NEXMAP Binary Cities #6: Michel Doneda and Fred Frith in concert

NEXMAP introduces French saxophonist Michel Doneda to the Bay Area in two nights of groundbreaking improvisation: swissnex San Francisco hosts Doneda as he meets with fellow avant-garde luminary Fred Frith.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


February 13, 2009 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

NEXMAP has been producing its “Binary Cities” events in San Francisco for the past four years, bringing together artists from different countries to perform together with artists in the Bay Area. In this occasion, NEXMAP is proud to introduce the exceptional French saxophonist Michel Doneda in his first visit to the Bay Area.

On Thursday, February 12th, Doneda will be playing with local favorite and guitar luminary Fred Frith in “Binary Cities #6” at Swissnex San Francisco.

This is the second time swissnex San Francisco plays host to NEXMAP, after welcoming Myra Melford, François Houle and visual artist Frédéric St-Hilaire in 2008. NEXMAP and swissnex San Francisco have also jointly worked on bringing Swiss viola great Charlotte Hug to the Bay Area.


8pm: doors and concert

Important note:

This is a paying event, for which tickets can be ordered on the NEXMAP website or at the door. Reservation is highly recommended as capacity is limited. swissnex San Francisco does not sell tickets for this event.

Purchase your ticket now at



Michel Doneda

is a self-taught soprano saxophone player hailing from the French South-West. He kicked off in Toulouse via the founding, in 1980, of the reed trio Hic et Nunc, who toured throughout France, playing mostly improvised music. With a group of musicians, dancers and actors, Doneda thenco-founded IREA (Institute for research and exchange between arts of improvisation). He subsequently participated in a host of collaborative music projects, teaming up with figures such as Fred Van Hove, Phil Wachsmann, Max Eastley, Steve Beresford, John Zorn, Eliott Sharp, Elvin Jones, Lê Quan Ninh, Daunik Lazro, Beñat Achiary, Martine Altenburger, Barre Phillips, Paul Rogers, Tetsu Saitoh, Kazue Sawai, while publishing his first record to go under his own name with 1985’s “Terra”. The nineties and oughties saw Doneda both consolidate his roots via his founding participation in Toulouse’s La Flibuste association, and extend his collaborative network as the global improvising scene reached ever further. Günter Müller, Keith Rowe, dancers such as Yukiko Nakamura, and countless others have been among his recent collaborators while he toured the globe. Doneda’s work is documents in over 50 recordings for European, American and Japanese labels.

“Over the years, Michel Doneda has developed one of the most extensive musical vocabularies in free improvisation. A specialist of the soprano saxophone, he has gradually moved from left-field jazz to the fringes of free improv. His playing can be at turns lyrical, playful or raucous, and switch from the liveliness of street melodies to circular breathing, microscopic sounds or shrieking outbursts.”
(The All Music Guide)


Fred Frith,

composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist, has situated himself for more than thirty years in the area where rock music and new music meet. Co-founder of the British underground band Henry Cow (1968-78), he moved to New York in the late seventies and came into contact with many of the musicians with whom he has since been associated, including, for example, John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins, and Bob Ostertag. Fourteen years in New York gave rise to groups such as Massacre (with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher), Skeleton Crew (with Tom Cora and
Zeena Parkins), and Keep the Dog, a sextet performing an extensive repertoire of Fred’s compositions.
In the eighties Fred began to write for dance, film, and theatre, and this in turn has led to his composing for the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, and many other groups, including his own critically acclaimed Guitar Quartet.
Best known world-wide as an improvising guitarist, Fred has also performed in a variety of other contexts, playing bass in John Zorn’s Naked City, violin in Lars Hollmer’s Looping Home Orchestra, and guitar on recordings ranging from The Residents and René Lussier to Brian Eno and Amy Denio. Fred is the subject of Swiss and German filmmakers Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel’s award-winning documentary film “Step Across the Border”.
Fred Frith is currently Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California.

“A musical consciousness of rare intelligence backed up with an
omnipresent sense of humour, Frith makes music that must count amongst
the most powerful and original of the present time.”



Additional event: Michel Doneda and David Wessel at CNMAT, University of California at Berkeley

On Saturday, February 14th, Michel Doneda will be performing a second Bay Area concert at UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT)
with the East Bay’s own electronic wizard, David Wessel.

Venue: The Center for New Music & Audio Technology (CNMAT)
1750 Arch Street, Berkeley CA, 94720
Tickets: $10 ($6 for students and seniors)
For more information and ticket reservations, call 510-643-9990 x 300 or visit CNMAT’s website for information and directions.


Two “must-see”
concerts in this rare visit by one of the most influential improvising performers of the last few decades.

More information on both concerts on the NEXMAP website.


This Binary Cities Event #6 is made possible in part through support by
the Cultural Services of the French Consulate in San Francisco.


Photo: Myleen Hollero