nov 2010 - 21:00
Radialsystem V
Splitter Orchester, Photo by Tania Kelley

Splitter Orchester at Radialsystem V

Split Seconds

a night of new composition, improvisation and the instant of invention

enjoy the full 24 piece orchestra

Niños Consentidos Barcelona/Berlin

30 Apr 2011 - 21:00
Niños Consentidos Barcelona/Berlin

Niños Consentidos (verwöhnte Kinder) has been held continuously in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 2006, and in Barcelona since June 2010. From the very beginning the festival was intended as an open space for artists of any discipline with

"For a big ensemble divided into small portions"

1 Jun 2011 - 21:00

"An evening for a big ensemble divided into small portions"

Brendon Dougherty, drums
Christoph Irmer, viol
Chris Heenan, alto sax, contrabass clarinet
Olaf Hochherz, electronics
Andy Graydon, electronics

Diatribes/Mayas+Lettow/Erel/Heenan+Andrea Parkins

25 Nov 2011 - 22:00
25 Nov 2011 - 23:59
Andrea Parkins

Diatribes: Cyril Bondi - drums, d'incise - laptop, objects + Magda Mayas - (prepared) piano, el. piano

Andrea Parkins - electric accordion, objects, electronics

Gunnar Lettow - el. bass, objects, Korhan Erel - live electronics, Chris Heenan - saxofone, doublebass clarinet

umlaut im ausland

27 Jan 2012 - 21:30

Special Umlaut Night:
Compositions by: Florian Bergmann, Pierre Borel, Hannes Lingens
Played by: Florian Bergmann, Pierre Borel, Johnny Chang, Alba Gentili-Tedeschi, Chris Heenan, Hui-Chun Lin, Derek Shirley, Grégoire Simon

Voutchkova/ Maras + Johansson/ Heenan/ Honsinger

13 Feb 2014 - 20:30

Biliana Voutchkova - violin/composition
Svetlana Maraš - sound art/composition

Sven-Åke Johansson - drums, percussion
Tristan Honsinger - cello
Chris Heenan - contrabass clarinet, alto saxophone

Trigger Plus Vol. 1 with Thomas Lehn

10 May 2014 - 20:30
10 May 2014 - 23:59

Trigger Plus Vol. 1

1: Trigger
2: Thomas Lehn solo
3: Trigger + Thomas Lehn

Im Rahmen der Reihe Trigger Plus
Der erste Gast ist der deutsche Soundtüftler Thomas Lehn, der mit seinem Instrument, dem analogen Synthesizer direkt in die unterschiedlichsten Klangebenen Triggers eingreifen wird, und ein wild kaskadierendes elektroakustisches Klangkonstrukt entstehen lassen wird.

Nils Ostendorf: Trompete
Matthias Müller: Posaune
Chris Heenan : Kontrabassklarinette

Pedesis + Ouroboros

25 Sep 2015 - 20:30

Pedesis: Biliana Voutchkova – violin, Tom Arthurs – trumpet, Markus Pesonen – guitar

Ouroboros: Chris Heenan – contrabass clarinet, Adam Pultz Melbye – feedback system, Michael Vorfeld – percussion and self-designed string instruments

Flamingo + Gordoa/Krebs

15 Oct 2022 - 20:30

Krebs – Gordoa: Annette Krebs – Konstruktion#4; Emilio Gordoa – vibraphone, electronics

Flamingo: Chris Heenan – contrabass clarinet; Adam Pultz Melbye – contrabass; Christian Windfeld – snare drum and objects