San Diego’s visionary Fresh Sound concert series of cutting-edge music will kick off the second half of its 20th anniversary season with a Saturday concert by solo bagpipe virtuoso Matt Welch.
His 7:30 p.m. performance at Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan will be followed by an Oct. 27 concert by trombonist and electronic music maverick Michael Dessen and his trio. The group teams Dessen, a UCSD graduate who now teaches at UC Irvine, with flutist and fellow UC Irvine music professor Nicole Mitchell and fast-rising San Diego pianist Joshua White, whose new album is due out soon.
The Fresh Sound fall concert series will conclude with a Nov. 20 solo piano recital by Canada’s Vicky Chow, who is a key member of the New York-based Bang On a Can All-Stars. Chow also performs in the piano duo X88 and in the New Music Detroit ensemble. She has worked with the International Contemporary Ensemble, which was founded by flutist and San Diego native Claire Chase.
Welch, 40, has a doctorate in music from Yale University and counts Anthony Braxton and John Zorn among his most illustrious collaborators. He is one of a handful of bagpipers who uses the storied Scottish wind instrument to play envelope-shredding music that is often fueled by improvisation.
Rather than restrict himself to reels, jigs, laments, strathspeys and other traditional bagpipe styles, Welch draws from classical, rock, avant-garde, Indonesian Gamelan music, minimalism, microtonality and more. His dazzling skills and extended techniques on a challenging, often cumbersome, instrument have led to him being hailed as “the Eddie Van Halen of the bagpipes.”
A co-founder of the nonprofit Experiments in Opera, Welch is the only bagpiper who cited by Huffington Post as one of the “14 artists changing the future of opera.” As notable a composer as he is a performer, his works include the string quartet piece “Siubhal Turnlar,” the opera “Borges and the Other” and an opus for orchestra and Highland bagpipe, “Sudamala.”
Fresh Sound 2017 fall concert series
With: Matt Welch (Saturday), the Michael Dessen Trio (Oct. 27) and Vicky Chow (Nov. 20)
When: All concerts are at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., Barrio Logan
Tickets: $10 (students), $20 (non-students)